Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

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Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by Matthew Wharmby » Sat Aug 23, 2003 1:26 pm

Hello all - am looking for detailed info about the above campaign by 1st Panzer Army in the autumn of 1942.

Whose idea was it (was Hitler still in charge of Army Group A by mid-October or had even he given up trying to bash his way across the Terek towards the Malgobek area)?

From http://www.geocities.com/dangrecu/D2M.html, I know how and where the 2nd Romanian Mountain Division was involved, and from http://home.clara.net/percy/willyarnold.htm the participation of 13th Panzer Division.

Which other Army Group A divisions were involved, where were they placed and what was their line of advance? What were they planning to do after they'd hit the Military Road, keep going to Makhachkala and then down the coast?

Any pointers to books & websites on this tricky-to-find subject? All the other sources at this time concentrate on Stalingrad.

Thanks,

Matt

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Post by Jerry » Mon Aug 25, 2003 1:17 pm

The book titled: The Caucasus and the Oil, by Wilhelm Tieke has very good coverage of this action. Some of the units involved (in no particular order): III Pz.K., XXXX Pz.K., LII A.K., 3 Pz.Div., 13 Pz.Div., 23 Pz.Div., SS Wiking Pg.Div., 50 Inf.Div., 370 Inf.Div. 111 Inf.Div.

Hitler remained in command of Heeresgruppe A until he handed command to Generaloberst Ewald von Kleist on 22.11.42.

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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by tigre » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:05 pm

Hello to all :D; bumping up an old thread.............I am looking for detailed information about the fight of the III Pz Korps in the area of Ordshonikidze - Gizel on November 1942. See below one sketch of the combats there. TIA. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Sketch of the area.
Source: Kaukaz 1942. WM Nº 177.
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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by Jerry » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:19 am

Hello Raúl,

The above quoted volume, The Caucasus and the oil, by Tieke, remains the only source that I have on this action. I will go back and search for any info that might bear on the III Pz.K.'s actions if that will be of benefit to you. Are there specific questions that you need answered?

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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by tigre » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:10 pm

Hello Jerry :D; thanks for your quick reply :up:. Specific questions.: the attack on Ordshonikidze itself; the encirclement and the breakthrough/retreat.........Thanks in advance. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by Jerry » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:55 pm

OK my friend, here you go............part#


THE BATTLE NEAR NALCHIK AND THE ADVANCE TO THE GEORGIAN ARMY ROAD
Part 1

On 19 October 1942, when, as already indicated, the attack of the LII Army Corps in the Terek bend brought no operational success, the commander of the III Panzer Corps was given the task of working out an attack plan on Nalchik. Generaloberst von Kleist wanted to resurrect his old plan, an advance along the mountains toward Ordzhonikidze and the blocking of the Georgian Army Road.

General von Mackensen, supported by his capable Chief of Staff, Oberstleutnant von Grevenitz, submitted an operation plan that was sanctioned by the 1st Panzer Army. According to this plan von Mackensen wanted to attack Nalchik frontally across the Baksan with the subordinate 2nd Rumanian Mountain Division, while the main attack was to take place a day later with the 13th and 23rd Panzer Divisions breaking out of the Maiskoe -Kotlyaevskiy area on the eastern flank in order to outflank and capture Nalchik.
As heavy combat raged in the great Terek bend in September and October the Baksan front solidified, since both sides continued to throw in forces. The 23rd Panzer Division earlier had to give up its powerful formations to the LII Army Corps and XXXX Panzer Corps; now they were again concentrated in the Kotlyarevskiy area. The 13th Panzer Division was withdrawn from its positions near Elkhotovo and Illareinovka and assembled in the Arik area. The 370th ID moved further to the west and took over the 13th Panzer Division's positions. One portion of the 370th ID sector was taken over by the SS Division "Wiking".

The re-groupings went smoothly. The III Panzer Corps displaced according to the new mission. The 2nd Rumanian Mountain Division with the I/99 Geb.Jg.Rgt. (1st Mountain Division) formed "Attack Group West", which assembled around the town of Baksan. The 13th and 23rd Panzer Divisions formed "Attack Group East" and assembled in the Arik - Kotlyarevskiy area. The area between these two attack groups was secured by weak forces, which were concentrated under "Security Sector Center". The commander of "Security Sector Center" was the commander of the 52nd Rocket Launcher Regiment, Oberstleutnant Emsmann.

On the morning of 25 October the attack of "Attack Group West" was launched out of the Baksan area. Once again German combat aircraft were concentrated in great numbers and bombarded the enemy positions. The gebirgsjagers of the I/99 under Major Kopp led the attack, which had reached its objective of the day, Chegen I, by midday.

The surprising German success was explained by the Russians in their Caucasus book as follows:

"Numerous German bombers joined in the battle. A headquarters of the 37th Army, which was located south of Nalchik in Dolinskoe, was bombed and lost all communications with its units. Therefore, the army was leaderless."

On the morning of 26 October 1942 "Attack Group East" attacked. The 23rd Panzer Division set out on the left near Kotlyarevskiy in the waning moon light and captured the city of Argudan. Therefore, the Nalchik -Ordzhonikidze road was blocked. Then the 23rd Panzer Division advanced to the south toward Stariy Lessken with Battle Group Bruckner, Battle Group Burmeister veered off to the east and captured the village of Osrek with the II/201 Pz.Rgt.

There the headquarters of the 257th Soviet Rifle Division and numerous supply formations were defeated. Under the screen of their southern flank. Battle Group Burmeister penetrated to the north and attacked in the rear the enemy forces located in Aleksandrovskaya. The frontal attack of the 128th Panzergrenadier Regiment continued north of Aleksandrovskaya. Platoon against platoon, the nests of resistance were removed and, a day later. Aleksandrovskaya was completely in the hands of the 23rd Panzer Division. Enemy elements breaking out to the east fell under the fire of the 370th ID.

