This is a wrong assumption.Art wrote: ↑12 Nov 2023 21:39Situation report of the 1 Tank Corps' commander:
In this report Butkov vaguely alluded to disorientation and a loss of control during the day. That was partly due to his complicated plan of maneuver: one of his brigades was to turn 90 degrees, and the other two – almost 180 degrees in the process of attack. In the steppe terrain lacking landmarks that easily produced confusion. Another reason was a decision to assign a separate route to each of the three tank brigades. It was correct by the book, but meaningless when they were hardly equal to one full-strength brigade, and contributed to a loss of control. In any case, the short daylight time (about 8.5 hours + early darkness in cloudy weather) was squandered, and the attack was to be resumed on the morning of 8 December. That delay proved fatal.To the commander of the 5 Tank Army
Battle report No.039, southern edge of SVIRIDOVSKIY 1.10 8.12.42 HQ of the 1 Tank Corps
Map 100 000
1. At 9.00 7.12.42 the corps attacked with all its brigades, broke through the front and brigades proceeded to their missions.
216 Tk Bde to the field camp /69504A/, turned to the south and came to the area of the Hill 160.3, and thence was diverted by me to its route.
89 Tk Bde, after reaching the road SYSOYKIN [State Farm No.79]-SUROVIKINO, turned to the south, but lost its route and went straight to SYSOYKIN. Captured it at 12.00.
216 Tk Bde came on its steps and occupied defense positions on hills with a front to the south.
117 Tk Bde also entered SYSOYKIN with one battalion.
The second battalion under leadership of the brigade commander turned to the east and ran into ravines and by the end of the day concentrated in the area /69706C/, 89 Tk Bde which I sent from SYSOYKIN, also arrived there.
At the present time both brigades are reorganizing themselves in this area.
326 Tk Bn [117 Tank Brigade], which was at SYSOYKIN, not staying there went further to the south-east and reached the road in the area of the field camp /67207 a/, where it encountered 16 medium and small hostile tanks.
Hostile tanks evading combat retreated to the east. The battalion entered combat with hostile artillery, destroyed several guns and returned back to the brigade.
44 Mot Rfl Bde during the day repulsed three strong hostile attacks with a strength up to two battalions from the southern slopes of the Hill 161, one company at the flank from the SW and one company from the Hill 156.0.
The brigade suffered large losses in personnel.
159 Tk Bde arrived to the area of OSTROVSKIY at 23.30 7.12.42.
Commander of the 1 Tk Corps
Major General of tank troops
Butkov correctly concluded that fresh German forces were arriving to the area. He decided to stick the original plan, apparently expecting that the 216 Tank Brigade, left at Sysoykin (state farm No. 79), would be able to delay possible counterattacks of foot infantry against his flank. He was seemingly unaware of a new German tank division. Contrary to Butkov he didn’t preempt the German offensive, as it began simultaneously with his own attack on the morning of 7 December but came to a standstill during the day.
A scheme from the wartime history of the 1 Tank Corps illustrates rather intricate movements on the day of 7 December.
State Farm No. 79 was captured by the actions of the 216th Tank Brigade of the 26th Tank Corps and the 8th separate motorcycle Regiment. In his report, the commander of the 1st Tank Corps, General Butkov, tries to attribute the seizure of state farm No. 79 to the brigades of his corps and therefore indicated that state farm was occupied by the 89th TBr of his corps. In fact, this brigade was not in the state farm.
The initial positions and movements of the tank brigades were chosen correctly by Butkov.
I've traveled the length and breadth of this area.
No other attack routes are possible there.
There is a very good landmark there. Kalinovskaya beam. It stretches in the meridional direction (north-south) and tanks cannot pass this beam. At the same time, the spurs at this beam extends in the latitudinal direction (west-east). This circumstance dictates the movement of tanks along the road to the south towards state farm No. 79, after heights 129.0 and 155.0 are captured.
The commander of the 11th Tank Division did not take this into account and chose the attack route west of the state farm, apparently believing that the tanks would be able to bypass the state farm from the west and attack in the direction of heights 155.0 and 129.0 on a wide front. However, along the route chosen by General Balk, tanks can only move in a column, and in zigzags.
Everything is smooth on the map. And I have already written that General Balka's everything turned out like this, says a well-known Russian proverb:
(гладко было на бумаге,
да забыли про овраги)
it was smooth on paper,
but they forgot about the ravines.
I have repeatedly been convinced that it is almost impossible to restore the details of the fighting according to the records and diagrams from the diaries of the fighting. These records and diagrams were compiled many days after the end of hostilities. This does not mean that combat diaries are useless in research. In fact, they are very informative. But, if someone wants to restore events with such details as in our case, it is always necessary to find documents compiled directly at the time of the actions and, moreover, to have several independent reports about the same event.
In particular, the report of General Butkov on the fighting for December 7 and the diary of the 1st Tank Corps confirms this.
As for the records and diagrams from the diaries of the combat activities of the 336th Infantry Division of General Lucht and the 11th Panzer Division of General Bolk, there is very much distorted, especially distorted in the schemes of the 336th Infantry Division. And the reason for such distortions has a simple explanation.