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Thread: 70 Years Ago: Operation Case Blue - Offensive for Stalingrad

  1. #11
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    The 6th Army was particularly unfortunate because it was later fighting in Romania when the Romanians changed sides in August 1944 (due to a coup d'état) and it was effectively wiped out for the second time

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    369th (Croatian) Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

    369th Croatian Reinforced Infantry Regiment Road To The Stalingrad

    December 17, 2017


    Flag of the regiment (Reverse), the inscription reads, For Poglavnik and for the homeland.


    On 24 September 1942, during a visit to the 6th Army headquarters, Pavelić decorated and promoted some soldiers of the regiment. Two days later the 100th Light Infantry Division was committed to the Battle of Stalingrad.

    Colonel Marko Mesić


    It is important to note that Paulus and his Sixth Army were the best German division ever in the Second World War. Paulus and his soldiers were the most disciplined, best equipped and most talented German units in the entire Wehrmacht. They have achieved military successes unseen and unparalleled in Europe and the world. A call to the 369th Regiment to join them in the attack on Stalingrad was an expression of great honor for the former achievements and sacrifice on the Russian front.

    Colonel Viktor Pavičić


    On September 27, 1942, the regiment in the composition of the Weber Group participated in the attack on the "Red October" factory on Volga River, later celebrated in the movie Enemy at the gate. From October 23 to December 29, 1942, the Regiment was part of the 79th Division. The 369th Regiment in Stalingrad itself was mostly around the railway line near the Volga and the celebrated "Red October" factory. At the end of September 1942, Sergeant Dragutin Podobnik pointed out in very difficult and deadly battles during the conquest of "Red October". On his own initiative, without the support of assault guns only with ten (18?) Legionnaires took the entire factory building 'T-shaped' in the Red October lossless.

    The first line of the 369th regiment during the Stalingrad battle


    The captured building Podobnik leaves the German detachment from the 54th regiment, which has been completely annihilated following days by the red-armies, who penetrate underground channels and re-invade the building. Podobnik became the most decorated regiment NCO and goes from Stalingrad before falling 2 February 1943. Dragutin Podobnik as a soldier killed in the spring of 1945 and posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant NDH

    Soldier of 369 Regiment in Stalingrad



    During the first two weeks of heavy fighting in the city itself, by October 13, 1942, Lieutenant Aleksandar Franic and Major Paar died among others. 120 legionnaires dead, 352 were seriously wounded and 50 disappeared. Heavy fighting in late September and throughout October, exhausted and halved most of the units of the regiment. The regiment breakthrough to the Volga with terrible losses and among the few German troops fulfills the planned goals. Because of its courage and success, the regiment was exceptionally praised by the German Command. The Regiment was reduced to only 983 legionnaires by October 21, 1942. In addition to minor reinforcements from the homeland of several hundred Legionnaires, there were no new fresh legionaries to the very end.


    After 23 November 1942 together with Paulusovom 6th German Army, 369th regiment was completely surrounded in Stalingrad cauldron. Colonel Viktor Pavicic due to lack of food issued a detailed statement on the slaughter of horses and salami production and distribution of food to those who were on the front line and who do not hide from duty.




    From the war, diary gives the impression that by the end of December command of the regiment, maintaining frontline command of Major Tomislav Brajkovic. He was transferred to the German unit, together with Major Tahir Alagić, after being in conflict with other officers on his own request. Alagić was later wounded and evacuated by plane and was shot in Yugoslavia during 1948.

    Soldiers of Croatian Legion on Easter front, 1942


    During the fierce and exhausting defensive battles around "Red October" on Christmas and New Year's Day in 1942 and until December 29, 1942, the regiment was dragged to the railway line by heavy losses and finally at the flight school. January 1, 1943, After heavy battles, the remains of the regiments were reduced to a combat position of only 200 meters and the artillery position at the flight school. The strong Russian attack on January 10, 1943, breaks down the remaining 70 legionaries on the combat line, allegedly partly because of the lack of ammunition.

    Artillery 369 regiments


    January 13 or 14, 1943. After the replacement of Pavičić (on his own request to General Sanno) and written order by General Sanne, the last command of the 369th regime was taken over by Lieutenant Colonel Marko Mesić. Colonel Viktor Pavicic disappears never unclear circumstances probably 20 January 1943. 2 February 1943 Exposed winter temperatures below minus 30 degrees Celsius survivors, mostly wounded, frostbitten and ill members of the 369th Regiment surrendered at flight school.



