On November 12, 1942, after the planning of the units of Stalingrad front army was completed, Zhukov and vasilevsky called Stalin and said that they needed to personally report to him their opinions on the current campaign.
On the morning of November 13, they went to Stalin.
Stalin was in a good mood.
He inquired in detail about the situation near Stalingrad in preparation for the counter offensive.
The basic information reported by Zhukov and vasilevsky is as follows: as for the comparison of the quantity and quality of the troops of both sides, the main assault areas of the Soviet army, namely the southwest front army and the Stalingrad front army, are still mainly defended by the Romanian army, and their combat effectiveness is not strong.
If the German command does not mobilize reserves in these directions before the Soviet army turns to attack, the Soviet army will have a great advantage in quantity here.
The Soviet reconnaissance has not found any mobilization of the German army.
The main forces of the sixth group army and the fourth group army of tanks in Paulus are being held in Stalingrad by the forces of the Stalingrad front army and the Don front army.
The Soviet troops have concentrated in the designated area according to the plan.
It seems that the German side has not found the change of Soviet deployment.
The Soviet army took more covert measures to mobilize troops and weapons.
The tasks of all front armies, group armies and corps of the Soviet army have been studied and trained.
The various services acted in coordination and coordinated directly.
The meeting of the southwest front army and the Stalingrad front army assault group stipulated in the plan has been carefully studied with the commanders and headquarters of the front army, the group army and the forces that will enter the Soviet farm and Karachi.
It is obviously impossible for the Soviet air force groups to complete the preparations before November 15.
As for the establishment of an internal front surrounded by the German Stalingrad group and various plans to establish an external front needed to ensure the elimination of the besieged German army, it can be said that they are ready.
Although the advance of ammunition, fuel and winter has been delayed for some time, there is sufficient basis to believe that all kinds of materials and equipment can be sent to the troops by the end of November 16-17.
The launch time of the counter offensive is November 19 for the southwest front army and the Don front army, and one day and night later for the Stalingrad front army.
Stalin listened to the report very carefully.
He smoked his pipe unhurriedly, and did not interrupt Zhukov and vasilevsky’s report once.
Obviously, Stalin was quite satisfied with the report.
He knew very well that the implementation of such a huge campaign meant that the strategic initiative was transferred from the German army to the Soviet army again.
During the reporting process, when members of the Soviet National Defense Commission and some members of the Central Political Bureau came to Stalin’s office, Zhukov and vasilevsky had to report the contents of the report again briefly and concisely.
After a brief discussion on the counter offensive plan, Stalin fully approved the plan.
Zhukov and vasilevsky drew Stalin’s attention to the fact that once a serious situation occurred in Stalingrad and the north Caucasus, the German command would be forced to transfer troops from other regions, especially the vyazima region, to support its “south” group.
In order not to happen, the offensive campaign must be prepared and carried out quickly in the area north of vizima, and first of all, the German army in the area of lejev protrusion should be crushed.
They suggested that Kalinin front army and Western Front Army troops should participate in the battle.
Stalin said, “that’s good! But who is in charge of it?” “The battle of Stalingrad is ready in all respects.
Vasilevsky is responsible for coordinating the actions of troops in Stalingrad, and I can be responsible for preparing the attacks of Kalinin front army and Western Front Army.
” Zhukov replied.
“Well, you’ll fly to Stalingrad tomorrow morning and check the pre battle preparations of the troops and commanders again.
” Stalin said.
On November 14, Zhukov went to the watukin army, and vasilevsky went to yelomenko.
The next day, Zhukov received the following telegram from Stalin: Comrade Konstantinov received it personally: the date of the movement of fedomav and Ivanov is up to you to decide, and report to me when you come to Moscow later.
If you think one of them should move a day or two first or a day or two later, I give you discretionary authority.
At 13:10 on November 15, 1942, after receiving the telegram, Zhukov immediately agreed with vasilevsky on the time to turn to the attack: November 19 for the 65th group army of the southwest front army and the Don front army and November 20 for the Stalingrad front army.
Stalin approved the decision.
From November 19, the 65th group army of the Soviet army took the lead in the counter offensive, and the fierce artillery fire immediately panicked the Romanian group army.
Soviet tanks quickly passed the position at full speed and burst into the village.
