Background[ edit ] General situation on the Eastern Front[ edit ] By late February , the Soviet winter counter-offensive , had pushed German forces from Moscow on a broad front and then ended in mutual exhaustion. Stalin was convinced that the Germans were finished and would collapse by the spring or summer , as he said in his speech of 7 November Vasilevsky wrote "Yes, we were hoping for [German reserves to run out], but the reality was more harsh than that". Although Stavka believed that the Germans had been defeated before Moscow, the seventy divisions which faced Moscow remained a threat. Stalin, most generals and front commanders believed that the principal effort would be a German offensive towards Moscow.
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The sector chosen was Kharkov. However, Stalin was unaware that the Germans were planning their own riposte at Kharkov, known as Operation Fredericus. When Timoshenko began his offensive in May , he did not realize the limitations of his own forces or the agility of the Germans to recover from setbacks, all of which contributed to one of the Red Army greatest defeats of World War II.
This volume will pay particular attention to intelligence and logistics issues, as well as how this campaign served as a prelude to the battle of Stalingrad. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the US Army Reserves having served 18 years as an armour officer in the US 2nd and 4th Infantry Divisions and as an intelligence officer in the 29th Infantry Division Light.
Dr Forczyk is currently a consultant in the Washington, DC area. Howard Gerrard studied at the Wallasey School of Art and has been a freelance designer and illustrator for over 20 years.
He has worked for a number of publishers and is an associate member of the Guild of Aviation Artists. Howard lives and works in Kent. Read more.
Second Battle of Kharkov
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Kharkov 1942: The Wehrmacht strikes back