    Only during the last seventeen days of fighting killed more than 170 legionnaires as a loss of about 25% of the people. Surviving cell legions withdrew under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mesic in ruins flight school to surrender. By the statement of Lieutenant-Colonel Mesic dated 1948, a total of about 700 besieged legionnaires and the CO of the 369 regiment were surrendered.



    On the night of 22nd January 1943, in the last group of wounded legionnaires who had departed in a very dramatic circumstance by Stalingrad, there were two writers of the war diary of the regiment. Sick Lieutenant Rudolf Baričević and Sergeant Ervin Juric took in a plane regimental war diary and many preserved documents.



    The Legion assembled at Beketovka on river Volga where they were joined by some 80,000 mainly German as well as Italian, Romanian and Hungarian POWs. They were sent on a forced march to Moscow where they were joined by Croatian legionnaires from the Light Transport Brigade who had been attached to Italian forces on the Eastern Front. From there, they were sent to work camps in Siberia. Many died on the march due to starvation, hypothermia or disease.




    In the first months of the Russian captivity, several hundred legionaries died and disappeared. According to Mesic's statement of about 700 captured at Stalingrad, there was only about 400 surviving legionnaires which would mean 40% of the losses in this relatively short period of time. Most of the captured officers and legionnaires 369th Regiment in Russian captivity joined the newly formed unit called the 1st Independent Yugoslav Brigade under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Marko Mesic and other Croatian officers captured.



    369th Croatian Reinforced Infantry Regiment Road to ...

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    STALINGRAD the film, 20 th Anniversary Edition

    STALINGRAD HAS SOME OF THE MOST VIRTUOSIC BATTLE SCENES TO BE FOUND IN A MODERN WAR FILM

    In the spring of 1942 German troops advance deep into the Soviet Union, en route to Stalingrad. Hitler, seriously misjudged the tenacity of the Red Army, is convinced that the city can be conquered before winter. Inadequately clothed and without sufficient food, the German troops literally freeze and starve to death, largely abandoned by their leaders. For the soldiers Fritz, Hans, Rollo and GeGe the struggle for life has just begun. Gunfire and bombs are only one part of this hell; most of the soldiers will lose the battle against hunger and cold.

    The film presents this turning point in WW II as a vast tableau of horror in which the average German soldier was as much a victim as were the Soviet people.


    See scenes - Stalingrad 2013 Film | World News

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    The Battle Of Stalingrad From The German Perspective


    A remarkable collection of historical footage gives us the German perspective of the 1942-43 Battle of Stalingrad, which resulted in the destruction of the German 6th Army at the hands of the Soviets.


    The five-month Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) is still the fiercest and deadliest close quarter battle to have ever occurred. Nearly 2 million troops were killed in the battle.


    Although Stalingrad was a “win” for the Soviets, they took a significantly higher portion of casualties with 1,129,619 men killed in action.


    The nightmarish battle consisted of building-to-building, room-to-room fighting, all while under constant airstrikes and artillery barrages that left the city a smoldering pile of rubble.


    The initial German push to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, and was somewhat successful in pushing the Red Army back. However, the Red Army was able to identify weakness on the German flanks. The Germans were using their top troops on the front, but left the less capable Romanian and Hungarian units to guard their flanks.
    In November 1942, the Soviets conducted a two-prong attack on those flanks, crushing them and successfully encircling the German Army in Stalingrad. Instead of calling for retreat, Hitler ordered his troops to stay and fight in the city. Over the course of the brutally cold winter, the Axis troops ran out of ammunition and supplies. In February 1943, the raining Axis troops surrendered, giving the Red Army victory in Stalingrad.





    THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD FROM THE GERMAN PERSPECTIVE Jan 4 2019.



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    "If we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” ― Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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    A very interesting infograph, it shows the combat readiness/effectiveness of German divisions prior to the invasion of the USSR versus springtime 1942, after the German army withstood the winter offensives of the Red Army. Take into account that this is not the combat readiness of German divisions when Fall Blau commenced, which was several months away, but it does give you an idea of how mutilated the German army already was early on in 1942 and how the Germans still had to make the most of a rather unfavorable situation. The rush to Moscow and the Red Army's winter operations had sadly wrecked the German army, they lost perhaps most of their best frontline troops already by this time.

    "If we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” ― Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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