Axis History Forum

This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations and related topics hosted by Marcus Wendel's Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Michael Miller's Axis Biographical Research, Christoph Awender's WW2 day by dayand Christian Ankerstjerne’s Panzerworld.

Skip to content

If you found the forum useful please consider supporting us. You can also support us by buying books through the AHF Bookstore.

L'vov Sandomierz

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.

L'vov Sandomierz

Postby Andreas on 23 Apr 2005 16:34

I would like to see what info is present on this board regarding the L'vov/Sandomierz strategic operation from July/August 1944. I have read a bit about it recently, from both sides, trying to help someone who is looking a bit closer into the operation.

Relevant literature I have consulted so far includes:

German side:
- von Mellenthin (who seems to argue that western Ukraine was lost because 8.PD took a wrong turn somewhere)
- Lange 'Korpsabteilung C', a book about the retreat battles of K-C. The division was encircled (twice) at Brody, and lost so many men that it was dissolved in August.
- Stoves' history of 1.PD, which was heavily involved in the counter-attacks

Soviet side:
- Konev 'Notes of a Front Commander'
- Lastschenko 'Von Kampf zu Kampf' Colonel Lastschenko commanded 322 Rifle Division which gets special credit by Konev for holding open the Koltov corridor
- Soviet general staff study on L'vov/Sandomierz tranlated by Glantz/Orenstein

I would be interested in finding out a bit more about what 8.PD did during the operation, and whether anyone knows what happened with the infantry divisions other than Korpsabteilung C. I would also be interested in reliable strength and loss figures on the German side, as well as troop movements into and out of AG North Ukraine in May/June/July 1944. I feel I am better covered on the Soviet side, but any additions of info there would also be very welcome.

It appears that AG North Ukraine was reasonably well up to strength before Bagration started, and well supplied with armour. Korpsabteilung C states it was at full strength in late June, and had received considerable materiel reinforcement as well. Dunn in 'Soviet Blitzkrieg' shows reinforcements going to AG North Ukraine in May 1944 alone as almost 52,000 men, raising the strength of the army group from 423,579 to 475,347, by over 12%. This should be reasonably close to a net improvement, since there was little major combat in the AG sector during this time, AFAIK.

Reason for my interest is that I think it is quite an interesting battle, because it played out in an area where the road network supported much more fluid operations than it did in Belorussia. It also turned out to be more successful as first planned by the Soviets. The decision by Konev to insert 3rd Guards Tank Army into the Koltov corridor strikes me as one of the biggest risks taken by a Soviet front commander in 1944. Pushing that unit through a channel that was completely controlled by German fire (IIRC it was 6km wide and 2km long) and at a stage when the secure breakthrough was not achieved was in total violation of Soviet doctrine, as Konev acknowledges in his memoirs.

The operation strikes me as a bit different from what went before, because there is no obvious attempt to use the German weak-spot. Instead in the north a frontal attack is made into a sector closely supported by Panzer divisions. AIUI attacks during Bagration focussed on weaker sections of the front. This pattern would be repeated in Romania in August, when one pincer of the Soviet attack went straight for the German strong point.
Last edited by Andreas on 23 Apr 2005 18:41, edited 1 time in total.
Andreas
Former member
France
 
Posts: 6937
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Postby Igorn on 23 Apr 2005 17:36

Andreas,

I want to post some information about unprecedented operation of the Russian Army of so called "the Koltov Corridor", which led to the defeat of the German Group Army North Ukraine in July-August 1944. I hope it will be interesting for you.

On July 15th-16th 1944 the forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front broke defense of the enemy in the area of Ternopol. A breach of so called “Koltov Corridor” of 4-6 kilometers in width and 18 kilometers in length was formed in the German defense. That was a “clean” breakthrough but too narrow and too long. “The Koltov Corridor” was shooting through by German artillery from two sides. The attempts to enlarge the corridor were not successful. Russian Marshal Ivan Konev, the commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front took than a risky decision to engage the 3rd Guard Tank Army of the General Rybalko in the breakthrough to “the Koltov Corridor”. That was highly risky because a Tank Army concentrated in a very narrow sector could be very vulnerable to the fire of German artillery and aviation. To ensure a breakthrough of the 3rd Guard Tank Army, Marshal Konev strengthen the shocking grouping by two additional tank corps’, significant forces of artillery and ordered to the 2nd Air Army to ensure full air superiority in the areas of breakthrough. On July 16th 1944 Six Russian Air Corps’ and three stands along air divisions were working at the same time in the air above “the Koltov Corridor”. The main principle of the strategy is a concentration: concentration of power against weaknesses of the enemy. This is concentration in action!

The 3rd Guard Tank Army drove through “the Koltov Corridor” and broke out to the operational freedom. And then Marshal Konev took an unprecedented decision to engage in the breakthrough one more Tank Army (4th Tank Army of General Lelyushenko) through “the Koltov Corridor”. Two tank armies engaged one after another by the same route… The world military history didn’t know such cases before. That was a highly risky decision leading to excellent results. It became possible only because leadership of the Russian forces was concentrated in one place. One man (Marshal Konev) was fully empowered to take decisions and was accountable for the results.

