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  #1  
Old 13 Aug 15, 00:01
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Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944

I am reading this series, which is from the German perspective. I will post notes and comments that have items that I believe are of interest.

Also, the usual open discussion.

Associated threads:

Blow and Counterblow: Kiev, Nov-Dec 1943

Operation Winterreise and Waltraut, Jan 1944

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Quote:
On 24 December 1943, the Red Army launched the first of a series of winter offensives against the German Army Group South under von Manstein, the overall object of which was to liberate western Ukraine from occupation. This first offensive was undertaken by forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front under General Vatutin, and struck the German 4.Panzerarmee commanded by General der Panzertruppen Raus. It is known to Soviet historians as the Zhitomir-Berdichev operation. In the space of three weeks, Vatutin's troops achieved a spectacular level of success, advancing over 100 kilometres on a wide front and pushing back the 4.Panzerarmee on every sector. They liberated Zhitomir and Berdichev as well as a number of other towns in the region, and by the middle of January, the 1st Ukrainian Front had achieved almost all of its initial objectives. By this time though, von Manstein had brought in the headquarters of the 1.Panzerarmee to help coordinate the defense, and the Germans began to stabilize their shattered front line with a series of counterattacks aimed at the over-extended position of many of the forward Soviet units. These counterattacks, conducted over the following three weeks, succeeded in creating a series of loosely-held pockets, inflicting considerable losses in men and material of the Red Army, and eventually restoring some form of cohesive defensive position. Nevertheless, the limited success von Manstein had achieved was only temporary. The combination of Russian assault and German counterattack had created the preconditions for the next two Soviet winter offensives; the Korsun'-Shevchenkovskii operation and the Rovno-Lutsk operation.
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  #2  
Old 16 Aug 15, 13:59
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Christmas, 1943

Army Group South: Manstein. COS: Busse

4. Panzer-Army (Raus): 3 1/2 years of East front experience. Held command since Nov 1 1943. COS: Fangohr

359,000 men (early Dec 1943).

14.PzK: Nehring. Vastly experienced. Considered an expert.

Korps Abt. B: Lieb. Limited combat experience, commanded a grouping of remnants.

34. ID: Hochbaum. Veteran division.

82.ID: Heyne. Veteran division.

168.ID: Hammer. Veteran division.

7.AK: Hell. Veteran.

75.ID: Beukemann. Veteran division.

198.ID
: Horn. Veteran division.

88.ID: Ribberg. Veteran division but commander lacking in experience.

18. Artillery Division: Thoholte. Commander inexperienced in the East Front. Green formation.

42.AK: Mattenklott. Commander inexperienced in heavy combat.

25.Pz: Troger. Commander inexperienced in heavy combat. Green division, inadequately trained.

19.Pz: Kallner. Veteran division.

8.Pz: Frolich. Commander (Artillery specialist) inexperienced as PzD leader. Veteran division.

SS-KG "Das Reich": Lammerding. Veteran commander but war experience was under drastically different conditions. Veteran KG.

20.PzG:
Jauer. Veteran Division.

Last edited by Cult Icon; 16 Aug 15 at 17:24..
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Old 16 Aug 15, 14:22
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8.AK:Hauffe Veteran commander but new to Korps command.

68.ID: Scheuerpflug. Veteran commander but new to this particular division. Veteran division but inexperienced in the heaviest combat.

213. S-D: Goeschen. Veteran rear-area security unit that was forced onto the front line.

340.ID: Ehrig. Green commander, inexperienced in both East Front and command of a division. Veteran division badly battered in previous fighting.

208.ID: Piekenbrock. Weak commander and badly damaged division.

48.PzK: Balck. Vastly experienced. Considered expert. However, limited experience as a Korps commander.

7.Pz: Manteuffeul (temporary). Vastly experienced, considered expert. Schultz. Vastly experienced/expert PR commander, new to division command. Veteran division.

1.SSLAH: Wisch. Veteran division.

1.Pz: Kruger. Then Koll. Highly experienced but this was not recent experience. The most senior Panzer division but no heavy experience in one year. Highly trained.

Last edited by Cult Icon; 16 Aug 15 at 14:46..
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Old 16 Aug 15, 14:36
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59.AK: Chevallerie. Vastly experienced Korps.

291.ID: Goritz. Veteran division, but recent experience limited to static front.

Korps-Abteilung C: Lange. Inexperienced commander, badly weakened formation experienced mainly against partisans and static fronts.

147.Reserve Division:Matterstock. Weak commander and green unit.

454. S-D
: Koch. Highly experienced in security duties but not real combat.

===========

Missing Bios of 4.PzA:

2.Fallschirmjager-Division.


