Sunday, December 12, 2021

good morning justin



6 July

How the map looks to General Heinz Guderian

2nd Armored Group, Commander

17th Panzer Division was stopped near Senno:  unusually large

number of tanks in a Red Army frontal attack.

2nd Panzer Group objectives remain:

1.  capture Smolensk:  trap large number of Red Army troops in noose

2.  take Elnya:  important jumping off point for assault on Moscow

3.  take Roslavl:  control of area required to protect armor's right flank

Reaching these objectives means crossing the Dnieper River at

Orsha, Mogilev, Rogachev.  Time is the critical factor.  Russian

troops are beginning to collect at these points.  They are weak now.

Time enables them to mass their forces and prepare their defense.

Strike with what we have now and save us from the casualties

incurred later when an assault will be made against a fortified

defense with withering firepower.

9 July

Field-Marshal von Kluge arrives at 2nd Panzer HQ and forbids 

any order for crossing the Dnieper before allowing the infantry

to catch upLike hell.  Preparations are done.  We've gone

too far to cancel now.  A fiery exchange erupts between the

tank commander and his immediate superior.  Finally

Kluge assents to Guderian's plan, saying "Your operations

always hang by a thread."

11 July

Dnieper River crossed as planned.  Casualties light.

Dust everywhere.  Hard on men, weapons and engines.  

Tank cylinders clog.  Hitler promises 300 new engines but 

no new tanks.  Those go to divisions for the future.

17th Panzer Division hit by strong enemy force south of Orsha.  

They evacuate their bridgehead on the river's east side.

Guderian asks Kluge to hurry his infantry up.  Kluge emphasizes

security, Guderian is about speed.  One cannot tolerate the other.

10th Panzer Division took heavy artillery fire and low flying

bombing of their crossing.  Once they've secured the beachhead  

Guderian orders his corps to press on through the night.

Times a wasting.  At morning they will surprise the Russians

defending Gorki.

16 July

Planners of Barbarossa had no idea they would run into a

second wave of Red Army troops.  For three days in a row

now the German forces across the Dnieper have been under

almost continuous counterattack.

Guderian continues 2nd Panzer's advance towards its objectives.


20 July

The Panzer Army has punched through Russian defenses. 

A lagging foot infantry creates opportunity for Red Army troops

to slip the noose.  Both tank commanders, Guderian and Hoth

favor keeping their armor moving aggressively forward.  They

buck the call for guard duty - keeping encircled Russian troops 

captive.  So Russians get away.  Hitler knows this.  So does

Kluge.  They want to put a stop to it.

Guderian detects Timoshenko's hand behind Soviet troop 

arrivals near Roslavl.  It can only mean he can expect a 

thrust into his right flank sometime soon south of Smolensk.

23 July

Problems with Guderian's outpost at Elnya.  Heavy artillery 

fire is being directed onto 10th Panzer Division's position from

three separate directions.  They are running low on ammo and

their nearest supply is 275 miles away over uncertain roads.

Meanwhile the Soviets have knocked out 2nd Panzer's railway

supply line to Bobruisk.   


Russian attacks continue unabated.  Intelligence reports four 

new Russian Armies are moving into the area.

26 July

The Russian forces trapped at Mogilev have finally been destroyed.

General Hoth's 3rd Panzer Group has met up with Guderian's

troops east of Smolensk to close the encirclement.

The on-going dispute over campaign objectives forces a meeting

the next day between the leading generals of 4th Army - Guderian, 

Hoth and Kluge, its commanding general.  The trouble really lies  

with Guderian's inability to work with Kluge.  There will be no 

compromise with his commanding officer's dull witted notions

about the capabilities of fast-moving armored firepower.  

Guderian's contempt could not be disguised.

27 July

The meeting in Orsha goes not as expected.  Guderian learns Hitler

is directing his 2nd Panzer Army south to mop up some scattered

Russian infantry divisions.  This objective is nothing more than pocket

change - a truly unworthy assignment at a critical hour.  God help us.

The Fuhrer's dithering's must mean he's lost his nerve.


Could it be Hitler is coming to the realization his attack on Russia

is based on false assumptions?

31 July

The Fuhrer takes direct command of the Army.  Hitler oversees

all operational matters.  What it does is take the initiative from

the commander on the scene and introduces both delay and 

uncertainty as Hitler mulls his options.

A strategy shake-up comes with the Fuhrer's new powers.

Conditions have changed.  The Red Army is too big to destroy.

An early end to the war is unrealistic.  Economics becomes the

new focus because it is the only way we can win the long haul.

That is not what Hitler's message says but it is what it means.

Forget Moscow.  The focus should be on the resource rich Ukraine

and the fabulous Leningrad harbor.  Hitler knows economics better

than his generals.  He knows his country's true financial state of 

affairs.  It's all labor at the point of a gun once your checks bounce.

Big wars are expensive.

1 August

Roslavl captured.  Timoshenko thwarted.

A favored tactic of German commanders along the eastern front

at this time was to accept the casualties necessary to take a 

valued piece of real estate because they knew their investment

would be returned a number of times over because Russian

leaders would make repeated futile assaults to regain the 

territory to prove their loyalty and resolve.

Germany's own planes bomb Guderian's 23rd Infantry Division 

on their way to the front.  Insufficient training and lack of combat

experience are blamed for the incident that caused heavy 

casualties.  Let it all sink in.  For a moment.  Now shake it off

and move it out.

Once again Guderian pushes his troops forward through the night 

"so as to reach the high road to Moscow as soon as possible."




©  Tom Taylor


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