Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1942: Schwerpunkt

Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1942: Schwerpunkt

by Robert Forczyk

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Overview

The German panzer armies that swept into the Soviet Union in 1941 were an undefeated force that had honed their skill in combined arms warfare to a fine edge. The Germans focused their panzers and tactical air support at points on the battlefield defined as Schwerpunkt - main effort - to smash through any defensive line and then advance to envelope their adversaries.

Initially, these methods worked well in the early days of Operation Barbarossa and the tank forces of the Red Army suffered defeat after defeat. Although badly mauled in the opening battles, the Red Army's tank forces did not succumb to the German armored onslaught and German planning and logistical deficiencies led to over-extension and failure in 1941. In the second year of the invasion, the Germans directed their Schwerpunkt toward the Volga and the Caucasus and again achieved some degree of success, but the Red Army had grown much stronger and by November 1942, the Soviets were able to turn the tables at Stalingrad.

Robert Forczyk's incisive study offers fresh insight into how the two most powerful mechanized armies of the Second World War developed their tactics and weaponry during the critical early years of the Russo-German War. He uses German, Russian and English sources to provide the first comprehensive overview and analysis of armored warfare from the German and Soviet perspectives. His analysis of the greatest tank war in history is compelling reading.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781590089
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 05/19/2014
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 867,826
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of Plates vii

List of Maps ix

Glossary x

Preface xii

Introduction 1

Popular Mythology 1

Strategic Setting 2

Terrain and Weather Factors 6

Doctrinal and Technological Influences 8

Tanker Facts of Life 16

Chapter 1 The Opposing Armoured Forces in 1941 21

The German Panzerwaffe 21

The Red Army's Tank Force 29

Chapter 2 The Dynamic of Armoured Operations in 1941 38

Panzergruppe 4 versus the Northwest Front, 22-30 June 38

Panzergruppe 3 and the Crossing of the Neman, 22-24 June 44

The Destruction of Pavlov's Armour in the Bialystok Salient 45

Von Kleist's Panzergruppe 1 versus the Southwest Front 55

An Assessment of the June 1941 Border Battles 65

Stopping Höpner's Advance on Leningrad, July-September 1941 66

Crossing the Berezina and Dnieper, July 1941 76

Seizing the Bull by the Horns: Smolensk, 10 July-5 August 82

Showdown at Yartsevo, 17-31 July 1941 85

Velikiye Luki: Punch and Counter punch, 17 July-26 August 87

The Road to Kiev, 2-9 July 89

Kishinev, 2-12 July 1941 91

Debacle at Uman, 15 July-8 August 93

Yelnya: Zhukov's Pyhrric Victory, 8 August-6 September 97

Kiev: the Führer's Choice, 25 August-20 September 99

Yeremenko's Attempted Deep Battle, 30 August-7 September 102

Kiev: Closing the Kessel, 1-20 September 105

Sustaining the Tanks, September 1941 108

Pursuit to the Donbas, September-October 1941 113

Preparing for Typhoon, 6-30 September 115

Typhoon: Guderian's Battle, 30 September-16 October 117

Hoth Demolishes the Western Front, 2-12 October 125

Höpner Seals the Vyazma kessel, 2-12 October 128

Zhukov: Playing for Time, 7-31 October 130

Guderinn Tries for Tula, 22 October-30 November 140

Typhoon: the Last Roll of the Dice, 1 November-4 December 144

Gamble at Tikhvin, 16 October-18 November 1941 149

Rostov; von Kleist's Frozen Blitzkrieg, 5-20 November 151

Striking the Hydra's Head, 25 November-15 December 154

Chapter 3 Armoured Operations in 1942 160

Soviet and German Armoured Forces, January-March 1942 160

The Winter Counteroffensive, January-March 1942 162

Armoured Warfare in the Winter 169

Fateful Decisions and Armoured Renewal, April-May 1942 171

Tank; Skirmishes in the Crimea, 1 January-20 May 176

Decision at Kharkov, 12-28 May 1942 181

Clearing up Loose Ends, 2 Juue-4 July 188

Case Blau: Hoth's Advance to Voronezh, 28 Jnne-15 July 193

Von Kleist's Panzers Head for the Oil, 9 July-6 September 202

Drive on Stalingrad, 16 July-23 August 207

Tank Battles north of Orel, 5 July-29 August 212

Stalingrad: the Schwerpunkt Hits a Brick Wall, 24 August-1 November 218

The Rzhev Meatgrinder, 2 July-30 August 223

Enter the Tigers, August-December 1942 225

Operation Uranus, 19-23 November 227

Wintergewitter, December 12-19 233

Operation Mars, 25 Noveinber-20 December 238

Deep Battle, 16-30 December 242

Armour on the Eastern Front at the End of 1942 247

Conclusions 249

Appendix I Rank Table 251

Appendix II Armour Order of Battle, 22 June 1941 252

Appendix III Tanks on the Eastern Front, 1941 257

Appendix IV Tank Production, 1941 259

Appendix V Armour Order of Battle, 1 July 1942 261

Appendix VI Tank Production, 1942 266

Notes 268

Bibliography 278

Index 280

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Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1942: Schwerpunkt 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
The author provides a very detailed account of the war between Germany and Russia during WWII. It helps to have maps when reading the book as there are many references to battle locations that are not familiar to readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago