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The Influence of General Vatutin on the Combat Operations near Kharkov in February–March 1943

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Arhivist_Kharkov, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. Arhivist_Kharkov

    Arhivist_Kharkov New Member

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    According to the title of the article we will talk about the events on Voronezh front; Kharkov was situated in the attack line on February 1943 there; Colonel General Philip Ivanovich Golikov was a commander of this front. “What has this to do with the commander of Southwestern front Colonel General Nikolay Fyodorovich Vatutin?” – the surprised reader may ask. Some years ago I also thought this way and accused Colonel General Golikov and his deputy Lieutenant General Dmitriy Timofeyevich Kozlov of surrendering Kharkov in March 1943. The commander of Voronezh front can be accused of many things: he did not foresee the counterattack of SS tank corps and Kharkov surrender; however, neither General Headquarters nor General Staff of the Red Army did not foresee that. General Kozlov is usually accused of bad city preparation to defense. As it turned out the city was ready! Wehrmacht and Red Army documents prove this. On the other hand, there were not enough staff in the sub-units that defensed the city. Kozlov was slandered out of habit but there was another reason. The catastrophe near Kharkov had another but real culprit: Colonel General N.F.Vatutin…
    In the previous articles together with the military historian Valeriy Bokhmyanin we have already mentioned (not even once!) the chain of negative moments concerning the commanding of Southwestern front by N.F.Vatutin and this has influenced the course of events and outcome for their neighbors: Voronezh front. This small article summarizes the facts collected while researching the battles near Kharkov in February – March 1943. This article is not full, however, in my humble opinion, it can provoke the discussions among those who research the period of the Second World War.
    Without repeating the course of the combat operations of both fronts as you may more or less know about them, we would like to stop on the several important and significant facts. All of them happened not in Voronezh but in the Southwestern front! The attack of the striking force of Lieutenant General Markiyan Michaylovich Popov was not stopped on time and as a result 4 tank corps and 3 infantry divisions of the Red Army were surrounded and almost fully destroyed. The 1st Guard army of this front commanded by Lieutenant General Vasiliy Ivanovich Kuznetsov lost the biggest part of its staff on the territory of current Barvenkovskiy, Lozovskoy and Sachnovshchinskiy districts of Kharkov region and Pavlogradskiy district of Dnepropetrovskiy region. Some army parts were cut off by the SS tank corps attack. The same happened to the 6th army commanded by Lieutenant General Fiodor Michaylovich Kharitonov on the territory of Pervomayskiy district of Kharkov region. Kharitonov was able to move parts of his army to the left bank of the river Severskiy Donets, however, they had no power to destroy the 4th tank army of Wehrmacht left on the right bank near the 48th tank corps. The weather and difficult relief helped them...

    Read further here General N.F.Vatutin
     

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