The Caucasus 1942-43: Kleist's Race for Oil by Robert Forczyk

By Robert Forczyk

A lot has been written of the huge clashes among the Wehrmacht and the purple military at Stalingrad, yet this quantity tells the opposite, both very important 1/2 the tale of Fall Blau (Case Blue). studying from their reviews in the course of the sweeping advances of Operation Barbarossa a yr earlier than, Wehrmacht commanders knew that Nazi Germany's loss of oil was once a major strategic challenge. Seizure of the Caucasus oilfields, which have been liable for eighty two% of the Soviet Union's crude oil, may concurrently alleviate the German army's oil shortages when denying important gasoline assets to the crimson military. whereas military crew B complex alongside the Volga in the direction of Stalingrad, military team A, spearheaded through Ewald von Kleist's elite Panzerarmee 1 was once to develop into the Caucasus to grab the oilfields of Maikop, Grozny and Baku. that includes full-color art, archival images and specific research, this e-book follows the vicious, severe combating that characterised the most vital campaigns of global warfare II.

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The Caucasus 1942-43: Kleist's Race for Oil

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Com 47 encirclement and meet up with 7th Armoured Brigade. It was hoped that the two forces would meet at El Duda at around 1600hrs. Sappers had worked through the night to clear minefields, move barbed wire and erect four bridges over the anti-tank ditch in front of the advance. At dawn the attack began with infantry supported by the slow, ponderous Matilda tanks of the 32nd Army Tank Brigade. Ahead of them were a number of strongpoints thought to be held by Italian troops of the 25a Divisione ‘Bologna’, but which were in fact held by the German 90.

The desert war had finally become a war of tank attrition with the Germans gradually gaining the upper hand, although Crüwell’s tanks did not escape unscathed from the mêlée for their numbers were also whittled away in the close-quarter encounters. Then came the news that 15. Panzer-Division was on the move, circling round from the south-west towards the battle. Major-General Gott knew that this development could sound the death knell for his division. He decided to disengage his three brigades and ordered them to fall back to the positions held by the 5th South African Brigade near the southern escarpment just as night was falling.

Panzer-Division to destroy the enemy threat in the south. Oberstleutnant Stephan was ordered to take his Panzer-Regiment 5, reinforced with 12 105mm howitzers and four 88mm anti-tank guns, to confront the enemy near Gabr Saleh. The advancing Germans met the Stuart tanks of Brigadier Gatehouse’s 4th Armoured Brigade, less elements of the 3rd and 5th RTRs which were supporting some armoured cars to the north-west, in the late afternoon. Kampfgruppe Stephan with its mix of Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs and a few Panzer IIs, 85 tanks in total, was more or less matched in numbers by 4th Armoured Brigade’s remaining tanks.

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