The 13th Panzer Division attacked out of the area west of Kotlyarevskiy adjacent to the 23rd Panzer Division at 0440 hours with Battle Group von Hake. Mine-fields and anti-tank barricades delayed the attack. The advance did not pick up speed until midday, after a stuka attack made some room. They soon reached Nizhniy Cherek. Oberst von Hake, commander of the 4th Panzer Regiment, then released his second panzer echelon, which advanced the attack to Stariy Cherek. Heavy enemy batteries there were overrun and captured. A commando of the II/"Brandenburg" probed ahead in order to capture the Cherek bridge in a raid, but the bridge was blown by the Soviets. The 13th Panzer Division, which was to detach some elements to the north toward Nalchik, stood before the river without a crossing. Soon they found a ford and the advance continued on toward Urban. A little later the 4th Armored Engineer Battalion made the Stariy Cherek bridge trafficable with a K-Strecke.

In the meantime, Battle Group Scholz, which was echeloned on the left behind Battle Group von Hake, also reached Stariy Cherek, after overcoming heavy resistance near the Kotlyarevskiy sheep farm and numerous minefields. By evening, it advanced to Pssyganssu without coming upon any resistance worth noting.

On 26 October the 2nd Rumanian Mountain Division andithe I/99 Geb.Jg.Rgt. penetrated into the northern portion of the city of'Nalchik. Tenacious and costly combat occurred around each street objective, it would last for several days.

The decision was already made on 26 October with the capture of Argudan: the deep defensive field of the Soviets between Baksan and Cherek was out-maneuvered. The Russian history notes: "The main attack was directed toward the Nalchik - Chikola - Digora - Alagir road. In this manner the Nalchik defense was broken from the rear and collapsed. The troops of the 37th Army withdrew. The reasons for the failure can be found in insufficient combat reconnaissance (the tank concentrations near Kotlyarevskiy were appraised to be only a diversion for the Soviet troops before the upcoming battle) and the loss of command and control in the 37th Army."

The Russian self-criticism serves to point out how a well prepared and well concealed operation will confuse the enemy and reduce friendly casualties. General von Mackensen and Generaloberst von Kleist had not counted on such success, as they were to later admit.

On 27 October the 23rd Panzer Division's left flank reached Stariy Urukh and Stariy Lessken. The 13th Panzer Division compressed the Nalchik pocket in cooperation with the Rumanians. The majority of "Security Sector Center" came in from the north to participate. The commander of the 43rd Kradschützen Battalion, Major Crüznacher, was killed near Vladimirskaya. The dissipated forces of the 13th Panzer Division were repeatedly attacked by groups of enemy stragglers, which tried to breakout to the southeast. Battle Group Scholz (93rd Panzergrenadier Regiment) advanced from Pssyganssu to Anshiger and blocked the mountain flank.

On 28 October elements of the 13th Panzer Division participated in the mopping up of Nalchik. By evening the capital of the "Soviet Republics of the Karbardin and Balkars" was in German hands. On the next day the German Wehrmacht reported: "Rumanian mountain troops in conjunction with German gebirgsjagers attacked the strongly fortified and tenaciously defended city of Nalchik west of the Terek. The enemy forces encircled in the northeast were either wiped out in combat or captured. Therefore, within four days, several Soviet divisions were defeated, 7000 prisoners were taken, and 66 guns and tanks, as well as numerous other war equipment was either captured or destroyed."
On 28 October Battle Group Scholz penetrated further into the mountains and captured Zhemgala.

On 28 October the 23rd Panzer Division entered the second phase of the operation. After the Soviet forces were defeated in their main defensive field the pursuit began. The new objective was: the Georgian and Ossetian Army Road! Battle Group Bruckner set out from Stariy Lessken, captured Lessken, crossed an 800 meter high pass, captured Khasnidon in the evening and established a bridgehead across the Urukh, which was held against heavy enemy counterattacks. After Battle Group Bruckner had established a departure base, the attack of Battle Group Burmeister from Stariy Urukh toward Urukh was broken off because of heavy enemy resistance and Battle Group Burmeister was transferred into the Khasnidon area. To the 23rd Panzer Division were subordinated: elements of the 66th Panzergrenadier Regiment and the 52nd Rocket Launcher Regiment and, for screening the mountain flank, the 10th Rumanian Mountain Infantry Battalion.
At this time the following order arrived at "Security Sector Center":


"The Commander Command Post, 28 October 1942
of the III Panzer Corps
To Security Sector Center


Security Sector Center will be disbanded tomorrow, its units will be put to new use. The elements of the sector under the leadership of the commander of the 52nd Rocket Launcher Regiment have played an essential role in the successful termination of "the Battle of Nalchik".

I express my thanks to the participating battalions, the 73rd Engineer Battalion, the 8th Technical Battalion and the 22nd and 23rd Feldzüg Battalions, as well as the III/52 Werfer Rgt. and the Corps Cossack Company. The three non-combatant battalions have fulfilled their combat assignments.

I will review proposals for the awarding of the Iron Cross,

signed von Mackensen
General der Kavallerie"

On 29 October the 23rd Panzer Division expanded its small bridgehead near Khasnidon and advanced against heavy enemy resistance toward Chikola. The 13th Panzer Division, which was relieved by the 2nd Rumanian Mountain Division in the Cherek Valley, closed on the left with Battle Group von Hake as the first formation making it into the Urukh sector near Nuru -Urukh and formed a fire front to the east with its tanks in the hills. The subordinate I/128 Pz.Gren.Rgt. rolled forward, advanced over the weak wooden bridge into the steep river valley under the cover of the fire and established a bridgehead. The 4th Armored Engineer Battalion reinforced the wooden bridge. During the night the 13th Panzer Division was regrouped for an attack toward Digora within a few hours. This is only possible with a well-led and disciplined troop.

On 30 October the 23rd Panzer Division captured the tenaciously defended village of Chikola and reached the high ground to the east. The 13th Panzer Division had difficulty in the marshy Urukh Valley after making the crossing. By evening it overcame the terrain problems and created the prerequisite for an attack on the next day.
On 31 October both panzer divisions of the III Panzer Corps were ready for a combined attack. The mission for the 23rd Panzer Division, which was located on the mountain side (right) read:

"Attack through Digora toward Alagir and block the Ossetian Army Road." For the 13th Panzer Division, which was advancing on the left, the mission read: "Attack through Ardon - Arkhonskaya toward Ordzhonikidze."

