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Unformatted text preview: SLAUGHTERHOUSE THE HANDBOOK OF THE EASTERN FRONT SLAUGHTERHOUSE SLAUGHTERHOUSE T H E HANDBOOK OF THE EASTERN FRONT THE ABERJONA BEDFORD, P A PRESS German Army and Luftwaffe Order of Battle Information: Steve Myers, Hugh Foster, Keith E. Bonn Waffen-SS Order of Battle Information: Mark Rikmenspoel Soviet Order of Battle Information: Scott McMichael, and Yuri and Natalya Khonko German Biographical Sketches: Keith E. Bonn, Steve Myers, and Hugh Foster Soviet Biographical Sketches: Scott McMichael Chronology and Forgotten Battles Chapters: David Glantz Finnish, Hungarian, Romanian, and Italian Unit Histories: Keith E. Bonn Weapons Tables: Hugh Foster and Keith E. Bonn Acknowledgements In addition to graciously giving permission to use edited versions of some of his privately published work, David Glantz contributed much of the material used in the chapter about the Soviet WWII order of battle. Special thanks to George Nafziger for his information about the Hungarian and Romanian orders of battle. Special thanks to Mikko Härmeinen for his contributions about the Finns. Editor: Keith E. Bonn Production: Aegis Consulting Group, Inc. Printer: Mercersburg Printing The Aberjona Press is an imprint of Aegis Consulting Group, Inc., Bedford, Pennsylvania 15522 ©2005 Bookspan All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America 10 09 08 07 06 05 6 5 4 3 2 1 ISBN: 0-9717650-9-X Originally published by The Military Book Club as Slaughterhouse: The Encyclopedia of the Eastern Front Visit us at This edition published in cooperation with BOOKSPAN All photos are from the National Archives, College Park, Maryland (NA), or from the Military History Institute, Carlisle, Pennsylvania (MHI). Contents German Rank Abbreviations vii Rank Equivalents viii Introduction 1 Chronology 15 Events Leading Up to the War 15 BARBAROSSA, 22 June-31 December 1941 17 January-April 1942 22 April-October 1942 26 November 1942-April 1943 31 May-December 1943 36 January-April 1944 41 May-December 1944 47 January-4 April 1945 53 4 April-8 May 1945 57 Conclusions 62 Biographies of Important Germans and Their Allies 67 Biographies of Important Soviets 113 German and Their Allies' Units on the Eastern Front 147 Army Groups 147 Armies 150 Corps 154 Divisions 160 Luftwaffe Command Level Organization-Eastern Front, 1941-45 273 Finnish Army Divisions 277 The Royal Hungarian Army 280 Italian Units 287 Romanian Units 289 Soviet Units on the Eastern Front 299 Directions 299 Fronts 300 v vi CONTENTS Armies 306 Corps 340 Divisions 354 Air Forces 384 Airborne 387 Organization of Military Units on the Eastern Front 391 Germany 392 Finland 407 Hungary 409 Italy 415 Romania 419 USSR 426 Weapons of the Eastern Front 439 Forgotten Battles 471 Bibliography 497 German Rank Abbreviations Deutsche Heer Generalfeldmarschall Generaloberst General d e r . . . Artillerie Gebirgstruppen Infanterie Kavallerie Luftwaffe Panzertruppen Pionerie Generalleutnant Generalmajor Oberst Abbreviation Gen.Feldm. Gen.Oberst Oberstleutnant Major Rittmeister (cav) Hauptmann Oberleutnant Leutnant Gen.d.Art. Gen.d.Geb. Gen.d.Inf. Gen.d.Kav. Gen.d.Luft. Gen.d.Pz.Tr. Gen.d.Pio. Gen.Lt. Gen.Major Oberst Obstlt. Major Rittm. Hptm. Obit. Lt. SS Reichsführer-SS SS-Oberstgruppenführer SS-Obergruppenführer SS-Gruppenführer SS-Brigadeführer SS-Oberführer SS-Standartenführer SS-Obersturmbannführer SS-Sturmbannführer SS-Hauptsturmführer SS-Obersturmführer SS-Untersturmführer SS-Oberstgruf. SS-Ogruf. SS-Gruf. SS-Brif. SS-Oberf. SS-Staf. SS-Ostubaf. SS-Stubaf. SS-Hstuf. SS-Ostuf. SS-Ustuf. vii Rank Equivalents US Army Soviet Army German Army General of the Army Generalissimus Marshal Sovetskogo Soyuza Generalfeldmarschall General General Armiyi Lieutenant General General Polkovnik Major General Brigadier General General Leytenant General Major Waffen-SS Generaloberst General (der Infanterie, der Artillerie, etc.) Generaleutnant SS-Oberstgruppenführer Generalmajor SS-Brigadeführer SS-Obergruppenführer SS-Gruppenführer SS-Oberführer Colonel Polkovnik Lieutenant Colonel Podpolkovnik Major Major Captain Kapetan 1st Starshiy Leytenant Lieutenant Leytenant 2nd Mladshiy Leytenant Lieutenant Sergeant Major* Master Sergeant/ First Sergeant Technical Sergeant Staff Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Private First Class Private Oberst Oberstleutnant Major Hauptmann Oberleutnant SS-Standartenführer SS-Obersturmbannführer SS-Sturmbannführer SS-Hauptsturmführer SS-Obersturmführer Leutnant SS-Untersturmführer Stabsfeldwebel SS-Sturmscharführer Starshina Oberfeldwebel SS-Hauptscharführer Starshiy Serzhant Feldwebel SS-Oberscharführer Unterfeldwebel SS-Scharführer Unteroffizier SS-Unterscharführer Hauptgefreiter Obergefreiter Gefreiter SS-Rottenführer Obersoldat (Obergrenadier, Oberkanonier, etc.) Soldat (Grenadier, Kanonier, etc.) SS-Sturmmann Serzhant Mladshiy Serzhant Yefreytor Krasnoarmeyets SS-Mann *Not a rank in the US Army during WWII. NCOs serving as sergeants major during that era were usually Master