What fights in the North Caucasus and near Rzhev differed in?In the North Caucasus the enemy could not break neither through passes of Big Caucasian ridge, nor along the coast of the Black Sea further Novorossiysk. Germans could not overcome and our paratroopers in fights for “The small earth“, and the Soviet pilots in the sky of Kuban. In January, 1943 nemts3y began to run with the North Caucasus. Near Rzhev there were position fights which always lead to big losses on both sides. Losses in all three Rzhevsko - the Vyazma operations were not senseless, and promoted defeat of the enemy and release of the native earth.
In the North Caucasus Germans were stopped near to the east Mozdok, on approaches to Ordzhonikidze, on Klukhorsk, Marukhsk and other passes of Big Caucasian ridge and in Hugo - east part of Novorossiysk. Germans neither through mountains, nor along the coast of the Black Sea could not break.
The Soviet troops stopped the German divisions and courageously held the fort. The considerable loss was caused to the enemy and by our aircraft. “In the North Caucasus ADD destroyed troops and equipment of the opponent in the districts of Pyatigorsk, Cool, Mozdok, destroyed crossings through Terek, smashed echelons on railway junctions Tikhoretsk, Kropotkin, Armavir, Mineralnye Vody, burned down the opponent`s planes in active airfields“, - A. E. Golovanov wrote.
Several months Germans stayed in the Caucasus, and in January, 1943 began to run, pursued by our troops.
But the so-called “Blue line“ of defense of the German troops passing from the Sea of Azov to Novorossiysk, the Soviet troops were broken through only in September, 1943 at Novorossiysko`s carrying out - Tamansky operation, having exempted both the city of Novorossiysk, and Taman Peninsula from the enemy.
Losses of the enemy only during by our troops during the period of Novorssiysko - Tamanskoy of offensive operation made from September 9 to October 9, 1943 281 thousand soldiers and officers. A certain positive role in break of silnoukreplyonny German defense was played by the base under the name “Small Earth“ located to the south of Novorossiysk around Myskhako.
On this piece of the earth on the night of February 4 and 5 - 9, 1943 the Black Sea fleet landed a sea landing in number of 15 thousand people with artillery and tanks. From this point Germans conducted the hardened battles with our paratroopers, but could not overcome a handful of the Soviet paratroopers. Helped landing group 18 - y armies to stand the Soviet aircraft and the Black Sea fleet.
Fights for “The small earth“ laid the foundation to the hardened air battles which were taking place in the sky of Kuban. In the spring of 1943 in Kuban each party had, constantly filling up losses, about 1000 planes and the majority of them took part in air fights.
In separate days about 50 group air fights with participation of 30 - 50 planes from each party were carried out. Our pilots with honor passed this examination on a maturity. Germans lost over 1100 planes from which more than 800 were brought down in air fights, but could not reach domination in air.
And in the Caucasus Stalin directed battles of Stalingrad personally, deeply penetrating into a situation, analyzing events and giving the detailed, thought-over, competent orders. 4 - go January Stalin sent to the commander of the Transcaucasian front general I. V. Tyulenev the telegram:
“The first. The opponent departs from the North Caucasus, burning warehouses and blowing up roads. The northern group of Maslennikov turns into the reserve group having a problem of easy prosecution of the opponent.
to us is unprofitable to push out the opponent from the North Caucasus. It is more favorable to us to detain him in blow from the Black Sea group to carry out its environment. Owing to this fact the center of gravity of operations of the Transcaucasian front moves to the area of the Black Sea group what neither Maslennikov, nor Petrov understand.
The second. Immediately ship 3 - y the shooting case from the area of Northern group and accelerated move to the area of the Black Sea group. Maslennikov can put on use 58 - yu army which dangles at it in a reserve and which in the conditions of our successful approach could bring big benefit.
the First task of the Black Sea group - to contact Tikhoretskaya and to prevent thus the opponent to take out the equipment on the West. In this case will help you 51 - I am army and, perhaps, 28 - I am army. The second and main your task consists in allocating a powerful column of troops from structure of the Black Sea group, to occupy Bataysk and Azov, to get into Rostov from the East and to cork thus North Caucasian group of the opponent with the purpose to take her prisoner and to destroy. In this case you will be helped by the left flank of the Southern front of Eryomenko which has a task to leave to the north of Rostov.
The third. Order to Petrov that he began the approach in time, without delaying this business for an hour, without waiting for approach of all reserves. Petrov defended all the time, and he has no wide experience on approach. Explain to it that he has to value in every afternoon, each hour.
Fourth. Immediately leave … to the area of the Black Sea group and provide implementation of the present directive“.
Pay attention that Stalin gave orders, accurately, clearly and in detail explaining an objective. So it is necessary to explain most well to know a situation and deeply to understand everything. And he directed not only troops, and and all national economy.
Unfortunately, our troops did not cork North Caucasian group of troops of the opponent, and in it there is no fault either Tyulenev, or Eryomenko, or subordinate commanders of armies, divisions and regiments. Especially there is no fault of the Soviet courageous fighters. We had not the power at that time, large operations, sufficient for carrying out, at the same time on several directions yet. But according to the available forces the Red army of Germans broke and from the North Caucasus expelled.