The 23rd Panzer Division broke through numerous enemy positions with Battle Group Burmeister, which was reinforced with the II/201 Pz.Rgt. which had just caught up, crossed the Dur - Dur sector west of Digora and by evening, advanced on the village.

More to follow.

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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by Jerry » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:44 am

The not-very-good sketch map (with the misspelled header).
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Somehow I forgot to mention that this is all an excerpt from The Caucasus and the Oil, by Wilhelm Tieke, J.J. Fedorowicz, 1995
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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by tigre » Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:18 pm

Superb, thank you very much Jerry :up:. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by Jerry » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:29 pm

The Caucasus and the Oil, by Wilhelm Tieke

THE BATTLE NEAR NALCHIK AND THE ADVANCE TO THE GEORGIAN ARMY ROAD
Part 2



The 13th Panzer Division, which was advancing on the left, eliminated a dangerous anti-tank front 6 kilometers west of Digora and turned to the north, bypassing Digora, toward Ardon. The lead elements stopped in view of the Darg Kokh - Alagir rail line, in order to allow additional forces to catch up. The attack plan foresaw: II/4 Pz.Rgt. and 43rd Kradschützen Battalion making a frontal attack from the west. The majority of Battle Group von Hake would bypass to the north to attack from the east.

The 13th Panzer Division attacked! After gaining several hundred meters the attack stalled in heavy enemy fire. Reconnaissance and observation revealed that the Soviets faced the 13th Panzer Division with three armored trains, 10-15 tanks of various types and strong infantry forces. Oberst von Hake dispatched his first tanks into the battle. The I/4 Pz.Rgt. concentrated fire on the first armored train, it was immediately set ablaze; the guns fell off and the ammunition exploded. The armored train continued to move several hundred meters then stalled on the tracks. Six of the enemy tanks attacking from the southeast were shot up by the II/4 Pz.Rgt., the rest withdrew. The second armored train blew up in flames under the fire of the II/4 Pz.Rgt. and the I/13 Pz.Jg.Btl. The infantry penetrated into the western edge of Ardon covered by the 43rd Kradschutzen Battalion and established themselves. The I/4 Pz.Rgt. and the I/66 Pz.Gren.Rgt. gained additional ground in the north.

Two tanks trying to breakout to the north were destroyed there. By the fall of darkness the I/4 Pz.Rgt. and the I/66 reached the northwestern edge of Ardon, but they could do no more because of the darkness. In the meantime additional forces of the 13th Panzer Division were needed to cover the long northern flank. The 13th Panzerjager Battalion and elements of the II/"Brandenburg" were ordered to capture the rail and road bridge near Darg Kokh in a raid. On the evening of 31 October 1942 the following message was received by the two panzer divisions:

"III Panzer Corps - The crossing of my two panzer divisions over the steep rrukh demonstrates a first class tactical and technical effort. Clever operations and superb engineer work have made this success possible. It has provided the precondition for the pursuit, which has gained ground today. -Ordzhonikidze remains our objective!
signed von Mackensen."

Indeed, von Mackensen could hope that the objective of Ordzhonikidze, which had alluded them for so long, would finally be reached.

On a sunny 1 November Digora, which was abandoned by the Russians that "ight, was occupied. The I/126 Pz.Gren.Rgt. under Hauptmann Bucher advanced in a clever attack up to Ardon, removed the explosives from the rridge and secured a bridgehead for the 23rd Panzer Division. Then the 23rd Panzer Division turned to the south and captured the city of Alagir, against fierce resistance, in a pincer attack. The Rumanian mountain infantry followed on the long mountain flank and relieved the security forces of the 23rd Panzer Division.

The 13th Panzer Division, which stood in front of Ardon, attacked through the city, which was evacuated by the enemy during the night. The city was immediately placed under heavy enemy artillery fire. While security forces were being diverted to the north, Battle Group von Hake attacked through several enemy field positions with "blinders" on [translator's note: looking forward, disregarding flanks, as a horse with "blinders"] and, thereby, crossed numerous small water courses and some difficult terrain. Oberst von Hake, the clever and successful commander of the 4th Panzer Regiment and 13th Panzer Division Battle Group commander, mastered the successful advance maneuver in cooperation with his subordinate commanders, Major Brux, Major Ratzel and Hauptmann Kuklik. Von Hake spared his battle group long drawn out combat in towns by outflanking them and outmaneu-vering the Soviet defenses.

In a spirited attack Battle Group von Hake advanced west of the Fiagdon to the southeast in the hope of finding a ford to cross to the opposite bank. He thought he had found the spot south of the village of Fiagdon, but the Soviet defenses there were also very strong.

While approaching the enemy positions running in front of the Fiagdon, heavy anti-tank and mortar fire was committed from the town of Fiagdon located to the east. In this situation, only speed would achieve success! Without cover, Hauptmann Niedick's III/4 Pz.Rgt. advanced into the fire and was the first formation to cross the wide, but shallow, mountain river. Major Brux followed with his tried and true SPW battalion and the tankers and panzer grenadiers soon broke into the well- camouflaged and strong enemy field positions. The following I/13 Pz.AR (self-propelled) moved into position and engaged recognized targets with fire. The penetration into the tenacious defensive positions was a feather in the troop's hat. The panzer crews, which were bravely led in groups, and the individual fighters determined the outcome of the battle. While the tanks attacked through the panzer grenadiers dismounted from their SPW's and fought in the enemy positions.

During the evening of 1 November Battle Group von Hake established a strong bridgehead south of the villages of Fiagdon and Rassvet. As the next reinforcements, the 43rd Kradschützen Battalion and the II/66 with the subordinated I/4 Pz.Rgt. fought their way into the Fiagdon bridgehead. Battle Group Scholz with the 93rd Panzer grenadier Regiment and the II/4 Pz.Rgt. could not close with the bridgehead due to great terrain problems.

