Failure of Winter Storm

World War II: Fall of the Third Reich

Europe 1942.1229

Failure of Winter Storm

World War II in Europe from Stalingrad to the fall of Berlin (29 December 1942)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

Convinced that the Sixth Army could still be supplied by air, Hitler had ordered the troops in Stalingrad to hold their ground. The Germans then mounted a counterattack - Operation Winter Storm - to break through the Soviet lines and relieve the encircled army. However, the attempt failed and by the end of December Soviet offensives along the Caucasus front had sealed the Sixth Army's fate.

Main Events

Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon

Under orders from Vichy French Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Gabriel Auphan, the French fleet in Toulon is scuttled in order to avoid capture by Nazi German forces. Three battleships, seven cruisers, 15 destroyers, and numerous smaller craft are sunk.

Operation Winter Storm

German Fourth Panzer Army and Panzer Group Hollidt, led by Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein attempt to break through Soviet lines to relieve the encircled Sixth Army at Stalingrad. However the relief effort makes slow progress and, after heavy losses, is forced to withdraw.

Operation Little Saturn

To exploit the success of Operation Uranus over Nazi Germany, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics mounted Operation Little Saturn, an attack on German positions in eastern Ukraine and northern Caucasus. The offensive succeeded in driving back the overstretched German forces, but caused the Soviets to overextend themselves in turn.

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