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The Courland Pocket 1944-45 WW2 BATTLESTORM History Documentary Part 3 | Operation Doppelkopf

The Courland Pocket 1944-45 WW2 BATTLESTORM History Documentary Part 3 | Operation Doppelkopf

The Axis-Soviet Front is heating up in this
episode as the Red Army launches their Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation – Operation
Bagration. While not directly attacking the two armies of Army Group North, this offensive
would rip open their southern flank, forcing the Germans to mount a counter-attack in order
to save Army Group North. This counterattack was Operation Doppelkopf – a little-known
but decisively important operation on the Axis-Soviet Front in World War Two – without
which, Army Group North could not have withdrawn into Courland. Let’s watch the fighting
unfold in episode three of Battlestorm: The Courland Pocket 1944 to 45. 22nd of June 1944. 1,666,000 Soviet troops,
supported by 32,000 artillery guns and mortars, 5,700 tanks and 7,800 aircraft advanced. Operation
Bagration had begun. The Germans had just 800,000 men, 9,500 artillery pieces, 533 tanks
and 839 aircraft – and were slaughtered. The fall of Minsk resulted in close to 100,000
German losses alone. By the 4th of July, 300,000 Germans had fallen, and another 100,000 would
perish in the following weeks. The Germans lost 28 complete divisions and a quarter of
their entire manpower on the Eastern Front. On the 17th of July 1944, the Soviets marched
57,000 German prisoners through the main streets of Moscow to celebrate their victory in Belorussia.
Army Group Centre was crushed. And it appeared as though Army Group North would be next. In the wake of this total disaster, and with
similar events going on in the west, there was an assassination attempt on Hitler’s
life on the 20th of July 1944. It failed, and the conspiracy was crushed, but several
generals were now replaced. Guderian became the Chief of Staff of the OKH, and he in turn
appointed Schörner as Army Group North’s commander on the 23rd of July 1944. A veteran of the Munich Beer Hall Putsch and
one of the men who had turned the Waffen-SS into a serious fighting force, Schörner was
extremely loyal to Hitler, and would follow his Führer’s orders to the letter. This
was why ‘Bloody Ferdinand’ as he was known by the troops, was chosen to command Army
Group North. “Schörner… viewed terrorizing the men
underneath him as a legitimate tool of National Socialist command, executed thousands of his
own soldiers to keep the others in line, and would remain with his command until the end
of the war.” Schörner certainly had his work cut out for
him. While Army Group North had approximately 640,000 men in July 1944, it was under heavy
attack, and was being outflanked. 3rd Baltic Front struck the right-wing of 18th Army,
taking Pskov and Ostov by the 23rd of July. On the 24th of July, Leningrad Front’s 2nd
Shock Army mounted an amphibious assault across the Narva River, while 8th Army attacked across
the river to the south of the city. 2nd Shock managed to surprise 3rd SS Panzer Corps, taking
Narva itself on the 26th of July. Not only were these military disasters, but
they were political ones too. The Finnish knew that if the Baltic coast was taken by
the Soviets, the vital sea routes to Germany that supplied the Finns with food and almost
all of their military equipment and supplies, would be cut. The fall of Pskov and Narva
made them rethink their whole strategic position. But it wasn’t just these cities that fell.
On the 28th of July, the Soviet 43rd Army attacked into Jelgava. Jelgava was an important
supply depot and training base for the Germans. If Jelgava fell, there would be no chance
of relief from the west, and the Soviets would have cut Army Group North off in the Baltic.
It was also where the Western gauge railway lines met with the wider Russian rails in
the city. This is why the Soviets targeted the railway station with their bombers. “A train carrying 430 refugees from Vidzeme
and Latgale in the east was caught in a bombing raid alongside a military train carrying fuel
and munitions. The ammunition train exploded, causing a massive fireball which engulfed
the refugees, killing them all.” In heavy fighting, 43rd Army took the railway
bridge, but weren’t able to take the railway station. The Germans and Latvians fought on
desperately in Jelgava throughout July, trying to keep the town in their possession, and
biding time. Time was what the Führer needed. On the 29th
of July, Hitler recalled the 122nd Infantry Division from Finland, and ordered it to go
to Army Group North. Mannerheim requested that it go through Hanko rather than Helsinki,
otherwise it may alarm the public. And Mannerheim – Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defense
Forces, and previous state regent – was now thinking of his own people. On the 28th of
July, a secret meeting was held at Mannerheim’s country house in Sairaala. In this meeting,
the Finnish leaders decided that President Ryti should resign. It seems that the Finns
had decided the course their country would take. That course would not be with Germany. To the left of 3rd Baltic Front, Eremenko’s