With extended open flanks and a strong threat from the villages of Rassvet and Fiagdon it was difficult to expand the clever attack of Battle Group von Hike into the outer defensive ring of Ordzhonikidze for a decisive success. During the night supply vehicles were advanced to the bridgehead. The efforts made by the drivers and supply troops would appear in few military histories. However, these men, who had to deal with weather and terrain problems and fight in enemy infested sectors, were the nameless ones who helped decide the battles. The same goes for the medical service. Surgeons and medics, the Samaritans who fought for the lives of their wounded comrades, who performed their duty quietly in the shadows, deserve special thanks.

On 2 November at 0500 hours "Operation Darg Kokh" began. As already explained, a group from the 13th Panzerjager Battalion, under Hauptmann Birth, and the 5/"Brandenburg", under the leadership of the II "Brandenburg", Major Jakobi, were committed to the Northwest after the capture of Ardon in order to capture the railroad and road bridge near Darg Kokh in a raid and, if necessary, block against a Russian flank attack.

After a careful preparation, Gruppe Barth-Jakobi captured the railroad bridge in a raid. The enemy, who was at first surprised, assembled and launched a counterattack. The Germans on the railroad bridge were systematically placed under fire. Heavy Russian artillery, which was positioned to fire to the north, turned their guns to the east and participated in the battle. A German stuka attack gave only little relief. The 370th ID, which was to attack out of its positions near Elkhotovo to the south in order to reach the bridge on the eastern bank of the Terek, did not leave its positions. Therefore, the few elements on the railroad bridge were forced to withdraw, but the railroad bridge could still be covered by machine-gun fire. During the following night, however, the Russians blew a portion of the railroad bridge. Officers who were killed during "Operation Darg Kokh" included Leutnant Freye from the panzer jagers and Major Jakobi and Leutnant Reinicke from the "Brandenburgers". Later the Soviets would continue to attack from this area in order to bring down the German defenses which had, in the meantime, been established between Terek, Fiagdon and the mountains.

On 2 November Battle Group von Hake also continued its attack. During the night the 43rd Kradschutzen Battalion, II/66 Pz.Gren.Rgt. and I/4 Pz.Rgt. closed ranks. The divisional commander, Oberst Dr. Kühn, and his Ia Oberstleutnant Kraemer, reached the lead elements with the reinforcements. By early morning the I/66 attacked dismounted. After penetrating the security the panzer grenadier companies reached the village of Nizhnaya Saniba. advancing through poor terrain over Hill 604.1, but without coming upon any notable resistance. The battalion regrouped and, after leaving Nizhnaya Saniba, took heavy defensive fire from Gisel. After crossing the wet Gisel sector, the first elements of the I/66 penetrated into the northern portion of Gisel. A bitter battle ensued for the town. The 66th achieved a foothold in Gisel. All of the companies of the I/66 followed. Because the enemy situation to the north was unclear, strong security was set out oriented in that direction.

Enemy tanks with escorting infantry rolled toward Gisel from the north. The tanks drove through the security and reached Gisel. The enemy's escorting infantry was repulsed. A similar combined enemy attack was launched on Gisel from the south. The situation was serious. The I/66 was encircled in Gisel. Combat grew fierce. Each house was fought for. However, the combat tested panzer grenadiers did not loose their nerve for one moment. Finally tanks and SPW arrived, having found a way across the difficult terrain, and soon all of the enemy tanks in Gisel were destroyed. At midday Gisel was completely occupied by the Germans.

By 1300 hours the vehicles were refueled, ammunition was resupplied and the formation was organized again. Then the attack continued toward Ordzhonikidze. The Russian defensive fire considerably increased with antitank, artillery and rocket launchers. Rolling air attacks covered the lead attack elements with bombs. New phosphorus bombs rained down inflicting horrible burns on the skin. In spite of it all Battle Group von Hake penetrated into the Ordzhonikidze defensive belt. As soon as the German panzer forces formed for a new attack the Soviets again attacked into their rear from north and south of Gisel, forcing the lead German elements to stop. By evening, when the II/66 was able to close on Gisel, the German attack wedge was better stabilized. The assault group from Battle Group von Hake established a hasty defense at the fall of darkness near Point 632.6, 2.5 kilometers in front of the northwestern edge of Ordzhonikidze. Battle Group Scholz (93rd Panzer grenadier Regiment) advanced through many terrain obstacles, maintaining a constant defense against enemy flanking attacks, and made it to Nizhnaya Saniba. A I/66 freight train with ammunition and fuel made it through enemy and terrain obstacles to the advanced I/66.

On 2 November the 23rd Panzer Division also advanced further to the east. While Battle Group Bruckner secured near Alagir, Battle Group Burmeister captured Khataldon against weak resistance, attacked across an undamaged Fiagdon bridge and reached the road fork to the east bypassing the village of Dzuarikau

On 3 November the dramatic battle for Ordzhonikidze began. This city was formerly known as Vladikavkaz; it was the gate to the Georgian Army Road, a pass over the high mountains passable by even heavy vehicles. In order to estimate the significance of this pass the military-geographic work of the Fulpmes High Mountain School interpreted prisoner statements, descriptions and interrogations of natives, Russian literature and agent reports. All of the mountain crossings were camouflaged with numbers. Under number 17 we read: "Ordzhonikidze through Krestoviy Pass - Tiflis (Georgian Army Road. 214 kilometers): With the exception of January and February, because snow blocks the pass, suitable for transport of vehicles of all types.

Ordzhonikidze - Kazbek sector: Road runs into the Daryalsker Gorge. West of the road there is a rocky mountain extending 3-5 kilometers. There is no turn-around on the entire stretch. No natural camouflage. Radü of the curves average 10-100 meters. There are many hairpin turns. In some places there is only one-way traffic. There is snow drifting in winter. There are telegraph poles with 12 lines along the stretch. There are no possibilities for landing.

