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Zhukov-not the hero of Stalingrad?

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Kai-Petri, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Late 1942 operations in short:

    In Operation mars , planned to commence in late October, forces of the Kalinin and Western Fronts would encircle and destroy German Ninth Army in the Rzhev salient. Two to three weeks later, in Operation Jupiter , the Western Front's powerful 5th and 33d Armies, supported by 3d Guards Tank Army, would attack along the Viaz'ma axis, link up with the victorious mars' force, and envelop and destroy all German forces east of Smolensk.13 Vasilevsky's initial operation, code-named Uranus and tentatively timed for mid-November, was to envelop German Sixth Army in the Stalingrad region.14 In Operation Saturn , set to begin in early December, Vasilevsky's forces would seize Rostov, envelop German Army Group B, pin its remnants against the Sea of Azov, and cut off the withdrawal of German Army Group A from the Caucasus.

    PS I think Friedrich asked about these ops once?!

    Antony Beevor

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/76

    Jason Epstein [Letters, NYR, April 13] has finally acknowledged that General A.I. Eremenko was indeed the commander of the Stalingrad Front under Vasilevsky's supervision. But he demonstrates in his refusal to allow Zhukov any credit for Operation Uranus that he is also incapable of reading David Glantz's book accurately.

    Glantz shows that Zhukov spent far more time preparing Operation Uranus than Operation Mars.
    According to Glantz's timetable, from September 26 (when Stalin made Zhukov the Stavka coordinator for Operation Mars) until October 12, Zhukov was in fact visiting the army commanders on the "Stalingrad axis" and studying the ground for Operation Uranus. He was simply not in a position to oversee plans for Mars, especially since the operational orders for it were issued by the Stavka on October 1 and the revised orders on October 10, both during his absence near Stalingrad.
    While Vasilevsky visited Eremenko's armies to the south of the city, Zhukov toured forward positions on the northern side of the Stalingrad salient. Zhukov's involvement in the planning of Uranus continued up until its launch.

    Jason Epstein replies:

    Vasilevsky was not merely the supervisor but the operational commander of the Stalingrad offensive, an assignment made by Stalin himself when he simultaneously appointed Zhukov operational commander of the offensive, code-named Mars, against German Army Group Center.
    Of course Zhukov as deputy supreme high commander directly under Stalin was involved in planning the Stalingrad offensive. How could he not have been? But he was not, as Beevor believed when he wrote his book, in operational command of that offensive.
    Zhukov, as Glantz writes, was obsessed with Operation Mars, which was not, as Beevor wrote, a mere feint but a Soviet disaster in which 335,000 troops were killed, missing, or wounded.

    Could it be?

    Vasilevsky was in overall charge of the Stalingrad encirclement and Eremenko was the commander of his Southern Front.Beevor could and should have been aware of the archives that Glantz used.Thus he would not have accepted the disingenuous claim made by Zhukov in his memoirs that his attack on Army Group Center was a mere feint to keep the Germans from assisting Paulus's Sixth Army

    This is the book to read next:David Glantz's gripping recent book, Zhukov's Greatest Defeat?

    Zhukov was not the hero of Stalingrad?

    http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/glazhu.html

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/142

    " General Vasilevsky, the hero of Stalingrad and perhaps the savior of us all. " From the site above by Jason Epstein.

    :confused: :confused: :eek:

    OPINIONS??
     
  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    I always thought that Chuikov should be names as "The Hero of Stalingrad" as he was in the very think of it all--and almost losing his life more than once--onetime due to fire. :eek:
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Designed to dislodge the German Army from its position west of Moscow, Mars cost the Soviets an estimated 335,000 dead, missing, and wounded men and over 1,600 tanks. But in Russian history books, it was a battle that never happened-a historical debacle sacrificed to Stalin's postwar censorship.

    Fought in bad weather and on impossible terrain, the ambitious offensive faltered despite spectacular initial success in some sectors: Zhukov kept sending in more troops and tanks only to see them decimated by the entrenched Germans.

    For three grueling weeks, Operation Mars was one of the most tragic and agonizing episodes in Soviet military history.

    http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/glazhu.html

    "Despite Model's striking victory, by mid-January the handwriting was on the wall. German defenses would not withstand another such Soviet onslaught. As the preeminent German military historian, Earl Ziemke, later wrote, 'Although the Army Group Center zone was quiet in the early winter of 1942-43 except for partisan activity, its front, in the long run, clearly was untenable. The army group had no reserves. Its left flank was weak, and, after the collapse of Second Army [in late January], its right flank was left dangling in a void. When Army Group North secured permission to evacuate the Demyansk pocket, the great eastward projection of Army Group Center ceased to serve any purpose. To pinch off the Toropets salient was no longer possible, and no one was thinking seriously any more of an advance to Moscow. On January 26 Kluge recommended to Hitler a large-scale withdrawal that would shorten the front and eliminate the danger of the Fourth and Ninth Armies being encircled. As was to be expected, Hitler resisted bitterly, but finally, on 6 February, he yielded to Zeitzler's and Kluge's arguments.'

