The War Illustrated No 161 Vol 7 August 20th 1943

Approximate BolkhO’ s.• Briansjc •tlsenjk: Jpuikha Q^ L\Smov6yHo/ocl^i F -r0P ^°\ mievka 0 GlazunovkaA v ifd v s k.S evskS " ^ielgorogl Bortsovka • Gra'tvoron KHARKOV The enemy obviously is accepting the risk of'a large-scale disaster :for evacuation as a last resort •would, under concentrated air attack and under pressure of Allied pursuit, be avery different matter from dribbling in reinforcements. It might be altogether im­practicable and at the best extremely cosily. >'et the Germans were almost bound to accept the risk, for at no other point in Italian territory could they hope to meet onus comparatively equal terms. The number of German troops in Italy is small, and Germany has no central reserve from which the numbers can be increased materially, nor can reserves be safely transferred from other sectors. r^LEARLY, with such limited numbers, ^Germany could not consider holding the whole of Italy without Italian cooperation, and that, in any case, would have entailed* the danger of German troops becoming involved in an Italian debacle. Withdrawal' of German troops to Northern Italy would have antagonized the Italians, and left them, even if they made the attempt, incapable of stituted from the in­experienced and in- adequrttefy trained personnel produced by Hitler’s call-up of all Germany’s avail­able manpower. Yet actually they are evi­dently first-class troops probably with a high percentage of recovered wounded and invalids who have all the advan­tages of experience and thorough- train­ing. Their loss would therefore make dis­aster all the more serious. If'Badoglio fails to rally the *-Ita'lian nation and army and is forced to accept the Allied terms, the Germans nitiy hope that he would be able to give anthem op­portunity of with­drawing "such parts of their force as they can succeed in evac­uating from Sicily. But if Badoglio is able to continue the struggle it seems pro­bable that the Ger­mans •will fight for their bridgehead in Sicily to the last pos­sible position, and a ’quick, decisive suc­cess such as was won in Tunisia should not be ex­pected when our attack is delivered. RUSSIA PRIM O SOLE carrier is ists arm advance Cowards over the S im eto River in Sicily— which this Bren »ne of grim fighting when British parachut- nd then were forced back. With the reinforcements the bridge— vital for our again captured and held successfully against counter-attacks. Our positions were finally consolidated on both banks of the river. See also parachutists’ story in page 183. #Photo, British Official: Crown Copyright Events of the past month in Russia have been of even ^greater importance than those in the Medi­terranean and have been no less favourable to the Allies in their effect on the general war situation. In their abortive offensive the Germans made prodigal use of their best and most formidable troops, *and it is certain they could not have been brought to such ]fan she had hoped to be able to buildup such a reserve by adopting a defensive attitude in Russia, that hope must by now be rapidly vanishing. Having failed to disrupt Russian offensive plans by. her own offensive, her Russian front is now threatened throughout its length and needs reserve strength behind it as much as or more than her fronts in the south and west of Europe. No reserves can be spared for it. *•v O REL- B LIE G O ROD F RON Ton July 27,1943. Von H unersdorff’s push from Bielgorod to Kursk had been smashed, and the Soviet advancc onO rel neared its conclusion. O rel and Bielgorod were retaken by the Red Arm yon August 5. By courtesy oj The Times holding the southern part of the peninsula, which would then become an Allied base. In fact, the north-east corner-of Sicily alone offered a sufficiently restricted front on which a small, exclusively German force might check /HJIied progress and at least gain time to see what policy under Badoglio’s leadership Italy would follow. But even should the Germans be able to hold this position for sometime it will not prevent the further development of Allied plans nor interfere with intensified bombing of Italy. Germany cannot escape the dilemma in which her lack of a strong central reserve places her. It is interesting to note that all the German divisions in Sicily arc new formations under old names of divisions lost in Africa or at Stalingrad. They might therefore have been expected to be of second-class quality con- abrupt standstill unless they had suffered _ losses anon immense scale. The Germans ‘TJN n 1 fR !-ls® ia.n. Pressure the Orel salient themselves admitted that the intensity of the* las diminished in size, but it would fighting was unprecedented. **Practicable for the Germans to with- J draw lrom it, although prooably. only with The Russian offensive against the Orel great loss of material. There are, however, salient, although its progress has not been no signs that this yetis their intention, and rapid and on small-scale maps would seem to ihey may hope that the Russians will Exhaust affect a comparatively insignificant area, their offensive strength in their efforts to must be costing the Germans heavily. An area so highly fortified cannot be easily overrun, and so long as it is defended with determination it must be dealt with by a series of well prepared concentrated attacks. But the defence has little chance of retreat, and the capture of each successive locality implies the practical annihilation of its garrison. The cost to the defence is therefore very high. The Germans appear determined to hold the salient at all costs and have again used their reserves of mobile troops prodigally in counter-attacks which when unsuccessful are liable to prove desperately expensive. The drain on German reserves must there­fore during the past have been exceptionally high. We know from biner inexperience the last war that it is the intensity of the fighting rather than the extent of the area covered by operations that rapidly reduces reserve strength. Germany’s great weakness is the lack of a central reserve available to reinforce threatened points heron immense defensive front. PAGE 163 strength effect its reduction. But there is little reason to believe that the development of Russian plans depends entirely on the elimination of the Orel salient or that Zhukov would make Hitler’s mistake of allowing the desire to capture a city to divert him from his main object. Desirable as the capture of Orel undoubtedly is, it should not be looked on as the test by which the success of Russian strategy can be judged. THE EIGHT HARM YIN SICILY Units serving in the Eighth Army in Sicily are :*Th# 5th, 50th, and 51st United Kingdom Divisions and the following Canadian regiments, their placcs of origin, when not obvious, being given in parentheses. Hastings and Prince Edward (Eastern Ontario). Royal Canadian (Condon, Toronto, Montreal). 48th H ighlanae rs, Canada (Toronto). Princess P atricia's Canadian Light Infantry (Winnipeg, Vancouver). Seaforth Highlanders (Vancouver, B.C.). E d mon ton ,West Nova Scotia, Royal 22nd (French Canadian :Quebec). C arieton and York (New Brunswick). •[On August 4,1943 Mr. Churchill announced that the 78th United Kingdom Division was operating in the Centuripe Sector.]
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