112.ID (Part of KA-B)

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Old 24 Aug 15, 10:11
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1.UKF initially deployed (Christmas day):

831,000 men
11,387 guns and mortars
1,230 AA guns
297 rocket launchers
738 tanks and 387 SPG
529 aircraft

Basic layout of 1.UKF, 1 Jan 1944

1.GA
13.A
18.A
27.A
38.A
40.A
60.A

1.TA
3.GTA

2.Air Army
Front Troops

Total deployments throughout the 5 weeks.

Main units (conventional infantry, AT, AA divisions, Artillery divisions, and armor only, only partial count for the sake of summary- there's so many unit types)
:

2 Tank Armies, 20 Rifle corps HQ/62 Rifle Divisions, 39 tank destroyer regiments, 8 tank destroyer artillery brigades.

4 Artillery Divisions, 7 AA divisions

-6 tank corps, 2 Mech corps, 20 independent armor units

example:

1 Tank Army: 42,300 men

546 tanks and SPG
585 guns and mortars
31 rocket launchers
3,432 motor vehicles

Last edited by Cult Icon; 24 Aug 15 at 19:44..
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Old 24 Aug 15, 11:38
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The German OOB is very dynamic with units moving in and out. By early Jan, the 1.PzA (Hube) HQ enters the fray with its units (3.PzK and 46.PzK are the most important new additions). It is thus impossible to summarize. But some of the major Jan groupings are here (major units and armor only):

Jan 6 1944

1.Panzer Army (Hube)

3.PzK (Breith): 6.Pz, 17.Pz, 506 Tiger battalion, Stug battalion

7.AK(Hell): 34.ID, 75.ID, 88.ID, 198.ID, 2 x stug battalion

42.AK(Mattenklott): 82.ID, KA-B

Army troops: 101. Jager Division in transit

Jan 14 1944

1.Panzer Army (Hube)

3.PzK: 6.Pz, 7.Pz, 506 Tiger battalion, Stug Battalion, KK Uman

7.AK: 34.ID, 75.ID, 88.ID, 198.ID, 2 x stug battalion

42.AK(Mattenklott): 82.ID, KA-B

Army troops: 2 x Stug battalions in transit

Jan 22 1944

1.Panzer Army (Hube)

46.PzK (Gollnick): 18.Artillery Division, 4.GB, 1.ID, 254.ID, 1.SSLAH, 101.Jager, Stug battalion, Heavy Panzer Regiment Bake

3.PzK: 6.Pz, 16.Pz, 17.Pz, Tank destroyer battalion, Stug battalion, 506 Tiger Battalion, Tank platoon

7.AK: 34.ID, 75.ID, 88.ID, 198.ID, 2 x stug battalion

42.AK(Mattenklott): 82.ID, KA-B

Army Troops: KK Uman, 2x stug battalion

Jan 29 1944

1.Panzer Army (Hube)

46.PzK
: 18.Artillery Division, 4.GB, 1.ID, 254.ID, 1.SSLAH, 101.Jager, Stug battalion, Heavy Panzer Regiment Bake

3.PzK: 82.ID, 6.Pz, 16.Pz, Stug battalion, 506 Tiger Battalion, Tank platoon

7.AK: 17.Pz, 34.ID, 75.ID, 198.ID, Tank destroyer battalion, stug battalion

Army Troops:
2 x stug battalions in transit
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Old 24 Aug 15, 12:44
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Major General Adelbert Schulz "Diamonds Schulz" (7.Pz) was killed on Jan 28, 1944.

Of interest is the fact that this man was on the fast track- he was 1 out of the 11 diamonds holders in the German Army in WW2 (1 of the two Colonels). In Balck's memoirs he comments that if he had lived, this man would have eventually become one of the top generals.



Colonel-General Hans Hube "The Man" (1.Panzer Army) was killed in April 1944.



One of the strongest armor formations involved in Jan 1944 was "Heavy Panzer Regiment Bake". It was an mix of a few veteran units.

And it was misnamed- it was really a combined arms brigade (engineers, mountain infantry battalion, SP artillery battalion, etc.) based around the 503 tiger battalion and the 23.Pz Panther battalion.


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Old 24 Aug 15, 17:47
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Christmas Day, 1943


Vatutin's Concept: Main blow against 42.AK (destroy 8.Pz, 19.Pz, 25.Pz, and SS-DR (KG) in the Brusilov area) . Advance 130 KM to the river sluch in the north and lyubar in the south.

Primary attacks: 1.GA, 38.A with the 1TA and 3GTA in second echelon.

Secondary attacks: 60.A (with 4GTC attached), 13.A (1GCC and 25 TC attached) right wing and 40.A (with 5GTC attached), 27.A on the left wing
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Old 24 Aug 15, 18:49
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Interesting Tactical Guidelines for 38. Army

-74.RC and 17.GRC deployed in two echelons, with each division having two regiments forward and one held in reserve.

