Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket

Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket
Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-277-0846-13, Russland, Panzer VI (Tiger I).jpg
Tiger Is of the III Panzer Corps, February 1944
Date 24 January 1944 – 16 February 1944
Location Cherkasy / Korsun, USSR
Result Soviet victory; German evacuation
 Germany  Soviet Union
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakian Independent Brigade[citation needed]
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Erich von Manstein
Nazi Germany Otto Wöhler
Nazi Germany Hermann Breith
Nazi Germany Wilhelm Stemmermann
Nazi Germany Theobald Lieb
Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
Soviet Union Nikolai Vatutin
Soviet Union Ivan Konev
Czechoslovakia Ludvík Svoboda (Czechoslovakian Independent Brigade)
58,000 men in pocket
59 tanks and assault guns in pocket. Larger numbers when counting relief formations
336,700 men[1]
924+ tanks
1,054 aircraft
5,300 artillery pieces
Casualties and losses
30,000 KIA, MIA and WIA[2] 156 tanks [3] 80,188 men (24,286 KIA&MIA)[4][5]
728 tanks[6]

The Korsun–Shevchenkovsky Offensive led to the Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February 1944. The offensive was part of the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. In it, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, commanded, respectively, by Nikolai Vatutin and Ivan Konev, trapped German forces of Army Group South in a pocket near the Dnieper river. During weeks of fighting, the two Red Army Fronts tried to eradicate the pocket. German units inside the cauldron broke out in coordination with a relief attempt by other German forces, with “roughly two out of three” encircled men succeeding in escaping the pocket,[7] "and almost one third of their men ... dead or prisoners."[8]


January 1944

In January 1944, the German forces of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein’s Army Group South including General Otto Wöhler's 8th Army had fallen back to the Panther-Wotan Line, a defensive position along the Dnieper river in Ukraine. Two corps, the XI under Gen. Wilhelm Stemmermann, the XLII Army Corps under Lt.Gen. Theobald Lieb and the attached Corps Detachment B from the 8th Army were holding a salient into the Soviet lines extending some 100 kilometers to the Dnieper river settlement of Kanev, with the town of Korsun roughly in the center of the salient, west of Cherkassy. Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov realized the potential for destroying Wöhler’s 8th Army with the Stalingrad model as precedent and using similar tactics as were applied to defeat Paulus’ encircled 6th Army. Zhukov recommended to the Soviet Supreme Command (Stavka) to deploy 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts to form two armored rings of encirclement: an inner ring around a cauldron and then destroy the forces it contained, and an external ring to prevent relief formations from reaching the trapped units. Despite repeated warnings from Manstein and others, Hitler refused to allow the exposed units to be pulled back to safety.

General Konev held a conference at his headquarters at Boltushki on 15 January with his commanders and their political commissars to pass on the orders received from Stavka.[9] The initial attack was to be conducted by Konev’s own 2nd Ukrainian Front from the southeast by 53rd Army and 4th Guards Army, with 5th Guards Tank Army to exploit penetrations supported by 5th Air Army, to be joined in progress by 52nd Army, 5th Guards Cavalry Corps and 2nd Tank Army. Additionally, from Vatutin’s First Ukrainian Front, 27th and 40th Armies were to be deployed from the northwest, with 6th Tank Army to exploit penetrations supported by 2nd Air Army.[10] Many of these formations had received an inflow of new personnel. Red Army planning further included extensive deception operations that the Soviets claimed were successful, however, the German 8th Army war diary shows clearly that the German staffs were more concerned with the real threat than the simulated one.[11]


On 18 January, Manstein was proven prescient when General Nikolai Vatutin’s 1st and General Konev’s 2nd Ukrainian Fronts attacked the edges of the salient and surrounded the two German corps. The link-up on 28 January of 20th Guards Tank Brigade with 6th Guards Tank Army of the First Ukrainian Front at the village of Zvenyhorodka completed the encirclement and created the cauldron or Kessel that became known as the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket. Stalin expected and was promised a second Stalingrad; Konev wired: "There is no need to worry, Comrade Stalin. The encircled enemy will not escape."[12]

Soviet advances that created the Korsun-Cherkassy pocket.

