The War Illustrated No 139 Vol 6 October 16th 1942

MAtNTX STAT tO /V v and (rad n c y & l ^W l BEKETO'/SKAYA :j•>- J j I I Miles IN A RUSSIAN VILLAGE these Red Arm /men are charging through a farmyard, while some of their fellows put up covering fire from behind agricultural implements and military debris loft behind by the Nazis in their flight. Scores of “inhabited places" have been retaken recently by the Russians after extremely bittar fighting. Tho'.o, British Official: Crown Copyright RUSSIA Throughout the whole of our period German attacks on Stalingrad increased in intensity. Every expedient was tried :concentration of bomb­ing on small areas to obliterate the defences, bombardment by heavy siege guns, attacks by tanks in mass or infiltrating. Ail failed to crush the defence, and more and more infantry had to be used in street fighting, where the opponents were so closcly locked that bombs and heavy shells could not sup­port the attack for fear of destroying their own troops. In this class of fighting-the Germans met their match their advance became slower and slower extravagant, almost desperate, ure of reserves failed to increase the rate of progress. Contrary to expectations, the Russians have been able to reinforce the garrison, though I doubt whether the report that they used submerged bridges to cross the Volga can be accepted. From a purely military standpoint, Von Bock must have begun to doubt whether it was really worth expending men and material in the attempt to complete the capture of the city by assault. He had already achieved a great part of his object, for he had practically destroyed Stalingrad as a centre of war industries, and had gained a position which enabled him to interrupt through traffic on the Volga. The attainment of his full object was evidently going to be no easy matter it would mean further loss of time and might necessitate damaging his own army more than that <Jf his enemy. If he left an investing forcc at Stalingrad to maintain the advantage he had already secured, might he not divert the bulk of his striking force to a more worth­while object ?His army pressing in the direction of the Grozny oilfield and the Caspian was held upon the Terek river. By strongly re­inforcing it, could he not set it again in motion ?During the winter it might well be more important to hold air-'bases on the Caspian from which shipping, carrying Baku Cessation o f attacks on Stalingrad would in any case relieve the strain on his com­munications, and allow him to give more weight to the Caucasus operations. If Von Bock contemplated any such switch of his main effort, would Hitler consent 7 The prestige of the Rcichswehr was deeply committed, and failure to take Stalingrad, coming after failure to capture Leningrad and Moscow, would provide fresh proof that it was not invincible. The situation was one that seemed likely to provoke a clash between military and political considerations. The growing strength and success of Tim oshenko’s counter­attack introduced anew complication. If it developed the weight of a major offensive it might not only relieve pressure on the city, but also make it impossible for Von Bock to reinforce the Caucasus front. "Berlin had also begun to show increased anxiety about Z hukov's offensive, which had so far only succeeded in maintaining sufficient pressure on theV orthern sectors of the front to prevent German troops being transferred to the southern theatre. Now Berlin suspccted that the offensive had not developed its full strength, and spoke of large Russian forces assembling in the Moscow region. Despite their great successes, the Germans evidently now realize that they have not broken Russia’s offensive power. Com­mitted to holding a front immensely longer than that of last winter, they obviously fear that the initiative which the Russians hold STALINGRAD, the great Russian city for which Hitler’s legions under Vcn Bock have been battling by day and by night for weeks, stands on the Volga, Europe’s greatest river and hereabout a mile wide. German attacks are indicated by black arrows, and Russian counter­attacks bv white Bones. y courtesy of The Daily Telegraph ALONG THE BATTLEFRONTS by Our Military Critic, Maj.-Gen. Sir Charles Gwynn, K.C.B., ,S.O.D Far from worsening, the situation during the second half of September steadily improved, although there was no outstanding event to mark progress. The most satisfactory feature was the obvious German discomfiture at the failure to achieve decisive results anywhere on ihe Russian front, in spite of intensified exertions and reckless expenditure of lives. German spokesmen, unable to hide their disappoint­ment, began to make excuses, and there were rumours of friction between Von Bock and Hitler. Again Russia in her hour of greatest peril has shown signs, not of collapse, but of renewed vitality. Elsewhere, although the occupation of Madagascar was the only clear-cut success achieved by the Allies, they have held their ground in practicaljy all theatres and have inflicteJ considerable losses on the enemy. Bombing attacks on Germany are steadily increasing in weight, and covering a wider area. If they have not yet perceptibly affected G ermany's immediate war potentiality they must have compelled her to draw heavily on reserves, increased labour difficulties, and made the problem of finding adequate ac­commodation for large sections of the population during the winter very serious. .If there areas yet no indications where or when the Allies can achicve decisive victory over either the Axis or Japan, the prospects of the enemy gaining further substantial successes have definitely diminished. Meanwhile, Timoshenko’s counter-attacks from the north against Von Bock’s left flank, which at first seemed merely gallant attempts to relieve pressure on the city, and too weak to produce much effect, grew in importance when they also were reinforced. Von Bock could no longer treat them lightly or rely on his despised Italian allies to protect his flank. German troops, including Panzer divisions, had to be employed to meet what had become a dangerous threat. oil and Allied war material from Iran, could be attacked, than to be established on the banks of a frozen Volga. Since his capture of Novorossisk his troops there also had failed to make further progress. Did not they require reinforcements in order to capture Tuapse and thereby further restrict the activities of the Black Sea fleet ?Though he had captured Novorossisk the Russians were instill a position to prevent him making use of the port for the relief o f the strain on his railways.
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