On Reading Glantz's Red Storm over the Balkans

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Art
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Re: On Reading Glantz's Red Storm over the Balkans

Post by Art » 15 Sep 2008 12:32

BTW, here is the episode discussed:
http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/ ... e22_44.jpg

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Re: On Reading Glantz's Red Storm over the Balkans

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Dec 2014 03:41

I finished reading this book as of late and it is an excellent read & highly informative.

I posted statistics about TF-II here that I compiled to aid my comprehension of what happen.: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3&start=75

The TF-II segment of the book (100 pages) shows an example of outstanding generalship and troop performance. It is in fact the most outstanding defensive performance I have ever known. My notes on the subject:
Konev planned to smash GD, and then take Targos Frumos in 24 hours. In 48 hours, he planned to take all territory as far as Bacau, which was far to the rear of TF and much closer to the Ploesti oil fields. From there, STAKVA was planning to continue. Konev had won many times before, and the generals were confident that they would be successful here.

Manteufuel's command of GD and the performance of the division in April-May were outstanding and the division executed the defense with an unusual surgical precision.

The secret to this was the careful preparation in the defense, state of supply, and the counterattack, as well as the cultivation of a high state of morale. Although at less than half strength, quality of the troops were high with the bulk being veterans. Jung's tankers had 40+tank engagements under their belt already. Manteufuel focused much on team-building throughout, and the panzer raids/limited attacks in April and the routing of 35 GRC only served to improve their confidence. As a result, the two infantry regiments were individually able to withstand attacks by large numbers of tanks up to around 100 without being routed or being pushed back significantly.

The intelligence coup delivered by the captured staff officer helped as well as Manteuffeul's focus on constant recon, gathering of intelligence, and then the dissemination of intelligence. Then exercises and planning of various countermeasure beforehand with all his units. Various fire plans for the different units were drawn out, and closely coordinated with groupings.

The Panzer regiment was lead by Langkeit and Manteuffeul personally, and the soviet accounts of it was that it was like 'Muhammad Ali'. The soviet armor was repeatedly ambushed and hit with concentrated flank attacks, and were unable to respond effectively due to the frequent relocation of the panzer fist. They were also being sniped from extreme range (tigers and panthers). These tactics served to drain the morale of their armor and their infantry & thin out their numbers. This was compounded by LW attacks, particularly by stuka gruppen. Of interest is how the IS tanks did not really pose much of a problem as Fusilier repelled a regiment and the PR was able to deal with them after they realized that frontal hits bounce.

IMO, feat achieved here would have failed with an average panzer division. Stopping the offensive could also have been replicated with an average panzer division, but with much heavier losses and a costly but successful soviet penetration. An average performance would have been worn them down and in remnants if they managed to survive and stop this offensive. Konev would have kept on going if he believed that he had the forces left. It is unlikely that that the defending force would have residual strength left to regain all positions lost and then participate in Operation Sonja/Katja. The Soviets would also be a stronger state of morale in May, as they would not have have taken as much disruption, terrain, and equipment losses from the panzer raids. There is a possibility that 35 GRC would not have been cut off, and then routed in three days in TF I.
Last edited by Cult Icon on 24 Dec 2014 03:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: On Reading Glantz's Red Storm over the Balkans

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Dec 2014 03:43

Statistics and notes on the 8AOK operations:
***Of interest is the personal account in Jung by...Jung. The first is about one of Manteuffel's tank raids in April, and then consolidation of the town. The author lost one eye as a company commander of Pz IVs during 2nd Targos Frumos.

Now a quiet time...

8 AOK offensives, May 30- June 9th 1944. This is primarily an attempt at taking territory, decimating 10 rifle divisions and compressing them against a river line and eliminate a large bridgehead. The hope was to pre-empt another large scale soviet offensive like Targos Frumos II. However, the Soviets were not planning to do so, which made the operation moot.

STAVKA would focus again on Rumania in August 1944.

Two pincers:

Operation Sonja (30-31st May): 24. Pz, 23. Pz supported by 79 ID, Romanian 11 ID. 14.Pz in reserve, and to relieve 23. Pz the next day.

Operation Katja (2-6 June): GD, 23. Pz supported by Romanian 18 ID, Romanian 3 ID

24. Pz (brigade):

KG "W" :30 tanks
KG "E": 20 stugs

23. Pz ( regimental battlegroup): 20 tanks and AG

14. Pz ( either brigade or regiment sized): 25 armor (10 tanks, 15 stugs)

GD (brigade sized): About 100 tanks and assault guns operational.

