Kamenets-Podolsk Pocket Battle

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Benoit Douville
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Kamenets-Podolsk Pocket Battle

Post by Benoit Douville » 23 Dec 2005 23:03

I am looking for a Battle description about that pocket Battle in April 1944 I believe on the Eastern Front. Any infos will be greatly appreciated.

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ENCIRCLEMENT OF A PANZER ARMY NEAR KAMENETS PODOLSKIY

Post by tigre » 24 Dec 2005 03:01

Hello Benoit, see if this post is useful for you. viewtopic.php?t=52398&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight= chapter 6

Cheers and Merry Christmas. Tigre.

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THE KAMENETS-PODOL'SKIY OPERATION

Post by tigre » 22 Jan 2006 22:27

Hello Benoit, I do not know if you already got this but anyway here goes. Taken from "ENCIRCLED FORCES: THE NEGLECTED PHENOMENON OF WARFARE"
A thesis by PAUL TIBERI, LTC, U. S. ARMY - 8. A., Pepperdine University, 1982.

On 17 March, the Russians renewed their attack and forced the right flank units of the Fourth Panzer Army to withdraw to the west and then turned the left flank of the First Panzer Army and reached the Dnestr River north of Gorodenka on 24 March, the tenuous contact was again broken. Meanwhile another Russian attack had struck the right flank of the first Panzer Army, severing its contact with the Eighth Army and on 18-19 March reached Yarnpol and Mogilev-Podol ‘Skiy. The First Panzer Army had lost all contact with other army group elements.

OPERATIONAL SETTING

The Russian forces operating against the First Panzer Army (1st Ukrainian front) were:

North, the 1st Guards Army, with 11 infantry divisions, supported by tanks of the 3d Guards Tank Army (massing its forces near Proskurov).

West and south of these forces, the 1st and 4th Tank Armies (pouring southward through the gap along the Zbruch and Seret Rivers).

South, the 27th Army and 2d and 6th Tank Armies had crossed the Dnestr River below Mogilev-Podo1'Skiy. The bulk of these forces seemed to be moving south in pursuit of the German Eighth Army, but the 6th Tank Army had swung westward against the far right flank of the First Panzer Army.

Between these two gigantic enveloping arms, the 18th, 38th, and 40th Armies, with a total of more than 28 infantry divisions and a number of non-divisional armored units, were exerting great pressure against the German XXIV, III, and XLVI Panzer Corps.

The First Panzer Army -23 March 1944

The XLVI Panzer Corps, on the right flank of the German First Panzer Army, was split by the Dnestr River. North of the river, the lst, 82d, and 254th Infantry Divisions were attempting to stop the advance of the Russian 40th Army. South of the river, the 75th Infantry Division and elements of the 18th Artillery Division were slowly withdrawing under heavy pressure of the Soviet 6th Tank Army.

Between the northern flank of the XLVI Panzer Corps and the southern flank of the XXIV Corps the III Panzer Corps had been committed to close a 25 miles gap. While it had succeeded in narrowing the gap, the Corps was unable to halt the westward advance of the Russian 38th Army.

The XXIV Panzer Corps and LIX Corps were conducting a planned withdrawal from phase line to phase line. Proskurov was still in German hands. Southwest of that town, the 6th, llth, and 19th Panzer Divisions were in position along the Proskurov-Kamenets railroad, holding off Russian infantry and armored attacks from the north-west; 96th and 291st Divisions were withdrawing: and 1st Panzer Division, on the corps left flank at Gorodok, had orders to hold the supply road between Yarmolintsy and Gusyatin. Russian tanks, however, had already crossed the supply road and, west of Gorodok, Russian infantry and armor were pouring southward. As a result, the LIX Corps had to draw units from the infantry divisions on its right to protect its exposed left flank.

The army's supply bases had been shifted from Kamenets to the south bank of the Dnestr River on 20 March. During the withdrawal, a large number of supply installations were either captured by the Russians or destroyed by the Germans themselves. It had become impossible to supply the XLIV Panzer Corps and, by 23 March, service to the other corps was also interrupted. The army still had the use of a rail line south of the Dnestr River, running through Chernovtsy, but the capacity of the line was limited.

Will follows ASAP. Regards. Tigre.
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Post by Benoit Douville » 23 Jan 2006 05:21

Tigre,

This is exactly what I was looking for, it is really appreciated, if you have more don't hesitated to post it.

Regards

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THE KAMENETS-PODOL'SKIY OPERATION - 2º part

Post by tigre » 24 Jan 2006 04:33

Hello Benoit and anyone interested, here goes the second part.

Terrain and Weather

The terrain in the First Panzer Army area is gently rolling, with sections of brush and woods. It is generally favorable ground for maneuvering. The region is traversed by a number of rivers flowing south to the Dnestr, many of which are about 300 feet wide and have steep banks. The Dnestr is a formidable obstacle; between Mogilev-Podol'Skiy and Us'Tsechko it is 450-750 feet wide, 6-12 feet deep, and bordered by steep cliffs several hundred feet high. Only a pontoon bridge constructed by German engineer troops at Khotin remained along this stretch.

A fairly well developed roadnet existed, though only the paved roads were of any use to the German motorized traffic (four paved roads north of the Dnestr and one paved highway and a railroad led from Chernovtsy to Mogilev-Podol'Skiy south of the river). The weather in March 1944 was typical Ukrainian. Rain and snow fell alternately, and the temperature fluctuated around the freezing point.

OPERATIONAL PLAN

On 23 March, Manstein directed the army to "...halt the Russian forces moving south along the Zbruch River, regain control of the Chortkuv-Yarmolintsy railroad, and extend the army's line of defense to the Seret River at Treinbovlya. ". Fourth Panzer Army elements including the 7th Panzer Division, 1st SS "Leibstandarte" Panzer Divisions, and 68th Infantry Division were transferred to the First Panzer Army to assist in carrying out this task. These units were still east of the Zbruch River, separated from the bulk of the Fourth Panzer Army.

Manstein further ordered Hube to shorten his lines in order to make forces available for deployment on the left flank. In addition, Hube was given operational control over the Hungarian VII Corps in the Stanislav-Kolomyya area to the west. The Hungarians were to establish bridgeheads on the northern bank of the Dnestr River and secure all bridges between Us'Tsechko and Galich.

On 24 March, advance elements of the Soviet 4th Tank Army passed through Skala and attacked toward Kamenets-Podol'Skiy. Concurrently, the soviet 1st Tank Army reached the Dnestr northeast of Gorodenka and sent spearheads across the river. These moves severed the First Panzer Army's last escape routes north of the Dnestr and seriously threatened its communications lines through Kamenets-Podol'Skiy, Khotin, and Chernovtsy.
General Hube's first inclination was to attempt to breakout toward the south. An attack to the west would probably encounter strong resistance and the Germans would be seriously hampered by numerous rivers crossing their line of movement. The Russian ring of encirclement south of Kamenets appeared weaker.

In Manstein's the opinion this was precisely what the Russians wanted the First Panzer Army to do. It was also what Manstein wanted at all costs to avoid.
If the Soviets intended to force the First Panzer Amy into Rumania, it meant that they would move the bulk of their armored forces south of the Dnestr to close the trap. It followed, then, that Russian resistance to a breakout should be weaker in the west than in the south.
There was also a possibility that the Fourth Panzer Army could assist a breakout attempt to the west by sending forces south to link up with the First Panzer Army. Manstein ordered Hube to make his breakout effort to the west.

Upon receipt this order, Hube instructed his three panzer corps to send strong advance detachments to seize the crossing sites over the Zbruch River. Rear guard units were to protect the movement from the east. The LIX Corps and Task Force Nauss were to cover the army's northern flank between the Ushitsa and Zbruch Rivers, while the 75th Division and attached artillery elements (Task Force Gollnick) and the Hungarian VII Corps provided what cover they could south of the Dnestr River.

Will follows ASAP. Regards. Tigre.
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THE KAMENETS-PODOL'SKIY OPERATION - 3º part

Post by tigre » 25 Jan 2006 02:11

EXECUTION OF PLAN

On 25 March strong panzer elements pushing west from Yarmolintsy. Russian resistance was strong, and the German tanks were unable to contact even the 1st Panzer Division at Gorodok during the day. Meanwhile, heavy Russian pressares forced German units southward and severed the important Yarmolinstky-Gusyatin road. Hube requested permission from Manstein to attempt a breakout to the south across the Dnestr River.
A radio message from Manstein received at army headquarters at 0150 on 26 March stated tersely: "Solution west, orders follow”.

Reorganization -and Planning

As the means of achieving this control, and at the same time simplifying the chain of command, General Hube consolidated his forces into provisional corps groups.

