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Directive for greater specifications of Operation Saturn

DIRECTIVE FROM THE SUPREME COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF TO THE CHIEF OF ARTILLERY OF THE RED ARMY – STAVKA (GENERAL STAFF) REPRESENTATIVE OF VGK (SUPREME COMMANDER) COLONEL GENERAL N.A. VORONOV, COMMANDERS OF SOUTHWESTERN AND VORONEZH FRONTS’ FORCES ABOUT REFINEMENT OF THE OPERATION "SATURN" PLAN

13 December 1942.

Firstly. With Operation "Saturn’s" advance on Kamensk, Rostov was planned with a battle situation favorable for us, when there were still no Germans reserves in the area of Bokovskiy, Morozovskiy, Nizhne-Chirskaya, when the tank army successfully advanced in the Morozovskiy direction, and when it was assumed that the assault from the north it will be supported simultaneously by an assault from the east, from the direction of Lehaya. With this, it was assumed, that 2nd guard army will be relocated to the region Kalach and be used for exploitation of any success in the direction of Rostov, Taganrog. In this operational environment the undertaking of operation "Saturn" was completely substantiated.

Secondly. In future, however, the situation changed not in our favor. Romanenko and Lelyushenko assumed a defensive stance and are unable to move forward, because during this elapsed time the enemy had time to bring from the West a number of infantry divisions* and tank formations, which are delaying them. Consequently, an attack from the north will not find direct support from Romanenko in the east, in view of which the offensive towards Kamensk, Rostov can not obtain success. I am not even talking about the 2nd guard army unavailability for employment in the operation "Saturn", because it is employed on another front.

Thirdly. In view of all this, it is necessary to modify the form of operation "Saturn". The change consists of redirecting the main attack not to the south, but to the southeast in the direction of Nizhni Astakhov and with its emergence FROM Morozovskiy, with the intent, to take the enemy Bokovsko-Morozovskuyu group of forces in ‘tongs’ (double-flank), passing along its rear areas and to liquidate it simultaneous by attacks from the east by the Romanenko and Lelyushenko forces and from northwest by the Kuznetsov forces and his attached mobile units. Filippov’s task** in this case will consist of helping Kuznetsov to liquidate Italians, advance to the river Boguchar in the region Kremenkov and to create serious barrier against possible attack of the enemy from the west.

Fourthly. Breakthrough is to be undertaken in the same regions, in which it was planned for the operation "Saturn". Afterward the breakthrough to execute a turn to the southeast in the direction of Nizhni Astakhov, Morozovskiy, falling upon the enemy’s rear areas, positioned opposite Romanenko and Lelyushenko. Operation to begin 16 December. Designation of the operation "Maliy (small) Saturn ".

Fifthly. You can now manage without the 6th mechanized corps, especially because you are joined by the tank regiments. Therefore the 6th mechanized corps is transferred to the Stalingrad front for use against the enemy’s Kotelnikovo group. Instead of the 6th mechanized corps you can obtain one of Filippov’s tank corps, 25th or 17th.

 

Vasilevsky

Source: TsAMO RF, F.132 A, Op.2642, D.32

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