by ljadw » 20 Sep 2011, 17:39, Post In the belief that the position was secure, no thought was given to the possibility of forest fire. Even after a heavy snow, road traffic was soon restored. Since snow in many areas of Russia remains dry and powdery throughout the winter, excessive snowdrifts pile up whenever there is a strong wind. For summer wear in the arctic, the regular uniform plus a mosquito veil and sunglasses proved adequate. Terrain difficulties are less pronounced in winter, when frozen lakes, swamps, and rivers become good routes of communication. The final blow for the Sixth Army came on January 25, when Gumrak airfield was lost. cart drawn by one native horse is well adapted to arctic conditions. The situation in and around Stalingrad presented those men with their first opportunity to show that they were able to level the playing field against the German invaders. The spring muddy season does not end everywhere at once; there are extensive wooded and swampy areas which do not dry out until summer, sometimes not even then. Uniforms become matted and quickly go to pieces. Armor can be moved only on the few available roads. For example, after the German attack across the Dnepr in 1941, a military bridge settled and broke under the weight of the first tank to cross. Siberia. Virtually every emergency landing in winter resulted in total loss of the aircraft. It was just at this time that the desperate German attempt to relieve Stalingrad required all available snowplows. wooded area opposite a strong point held by the 114th Panzer Grenadier Regiment plus an artillery battalion and some flak. The effect was devastating. The Germans found several layers of clothing better than merely thick, heavy apparel. At the close of the spring muddy season of 1942, Fourth Panzer Army attempted to destroy or rout a large enemy force which was operating between army rear and army group, and succeeded only because the Russians delayed the start of their summer campaign for almost a full month. Locomotives equipped with snow plows were used to keep railroads open, and in one instance the Germans converted a Russian tank into a motor-driven armored railway car that was equipped for double duty as a snow plow. The six-hour delay during which the bridge was repaired prevented a panzer corps from achieving a tactical surprise. Two or three motorized snowplows were held in reserve by army to clear the way for important troop movements. Some German horses, For example, in the winter of 1941-42, north of Rzhev, the Russians unsuccessfully attempted to drive German forces out of a village and were forced to spend the night in the open. It offers less interference in passing through narrow clefts or underbrush, and is more Engineers replaced the bridge and the advance continued. Toward 1000 the entire column was across, and after destroying more Russian light tanks, drove the enemy to a point just south of Novoselye. The effectiveness of artillery projectiles, particularly those of small caliber, and of mortar ammunition, was seriously hampered by deep snow. carrying three to five men were extensively used by_the Russians. Most of the bridges on main roads and all those on secondary roads were very weak, and the Germans had to replace them with more adequate structures. He notes that Napoleon's army was already suffering significant attrition before winter, owing to lack of supplies, disease, desertions and casualties of war. Visibility in the close terrain of the arctic is so poor that the Germans were forced to organize infantry observation battalions to direct tire of infantry howitzers and mortars. He drew on both his direct observations and on those of foreign commentators, including French authors. The obliteration of landmarks in snow-covered terrain makes orientation difficult. The Germans learned that only mountain and ski troops should be used' in the arctic, and that such troops are most effective when org-anized in ski units or mobile task forces. Defense begun without prepared positions, and a defense requiring mobile defense tactics, are normally carried on from villages or farmhouses until tKe situation permits establishment of a continuous line. mortars. Sometimes ice was so bad that horses which had not been winter-shod could not be led from the railroad station to the stables. Vehicles with trailers were barred from icy roads, since they often became stuck even if roads were sanded. Finnish, Esthonian, and the small Norwegian Jiarses^ proved best for pack and draft duty. First decisions must be correct. materiel. Thousands of hours of labor were needed to restore roads and small bridges sufficiently to retrieve the stranded armor. Motorized combat sleighs armed with a heavy machine gun and have not plowed them up while the roads are still soft. Prior training of artillerymen in road construction would have been useful, but the necessity therefore was not foreseen, much less planned for. Therefore, the amount of fuel and other supplies on hand was often, in reality, more than was officially reported. Motor vehicles broke down with clutch or motor trouble. When snow was not. Tips should be slightly turned and holes provided for pull ropes. An inner ring had to be formed to put pressure on the trapped enemy forces, and an outer ring was also needed–to thwart any rescue attempt. Ski troops were also used as trail breakers. Jagged rocks constantly worked to the surface, and in muddy terrain corduroy or chespaling had to be used. By now, the meager rations of the Sixth Army were being given only to those capable of fighting, leaving nothing to sustain the wounded, and the command structure within the pocket had almost completely collapsed. To avoid drifts the Germans routed winter roads through woods, where drifts rarely occur, or along the crest of high ground, where the snow is usually less deep. In October 1941, for instance, such a combination of forces captured Kursk. In difficult terrain with a moderately deep snow cover, the Germans found that small units should not exceed two to two and one-half miles per hour, and larger units about one and one-half miles per hour.
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