Each corps group, within its zone, was to be responsible for both the conduct of the attack to the west and the rear guard action in the east. The armored divisions of each corps group were to spearhead the army's attack, while the infantry divisions covered the rear.
The first objective of the breakout was to be the capture of crossing sites over the Zbruch River. Corps Group Chevallerie was to establish contact with the 1st Panzer Division at Gorodok and Task Force Mauss in the area between the Ushitsa and Zbruch Rivers. It was then to cover the northern flank of the army between the Ushitsa and Zbruch Rivers and establish a bridgehead across the latter at Skala.
Corps Group Breith was to recapture Kamenets-Podol'Skiy, regain control of the Kamenets-Khotin road, and establish a bridgehead across the Zbruch River northwest of Khotin. Task Force Gollnick, in close contact with the south flank of Corps Group Breith, was to delay the Russians below the Dnestr River and was to retire to and hold a bridgehead at Khotin.

The Russians were not idle. The 38th and 40th Armies continued their attack west. South of the river the Russians were pressing along the road to Lipkany, the Prut River, and Khotin; north of the river their main effort appeared to be southeast of Dunayevtsy. Further north, the 18th Army exerted comparatively light pressure on the withdrawing divisions of XXIV Corps. The 1st Guards and 3d Guards Tank Armies, on the shoulder of the Russian penetration, were concentrating in the area between the Ushitsa and Zbruch Rivers, pressing heavily against the German north flank and moving steadily southward through
gaps in the German lines. Elements of the 4th Tank Army had penetrated into Kamenets-Podol'Skiy. The 1st Tank Army had crossed the Dnestr at Gorodenka and was driving toward Chernovtsy, Kolomyya, and Stanislav. The Soviets were about to complete their double envelopment of the First Panzer Army.
Virtually encircled, the German First Panzer Army had to breakout through the Soviet 4th Tank Army units north and south of Kamenets-Podol'Skiy before it could even begin its drive to the west.

An army order to Corps Group Chevallerie on 27 March stressed the necessity of seizing a bridgehead across the Zbruch as quickly as possible. This action would cut the communications of the Russians at Kamenets-Podol'Skiy and thereby assist Corps Group Breith.

Air Supply Arrangements were made with the German Fourth Air Fleet to assemble five air transport groups and a number of bomber wings at L'vev in Poland to fly essential supplies into the pocket. These operations were controlled by the Second Air Transport Command.

Cheers. Tigre.
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THE KAMENETS-PODOL'SKIY OPERATION - 4º part

Post by tigre » 26 Jan 2006 02:04

Initial Phase of the Breakout


Advance elements of the First Panzer Army set out on 28 March. A light frost had temporarily improved road conditions, and units of Corps Group Chevallerie succeeded in establishing contact with the 1st Panzer Division and Task Force Mauss during the day. Fuel captured from the Russians enabled the Germans to push on, and on 29 March they seized bridgeheads across the Zbruch River at, and north of, Skala. These bridgeheads were expanded the following day.

Elements of Corps Group Breith, meanwhile, attacked Kamenets-Podol'Skiy and, with the support of a task force driving north from Khotin, encircled the Russian forces in the town. Other Corps Group units drove to the west and, together with elements of Task Force Gollnick, established two bridgeheads across the Zbruch River during the night of 30 March. The Russian forces west and northwest of Kamenets-Podol'Skiy, handicapped by supply difficulties, made little effort to interfere with the Germans.

Spearhead units of both corps moved rapidly. On 31 March, they reached the Nichlava River. The 7th Panzer Division established a bridgehead west of Borshchuv. Units driving toward Chortkuv, however, made little progress due to strong resistance northwest of Skala.

The rear guard units of each Corps Group fell back from the Ushitsa River. On 31 March, the rear guard elements of both Corps Groups reached the phase line along Kamenets-Podol'Skiy.

Situation on 31 March

Despite the general success of the operation in its early stages, Hube was gravely concerned on two points. First, the supplies coming in by air were inadequate. The estimated daily requirements for the army was 150 tons of ammunition and 200 tons of fuel. Only 40-50 tons had actually been flown in between 26 and 28 March. The situation had improved on the night of 30 March, when more than 70 tons of supplies were flown in and over 800 wounded flown out.But fuel remained in short supply.

Hube was also concerned about the situation on the army's flanks. Intercepted radio messages revealed that the Russians were moving strong forces west from Yarmolintsy through Gusyatin. Danger also threatened from the south. Here, the spearheads of the First Panzer Army had at first encountered only rear elements and outposts of the 1st ,Tank Army north of the Dnestr River. On 31 March, however, a brigade of this Soviet army which had previously been located near Gorodenka appeared near Borshchuv, north of the river.

