The Eastern Front of World War II and the Battle of Stalingrad

Operation Case Blue: German Summer Offensive of 1942

Above is a map of the German's plan to execute Case Blue. The operation itself had two stages. The first would initiate on June 28th, 1942, when Army Group South attacked Soviet forces west of the Don River. The second phase had begun when Army Group South had split into Army Group A and B, each with their own objective. Army Group B was to move along the Don River towards the Volga River and cover the flank of Army Group A. Army Group A's objective was to advance into the Caucasus towards Soviet oilfields in Maikop, Grozny and Baku (Toprani, 816). These oilfields were a necessity for the German's blitzkrieg since they heavily relied on tanks. Germany had purchased oil from the Russians prior to Operation Barbarossa but now their only source of oil was from Romania, pressing the need to capture more oilfields. Although both groups were making advances in their respective objectives, Hitler had made a major strategic blunder; he ordered Army Group B to capture Stalingrad, which held no strategic significance. He made it even worse when he ordered the panzers of Army Group B south to the Caucasus to support Army Group A, slowing the march towards Stalingrad (Trueman). On August 9th, Army Group A had captured the first oilfield of Maykop with the support of panzers, but it was destroyed by the retreating Russians. There was nothing. Hitler, frustrated by the slow advance towards Stalingrad, ordered the panzers of Army Group B back north to rejoin the push on the city, leaving Army Group A without support and disabling them from advancing any further. This left the major oilfields in the Caucasus beyond reach. By late August, Army Group B was within range of Stalingrad and began their assault (Martin).

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