Kazbek - Ananuri sector: No two-way traffic possible. Radü of the curves average 5-10 meters. The pass is blocked in January and February. There is insufficient camouflage, especially in front of the pass. There are telephone and telegraph poles with 6-8 lines. There are landing possibilities between Kazbek and Passanauri.

Ananuri - Kuptiantkari sector: No lateral movement possible. Radü of the curves average 50-100 meters. There is a landing possibility 2 kilometers north of Kupriantkari.

Kupriantkari to the southern edge of the map: Only limited turn-around areas available. Shrubs and forest are on either side of the road.


the conclusion next.....

I wonder what ever happened to Matthew Wharmby?


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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by Jerry » Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:28 am

The Caucasus and the Oil, by Wilhelm Tieke

THE BATTLE NEAR NALCHIK AND THE ADVANCE TO THE GEORGIAN ARMY ROAD

The following garrisons are located on the Georgian Army Road: Distance from Ordzhonikidze:
12.0 km opposite Balta station
73.5 km 8 km south of Koba, Baidar Garrison
75.8 km mountain pass (2388 meters)
82.5 km near town of Kumlis-Zikhe
131.7 km 14 km south of Passanauri."

Under Nr. 14 the study had the following to say about the Georgian Army Road, which began near Alagir:

"Salugardan - Alagir through Mamisson Pass (2829 meters) - Kutaissi (Ossetian Army Road): The pass is free of snow from June to the end of September. The road is passable by carts. Mountain troops have to tow small combat vehicles. Essentially passable by all-terrain vehicles. The road can be easily blocked at many locations, gorges and bridges."

Add to this military-geographic description another short historical extract:

The Georgian Army Road has had great significance since ancient times. Here ran an important route of the Turkish Empire, which once encompassed all of the Caucasus. Many of the mountain people were followers of the Prophet Mohammed. When the Turkish Empire fell, the Russians penetrated into the Caucasus, threw the mountain people into camps and christianized them. Its incorporation into Russia occurred in 1801. After the area was christianized a great cross was erected on the mountain pass, from which the pass was named.

From this description it can be seen that the Georgian Army Road was the only passable crossing in the eastern portion of the mountains. In retrospect it is understandable why von Kleist wanted to put the majority of the German gebirgsjagers there, to block the unsuitable crossings. Von Kleist had his objective within reach. However, besides his III Panzer Corps, he only had the I/99 Geb.Jg.Rgt. available under his clever and mountain experienced Major Kopp. A German gebirgsjager battalion and General Dumitrache's 2nd Rumanian Mountain Division, which lagged behind the German mountain divisions in equipment and training, had to achieve this important mission.

First they had to push open the door to Ordzhonikidze. In addition, on 3 November 1942 the 13th Panzer Division was also committed. The I/99 Geb.Jg.Rgt. with a battery of the 203rd Assault Gun Battalion and a company of the 627th Engineer Battalion were subordinated to the division. They had the mission of penetrating to the Georgian Army Road after the city fell.

Supply problems delayed the commitment of the 13th Panzer Division. Then it attacked! With the II/66 on the left, the II/93 on the right and the I/66 echeloned to the rear on the left the battalions worked their way over the highlands to within 2 kilometers of the western edge of the city. Rolling air attacks by the 4th Soviet Air Army and heavy artillery blocking fire caused considerable losses. The weather made air support from distant bases impossible. The I and II/4 Pz.Rgt. advanced laterally to within 800 meters southeast of Gisel and supported the advance of the panzer grenadiers. The III 4 Pz.Rgt. covered the ever threatened northern flank with the 43rd Kradschützen Battalion. The II/66 fought its way up to the anti-tank trenches at the airfield. The II/93 closed on the same line at 1445 hours. The I/66 followed slowly in second echelon. A fierce battle began in the Ordzhonikidze defensive zone. At the fall of darkness 15 bunkers were destroyed and two successive anti-tank trenches were overcome.

In the meantime a dramatic battle was being played out behind the forward battalions. Newly deployed enemy elements attacked into the thin flank cover from the north. A company of the 93rd Panzer grenadier Regiment and a company of the 43rd Kradschutzen Battalion had held out near the town of Fiagdon since early morning by committing all of their forces. This location appeared to be a tender spot. Realizing this, von Mackensen diverted the lead elements of the 23rd Panzer Division, Battle Group Burmeister, from Dzuarikau to the north in order to reinforce the flank security of the 13th Panzer Division. A subsequent attack by Battle Group Burmeister on Arkhonskaya stalled in enemy fire. The strong enemy occupied town of Fiagdon dominated the 13th Panzer Division supply route and the ford with heavy fire.

At the same time the long supply route near Ardonski was severed by the enemy. The weakened 128th Panzer grenadier Regiment was deployed there from the Alagir area and committed, but its attack stalled. Meanwhile, the 126th Panzer grenadier Regiment, which was left in the 23rd Panzer Division bridgehead, repulsed a Soviet relief attack near Dzuarikau. The 23rd Panzer Division, therefore, was split apart and had the mission of mopping up the rear of the 13th Panzer Division, as it was fighting near Ordzhonikidze. The losses of the 13th Panzer Division on 3 November totaled: 67 killed, 159 wounded and 6 missing.

During the early morning of 4 November Battle Group von Hake continued its attack, eliminated several enemy bunkers and assaulted enemy field positions that lay one behind the other. Hauptmann Steinberg and his II/93 Pz.Gren.Rgt. reached the radio station at 1130 hours and, an hour later, a large industrial area. The airfield was covered by infantry weapons. On this day ground gains totaled 600 meters. The division leadership informed the corps that further advance would not be possible until the threatening flanking fire on the supply route on both sides of Nizhnaya Saniba - Gisel was removed and reinforcements were deployed. 13th Panzer Division losses for 4 November 1942: 14 killed, 88 wounded. 70 tanks were operational.

The 23rd Panzer Division (General von Boineburg-Lengsfeld) tried to remove the threat in the Fiagdon flank. Battle Group Burmeister suffered considerable casualties during an attack on the town of Fiagdon. The II/201 Pz.Rgt. had only ten tanks left, which were distributed to other battalions.