Trapped in the pocket were under 60,000 men, a total of six German divisions at approximately 55% of their authorized strength, along with a number of smaller combat units. Among the trapped German forces were the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, with the attached SS Sturmbrigade Wallonien (SS Assault Brigade Wallonien), the Estonian SS Battalion Narwa, and "several thousand" Russian auxiliaries.[13] The trapped forces were designated Gruppe Stemmermann and the commander of XI Corps, General Wilhelm Stemmermann was placed in command. Wiking had 30 operational Panzer III/IV tanks and assault guns and 6 in repair.[14] The division further had 47 artillery pieces, including 12 self-propelled guns.[15]

Response and counter

The relief attempt begins. Tanks and halftracks of 1st Panzer Division begin movements towards the pocket, early February 1944[16]

Manstein moved quickly, and by early February the III and XLVII Panzerkorps were assembled for a relief effort. However, Hitler intervened and ordered the rescue attempt to be transformed into an impossible effort to counter-encircle the two Soviet fronts.

General Hermann Breith, commander of III Panzerkorps insisted that both the relief formations should unite and attempt to force a corridor to the trapped Gruppe Stemmermann. Manstein initially sided with Hitler, although in deceptive fashion, and the attack was to be an attempt to encircle the massive Red Army force. The XLVII Panzerkorps attack by the 11th Panzer Division quickly stalled. The veteran division had only 27 tanks and 34 assault guns, therefore its contribution was limited.[17] Realizing the encirclement was going to fail, Manstein ordered III Panzerkorps to attempt to relieve the beleaguered Gruppe Stemmermann. Breith began a push with 16th and 17th Panzer Divisions toward the Gniloy Tikich River and made good progress, with 1st Panzer Division then moving up and 1st SS Panzer Division LSSAH to cover the northern flank. After being initially surprised by the attack, Zhukov ordered Vatutin to rapidly assemble troops and armor of four tank corps "with the goal of cutting off the German spearhead and destroying it."[18] All progress began to bog down with a change in weather, resulting in the thick mud of the rasputitsa – and the weakness of Germany’s wheeled vehicles became evident. The Soviet four-wheel and six-wheel drive trucks supplied by the United States were largely able to get through, whereas the German two-wheel-drive vehicles sat immobilized in the mud.[18]

For the night of 5–6 February, Konev issued orders to the 4th Guards Army and 5th Guards Cavalry Corps that would attempt to split the pocket and the two German corps it contained.[19] In the intense fighting the Soviet goal became clear to Stemmermann and Lieb; but the road "to Korsun had to be held at all costs." Stemmermann ordered Wiking’s armor to the scene and together with 72nd Infantry Division an immediate disaster was avoided.[19] Red Army efforts were renewed between 7–10 February. At this time, however, the Soviet units experienced supply shortages. The mud affected the situation, but it was not the only cause. III Panzerkorps’ penetrations toward the Gniloy Tikich River made the supply lines for Soviet formations such as Vatutin’s 6th Tank Army "much longer than they were previously."[20] The Red Air Force then started to supply some units by air using Po-2 aircraft.[21]

Surrender demand and kessel fever

On 11 February III Panzerkorps continued its drive east. The exhausted force reached the Gniloy Tikich stream and established a small bridgehead on the eastern bank. III Panzerkorps could advance no further, Group Stemmermann would have to fight its way out.[22]

Both antagonists realized that the Wehrmacht relief efforts had come to a critical stage, yet despite heavy Soviet propaganda inducements, very few German soldiers and no Waffen-SS men in the cauldron had surrendered.[23] Zhukov thus decided to send parlementaires under a white flag with surrender demands.[24] A Red Army lieutenant colonel, translator and bugler arrived in an American jeep and presented letters for both Stemmermann and Lieb signed by Marshal Zhukov and Generals Konev and Vatutin. The German officer on headquarters duty, a major at Corps Detachment B and a translator, received the emissaries.[25] After cordial talks, refreshments and a handshake, the Soviets departed without an answer – the "answer would be in the form of continued, bitter resistance."[26]

Ju 52s at Korsun airfield, Ju 87s in formation above (January 1944).
As the day for the breakout approaches, more and more units are crammed into the ever-shrinking perimeter. At least the snow concealed the Germans from the omnipresent Red Air Force.[27]

Unlike the debacle at Stalingrad one year before Cherkassy-Korsun, the Luftwaffe aerial supply performance into the cauldron was a "truly successful" effort by the air and ground crews of the Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft.[28] A total of 82,948 gallons of fuel and 868 tons of ammunition plus four tons of medical supplies were delivered to the pocket and 4,161 wounded evacuated by air,[29] an all-important morale consideration for German troops on the Eastern front. After the Korsun airfield was abandoned on 12 February, deliveries were parachuted, fuel drums and ammunition crates were dropped into snowbanks by the transports flying just above the deck.[30]

