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Battle of Brody (1941)
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
Date 26–30 June 1941
Location Brody, Ukraine
Result German victory
Belligerents
Flag of Germany 1933.svg Germany Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union
Commanders
Flag of Germany 1933.svg Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Colonel-General Mikhail Kirponos
Strength
600 Tanks 2500 Tanks
Casualties and losses
~ 300 tanks lost[1] ~1000 tanks lost[2]

The Battle of Brody (other names in use include Battle of Dubna, Battle of Dubno, Battle of Rovne, Battle of Rovne-Brody) was a tank battle fought between the Panzer Group 1's IIIrd, XLVIII Army Corps (Motorized) and five Soviet Mechanized Corps in Soviet-occupied Poland between 26 and 30 June 1941 known in Soviet historiography as the Ukrainian Border Defensive Battles. Although the Red Army formations inflicted heavy losses on the German forces, they were outmaneuvered and suffered large losses in tanks. This was of the most intense armoured engagements in the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa and remained the largest tank battle of World War II until the Battle of Kursk two years later.

Contents

Prelude

Panzer Group 1 led by Kleist was ordered to secure the Bug river crossings, and advance to Rovno and Korosten with the strategic objective of Kiev. It deployed two Corps forward and advanced between Lviv and Rovno in the attempt to cut the Lviv - Kiev railway line.

Opposing the Germans in the Lviv-Kiev railway line sector of the front was the Soviet Southwestern Front's 6th Army and Front reserve troops.

The battle

The primary German infantry formation operating on this sector of the front, IV Army Corps (von Schwedler) of the 17th Army (Carl-Heinrich von StĂĽlpnagel) were advancing in the south-easterly direction with the objective of reaching the railway line by evening on 25 June.

Despite suffering crippling losses, the VVS South-Western front sent its remaining air units to support the offensive. The air battle resulted in heavy casualties for the attacking Soviets. JG 3 under the command of Fliegerkorps IV shot down 24 Tupolev SBs on the first day. Among the casualties was the Commander of 86 SBAP, Podpolkovnik Sorokin. Just 20 of the initial 251 SBs remained with the unit. German losses were also heavy, 28 destroyed and 23 damaged (including 8 He 111s and Ju 88s).[3]

Five Soviet mechanized corps (the 4th, 8th, 9th, 15th and 19th Mechanized Corps), with over 1,000 tanks, mounted massive counterattacks from the north and south. The aim was to cut through the flanks of Panzer Group 1 and meet near Dubno. The 9th and 19th Mechanised Corps were deployed north-west of Rovno, the 8th and 15th Mechanised Corps were deployed to the south-west and north-east of Brody, and the 4th Mechanised Corps was deployed between Sokal and Radekhov. The overall command for the concentric attack intended to be delivered was with General Vlasov.[4] The intention was for the Soviet corps to execute a concentric attack and convert it into a pincer movement that met west of Dubno, intended to trap parts of the 6th and 17th German Armies (the northern flank of the Army Group). Seemingly the Front Staff were unaware that they were about to engage in combat the Panzer Group 1's leading formations.

Drive of 11 Pz Div during the Battle of Brody

The battle between Panzer Group 1 and the Soviet mechanised corps was the fiercest of the whole invasion, lasting a full four days. The Soviets fought furiously and crews of German tank and anti-tank guns found to their horror that the new Soviet T-34 tanks were almost immune to their weapons. The new KV-1 and KV-2 heavy tanks were impervious to virtually all German anti-tank weapons, but the Red Army's supply had completely broken down due to Luftwaffe attacks. The German Kampfgeschwader, namely KG 51, KG 54 and KG 55 contributed a series of heavy low-level attacks against the Soviet ground targets. The headquarters of the Soviet 15th Mechanised Corps was destroyed, and its commander, General-Major Ignat Karpezo, was wounded. The Luftwaffe destroyed some 201 Soviet tanks in this area.[5]

The five Red Army corps were mishandled while being concentrated into large powerful groups. The German troops sought to isolate individual units, and destroy them. Meanwhile the Luftwaffe was ranging over the battlefields and were able to separate the supporting infantry and deny them resupply of fuel and ammunition.[6] Ultimately due to lack of adequate planning and overall coordination the Soviet counter-attack failed to meet at Dubno.

After the Battle

Panzer Group 1 took a severe battering in the battles around Dubno losing large numbers of its tanks, it survived the battle still capable of operations, the Soviets did not.

Citations

  1. ^ http://www.battlefield.ru/en/articles/168-8mechanized-corps-offensive.html
  2. ^ http://www.battlefield.ru/en/articles/168-8mechanized-corps-offensive.html
  3. ^ Bergström 2007, p. 38.
  4. ^ Haupt 1997, p. 18
  5. ^ Bergström 2007, p. 39.
  6. ^ Deichmann 1999[citation needed]

References

  • Bergström, Christer (2007). Barbarossa - The Air Battle: July-December 1941. London: Chervron/Ian Allen. ISBN 978-1-8578-0-270-2.
  • Deichman, Paul, Spearhead for Blitzkrieg:Luftwaffe operations in support of the Army 1939-1945, Alfred Price ed., Ivy Books, New York, 1999
  • Haupt, Werner (1997). Army Group Centre: The Wehrmacht in Russia 1941-1945. Schiffer Military History. Atglen. ISBN 0-7643-0-266-3

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