FURER'S FURY AND A NEW CONFUSION PLAN
Having suffered a defeat near Moscow, Hitler flew into a rage. His illusions about the imminent and inevitable seizure of the Soviet capital were dispelled, plans to seize Caucasian oil were unfulfilled, and the order to cut off the flow of military supplies to Moscow along the Volga from the southern regions was unfulfilled. For the first time in the war years, German troops suffered a crushing defeat and were forced to retreat for the first time.
In the first quarter of 1942, the General Staff of the Red Army tried to determine where the German command might strike the main blow. Opinions diverged, but one thing prevailed: the main goal of the German troops is still Moscow.
However, Hitler had more extensive plans. His plan for the summer offensive on the Eastern Front was framed in the form of a plan for a new campaign. On March 28, the Chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces arrived at Hitler’s headquarters and reported to him a draft plan for the new operation under the conditional name “Blau”. Hitler carefully studied him for several days, subjecting the proposal of the Army General Staff to clarifications and corrections. 5 On April, the plan was finally approved as directive No. 41.
Directive No. 41 (“Blau”) contained the strategic plan of the German command to conduct the war on the Eastern Front in 1942 and defined the main directions of the main attack of the German forces. The goal of the 1942 summer offensive of the German forces on the Eastern Front was to “retake the initiative and impose its will on the enemy”. The main attack was planned in a southerly direction with "the aim to destroy the enemy west of the Don River and subsequently seize the oil regions of the Caucasus and the passes across the Caucasus range."
In the course of operations in this strategic direction, it was planned to seize Stalingrad, on which Hitler especially insisted. In order to create the prerequisites for the successful implementation of the Blau plan, it was supposed to initially seize Sevastopol, the Kerch Peninsula, cut off the protrusion of the Soviet front in the Barvenkovo area, as well as conduct operations on some other sectors of the Eastern Front.
Considerable attention was paid to the Stalingrad direction. The directive on this states the following: “Try to reach Stalingrad, or at least expose it to severe weapons so that it loses its importance as a center of the military industry and a communications hub. ”
By giving such an order, Hitler hoped that by seizing the Caucasus, he could also destroy the city, which bore the name of Stalin. Many historians view the order to destroy Stalingrad with the help of “heavy weapons” as a clear desire of Hitler to slap Stalin and thereby have a psychological effect on him. In fact, Hitler's plan was much more serious. After the capture of Stalingrad, Hitler planned to turn the main shock forces of the German troops to the north, cut off Moscow from the rear, and then carry out a general attack on the Soviet capital from the east and west.
DEVELOPMENT OF DEFENSE OPERATION
In the course of the greatest battle of Stalingrad, all military-diplomatic missions abroad worked selflessly. What information was obtained in 1942 by military diplomats operating far from the Eastern Front?
As stated above, Hitler approved the directive No. 41 5 of April. However, its main provisions due to the work of Soviet military diplomats became known in Moscow much earlier. This fact was noted by Army General Sergey Shtemenko as follows: “In the summer of 1942, the enemy’s plan to seize the Caucasus ... was discovered fairly quickly. But this time the Soviet command was not able to provide decisive action to defeat the attacking enemy group in a short time. ”
It is difficult to say exactly when the Wehrmacht Army General Staff began to develop the directive, but Hitler’s first attack on the spring offensive on the Eastern Front came to Moscow from the military attache (BAT) at the Soviet Embassy in London on March 3 of March 1942. It was reported that Germany “plans to launch an offensive in the direction of the Caucasus in the spring of 1942. For these purposes, Berlin has achieved agreements on the direction of the New Romanian 16, Bulgarian 12, Slovak 10, Slovak 2 and several Hungarian divisions of the whole to the Eastern Front ... "
Vladimir Lot, in the work The Secret Front of the General Staff, indicates that on the same day a new message arrived:
“The Bulgarian military attache in Turkey reported from Ankara to Sofia the following:
a) Germany will launch its new offensive against the USSR between April 15 and May 1;
b) the offensive of the German troops will not have the character of a blitzkrieg. The Germans intend to act slowly but successfully ... "
March 15 is one of the sources of the staff member of the Soviet military attache in London, Captain IM Kozlova Dolly conveyed the contents of the conversations of the Japanese ambassador in Berlin with the German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, held on February 18, 22 and 23. In these conversations Ribbentrop declared that the Eastern Front was stabilized. To the question of the Japanese ambassador when to expect the spring offensive on the Eastern Front, the German minister replied that “the plan of the summer campaign is being developed by the General Staff. He cannot give the exact date of the beginning of the offensive, but in general terms, the plan is the same, about which Hitler spoke to the Japanese ambassador in a personal conversation. In the operations of Germany against the USSR in 1942, the southern sector of the Eastern Front will be of paramount importance. It is there that the offensive will begin, and the battle will unfold to the north. "
Further, the agent reported that, according to the Japanese ambassador in Berlin, the Germans plan to cut off the USSR from external aid, to expand the offensive in the south, including the entire Donbass and the Caucasus. If it fails, as Ribbentrop stated, to completely break the Soviet regime, then after the summer offensive of the USSR, it will lose all meaning and power.
