Soviet Demyansk Offensive Operation January 1942

The Demyansk Pocket February 1942
16.Armee in the Demyansk Pocket 1942
The Red Army, although driven back to the very gates of Moscow itself, had established a reserve to the east of the Soviet capital. Its winter offensive 1942 smashed into the German lines, tearing huge gaps in the front. In the north six German divisions, including the SS-Division Totenkopf, were cut off in the Demyansk Pocket. To the north, Soviet 11th and 34th Soviet Armies, and the 1st Shock Army forming one attack incent to advance along the southern shore of Lake Ilmen. The 16th Shock Army also advanced along to sweep around the lower edge of Lake Seliger to join the other thrust, encircle and annihilate the German 16.Armee, and thus create a vast gap between German Heeresgruppe Nord and Heeresgruppe Mitte. During the night of January 8 1942, under cover of a fierce blizzard, the Red Army launched its attack along the whole of Heeresgruppe Nord's southern flank. Soviet dictator Josef Stalin hoped that the German armies could be encircled and destroyed by lightning thrusts and rapid maneuvers. A combination of rigidity in command and lack of coordination of the Russian forces, coupled with Hitler’s “no retreat” order and stubborn German resistance, foiled the Soviet dictator’s grandiose plan. The Demyansk salient proved a horrific Eastern Front battleground, due in part to the meddling of two dictators. Credit: Pat McTaggart. Bottom image: German troops in Demyansk 1942. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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