Chapter III - Wehrmacht: Approaching Stalingrad (August - September, 1942)

On the 23rd of August, German 14th tank corps., previously amassed on the left bank of river Don, assumed the offensive. The main strike - according to the plan devised by Gen. Hoth - was aimed at the junction point between Soviet 4th tank army and 62nd army, and should have been followed by further advancement to the settlement Rynok. By the mid-day, dozens of german tanks appeared in the vicinity of Stalingrad Tractor Plant, at a 1-1.5 km distance, and opened fire on its buildings. Wehrmacht forces managed to wedge into soviet forces and dissect the front onto two parts.

To the south of Stalingrad, after pitched seven-day long battle, forces of the Hoth’s 4th tank division managed to take Abganerovo and Tinguta, although at a great cost. They also captured station "55th km" and forced back the left flank of the 64th army to the height 174,0, Zety, Kashary (15 km to north-west of Abganerovo). Spearhead forces of the division took settlement Tundutovo, south-east to Abganerovo.

On September 2nd , 62nd and 64th soviet armies were forced to retreat to the main line of Stalingrad defense, while Wehrmacht commenced full-scaled assault on the city. 14th division, after being replaced by Romanian forces and reinforced with tank battalion of the 29th mechanized division and light mine throwers, prepared to attack to the south of Voropopovo. On September 7, 6th Wehrmacht Army breached defenses of the 62nd Army at settlement Gumrak. On September 8, 4th Wehrmacht Tank Army moved its left flank to link with the 6th field army and approached hills near river Volga in the vicinity of settlement Kuporosnoye. By the dusk of September 11, German forces managed to take settlements Peschanka and Zelenaya Poliana, both at the southern outskirts of Stalingrad.

However, there was a price Germans had to pay on their rush to Volga. During the first decade of September, Wehrmacht lost 24 thousand men, 185 cannons and over 500 tanks. On August 18 - September 12, in the vicinity of Stalingrad enemy forces lost over 600 airplanes. By August 26, Wehrmacht staved off 62nd army and proceeded to the center of Stalingrad. Germans also managed to break through the junction point between 62nd and 64th armies and take dominating ground at the Mamaev Hill. However, by the end of September they still had uncompleted objectives, since they should have taken the entire bank of the Volga river.

Forces engaged in combat during the period shown in "Stalingrad":

Wehrmacht (6th Army):

16-th tank division(Lieutenant General Angern):

       2-nd tank regiment of the 16th Tank Division;

60-th mechanized division (Major General Kohlermann);

24-th tank division (Lieutenant General Arno von Lenski);

Airborne commando-reconnaissance detachment

Red Army (Stalingrad front):

4-th Tank Army* (Major General Kruchenkin)

62-nd Army (Lieutenant General Lopatin**):

       10-th NKVD division

       1077-th Anti-Aircraft regiment

       Labor battalion of the Stalingrad Tractor Plant.

4-th Tank Army was comprised of 2nd and 23rd tank corps., which included 6 tank and 2 mechanized infantry brigades. The army was engaged in combat before its formation was finished, and was soon moved away from the first line of defense due to heavy losses. *Lieutenant General Lopatin commanded over 62nd Army until September 2, 1942, when he was replaced by Lieutenant General Chuikov.