Trying to save the troops encircled, the German command developed a frantic activity. It used all its vast combat experience and all available resources to save the surrounded divisions. The commander of the Army Group "South" Manstein began to strengthen the armored groups, which were supposed to break through the corridor. By January 27, 1944, four were concentrated in the Novo-Mirgorod area tank divisions, in the region of Rizino from under Okhmatov began to transfer two tank divisions.
The commander of the encircled Korsun-Shevchenko group, Stemmerman, was ordered to hold on to the last bullet. He did not sit on the spot, waiting for help, concentrated the available forces, organized shock groups, trying to break through the encirclement ring from his side.
The Germans began to narrow the front, which would strengthen the defense and free up forces for the shock groups. The commander of the 42 Army Corps, Lieb, ordered corps group “B” to retreat across the Rosava River. The 88 Infantry Division retreated across the Ros River, towards Bohuslav. The first attempt of the Soviet troops to take Bohuslav the Germans repelled. On February 3, Soviet troops broke through the German defenses between Mironovka and Bohuslav, forcing units of the 88 and 332 infantry divisions to move away from Bohuslav.
In late January - early February, heavy battles were fought for Steblev, Kvitka and Olshany, who were of paramount importance for the surrounded German group, as possible starting points for a breakthrough. Stems Germans defended. For Olshany fought part of the SS Viking. February 6, after fierce battles, the Germans pushed aside to a new defensive line in 10 km north of the village. She was defended by part of the Viking SS Panzer Division, 57 and 389 infantry divisions. February 9 Germans knocked out of the village Kvitki.
In the area of Gorodishche, 10 km north of Vyazovok, the shock group of the 11 army corps as part of the 57, 72 and 389 infantry divisions tried to break through the corridor. However, 4-I Guards Army Ryzhova eliminated the old town center of resistance. 9 February Hill Mill was released. After these battles, the 389 Infantry Division was practically destroyed, its numbers were 200 people and three artillery batteries. Her remnants were included in the 57 division.
By February 8, the territory occupied by the German group was completely swept by Soviet artillery. The Germans had shortages of ammunition and fuel. The group suffered heavy losses, the average number of infantry regiments fell to 150 people. In order to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, the Soviet command offered the Germans to capitulate. However, the Germans were preparing for a breakthrough through Shanderovka and rejected this proposal.
Volley Guards mortars. District Korsun-Shevchenko. 1944 Winter
Just like under Stalingrad, Hermann Goering began to establish an “air bridge”. To preserve the fighting efficiency of the Korsun-Shevchenko group, at least 150 tons of cargo were required daily. Already on the morning of January 29, the first 14 transport aircraft took off from Uman and delivered 30 tons of cargo to Korsun. The runway in Korsun will become the most important object of the surrounded grouping. Since February 12, cargo was dropped by parachutes. The wounded were usually taken on the return flight. The Germans suffered heavy losses from the actions of the Soviet aviation. So, on February 1, during the return from Korsun, 13 of the 52 Junkers were shot down, one crashed at the airport, two were damaged. For the entire duration of the "air bridge" the Germans lost 50 aircraft, another 150 were damaged (according to other sources, 45 Junkers 52 and Henkels 111, and 47 fighters were lost).
The first attempt to break through the ring environment
Manstein, who had at his disposal significant armored formations (before the 20 armored divisions), initially was not only going to break through the corridor and liberate the Korsun-Shevchenko grouping, but also to surround and destroy the main forces of the Soviet 5-th Guards and 6-th tank armies. The strike of the 3 and 47 tank corps was supposed to unlock the Stemmermann group and lead to the environment of the 5 Guards Tank and 6 tank armies.
The 5, 53, 3 and 11 tank divisions acted against the 13 th Guards Tank Army and the 14 th Army in the area of Novo-Mirgorod and Tolmach. The approach of the 24 Tank and 376 Infantry Divisions was also expected. However, the 24-I tank division never arrived, was sent to the south, to the 6-th army (there successfully developed the offensive 3-th and 4-th Ukrainian fronts). The German offensive began on February 1, but the troops of the 2 of the Ukrainian Front repulsed all the attacks. The Germans regrouped their forces and began to prepare a new blow from Verbovtsa to Zvenyhorodka.
For the strike on the troops of the 1 of the Ukrainian Front, the commander of the 1 tank army Hans Valentin Hube concentrated in the Rizino region a powerful group: control of the 3 tank corps, 1, 16, 17 tank divisions, 1 and X tank divisions Leibstandard SS Division Adolf Hitler, 503 and 506, separate heavy tank battalions, four assault gun divisions and other units. The Germans planned to make their way through Lisyanka to the surrounded troops. It was in this direction that the stem of the stem was located closest to the external front.