German General-Colonel J.Harpe, commander of the Group Army North Ukraine was confronting Konev. His goal was exact opposite: not to allow Russian Tank armies to break out from the “Koltov Corridor”. He had to stop them. The only real chance: to engage the forces of the German 4th Air Fleet. But General Harpe didn’t have a power to order to the commander of the Air Fleet. He could ask, persuade, agree but couldn’t order. The Commander of the 4th Air Fleet was fully independent from the commander of the Group Army and could simply ignore his requests. If the commander of the Air Fleet did not want to satisfy request of the commander of the Group Army North Ukraine (that what really happened) than the following chain was acting: General-Colonel Harpe had to call Hitler and explain a situation. Hitler had to order to Goering. And then Goering had to order to the commander of the 4th Air Fleet to act. But while the commander of the Group Army North Ukraine was calling to Hitler from Lvov (and he was not immediately available), while Hitler was contacting Goering (it took time to catch him), while the Goering’s order was communicated to Lvov to the commander of the 4th Air Fleet… Lvov was encircled and captured by Russian forces.

And then events were developing in the reverse order. The aircrafts of the 4th Air Fleet left their airfields and flew to the new positions. But the Air Fleet had huge supplies and stocks of fuel, ammunition etc. and significant ground and rear personnel. These supplies and ground personnel were highly vulnerable and defenseless. The commander of the 4th Air Fleet asked the commander of the Group Army North Ukraine to rescue his ground units and supplies. But General Harpe had different priorities and didn’t rush to satisfy requests of the 4th Air Fleet Commander. The only way for the Air Fleet commander was to call Goering and ask him to call Hitler and than Hitler had to order to the commander of the Group Army North Ukraine...

In the Russian Army Air armies were integral part of the Fronts and in case of retreat the Front commander was accountable to rescue the ground and rear units of aviation because it was his aviation. The front commander was in charge of air armies, he was responsible and accountable.
In German Army commanders of the Group Armies had no power over Air Fleet commanders and were not accountable for them. In the German Army Infantry, Aviation, Navy, Waffen SS commanders had to reach an agreement among them selves as on the market. That was not serious military approach and such an army could not win.

In accordance with the intention of the Soviet Stavka, after inflicting crushing strike to Germans in Byelorussia (Bagration) when Hitler leadership would realize where Russian forces were targeting their main strike and would move there their reserves, the 1st Ukrainian Front had to start its offensive. On the next day after commencement of Bagration, 1-st Ukrainian Front received a directive to defeat Rava-Russkaya and Lvov grouping of the enemy and to capture the Khrubesh-Tomashuv-Yavorov-Galich line. In order to achieve that target, 1st Ukranian Front of Marshal Ivan Konev was significantly strengthened from the Stavka reserves. By July 13th 1944, the Front had 72 infantry divisions, 2 air-borne divisions, seven tank and three mechanized corps’. The 1st Ukrainian Front had three tank armies (1st and 3rd Guard and 4th Tank Armies). Russian forces had to put an end to the German occupation of the Western Ukraine. As was expected after defeat in Byelorussia (Bagration) Hitler had to throw over six divisions including three tank ones from Ukraine. Although the German grouping was weakened by transferring of some units to Byelorussia, nevertheless the Group Army North Ukraine was a formidable enemy having 34 infantry divisions, five tank divisions and one motorized division. Expecting a possible Russian offensive, Germans were strengthening and reinforcing their defense, especially in the area of Lvov. They created and built two defense lines which were forming tactical defense zone. Besides it, German units and formations were replenished by men and machines. The numerical strength of the German infantry divisions was reaching 9,000-10,000 people. Tank divisions were replenished by new tanks including Panthers.
By July 13th 1944 in the sector of the 1st Ukrainian Front and the Group Army North Ukraine was the following correlation of forces.
Numerical strength (in thousand of men):
Russian forces: 1,110,0
German and allied forces: 900,0
Tanks and SP Guns:
Russian forces: 2050
German and allied forces: over 900
Artillery and mortars:
Russian forces: 16100
German and allied forces: 6300
Aviation:
Russian forces: 3250
German and allied forces: 700
Concentration of such great number of forces and tanks in the sector of one Front was good achievement. From the data above one can see that Russian advantage in men quantity was insignificant. The Command of the 1st Ukrainian Front took a decision to break the defense of the enemy in two sectors: Rava-Russkaya direction by means of 3rd Guard and 13th Army, and 1st Guard Tank Army and Lvov direction by means of 60th and 38th Army, 3rd Guard Tank and 4th Tank Armies. In the areas of the breakthrough in the length of 26 kilometers (6% of the offensive sector length of the Front) 70% of the artillery, 90% of tanks and 100% of aviation were brought in battlefield. As a result, having insignificant superiority in men, tanks and artillery in the narrow sectors of the breakthrough, Russian forces achieved 3-5 times superiority in men and tanks, 6-7 times superiority in artillery and mortars. The shocking grouping had 235-255 artillery guns and mortars per kilometer of the breakthrough.
The Lvov-Sandomir Strategic Operation can be split for two stages. During the first stage of July 13th-27th 1944, the forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front of Marshal Konev broke the German defense, encircled and annihilated the Brody grouping of the enemy, defeated Lvov and Rava-Russkaya groupings of Wehrmacht. At the second stage of July 28th – August 29th 1944, the forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front developed offensive, crossed Visla River and captured bridgehead on its Western bank in the area of Sandomir.
On July 13th 1944 offensive of the 1st Ukrainian Front started on the Rava-Russkaya direction. By the end of next day the German defense was broken to the depth of 15-20 kilometers by forces of 3rd Guard and 13th Army. On the Lvov direction, Russian 60th and 38th Armies could not accomplish breakthrough as was planned and managed to breakthrough only on the narrow sector called “Koltov Corridor”. On the July 15th two German tank divisions counter-attacked against Russian 38th Army slowing its advancement. On the north part, after achieving breakthrough mobile units of the 1st Russian Guard Tank Army were engaged developing offensive. On the Lvov direction by July 16th 1944 the forces of the 60th Army broke through the narrow breach of 4-6 kilometers in width and 18 kilometers in depth called “the Koltov Corridor”. Marshal Konev took a courageous decision and took a risk to engage the 3rd Guard Tank Army(6th, 7th Guard Tank Corps’ and 9th Mechanized Corps) of General Rybalko in “the Koltov Corridor” in the morning of the 16th July 1944. On the next day (July 17th 1944) the 4TH Tank Army of General Lelyushenko (30th Tank Corps and 6th Guard Mechanical Corps) started advancement through this corridor. Engagement of two tank armies through such a narrow corridor and under strong enemy counter-attacks and fire was unprecedented in the world military history. By the end of July 18th, the Russian forces broke the German defense at the front of 200 kilometers and depth of 50-80 kilometers. Eight Wehrmact’s divisions were encircled in the area of Brody. Despite desperate attempts of German leadership to salvage encircled units and retain Lvov all their efforts failed and in the course of bitter and fierce combats by July 22nd 1944 encircled German grouping near Brody was cut in two and annihilated. The 14th SS Galichina Division, formed from Ukrainian collaborators was among encircled divisions near Brody and was completely eliminated.
In the meantime, the main forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front went on offensive. 13TH Army and 1st Guard Tank Army acted especially successful and by the July 23rd 1944 reached the San River and captured bridgeheads on its western bank near Yaroslav. The 3rd Guard Tank Army and 4th Tank Army simultaneously performed deep outflanking raids avoiding lasting combats and reached the south (4th Tank Army) and western outskirts of Lvov. The units of the 60th Army were advancing to Lvov from east. As a result of fierce combats by July 27th Lvov was completely cleared from the enemy. The German units retreated to the south-west. On the same day, 1st Guard Tank Army liberated Stanislav. With the defeat of the main forces of the Group Army North Ukraine and liberation of Lvov ended the first stage of this strategic operation. Russian forces advanced to 200 kilometers in the front of 400 kilometers. The Group Army North Ukraine was cut into two parts. The remaining units of the German 4th Tank Army were retreating behind Visla River and units of the 1st German Tank Army and 1st Hungarian Army were retreating to Karpaty.