On the 20th, the Stalingrad front army also began heavy shelling.
At 16:00 on November 23, the tank troops of the southwest front army and the Stalingrad front army entered the Soviet farm area and finally closed the siege of the German Stalingrad group between the Don and Volga rivers.
The 64th, 57th, 21st, 65th, 24th and 66th group armies were able to attack Stalingrad in the general direction.
Compress the German inner enclosure from both sides.
During the pursuit of the retreating German army, the first group army of the guards of the southwest front army, the fifth group army of tanks and the 51st group army of the Stalingrad front army strengthened by the tank corps accepted the task of driving the defeated German army to the West as far as possible from the besieged Stalingrad group, And establish a solid external front to ensure the smooth elimination of the besieged German army.
On November 24, the 21st group army and the 5th tank group army of the Soviet southwest front army smashed the besieged Romanian group and captured more than 30000 officers and soldiers, including generals, as well as a large number of technical weapons.
The first stage of the Soviet counter offensive is now over.
On the evening of November 28, Stalin called Zhukov, who was discussing the upcoming offensive campaign at the Kalinin front army headquarters: “do you know the latest situation of Stalingrad?” “Understand.
” Zhukov’s answer was very crisp.
“OK! Please consider and put forward your opinions on eliminating the besieged German army near Stalingrad as soon as possible.
” Stalin ordered.
On the morning of November 4, the chest was full of successZhukov of Zhuzhou sent the following telegram to Stalin: under the current circumstances, the encircled German army, such as the invincible, will not risk breaking through the encirclement by the auxiliary assault carried out by the regions of lower chilskaya and kojelinikovo.
It is obvious that the German command will try its best to stick to the positions of Stalingrad, viljiaqi, marinovka, karpovka and “high mountain open land” state-owned farms, and assemble assault clusters in lower kirskaya and kojelinikovo in the shortest time to break through our defense line in the general direction of karpovka, so as to open a gap in our defense line, Form a corridor to supply various supplies to the encircled troops, and then use this corridor to break through the encirclement.
If it is beneficial to the enemy, this corridor may form its north front in marinovka, liapichev and upper kirskaya.
The southeast front is formed along the line of qibianko, zete, gnylovskaya and shebalin.
In order to prevent the enemy’s lower kirskaya and kojelnikovo group from joining the Stalingrad group and forming a corridor, we must: first, defeat the enemy’s lower kirskaya and kojelnikovo group as soon as possible, and establish a dense combat formation on the front lines of oblev skaya, tormosin and kojelnikovo.
Two tank clusters shall be maintained in lower kirskaya and kojelinikovo regions, and at least 100 tanks shall be used as reserves in each cluster. 2. Divide the besieged enemy group near Stalingrad into two parts.
To this end.
A split assault should be carried out in the direction of grand rossoshka.
At the same time, raids were carried out in the direction of dubininsky and 135 highlands opposite it.
In other areas, they turned to defense and sent only independent detachment to attack, so as to consume and tire the enemy.
After dividing the encircled enemy into two parts.
The weaker part should be eliminated first, and then focus on attacking the enemy group in Stalingrad.
After Zhukov sent a telegram to Stalin on November 29, 1942, Zhukov spoke to vassilevsky by high-frequency telephone.
Vasilevsky fully agrees with Zhukov.
At the same time, they also exchanged views on the current actions of the southwest front army.
Vasilevsky agreed to temporarily abandon the battle of “great Saturn” and make the southwest front army attack the flank of the detormosin group.
So did the general staff of the Soviet army.
The southwest front army of the Soviet Army received the task code named “little Saturn”: assault the general direction of morozovsk with the forces of the first and third group armies of guards and the fifth group army of tanks, so as to crush the German army group in the region.
The assault of the southwest front army was supported by the sixth group army of the Voronezh front army, which attacked in the general direction of kantemirovka.
The German command urgently needed a reserve to improve the dangerous situation of its troops in the direction of Stalingrad and the Caucasus.
In order to stop the German army from mobilizing troops from the central group army group, the Soviet supreme command decided to organize the Western Front Army and Kalinin front army to attack the German army in the lejev protrusion at the same time of the regional counterattack in Stalingrad.
From November 20 to December 8, 1942, the plan and preparations for the attack were completely ready.
