Why the defense of Kiev turned into the worst defeat of the red Army

History 01/03/20 Why the defense of Kiev turned into the worst defeat of the red Army

There’s a whole genre of books about the Second world war, which you can combine according to the name of one of them – “Fateful decision of the Wehrmacht”. But, unfortunately, not only the enemy command made a fatal miscalculation. The Soviet commanders they were also. Because of that war and adopted in the first half of the year, this unfavorable turn for the Soviet Union, and the enemy had to step away from the final victory.

what the war was about?

Now historians continue to argue about what kind of war Germany was preparing for the Soviet leadership in 1941 to defensive or offensive? But she admits that she and the other training was wrong. The main fact is that the Soviet forces on 22 June 1941, was located straight line along the Western border, repeating all of her curves. As a result, the Germans quickly broke through the Soviet front, with Belarus that led to the encirclement of a large red army group.

In the emerging situation the only correct decision could be defense, echeloned in depth, at a sufficient distance from the border, so the troops fell under the surprise attack of the enemy. This applies particularly to aviation, which became, according to one of the June orders, placed on immediate border airfields. The line of defense followed the maximum to straighten, to deprive her of ledges, easy to surround the enemy. The most appropriate would be to meet the enemy at the turn of fortifications along the borders of 1939. However, this meant giving the enemy without fighting the Baltic States, Western Belarus and Western Ukraine. But the Soviet command tried to cover up and nothing to give. The deplorable result of this installation affected the whole course of the campaign of 1941.

“Not to take Kiev!”

German Panzer divisions broke through neare the approaches to Kiev July 11, 1941. But to take a well-fortified city was only possible strong infantry formations with massive support of artillery and aviation. Therefore, the Germans began to storm Kiev in the forehead, and at first undertook to solve the other operational tasks. By the end of August 1941, South of Kiev, the Wehrmacht reached the Dnieper, and North arrived at the border of the river Desna. In the center of Kiev formed the ledge of the Soviet front peak to the West, occupied by the six armies of the southwestern front.

at First, the Soviet command tried to stop the enemy counter-counterattacks. On August 30, troops of the Bryansk front under the command of Yeremenko tried to attack on the flank of the 2nd Panzer group Guderian, moving to Kiev from the North-East. These attempts in what have not resulted. At the same time, the Germans captured a bridgehead on the left Bank of the Dnieper in the Kremenchug area.

on 7 September the chief of the Soviet General staff B. M. Shaposhnikov, and his Deputy, A. M. Vasilevsky, Stalin presented the plan of withdrawal of troops of the southwestern front near Kiev because of the threat of encirclement. But Stalin abruptly rejected the proposal. According to the memoirs of Vasilevsky, Supreme Commander came out of himself when he spoke of the need to take Kiev. The leitmotif of Stalin’s decisions in the coming days, was the hold Kiev at any cost. Therefore, on 11 September banned Shaposhnikov, commander of the southwestern front, A. P. Kirponos, in response to his request, just a waste. The commander of the South-Western direction of S. M. Budenny, also insisted on the retreat from Kiev, Stalin on the same day was dismissed from his post.

meanwhile, the next day from the Kremenchug bridgehead towards the group of the beginning of a breakthrough Guderian 1st Panzer group Kleist. On 13 September between the wedges and the other was less than 40 km, while Soviet troops still held in Kyiv 200 km to the West. On the same day, replaced Budenny Timoshenko assured Stalin that Kiev will be withheld. But no real opportunities for this was left. On 15 September the Germans closed the ring of encirclement around four armies of the southwestern front. The order for the abandonment of Kiev received on 18 September, when it was too late.

the Germans said that during the operation to encircle and destroy Soviet forces near Kiev only captured 665 thousand red army soldiers captured 3718 guns and 884 tanks. This includes, obviously, the losses incurred by our troops since the beginning of the Kiev battle. According to the calculations of modern Russian historians, at the time of the environment in the four armies of the southwestern front, there were 453 thousand people, 2642 guns and had little tanks.

any measure, it was a heavy defeat of Soviet troops since the war began. However, it is believed that hunting for a prize in the form of a large group of the red army near Kiev, Hitler lost precious time for the attack on Moscow before winter. In this vein, a German memoirists and Western historians tend to regard this decision of Hitler as “fatal” for him.

the Attack on Kharkov in may 1942

the Victory near Moscow has given optimism to the Soviet leadership. In the order on February 23, 1942, Stalin expressed his confidence that “the day is near when… in all of the Soviet land will triumphantly soar red flags”. On may 1, Stalin was ordered, “that 1942 was the year of the final defeat of the German fascist troops and the liberation of the Soviet land”. The Soviet plans for the summer campaign of 1942 was of offensive nature. Confidence fueled by inflated about five times the estimate of losses of the Wehrmacht during the winter campaign.

may 12, 1942 began the offensive of the southwestern front in converging directions to Kharkov. As it is now well established, contrary to many claims in the memoirs and Soviet scientific literature, this attack was not the result of any initiative commander of South-West Timoshenko. It was prescribed by the directives of Stalin and the General staff.

One of the original districts offensive were a front projection in the area of Barvenkovo. The offensive was initially successful, and the commander of the German 6th army Paulus asked for reinforcements, stating that if they did not come, he will have to leave Kharkov. But the high command rebuked him just waste, increasing meanwhile an assault force South of Barvenkovo. 17 may the Germans attacked under the basis of the barvenkovsky ledge. The Soviet front was broken. Despite this, Soviet troops continued to advance on Kharkov until may 19, inclusive, and only then was refocused on the reflection of the German shock.

But it was too late. On may 23, has closed the encirclement of three armies South and South-Western fronts. Killed or captured 171 thousand of the red army. Only 27 thousand managed to get out of the environment. The defeat of the Soviet troops near Kharkov gave the strategic initiative in the hands of the Germans and determined the whole course of the summer campaign of 1942.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

Recommended statesalaska… Share: Comments Comments on the article “Why the defense of Kiev turned into the worst defeat of the red Army” Please log in to leave a comment! br>
Share on Tumblr