Sergeants. viii Introduction by David M. Glantz Suddenly and without warning, early on the morning of 22 June 1941, over three million German and German-allied soldiers lunged across the Soviet state border and commenced Operation BARBAROSSA. Spearheaded by four powerful panzer groups and protected by an impenetrable curtain of air support, the seemingly invincible Wehrmacht advanced from the Soviet Union's western borders to the immediate outskirts of Leningrad, Moscow, and Rostov in the shockingly brief period of less than six months. Faced with this sudden, deep, and relentless German advance, the Soviet Army and state were forced to fight desperately for their very survival. The ensuing struggle, which encompassed a region totaling roughly 600,000 square miles, lasted for almost four years before the Soviet Army triumphantly raised the Soviet flag over the ruins of Hitler's Reich's Chancellery in Berlin in late April 1945. The war on the Eastern Front —the Soviet Union's self-proclaimed "Great Patriotic War" — was one of unprecedented brutality. It was a war to the death between two cultures, which killed as many as 35 million Russian soldiers and civilians; almost 4 million German soldiers and countless German civilians; and inflicted unimaginable destruction and damage to the population and institutional infrastructure of most of central and eastern Europe. By the time this deadly conflict ended on 9 May 1945, the Soviet Union and its army had occupied and dominated the bulk of central and eastern Europe. Less than three years after victory, an Iron Curtain descended across Europe that divided the continent into opposing camps for over four decades. More important still, the searing effect of this terrible war on the Russian soul endured for generations, shaping the development of the postwar Soviet Union and, ultimately, contributing to its demise in 1991. Despite its massive scale, scope, cost, and global impact, it is indeed ironic that much of the war on the Eastern Front remains Based on the first two chapters of The Soviet-German War, 1941-1945: Myths and Realities, A Survey Essay, © David M. Glantz. Self-published. Used by permission. 1 2 INTRODUCTION obscure and imperfectly understood by Westerners and Russians alike. Worse still, this obscurity and misunderstanding has perverted the history of World War II overall by masking the Soviet Army's and State's contributions to ultimate Allied victory. Those in the West who understand anything at all about the Eastern Front regard it as a mysterious, brutal four-year struggle between Europe's most bitter political enemies and its largest and most formidable armies. During this struggle, the Wehrmacht and Soviet Army waged war over an incredibly wide expanse of territory; the sheer size, physical complexity, and severe climatic conditions in the theater of war made the conflict appear to consist of a series of successive and seamless offensives punctuated by months of stagnant combat and periodic dramatic battles of immense scale such as the Battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Belorussia, and Berlin. The paucity of detailed information on the war available in the English language reinforces the natural American (and Western) penchant for viewing the Soviet-German War as a mere backdrop for more dramatic and significant battles in western theaters, such as El Alamein, Salerno, Anzio, Normandy, and the Ardennes Offensive. This distorted layman's view of the war so prevalent in the West is understandable since most histories of the conflict have been, and continue to be, based largely on German sources, sources which routinely describe the war as a struggle against a faceless and formless enemy whose chief attributes were the immense size of its Army and the limitless supply of expendable human resources. Therefore, only truly sensational events stand out from the pale mosaic of four years of combat. Even those who are better informed about the details of the war on the Eastern Front share in these common misperceptions. While they know more about the major battles that occurred during the war and have read about others —such as Manstein's counterstroke in the Donbas and at Kharkov; the fights in the Cherkassy Pocket and at Kamenets-Podolsk; the collapse of Army Group Center; and Soviet perfidy at the gates of Warsaw — the very terminology they use to describe these struggles is indicative of an understanding based primarily on German sources. More important, most laymen readers and historians alike lack sufficient knowledge and understanding of the Soviet-German War to fit it into the larger context of World War II and to understand its relative importance and regional and global significance. Who, then, is at fault for promoting this unbalanced view of the war? Certainly, Western historians who wrote about the war from INTRODUCTION 3 only the German perspective share part of the blame. They argue with considerable justification, however, that they did so because only German sources were available to them. Ethnocentrism, a force