Rzhev-Vyazma operation 1942, 8.1-20.4, by forces of Kalinin, Western, Bryansk and units of Northwestern Fronts during Great Patriotic War. The purpose - finish route of the main forces of German Group of Armies "Centre ". Rzhev-Vyazma operation was developed without an operative pause after Counteroffensive near Moscow 1941. The Soviet forces have rejected the opponent on 80-250 kms and have deeply captured its Group of Armies "Centre" from two sides.
"The Plan of Soviet offensive was based on scope of the opponent by five Armies and one Cavalry Corps of Kalinin Front from the north, from area to the northwest of Rzhev in a direction on Sychevka, Vyazma and by nine Armies and two Cavalry Corps of Western Front from the south, from area of Kaluga to Uhnov, Vyazma, Sychevka and Gzhatsk with simultaneous performance of other Armies of the Western Front on Sychevka and Gzhatsk to surround, dismember and destroy the main German forces of Group of Armies "Centre" in area of Rzhevs, Vyazma, Uhnov, Gzhatsk ".
The air-landing should operate in full conformity with pre-war sights: landing in area where the main impact of a land forces is directed, encirclemented German forces, cut off railways and highway Vyazma-Smolensk and a prohibition of probable withdrawal of Germans on these transport arteries, and also the offensive of reserves from the other sites of front.
To support actions of Shock grouping owed forces of Northwestern Front, whose left wing should attack Toropets, and Bryansk Front to which was recommended to hold down the opponent on Bryansk and Orel directions, not having allowed removel German forces to Vyazma.
Offensive begun January 8, 1942, developed successfully and rather fast rates. 39th Soviet Army have broken through defense of German enemy to the west of Rzhev on a narrow, 15-kilometer site and, developing offensive in depth, promoted to the south on Sychevka, Novodugino. January 15, 22th Army have occupied Selizharovo, and next day have left on the right bank of the Volga. Persistent fights for city Bely were developed. 39th Army operated in rear of German Rzhev grouping. The Soviet commander front general - colonel Konev has entered into break after 39th, 29th Army of general Shvetsova and 11th Cavalry Corps by colonel S.V.Sokolova. Formations of this corps have broken from the north to Vyazma but could not take it. By the end of month the Kalinin Front has left on approaches to Smolensk, deeply having captured Group of Armies "Centre" from the west.
On the right wing of the Western Front the leaging role in offensive was allocated to 20th Army with reserve units: four Rifle Brigades from 1st Shock Army and 16th Army, six artillery Regiments and 2nd Guard Cavalry Corps from Southwestern Front. Offensive was planned in narrow 20 kms line from area Volokolamsk on Shahovskaya with support of 47th Aviation Division and 601st Bombing Regiment. In the first day of operation the group of general F.T.Remizova has seized settlement Zaharino and has gone deep into German defense on 2-3 kms. Soviet formations of 352nd Rifle Division have occupied Timonino. To outcome January 12, forces of Shock grouping have promoted on 5-8 kms. Forces of generals Remizova, Katukova and 64th Sea Rifle Brigade have left on approaches to Shahovskay. Hence 20th and 1st Shock Armies after persistent two-day fights have broken through German defense, and January 10, 2nd Guards Cavalry Corps of general I.A.Pliev, strengthened with five Ski Battalions and 22nd Tank Brigade was entered into break and has left in rear of the opponent. All looked thus, as though final route of German forces in this area not far off. Therefore, under Stalin's personal instruction, from formation of Western Front, 1st Shock Army was removed. This step has resulted that the weakened Soviet forces of the right wing of front, approach to surburbs of Gzhatska, could not take it. The success was not advanced, and approach has choked.
Three armies of the Western Front (43rd, 49th and 50th) at this time have bypassed from the north and the south Uhnov grouping of Germans. 50th Army and 1st Guard Cavalry Corps have left to Uhnov, but were stopped by nine Germans divisions of 4th Field Army. Coming from Maloyaroslavets and Tarusa 43th and 49th Soviet Armies, bypassing Uhnov grouping from the north, by January 19, have left on line Sheloki-Domanovo-Pluskovo. Offensive of Soviet forces of left wing of the Western Front encountered sharply increased resistance. 10th Army, have reflected counterstroke of the German Motorized Corps from area Zhizdra, but January 24, they managed to deblock besieged in Suhinitchi German garrison and 216th Field Division.
With task to end encirclement of German forces and creation more dense ring, Soviet Command was solved to land there a massed air-landing. The decision on the air-landing operation which have received name Vyazma, was accepted.
During counteroffensive which have begun on December 6, 1941 near Moscow 33th Soviet Army by December 26, completely has released Naro Fominsk, January 4, 1942 - Borovsk and January 19,-Vereya. To this time forces of 33th Army required updating by personnel, engineering and an ammunition. Therefore, full unexpectedness, for army commander was order received January 17, 1942 from the commander of Western Front, of the general of army of G.K.Zhukova, to offensive on Vyazma.
Movement of formations of 33rd Army to Vyazma.
And how Zhukov was realized this offensive plan? How he has closed an encirclement of Group of Armies "Centre" at Vyazma? You see this operation could be previousStalingrad, moreover, if it has carried out, and Stalingrad would not be required. Zhukov on the beginnings of offensive to Vyazma, has sent Belov's Cavalry Corps and has directed 33th Army. To break through defense of Germans it was not required - it was not. In a place of break " appeared wide, nothing filled gap in defense of the opponent " - writes Zhukov. 33rd Army on January 31, have left in area Shansk Zavod and Domanovo. Three Rifle Divisions of the first echelon of 33rd Army under command of general - lieutenant Efremov (113rd, 338th and 160th Rifle Divisions) came to Vyazma, and further Germans have made with Zhukov that Timoshenko on the eve has made with Germans under Elets " ... The opponent, having struck under the basis of break, a compartment group also has restored defense on the river Ugre " - writes Zhukov. It was February, 4. For February 6, 1942 the surrounded divisions of 33rd Army were totaled 9580 soldiers. The further increase of personnel (up to 12 780 man by March 11, 1942) It was made due to mobilization of local population in the age from 17 till 45 years. In total during two month of fights (since February, 2), 8700 enemy soldier were destroyed. Break to the main forces could realized only small group from 889 person.
So unsuccessfulfor Soviet forces operations on Rzhev direction developed. January 23, from Olenino area and on the side of Rzhev to the west Germans cut off communications of Soviet Shock Grouping. Forces of 29th, 39th Armies and 11th Cavalry Corps were in encirclement. In February, 29th Army has left from encirclement. February 28, its remnants 6000 soldiers have broken to the main Soviet forces. On the German data, in a captivity has got 4888 soldiers and commanders of this army, and 26647 were found by victims on a battlefield.
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