Some more info about this great battle:

On July 27th-28th 1944 the Russian Stavka clarified the objectives and goals to the 1st Ukranian Front for the second phase of their offensive. In coordination with the 1st Byelorussian Front they had to defeat coming German reserve units, cross Visla River and capture a solid bridgehead. Performing new tasks, Russian forces rapidly advanced to Visla River. Some forces were advancing to Karpaty. On the Luly 29th 1944, advanced units of 13th Army and 1st & 3rd Guard Tank Armies reached Visla and began its crossing. Despite stiff resistance of enemy, Russian units successfully crossed Visla River near Baranuv. Fierce combats broke out in the area of Sandomir to enlarge the bridgehead. Shortly, the main forces of both Russian infantry and both tank armies were moved to the western bank of Visla.
Initially Germans didn’t have enough forces to provide strong resistance but in the first half of August 1944 the situation changed. Five divisions including a tank one from Group Army South Ukraine were transferred to the area of Sandomir. Five infantry divisions from Germany, three infantry divisions from Hungary, six brigades of SP guns and 501st Heavy Tank battalion armed with newest Tiger II tanks were transferred to the area of Sandomir as well. Two tank divisions from the Army Group South Ukraine arrived to the area of Sandomir earlier. All five tank and motorized divisions of the 3-rd, 24th and 48th Tank Corps’ were replenished with men and machines. Fierce combats broke out on the Sandomir bridgehead. Germans were inflicting strikes trying to throw down to Visla Russian armies. The strong German attacks were carried out along the eastern bank of Visla River from the areas of Meletz and Tarnobzheg to Baranuv aiming at separation of Russian units crossed to the western bank of Visla River from the main forces of the Front and at elimination of bridges and crossings of Visla. But Marshal Ivan Konev, the commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front engaged the fresh 5th Guard Army from his reserves and the German grouping on the eastern bank of Visla River was defeated and thrown aside to the south. After that, the 5th Guard Army was transferred to the Sandomir bridgehead. Later on, the 4th Russian Tank Army, 31st Tank Corps and a few infantry corps’ were transferred there as well. Listing Russian Tank armies participating in combats at Sandomir bridgehead one has to take into account that they were seriously weakened by the on-going combats and the units replenishment was difficult due the damages of the railroads caused by retreating Germans. Thus, 1st Tank Army by the mid of Augut had just 184 tanks and SP guns. The 4th Tank Army had 141 tanks and SP guns.
The 6th Russian Guard Corps of the 3rd Gurad Tank Army of General Rybalko engaged in combats with the 501st Heavy Tank battalion of Wehrmacht having twenty Tiger II and twenty Pz-IV tanks and 16th German tank division having around 100 tanks, mainly Panthers. The Russian 6th Tank Corps had twenty nine T-34/76, fourteen T-34/85, one JS-1 and eleven JS-II tanks. That means that against 140 German tanks including 70 heavy tanks (Tiger II and Panthers), Russians had only 55 tanks including 12 heavy tanks. But in this very combats Russian tankers defeated and knocked out the 501st German Heavy tank battalion. At the early morning of the August 13th 1944, first two Tigers II were defeated by the crew of T-34/85 of Lieutenant Oskin. In the subsequent combats, the tank platoon of Senior Lieutenant Klimenkov (two Russian JS-II tanks) in the short combat burnt one more Tiger II and proliferated another one avoiding any losses from his side. In another combat, JS-II tank of Lieutenant Udalov engaged with seven Tiger II tanks on the distance of 600-700 meters. Two Tigers II were burnt and one knocked-out. In the same combat Guard Lieutenant Belyakov from the distance of 1000 meters with three shots defeated and burnt another Tiger II. In total from the period of August 13th-15th 1944, the 6th Russian Guard Tank Corps eliminated ten Tiger II tanks and captured three more Tiger II tanks in the working conditions. In the course of the fierce combats the Russian forces not only retain the bridgehead on the western bank of the Visla River but significantly enlarged it to the 120 kilometers in length and 50 kilometers in depth. All attempts of Germans to eliminate the Russian bridgehead at Sandomir had failed completely.
The Lvov-Sandomir strategic operation was one of the greatest operations of the World war II. The duration of this operation was 48 days. The breadth of the front was 440 kilometers. The depth of advancement of the Russian forces was 350 kilometers. In the course of this operation, an average daily advancement rate (tempo) of infantry units during breakthrough of defense was 3-10 kilometers and later to Visla River were 17-22 kilometers. The average daily advancement rate (tempo) of the Russian tank units was 50-65 kilometers. The outcomes and results of this operation was the defeat of the Group Army North Ukraine, strategic grouping of the enemy and liberation of Western areas of Ukraine and south-East areas of Poland. The large bridgehead on the western bank of Visla River was captured. From this bridgehead, Russian armies later performed offensive to Silesian direction to the central areas of Poland and frontier of Germany. The heavy losses forced Wehrmacht’s command to transfer sixteen divisions to the front of the 1st Ukrainian Front including three tank and one motorized division from other areas. In total out of fifty six divisions of the Group Army North Ukraine engaged in the battlefield including ten tank and motorized divisions, EIGHT divisions were annihilated and Thirty TWO divisions were defeated.

Information posted by Kamen on http://www.feldgrau.com

On 2 June 1944 HGr Nordukraine, according to an OKH-situation map dated 2.6.1944, numbered 42 divisions and 3 brigades (from north to the south): 26., 342., 131., 253., Ski-JgBrig 1, 5.Pz, 214., 72., 88., 291., 340., 1.Pz, 361., KorpsAbt C, 454.Sich, 349., 357., 96., 359., 100.Jg, 9.SS-Pz, 10.SS-Pz, 20.PzGr., 75., 371., 254., 208., 20.Hung, 17.Pz, 7.Pz, 1., 168., 367., 16.Hung, 68., 24.Hung, 2.Hung.Pz, 101 Jg, 16.Pz, 16 Hung.Res, 25.Hung, 19 Hung.Res, 1 HungGebBrig, 27 Hung, 2 HungGebBrig,

Of these 8 Divisions and 2 Brigades were Hungarian and their strength was not included in the Iststärke-figure provided by my good friend Niklas Zetterling whom I know as a very accurate historian. The strength of the 1st Hung.Army could be evaluated as 100 000 - 150 000 men. Furthermore, the strength of the Luftwaffe air and ground units is not included too.

By the beginning of Lvov-Sandomierz offensive, if OKH Kriegsglieduring dated 15.7.44 could be believed (stored in BAMA, RH 2 section), HGr Nordukraine numbered 44 divisions and 2 brigades (from south to the north): 2 HungGebBrig, 19 Hung.Res, 2.Hung.Pz, 1.Hung, 18.SS-PzGr, 27 Hung, 1 HungGebBrig, 25.Hung, 101 Jg, 18 Hung.Res, 24.Hung, 68., 16 Hung., 168., 20.PzGr., 14.SS-Gr, 1., 20.Hung, 208., 254., 371., 75., 100.Jg, 359., 96., 349., 1.Pz, 8.Pz, KorpsAbt C, 361., 454.Sich, 213.Sich, 253., 340., 291., 17.Pz, 16.Pz, 88., 72., 214., 1.Ski-Jg, 342., 26., 5 Jg,, 211., 12 Hung.Res

So, In fact the manpower situation of HGr Nordukraine didn't deteorate. On the contrary - most probably it had improved slightly during the previous 45 days due to the arrival of new replacements and lack of intensive combat in that sector.

By definition, the Soviet/Russian historians use to include all types of self-propelled guns (including Marders, Hummels, Wespe, etc.) into the overall enemy armored strength figures. (Accordingly, the included the open-topped SU-76 into the Soviet armored strength figures.) So the 900 + figure could be reached easily.