On December 8, the supreme command of the Soviet Army issued the following instructions to the Western Front Army and the Kalinin Front Army: the Kalinin front army and the western front army should work together to smash the enemy groups in the regions of lejev, serchevka, olenino and bere before January 1, 1943, and in alegino, serchevka, andreyevskoye, lenino, new arevo The front lines of genjarevo and svetz have been firmly consolidated.
During the campaign, the western front army should follow the following matters: first, from December 10 to 11, it broke through the enemy’s defense in the great kropotovo and yaregino sections, captured serchevka before December 15, and at least two infantry divisions entered the andreyevskoye area on December 20 to cooperate with the 41st group army of Kalinin front army to block the besieged enemy. 2. After breaking through the enemy’s defense and waiting for the main force to enter the railway line, the front army and at least four infantry divisions should attack northward and attack the rear of the enemy lerev and ertolino group. 3. The 30th group army should break through the enemy’s defense at the intersection in the northeast of koshkino and burgovo, and enter the railway line of chertolino section before December 15.
After entering the railway line, it should quickly cluster and cooperate with the front army to attack lerev along the railway line, and capture lerev on December 23.
Following the direction of the general army of galliono and the general army of galliono, the following tasks were completed on December 16.
With part of the strength of the 22nd group army, it carried out auxiliary raids in the direction of yegoriye and assisted the 41st group army in smashing the enemy’s beere group.
2、 The 41st group army should smash the enemy group that broke into the zicino region before December 10 and restore the original situation in the okolicha region.
Before December 20, we should enter molinia, Vladimir skoye and lenino with some strength and cooperate with Western troops to block the besieged enemy group from the south.
The battle of Stalin Zhukov, the supreme command, carried out by two front armies, the Kalinin front army and the Western Front Army, played an important role in smashing the German army in the lurev protrusion.
The Kalinin front army commanded by lieutenant general pulkayev carried out the task.
The front army troops attacking south of bere successfully broke through the German defense line and pushed forward to join the front army troops of Kalinin in order to close the siege of the German lerev group.
However, the Western army failed to break through the German defense.
So Stalin ordered Zhukov to go to konev, the commander of the Western Front Army.
After Zhukov arrived at the command post of the Western Front Army, after understanding the situation, he believed that it was no longer appropriate to continue the campaign, because the German army had guessed the intention of the Soviet army and transferred a large number of troops from other areas to the region.
At the same time, in the area where the Soviet army broke through, the situation of Kalinin front army was also complicated.
The fierce flank assault of the German army cut off the connection between the mechanized army commanded by major general solomagin and the main force, and the army fell into a siege.
The Soviet supreme command had to transfer an infantry army from its reserve to help the mechanized army break through.
The mechanized army was under extremely difficult conditionsFought for more than three days and nights.
On the night of the fourth day, the Siberians who came to rescue broke through the German defense line, and the officers and soldiers of the mechanized army were able to break through, but they were exhausted and had to withdraw to the rear to rest.
Although the Soviet army failed to achieve the goal of eliminating the German army in the prominent part of lerev stipulated by the supreme command here, it took positive actions to prevent the German command from mobilizing a large number of reinforcements from this area to Stalingrad.
Moreover, in order to keep the base of lejev viyazima, the German command was forced to transfer four tank divisions and one motorized division from the regions of viyazima and lejev.
Why was the attack of the Western Front frustrated? The most important is the insufficient estimation of the difficult terrain conditions of the selected main assault area.
As we all know, if Germany’s defense is configured on the terrain with good field of view and no natural shelter against artillery fire, artillery and mortar fire are easy to destroy this defense, and usually win when attacking there.
If the German defense is configured on the terrain with poor horizon, and there is a good shelter on the reverse slope of the highland and in the canyon parallel to the front of the defense, it is difficult to destroy and break through this defense with artillery, especially when the use of tanks is limited.
When the western front army attacked, it did not estimate the topographic influence of the German configuration location, and there was a good shelter on the reverse slope of the ambush.
Another reason for the setback was the insufficient number of tanks, aircraft, artillery and mortars needed to break through the German defense.
The commander of the front army tried to make up for these defects in the process of attack, but failed.
