History 06/03/20 Operation “North Star”: how the Red Army tried to destroy army group “North”

a procedure called “polar star” in the Soviet official sources have not met, although some of its components have been described. The name can be found in the memoirs, as well as a General description of the course of the fighting, with very careful assessments of results. First of all it concerns the memories of direct participants, such as M. E. Katukov “On the edge of the main blow”, Meretskov “serving people” and N. N. Ravens “On military service”.

Only in the post-Soviet period, in connection with the disappearance of censorship, the opportunity of a study, and publication of many, previously unknown operations on a strategic scale. Among the works devoted to this subject, it is worth mentioning the work of G. A. Shigina — “Battle for Leningrad”.

Operation “polar star” is on a par with major strategic offensive operations of late 1942, such as “Uranus”, “Saturn”, “Mars” and “Jupiter”, which is seen by its astronomical name. And as mentioned surgery, she was ignored, and if something was published, it was presented as something auxiliary, to divert attention from Stalingrad. The incorrectness of this approach one of the first to indicate the chief editor of the newspaper “Military-industrial courier” Mikhail Khodarenok, the article dedicated to this operation. It’s hard to disagree, given that “polar star” in scale was bigger than Stalingrad, and strategic value to her in that period was matched only by the failed operation “Saturn”.

the Essence of the operation was to encircle and destroy all of army group “North” that was to lead to a strategic defeat of the Wehrmacht on the Eastern front. The operation was planned by the forces of three fronts: Leningrad, Volkhov and North-West. The fronts were in charge, respectively, General of the army L. A. Govorov, army General K. A. Meretskov, Marshal S. K. Timoshenko and representatives of the Bets were marshals K. E. Voroshilov and G. K. Zhukov. Coordinate artillery and aircraft profits, the main Marshal of artillery N. N. Ravens and Marshal of aviation A. A. Novikov. In addition to a very representative of the command, were gathered enormous power: to participate in the operation involved 14 field armies and 1 tank army, over 80 infantry divisions, 25 Panzer and mechanized brigades, a huge force of artillery. The overall superiority over the Germans was more than three times.

first and foremost, followed by the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts to crush German forces in the lake Ladoga area, fully lift the blockade of Leningrad. Also, forces North-Western front was planned, finally, to eliminate the Demyansk ledge.

the Main role was given to a group of General khozina, which included the 1st tank army Katukova and the 68th army. The group except for the tank and mechanized corps, six tank regiments, was composed of seven ski teams, and, most interestingly, five airborne divisions. The latter was included for possible landing, although you can find plans for such airborne operations have not yet succeeded. There is only mention that the 1st and 2nd regiments Aviaenergy was prepared in the framework of the “Polar star” was transferred to Great Luke, but they were preparing for landing, or to supply the troops, is unknown.

Group khozina had a rapid spurt to take Pskov, thus cutting off the Germans the space between lakes Peipus and Ilmen. Further, the impact on Narva, it was planned to completely surround the entire group of armies “North”.

Modern historians argue about why the decision was made to hold in early January, operation “spark”, the meaning of which was completely lost on the background of the North star. However, the operation was carried out, resulting in a broken corridor along lake Ladoga and the Blockade is broken. Next steps after PRorewa Blockade already carried out in the framework of operation “polar star”. Unfortunately, the success of the two fronts, the Leningrad and Volkhov ended.

as for the planned elimination of the Demyansk ledge, which hoped to defeat the main forces of the 16-th German army (up to a total of 15 divisions), here, too, disappointment awaited. The German command decided to withdraw from the bridgehead, which they held for over a year. The attempt of the Soviet troops manage to defeat the Germans to anything nor led. Bred German troops have significantly changed the balance of power.

the Soviet command was forced to change their plans, it was decided to conduct a limited offensive in the area of Staraya Russa, starorusskiy known as operation. However, despite huge losses, troops managed to advance only two dozen kilometers in some parts of the front, capturing several small towns.

the Commander of the North-Western front of S. K. Timoshenko was relieved of his post and after no longer involved in the leadership. In his place was appointed Colonel General I. S. Konev, but the onset of spring and the thaw made the attack impossible.

According to the Handbook G. F. Krivosheev “Russia and USSR in wars of XX century. The losses of the armed forces,” the total losses in the operation amounted in killed, wounded, missing about 280 000 people. The loss of army group “North” during this period amounted to approximately 78 000 people. To this should be added the loss in the operation “Iskra”, where the red Army they amounted to about 115 000 people, for the Wehrmacht — about 19,000.

In fact, the only thing that was achieved at the cost of huge losses is the elimination of the Demyansk salient, the Red Army tried to destroy to this for a year. Was punched narrow sweep through the corridor to besieged Leningrad, which never happened to expand.

There is nothing surprising in the fact that such operations of the red Army in the USSR was not accepted to remember.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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