For retreating without orders, General Erich Hoepner, commander of Panzer Group 4, was cashiered in January 1942. It also had a small number of Panzer IVs. In the spring of 1943, because of the threat of encirclement and the deterioration of the situation on the Soviet-German front, Walter Model withdrew troops from the Rzhevsky ledge in an operation called “Buffalo” (German Bϋffel). German air strikes against the city began on July 22 and continued for four months. The T-34 medium tank was superior to any tanks the Germans had in action at the time. Approaching their position were elements of General Erich Hoepner’s Panzer Group 4. При жестоком налёте. The Russians used rivers as defensive positions, especially the Desna River in the area of operation of the Bryansk Front; however, Soviet defenses lacked deployment in depth, continuous defensive lines, and sufficient antitank artillery. The two highest ranking generals of the OKH were Field Marshal Walter von Brauchitsch, commander in chief of the Army, and General Franz Halder, chief of OKH general staff. On December 14 Halder and Gunther von Kluge, the commander of the 4th Field Army, gave permission for a limited withdrawal west of the Oka River without first seeking Hitler’s approval. Although Soviet forces also fell victim to the mud season, they had shorter supply lines than the Germans. Although Soviet air defenses took a heavy toll on German aircraft, air raids on Moscow steadily escalated, peaking in November of that year. The whole of the Moscow and Tula regions, as well as large parts of Kalinin and the Smolensk regions, were cleared of Germans and the threat to the capital was permanently eliminated. The open terrain favored the longer ranged guns of the Germans. Guderian’s panzer units began their advance on September 30 against Yeremenko’s Bryansk Front. Other, smaller offensive operations were also conducted throughout that timeframe. Despite seemingly large numbers overall, German units began showing signs of fatigue. First Formation During the battle, a Soviet sergeant from the 24th Tank Regiment, 12th Tank Division was seriously wounded and taken to a Soviet military hospital for treatment and recovery. Said Marshal Rokossovsky: "Instead of encircling the enemy, we only pushed them out of the bulge. The Mozhaisk defensive line stretched for 180 miles in a shallow curve from the Ivankovo Reservoir on the Volga River north of Moscow to the city of Kaluga in the south. Zhukov, therefore, reluctantly ordered Lt. Gen. Konstantin Rokossovsky’s 16th Army to attack on October 16. At the time of the occupation, there were 5,443 houses in Rzhev, of which only 297 survived. Kirchner assigned some of his best units for the hard fighting that lay ahead. The Luftwaffe destroyed some 35 tanks, 14 guns and 50 motor vehicles of the Bryansk Front, slowing their progress. By the time of the Battle of Kursk the Front consisted of. Some of the Red Army troops, their units astonishingly cohesive despite the constant shelling and bombing they endured, were able to escape their respective pockets during the following two weeks. Wherever possible, the Germans took advantage of terrain features such as streams, ravines and gullies but the positions were thinly held.[12]. The first Rzhev-Sychev (Gzhat) offensive of troops on the Western and Kalinin fronts, July 31-October 20, 1942. As the end of the rasputitsa or rainy season approached, the Soviet command considered their next steps. The Bryansk Front (Russian: Брянский фронт) was a major formation of the Red Army during the Second World War. Holding the front before the Soviet offensive were the 2nd Panzer Army and elements of the 9th Army. German defensive efforts were hampered by partisan attacks to their communications and rail supply lines. In September 1941, the German troops of XXXXVII.  |  In describing the tragic events of the Battle of Rzhev, writer Victor Astafyev said, “We flooded them with rivers of blood and covered them with mountains of corpses.”, One participant of the battle, Pyotr Mihin, was sure that the haste of the Soviet leadership was at fault for the great losses, saying, “If it were not for Stalin’s haste and impatience, and if instead of six unsecured offensive operations, in each of which only a little bit was missing for victory, one or two crushing operations [were] carried out…there would not [have been] an Rzhev tragedy.”. In many instances, they advanced less than two miles a day. The Moscow garrison, as well as units moving through the city to the battlefront, marched past Stalin and other senior leaders of the Soviet Union where they stood atop Lenin’s mausoleum on November 7. Despite this, the 4th Field Army and Panzer Group 4 conducted a successful crossing of the Desna River and penetrated Soviet defensive positions up to 20 miles in several locations. Even before pockets at Bryansk and Vyazma were eliminated, the Germans resumed the offensive toward Moscow. By the end of December, dozens of generals were relieved of duty. [citation needed]. Armeekorps (mot.) Second Formation (December 1941 - March 1943), Third Formation (March 1943 - October 1943), *John Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad, London, 1975, some success by the Reserve Front at El'nia,, Military units and formations established in 1941, Articles containing Russian-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 17 August 2019, at 10:37. The Soviet Central Front followed them hesitantly at first but increased the intensity of their attacks from the ground and the air. By the end of October, German forces stood within 50 miles of Moscow. Bryansk Front, Battle of Kursk, 04.07.1943. [9] German tank losses are not available for this battle but Army Group Center is known to have lost 343 armoured fighting vehicles during both Citadel and Kutuzov.[5]. Western sources typically consider the first week of January 1942 as the end of the Battle of Moscow; in contrast, many Russian sources include the Rzhev operation that followed, which began on January 8, 1942, and ended on March 3, 1942, as part of the battle. In the initial stage of the operation, Panzer Groups 2, 3, and 4 were to surround and destroy the bulk of the Red Army forces facing Army Group Center in and around Vyazma and Bryansk. In some places German commanders pulled back to eliminate bulges in the front line. Lt. Gen. Ivan Konev’s Kalinin Front held the right flank, Marshal Georgy Zhukov’s Western Front held the center, and Timoshenko’s Southwestern Front held the left. Encyclopedia of World War II, No. Despite its battlefield losses, Army Group Center remained a potent and dangerous battle force. Choose the design that fits your site. In addition, the Soviets lost 4,000 tanks and 1,000 aircraft. Operation Kutuzov was the first of the two counteroffensives launched by the Red Army as part of the Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation. Yermakov to withdraw in order to avoid encirclement, and consequently Bryansk was evacuated without significant fighting. To increase the momentum of the attack the Soviets now committed the 3rd Guards Tank Army and 4th Tank Army from the reserves. The armies that made up the three Soviet fronts were exhausted from the sustained heavy fighting. Unbeknown to the civilians, the majority of strategic objectives in Moscow were mined for demolition. Teams of men were commonly required to push and pull trucks and horse-drawn wagons out of the mud. The main thrust of the German offensive fell on Panfilov’s 316th Rifle Division, which was the strongest division in Rokossovsky’s command. In that bombing mission, 220 Luftwaffe aircraft had attacked in four waves over a period of five hours. The following day the German LIII Army Corps counter-attacked and brought the Bryansk Front to a halt. With this in mind, von Bock and his staff developed a plan for the final push on Moscow, codenamed Operation Typhoon. In total, the Germans destroyed 6,000 buildings and killed an estimated 2,000 civilians.

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