The supply services and staffs were combed for replacements to fill the gaps in the combat formations. Von Mackensen's corps had no reserves left. Together the two divisions had a front of 40 kilometers to hold.

On the third day of the battle the Soviets had overcome their initial shock in the foreground of Ordzhonikidze. They tenaciously hung on to their defense, which consisted of numerous field positions, bunker lines, anti-tank trenches and anti-tank gun and mine obstacles. On the third day of the battle for Ordzhonikidze Generallissimo Stalin was to visit the city and exhort them to reorganize the defense. Stalin, the Georgian, would leave no stone unturned to prevent the Germans from penetrating his former homeland. The door to Georgia was made impregnable; tanks were thrown into the battle right from the factory. Allied shipments to Ordzhonikidze were increased. Reserves for a new counterattack were taken from the Malgobek and Grosny areas and thrown into Ordzhonikidze. With each passing hour the enemy resistance increased in Ordzhonikidze.

In spite of all of this the 13th Panzer Division attacked again on 5 November. The brave I/99 Geb.Jg.Rgt. fought at the edge of the mountains through numerous obstacles and advanced through the most difficult terrain and knocked out 15 bunkers from a deeply echeloned bunker line. They went over to the defense near Sayatdshiaa Balka. Contact was established with the 93rd Panzer grenadier Regiment, which was fighting in the left rear. Forces from the I/99 Geb.Jg.Rgt. occupied Hill 1035 during the night.

To the north the 93rd Panzer grenadier Regiment and the II/66, supported by several tanks, captured a tenaciously defended Kolkhoz and advanced to a dominant ridge line on the northwestern edge of the city.

The 4th Armored Engineer Battalion was in heavy combat near Nogir, to the north of the city. The battalion, which had lost its fearless commander, Hauptmann Dankwort, near Fiagdon, was now led by Hauptmann Baranek.

On the left next to the engineers fought the 43rd Kradschutzen Battalion on the Arkhanskaya - Gisel road. It was constantly attacked by the enemy Air Force. Two enemy armored trains from the Tulatov - Ordzhonikidze stretch joined in the battle. This was also detected by Battle Group Burmeister, which could not advance in the Rassvet - Fiagdon area west of the 43rd Kradschutzen Battalion.

On 5 November the 13th Panzer Division could only achieve small ground gains. It was stalled on the western and northwestern edge of the city, while the northern flank security was extended to the Nogir area (8 kilometers north of the city). On this day a radio message intercepted by the I/99 Geb.Jg.Rgt. confirmed the rumor that Stalin was in the city.

It was already clear that the III Panzer Corps had to be supported by a relief attack. Of interest is the notation in the Army Group A combat diary on 5 November 1942: "In the LII Army Corps area of operations, "Wiking" improved the positions near Malgobek by a surprise attack..." and under considerations was noted: "... relieve "Wiking" with the 50th ID and advance it through the Elkhotovo pass or through Voznessenskaya to the south."

In fact, such a relief attack would have helped the 13th Panzer Division, especially since the Soviets would also have to denude their front before the LII Army Corps. However, the Russians were quicker and they dictated events.

On 6 November the Soviet counter-strike began in front of Ordzhonikidze. A reinforced brigade each, supported by numerous tanks, broke out of the narrow area from the north and south, behind the 13th Panzer Division, which was standing in front of Ordzhonikidze. The dark November day prefaced the destruction of the 13th Panzer Division. The Russians broke ±rough from the north and the south between them and the elements of the 23rd Panzer Division, which were fighting near Rassvet. At the same time a second attack occurred out of the Mairamadag Valley to the north, which rushed back the forces of the 23rd Panzer Division and the 2nd Rumanian Mountain Division toward the Dzuarikau bridgehead. In this situation the 13th Panzer Division had to withdraw its forward-most elements from Ordzhonikidze and establish them in a new defense near Gisel. The 43rd Kradschützen Battalion and the 4th Armored Engineer Battalion had held out for some time on the northern flank when they were threatened by 15 enemy tanks. The rapidly deployed II/4 Pz.Rgt. destroyed 10 of them. The III/4 Pz.Rgt., which was located further to the left, pushed the enemy breakthrough forces to the west, then attacked into their flank; another 9 tanks ere destroyed. Enemy elements broke through to the 13th Panzer Division supply route and destroyed vehicles and entire convoys. The 13th Panzer Division was cut off.

It was similar in the south. There an enemy attack ran into the Wiedling Alert Battalion, which had taken up positions during the night near 576.3 " north of Mairamadag). The battalion, which was composed of supply troops ind staff members, was surprised and fought its way to Dzuarikau. Much of the 13th Panzer Division supply was destroyed by enemy tanks and infantry.

The 23rd Panzer Division, which had some forces located in the Dzuarikau bridgehead and others near Rassvet and Fiagdon in order to hold open the road to the 13th Panzer Division, was bloodied in this punishing battle. The battalions averaged a combat strength of only 80 men.

On 7 November the crisis worsened even more. Enemy forces penetrated into the weakly occupied Ardon; they were thrown back at great effort. The Darg Kokh - Ardon sector was secured half-way to Fiagdon by a hastily thrown together battle group under Oberst Kampfhenkel (Arko 3). Battle Group Illig (10 tanks from the 201st Panzer Regiment and two Rumanian Battalions) attacked out of the Dzuarikau area to the east and was able to establish contact with the southern flank of the 13th Panzer Division. There was no change on the northern flank of the encirclement front.

The 13th Panzer Division lay in a half-circle around Gisel and repulsed bitter enemy attacks. The division was organized into Sectors "Nord" (43rd Kradschützen Battalion), "Mitte" (4th Armored Engineer Battalion) and “Süd" (Battle Group Scholz with the 93rd Panzer grenadier Regiment). Battle Group von Hake with the 66th Panzer grenadier Regiment was to open the way to the west. It was in combat with enemy tanks 4 kilometers west of Vzhnaya Saniba. By evening it was able to fight its way to the ford near Dzuarikau and make contact with the 23rd Panzer Division elements located ±ere. However, the overall situation was not improved.