Stemmermann began withdrawing troops from the north of the cauldron, reorienting the thrust of the escape direction, and attacking south to expand toward the relief forces on the north bank of the Gniloy Tikich. The frenetic maneuvering within the Kessel confused the Soviets, convincing them that they had trapped the majority of the German 8th Army. The trapped forces, suffering from "kessel fever", were now to capture the villages of Novo-Buda, Komarovka, Khilki and Shanderovka at the southwestern perimeter of the pocket to reach a favorable jump-off line for the breakout.[31]

On 11 February Major Robert Kästner’s 105th Grenadier Regiment of the 72nd Infantry Division captured Novo-Buda in a night assault.[32] The following night Komarovka fell in similar fashion.[33] On the evening of 15 February the 105th Regiment again, using its last reserves and with two assault guns, secured Khilki, defeating a Soviet counterattack supported by armor.[34] However, of all the German divisions in the pocket, Wiking "did more than any other to ensure the continued survival of Gruppe Stemmermann ..."[35] Since Wiking was the only truly mobile force inside the pocket, the division’s tracked units were repeatedly shifted from one end of the cauldron to the other to shore up crumbling lines.

The pocket had "wandered" south and half-way toward its rescuers and rested on the village of Shanderovka. The settlement was heavily defended by the Soviets; had been captured by 72nd Infantry troops, was retaken by units of the Soviet 27th Army and recaptured by the Germania regiment of Wiking. By nightfall on 16 February III Panzerkorps fought its way closer to the encircled formations, the spearheads were now seven kilometers from Group Stemmermann.[36]

Breakout through Hell’s Gate

The northward thrust toward the pocket by III Panzerkorps had been halted by Red Army determination, terrain, and fuel shortages. After several failed attempts by German armored formations to seize and hold Hill 239 and advance on Shanderovka, Soviet counterattacks by 5th Guards Tank Army forced III Panzerkorps into costly defensive fighting. 8th Army radioed Stemmermann:

Capacity for action by III Panzerkorps limited by weather and supply situation. Gruppe Stemmermann must perform breakthrough as far as the line Zhurzintsy-Hill 239 by its own effort. There link up with III Panzerkorps.[37]

The message did not specify that Zhurzintsy and the hill were still firmly in Soviet hands. Lt.Gen. Theobald Lieb was appointed by 8th Army to lead the breakout. Only seven kilometers lay between Group Stemmermann and III Panzerkorps, but in between Konev "was in the process of repositioning forces for a final crushing attack which would take place [on] 17 February."[38] His formidable force of "three armies – the 4th Guards, 27th , 52nd ... and 5th Guards Cavalry Corps" – surrounded the cauldron and "elements of 5th Guards Tank Army had recently been added ... with the most powerful units, in particular armor, placed between Group Stemmermann and III Panzerkorps."[39][40] General Stemmermann elected to stay behind with a rearguard of 6,500 men, the remaining, combined strength of 57th and 88th Infantry Divisions.[41] The cauldron was now a mere 5 kilometers in diameter, depriving Stemmermann of room to maneuver. Shanderovka, once seen as a gate to freedom, now became known as Hell’s Gate.[42] The Red Army poured intense artillery and rocket fire on the area around the encircled troops, nearly every round finding a target. Sturmoviks of the Red Air Force bombed and strafed, only infrequently challenged by Luftwaffe fighters. Various unit diaries described a scene of gloom, with fires burning caused by Soviet night bombing with incendiaries, destroyed or abandoned vehicles everywhere and wounded men and disorganized units on muddy roads. Ukrainian civilians were caught between the combatants. During the 16th of February 1944, Field Marshal von Manstein, without waiting for a decision by Hitler, sent a radio message to Stemmermann to authorize the breakout. It said simply:

Password Freedom, objective Lysyanka, 2300 hours.[43]
The German breakout

With extreme reluctance, Stemmermann and Lieb decided to leave 1,450 non-ambulatory wounded at Shanderovka attended by doctors and orderlies.[44][45][46] The troops then began to assemble at dusk into three leading assault columns with Division Group 112 to the north, Wiking to the south and 72nd Division in the center with the reinforced 105th Regiment in the first echelon to provide the assault power.[47] "By 2300 the [105th] regiment – two battalions abreast – started moving ahead, silently and with bayonets fixed. One-half hour later the force broke through the first and soon thereafter the second [Soviet] defense line."[48] All went well for several battalions and regiments who reached the German lines at Oktyabr by 0410. Major Kästner and his 105th grenadiers reached friendly lines by cautiously approaching the forward position of Panthers of 1st Panzer Division of III Panzerkorps, bringing their wounded along and their heavy weapons, but losing the trailing, horse drawn supply column to Soviet artillery. The 105th entered Lysyanka at 0630.[49] On the opposite front of the cauldron, General Stemmermann and his rear guard held fast and thus assured the success of the initial breakout.[50]