February 4 16-I and 17-I tank, 198-I infantry divisions launched an offensive. The Germans suffered heavy losses, but a powerful armored fist allowed them to push through the defenses of the 47 rifle corps. There was a threat of a rush of German troops. Commander-in-Chief Vatutin was forced to throw into the battle the 2 Tank Army of Semen Bogdanov who arrived from the Reserve Reserve (3 and 16 tank corps, 11-I separate Guards tank tank, more than 320 tanks in total). In the morning of February 6, Bogdanov’s army, along with units of the 40 Army, counterattacked the enemy. However, a decisive result was not achieved. The Germans were not able to develop success; in some areas they were thrown back, but the penetration of the Soviet forces was preserved. The German command began to enter into the battle of the 1-th Panzer Division. German units were able to partially occupy the Grapes. The first German strike reflected.
The Soviet command 8-9 February in the area Lisyanka redeployed part of the 20-th tank corps from the army Rotmistrova. At the same time, the army of Rotmistrov began to cover the roads in the area of Tarasivka, Topilno and Serdegovka. Tanks and artillery ambushes were organized on the roads, and anti-tank strongholds were prepared on the basis of units of anti-tank artillery. These activities were undertaken on time, the new German offensive was not long in coming.
The second attempt to break
11 February the Germans resumed the offensive. They attacked with three strike forces. From Yerki district, the 47 tank corps of the 8 army, in the Rizino part of the 1 tank army, in the Steblevo attack group of the Korsun-Shevchenko group (part of the SS Viking armored division, the Motorized Brigade of Wallonia, two infantry divisions). With converging blows, the German command planned to crush the Soviet defenses, free the encircled troops, and destroy the Soviet forces in the area of Zvenigorodka and Lisyanka.
In the defense zone of the 2 UV, the Germans achieved some success, occupied the Zvenigorodka station. But parts of the 49 Infantry and 20 Infantry Corps after the stubborn battles repelled the German strike. In the defense zone of the 1 of the Ukrainian Front, the 3 of the German tank corps, which received reinforcements, was able to achieve more serious successes. The defense of the 47 Infantry Corps did not survive, and the Germans came to the Lisyanka area. The distance to the "boiler" was reduced to 20 km. Vatutin organized a counterattack on the positions of the 1 th tank and 34 th infantry divisions, but he did not bring much success.
The commander of the 2-th Ukrainian Front, Army General I.S.Konev (left) and the commander of the 1-th Ukrainian Front, Army General MFVatutin
The Soviet command was forced to take emergency measures. Zhukov was instructed to hand over guidance on the elimination of the enemy's surrounded Korsun-Shevchenko grouping to the commander of 2 UF UV Konev, and himself, together with the commander of 1 UF UV Vatutin, to concentrate on defending the outer ring of the environment. Zhukov decided that the success of the Germans was due to the mistakes of the commander of the 6 tank army and the commander of the 47 rifle corps, who had lost control of the situation. They were promptly subordinate to the commander of the 27 Army Trofimenko. 27 th army began to hastily strengthened. In the dangerous area began to concentrate forces 2-th tank army of Bogdanov, transferred two tank brigades from the army of Rotmistrov, 202-th infantry division and reserve regiments SAU. As a result, the second German strike was reflected.
February's 12 was hit by an adversary's stem grouping. German troops, suffering heavy losses, managed to break into the Shanderovka area. The 1-10 km remained until the advanced forces of the 12 Panzer Division in the Lisyanka area.
Liquidation of the "boiler"
By February 12, the perimeter of the surrounded German group left the entire 35 km. 14 February Soviet troops liberated Korsun-Shevchenko. German ammunition and food depots, 15 transport aircraft, and a lot of equipment and weapons were seized. After that, the Soviet troops took a few more recent German strongholds. The German 3 tank corps, despite the desperate efforts, could not solve the problem of breaking through the ring of the environment. All German reserves have been exhausted. February 16 Corps launched a final attack. Before the group Stemmerman remained about 7-8 km.
For the surrounded group came the critical moment. In the morning of February 15, Stemmerman and Lieb held a meeting and decided to leave all the remaining fighting forces to a breakthrough. The decision was right. It was no longer possible to wait. The group has the last chance for salvation. The remaining fuel was poured into the tanks of the last tanks. In the head of the column they put parts of the Viking SS division and the Wallonia moto-brigade that retained their combat capability. We walked in several columns at the front in 4,5 km. In the forefront of the division "Viking", the remnants of the corps of group "B", 72-th infantry division, led by Lieb. The remaining troops were led by Stemmerman. On the morning of February 17, the Germans made a breakthrough.