Armored strength by 1.07.44

1.PzD - 78 + 12 Marders
8.PzD - 128 + 19 Marders
16.PzD - 101
17.PzD - 40 + 29 Marders
20.PzGrD - 42
sPzAbt 506 - 46
sPzAbt 509 - 46
2.Hung PzD - 50
1.Hung Stug Btl - 30

Moreover, three of the divisions (8., 16. and 17.) had SP artillery (8 batteries total) with, lets say, 40 SP Guns - Wespe and Hummel. (I could post the exact numbers, but right now I'm not in a mood to unpack my NARA rolls).

Thus far - 561 panzers/Stugs + 60 Marders + 40 SP Guns

There was a significant number of StuG's in the StuG brigades subordinated to H.Gruppe Stab (as far as I know - StuGBrig 210, StuGBrig 249, StuGAbt 270, StuGBrig 301, StuGBrig 322. Each of them had at least 30 StuG ), as well some StuG, Marders and tanks available in the infantry divisions. Please, don't forget PzJgAbt 88 with at least 30 Nashorns. Once again - the 900 + figure could be reached easily

The strength of the units of VIII.Fl.Korps (as per 1.7.44):

Stab/JG 51 - 18
IV./JG 51 - 19
I./JG 52 - 21
Part of KG 27 - 57
IV./SG - 56
II./SG 10 - 29
SG 77 - 174
NSGr 4 - approx. 20

Thus far - approx. 400 aircraft. But do not forget the Hungarians -although small in size, they had their air units too.

Since 16 July other LW combat units began to arrive in rising numbers, but no unit have had left this sector throughout July.


In particular, the four Panzer divisions (1., 8., 16., 17.) have had lost 10 602 men and almost all of thir armor by 31 July. On 31 July 44 the recently arrived 24.PzD reported 1 143 men only after a week of combat.

Some divisions - in particular 18.SS, 17.PzD, a couple of hung.divisions - arrived after 1 July. Moreover, I already showed that the strength of several divisions had increased since May.

Here is the strength (Panzers and StuG) of the four Pz Divisions after two weeks of combat (i.e. as per 31.7.44):

1.PzD - 41 (18 operational) + 9 (4) Marders
8.PzD - 8 (5 operational) + 9 (7) Marders
16.PzD - 47 (14 operational) This division had received 17 factory new StuGIII on 28.7.44. Only three (!) of them were operational three days later...
17.PzD - 14 (9 operational) + 6 (4) Marders
Moreover, sPzAbt 506 had been forced to destroy all of its tanks (40 or so) right after the battle of Brody.

The figures quoted by me are Istst. of the LW units as per monthly reports stored in RL 2 section of BAMA, Freiburg. BTW, thank you for the URL. Very useful. It confirmed my worst suspicions - that I'm right. Now everybody could verify that by the beginning of the Soviet offensive all these units were deployed around Lublin. (Where was stationed the HQ of VIII.Fliegerkorps)

"I don't think anyone knows for sure how many..." is definitely the strongest argument that I have ever heard in my life. BTW, the strength figures quoted above are taken from the monthly divisional condition reports issued by the divisional HQs (known as Zustandsberichten). Those for the summer of 1944 are available in NARA Roll T-78/718 as well in BAMA, Freiburg (RH 10 section) and, thanks God, I'm not the only member of this forum who possess them.

Galicia division was not the only one that hadn't StuGs. Some others lacked them to. But many others have their Marders or StuGs....For example, the following divisions (as per report of OKH dated 25.5.44) had StuG units: 1., 5.Jg, 208., 168., 96., 100 Jg, 101.Jg, 75., 72., 253., 340., 26., 214., 349., 359.

I want to summarize that as a result of the breakthrough of the Russian Tank Armies of Marshal Konev, 42,000 German troops were encircled & defeated in the Brody Pocket (25 000 German troops killed, and 17 000 were captured)

Source of information:Kriegstagebuch des OKH, Vol. 4, pg. 858. Bernard und Graefe Verlag fur Wehrwesen, Frankfurt am Main.

Information posted by Nicolay on http://www.feldgrau.com

I also would like to stress that if one would like to find an example of a battle where aviation played the desisive role IMHO it is Koltovo. The 2 airarmy of Stepan Krasovsky and its 225-227 shock (don't know a better translation for the Russian "storm" term) airdivisions with their Il-2 were the key element of the final success of the soviet army, and the one-and-only soviet ace Aleksandr Pokryshkin got his third "Hero of the Soviet Union" star.

Best Regards from Russia,
Igorn
Member
Russian Federation
 
Posts: 543
Joined: 10 Dec 2004 11:13
Location: Moscow, Russia

Postby Andreas on 23 Apr 2005 18:48

Igorn

Thanks a lot for that excellent information. I do not visit Feldgrau.com, so I would have missed that completely.

To the tank figures quoted by Kamen one should add the Panzerzug of Korpsabteilung C, consisting of five captured T34 in the Panzerjaegerabteilung. These were committed and lost during the battle.
Andreas
Former member
France
 
Posts: 6937
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Postby Andreas on 23 Apr 2005 19:17

A point on the Brody encirclement that has been raised elsewhere. XIII.AK was not encircled with eight divisions, there were 'only' five:

Korpsabteilung C
349.ID
361.ID
454.Sicherungsdivision
14. Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (Galizien)

Korpsabteilung C is most likely the reason for this error, since it is likely that its three Divisionsgruppen (183., 217. and 339) were probably counted as divisions, although they were only regiments.