2nd Baltic Front also pushed westwards against 16th Army. Eremenko had captured Daugavpils
and Rezekne by the 30th of July. Eremenko was a veteran of the Stalingrad Campaign,
having been the front commander that Chuikov reported to. He was also known as the “Russian
Guderian”, because he had commanded a mechanized corps during the invasion of Eastern Poland.
He was a tough and experienced fighter – just the commander needed to retake the Baltics. 3rd Baltic Front was deep into southeastern
Estonia and eastern Latvia by the 31st of July. Also by this point, Soviet forces were
just 7 miles from the city of Warsaw in Poland, and Third Panzer Army had been heavily beaten
and pushed back between Kaunas and Mariampol. Frustrated by the failure to take Jelgava,
Bagramian ordered his men to take the city at all costs. Bagramian was a cavalryman,
and an Armenian. He had plenty of experience under his belt by this point, having been
on the front lines since almost the start of the war. As an artillery bombardment struck
Jelgava on the 31st of July, Bagramian’s units – 51st Army, spearheaded by Obukhov’s
3rd Guards Mechanized Corps – managed to bypass the city and moved on to the Gulf of Riga
in the Klapkalnciems area. “On Stalin’s insistence, bottles of sea
water were sent back as proof the tanks had reached the coast.” The Soviets had cut off Army Group North in
the northern Baltic States. This meant that 38 German infantry divisions and one panzer
division were now trapped in a huge pocket, and they were in serious trouble. This was
the first time in the war that an entire Army Group had been cut off, and it came at probably
the worst time – after the destruction of much of Army Group Centre. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, the Leningrad
Front attacked again on the 3rd of August, striking towards Tallinn – capital of Estonia.
Frustratingly for the Soviets, German and Estonian forces in the hilltops around the
village of Sinimae, managed to halt this attack. And, on the Soviet side, it was clear that
Bagramian’s men could go no further. They had gone over 350 miles since the 22nd of
June, and had stretched their supply lines to the limit. They would not be able to advance,
despite the fact that the Germans now had little to oppose them. However, it seems that Army Group North’s
commander was preoccupied with bigger events. Schörner visited Mannerheim on the 3rd of
August to reassure him that the Baltic would be held and that the connection between Army
Group Centre and Army Group North would be reestablished. But Mannerheim could clearly
see that the situation was grave. 5th Guards Tank Army now stood on the Baltic coast west
of Riga, the Lufthansa had suspended commercial flights between Germany and Finland, and direct
telephone lines had been broken between the two countries. Events on the front, and in
Finland, were clearly slipping beyond Germany’s grasp. The bloody Jelgava-fighting carried on for
several more days, with lots of back-and-forth action – only falling to the Soviets on the
6th of August. “Huge artillery bombardments, heavy bombing
and street-to-street fighting cleared the defenders by early August but left Jelgava
like a Latvian Stalingrad – a city in ruins.” On the 10th of August, 2nd and 3rd Baltic
Fronts launched heavy assaults against 18th Army below Pskov Lake and north of the Dvina.
There was no reserves, and Schörner was not amused – “Generalleutnant Chales de Beaulieu is to
be told that he is to restore his own and his division’s honor by a courageous deed
or I will chase him out in disgrace. Furthermore, he is to report by 2100 which commanders he
has had shot or is having shot for cowardice.” But even this encouragement was not enough.
By the 13th of August, Eremenko’s 2nd Baltic Front had reached and taken Jekabpils and
Madona. And on the 17th of August, Keitel – Chief of the Armed Forces High Command – visited
Helsinki to present an oak leaf cluster to Mannerheim and a Knight’s Cross of the Iron
Cross for his chief of staff. But this didn’t persuade Mannerheim, who told Keitel that
the Ryti-Ribbentrop agreement – a promise from Ryti to Hitler than the Finns would not
reach a separate peace with the Soviets – was nullified by Ryti’s resignation. Keitel
refused to accept the statement, but could do nothing to stop the FInns now. Perhaps even more shocking for the Germans
was, on the same day – 17th of August 1944 – the fact that Soviet troops hard reached
German soil for the first time northwest of Vilkaviškis. After three years of bloodshed,
the fight was finally coming home, and Germany was running out of allies and running out
of time. Clearly the situation for the Germans was
getting out of hand. So, in mid-August, the Germans assembled a force to launch a counterattack
towards Riga, hoping to free Army Group North from its trap. This was Operation Doppelkopf
– Operation Double Head – which began on the 16th of August. The name comes from a card
game that was popular with German troops at the time. Third Panzer Army, commanded by
Erhard Raus (who had just taken command the day after the operation began and had no sway
over the planning of the operation) would strike the Soviet left flank. German intelligence suggested that the Red
