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Velikie Luki 'Stalingrad of the North'

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by Noreaster, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Noreaster

    Noreaster Member

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    I was wondering if anyone out there may know of any published works that give an in depth look at this battle? Most of the works I have read give brief mentions of the actions at Velikie Luki but nothing more.....I have managed to obtain some O.O.B.'s of units involved in the fighting and some info on commanding officers but that is the limit of my knowledge on this clash. If nothing is available in English is there something in German or Russian that covers this battle?
     
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Years ago Shelby Stanton co-produced a wargame on the Velikye Luki battle (White Death for GDW) that was very well researched, the OOB is down to individual batallion level with some specialist companies for ski units, german tanks and the like. He made a description of his sources in a magazine article but unfortunately it's not in "bibliography" format so not easy to copy, none of the sources look like readily available ones though he does reference some US national archives microfilm rolls. I could scan it and send it to you by PM together with the game's OOB and designer notes. A more available source could be D.M. Glantz's After Stalingrad I've just started that book but I doubt he goes into much detail. Just started reading it and indexing doesn't look like to be his strong suit so there may well be a chapter on the battle I haven't gotten to yet though it's not apparent from the index or the table of contents, the timeframe is right but there were lots of soviet offensives that winter.
     
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  3. Kevin Kenneally

    Kevin Kenneally Member

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    If you go to www.boardgamegeeks.com and search by "White Death", you will be taken to the White Death game page. They have the actual OoB cards, and other info for this battle there.

    Also, www.google.com then search by Velikye Luki and you will get many references there.

    I have been interested in this battle since 1980, when I played a Squad Leader scenario about this battle.
     
  4. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I have the GDW game, and probably still have the much rarer computer conversion of it (a real turkey). Printed info on the battle is a lot harder to find, most stuff on the net looks like third hand work based on Stanton's research.
     
  5. Kevin Kenneally

    Kevin Kenneally Member

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    Glantz's book about the battle of Rzhev covers some of the OoB as well.
     
  6. Noreaster

    Noreaster Member

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    Thanks for the GDW recommendation but I have the game:D Also, Moments in History did a game on VL with some interesting info on this battle. It was interesting that the commander of the German forces at VL after the war was brought back to VL and executed in the town square.

    My interest in this battle revolves around the great variety of German Units that took place in the desperate fighting. 3rd Mountain Division (Gebirgsj├Ąger), Brandenburger special force detachment, Fallschirmjaegers, and a detachment of Estonian volunteers. VL gets sidelined as the operations at Stalingrad and Rzhev salient occurred simultaneously. The Soviets hoped to tie up German forces at VL so these same forces could not reinforce German units in the Rzhev or Stalingrad areas of operations. The overall objective for the Soviets at VL was to cut the vital Vitebsk-Leningrad railroad. While the Soviets captured the town of VL the railroad was still in German hands when the fighting came to an end.

    The fighting at VL was vicious even by Eastern Front standards. Two Kessels formed in VL and with the help of Brandenburgers riding on captured Soviet AFV and tanks they were able to break into the citadel of VL to relive this Kessel. Unfortunately for the other smaller Kessel consisting of the VL garrison no help was forthcoming and they were wiped out. The accounts of the fighting in VL echo those of Stalingrad-room to room-house to house- as the Soviets attempted to crush the trapped German forces. It does not get much more desperate then this guys :eek: After the evacuation of the surviving Kessel (fighting all the way out) the Soviets came within a stone throw from the railroad but were to badly worn out to mount any offensive action to seize it. The Germans like wise were in no shape to defend it in any force either. Both sides were like punch drunk boxers in the last round of a title fight. This battle has so much in common with the events that would take place at the Korsun Pocket one year later . It sounds like I know enough about the clash at VL but there is so much more to learn alas I can only hope that an expert might take on this subject and given their access to excellent source materials come up with some new and interesting information as it pertains to this epic clash.
     
  7. USMC

    USMC Member

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  8. Kevin Kenneally

    Kevin Kenneally Member

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  9. KiwiTT

    KiwiTT Member

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    johnvarenda recruit

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  11. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

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