About the reason of the dismissal :
In Gerbert-Johnston, VB diary p.527, i read :
On 14/7 bock spoke by teephone with Schmundt, Hitler's chief army adjudant. In the course of the conversation "the latter confirmed the alleged dealy in the departure of the 24th Pz div and the GD div from Voronej to the south as the reason behind the decision made about me. I do not believe that, because it cannot stand up to even the most casual scrutiny. Schmundt suggested that i ask to meet with the Führer. I thought it better if he inform me when the F is in Berlin and wants to see me. Schmundt promised to do so".
But i wonder what is the source for this quote...
Why is it written in italics ?
Before i left Poltava (HQ) i asked Sodenstern to have a summary prepared from the war diary of everything involving the relief and departure of the 2 divisions from Voronej. Thsi summary must show if there was any oversight on the part of the army group. The need to sped up the departure to the south was always clear to me; everything possible was done toward that end. But i need evidence to be able to prove the unfounded nature of the accusation.
Sodenstern wrote today that the summary is complete, but that in agreement with List and Weichs he strongly advises that i not take any steps. Sice the reasons named by Keitel "could not be sufficient or even substantial", they would just look for others which would be harder to refute. Schmundt also advised "especially forcefully" that i leave things alone for the time being and said "that the F fully intends to speak with you as soon as the running of the current operation no longer takes up as much of his time".
I replied to Sodenstrern that i would need his advice, and in this letter i once again turned against the unfounded nature of Keitel's reasons as well as an "expanded" reason that has meanwhile seeped through, which seeks to trace the ill-feeling backt to the history behind the Kharkov battle.
Sodenstern wrte that new, strict regulations prevent him from sending the war diary extracts without the permission of the OKH, but he has no doubt that authoriation will be forthcoming. Then he went into the matter of the turn to the south and wrote :
"The conversation with Halder took place on 5th july at 14.40 and ha d the foloonwing content :
Halder described the F train of thought, which he had expressed in the course of that day's noon briefing. He was following the developpment of the operation with great impatience. In particular he complained that the 40th Pz Korps had not yet been turned southeast in the general direction of Starobelsk and that the HQ commanding the northern flank was apparently unclear about the basic concept of the operation, to release the strongest possible forces to the southeast. Our forces in the area south of Livny were still much too strong.
I subsequently advised Halder that the basic trend of the operation was absolutely clear to both the HQ of the army group and that of the Army Group Weichs and that everything was being done to carry it out. However, there was some concern about the southern flank of 4th Pz Arm whose rapid advance toward Voronej appeared threatened sohould ennmy forces show up there, which is certinly to be expected. This consideration caused the Commander In Chief of the army group to stick to his decsions to move at least some elements of 40th Pz Korps (23rd PD) into the area around Krasno Lipje.... As far as turning the 40th PK south, i can say that : on 5th july at 11.30 orders were issued that the 40th PK without the 23rd PD was to break through toward Ostrogorsk and Korotoyak before the day was over.
That evening 20.20 VB advised the F by telex that the 6th army had captured the bridgeheads at Liman, Dujonny, Nikolaievka and Ostrogorsk and that orders had been issued for the follow-up to the south, at first to the line Topooli station-Veidelevea-Varvarovka-Kamenka-Nikolskoye (south of Svoboda). On 6th july the 6th Army plan to advance the 40th PK as far as the Kalitva was approved..."
The reason of VB dismissal is clear : the delay to send south the motor. div. 23rd Pz and GD div. Because this delay caused the failure of Fall Blau.