The encirclement was relatively shallow, leaving some supply echelons of Korpsabteilung C at least outside the encirclement. The unit lost 73 officers and 4,059 NCO/OR in the battle.

Lange, who commanded Korpsabteilung C and managed to break out, does not rate 14.SS highly, in terms of their contribution to the defense.
Andreas
Former member
France
 
Posts: 6937
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Postby JamesL on 23 Apr 2005 20:36

Gentlemen,

Can someone give me an idea of what the terrain is like in that area? I suspect it is low rolling hills, farmland with small villages (aside from Lvov) and some tree coverage. Roads mostly dirt or gravel, not paved?

The rivers? Are they wide or narrow, shallow or deep?

What is the weather like at that time of the year? Hot, sunny, good visibility?

I'm trying to formulate a picture in my mind.

Thanks.
JamesL
Member
United States
 
Posts: 1647
Joined: 28 Oct 2004 00:03
Location: NJ USA

Postby Andreas on 23 Apr 2005 20:51

Good question.

The Soviet general staff study describes it as follows:

Northern area: For the most part an elevated plain intersected by rivers, deep gullies and ravines. Distinct hilly ridges on the Rava-Russkaia and L'vov axis, with individual hills reaching up to 300m. The ridge NW of L'vov intersected by numerous ravines with steep and aprupt slopes.
Southern area (south of Tarnopol): hilly, many rivers, difficult terrain requiring special force training.

Most important rivers Vistula, San, western Bug, Dnestr. Vistula 100-200, in some places 400-600 wide. High steep bank, marshy valleys in many sectors. San river (flowing into the Vistula) located in hilly terrain. North fo Sanko 150m wide, few, unstable fords. Height of the right bank 300m. Western Bug in very rugged terrain, with many fording locations. 10-100m wide. 2m deep. Dnestr along the northern slopes of the Carpathians (which were right behind the southern wing of the Axis position). Many fords at low water.

Road network well developed in the L'vov area. 30km of decent road per 100sqkm in the L'vov sector. Two major highways carry traffic (lutsk-grubeshuv-Lublin and Tarnopol-L'vov-Iaroslav) No other significant roads in E-W direction, but dirt-tracks. Southern sector 25km road per 100sqkm, relatively fewer secondary roads. Four trainlines going towards it supporting concentration of 1st Ukrainian Front, with capacities from 12-36 trains per day. Railroads also good, (better) on the german side.


The study sees the terrain as supporting the German defense, while the road/railway network was about equal for both sides.
Andreas
Former member
France
 
Posts: 6937
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Postby Qvist on 23 Apr 2005 22:29

Hello all

Some additionals from sources so far unmentioned:

Krivosheev provides an initial strength figure of 1,002,200 for 1st Ukrainian Front as of 13 July. Losses (through 29 August) is listed at 289,296. Materiel losses, according to Table 98:

Small arms: 79,000
Tanks/SP guns: 1,269
Guns and mortars: 1,832
Combat aircraft: 289

According to NARA T78 R414 F6383152, on 1 June 1944 Heeresgruppe NU had 597,000 Deutsches Heerespersonal, 51,000 HiWis, 35,000 SS and 7,100 Fremdvölkische Truppenteile. The Tagesstärke of it's Verbände u.fechtende Heerestruppen were however just 408,000. This would clearly not include the Hungarians.

cheers
User avatar
Qvist
Former member
Norway
 
Posts: 7466
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 16:59
Location: Europe

Postby Andreas on 23 Apr 2005 23:24

Thanks Qvist. Glantz gives the number in the study translation. To break it down further:

Irrecoverable losses: 65,001
Medical: 224,295
Total: 289,296

From these numbers, I think it is reasonable to assume that the exchange ratio was favourable to the Red Army in terms of irrecoverable losses, since the Brody encirclement alone would account for about half the number of Soviet irrecoverable losses.

Can you tell me if the medical would contain further irrecoverable (amputees, long-term recovery beyond war's end etc.)?

Does anyone have the Hungarian loss numbers?
Andreas
Former member
France
 
Posts: 6937
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Postby Qvist on 24 Apr 2005 10:56

Hi Andreas

From these numbers, I think it is reasonable to assume that the exchange ratio was favourable to the Red Army in terms of irrecoverable losses, since the Brody encirclement alone would account for about half the number of Soviet irrecoverable losses


Possibly, though personally I consider "irrecoverable losses" a somewhat pointless formula for loss comparison, especially in cases where one of the sides suffered large numbers of missing and the other didn't. Across the front as a whole during this quarter, the Soviet combat losses in this quarter were 1,756,388 against 879,127 German (according to the corrected Heeresarzt report reproduced in Zetterling's Normandy 44) - by far the most favorable relation from the Soviet point of view of any quarter prior to 1945, but still roughly twice the German figure. I've no means of assessing the losses of HG NU in this period specifically, unfortunately.


Can you tell me if the medical would contain further irrecoverable (amputees, long-term recovery beyond war's end etc.)?