By the way, this source, since January 1942, transmitted to I. Kozlov copies of German radiograms decoded by the British as a result of the falling into their hands of the famous Enigma encryption machine. Dolly did not understand why Winston Churchill did not transmit this information to the Soviet leadership, who needed it to repel the onslaught of the German armies on the Eastern Front. During 1942 of the year, he transmitted deciphered German, Japanese, and Turkish radiograms from 20 to 38 every month. By that time, the British interpreter service was able to split the diplomatic and military ciphers of not only Germany, but also Japan and Turkey.
The information from Dolly came in such numbers that they forced the Soviet military attache in London to contact the Center with such an unusual request: “I ask you to evaluate the reports of Dolly. Allow them to be sent by regular mail, so as not to download the radio. Your plans for information these materials are not provided. Please give instructions for the tasks of Dolly. ”
A day later he received the following reply: “The data of Dolly are very valuable. They must be sent in full. Let Dolly give more of this stuff. Strengthen security measures and conspiracy when meeting with Dolly.
Why did the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) treat Dolly's materials so much? Firstly, because this agent transferred the content of all important negotiations held by Ribbentrop with the ambassadors of the Axis countries. Thus, the political intentions of the German leadership became the property of Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov and were taken into account when conducting foreign policy actions of the USSR. Secondly, Dolly passed on the content of many orders that the Hitlerite command sent to its generals, operating at Stalingrad and in the Caucasus direction.
Here are some details that Dolly transmitted in November 1942.
November 16: “The British intercepted reports from Berlin indicate that perhaps the Manstein 11 Army will not be used in the central sector of the Eastern Front, where it is currently located, and in its southern sector.”
November 18: "... the German Air Force is experiencing a significant shortage of fuel in the units operating on the southern front from Stalingrad to the Caucasus."
November 19: “German artillery lacks high-explosive and shrapnel shells for 105-mm field guns. This explains its weak intensity at Stalingrad. ”
November 22: “Goering ordered the 4th Air the fleet pay special attention to the concentration of Russian tanks in the area of Beketovka. ”
November 22 “Dolly” transmitted the decoding of the radio intercepts of the orders of the 6 Army from November 20. From these data it follows that the Germans intend to "stop the attacks on Stalingrad, the forces will be withdrawn from the city and used to strengthen the defense behind the west wing of the Paulus army."
November 30: "All air forces in the Stalingrad region will be thrown into the area of the Don river arc to bombard the concentration of Soviet troops near Pavlovsk, especially in the area of the Hungarian 8 and 9 Italian Army". The same report said that "Field Marshal Manstein took command of the Don Army Group on November 27.
These and other similar reports of "Dolly", revealing the position of the German troops surrounded at Stalingrad, were reported to I.V. Stalin, G.K. Zhukov and A.M. Vasilevsky.
A strictly limited circle of officials knew about the existence of this valuable source in Moscow. Even today, the real name of this person remains unknown.
Other military diplomatic missions also worked actively in 1942. Information from them allowed the General Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army to prepare a special communication to the General Staff in March 1942:
“The preparation of the spring offensive is confirmed by the transfer of German troops and materials. For the period from January 1 to March 10, 1942 was redeployed to 35 divisions, and the human army was continuously replenished. Intensive work is being done to restore the railway network in the occupied territory of the USSR, there is an intensified supply of combat and transport vehicles ... The center of gravity of the spring offensive will be transferred to the southern sector of the front with an auxiliary strike in the north while simultaneously demonstrating on the central front against Moscow.
For the spring offensive, Germany, together with its allies, will deploy 65 new divisions ... The most likely time for the spring offensive is mid-April or early May 1942. ”
At the end of March, military diplomats continued to report: “The most likely direction of the main attack of the Germans on the Eastern Front will be the Rostov direction. The goal of the military offensive is to seize the oil base of the USSR and subsequently hit the St. Volga.
