Monday, December 17, 2018

September 19, 1941: Germans Take Kiev

Friday 19 September 1941

Kiev falls to the Wehrmacht 19 September 1941
Kyiv being taken by the Wehrmacht circa 19 September 1941. These particular fires may be the result of Soviet demolitions. (Kraagranger [Kraayvanger], Federal Archive Bild 183-B12190).
Eastern Front: German Major General W. Stemmermann's 296th Infantry Division of General von Reichenau's 6th Army breaks through crumbling Soviet defenses and advances into Kyiv on 19 September 1941. Soviet Southwestern Front has 850,000 troops under the command of General Mikhail Kirponos, who is trapped in the pocket with his men. While the German cordon around Kyiv still is fairly porous and some Soviet troops are able to break out (against German opposition), the vast majority of Kirponos' men are trapped in a giant, hopeless, and diminishing cauldron.

Kiev falls to the Wehrmacht 19 September 1941
Firefighters putting out blazes in Kyiv begun by retreating Soviet troops on or about 19 September 1941 (Funck, Federal Archive Bild 183-B12523).
There is little doubt that Kirponos is a scapegoat. Stalin has flown his good friend Marshal Budenny out of the Kyiv pocket, and Marshal Timoshenko is taking a "hands-off" attitude" and is just following Stalin's orders. The generals in Moscow are in no danger, at least not yet. Kirponos, in command on the spot, is seen as a bit of a cautious and pessimistic general by Stalin and his cronies even though he has shown outstanding tactical judgment from the start of Operation Barbarossa. General Zhukov is quoted by Nikita Khrushchev, a Commissar in Kyiv, as saying:
I am afraid your commander (Kirponos) here is pretty weak.
While Stalin easily could send a special plane in to rescue Kirponos, this is not done. Instead, Kirponos forms up his headquarters troops of about 1000 men and attempts a breakout. Kirponos is not part of "the club" and is left to fend for himself, just another victim of Stalin's callous indifference to his minions.

Kiev falls to the Wehrmacht 19 September 1941
German troops crossing the Dneipr to take Kyiv circa 19 September 1941. In the background is the Lavra Lavra Monastery (Reindl, Federal Archive Bild 146-1997-040-05)
Taking a global perspective, Kyiv is the first (and ultimately only) of the principal objectives of the three Wehrmacht army groups to fall. Leningrad is isolated and basically surrounded, but the Germans already have terminated their attempt to capture Leningrad and instead have resorted to medieval siege tactics there.

Kiev falls to the Wehrmacht 19 September 1941
"A guard post of the fascist German Wehrmacht on the citadel of the day before, which conquered 19.9.1941 city Kyiv and a view of the city with the burning Dniepr bridge." Kyiv, 19 September 1941 (Schmidt Federal Archive Figure 183-L20208)
The sole remaining major objective for the Germans in 1941 remains Moscow. The capital of the Soviet Union is still hundreds of miles behind the front, which is reassuring when the Stavka looks at a map. However, the fall of Kyiv releases massive German forces which now can be redirected (after the lengthy process of subduing the remaining Soviet forces near Kyiv) toward Stalin's place of residence. With the fall of Kyiv, the ultimate outcome of Operation Barbarossa now becomes a race between the Geman ability to grind forward toward Moscow and the weather, which already is showing the first signs of winter.

Kiev falls to the Wehrmacht 19 September 1941
German troops riding into Kyiv, watched by civilians, 19 September 1941 (Reindl, Federal Archive Figure 183-L20213).

September 1941

September 1, 1941: Two Years In
September 2, 1941: Germans Pushed Back at Yelnya
September 3, 1941: FDR Refuses to Meet with Japanese
September 4, 1941: Hitler Furious at Guderian
September 5, 1941: Germans Evacuate Yelnya
September 6, 1941: Japan Prepares for War
September 7, 1941: Hitler Orders Drive on Moscow
September 8, 1941: Leningrad Cut Off
September 9, 1941: Germans Attack Leningrad
September 10, 1941: Guderian Busts Loose
September 11, 1941: Convoy SC-42 Destruction
September 12, 1941: Starve Leningrad!
September 13, 1941: Zhukov at Leningrad
September 14, 1941: Germany's Growing Casualties
September 15, 1941: Sorge Warns Stalin Again
September 16, 1941: Soviets Encircled at Kiev
September 17, 1941: Iran Conquest Completed
September 18, 1941: Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in Action
September 19, 1941: Germans Take Kiev
September 20, 1941: Death at Kiev
September 21, 1941: Raging Soviet Paranoia
September 22, 1941: Defense of Nickel Mines
September 23, 1941: Air Attacks on Leningrad
September 24, 1941: Japanese Spying Intensifies
September 25, 1941: Manstein at the Crimea
September 26, 1941: Kiev Pocket Eliminated
September 27, 1941: Massacre at Eišiškės
September 28, 1941: Ted Williams Hits .400
September 29, 1941: Babi Yar Massacre
September 30, 1941: Operation Typhoon Begins


No comments:

Post a Comment