=====

Soviet defensive belt 4-6 miles deep. (defense-in-depth)

3TC-???
5MC-???
233rd Tank Brigade: 50 tanks
16TC and 11GTB: 60 tanks (including 10 IS-models)

=============

31st May: (sonja day 2) =37 soviet kills claimed. Aerial battles between VVS and LW.

AGS:

June 2nd: Claim 23 soviet tank kills.
June 3rd: Claim 25 soviet tank kills.

June 2nd-7th: GD claims 70 tank kills, 36 AT guns, 45 artillery pieces, 19 aircraft destroyed. Engineers cleared 10,300 mines.

===================

Fragmentary, incomplete stats on German tank situation (no stats on Stug brigade GD):

+ lots of aerial attacks against GD.

5 infantry battalions consolidated to 4 due to personnel casualties.

June 1st Runners:

12 x Pz IV, 3 x Panther-Command, 19 x Tigers
48 x Panthers in I/26.

June 4th Runners: Of the tigers, only 4 Tiger runners left. 17 Panthers in I/26.

June 10th: I./26: 17 Panthers running, 9 Panthers written-off

======

Conclusion of the operations: Mixed, with main objective failed.

bridgehead compressed (bulge 2 to 5 miles long), tanks destroyed, several rifle divisions mauled with several thousand prisoners taken.

bridgehead however, remained too large.

24.Pz worn down and sent to rest & refit.

Soviet losses estimates, various sources:

*30May- June 5th Operations Sonja and Katja (52A, 27A, 2TA,6TA):

14,871 casualties, 96 tanks written off, 132 aircraft lost. No prisoner identified in stats.

2UK front took 93,519 casualties fighting in April and May 1944.

24.Pz took 1,917 casualties from early April-early June 1944.

GD leaves to rest & refit in mid- June.

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Re: On Reading Glantz's Red Storm over the Balkans

Post by Cult Icon » 25 Dec 2014 05:19

I made a mistake here: Operation Katja (2-6 June): GD, 23. Pz supported by Romanian 18 ID, Romanian 3 ID

It was in fact 24. Pz, and not 23. Pz. 24. Pz was to relocate for operation #2.

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Re: On Reading Glantz's Red Storm over the Balkans

Post by Cult Icon » 25 Dec 2014 22:27

Interesting bit about panzer raids from "German Generals talk" Interview with Manteuffel:
The way in which Manteuffel attracted Hitler’s notice is also illuminating. In August,
1943, he had been given command of the 7th Armoured Division — which Rommel had
led in 1940. It was in Manstein’s Army Group. That autumn the Russians surged over the
Dnieper and captured Kiev, then rolled on rapidly west towards the Polish frontier.
Manstein had no formed reserve left to meet this fresh crisis, but charged Manteuffel with
the task of collecting such odd units as he could find for an improvised counter-stroke.
Manteuffel broke in behind the rear of the advancing Russians, ejected them from
Zhitomir junction by a night attack, and drove on north to recapture Korosten. By dividing
his meagre forces into a number of small mobile groups Manteuffel created an impression
out of proportion to his strength, and the sudden riposte brought the Russian advance to a
halt.
After that, Manteuffel further developed this method of penetrating raids that cut in
between the Russian columns and struck at them from the rear. “It was handicapped by the
Russians’ lack of dependence on a normal system of supply — I never met any supply
columns on these ‘interior’ raids — but I caught staff and signal centres besides striking
bodies of troops in the back. These penetrating raids proved very effective in spreading
confusion. Of course, for operations of this kind an armoured division must be selfcontained
for supplies, carrying with it what it needs, so as to be free from dependence on
communications during the whole course of the operation.” (It is evident that Manteuffel
practised what General, then Brigadier, Hobart demonstrated with the 1st Tank Brigade in
the Salisbury Plain area in 1934-35 — though without convincing the British General
Staff that such a form of strategy was practicable.)
Hitler was delighted with the new method, and eager to hear more about it. So he sent
an invitation for Manteuffel and the commander of his tank regiment, Colonel Schultz, to
spend Christmas at his headquarters near Angerburg, in East Prussia. After congratulating
Manteuffel, Hitler said: “As a Christmas present, I’ll give you fifty tanks.”
Early in 1944 Manteuffel was given command of a specially reinforced division, the
“Gross-Deutschland,” and with this he was sent to different sectors to check a breakthrough
or to release forces that had been trapped by the Russian tide of advance. In
September, after he had cut a way through to the German forces that were hemmed in on
the Baltic coast round Riga, he was given a big jump in promotion — to command the 5th
Panzer Army, in the West.

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