Army was exhausted after its drive, and they were down in both manpower and equipment.
The aim then for Operation Doppelkopf was to use no fewer than 5 panzer divisions and
one panzergrenadier division, and drive to Siauliai. But, while 3rd Panzer Army wanted
the attack to start on the 17th of August, Army Group North was pressing for the attack
to start earlier – simply because they were in a desperate situation. Otto von Knobelsdorff’s 40th Panzer Corps,
with the Grossdeutschland Division, 14th Panzer Division, and 7th Panzer Division were reinforced and would strike at 2nd Guards Army to the south. 14th Panzer
Division – a unit which had been destroyed at Stalingrad, but rebuilt in 1943 – had 73
Panther tanks, and 124 Panzer Mark IVs and StuGs, and was supported by 20 Tiger tanks
from Gilbert’s 510th Heavy Tank Battalion. In addition, von Saucken’s also reinforced
39th Panzer Corps, with 12th, 4th and 5th Panzer Divisions, would strike at 51st Army’s
southwestern flank from the north-east of Telsiai, aiming for Jelgava. On the Soviet side, 1st Guards Rifle Corps
took over positions at the Gulf of Riga, allowing 3rd Mechanized Corps to fall back to the area
south of Jelgava. Below them was Chanchibadze’s 2nd Guards Army, and Solomatin’s 5th Guards
Tank Army – both of which were weakened by their previous efforts. The Red Army high
command – the Stavka – suspected that the Germans were preparing an assault, and ordered
the 4th Shock, 43rd Army and 6th Guards Armies to attack towards Riga. This would tie down
the German 16th Army, and prevent them from sallying out of their pocket to meet with
the relieving force. The trident-like spearhead of the German attack
struck out on the foggy morning of the 16th of August – earlier than 3rd Panzer Army had
wanted. German forces were spread out, so there was no concentration point – no Schwerpunkt.
The attack was also advancing through forested terrain, and, despite reinforcements, the
units were noticeably understrength. Still the Germans had to try. “Blitzkrieg had lost its magic. General
Bagramian, commanding the 1st Baltic Front, reacted promptly by establishing a deep defensive
system in the path of the German advance. Most Soviet units were now lavishly supported
by a mixture of towed and self-propelled antitank guns, both of which were a match for German
armour.” 7th Panzer Division of 40th Panzer Corps managed
to take the town of Kelme, but had gone barely 40 kilometers before their attack wore out
against heavy resistance to the northeast. They suffered a heavy blow when a half-track
carrying several officers of their 6th Panzergrenadier Regiment was hit by a Soviet artillery round
– killing them all. 14th Panzer Division reached the Ventos canal, suffering heavy casualties
in the process. While they did take out 15 Soviet tanks, 108th Panzergrenadier Regiment
lost their commander, and then their replacement commander as well. 36th Panzer Regiment reached
the town of Akmene, but were compelled to dig in in the face of Pavlenkov’s 1187th
Artillery Regiment. The Grossdeutschland Division also struggled to reach Kuršėnai in the
face of the 126th Rifle Division. But 39th Panzer Corps was having an even worse
time – 5th Panzer Division had gone barely 20 kilometers, reaching Gaudikiai, and being
stopped by Soviet anti-tank defences. 4th Panzer Division’s attack started later than
planned due to delays in resupplying their 32 Panzer 4s and 15 Panther tanks. Forming
Kampfgruppe Christern – mainly from Obert Christern’s 35th Panzer Regiment – they
managed to reach the Vegeriai area on the 17th, before being stopped by a concealed
line of Soviet anti-tank guns. With the tanks stopped, 4th Panzer Division’s panzergrenadiers
now tried to get ahead. They also stalled in front of the Soviet defences, and then
got counterattacked by Soviet tanks, which managed to outflank the panzergrenadiers.
The 12th Panzer Division, which had also arrived late, barely made 10 kilometers, but did go
further than the others. Bagramian moved his reserves – 1st Tank Corps
and 103rd Rifle Corps – to the Siauliai area, and sent several anti-tank battalions to the
front. On the 18th, 12th Panzer Division crawled its way to the high-ground south of Auce.
But, having barely reached the area, the panzers were greeted by the 3rd Guards Mechanized
Corps and their attack stalled. The Grossdeutschland
continued to push forwards, supported by 14th Panzer Division. But these attacks ground
to a halt in front of 1st Tank Corps. On the 19th, 3rd Guards Mechanized Corps was
pulled back into reserve positions – since Bagramian was confident the other forces could
deal with this German attack. The German attack stalled completely on the 20th of August. But, having arrived late, an ad-hoc formation
known as Panzerverbände von Strachwitz now advanced towards Tukums. The leader of this
formation was the never-forgettable Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz,
who had a very eventful career and had taken part in the fighting at Kalach near Stalingrad.
Panzerverbände von Strachwitz was spearheaded by the 101st Panzer Brigade, which was, in
reality, the remnants of the 18th Panzergrenadier Division. This was reinforced by two extra