How attentively the senior German leadership followed the battle taking place before Ordzhonikidze was indicated in the daily telegrams. On 7 November at 2300 hours the Army Chief of the General Staff pointed out to the Chief of Staff of Army Group A that the 3rd Panzer Division must remain as active as possible in order to pin the enemy and simulate an attack. This was good advice, but no more than that! The 3rd Panzer Division, which was on the Army Group A northern flank, had enough problems watching over and holding its own front.

On the morning of 8 November the new division commander, General von der Chevallerie, arrived at the 13th Panzer Division command post near Nizhnaya Saniba in a tank. The Soviets were reinforcing on all sectors and entrenching in front of the 13th Panzer Division. In front of Sector "Nord'' eight attacking enemy tanks were destroyed. The I/4 Pz.Rgt. (Major Montfort) had to intervene on this sector several times because heavy attacks were repeated. Contact with the 23rd Panzer Division was also sought, but it was not established. During the evening the I/4 Pz.Rgt. broke out to the west in order to guide a freight train near Khataldon with rations, ammunition and medicine into the pocket. In the main first aid point at Nizhnaya Saniba were 400 severely wounded, who could not be evacuated. During the evening the division reported to the corps that the defensive line on the eastern edge of Gisel could not be held much longer.

On 9 November 1942 under "Sector" in the Army Group A combat diary was noted: "... the attack wedge against Ordzhonikidze is withdrawing and a new main effort is being established near Malgobek; including the 13th Panzer Division, 50th and 111th ID and SS Division "Wiking".

This was hurrying things! On this day General von Mackensen had already issued the order to withdraw the 13th Panzer Division. While the 4th panzer Regiment was ready, it withdrew into three sector groups to the eastern edge of Gisel. The I/4 Pz.Rgt. returned with supplies into the pocket. All wheeled vehicles had to be left behind due to the weather and the supplies were loaded in and onto the tanks.

The important ford across the marshy and steep Mairamadag and Solanaya Valleys, which had become increasingly bottomless from the bad weather, still lay under the effective fire of heavy enemy weapons. There, at this ford, the last phase of the drama before Ordzhonikidze would be played out.

As the dramatic developments unfolded before Ordzhonikidze, the 50th ID. which was severely battered in the Crimea and then sent to protect the coast and be refitted, was prepared for commitment in the Caucasus. The security of the Crimea was taken over by the 5th Luftwaffe Field Division. On 27 October the commander of the 50th ID, Generalmajor Schmidt, was oriented on the situation by the XXXXII Army Corps. On 31 October the units of the 50th ID reached Kerch and immediately crossed. Their subsequent march objective was: Krasnodar. In the meantime the 50th ID was subordinated to the LII Army Corps. The first regiment, the 122nd Grenadier Regiment, was flown from Krasnodar to Armavir and then further transported by rail. It arrived in Pavlodolskiy on 11 November 1942 and relieved the SS Division "Wiking" platoon by platoon in the Malgobek sector. "Wiking" had already freed-up battalions on its front and replaced them with alert units. II/"Nordland" was the first formation of "Wiking" to arrive in the 23rd Panzer Division area of operations through Kotlyarevskiy - Stariy Urukh -Ardon - Alagir on 10 November and was immediately committed to relieve the 13th Panzer Division. On 11 November the I and II/"Germania" arrived and were also committed to relieve the 13th Panzer Division at 2000 hours.

Also on 10 November the 23rd Panzer Division made a fruitless attempt to expand its narrow foothold. Moreover, elements of the 4th Panzer Regiment were assembled. Strong enemy attacks, supported by tanks, flared up along the entire 13th Panzer Division defensive front. With great sacrifice, the three sector groups prevented matters from turning into chaos. During the evening the defensive front of the 13th Panzer Division was in a half-circle around Nizhnaya Saniba. In the meantime all wheeled vehicles were prepared for the breakout. The division order read:

"... all transportable vehicles, weapons and equipment are to be taken. Everything else is to be destroyed..."

On the afternoon of 10 November General von Mackensen conducted a briefing with the commander of the II/"Nordland", Stubaf. Stoffers, and other staff officers. Also attending were the liaison officer from the II/"Nordland", Ustuf. Kallmann, as well as the assault group commander, Oscha. Karl Orf from the 7/"Nordland". They decided to attack with an assault troop opposite the breakout attack of the 13th Panzer Division to remove the wounded.

At 1500 hours the mostly empty vehicles of the 13th Panzer Division set out to break out to the west. Leading were the vehicles with the severely wounded under the command of Oberst Dr. Kuhn. The lightly wounded were moved on foot and in vehicles. The columns approached the ford in good order. In the meantime Battle Group von Hake cleared the area east of the ford and pushed the Soviets back to the north. The columns marched further; tanks were in the lead, followed by Oberst Dr. Kuhn with the wounded and then the other vehicles. They crossed the ford. On the opposite side, the I/4 Pz.Rgt. passed through the security to the old 13th Panzer Division march route. Anxious minutes passed in no-mans land, then Oberst Dr. Kuhn at the head of the wounded ran into Assault Troop Orf from the 7/"Nordland". They made it! Under the protection of the II/"Nordland", the 13th Panzer Division columns fled to the west. At 2300 hours, after the majority of the vehicles with the wounded had passed the ford, the division headquarters also withdrew from Nizhnaya Saniba.

The vehicles rolled across the ford to freedom during the entire night. However, with the dawn of the new day (11 November 1942), enemy fire engaged the ford. Anti-tank guns, anti-tank rifles and mortars fired from dominant positions. Vehicles were hit and blocked the ford. Twenty tanks from the 4th Panzer Regiment and infantry weapons were committed against :he Russian fire front without success. The Soviets dominated the activities on the ford from good positions. Tracked vehicles tried to re-open the ford without success. Vehicle losses increased rapidly. Under these circumstances the division commander stopped the operation in order to await the fall of darkness and search for a new ford.