Raised all who could. Dugouts, villages, abandoned property set on fire so that there was no way back. The wounded were left in Shanderovka under the supervision of medical volunteers. The main blow of the German troops fell on the positions of the 5-th Guards Airborne Division, the 180-th and 202-th rifle divisions on the inner ring of the environment and on the 41-th Guards Rifle Division on the outer ring of the environment. Soviet commanders guessed where the Germans would go for a breakthrough, and artillery and mortars were pulled into the area. Part of the 18 th, 29 th tank and 5 th Guards Cossack cavalry corps were hit on the German flank.
The Germans attacked frantically, bursting through. They had nowhere to return. The defense of the Soviet troops literally pushed through the masses. They suffered huge losses, they were shot from the flanks of artillery, tank and cavalry units surrounded and destroyed separate groups. The order was broken, the columns were mixed. Many could not get to the place of the crossing, and found death in the waters of Rotten Tikich when they tried to cross with the means at hand. Those who tried to hide in the forest were killed by the cold. Only a small part of the enemy's advanced forces was able to break through to their own. In the evening of February 17, the Korsun-Shevchenko group was destroyed. Between the villages Zurzhyntsi and Pochapintsy was a terrible picture, it was cluttered with piles of corpses and broken equipment. To the credit of the German commander, Shtmermerman did not abandon his soldiers, as the senior officers of his headquarters did, and died with them. By order of Konev, the German general was buried with military honors.
The Soviet troops eventually defeated the 10 divisions and the 1 enemy brigade (two army corps). This greatly weakened Army Group South. German troops suffered one of the most severe defeats in the south-western strategic direction. Manstein was forced to send all the remnants of the divisions left for re-formation, or merged with other divisions. German losses figures are not exactly known, different data are given. So, there is information that captured 18 thousand Germans, buried 55 thousand people. According to German data, more than 40 thousand people were able to get out of the environment. Soviet troops captured a large number weapons and military equipment. Only parts of the 2 of the Ukrainian Front captured: 41 aircraft, 167 tanks and assault guns, around 900 guns and mortars, around 10 thousand vehicles, 127 tractors, etc.
For the entire time of the operation, Soviet troops lost more than 80 thousand people, irretrievable losses (killed, dead, missing) amounted to more than 24 thousand people. For the heroism and courage of 73 military personnel were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, of which 9 posthumously. 23 military units received the honorary names "Korsun", 6 connections - "Zvenigorod". 18 February Moscow saluted the winners. Konev 20 February received the title of Marshal of the Soviet Union. The rogue party 21 February became the first (along with Fedorenko) Marshal of the Armored Forces. It was a new military rank.
Petr Aleksandrovich Krivonogov (1910 — 1967) is a Soviet battle painter. The painting "In the area of the Korsun-Shevchenko Operation."
Soviet groups defeated the enemy's Korsun-Shevchenko grouping, which threatened the flanks of the 1 and 2 of the Ukrainian fronts. The front line moved significantly to the west. The offensive 1 th and 2 th Ukrainian fronts forged significant forces of Army Group South (25 divisions, including 9 armored divisions), which made it possible to successfully develop an offensive in other directions. In particular, on January 30, troops of the 3 and 4 of the Ukrainian fronts launched the Nikopol-Krivoy Rog offensive. The operation successfully developed.
The Soviet troops showed great skill in this battle, taking into account the high professionalism of the enemy, the considerable reserves that were in command of Army Group South. No wonder Stalin called this operation "new Stalingrad." In conditions of a strong defense of the enemy, a high concentration of mobile and selected German formations, the beginning of a mudslide Soviet soldiers showed swiftness and skillfulness of actions, courage and resilience.
The peculiarity of the Korsun-Shevchenko operation is the use of tank armies in the first echelon of the offensive together with rifle units. Vatutin immediately threw Kravchenko’s 6 Tank Army into battle, and Konev the Rotmistrov 5 Guards Tank Army. It should also be noted that tank units in this battle were widely used by both sides. Mobile units broke through the enemy defenses and developed the offensive. The rapid offensive of tankers allowed in a short time to create the outer and inner ring of the environment. In addition, the Soviet command widely used artillery, anti-tank and engineering units to repel German counterattacks.
It should be noted the great help of the local population. Locals helped in the repair of roads, building defensive positions. Hundreds of men joined the Soviet divisions to fight the enemy. Guerrilla units struck at the German rear. At the same time, we must not forget the fact that in certain areas of Right-Bank Ukraine, Soviet troops had to destroy nationalist Ukrainian gangs.
In the current time of troubles, when the internal and external enemies managed to separate the united Russian civilization and the superethnos of the Rus, these accomplices of the Nazis, these thugs and murderers are “transformed” by means of propaganda into heroes. We must keep the memory of the true heroes who liberated Ukraine (Little Russia) from the Hitlerite hordes and destroyed the traitorous and gangster vermin!
German prisoners after the defeat of the Korsun-Shevchenko group. February 1944