SS infantry companies, and more units like Panzer Brigade Groß. And the Soviets had
reacted to the other German units, leaving the front ahead of Strachwitz somewhat weak.
The 417th Rifle Division held Tukums, while 267th Rifle Division held the area to the
south. Behind them was the 346th Rifle Division facing the opposite direction. And so, with supporting gunfire from the Prinz
Eugen and several destroyers, Dzukste fell quickly to Strachwitz’s men. Soviet tank
forces in Tukums came under heavy fire from the ships – and they lost 40 of their tanks.
This allowed Strachwitz to take Tukums and push through the Soviet lines to reach Jūrmala.
Here they met up with elements of 16th Army. There was now a corridor, about 30 kilometers
wide, between the two German army groups, and Bubli’s 1164th Rifle Regiment (from
346th Rifle Division) was trapped in a pocket on the coast. Of course, the Germans claim to have taken
out many enemy tanks, and the German authors are quick to chest-pound. For example, Kurowski
says 35th Panzer Regiment destroyed 27 enemy tanks and two assault guns on the 19th of
August – all without losing a single German tank. And they destroyed 240 tanks in all
of August. This makes the Germans sound amazing! But, if they were that good, why did the attack
stall? Kurowski’s quick to list the number of enemy
tanks claimed to have been destroyed by the Germans, but then doesn’t list the number
of panzers that were taken out in these actions, nor any of the German casualties at all – implying
to the reader that the Germans were invincible, and that their tanks were so superior to the
Soviets. That was not the case. As Buttar points out, the German attacks were costly
in both men and material. For example, the 4th Panzer Division’s 106th Panzergrenadier
Regiment lost its commander, one of its battalion commanders, and the replacement battalion
commander. Strachwitz had reached 16th Army with only 9 operational Panther tanks left
– the rest had broken down. In addition, 14th Panzer Division’s reports make it clear
that, after just 6 days of combat, the unit was exhausted. Their vehicles were either
broken down or worn out – “The new Panther tanks were especially vulnerable
to engine, drive gear, and transmission problems, whereas the Panzer Mark IV’s and assault
guns experienced extreme wear on their steering columns and brakes.” The reality was that several panzer divisions
– the best formations the Germans had to offer at this stage – had been stopped by fierce
Soviet resistance. “For us this was an entirely new type of
war, these tough struggles in the tightest of spaces, the bitterly conducted fighting
for every metre of ground. We had to break up the enemy’s positions step by step. It
was no impulsive surge forward, rather a painstakingly led fight in a restricted space. Coming out
of the spaces of Russia, we only got use to this new war slowly.” According to Raus, Hitler now intervened,
and ordered an attack from the Kelme area against Jelgava. Raus apparently thought that
the distances were too great, so decided to ignore Hitler’s orders. Yes, ignore Hitler.
You don’t hear that very often in the literature. And did Raus get executed for it? No. Because
this isn’t exactly what happened. Discussions had been going on for a couple of days within
the 3rd Panzer Army about resuming the advance, and it was Heinz Guderian, chief of staff
at the OKH, who intervened and was most optimistic about a breakthrough to Jelgava. Raus and
Saucken exchanged views over the radio and decided that they would shift forces to the
north and attack towards Jelgava from there. Raus conveyed his opinions to Reinhardt, commander
of Army Group Centre, who agreed. Hitler may have got involved, but it’s clear that an
attack was being formulated anyway. And yet, let’s blame that madman Hitler, because
that narrative is easier than admitting that the Germans and their generals weren’t capable
of achieving any results now, even if they wanted to. And we’ll no doubt have National Socialists
in the comment section complaining that I’m anti-German for point this out. No, I just
don’t like it when narratives are twisted to suit an agenda, and this is a clear example
of an agenda twisting the narrative to paint the German generals as gods and Hitler as
the root of all their problems. Not on my watch. Anyway, Raus withdrew his men back, abandoning
the area that Manteuffel’s Grossdeutschland Division had bitterly taken over the past
few days. He moved them to the Auce area, north of 4th and 5th Panzer Divisions (who
were still trying to claw their way forwards). 12th Panzer Division was driven back by 51st
Army, and then also pulled out of the line and was sent to the Auce area. 2nd Guards
Army spotted the moves and advanced 7 miles into the area that Grossdeutschland had occupied.
Of course, this was a ruse. Behind this position was all the German divisions, now preparing
for an offensive towards the heights and town of Dobele. “This deception proved so successful that
the Russians completely missed the new strategic concentration… Never did the enemy suspect
that he might be attacked at the same point that we had voluntarily evacuated a short