At the left flank column, a reconnaissance patrol returned bearing grim news. The geographic feature Hill 239 was occupied by Soviet T-34's of the 5th Guards Tank Army. Despite energetic efforts to capture Hill 239 now from the inside of the cauldron, the high ground remained in Soviet hands and had to be bypassed. "As more and more units ran up against the impregnable tank barrier atop the ridge dominated by Hill 239,"[51] the German escape direction veered off to the south toward the Gniloy Tikich River, thus ending for the bulk of troops at the wrong position of the stream with disastrous consequences to come. When daylight arrived, the German escape plan began to unravel. Very few armored vehicles and other heavy equipment could climb the slippery, thawing hillsides and the weapons had to be destroyed and abandoned "after the last round of ammunition had been fired."[50]

General Konev, now realizing that the Germans were escaping, was enraged and then resolved to keep his promise to Stalin not to let any “Hitlerites” or “Fascists” escape annihilation. Soviet intelligence, however, at this stage vastly overestimated the armored strength of III Panzerkorps, and Konev therefore proceeded in force. At this time the 20th Tank Corps brought its brigade of the new Joseph Stalin-2’s to the Korsun battlefield.[52] Konev ordered all available armor and artillery to attack the escaping units, cut them into isolated groups and then destroy them piecemeal.[53] The two blocking Soviet infantry divisions, 206th Rifle and 5th Guards Airborne, had been smashed by the German assault forces; without infantry support Soviet tanks then fired into the escaping formations from a distance. Sensing that no anti-tank weapons were in the field, T-34s commenced to wade into unprotected support troops, headquarters units, stragglers and red-cross identified medical columns with their wounded charges.[54][55]

By mid-day, the majority of the now intermingled divisions had reached the Gniloy Tikich stream, turbulent and swollen by the melting snow. Despite the fact that 1st Panzer Division had captured a bridge, and engineers had erected another, the panicking men saw the river as their only escape from the rampaging T-34s. Since the main body was away and south of the bridgeheads, the last tanks, trucks and wagons were driven into the icy water, trees were felled to form make-shift bridges and the troops floundered across as best as they could, with hundreds of exhausted men drowning, being swept downstream with horses and military debris. Many others succumbed to shock or hypothermia. Groups of men were brought across on lifelines fashioned from belts and harnesses. Others formed rafts of planks and other debris to tow the wounded to the German side, at all times under Soviet artillery and T-34 fire. Gen. Lieb, after establishing a semblance of order at the banks throughout the afternoon, crossed the Gniloy Tikich swimming alongside his horse.[56] When Wiking commander Herbert Otto Gille attempted to form a human chain across the river, alternating between those who could swim and those who could not, scores of men died when someone’s hand slipped and the chain broke. Several hundred Soviet prisoners of war, a troupe of Russian women auxiliaries and Ukrainian civilians who feared reprisals by the Red Army, also crossed the icy waters.[57] Toward the end phase of the breakout, engineers had built several more bridges and rear guard units of 57th and 88th Infantry Divisions crossed the river "dry," including "20 [horse drawn] panje wagons with ... about 600 wounded" aboard.[58]

That so many reached the German lines at Lysyanka was due in great measure to the exertions of III Panzerkorps as it drove in relief of Group Stemmermann. The cutting edge was provided by Heavy Armored Regiment Bäke (Schweres Panzer Regiment Bäke), named for its commander Lt.Col. Dr. Franz Bäke (a dentist in civilian life). The unit was equipped with Tigers and Panthers and an engineer battalion with specialist bridging skills.[59]

The Outcome

The Red Army encirclement of Cherkassy-Korsun inflicted serious damage on six German divisions, including Wiking; these units were nearly decimated and had to be withdrawn, requiring complete re-equipping after this military disaster. Most escaped troops were eventually shipped from collection points near Uman to rehabilitation areas and hospitals in Poland, or were sent on leave to their home towns. The Soviet forces continued their steamroller drive westward with massive tank armies of T-34's, Iosif Stalin 2’s and trucks and Shermans supplied by their American allies under Lend-Lease.[60]

Controversy exists to this day over casualties and losses. Soviet historian Vladimir Telpukhovsky claims that the Red Army killed 52,000 Germans and took 11,000 prisoners, other Soviet sources claim 57,000 killed and 18,000 prisoners - with Soviet casualty numbers officially unpublished. The high numbers given are attributed by sources to the erroneous Soviet belief that all German units were at their full establishment and that most of the German 8th Army was trapped.[61] German accounts state that the under 60,000 men originally inside the cauldron had shrunk in heavy fighting to less than 50,000 by 16 February, that 45,000 took part in the breakout and "that 27,703 German soldiers and 1,063 Russian auxiliaries had broken out unscathed. In addition 7,496 wounded" got through to III Panzerkorps plus the 4,161 wounded previously evacuated from the cauldron by air, leaving behind a total of 19,000 dead, wounded, captured or missing.[62] Douglas E. Nash’s Appendix 7 “German Present for Battle Unit Strengths after the Breakout” in Hell’s Gate lists per unit survivors, with total escapees of 40,423, including the wounded flown out of the pocket and evacuated from Lysyanka.[63] By 19 February III Panzerkorps began a pullback from the Lysyanka salient; it was assumed that no more soldiers from Gruppe Stemmermann would be rescued.[64]

General Stemmermann died fighting among his rear guard. Gen. Lieb survived the war and died in 1981. The commander of 2nd Ukrainian Front, Gen. Konev, was made a Marshal of the Soviet Union for his great victory. Gen. Vatutin was shot by Ukrainian Nationalist UPA insurgents on 28 February 1944 and died on 15 April 1944.


“In the context of World War II, the battle at Korsun was a minor one, but with an unusually high degree of drama. The Soviet commanders took advantage of their considerable numerical superiority on the Eastern Front and decided to attack an exposed German position, which Hitler stubbornly decided to hold.”[65] Yet German field commanders inside and outside the cauldron grasped when a “now or never” order had to be given.[66] The German disaster, "a major defeat,"[67] and escape is documented. On the Soviet side the attacks to eliminate the pocket did not work out as intended, did not proceed as planned, the Wehrmacht relief attempts could not be repelled as designed and the forces inside the cauldron were not annihilated as promised to Stalin or asserted in propaganda messages to the western Allies or penned in memoirs and staff studies. "There was no Stalingrad on the Dnieper, as the Soviets claimed ..."[67] “Nevertheless, the Soviet position, relative to the Germans, was stronger after the battle than before, so Korsun may be viewed as a Soviet victory, even though it was bought at a considerably higher price than it ought to have been.”[68]


  1. ^ Krivosheev p.227
  2. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, The Korsun Pocket, p. 277
  3. ^ Frieser p. 416
  4. ^ Glantz & House, p. 298
  5. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 283 (citing The Korsun-Shevchenkovskii Operation, p. 41 and 52; Krivosheev, Grif Sekretnosti Sniat, p. 227)
  6. ^ Frieser
  7. ^ Nash, Hell’s Gate, p. 366
  8. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 280
  9. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 37
  10. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 37-39
  11. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 39
  12. ^ Konev, Battles Hitler Lost, quoted in Nash, p. 200
  13. ^ Nash, p. 27
  14. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 335
  15. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 336; a total of 253 artillery pieces were inside the pocket [p. 53]
  16. ^ Image description abbreviated from nearly same image in Nash, p. 161
  17. ^ Perrett, Knights of the Black Cross, p. 167
  18. ^ a b Nash, p. 162
  19. ^ a b Zetterling & Frankson, p. 180
  20. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 184
  21. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 185
  22. ^ Group Stemmermann essentially consisted of six divisions: 57th, 72nd, 88th, 389th divisions, Corps Detachment B [Division Group 112], all infantry formations with no armored components; and Panzer Division Wiking with the attached Wallonien and Narwa. The only units considered still capable of aggressive, offensive operations were 72nd Infantry Division and Wiking. (Department of the Army Pamphlet 20-234, p. 19-20)
  23. ^ Nash, p. 194
  24. ^ Perrett, p. 167
  25. ^ DA Pamphlet 20-234, p. 22
  26. ^ Nash, p. 198
  27. ^ Description from same image in Nash, p. 287
  28. ^ Nash, p. 119
  29. ^ Nash, Appendix 8, p. 399
  30. ^ In addition to the cauldron supply operation, the Luftwaffe delivered 325 tons of ammunition, 74,289 gallons of fuel and 24 tons of food to spearheads of the relief formations [Nash, Appendix 8, p. 399]
  31. ^ DA Pamphlet 20-234, p. 19
  32. ^ The regiments of this division were raised in the city of Trier and the Mosel valley in western Germany
  33. ^ Nash, p. 212-214
  34. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 245
  35. ^ Nash, p. 369
  36. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 255
  37. ^ Nash, p. 258
  38. ^ Nash, p. 287
  39. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 244
  40. ^ Nash, p. 296, map of disposition of forces during the breakout
  41. ^ Carell, Scorched Earth, p. 418
  42. ^ Nash, p. 280
  43. ^ Carell, p. 417
  44. ^ Perrett, p. 168
  45. ^ Nash, p. 283
  46. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 242
  47. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 257
  48. ^ DA Pamphlet 20-234, p. 27
  49. ^ Nash, p. 300
  50. ^ a b DA Pamphlet 20-234, p. 40
  51. ^ Nash, p. 301
  52. ^ Nash, p. 267
  53. ^ One such isolated group of stragglers from the Wallonien brigade was set upon by a “swarm of Cossacks” [Carell, p. 430]. The vengeful cavalry hacked at the escapees with their sabers in “an orgy of slaughter” [Perrett, p. 169]
  54. ^ Nash, p. 308
  55. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 267
  56. ^ DA Pamphlet 20-234, p. 31
  57. ^ Carell, p. 430
  58. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 272
  59. ^ Perrett, p. 169
  60. ^ Lend-Lease: Cooperation for Victory. Northern Convoys to USSR
  61. ^ These Soviet claims can be safely questioned. The numbers appear in a Soviet General Staff Study of the 1944 Korsun operation with after-war amendments. The study is critiqued by Swedish historian Niklas Zetterling as "anything but accurate" and "completely unreliable." (See “Comments on the Soviet General Staff Study on the Korsun-Shevchenkovskii Operation” September 2002.)
    David Glantz now generalizes that “Soviet and Russian estimates of German losses are wildly inaccurate since these sources routinely inflate German and Axis losses as greatly as they understate their own.” (David M. Glantz. Red Storm over the Balkans. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. 2007, p. 381)
    Douglas E. Nash as well points to Soviet overstatements; e.g., the Soviet 5th Cavalry Corps and 4th Guards Army "claimed that they had practically wiped out most of Wiking [on 6 February 1944], though this was not remotely close ... In fact, Wiking’s biggest battles in the pocket were yet to come" (Nash, p. 110). The Soviets claimed "to have downed more than 329 aircraft” during the aerial supply operation; that number would have been more planes than the Luftwaffe had operational in its Korps area during this entire period and "should be regarded as an example of the degree of exaggeration to which the Soviets were prone. This would not be the last wildly inflated claim they would make" (Nash, p. 120).
  62. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 277-278
  63. ^ Nash, p. 398
  64. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 281
  65. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 297
  66. ^ Field Marshal Erich von Manstein and General Hermann Breith gave such orders, as well as numerous other officers and NCO's with their own micro-view during the battle
  67. ^ a b Nash, p. 382
  68. ^ Zetterling & Frankson, p. 298


  • Armstrong, Richard N. Red Army Tank Commanders. The Armored Guards. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1994. ISBN 0-88740-581-9
  • Carell, Paul. Scorched Earth. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971. ISBN 0-345-02213-0
  • Department of the Army Pamphlet 20-234. Operations of Encircled Forces: German Experiences in Russia. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1952.
  • Glantz, David & House, Jonathan M. When Titans Clashed. How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. ISBN 0-7006-0717-X
  • Nash, Douglas E. Hell's Gate: The Battle of the Cherkassy Pocket, January-February 1944 . Southbury, Connecticut: RZM Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-9657584-3-5
  • Perrett, Bryan. Knights of the Black Cross, Hitler's Panzerwaffe and its Leaders. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986. ISBN 0-7090-2806-7
  • Shukman, Harold, ed. Stalin's Generals. New York: Grove Press, 1993. ISBN 1-84212-513-3
  • Zetterling, Niklas & Frankson, Anders. The Korsun Pocket. The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944. Drexel Hill (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania: Casemate Publishers. 2008. ISBN 978-1-932033-88-5


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