In the first half of December, the battle of the Soviet Don river front army and the Stalingrad front army to eliminate the besieged German army developed very slowly.
The German army was waiting for the support promised by Hitler himself.
They resisted tenaciously to defend every position.
The Soviet attack failed to achieve the expected effect because a considerable part of the force was allocated to eliminate the German group transferred from kojelinikovo region to attack.
For the German army, the rout in Stalingrad could develop into a major failure on a strategic scale.
The German command believes that in order to change the overall situation, we must first stabilize the German defense line in the direction of Stalingrad and withdraw its group a army group from the Caucasus under the cover of the German army in Stalingrad.
In order to achieve this goal, the German Army established a new “Don River” group army group, which was mainly composed of troops drawn from other sections of the Soviet German battlefield, and some troops were drawn from France and Germany.
The group army was commanded by Manstein, who was regarded as “the most suitable and capable commander” by Hitler’s authorities.
Hitler gave him the task of advancing from the southwest of Stalingrad to liberate the sixth group army.
In order to save the besieged troops in Stalingrad, marshal Manstein planned to establish two assault clusters in kojelinikovo and tormosin.
In fact, such a plan is doomed to fail.
At that time, the German army was extremely short of reserves, and the troops that could be pieced together moved forward slowly and hard like snails on the long traffic line.
The Soviet guerrillas behind the German army appeared and disappeared, and did their best to stop the German army from moving forward.
The German attempt to concentrate their troops to break the blockade and build a new line of defense was dashed.
Hitler had a premonition that the German army would face extinction near Stalingrad, and repeatedly urged Manstein not to launch an attack when all the troops were concentrated, so as to liberate the sixth group army.
However, Hitler’s request for the new commander was simply impossible to achieve.
Manstein tried to explain to him that the only chance of success lay in the breakthrough of the sixth group army from Stalingrad to the West.
On the other hand, Manstein’s own troops, with the fourth armored group army as the front, attacked the northeast and attacked the Soviet troops between the two German forces.
However, Hitler still did not agree to withdraw from Stalingrad.
In fact, just looking at the map, we can see the Soviet Army’s combat intention.
General Zeitler, the chief of general staff of the German army, made it clear that the Soviet army was obviously attacking from the north and South with a large number of troops in an attempt to cut off the retreat route of the German army in Stalingrad and force the sixth group army of the German army to retreat to the West in a hurry or to be captured.
So Zeitler suggested to Hitler that the sixth group army withdraw from Stalingrad to the bend of the Don River and restore the broken front.
Unexpectedly, such a suggestion of the chief of general staff made Hitler angry: “I will never leave Stalin! I will never retreat from Stalin!” Hitler shouted loudly and ordered himself: the sixth group military must stick to the positions around Stalingrad! Hitler even urged Manstein to attack as soon as possible.
On December 12, out of desperation, Manstein just launched an attack along the railway from kojelinikovo region.
Manstein organized the 6th and 23rd tank divisions in the kojelinikovo cluster, and later added the 17th tank division, as well as an independent tank battalion equipped with “tiger” heavy tanks, four infantry divisions and some reinforced troops, as well as two Romanian cavalry divisions.
After three days of fighting, the German army advanced 45 kilometers to Stalingrad and crossed the yasselovsky river.
Fierce fighting took place in the upper kumsky region, and both Soviet and German sides suffered heavy losses.
Regardless of casualties, the German army and the army of the servant country rushed into Stalingrad.
However, after all, the Soviet army was trained in combat and tenaciously guarded the defensive areas.
It was only under the pressure of the newly opened 17th German tank division and the indiscriminate bombing of German aircraft that the troops of the Soviet 51st group army and the fourth cavalry army under the command of general shapputin withdrew across the meshkova river.
Now, the German army is only more than 40 kilometers away from Stalingrad, and obviously believes that victory is imminent.
But the Germans were too happy.
According to Stalin’s instructions, vasilevsky transferred the second group army of strengthened close guard tanks, which was commanded by general Malinowski and equipped with sufficient tanks and artillery, and put it into battle.
The assault of the group army finally decided the fate of the war, which was in favor of the Soviet army.
On December 16, in order to crush the German army in the middle reaches of the Don River and enter the rear of the German tormosin group, the Soviet southwest front army and the sixth group army of Voronezh front army launched an attack on the German army.