Yes, they would - and this is one of the reason why I'm not enamored of the IL-concept. Over the whole war, more than 3 million of the roughly 15 million wounded cases were discharged from service as a result of wounds. Long-term recovery beyond war's end, to the extent it did not lead to discharge, would be additional to this. At any given point, several hundred thousand men would be unavailable due to wounds even if they eventually recovered, and in any event, given that the average hospitalisation period for a wounded soldier was 79 days, in most cases a wounded man would be as lost as a killed man within the context of a specific operation. In sum, I think this demolishes any notion of an absolute distinction between dead and missing as "permanently lost" and wounded as "temporarily lost", and that it is on the whole better to focus primarily (if not exclusively) on all casualties and to regard returning wounded as replacements. Not everyone would agree with this, of course. :)

Hungarian loss numbers: Sadly not. Perhaps one of our Hungarian posters have bought Krisztian Ungvary's newly published history of the Hungarian army in WWII and could help with this?

cheers
User avatar
Qvist
Former member
Norway
 
Posts: 7466
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 16:59
Location: Europe

Postby Aps on 24 Apr 2005 11:12

Hello,

There is some information regarding the Lvov-Sandomierz operation in the Historical Evaluation and Research Organization report, Analysis of Factors that have Influenced Outcomes of Battles, volume VI, made for the US Army CAA, June 1983. Those volumes can be found here:

http://stinet.dtic.mil/index.html

As for sources, it used Soviet secondary ones and captured German records (no number given).

Hope it will bring some useful informations.

Cheers,

Thomas

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Lvov-Sandomierz:

13-29/07/44-17 days

Width: 440 km

Strenght at the beginning of the operation, manpower/armors/artillery:

1st Ukrainian Front: 1.200.000-1.979-11.265
HG Nord-Ukraine: 900.000-900-4.800

Losses:

1st Ukrainian Front: 37.400-1.285- ?
HG Nord-Ukraine: 198.000-520- ?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brody I 14/07/44

Width: 5.5 km

Strenght at the beginning of the operation, manpower/armors/artillery:

15th Rifle Corps: 39.000-34-730
913.Infantrie-Regiment (+ Elements of other German units): 3.300-0-44

Losses:

15th Rifle Corps: 980-14-11
913.Infantrie-Regiment (+ Elements of other German units): 720-0-9

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Brody II 15/07/44

Width: 7 km

Strenght at the beginning of the operation, manpower/armors/artillery:

15th Rifle Corps: 38.500-55-718
349.Infantrie-Division (+ Elements of other German units): 12.900-103-103

Losses:

15th Rifle Corps: 1.750-34-9
349.Infantrie-Division (+ Elements of other German units): 490-41-16
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Last edited by Aps on 24 Apr 2005 14:12, edited 3 times in total.
Aps
Member
France
 
Posts: 88
Joined: 11 Apr 2004 11:10
Location: France

Postby Andreas on 24 Apr 2005 11:16

Qvist wrote:Hi Andreas

From these numbers, I think it is reasonable to assume that the exchange ratio was favourable to the Red Army in terms of irrecoverable losses, since the Brody encirclement alone would account for about half the number of Soviet irrecoverable losses


Possibly, though personally I consider "irrecoverable losses" a somewhat pointless formula for loss comparison, especially in cases where one of the sides suffered large numbers of missing and the other didn't.


I do not think it is pointless in all cases. Yes it would be if we wanted to assess tactical combat effectiveness. No argument there. But when looking at the effect the operation had on the Germans, and the overall force relationship between the sides, it is an important piece of information. The effect of this operation was not just in bringing the Red Army across the Vistula, it may well have done that at a roughly 1:1 to 2:1 exchange ratio in terms of realistically irrecoverable casualties across the operation (KIA, MIA, POW, long-term wounded and disabled; my guess is it will be closer to the lower boundary if we get the loss figures for AG NU). While you can not break this down onto the level of tactical combat effectiveness, as an operation it would look okay to me. Not only have you had a significant strategic advantage in terms of position and increased manpower pool, but at this exchange rate you also are quite likely to have further increased your strength relative to your opponent. Assuming the Germans needed to permanently remove two Soviet soldiers for everyone they lost.

I am not sure if I explain this line of thinking well.

Qvist wrote:Across the front as a whole during this quarter, the Soviet combat losses in this quarter were 1,756,388 against 879,127 German (according to the corrected Heeresarzt report reproduced in Zetterling's Normandy 44) - by far the most favorable relation from the Soviet point of view of any quarter prior to 1945, but still roughly twice the German figure. I've no means of assessing the losses of HG NU in this period specifically, unfortunately.


I must remind you of our PM conversation from last summer regarding non-German combat losses at this point. ;)


Qvist wrote:Yes, they would - and this is one of the reason why I'm not enamored of the IL-concept. Over the whole war, more than 3 million of the roughly 15 million wounded cases were discharged from service as a result of wounds. Long-term recovery beyond war's end, to the extent it did not lead to discharge, would be additional to this. At any given point, several hundred thousand men would be unavailable due to wounds even if they eventually recovered, and in any event, given that the average hospitalisation period for a wounded soldier was 79 days, in most cases a wounded man would be as lost as a killed man within the context of a specific operation. In sum, I think this demolishes any notion of an absolute distinction between dead and missing as "permanently lost" and wounded as "temporarily lost", and that it is on the whole better to focus primarily (if not exclusively) on all casualties and to regard returning wounded as replacements. Not everyone would agree with this, of course. :)


I would agree with that. My grandfather was wounded very seriously in February 1944 (he still carries the bullet in his chest), probably near Pskov. He went to hospital, then to his Ersatzabteilung in Lemgo, and from there was finally posted to Denmark (near Viborg) for occupational duties. When he was captured by the British he was discharged within days because they still classed him as wounded. He never again fired a shot in anger, as far as I can tell.
Andreas
Former member
France
 
Posts: 6937
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Postby Qvist on 24 Apr 2005 12:02

Hi Andreas
I do not think it is pointless in all cases. Yes it would be if we wanted to assess tactical combat effectiveness. No argument there. But when looking at the effect the operation had on the Germans, and the overall force relationship between the sides, it is an important piece of information.


