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TOPIC: Fall Blau - Voroneszh 1942
Fall Blau - Voroneszh 1942 2 Years, 10 Months ago  
Does anyone have any information regarding this battle? The German approach to the city or the taking of the city or the Soviet counter-attack are all of interest.

I would like some coverage of the battle at operational level or below.

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Re:Fall Blau - Voroneszh 1942 2 Years, 10 Months ago  
I don’t have much information about the fighting in the city but the build up to its capture was roughly as follows:

Stalin was convinced that the German summer offensive would target Moscow and that any attempt to take Voronezh would be followed by a turn to the north. Consequently in June the bulk of the Red Army’s armour and reserves were in the Moscow area well to the north of Voronezh.

In the opening phase of Case Blue (Operation Blue) commencing 28 June, the left wing of Field Marshal Fedor von Bock’s Army Group South hit the junction of the two left flank armies of Lt-Gen F I Golikov’s Bryansk Front. The German plan involved a strike east from Kursk by II Army and IV Panzer Army to cross to the left bank of the Don and secure Voronezh, and for IV Panzer Army to then advance down the right bank of the Don with II Army and II Hungarian Army using the river to protect IV Panzer Army’s left flank from counter attacks by Bryansk Front. At the same time VI Army would advance to the east from the Kharkov area to join IV Panzer Army on the Don in what would become a widening offensive involving the whole of Army Group South.

The higher-level OoB on the Voronezh axis was as follows:

II Army commanded by Col-Gen Maximilian Freiherr von Weichs. II Army (five divisions) had direct command of LV Corps, but also had overall command responsibility for IV Panzer Army and II Hungarian Army. II Army was positioned to the west of Livny
IV Panzer Army (eight divisions) commanded by Col-Gen Hermann Hoth included XIII Corps, XXIV Panzer Corps (commanded by Lt-Gen Willibald Freiherr von Langermann) and XLVIII Panzer Corps (commanded by General Werner Kempf). Hoth’s forces were west of Tim.
II Hungarian Army (five divisions) commanded by Lt-Gen Gusztav Vitez Jany included VII Corps and III Hungarian Corps. Jany’s army was northeast of Oboyan.

Facing this force was the left flank of Mj-Gen N P Pukhov’s 13 Army and Lt-Gen M A Parsegov’s 40 Army. On Parsegov’s left was Mj-Gen V N Gordov’s 21 Army, which was the right flank army of Marshal S K Timoshenko’s Southwestern Front. As Front reserve Golikov had three tank corps (1st, 16th and 17th), two rifle divisions,
two rifle brigades and five cavalry divisions. Also in STAVKA reserve north of Voronezh was Mj-Gen A I Lizyukov’s 5 Tank Army which included two tank corps (2nd and 11th), a rifle division and a tank brigade.

The opening attack hit 40 Army east of Kursk and also the left flank of 13 Army. Pukhov’s forces withstood the onslaught reasonably well but XLVIII Panzer Corps broke through 40 Army’s lines at the junction with 13 Army and XXIV Panzer Corps broke through in the centre. Racing east towards the Kshen, XXIV Panzer Corps crashed into 40 Army Headquarters on 30 June and, though Parsegov and most of his staff escaped, army headquarters lost contact with Golikov and with its subordinate units. Meanwhile through the gap that had been the right flank of 40 Army, Kempf’s forces raced towards Voronezh.
Golikov responded by obtaining STAVKA approval to move 16 Tank Corps to the Kshen south of Livny and he requested permission to pull back the left wing of 40 Army still facing II Hungarian Army southwest of Tim. This was refused but STAVKA released 17 Tank Corps (commanded by Mj-Gen N V Feklenko) to Golikov, moving it to Kastornoye where Parsegov was to try to re-establish his headquarters, and it moved 1 Tank Corps (commanded by Mj-Gen M E Katukov) to cover 13 Army in the Livny area. In addition STAVKA transferred 4 Tank Corps (commanded by Lt-Gen V A Mishulin) and 24 Tank Corps (commanded by Mj-Gen V M Badanov) from Southwestern Front to Bryansk Front. Yet these additional assets were of little immediate benefit to Golikov. The tank corps from Southwestern Front would take time to arrive, and Golikov was unable to establish any direct communication with either Mishulin or Badanov, while Feklenko’s corps, arriving at Kastornoye, was low on fuel. Golikov’s problems were further compounded when Stalin suggested that the operation of the tank forces should be coordinated through General Y N Federenko, head of Soviet tank forces, who had arrived at Kastornoye at the end of June without any staff and with access only to a rudimentary communications net.
On 30 June VI Army launched its offensive against Southwestern Front east of Kharkov breaking through on the left flank of 21 Army and striking northeast towards Novy Oskol. By 2 July XLVIII Panzer Corps was driving Parsegov, together with 4 Tank Corps, 24 Tank Corps and a severely mauled 17 Tank Corps, back towards Voronezh and XXIV Panzer Corps had turned to the southeast towards Stary Oskol. With Langermann striking for the Oskol from the northwest and VI striking for the Oskol from the southwest, the left wing of 40 Army and the bulk of 21 Army were at risk of encirclement and on 1 July the threatened forces were given permission to withdraw.
The next day Golikov was advised that two armies of the strategic reserve were to be made operational and assigned to Bryansk Front. These armies (60 Army and 6 Army) were to be deployed north and south of Voronezh. By 4 July elements of Hoth’s army had crossed the Don. With a German assault on Voronezh imminent, STAVKA replaced Parsegov with Lt-Gen M M Popov and it committed 5 Tank Army to an offensive against IV Panzer Army’s forces southwest of Voronezh. On 5 July, as 5 Tank Army’s attacks began, XLVIII Panzer Corps reached the western outskirts of the city and VI Army, having reached Ostrogorzhsk, turned south. Lizyukov failed to concentrate the powerful armoured force at his disposal. His attacks failed to have any significant impact on the German offensive and over the subsequent two weeks Lizyukov was to lose more than half of his army’s 640 tanks. By 6 July, though Kempf’s forces, reinforced with 16 Motorised Division transferred from II Hungarian Army, were fighting their way through Voronezh, it was becoming apparent to STAVKA that significant elements of IV Panzer Army and VI Army had turned to the southeast and that Moscow was not the German’s strategic target.
Readjusting his priorities, Stalin set the General Staff two immediate priorities; to avoid a large-scale encirclement of Southwestern Front and to hold Voronezh. For the defence of Voronezh STAVKA began hurried preparations for the formation of a new Front using the left flank forces of Bryansk Front. Lt-Gen N F Vatutin was given command of the new Voronezh Front and Golikov, deemed to have done a poor job of defending the approaches to the city was assigned as Vatutin’s deputy. The creation of the new Front and the deployment of 18 Tank Corps to theatre came too late to save Voronezh from German occupation but Vatutin had the resources to prevent any significant expansion of the German bridgeheads on the left bank of the Don. In addition to the newly arrived 18 Tank Corps, these resources included 6 Army (commanded by Mj-Gen F M Kharitonov) and 60 Army (commanded by Mj-Gen I D Cherniakhovsky) both of which became operational on 9 July.
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Re:Fall Blau - Voroneszh 1942 2 Years, 10 Months ago  
Thanks Kieth, this is certainly the location and time I'm interested in — the approach to and capture of Voroneszh, and the Soviet response. I'm hoping there are some more detailed english language accounts out there. Maybe combat diaries of one of the German spearhead units? Haven't found anything yet though.
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