Kamenez-Podolski battle

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The Kamenets-Podolski kettle
Soviet soldiers pass a destroyed German tank in Tarnopol (March 4, 1944)

The Kamenez-Podolski Kesselschlacht was a military battle between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army that took place in the spring of 1944 in the south of the Eastern Front during the German-Soviet War . The previously called Hube boiler surrounded German associations managed successfully from the boiler to break and thus to escape destruction by the Red Army.


During the Proskurov-Chernivtsi Operation from March 4, 1944 to April 17, 1944 and the Uman - Botoşani offensive operation from March 5, 1944 to April 17, 1944, the troops of the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts of the Red Army enclosed Colonel General Hans-Valentin Hubes 1st Panzer Army north of the Dniester River . The 1st Panzer Army, three divisions of the 4th Panzer Army and rear-service soldiers, the police and members of the Todt Organization (around 220,000 soldiers in total) were trapped around the town of Kamenets-Podolski (Kamjanez-Podilskyj in Ukrainian) in western Ukraine. The Soviet front only came to a halt 250 kilometers away at Tarnopol .

Wandering cauldrons

Erich von Manstein , commander of Army Group South , pushed through the breakout of the trapped troops by giving Adolf Hitler a resignation ultimatum . Manstein demanded the breakout in a north-westerly direction through the marching columns of two enemy tank armies and across several transverse rivers. Hube, however, wanted to march south because there was still a gap in the front. On March 28, the breakthrough to the west, ordered by Manstein, began. The Red Army had expected an attempt to break out to the south and was surprised accordingly. Since the bulk of the Soviet combat troops were in other areas, the German troops mainly encountered supply troops.

Although the outbreak was hampered by heavy snowfalls, all wounded could be taken along (7270 wounded were also flown out), and equipment could also be carried. For the air supply, new field airfields were initially constantly being set up, later supplies had to be dropped from transport aircraft.

During the outbreak, 399 Soviet tanks and assault guns, as well as 280 guns were destroyed. The losses of the German troops amounted to 2311 dead, 3567 missing and 8364 wounded. To this day, the battle is regarded as an operational example to illustrate the breakout of large armored units from a military enclosure.


While the Red Army was able to use around 2070 tanks and assault guns, the 1st Panzer Army only had 96 tanks and 64 assault guns at the beginning of the Soviet attacks. Since there were too few trucks on the German side, around 50,000 horses had to be used. At the time of their encirclement, the 1st Panzer Army still had 43 tanks and 50 assault guns. After the outbreak, there were still 45 tanks and assault guns in total.

In February 1944, Heavy Panzer Division 503 had 56 Tigers in its force. When she was moved to Proskurow (March 1–2, 1944) she took over seven Tigers from the s.Pz.Abt. 506. Only seven tigers escaped from the cauldron; in May 1944 they were sent to the s.Pz.Abt. 509 submitted.


Hans-Valentin Hube (1942)

Web links

Commons : Kamenez-Podolski Kesselschlacht  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c d Karl-Heinz Frieser, Klaus Schmider, Klaus Schönherr, Gerhard Schreiber, Krisztián Ungváry, Bernd Wegner: The German Reich and the Second World War, Volume 8 - The Eastern Front 1943/44, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 2007, p . 432 ff