time before.” Raus attacked at midday on the 23rd of August.
While Manteuffel’s spearhead had penetrated the Soviet second line by the evening, 4th
Panzer Division’s attack quickly stalled on the western edge of Auce. But, in order
to free 5th Panzer Division for this attack, the 201st Security Division had moved into
the Kruopiai area. This allowed the 1st Tank Corps and the 103rd Rifle Corps – who had
come out of their reserve positions – to counterattack and take the town off the Germans. 5th Panzer
Division was sent in to stabilize the situation, preventing it from being redeployed for Raus’ attack. Despite this, 4th Panzer Division managed
to take Auce by 0800 hours on the 24th of August. They continued towards Bene, but were
slowed by Soviet resistance. To the north, Manteuffel continued his advance, reaching
the area northeast of Bene. But Saucken was worried about the gap between the Grossdeutschland
and 4th Panzer Division. So, in the afternoon, Raus steadied Saucken’s nerve and ordered
that the attack continue regardless, and pulled the 14th Panzer Division out of the line in
order to reinforce this attack at a future date. On the 25th, Manteuffel took the Dobele heights,
a few miles southwest of the town. And on the 26th, he met with elements of the 81st
Infantry Division (part of Kleffel’s Corps from 16th Army), which had been moved from
the Riga area to the area north of Dobele. But 4th and 12th
Panzer Divisions struggled to make much headway, and on the 27th, their attacks ground to a
halt. Betzel, 4th Panzer Division’s commander, urged Saucken to call off the attack because
his men were completely exhausted. And Saucken did call off the attack that evening. Having cut their way through to Schörner’s
army group, the emphasis now was to reinforce the nearby escape routes in order to keep
them open, and prepare for an evacuation. As a result, 14th Panzer Division was sent
east, and was now deployed behind the seam between 16th and 18th Armies as a reserve.
The 731st Anti-tank Battalion was sent to the 16th Army, while three battalions of the
563rd Volksgrenadier Division and the 10th Special Purpose Luftwaffe Fighter Battalion
were flown into the Baltics by air transport to protect the harbor at Pärnu. These reinforcements
– and especially their placement – suggests that someone, somewhere, seems to have made
the decision to withdraw Army Group North at this time. But either way, Operation Doppelkopf was over,
and the results were mixed. Technically, the German armour had failed to reach the Jelgava
area – which was the main objective – but they had tied down enough Soviet forces to
allow Strachwitz to achieve a breakthrough to Army Group North along the coast. So, overall
we could say Operation Doppelkopf was a limited German success. And this is interesting because
they had deployed a lot of top quality panzer divisions, plus one panzergrenadier division,
and hadn’t achieved a breakthrough. As Buttar points out, in any other time during the war,
this many mobile German divisions would have guaranteed success. Yet, this wasn’t the
case here. And it’s not as though these divisions hadn’t been reinforced – they
had. New Panthers, Tigers and other weaponry had been sent to boost the divisions, and
replacement personnel had arrived as well. So, what caused this failure to breakthrough?
Well, for starters, it seems that the equipment wasn’t reliable. Panthers broke down constantly,
and spare parts to fix them weren’t available. The replacement personnel were also of lower
quality than they had been in previous years – with training times slashed in order to
get them to the front as soon as possible. But Soviet resistance had also been significantly
stronger than in previous years. Despite their ranks being depleted, they stood their ground
and resisted bitterly. Soviet anti-tank guns, infantry and tanks took a huge toll on the
German machines – with Bagramian claiming 380 German tanks destroyed in the operation.
Kill claims are always exaggerated on both sides, and this isn’t an exception. However,
much like we’ve seen in previous battles, the way the Germans recorded their operational
tank numbers allowed them to hide the number of tanks taken out in the action. So we don’t
actually know how many German tanks were knocked out, repaired, then sent back into action
to be knocked out again. What we do know is that they had 281 operational panzers and
assault guns at the start of the operation, and that they got reinforcements during the
fighting. But there’s no stated numbers for German nor Soviet losses, so it’s really
impossible to calculate how many tanks were taken out. Overall, Doppelkopf is a little-known
battle on the Eastern Front, and not much has been written on it – even though it was
vitally important. Perhaps the German generals were embarrassed to talk about it due to the
fact it quite clearly shows that, even when they’re left to their own devices, the German
generals couldn’t get Blitzkrieg to work any more. Either way, contact with Army Group
North had been reestablished. Now the Germans had a choice – stand their ground, or get
out of the trap. We will find out what they’ll do next time. Thanks for watching, and supporting,
bye for now.