Fights near Rzhev demand close examination because some remarkable researchers of history of the Great Patriotic War compare brilliantly performed offensive operation near Stalingrad to the operation which is unsuccessfully performed in too time near Rzhev. In this regard it makes sense to consider all offensive operations performed by our troops near Rzhev. Especially taking into account that many books are already written and even songs about our senseless victims near Rzhev are put.
The first Rzhevsko - the Vyazma operation performed from January 8 to April 20, 1942 was part of the Moscow fight. As a result of its carrying out the opponent was rejected on the western direction on 80 - 250 kilometers. Our troops passed on April 20 to defense as Germans, having thrown 12 divisions and 2 crews from Western Europe, created superiority in forces over the coming Soviet troops. During fights of army of Red Army finished release of the Moscow and Tula regions, freed many districts of Kalinin and Smolensk regions, inflicted a severe defeat over group of Centre armies. The opponent lost more than 330 thousand people.
The second operation on the Rzhev direction was performed during the period from July 30 to August 23, 1942 by forces of the left wing of the Kalinin and right wing of the Western front. The fact that it was carried out to the most hard time for the troops protecting Stalingrad says that it was auxiliary in relation to fight on Volga. And though counterstroke of the German troops was reflected by more than five hundred Soviet tanks, this operation on scales is incomparable with the Battle of Stalingrad.
Of course, this operation did not bring great success to us, but also it is impossible to call it defeat. Our troops everything are promoted on 30 - 45 kilometers, forced the opponent to throw to the area of operation of 12 enemy divisions. The preparing for transfer under Stalingrad three tank and infantry German divisions were bloodless in fights; 10 infantry, 3 tank and 3 the motorized divisions lost 50 - 80% of staff. In the German tank divisions from 150 - 160 there were about only 20 - 30 fighting vehicles.
The third Rzhevsko - the Vyazma operation was performed after the end of the Battle of Stalingrad during the period from March 2 to March 31, 1943 by forces of troops of Kalinin and Western fronts.
as a result of its carrying out was liquidated by Rzhevsko - the Vyazma ledge (to 160 km in depth and to 200 km in width at the basis), a front line was removed from Moscow on 130 - 160 kilometers, Rzhev, Gzhatsk, Sychyovka, White, Vyazma released.
The strong spring impassability of roads and difficult conditions lesisto - the marshland reduced rate of approach of our troops and did not allow to leave to the back of the receding opponent, to bar to it ways of withdrawal and to destroy or take completely prisoner. But in general the Soviet troops won this battle, deprived of the opponent of an important boundary on the central direction and rejected on the West further away, having exempted from the enemy still part of our cities and villages.
Apparently from the aforesaid, losses of Red Army near Rzhev were not senseless, and led to release from aggressors of the native earth and helped to crush the enemy near Stalingrad.
Feature of battles near Rzhev in 1942 was that they gained position character, and in position battles big losses happen on both sides. But, unfortunately, most of researchers do not notice losses of the opponent, and considerably exaggerate our losses, referring to foreign sources.
Generally compare no more to the Battle of Stalingrad or the less successfully performed above-stated operations, and one not realized operation begun near Rzhev on December 8, 1942, pointing, to successful approach near Stalingrad and unsuccessful near Rzhev, carried out at the same time.
But, in - the first, approach near Stalingrad began on November 19 and 20, 1942, and approach near Rzhev as it is told above, on December 8, 1942, that is operations began to be performed at different times.
In - the second, carrying out the planned operation near Rzhev actually was stopped as the Western front unlike the Kalinin front could not break through defense of the opponent.
In my opinion to compare the Battle of Stalingrad to the cancelled operation near Rzhev it is inappropriate. G. K. Zhukov writes the following about this operation: “Having arrived to the command post of the Western front, I came to a conclusion that to repeat operation was useless. The opponent solved our plan and managed to tighten to the area of actions significant forces from other sites …
Though our troops did not achieve the objectives put by the Rate here - eliminations of the Rzhev ledge, but the active actions they did not allow the German command to throw considerable reinforcements from this site to the region of Stalingrad.
Moreover to reserve rzhevsko - the Vyazma base, Hitlerite command was forced to throw to the area Vyazma - Rzhev four tank and one
motorized divisions … In this concrete case influence of the district on which the German defense which is well covered behind the return slopes of the crossed district was located was not considered.
was Other cause of failure a lack of tank, artillery, mortar and aviation means for ensuring break of defense of the opponent“.
And again it is necessary to recognize that even in these fights our losses were not senseless, and promoted defeat of the enemy and release of the native earth.
The specified events show force of the German troops of group of Centre armies and correctness of the solution of the Rate which the most part of troops of Red Army disposed to summer of 1942 not on southern, and on the central direction that did not allow Germans to begin successful approach with summer of 1942 here. Far-sighted solutions of the Rate of General headquarters allowed Red Army to meet 1943 with confidence in further victories over the enemy.