Following a review of the over-all situation, Hube concluded that the army would not be able to break out as an integral unit. His armored units, organized as task forces, could break through immediately to meet the Fourth Panzer Army; but the infantry would not reach the Seret River for another six days. In order to escape, he determined that the infantry would have to break up into detachments of about 100 men each and make their way through the Russian lines on a broad front.

Hube also feared that his forces might not be able to reach the Fourth Panzer Army with its fuel and ammunition shortages. In such a case, he would wheel the entire army southward in the area west of the Seret River, cross the Dnestr near Us'Tsechko, and strike out in the direction of Stanislav to link up with the Hungarian VII Corps. Manstein disapproved the first plan and made the execution of the latter subject to later approval.

Regards. Tigre.
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THE KAMENETS-PODOL'SKIY OPERATION - 5º part

Post by tigre » 26 Jan 2006 02:33

The Linkup –

Blizzards during the first two days of April slowed the breakout effort. Encountering only weak resistance, the 7th Panzer Division of Corps Group Chevallerie and the 17th Panzer Division of Corps Group Breith reached the Seret River on 2 April. They proceeded to establish crossings south of Chortkuv and north of the confluence of the Seret and Dnestr rivers. The 1st Panzer Division established another bridgehead north of the 7th Panzer Division on the next day.

Rear guard units in Corps Group Chevallerie's zone reached the western back of the Zbruch River on 2 April. Sizeable elements of Corps Group Breith, however, were still east of the river at Kamenets-Podol'Skiy and Khotin. The last rear guard elements did not reach the west bank of the Zbruch until 4 April. General Hube ordered a temporary halt to permit the infantry to catch up with the armored units, and ordered the rear units of Corps Group Chevallerie to pull back from the Zbruch River. He also shifted the boundary between the two corps groups to facilitate the related operation.

Strong Russian forces continued to move westward through Chortkuv in what now appeared to be a determined effort to envelop the army before it linked up with friendly forces.

On 4 April, Hube was informed by Army Group South that the II SS Panzer Corps would attack Erom the vicinity of Berezhany toward Buchach to link up with the First Panzer Army. 34 He immediately issued an order to strengthen that sector by directing the main effort of Corps Group Chevallerie to check the Russian advance at Chortkuv, thereby protecting the army's northern shoulder east of the Seret River. He also directed that strong advance detachments be sent forward to keep open the Chortkuv-Buchach road. Corps Group Breith units were to seize crossing sites over the Strypa River and, if necessary, attack from the south in order to open up the Buchach crossing. Corps group elements on the southern flank were to close the Dnestr River crossings and demolish the remaining bridges.

On 5 April the 6th Panzer Division in the center drove through to the Strypa River. and wheeled northward toward Buchach and entered the town on tho following day against determined Russian resistance. Late in the afternoon on 6 April, it joined forces with the lead elements of the relief column, the 10th SS Panzer Division (II SS Panzer Corps). Contact between the First and Fourth Panzer Armies thus was reestablished.

Establishment of a New Line of Resistance


Immediately after the First Panzer Army established contact with the 10th SS Panzer Division, General Hube took steps to prevent his troops from crossing the Strypa River. He also prohibited the further destruction of weapons, equipment, and vehicles, and set about reorganizing his forces along the Seret River. The most urgent requirement was to clear the roads leading east and southeast from Buchach to accommodate the traffic they would have to bear once contact with the Fourth Panzer Army was firmly established. Specific priorities were designated to regulate the use of these roads, the highest priority going to the combat units of the II SS Panzer Corps.

Second and third priorities, respectively, were reserved for 600 tons of supplies held available by the panzer corps for the First Panzer Army and for the evacuation of the latter's wounded.

Cheers. Tigre.
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Post by Duncan » 26 Jan 2006 18:19

Hi Tigre
Is the document:
"ENCIRCLED FORCES: THE NEGLECTED PHENOMENON OF WARFARE"
A thesis by PAUL TIBERI, LTC, U. S. ARMY - 8. A., Pepperdine University, 1982.
on line, or easily available?
Cheers
Duncan

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Source

Post by tigre » 27 Jan 2006 06:39

Hello Duncan, I've found it by chance, but now knowing what looking for may be you can reach easily. Try this:

when you got the page, select libraries, choose combined Arms research library, then select query; in the window: search for write LtCol Tiberi thesis or Encircled forces and go on. Let me now what you get.