At the end of March, in April and May, clarification information about the plans of the Germans continued to be received from foreign attaches. For example, 31 in March, Gano, the source of the military attache office at the governments of Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in London, reported to Moscow:
“According to a credible source, the plan of the German offensive on the Eastern Front from Berlin provides for two directions:
1. A blow to Leningrad to reinforce Finland and break ties and supplies to the USSR through the White Sea.
2. The attack on the Caucasus, where the main effort is foreseen in the direction of Stalingrad and a minor - on Rostov and, moreover, after the seizure of the Crimea - on Maikop. The main goal of the offensive is the capture of the Volga throughout its length. On the west bank, the Germans intend to put up strong fortifications.
There were disagreements regarding the actions on the central front in the German headquarters. Some prefer to strike with a frontal blow, others - to liquidate Moscow through a detour. ”
At the end of the report, the agent called the approximate start date of the German offensive, which may unfold after 15 April.
Having thus revealed the essence of the strategic plans of the German command for the first half of 1942, Soviet military diplomacy continued to obtain information on the future intentions and plans of the German command to conduct military operations in the southern sector of the Eastern Front and on the transfer of reserves of the German army to the area of the future Stalingrad battle.
DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE ALLIES
During the period of covert training of German troops for an offensive against the Caucasus, the military attache at the USSR Embassy in Great Britain, Major General Ivan Sklyarov, attempted to start cooperation in the field of information exchange with the American military attache in London. Sklyarov thought rationally - the allies should help each other unselfishly in the fight against the common enemy. However, the very first experience of such cooperation with the Americans brought Sklyarov disappointment.
7 June 1942 of the year Sklyarov received information from the American military attache on the deployment and grouping of units and formations of the German army and transferred them to the Center. He also sent to Moscow information about the grouping of German troops on the Eastern Front. However, after some time, a far from flattering assessment of the materials transferred came from Moscow. The chief of military intelligence reported: “The quantity and quality of materials on the state and armament of the German army and armies of the Axis countries, as well as the plans and intentions of the enemy command, are still completely inadequate. Information on these issues is limited mainly to the materials you receive officially from the British and Americans. You get far from everything that they can give us. ”
The representatives of the Allied intelligence services did not transmit the information to Sklyarov from other sources. Taking into account the fair remarks of the military intelligence chief and realizing that the General Staff constantly needs a lot of various information about the enemy, Major General Sklyarov stepped up work with Agent Dolly.
Dolly's materials were often very important. The information transmitted by this source was taken into account when organizing a counteroffensive by the Soviet forces near Stalingrad. About the value of the information provided by Dolly to Captain I.M. Kozlov, can be judged from the report of Major General I.A. Sklyarov, prepared in 1942 year. So, on October 3 Sklyarov reported to the Center: “Dolly reported that at a regular meeting in the British Defense Ministry, Chief of Intelligence Major General Davidson made a report on the state of affairs on the Eastern Front. According to him, the Russians are winning the war for the British. The Russians are doing much better than we thought. ”
On the eve of the Battle of Stalingrad, more precisely 5 of November 1942, Dolly handed over to the Soviet military diplomat a summary of the evaluation of the USSR and the Red Army, prepared jointly by specialists from the general staffs of Germany and Hungary:
“The Soviets cannot count on any effective assistance from the Allies and are forced to rely only on their own resources.
The uncertainty of the situation in the Far East continues to alarm Moscow, which is wary of Japan joining the war against the USSR.
The Red Army’s combat readiness is generally lower due to the lack of airplanes, tanks, guns and the poor quality of the training of the higher military command.
The Red Army cannot be completely defeated in the 1942 year, but it is not capable of any major offensive in the winter and will not be a further threat to the Axis countries.
According to the estimates and forecasts of analysts of the German and Hungarian general staffs, the objectives of the USSR until the end of 1942 year remained: "the defense of the Caucasus, the defense (liberation) of Stalingrad, the liberation of Leningrad." In conclusion, the report concluded: "The offensive of the Red Army on a large scale in 1942 is impossible."
Such an assessment of the situation at the front was most suitable for the General Staff of the Red Army. The enemy was deeply mistaken. There were already other plans in the Supreme Command Headquarters (Supreme Command).
PREPARATION OF THE ATTRACTIVE OPERATION
Thanks to the efforts of Soviet military diplomats, before the beginning of the offensive operation of the Soviet troops near Stalingrad, almost the entire group of enemy forces of the first line was opened up to the battalion, the forces and defense system of many enemy formations in front of our troops. Accurate information was obtained on the deployment of the main attack units of the Hitlerite forces of the 6 th field and 4 th tank armies, the 3 th Romanian and 8 Italian armies, and the tasks and strength of the 4 th air fleet of the German Air Force.