Exactly, very well put, perhaps I wasn't very clear. IL is indeed a meaningful and interesting subset of the general figures, and in some cases (Stalingrad f.e. springs to mind) indispensable to correctly gauge the nature and consequences of the general casualties. My problem is rather with a a mode of comparison that takes the IL as the starting point for a general comparison, to say nothing of those who quote nothing else.

While you can not break this down onto the level of tactical combat effectiveness, as an operation it would look okay to me. Not only have you had a significant strategic advantage in terms of position and increased manpower pool, but at this exchange rate you also are quite likely to have further increased your strength relative to your opponent. Assuming the Germans needed to permanently remove two Soviet soldiers for everyone they lost.

I am not sure if I explain this line of thinking well.


Yes, I agree, the Lvov-Sandomiersz operation was clearly a success, and possibly also achieved a more favorable exchange of casualties than normal. Your point as I understand it is that a successful casualty ratio from the German point of view (unless one wants to analyse combat efficiency) is one that would lead to a better force relation? But if so, you are being rather optimistic on the German behalf here :) - they needed to remove far more than two Soviet soldiers for each man they lost themselves, in order to achieve that (in '42, they removed roughly six Soviet soldiers for each man lost (in combat), and were still much worse off at the end of the year). Not only were the soviet forces already facing them 2 to 3 times larger, they also had a much higher capacity to replace losses and generate new forces. In fact, by this definition the Germans had not achieved a successful casualty ratio for any length of time since the fall of 1941. The Soviet (Fronts) force levels fluctuate of course, but the yearly average rise in every year until 1945. In any case, this would in effect entail measuring German losses against Soviet force generation - perhaps a little arbitrary, though the notion underlying it is valid enough from certain perspectives IMO.

I must remind you of our PM conversation from last summer regarding non-German combat losses at this point. Wink


I know, but these are still useful figures as context for the Soviet and German losses in this specific operation.

I would agree with that. My grandfather was wounded very seriously in February 1944 (he still carries the bullet in his chest), probably near Pskov. He went to hospital, then to his Ersatzabteilung in Lemgo, and from there was finally posted to Denmark (near Viborg) for occupational duties. When he was captured by the British he was discharged within days because they still classed him as wounded. He never again fired a shot in anger, as far as I can tell.


Lucky man!

cheers
User avatar
Qvist
Former member
Norway
 
Posts: 7466
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 16:59
Location: Europe

Postby Andreas on 24 Apr 2005 13:02

Aps wrote:Brody I 14/07/44

Width: 5.5 km

Strenght at the beginning of the operation, manpower/armors/artillery:

15th Rifle Corps: 39.000-34-730
913.Infantrie-Regiment (+ Elements of other German units): 980-14-11

Losses:

15th Rifle Corps: 3.300-14-11
913.Infantrie-Regiment (+ Elements of other German units): 720-0-9

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Brody II 15/07/44

Width: 7 km

Strenght at the beginning of the operation, manpower/armors/artillery:

15th Rifle Corps: 35.500-55-718
349.Infantrie-Regiment (+ Elements of other German units): 1.750-103-9

Losses:

15th Rifle Corps: 12.900-34-103
349.Infantrie-Regiment (+ Elements of other German units): 490-41-16

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


Hi Aps

Thanks for posting this - very interesting.

I must say that the figures on the Brody encirclement are very far off. Interesting to see how they could still get it that wrong, even though the German data must have been accessible.

349.IR should be 349.ID. Total German forces (including 14.SS) inside the encirclement more likely 50,000 than the number given here.
Andreas
Former member
France
 
Posts: 6937
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Postby Andreas on 24 Apr 2005 13:04

Qvist wrote:
I must remind you of our PM conversation from last summer regarding non-German combat losses at this point. Wink


I know, but these are still useful figures as context for the Soviet and German losses in this specific operation.


To a degree - I am not sure how much the Hungarians got involved in the fighting. Do you know if 14.SS would have been included under Germans, BTW?
Andreas
Former member
France
 
Posts: 6937
Joined: 10 Nov 2002 14:12
Location: Europe

Postby Aps on 24 Apr 2005 14:10

Interesting to see how they could still get it that wrong, even though the German data must have been accessible.


Although it doesn't change much your conclusion, I made several mistakes on the latter listing (Including switching the 349.I.D to the 349.I.R), I edited my message and put in bold the right number, after double checking this time.

Sorry for those mistakes. :oops:
Aps
Member
France
 
Posts: 88
Joined: 11 Apr 2004 11:10
Location: France

Next

Return to WW2 in Eastern Europe

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests