General Volsky promised Stalin the failure of the Stalingrad counteroffensive


On the eve of the start of Operation Uranus, the Red Army’s counter-offensive near Stalingrad, which was to turn the tide of the Second World War, Alexander Vasilevsky, the head of the General Staff of the Red Army, had to prove to Stalin that the counteroffensive assigned to 19 in November was not doomed to failure.

Anxious letter to T-bills

The Supreme anxiety caused a letter addressed to him, in which “Uranus” predicted a sad outcome ... Here is how Vasilevsky himself described what happened: “In the first days of the operation, the South-Western Front, whose headquarters was located in the city of Serafimovich, played a leading role. There, for me, the General Staff prepared a point of leadership of the South-Western, Donskoy and Stalingrad fronts, intended to participate in the offensive operation, where I was going to move on November 17. However, on the phone, JV Stalin suggested that I arrive on November 18 in Moscow to discuss one of the questions concerning the upcoming operation. He didn’t tell me anything more specific. In 18 hours in the Kremlin office of Stalin held a meeting of the State Committee of Defense. Stalin immediately accepted me and offered, while the discussion of a number of major economic issues went on, to familiarize himself with the letter received in his name by the commander of the 4 Mechanized Corps, V. T. Volsky, intended to play a decisive role in the upcoming operation on the Stalingrad Front sector. Komkor wrote to the State Defense Committee that the planned offensive near Stalingrad, given the balance of forces and means that had developed by the beginning of the offensive, not only does not allow to count on success, but, in his opinion, is certainly doomed to failure with all the ensuing consequences and what it is like an honest member of the party, knowing the opinion and other responsible participants of the offensive, asks the T-bills to immediately and thoroughly check the reality of the decisions taken on the operation, to postpone it, and perhaps abandon it altogether. T-bills, of course, demanded that I evaluate the letter. I expressed surprise at the letter: during the last weeks, the author actively participated in the preparation of the operation and never once expressed the slightest doubt on the operation as a whole, or on the tasks assigned to the troops of the corps entrusted to it. Moreover, 10 on November at the final meeting, he assured representatives of the Headquarters and the military council of the front that his corps was ready for the task, and then reported on full combat capability and on the excellent, fighting mood of the personnel of this compound. In conclusion, I stated that there was no reason not only for canceling a prepared operation, but also for revising the timing of its commencement. Stalin ordered that he be connected by phone with Volsky right away and after a short and by no means harsh conversation with him, he recommended that I ignore this letter and leave the author of the letter in the corps, as he had just given him the word at all costs perform the task of the body. Finally, the question of him as the corps commander had to be decided by the results of the corps’s actions, which Stalin ordered me to report to him in the first days of the operation. ”

Preparedness tank units to fight was low

Generally, General Vasily Volsky had every reason to be worried. First of all, the weak level of training of tankers, above all - the mechanics - drivers, caused him a well-founded alarm. Characteristically, this was not only for the 4 mechanized corps. The report on the military operations of the tank forces of the 57 Army for the period from November 1 to December 27 1942 of the year, for example, says: “The preparedness of the tank units for combat, with the exception of 90 and 235 TBR, was low. Tank mechanics had little practice of driving, and most of them did not drive tanks in combat conditions and did not participate in battles. Gunners little practically fired. The motorized infantry was poorly prepared for offensive operations, and units for lack of time, in tactical terms, were poorly knit together. " Volsky had every reason to be worried, and he considered it necessary to report this to the Headquarters.

The military historian Alexey Isaev wrote on this subject: “In such an account of the events, V. T. Volsky looks at best as an alarmist, who simply could not bear the strain of the preparatory period of a major operation. If we know that the tankers of Volsky’s corps did not smell powder and had little driving experience, the letter from the corps commander to the Supreme looks completely different. Archival documents make it possible to doubt in such a carefully drawn picture of surprise AM Vasilevsky after reading the letter of V.T. Volsky. It is doubtful that he had any idea about the principles of manning the formations involved in Operation Uranus. Accordingly, the aforementioned conversation with Joseph Stalin seems invented from beginning to end. Most likely, it was simply decided that against Romanians and so come down. As subsequent events showed, it got away. ”

Indeed, the highlight of the Uranus plan was the opportunity to deliver the first blow to Hitler’s Romanian allies, to break through the defenses on their sectors. The German command entrusted the protection of the flanks on the minor, as it seemed to the sites, inimitable "eagles" of Marshal Antonescu. The price of this greatest strategic mistake was the destruction of Paulus's 6 Army. The Soviet command was able to brilliantly realize the opportunities opened before it ...

Troops on the first day of the operation advanced 20 km

We must pay tribute to Marshal Vasilevsky - when reporting to Stalin about the first days of the operation, General Volsky, who caused him so much concern, did not make him black. However, the actions of his mechanized corps did not give any grounds for this: “Reporting to the Supreme Commander on the successful course of the operation, I reported on the excellent actions of the X. NUMX Mechanized Corps of V. T. Volsky, whose troops showed exceptional heroism, courage, bravery on the first day of the operation and advanced, breaking the resistance of the enemy, by 4 km. ”

Later, for the skillful leadership of the troops, Vasily Volsky was given the military rank of “Lieutenant General of Tank Forces” with the award of the Order of Suvorov of the II degree, and the 4 mechanism was given the honorary name “Stalingrad”, and it was transformed into the 3 Guards Mechanized Corps. Despite the serious health problems (throat tuberculosis), Volsky held important posts, including the commander of the 5 Guards Tank Army. He ended the war in the rank of "Colonel General of Tank Forces". Died in 1946 year.

So there seemed to be no "harmful" consequences for his career after writing to Stalin.

True, many decades after the end of the war, a version appeared in the press that, due to doubts, in November 1942 of the year he was not given the title Hero of the Soviet Union, which Volsky could well count on. But with full confidence to confirm or deny this version is impossible ...
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  1. +6
    16 September 2017 07: 52
    During the Civil War, Volsky served as a military commissar. His career was interesting in the interwar period: Commander of the 86th, 69th, 37th cavalry regiments - September 1927 - December 1929,6th Separate Mechanized Brigade. He graduated from the Military Academy. MV Frunze in 1926, KUVNAS in 1929, armored KUKS in 1930. From 09.31 an assistant inspector of motorized forces of the Red Army. Senior military representative of the engineering department of Arkos, England February - May 1932. Commander of the 6th mechanized brigades -12.32-12.34.At the disposal of the Office for the commanding staff of the Red Army January-December 1935.From November 1935, the head of the engineering department of the USSR trade mission in Milan, Italy. From January 1936 to May 1939 at the disposal of the Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army headquarters. Military attache with the Soviet embassy in Italy from 1938 to 1939. Assistant to the head of the Military Academy of Mechanization and Motorization of the Red Army named after Stalin from 20.05.1939.
    1. +4
      16 September 2017 14: 19
      Thank you very much. Thanks to your help, you don’t need to go into the jungle of the information space ... hi
  2. +2
    16 September 2017 14: 17
    The fact that Volsky’s letter was sent to Stalin was noted in fiction ... True, I can be mistaken, I read a lot .... It seems to K. Simonov in “Soldiers are not born” .... I do not insist, but the letter is known ... And I would like Stalin asked the leadership of the front to very objectively follow the actions of the compound .... The truth is mentioned in the article .....

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