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Operations of Encircled Forces: German Experiences in Russia (Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-234)

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Operations of Encircled Forces: German Experiences in Russia

(Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-234)

  • German Report Series
    • Dept. of the Army, Washington, D.C., January 14, 1952
      • 84 pages
      • 11 Maps
        • General Reference Map
        • The Pocket of Klin
        • Encirclement at Velikiye Luki
        • Relief Thrust at Velikiye Luki
        • The Pocket West of Cherkassy
        • Breakout to Liskyanka
        • Double Envelopment West of Cherkassy
        • Relief Attempts
        • The Pocket of Kamenets-Podolskiy
        • Breakout to the West
        • The Pocket Moves West
  • Free PDF download
This pamphlet was prepared by a committee of former German officers under the supervision of the Historical Division, EUCOM. Among the contributors were former corps commanders and general staff officers at corps, army, and army group level, who had extensive experience on the Russian front during the period 1941-45. The main author, for instance, saw action before Leningrad, near Voronezh, and later at Stalingrad. Toward the end of the war he served successfully as chief of staff of Army Groups North and Center, during their withdrawal from Russia.
In addition to discussing the tactical and logistical problems peculiar to operations of encircled forces, the authors take issue with Hitler's conviction that significant advantages could be gained by leaving isolated forces behind the advancing enemy lines. It was this notion, expressed in numerous specific orders, that made the desperate stand of encircled German troops a frequent occurrence during the Russian campaign.
The problems of air support for encircled ground troops are described in a separate appendix which deals with tactical air support, air reconnaissance, supply by air, and the employment of anti-aircraft units. Based on the experiences of the German Air Force in Russia and presented by a former Luftwaffe officer, the views expressed are necessarily colored by the organizational peculiarities of the Luftwaffe and its relation to the German Army.
  • Preface

  • Introduction

  • The Pocket of Klin: Breakout of a Panzer Division

  • Encirclement at Velikiye Luki: Failure of a Rescue Operation

  • The Pocket West of Cherkassy: The Inside View

    • Events Leading to the Formation of the Pocket.

    • The Units Inside the German Pocket

    • Diary of the Commander of XLII Corps

    • Breakout Order of XLII Corps

    • The Breakout

  • The Pocket West of Cherkassy: The Outside View

    • The Encirclement

    • Plans for the Breakout

    • The Relief Operation

    • The Breakout

    • Lessons

  • Encirclement of a Panzer Army Near Kamenets-Podolskiy

    • The Encirclement

    • The Breakout Plan

    • The Pocket Moves West

    • The Escape

    • Evaluation

  • Conclusions

    • The Significance of a Pocket

    • Special Operating Procedures

    • The Breakout Decision

    • Special Logistical Preparations

    • Tactical Preparations

    • Supply and Evacuation

    • Relief Operations

    • The Breakout

    • Summary

  • Appendix: Air Support of Encircled Forces

    • General Principles

    • Preparatory Measures

    • Air Reconnaissance

    • Fighter Aviation

    • Close Support of Ground Actions

    • Employment of Anti-aircraft Units

    • Evacuation by Air

    • Air Support During the Breakout

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