Stalingrad strategic defense operation (17.07 - 18.11.1942): expenses and prospects in operational commanding by tank war

Leonid Kryvyzyuk


Stalingrad was one of the main goals of the offensive of German troops and its allies on the Eastern front in summer- autumn 1942.This city was an important communication station and one of the main production centers of military products in the USSR and named after Stalin.

The Stalingrad front got a task defending in a strip width of 530 (on the river Don from Babka to Kletskaya, and along the line Kletskaya, Surovikino, Suvorovskyi, Verkhne-Kurmoyarskaya), to stop further advancing of the enemy and prevent it from reaching to theVolga. The mobile units were extremely needed to stop the enemy. Soon, on the base of the 38-th and the 28-th armies they began the formation of the 1st and the 4th tank mixed composition armies (in the newly formed tank mixed composition armies together with the tank units included rifle divisions of the Red Army.

For the creation of a new front of defense, the Soviet Troops moved forward to take their positions in the terrain, which were not previously prepared for the defense. The most of compounds were new formations of Stalingrad Front which were not fully formed and typically without combat experience.

The place and role of tank troops were analyzed during the counteroffensives and counterattacks for reinforcement of anti-tank defense. This critical assessment of the organization and conduction of the defense made a number of disadvantages: interaction between troops, especially between tank armies, which inflicted counteroffensive as were not formed at that time and were only manned by 40-50% of material support; unsimultaneous transition of percussion groups to the warfare; introduction to the battle of tank armies partially, without previous enemy intelligence and reconnaissance, without reliable artillery support and low air support.

It led to the colossal losses of the Red Army: the exact numbers of losses personnel and equipment are still not named, but only the 13th Tank Corps during the defensive phase of battle lost 550 tanks (four times he received a complete set of combat equipment and lost it); totally, 8 Tank Corps and 12 sepаrate tank brigades of the Red Army took part in this phase and the level of losses was nearly the same. It became a consequence of permanent attempts Orders of Headquarters of Command to counterattack and reject the enemy, without focusing on sufficient strength and without exploration of the reconnaissance.


Stalingrad strategic defensive operation; tank army; corps; front


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