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Eastern Front

The State of Barbarossa's Panzer Divisions In The Fall of 1941

on Mon, 12/04/2017 - 21:43

There are some that believe the sheer numerical superiority of the Red Army and Allies doomed Germany to defeat less than two years after continent wide war resumed in Europe late in 1939. For instance, the vast majority of David Stahel's decade long work posits that the Wehrmacht in general, but the German army (Heer) in particular, had shot their bolt as early as August of 1941. In assessing such claims this article will take a look at the primary component of the German army's striking power - it's panzer divisions.

The State of the Red Army on June 22, 1941

on Wed, 11/22/2017 - 21:28

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 Hitler's minions confronted a Soviet military establishment very much in flux. On the one hand, the Red Army was huge - having added four million men to its ranks in the previous three years. On the other hand, Stalin's purges had greatly undermined the doctrinal and leadership basis that had put the Red Army on the path to perhaps being Europe's preeminent military force by the end of the 1930s. In addition to suffering shortages of experienced, well trained officers the Red Army had, much like the Wehrmacht, armed in breadth but not depth.

Evaluating The German Army and Luftwaffe's Growth From September of 1939 to June of 1941

on Mon, 10/23/2017 - 19:41

In a previous article I detailed why as early as 1939 one could see that at least in terms of the equpping and manning of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht (armed forces) that quantitative measures were proving less important in comparison to the qualitative in deciding the size and shape of Germany's military machine.

U-Boats in the Black Sea

on Tue, 02/14/2017 - 00:30

Last week I examined the U-boat war in the Arctic. This week I'd like to turn your attention roughly 2,000 miles to the south. There in the Black Sea, the Soviet Navy faced off against the Axis powers in a poorly understood war that nevertheless featured nearly the full spectrum of potential naval operations: from amphibious landings, to big-gun fire support for ground forces, convoy battles, sea-control efforts, sea-denial operations, anti-shipping missions, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine laying and clearing, and submarine warfare.

In this article we shall look at the battle beneath the

Stalingrad: Why the Factory District Assault Failed

on Thu, 12/15/2016 - 21:04

By September 26, 1942 the German Sixth Army had taken the bulk of Stalingrad's southern and central sectors. Though the 62nd Army stood nearly as strong on September 26th in terms of personnel as it had two weeks prior it's tank strength had dropped considerably from where it had once been. For instance, the primary armored reinforcements sent into the city consisted of light tanks that failed to replace the much more valuable T-34 medium tanks and KV-series heavy tanks lost in the September fighting. In short, the 62nd Army was in trouble.

However, Paulus was not able to build on the

The Geography of Stalingrad: August 1942

on Tue, 11/29/2016 - 00:43

Late in August of 1942 the German Sixth Army bore down on Stalingrad. The German commander, General Freidrich Paulus, had much to contemplate regarding how he would approach the task of seizing the city that would become the bane of his existence and end his military career in catastrophic fashion. Stalingrad sprawled down the broad Volga River's western bank in a long (at over 25 miles) strip of land. Problematically for it's defenders, the Volga's western bank rose significantly higher than it's east bank.

Sixth Army's Flanks Outside Stalingrad: The Beginning

on Mon, 11/21/2016 - 17:40

In recent weeks I have been examining the Soviet offensives launched against the German Sixth Army's flanks as it pounded it's way into Stalingrad. However, there is one important point that needs to be stressed. The First Kotluban offensive of September 1942 was far from the first Soviet effort to throw back Sixth Army from Stalingrad. In fact, from the very first day that Sixth Army's spearheads reached the Volga River they were under near continuous attack.

On August 23, 1942 Sixth Army's XIV Panzer Corps exploded from its bridgehead over the Don River.

The T-70 Light Tank's Crucial Role in the 1942 Era Red Army

on Wed, 04/20/2016 - 20:16

When most people think of the Red Army circa 1942 they imagine a war machine on the rise, and blessed with fleets of wordclass T-34 medium tanks. On the one hand it's true that by the spring of 1942 Soviet tank factories cranked out far more T-34's than they had during the nadir of Soviet fortunes late in 1941. But, for a number of reasons (including both T-34 losses at the front as well as the decision to parcel out T-34's in independent tank brigades versus concentrating them in the Tank Corps) there were never enough of these reliable, well armed armored fighting vehicles to go around.

New Book Review Published

on Mon, 02/29/2016 - 18:10

The Michigan War Studies Review (MiWSR) has just published my latest book review. It is of David Stahel's The Battle for Moscow, and unfortunately it is a work that I cannot recommend. This is only the second time I have had to publish a negative review with the MiWSR. Readers will quickly see why.

It is patently obvious that Stahel's latest work is more interested in pushing an agenda. It does not measure up to the findings of countless other military historians in regards to why Germany failed to take Moscow late in 1941.

The Tarnapol Relief Effort

on Fri, 02/19/2016 - 16:04

I have previously written about the circumstances surrounding the Red Army's spring 1944 siege of Tarnapol, as well as a general overview of the siege. Here I would like to delve deeper into the composition of the beseiged garrison, and the German relief effort's operations - using Schwere Panzerjager-Abteilung 653's employment in the relief force to help explain why the Germans failed.

During the March-April 1944 offensive launched by Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front (see the previous article in this series for more) an amalgation of German units caught up in

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