On 11 November 1942 the difficult decision was made to break out with all of the forces of the 13th Panzer Division remaining in the east, even if the numerous vehicles had to be destroyed, especially since a new tank attack was anticipated from the Mairamadag Gorge. The southern portion of the foothold had become extremely shaky. That a catastrophe did not occur here was thanks to the commander of the "Wiking" Panzer Battalion, Stubaf. Mühlenkamp. It was his battalion that marched through Ardon - Alagir. The assembly of enemy tank forces was discovered in the Dzuarikau bridgehead. Muhlenkamp, the old, experienced panzer leader, was able to figure out what was happening there. By chance he noticed the unloading of a Luftwaffe anti-aircraft battalion while he was passing through Alagir. After a short discussion with the commander of the 23rd Panzer Division, General von Boineburg-Lengsfeld, Muhlenkamp received permission to deploy the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft battalion. The eighty-eights moved into position. Not a minute too soon, 20 enemy tanks were already rolling out of the Mairamadag Valley in the direction of Nizhnaya Saniba. The eighty-eights destroyed the enemy tank attack.

By the fall of darkness the three defensive sectors of the 13th Panzer Division withdrew. In spite of the dramatic circumstances everything went like clockwork. At 1630 hours Sector "Mitte" evacuated its positions under the cover of a weak rear guard. Sector "Süd" followed. "Slid" and "Mitte" joined to breakthrough into Nizhnaya Saniba. The wounded were in the center. The enemy resistance was broken, but the new ford presented another obstacle. It was next to an extremely marshy area that could not be crossed by wheeled vehicles. Many vehicles had to be abandoned there; they were disabled. These included almost all of the vehicles and rocket launchers of the II/52 Werfer Rgt.

The 43rd Kradschützen Battalion (Sector "Nord"), which was the last to withdraw with the rear guard, broke contact unnoticed by the enemy at 1800 hours, found a new ford, across which most of the vehicles passed, and made contact with friendly troops.

The majority of the 13th Panzer Division, including all of the wounded, was able to withdraw into the temporary positions established by the initial elements of "Wiking" (I and II/"Germania", II/"Nordland", the panzer battalion and elements of the "Wiking" Panzerjüger Battalion) because of concise leadership.

On the early morning of 12 November the Soviets realized that the Gisel -Nizhnaya Saniba pocket was empty. The 13th Panzer Division, which was to open the door to the Georgian Army Road, was not destroyed. Indeed, many of its vehicles were left behind, but its combat morale was not shaken. No one gave up, no one lost their head. It must also be noted that not a single wounded soldier was left behind. The sacrifice was high, but they performed their soldierly duty well.

The loss balance sheet for the III Panzer Corps and the Soviets for the time period 19 October to 12 November 1941, the period of the entire operation from Baksan to Ordzhonikidze, was given by von Mackensen in his book, "From the Bug to the Caucasus", as follows:

Enemy losses: 16,100 killed; 188 tanks and 4 armored trains destroyed. 249 guns and 881 heavy infantry weapons captured. Friendly losses: 1,275 killed, 273 missing, 5008 wounded.

The combat diary of Army Group A offered: 507 killed, 1918 wounded, 82 missing.
According to the Army Group A Diary, 13th Panzer Division vehicle losses for the same time period were:

26/10 - 11/11/1942: 45 tanks, 592 trucks.

On the night of 11-12/11 (breakthrough: 18 tanks and 496 trucks.

A German panzer division had a full strength of about 150 tanks (three battalions). In the reports from the 13th Panzer Division we read under 1 November 1942: 119 operational tanks. 4 November 1942: 70 operational tanks. 17 November 1942: 32 operational tanks.

On the other hand, we have Russian sources. "The Battle for the Caucasus" resulted in: "...140 damaged tanks, 70 guns, 91 mortars, 4 rocket launchers, 84 machine-guns and 2350 trucks were captured. In the Gisel area, the Germans left more than 5000 dead."

The 23rd Panzer Division is often reproached for not energetically pursuing the removal of the crisis on the northern flank of the 13th Panzer Division. Calculations show that they were in no position to do so. At the end of October the 23rd Panzer Division was located on the right, on the mountain flank, and had a bridgehead near Dzuarikau over the Fiagdon. Its security groups were delayed in being relieved by the Rumanians. On 1 November the 13th Panzer Division made it to Gisel and, at the same time, crises developed near the villages of Rassvet and Fiagdon, which necessitated the diversion of considerable forces from the 23rd Panzer Division. Thus, the combat strength of the 23rd Panzer Division was dispersed.

Nevertheless, the fortunate retreat from Gisel would have been questionable without the commitment of the hastily deployed SS Division "Wiking". Once again the true Waffenbrüderschaft between the "Wiking" and the 13th Panzer Division, which had already been cemented during the first year of the war in Russia in the III Panzer Corps, bore fruit.



That's it, hope you enjoyed it.

My best regards to you Raúl, and to Matthew Wharmby wherever he is.

Jerry
When you're in command..... command!

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tigre
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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by tigre » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:24 am

Hello Jerry :D; thank you very much for your great help.................
hope you enjoyed it
Sure I will. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Troops of the SS Wiking entering into a captured town in Northern Caucasus.............
Source: Kaukaz 1942. WM Nº 177.
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by Jerry » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:39 am

Hello Raúl,

You are quite welcome, and thank you! I would have to post that much every day for years, to come anywhere close to the amount of material that you have posted to the forums over the years. I'm glad when I can make a small contribution.

Best Regards............. Jerry
When you're in command..... command!

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Re: Baksan-Nalchik-Alagir-Ordzhonikidze campaign, Oct-Nov 1942

Post by LUFC » Wed May 09, 2012 10:50 am

I am still here! Thanks for that superb post and the best wishes. I now have Tieke's The Caucasus and the Oil, and in the nine(!) years since making that post have found unbelievable amounts on the net. http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/ ... zel_42.JPG makes it very plain. (Russian text).

Matthew Wharmby

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