German Army Deployment For Battle of Stalingrad

By mid July, 1942, the Wehrmacht forces had reached the Don River as the Red Army’s divisions fell back across to the other side of the river. For the coming offensive against Stalingrad and the Caucasus, known as Operation Blue, the German Army Group South had been rearranged in two smaller army groups, which were redeployed along the Don and ready for action; in the north, Army Group B was composed of the German 2nd Army, the Hungarian 2nd Army, the Italian 8th Army, and the German 6th Army; in the south, Army Group A consisted of the German 4th Panzer Army, 1st Panzer Army, and the 17th Army. The 6th Army, under von Paulus, would push eastward towards the Volga River and take Stalingrad, supported by elements of the 4th Panzer Army, with Hungarian and Romanian forces picking up the rear. Meanwhile, the 1st Panzer Army, supported by the 17th, would march southwards towards the Caucasus.

Maps of German and Soviet order of battle before the battle for Stalingrad at the end of July and early August, 1942

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Down Below: map of German deployment at the end of August, at the beginning of the battle

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WW1 British Infantry Drill

A demonstration of the British Army Infantry drill just before and during World War I. They use bolt-action Lee-Enfield rifles, which was the standard infantry weapon during this armed conflict.

German Order of Battle for Operation Barbarossa

During World War II, Adolf Hitler and Franz Halder, Chief of General Staff of the Wehrmacht, deployed three German army groups for the invasion of the Soviet Union, whose codename was Operation Barbarossa, which would begin on June 22, 1941. Each of these large military units was supported by one Luftwaffe’s air fleet. They were very successful until December 1941, when the Germans were at the gates of Moscow, then the tide of war began to change.

Order of Battle

– Under the command of Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, Army Group North was made up of the 16th and 18th Armies, the 4th Panzer Group, and Air Fleet 1. Its 29 divisions had been massed in East Prussia before the beginning of the operation and they would attack eastward, across Luthania and Latvia, with their final objective being Leningrad.

– Led by Fedor von Bock, Army Group Center consisted of the 4th and 9th Armies, the 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups, and Air Fleet 2. They totalled 49 divisions, which had been stationed in eastern Poland. They would strike deep across the center of the Russian plain, towards Minsk and Moscow. They had the mission of capturing the capital of the Soviet Union.

– Commanded by Gerd von Rundstedt, Army Group South was composed of 6th, 11th and 17th Armies, and the 1st Panzer Group under Ewald von Kleist, with the air support of Air Fleet 4. They were reinforced by the Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies. This army group’s 41 divisions would invade the Ukraine and take Kieve.

The Soviet terroritory was defended by the following Russian forces: the Northern Front, the North-Western Front, the South-Western Front, and the Southern Front. Each of these Fronts were composed of three Soviet armies approximately.

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Modern German Armoured Divisions

Currently, as of March 2016, the German Army, which is the main branch of the Bundeswehr, has two armour divisions; the 1. Panzerdivision, which is made up of the 9th Panzer Demonstration Brigade, the 21st Panzer Brigade, the 41st Panzer Brigade, and the 325th Artillery Battalion; the 10. Panzerdivision, which is composed of the 12th Panzer Brigade, the 37th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, the 23rd Mountain Infantry Brigade, and the 131st Artillery Battalion. Each one of the Panzerbrigade consists of 4 battalions, each equipped with 44 Leopard 2A6 and 2A7+ main battle tanks, while the 37th mechanized infantry brigade of the 10. Panzerdivision is armed with Schützenpanzer Puma infantry fighting vehicles and GTK Boxer armoured personnel carriers.

 

A Bundeswehr Armour Division in Action (video)

British Army Power Demonstration

The British Royal Army shows off its fire power capacity in a military demonstration in 2013, using tanks and armoured vehicles (Challenger 2 MBT, FV510 Warrior, and Cougar), infantry units, and attack helicopters.

German Forces on Eastern Front

From 1941, all the German forces on the Eastern Front were organized into three Army Groups, which were to conduct Unternehmen Barbarossa; this military operation was the invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on June 22, 1941. They were Army Group North (Heeresgruppe Nord), Army Group Center (Heeresgruppe Mitte), and Army Group South (Heeresgruppe Süd); they were under direct orders from the German Army High Command (Oberkommando des Heeres). By 1942, around 3,600,000 German soldiers and 6,200 tanks and armoured vehicles of types had been deployed on the Eastern Front by the Wehrmacht, with the German armies being reorganized and reinforced as the war raged on.

The three German army groups on the Eastern Front

Army Group North was led by Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb. It was composed of the 16th and 18th Armies, reinforced by Panzer Group 4th and the Spanish Blue Division. Based in East Prussia, it attacked the Soviet Union, invading the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, securing Army Group Center’s left flank as it pushed eastward. It took part in the Siege of Leningrad.

Under the command of Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, Army Group Center was the strongest one, being composed of the 9th Army and the 4th Army, which were regular field armies, and the 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups; it successfully took part in the battles of Bialystok-Minsk and Smolensk, but it was defeated at the Battle of Moscow. In 1944, Army Group Center would be smashed during a Soviet counteroffensive called Operation Bagration.

Commanded by Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, Army Group South was made up of the 6th, 11th, and 17th Armies, reinforced by the 1st Panzer Group and the Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies. It participated in the battles of Uman and Kiev. In 1942, Army Group South was reorganized and split into Army Groups A and B. The former took part in the Battle of the Caucasus in Operation Fall Blau, while the latter fought in the Battle of Stalingrad, where the 6th Army, under von Paulus, was totally destroyed.

A German armoured division on the Eastern Front during Operation Barbarossa

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