Already during the Battle of Stalingrad, Gano continued to report the important information mentioned above. So, on October 6, he conveyed to the military attache at the governments of Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in London, Alexander Sizov, complete information about the number and deployment of reserve units of the German army on the Eastern Front. The center asked for information about the deployment of all Romanian units and their combat composition. Gano did this and many other tasks of the Soviet military intelligence.
During the Great Patriotic War, Soviet military attaché Colonel Nikolai Nikitushev worked successfully in Sweden. He had several valuable sources of information that conveyed important information about fascist Germany and its armed forces. Thus, during the preparation for the battle for Stalingrad, he received information revealing the intentions of the German command. 31 August Nikitushev said: “The Swedish General Staff believes that the main German offensive has begun in Ukraine. The German plan is to break through the Kursk – Kharkov line with the development of an offensive through the Don to Stalingrad on the Volga. Then - the establishment of a barrier in the north-east and the continuation of the offensive by fresh forces to the south through Rostov to the Caucasus. "
The following is the content of individual reports of Soviet military diplomats who were used in the preparation of the offensive operation of the Battle of Stalingrad.
"BAT report from London
29 March 1942 city
1. The situation on the Eastern Front by the German High Command is generally assessed as satisfactory ...
4. A well-informed source said: aviation German casualties from the beginning of the war with us on March 1, 1942 are estimated at 8 aircraft, of which 500 percent are bombers. The average monthly loss is 30 aircraft. In addition, they lost about the same number of aircraft on other fronts during the entire war. ”
"BAT report from the USA
21 April 1942 city
... The main blow in the south of the Germans are planning on Stalingrad to secure the flanks, followed by a strike on Rostov.
New bombs and heavy shells of the Germans destroy all living things within an 150 – 200 radius of meters with an air force when they break.
According to the French General Staff, the Germans lost 1 million killed, seriously wounded 1,5 million and lightly wounded 2,5 million. ”
"BAT report from London
Chief of the Intelligence of the General Staff of the Red Army
July 28 1942 city
... The source conveyed information received by him personally from the Japanese military attache in Stockholm after his trip to Berlin to talk with Ambassador Oshima and the German General Staff.
1. Germany demands that Japan either attack the USSR or increase the threat of attack.
2. Germany stated to Japan that it is making every effort to achieve the following:
a) seize the Caucasus and reach the Persian Gulf;
b) capture Egypt and reach the Red Sea until autumn.
3. Oshima expects that if the Germans do one or the other, they will try to force Turkey to join the "axis."
4. Oshima said that before 06.07.42, Japan had not yet made a promise to fulfill the German demands, and in general Japan finds it difficult to fully engage in the operational plans of the axis.
5. From conversations with the German General Staff, the military attache concluded that the Germans did not consider it possible to open a second front in 1942, so they found it possible to transfer all troops from west to east, leaving 30 divisions in France, Belgium and Holland, and these divisions consist of parts , battered on the Eastern Front, and from new formations from old men ...
At the turn of 1942 – 1943, BAT vehicles extracted information about the enemy, mainly responding to numerous requests from the Center. Naturally, these tasks were developed at the General Staff, which was interested in obtaining accurate data on the German rear defense lines south-west of Stalingrad, on the reserves of the German command, on the plans of the Germans in connection with the offensive of the Red Army, etc.
Here, for example, the content of one of these reports.
"BAT report from London
8th of January 1943
1. The Germans are preparing a counteroffensive in the Don area. To this end, numerous reserves are being transferred from Kharkov to the Kamensk region. Troop groupings are planned along the Donbass – Stalingrad railway. To ensure this counter-attack Millerovo will be held at any cost.
2. In Sevastopol, the Germans establish a large supply base for the Caucasian armies in case the land communications and supply bases located west of the Don are cut off.
3. In the Romanian ports, the German military authorities have already begun to confiscate ships with a displacement of more than 200 tons. Most supply vessels will be sent from Sevastopol to the port of Novorossiysk.
4. In mid-December, the 75-I and 299-I infantry divisions, which were transferred from the Eastern Front to the Balkans, received an order to return to our front. (The source is well-informed. ”” (TsA MO RF. Op. 24183.D.3.L.105. Specified distribution: Stalin, Vasilevsky, Antonov).
The long-awaited victory in the Second World War, the equal of which was not in the world stories, was forged by the efforts of millions of people of various professions from different countries. Among them, an honorable place belongs to Soviet military diplomats. Love for the motherland and unshakable faith in its future was a source of spiritual strength, which enabled them to achieve a great victory, of which we have known very little for many years. Their great contribution to achieving victory in the Battle of Stalingrad is indisputable. Their feat in the name of the happiness of people is preserved in our hearts, and it must remain forever in the memory of our descendants.