that conditions a people to appreciate only that which they have themselves experienced, has also helped produce this unbalanced view of the war; in fact, it has done so on both sides. Aside from these influences, the most important factor in the creation of the existing perverted view of the war is the collective failure of Soviet historians to provide Western (and Russian) readers and scholars with a credible account of the war. Ideology, political motivation, and shibboleths born of the Cold War have combined to inhibit the work and warp the perceptions of many Soviet historians. While many Soviet studies of the war and wartime battles and operations are detailed, scholarly, and accurate as far as they go, they cover only what State officials permit them to cover and either skirt or ignore those facts and events considered embarrassing by the State. Unfortunately, the most general works and those most accessible to Western audiences tend to be the most biased, the most highly politicized, and the least accurate. Until quite recently, official State organs routinely vetted even the most scholarly of these books for political and ideological correctness. Even now, eleven years after the fall of the Soviet Union, political pressure and limited archival access prevents Russian historians from researching or revealing many events subject to censorship in the past. These sad realities have undercut the credibility of Soviet (Russian) historical works (fairly or unfairly); permitted German historiography and interpretation to prevail; and, coincidentally, damaged the credibility of those few Western writers who have incorporated Soviet historical materials into their accounts of the war. These stark historiographical realities also explain why today sensational, unfair, and wildly inaccurate accounts of certain aspects of the war so attract the Western reading public and why debates still rage concerning the war's direction and conduct. Today, several formidable barriers continue to inhibit the exploitation of Soviet (Russian) sources and make a fundamental reassessment of the war on the Eastern Front more difficult. These barriers include an ignorance of the scope of Soviet writing on the war, an inability to obtain and read what Soviet historians have written (the language barrier), and an unwillingness to accept what those historians have written. Of late, however, Western historians have begun to overcome first two barriers by publishing an increasing number of books that critically exploit the best Russian sources 4 INTRODUCTION and test them against German archival sources. By doing so, they have lifted the veil on Soviet historiography, and candidly and credibly displayed both its vast scope and its inherent strengths and weaknesses. The third barrier, that of credibility, is far more formidable, however, and, hence, more difficult to overcome. To do so will require the combined efforts of both Western and Russian historians accompanied by an unfettering of the binds on Russian archival materials, a process that has only just begun. In short, the blinders and restrictions that inhibited the work of Soviet and Russian military historians must be recognized and eliminated. Only then can historians produce credible and sound histories of the war that accord the Soviet Union and the Soviet Army the credit they so richly deserve. The Parameters of the Soviet-German War Scale The scale of combat on the Eastern Front was unprecedented in modem warfare, both in terms of the width of the operational front and the depth of military operations (see Figure 1). The objectives of Operation BARBAROSSA were of gigantic proportion. Plan BARBAROSSA required Wehrmacht forces to advance about The Combat Front Initial BARBAROSSA front (total)—1,720 miles (2,768 kilometers) Initial BARBAROSSA front (main)—820 miles (1,320 kilometers) Maximum extent in 1942 (total)—1,900 miles (3,058 kilometers) Maximum extent in 1942 (main)—1,275 miles (2,052 kilometers) The Depth of German Advance BARBAROSSA objectives (1941)—1,050 miles (1,690 kilometers) Maximum extent (1941)—760 miles (1,223 kilometers) Maximum extent (1942)—1,075 miles (1,730 kilometers) Figure 1. Scale of Operations These figures indicate length as the "crow flies." Actual length was about half again as long. INTRODUCTION 5 1,050 miles (1,690 kilometers) to secure objectives just short of the Ural Mountains, a depth equivalent in U.S. terms to the distance from the east coast to Kansas City, Missouri. To do so, in June 1941, the Wehrmacht deployed its forces for the attack against the Soviet Union along a 1,720-mile (2,768-kilometer) front extending from the Barents Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. In U.S. terms, this was equivalent to the distance along its eastern coast from the northern border of Maine to the southern tip of Florida. Initially, the Wehrmacht concentrated its main thrusts in an 820-mile (1,320-kilometer) sector extending from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, which was equivalent to the distance from