https://calldbp.leavenworth.army.mil/sc ... nv?CQ_SAVE[CGI]=/scripts/cqcgi.exe/@ss_prod.env&CQ_MAIN=YES&CQ_LOGIN=YES&CQDC=Fri%20Jan%2027%2002%3A23%3A54%20UTC-0300%202006&CQ_SAVE[GIFs]=/rware/gif8&CQ_USER_NAME=89130438&CQ_PASSWORD=xxx&CQ_SAVE[CPU]=Intel&CQ_SAVE[Browser]=W3C&CQ_SAVE[BrowserVersion]=ie5_5up&CQ_SAVE[Base]=calldbp.leavenworth.army.mil&CQ_SAVE[Home]=https%3A//calldbp.leavenworth.army.mil/call_pub.html

Good luck. Regards. Tigre

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THE KAMENETS-PODOL'SKIY OPERATION - 6º part

Post by tigre » 27 Jan 2006 06:51

Further Withdrawals


Although the First Panzer Army now held a continuous line along the Seret River, its flanks and rear were exposed and there were clear indications that the Russians intended to take advantage of the fact. In analyzing the situation on 9 April, Hube concluded that the First Panzer Army would be unable, in its weakened condition, to hold the Seret River line up to Treinbovlya when the II SS Panzer Corps moved north to attack Ternopol. Much of the army's strength was tied down along the Dnestr and Strypa Rivers. Moreover, the reorganization of divisions,'urgently necessary, would have to be carried out while they were in action. Hube therefore recommended to the army group commander that the First Panzer Army be allowed to withdraw behind the Strypa River while the attack by the II SS Panzer Corps was still in progress. This move would release the units tied down along the Dnestr and Strypa Rivers and make it possible to rotate them to the rear for reorganization.

Approving the plan on the evening of 9 April, Army Group issued the following order: "Effective immediately, the First Panzer Army will retire the bulk of its forces by phases to the western bank of the Strypa River, establishing and holding an outpost line in the “area extending from Us'Tsechko to Buchach” to a depth of 7 miles east of the river. The order assigned the II SS Panzer Corps to the First Panzer Army and directed Hube to coordinate plans with the Hungarian First Army for a joint operation to begin no later than 17 April. In this operation, the Russian forces east of Stanislav were to be destroyed and a firm main line of resistance established between the Carpathians (east of Kolomyya) and the confluence of the Strypa and Dnestr Rivers.

Hube dissolved Corps Group Breith and Chevallerie on 12 April in order to return to a more conventional organization (see Figure 5-2). 39 At the same time, Hube also assigned new missions to each of his corps. The III Panzer Corps was to attack and destroy the Russian Forces west of the Strypa River. The XXIV Panzer Corps was to withdraw and prepare the army's main line of resistance along the west bank of the Strypa from its confluence with the Dnestr north to Buchach. The LIX Corps and XLVI Corps were to withdraw in two phases and establish an outpost line of resistance running north from Tsechko to the Chortkuv-Buchach railroad line.


LIX Corps elements were to make a simultaneous limited-objective attack east of Buchach, to divert the Russians during the corps' withdrawal to the outpost line. The II SS Panzer Corps was to launch an actack northeast of auchach, to assist in covering the withdrawal of LIX Corps and also to pin down the Russians while the Fourth Panzer Army made its relief attack on Ternopol. The panzer corps was then to prepare a main Line of resistance on the west bank of the Strypa, from auchach north to the boundary between the First and Fourth Panzer Armies.

The III Panzer Corps drove west across the Strypa River as ordered. By evening on 12 April the corps had troops across the Dnestr at two points and expanded the bridgeheads during the next few days. The LIX Corps and XLVI Panzer Corps meanwhile withdrew to the outpost line, completing the move by 14 April. At the same time, elements of the LIX Corps and II SS Panzer Corps attacked east and northeast of Buchach. The Germans were able to advance nine miles in this area, but finally halted in the face of determined Russian resistance. Units on the north flank of the II SS Panzer Corps were slower in clearing the west bank of the Strypa. Nevertheless, the impression grew at Army Group headquarters that the Russians were were shifting to the defensive all along the front, and that they would have to regroup their forces and move up reserves before resuming their offensive.

So by the middle of April, the First Panzer Army was firmly entrenched along the Strypa River, and had brought the Russian drive to a standstill. Over 90 percent of its force had been saved and the dangerous gap north of the Dnestr River had been closed.

It's all, I hope this helps you. Regards. Tigre.
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Post by Duncan » 27 Jan 2006 23:45

Hi Tigre
Excellent website. I managed to follow your instructions - very clearly and downloaded the PDf document.
Many thanks
Duncan

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