Known as Case Blue in English, Fall Blau was a World War II German military operation which took place in southern Russia from June 28, 1942 to February 2, 1943. “Fall Blau” was a codename used by the Wehrmacht for this military campaign, which was a follow-up operation of Unternehmen Barbarossa. Its main objective was the capture of the Baku oil fields in the Caucasus region, but its second objective, which was the city of Stalingrad, had to be taken first in order to secure the left flank of Army Group South on their way to the Caucasus. By capturing Stalingrad, the Wehrmacht would be able to control the boats traffic flow of the Volga River.
To conduct Fall Blau, the Wehrmacht’s Army Group South was subdivided into Army Group A, under the command of Wilhelm List, and Army Group B, under Maximilian von Weichs. The former one, composed of the 17th and 11th Armies and 1st Panzer Army, would turn right and then push southward toward the Caucasus oil fields; while Army Group B, which consisted of German 2nd and 6th Armies and the 4th Panzer Army, would advance eastward toward Stalingrad to carry out the Volga Campaign. These two army groups had been reinforced by 3rd Romanian, 2nd Hungarian, and 8th Italian Armies. All these ground military units would receive fire support from the Luftwaffe’s Luftflotte 4.
Operation Fall Blau began on June 28, 1942. At first, this German military campaign was successful, obtaining large territorial gains. As the German Army Group South advanced in a southeastward direction, the Red Army fell back, avoiding direct military confrontation. In July, the Fourth Panzer Army reached the Don River near Voronezh, and became engaged in a battle to take the city. Wehrmacht pincers attempted to complete their encirclements, but they found only stragglers and rear guards. Nevertheless, the German 6th Army was defeated at the Battle of Stalingrad, which forced the remainder of the German armies to withdraw from the southern region for fear of being trapped in a Soviet encirclement. This put an end to Operation Fall Blau.
Maps of Fall Blau