    "In no small measure, it was the damage done to Army Group Center by Zhukov's furious but futile November and December assault that sealed the ultimate fate of the German Rzhev position. The Germans abandoned the Rzhev salient in March, just as Zhukov, unknown to them, was implementing another offensive scheme designed to accomplish what he had failed to accomplish in Operation Mars. Army Group Center's time would come, but not until summer 1944, when Stalin and Zhukov would finally gain their revenge."

    http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~insrisg/bookmarks/bk01/0705zhukov.htm
     
  4. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    But Zjukov did save Moscow and he had a great part in the total victory in the streets in Berlin over Nazi-Germany? Or not?

    But Stalin didn't like Zjukov that much. I think he was even banned from Moscow.
     
  5. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    No, Kai. I didn't ask anything about them. I have made several posts about the whole matter, starting with the myth of general Zhúkov at Stalingrad. He was not even near there. General Vasilievski was the one in charge of all the operations in the South.

    Operation 'Mars' had the task of destroying general Model's IX Army in front of Moscow.

    Operation 'Uranus' had the task of destroying general Paulus' VI Army at Stalingrad.

    Operation 'Saturn' had the task of advancing towards Rostov, capturing it and encircle marshal Von Kleist's whole Army Group 'A' in the Caucasus.

    After all those operations, Operation 'Jupiter' should come, using all the forces available and had the task of advancing to Smolijensk and destroying by a gigantic pincer movement marshal Von Kluge's Army Group 'Centre'.

    Fortunately for the Germans, the Red Army did not have enough men, experience and resources available for that titanic operation. The only operation which succeeded was 'Uranus'. The German Armies II, IV Panzer and VI, the Romanian III and IV Armies, the Hungarian II Army ans the Italian VIII Army, all ceased to exist by spring 1943. Operation 'Mars' was repelled incredibly by general Model. Operation 'Saturn' became 'little Saturn' and tried to reach Rostov unsuccesfully, even if the tasks were redifined and made simpler and less ambitious. The only thing operation 'little Saturn' achieved was stopping marshal Von Manstein's operation 'Winter Storm'.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    COUNTERPOINT TO STALINGRAD
    Operation Mars (November-December 1942):
    Marshal Zhukov's Greatest Defeat

    David M. Glantz

    http://rhino.shef.ac.uk:3001/mr-home/rzhev/rzhev3.html

    The architects of the Stalingrad victory entered the annals of military history as unvanquished heroes who led the subsequent Soviet march to victory. Foremost among them was Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov, the hero of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, and Berlin.

    Originally planned for late-October 1942, but postponed until 25 November, Operation Mars was intended to be a companion piece to Operation Uranus, the code-name for the Soviet's Stalingrad strategic counteroffensive. By conducting Operations Mars and Uranus, the Soviet Stavka [Headquarters of the High Command] sought to regain the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front and set the Red Army on the path to total victory. Planned and conducted by Marshal G. K. Zhukov and a host of other famous Soviet generals and appropriately named for the God of War, Operation Mars formed the centerpiece of Soviet strategic designs in Fall 1942. Its immense scale and ambitious strategic intent made Operation Mars at least as important as Operation Uranus and likely more important. In its fickleness, however, history has forgotten Operation Mars because it failed, while it has extolled Operation Uranus because it succeeded.

    Zhukov answered Stalin's call by planning and leading the victorious Soviet Moscow counteroffensives in winter 1942. Subsequently, in spring and summer 1942, he commanded Soviet forces along the Moscow axis. While the Germans were advancing on Stalingrad, Zhukov orchestrated several offensives against German forces in the central sector of the front, including a major attack on the Rzhev salient in August, which was a virtual rehearsal for Operation mars.

    Zhukov believed that the Soviet Union could best achieve strategic victory by smashing German forces along the Moscow axis. In short, Zhukov considered that German Army Group Center, whose forces were lodged in the Rzhev salient menacingly close to Moscow, posed the most serious threat to Moscow and the Soviet war effort In his view, the Rzhev salient, a legacy of the chaotic fighting of winter 1941-42, which measured 150 x150 kilometers and which contained Army Group Center's powerful German Ninth Army, represented a dagger aimed at Moscow. Therefore, argued Zhukov, the Soviet Union could best achieve strategic victory in 1942 by smashing German Ninth Army in the salient and, thereafter, all of German Army Group Center.