New York City to Jacksonville, Florida. Even though the Wehrmacht's 1939 and 1940 campaigns in Poland and Western Europe in no way prepared it to cope with combat in the vast Eastern theater, German forces still performed prodigious feats during the first two years of the war. During its initial BARBAROSSA advance, for example, by early December 1941, Wehrmacht forces had advanced to the gates of Leningrad, Moscow, and Rostov, a distance of 760 miles (1,223 kilometers), which was equivalent to the distance from New York City to Springfield, Illinois. During Operation BLAU [ B L U E ] , Hitler's offensive in the summer and fall of 1942, German forces reached the Stalingrad and Caucasus region by October, a total depth of 1,075 miles (1,730 kilometers) into the Soviet Union. This was equivalent to the distance from the U.S. east coast to Topeka, Kansas. By this time, Germany's entire eastern front extended from the Barents Sea to the Caucasus Mountains, a distance of 1,900 miles (3,058 kilometers), which was equivalent to the distance from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River to the southern tip of Florida. At this time, the Germans and their Axis allies occupied contiguous positions along a front which extended 1,275 miles (2,052 kilometers) from the Gulf of Finland west of Leningrad to the Caucasus Mountains, equivalent to the distance from Austin, Texas to the Canadian border. At its greatest extent, the German advance in the Soviet Union (1,075 miles) was over three times greater than its 1939 advance in Poland (300 miles) and over twice as deep as its advance in the Low Countries and France during the 1940 campaign (500 miles). At the same time, the Wehrmacht's operational front in the East (1,900 miles) was over 6 times as large as its 1939 front in Poland (300 miles) and over 5 times larger than its 1940 front in the West (390 miles). 6 INTRODUCTION Scope Throughout the entire period from 22 June 1941 through 6 June 1944, Germany devoted its greatest strategic attention and the bulk of its military resources to action on its Eastern Front. During this period, Hitler maintained a force of almost four million German and other Axis troops in the East fighting against a Soviet force that rose in strength from under three million men in June 1941 to over six million in the summer of 1944. While over eighty percent of the Wehrmacht fought in the East during 1941 and 1942, over sixty percent continued to do so in 1943 and 1944 (see Figure 2). In January 1945, the Axis fielded over 2.3 million men, including sixty percent of the Wehrmacht's forces and the forces of virtually all of its remaining allies, against the Soviet Army, which had a fieldstrength of 6.5 million soldiers. In the course of the ensuing winter campaign, the Wehrmacht suffered 500,000 losses in the East against 325,000 in the West. By April 1945, 1,960,000 German troops faced the 6.4 million Soviet troops at the gates of Berlin, in Czechoslovakia, and in numerous isolated pockets to the east, while four million Allied forces in western Germany faced under one million Wehrmacht soldiers. In May 1945, the Soviets accepted the surrender of almost 1.5 million German soldiers, while almost one million more June 1941 June 1942 July 1943 June 1944 January 1945 April 1945 Axis Forces Soviet Army Forces 3,767,000 3,117,000 (German) 900,000 (in the West) 3,720,000 2,690,000 (German) 80% in the East 3,933,000 3,483,000 (German) 63% in the East 3,370,000 2,520,000 (German) 62% in the East 2,330,000 2,230,000 (German) 60% in the East 1,960,000 2,680,000 (in theater) 5,500,000 (overall) Figure 2. Scope of Operations 5,313,000 6,724,000 6,425,000 6,532,000 6,410,000 INTRODUCTION 7 fortunate Germans soldiers surrendered to the British and Americans, including many who fled west to escape the dreaded Soviet Army. Course The war on the Eastern Front lasted from 22 June 1941 through 9 May 1945, a period slightly less than four years. On the basis of postwar study and analysis of the war, Soviet (Russian) military theorists and historians have subdivided the overall conflict into three distinct periods, each distinguished from one another by the strategic nature of military operations and the fortunes of war. This construct is valid for studying the course of the war on the Eastern Front from any military perspective, not just Soviet. In turn, these periods can be usefully subdivided each wartime period into several campaigns, each of which occurred during one or more seasons of the year (see Figure 3). According to this construct, the 1st Period of the War lasted from Hitler's BARBAROSSA invasion on 22 June 1941 through 18 November 1942, when German offensive operations toward Stalingrad ended. This period encompasses Hitler's two most famous and spectacular strategic offensives, Operation BARBAROSSA (1941) and Operation The 1st Per...
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  • Fall '16
  • Ma'am Karautoy
  • World War II, Operation Barbarossa, Red Army, Soviet army

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