-Units in second echelon advance behind the first, moving in combat formation behind the initial lines of assault taken by the first echelon units, and all units were to move off-road if possible.

-Mounted groups of submachinegunners were to move in combat formation with the tanks, without dismounting to engage enemy tanks and SP artillery.

-Tank destroyer regiments and battalions were to move in bounds, going from high ground to high ground to try to provide overwatch for the advancing troops against counterattacking panzers.

-Anti-tank assets were to be concentrated on flanks to counter possible armored counterattacks. An anti-tank system was to be defined along the planned lines of attack with AT assets deployed on the most likely axes of counterattack.

-Motor vehicles allocated stocks of anti-tank mines on them.

-Leading troops supported by Tank destroyer artillery regiments and and allocated units armed with AT mines.

-Soviet infantry prepared for cooperation with tanks down to platoon level.

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Old 24 Aug 15, 23:57
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Force correlations (manpower and armor only):

4.PzA: 359,000 men (early Dec 1943). Frontline combat strengths roughly: 46,000 men.

Dec 20, 1943: 936 armor (429 operational (46%))

1.UKF initially deployed (Christmas day):

831,000 men
738 tanks and 387 SPG

5 Dec 1943: ( rough front line strengths 1= 1,000)

25.Pz:4
2.FJ: 3.5
1.Pz: 3.5
75.ID: 3.5
198.ID: 3.5
112.ID: 3
168.ID: 3
1.SSLAH: 3
291.ID:2.5
34.ID: 2
K-AC: 2
8.Pz: 2
82.ID: 2
340.ID: 1.5
68.ID: 1.5
208.ID: 1
7.Pz: 1
19.Pz: 1
2.SS DR (KG): 1
213.SD: 0.5
88.ID: 0
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Old 25 Aug 15, 00:04
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4. Panzer Army (frontline combat strength: ~24,500)

8 Jan 1944:

4.GD: 5.5
1.SSLAH: 2.5
1.Pz: 2
1.ID: 2
168.ID: 2
16.Pz: 2
K-AC: 1.5
18.Artillery: 1.5
454.SD: 1
19.Pz: 1
291.ID: 0.5
20.PzG: 0.5
25.Pz: 0

1.Panzer Army (frontline combat strength: ~14,500)

34.ID: 2
75.ID: 2
82.ID: 1.5
88.ID: 1.5
198.ID: 2
K-AB: 3
6.Pz: 1
17.Pz: 1

Combined Frontline combat strength: 39,000 (drop of 7,000 from early Dec)
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Old 25 Aug 15, 00:12
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To put this into perspective, a full strength 1943 Inf.Div n.A would have deployed 7,352 men in its combat units with an infantry regiment of 2,008. (2 battalions).

It would get a 7- 7.5.

These two armies are as depleted in manpower (percentage wise) as the German 6th Army at Stalingrad circa December 1942. (post Uranus).

The Germans were holding the front west of Kiev with the frontline infantry strength of a mere 5-6 full strength divisions.

============================================

Armored units are heavily worn down. per TOE or starting strength, I estimate full strength of 4.PzA as around 1300 armor units. With 1.PzA HQ (3.PzK/46.PzK), the full strength would have been around 2,000 armor units.

4.Panzer Army Armor Dec 20, 1943:
936 armor (429 operational (46%))
Out of 507 unservicable vehicles, 386 were under forward repair (soon to join the formations). 121 were in depth repair at maintenance depots in the rear area.

(operational/available)

1.SSLAH: 63/233
1.Pz: 57/156
7.Pz: 20/61
8.Pz: 37/59
19.Pz: 24/35
25.Pz: 58/80
SS-DR (KG): 39/62
20.PzG: 16/23
509 Tiger: 4/30
Stug 202: 24/34
Stug 239: 18/22
Stug 249: 5/30
Stug 279: 17/23
Stug 280: 22/28
PzJ 559: 5/10
PzJ 616: 19/22
PzJ 731: 18/23
SB-PzAOK4: 2/7

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Old 25 Aug 15, 12:22
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The main coverage starts on December 24, 1943.

Since the series is built out of 1./4.Panzer Army records, the soviet situation will be from intelligence estimates. Ditto for soviet forces, losses, and tank kills reported by the forces.
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Old 25 Aug 15, 16:01
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Looking at those maps (thanks) I am thinking falling back to the Dniester might have been the best bet for the Germans.
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Old 25 Aug 15, 16:45
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You're welcome. If they retreated there, they would have probably done better. how much...I don't know.

This book is very good. I am glad to read it. The format is something that should really be copied by more historians/publishers. The daily Korps maps allow the text to be more economical while better communicating the tactical picture.

===========

18.Artillery Division is brought up from the rear.

17.Pz is transferred over by 26 Dec 1943 and slated for arrival on Dec 31.

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