SuCampaign, and the implementation of the ‘big Saturn’ campaign requires additional strength.
” When watukin reported the situation, Stalin and Zhukov happened to be sitting next to the telegraph.
Stalin immediately replied to watukin: your first task is not to let the German army crush badanov’s troops, and should send Pavlov and rusyanov’s headquarters to assist him as soon as possible.
You are right to allow badanov to give up tacinskaya at the most critical moment.
Your assault on tormoshin had better strengthen the eighth cavalry army with an infantry unit.
As for the transfer of an infantry division of the third army of the close guard cavalry to tolmosin via suvorovsky, it was very timely.
In order to turn “little Saturn” into “big Saturn”, we have allocated you the second and twenty third armies of tanks.
In another week, you can also get two tank armies and three or four infantry divisions.
“We have different opinions on the use of the 18th tank army.
If you want to transfer him to skoselskaya, you’d better let him stay with the 17th tank army in milerovo and upper taslavskoye.
In short, you should note that when the tank army is sent to a long distance, it’s best to send two armies at the same time, rather than one army acting alone, so as not to fall into badanov’s trap Situation.
” At this time, Zhukov answered the phone and asked watukin, “where is the 18th tank army now?” “The 18th tank army is now south of milerovo.
It will not be isolated.
” “Please remember badanov, don’t forget badanov, rescue him anyway!” “I must take all possible measures and we must rescue badanov.
” Watukin promised Stalin and Zhukov.
The smooth raids of the southwest front army and the Stalingrad front army troops in the direction of kojelnikovo and morozovsk finally determined the fate of Paulus’s sixth group army surrounded by Stalingrad and often proud of Hitler.
They accomplished the task assigned to them by the Soviet supreme command and smashed the enemy quickly, thus breaking Manstein’s plan to liberate Paulus’s forces.
The Soviet Defense Commission will meet at the end of December to discuss future actions.
Stalin suggested: “the task of smashing the besieged German army should be led by one person.
Now there are two front army commanders under command, which is not conducive to the completion of this task.
” All the national defense commissioners present at the meeting, without exception, supported this view.
“Who is the commander to be entrusted with the task of finally eliminating the German army?” Stalin asked further.
At this time, it was suggested that all troops should be handed over to rokosovsky.
Stalin asked Zhukov, “Why are you silent?” “I think these two commanders are capable.
If the troops of the Stalingrad front army are transferred to rokosovsky’s command, yelimenko will certainly feel wronged.
” Zhukov replied.
“This is not the time to talk about grievance or not,” Stalin interrupted Zhukov and ordered Zhukov to say, “call yelowmenko and announce the decision of the National Defense Commission to him.
” In the evening, Zhukov immediately called yelieumenko by high-frequency telephone and told him: “Comrade yelieumenko, the National Defense Commission has decided to finally eliminate the Stalingrad group and entrust rokosovsky to carry out it.
Therefore, you should transfer the 57th, 64th and 62nd group armies of the Stalingrad front army to the donhe front army.
” “Why?” Yelaimenko asked puzzled.
Zhukov explained to him why he made the decision.
But this obviously made Yeliao Menko very sad, emotional and difficult to restrain himself.
Zhukov suggested that he call again later.
Fifteen minutes later, Zhukov’s phone rang again.
“Comrade General, I still don’t understand why I attach great importance to the leaders of the Don front army.
I ask you to report to Comrade Stalin that I ask to stay here until the enemy is eliminated.
” Yeliao Menko said slightly wrongfully.
Zhukov didn’t explain too much this time.
He still issued instructions on the transfer of three group armies of Stalingrad front army to rokosovsky’s command according to Stalin’s instructions.
The headquarters of the Stalingrad front army should lead the troops operating in the direction of kojelinikovo and continue to wipe out the enemy forces in the kojelinikovo area.
Soon, the Stalingrad front army was renamed the southern front army and acted in the direction of Rostov.
According to the instruction of the Soviet supreme command on December 30, 1942, the 62nd, 64th and 57th group armies were transferred from the Stalingrad front army to the Don river front army.
On January 10, 1943, there were 212000 troops, more than 250 tanks, nearly 300 combat aircraft and about 6900 artillery and mortars in the formation of the Don front army.