Second Battle of Kharkov

by Red Brick  |  11 years, 5 month(s) ago

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The Second Battle of Kharkov, so named by Wilhelm Keitel was an Axis counteroffensive against the Red Army Izium bridgehead offensive conducted from May 12 to May 28, 1942, on the Eastern Front during World War II. Its objective was to eliminate the Izium bridgehead (Russian: Изюмский плацдарм) over Seversky Donets, or the "Barvenkovo bulge" (Russian: Барвенковский выступ) which was one of the Soviet offensive's staging areas. After a successful winter counteroffensive that had driven German troops away from Moscow, but also depleted the Red Army's reserves, the Kharkov offensive was a new Soviet attempt to expand upon their strategic initiative, although it failed to secure significant element of surprise.

On May 12, 1942, Soviet forces under the command of Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launched an offensive against the German 6th Army from a salient established during the Winter counteroffensive. After initial promising signs, the offensive was stopped by German counterattacks. Critical errors of several staff officers and of Stalin himself, who failed to accurately estimate the 6th Army's potential and overestimated their own newly-trained forces, led to a successful German pincer attack around advancing Soviet troops, cutting them off from the rest of the front.

 Tags: battle, Kharkov


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