    Zhukov emphasized Soviet force superiority in the decisive central sector of the front. Here the Soviet Kalinin and Western Fronts, supported by the Moscow Defense Zone, numbered almost 1,900,000 men with over 24,000 guns and mortars, 3,300 tanks, and 1,100 aircraft.

    On the evening of 26 September, the Generalissimo ordered major strategic counteroffensives be conducted at both Rzhev and Stalingrad. Appropriately, Zhukov would command the former, and his contemporary, General A. M. Vasilevsky, would command the latter. Vasilevsky, then Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defense, was a penultimate staff officer and a prot‚g‚ of former Chief of the General Staff, marshal B. M. Shaposhnikov. At the outbreak of war, Vasilevsky had been chief of the General Staff's Operations Directorate, and, because of his obvious talents, he rose from colonel to colonel general in only four years. His wartime accomplishments as key General Staff planner and "fireman" in key operational sectors had won Stalin's confidence and appointment in July 1942 as Chief of the General Staff. Vasilevsky's calm demeanor and keen intelligence tended to moderate both Stalin's and Zhukov's excesses.

    In fact, Zhukov's over 2,300 tanks and 10,000 guns and mortars exceeded the firepower the Stavka allocated to Vasilevsky to carry out Operation Uranus.

    Zhukov's offensive began early on 25 November simultaneously against the eastern, western, and northern flanks of the German Rzhev salient.Numbering well over 200,000 men and 500 tanks, the 2 Soviet armies faced about 40,000 German defenders. Despite this numerical superiority and initial German confusion, the violent attack achieved only mixed results since German forces occupied strong defenses, and Soviet forces had to assault across generally open and rolling terrain at a time when incessant fog and driving snow showers reduced the effectiveness of the Soviet artillery preparation.

    Even the twin catastrophic Soviet defeats along the Vazusa River and at Belyi did not totally destroy Zhukov's resolve, for, despite being thwarted on the flanks of the Rzhev salient, Zhukov continued to attack with the 39th Army in the north until mid-December (see Map 14). Despite Zhukov's stubborn defiance of reality, by 15 December Operation mars was a shambles. Stalin, the Stavka, and perhaps even Zhukov himself knew well that mars was at an end. Furthermore, long before, Stalin had abandoned any hopes of launching Operation Jupiter. By early December 1942 the bulk of Stavka reserves were already en route southward to reinforce Vasilevsky's successful Operation Uranus at Stalingrad.

    While causing catastrophic Soviet casualties, the German divisions themselves were fought to a frazzle. It was no coincidence that several months later Model asked for and received permission to abandon the Rzhev salient. He and his army could ill afford another such victory.

    Operation mars cost the Red Army nearly half a million men killed, wounded, or captured. Individual Soviet combat units were decimated in the operation. The Soviet 20th Army lost 58,524 men out of its original strength of over 114,000 men.72 General Solomatin's 1st Mechanized Corps lost 8,100 of its 12,000 men and all of its 220 tanks, and the accompanying 6th Stalin Rifle Corps lost over 20,000 of its 30,000 men.73 At lower levels the cost was even higher. The 8th Guards Rifle Corp's 26th Guards Rifle Division emerged from combat with 500 of its over 7,000 combat infantrymen intact, while the 4,500 man 148th and 150th Rifle Brigades had only 27 and 110 "fighters," respectively, available at the end of the operation.

    Soviet tank losses, correctly estimated by the Germans as around 1,700, were equally staggering, in as much as they exceeded the total number of tanks the Soviets initially committed in Operation Uranus at Stalingrad.75 In Western armies losses such as these would have prompted the removal of senior commanders, if not worse. In the Red Army it did not, for when all was said and done, Zhukov fought, and the Red Army needed fighters.

    Although far less severe than those of the Soviets, the Germans too suffered grievous losses in the operation, losses which they could ill afford given their smaller manpower pool and the catastrophe befalling them at Stalingrad. For example, the 1st Panzer Division suffered 1,793 casualties, and the 5th Panzer 1,640, while losses in the infantry divisions (the 78th, 246th, 86th, 110th, and 206th) along the Soviet main attack axes were even greater.76 The overall Soviet casualty toll, however, was at least 10-fold greater that the total German loss of around 40,000 men.


    :eek:
     

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