Reader Comments

  1. Notes and Sources

    Sorry again that the video was not out on time. Everything was fine until it took an absolute age to render. I suspect it’s the size of the map I’m using. I’ll know for next time.

    The sources are vague on Operation Doppelkopf, including the one German source I have on it (although the maps were pretty good). I’m fairly confident that the German unit positions in this episode are correct for the most part, but I’m not 100% certain about corps-level and below on the Soviet side. The sources I have do not speak much about the Red Army, and those that do don’t go into detail. I found one source that shows the Red Army unit positions for the beginning of the operation, but that’s it. This is why I was able to show the divisional positions at one point, and then they disappeared. The German accounts are also vague about their own unit positions and don’t place many units below divisional level on the map – with the exception of 14th Panzer Division.

    I could not find information on which “German and Latvian” forces fought at Jelgava. It could be the 81st or 93rd Infantry Divisions, but that’s purely at a guess.

    I do find it interesting that several panzer and motorized division were used in this operation, but weren’t able to break through Soviet lines. The Red Army units (mostly rifle divisions from what I can find) were able to block the elite divisions of the German Army, despite reaching the Baltic Coast and being stretched out and exhausted after weeks of advancing and fighting. This is partly why I suspect the Warsaw Uprising was a little premature. If the Soviets couldn’t hold onto the Baltic Coast at this point, then it does lend credibility to the idea that they also couldn’t get to Warsaw due to their logistical overstretch. Thoughts?


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    Wilbeck, C. "Sledgehammers: Strengths and Flaws of Tiger Tank Battalions in World War II." Aberjona Press, Kindle 2015.

    Wilbeck, C. "Swinging the Sledgehammer: The Combat Effectiveness of German Heavy Tank Battalions in World War II." Fort Leavenworth, PDF 2002.

    Zeimke, E. “From Stalingrad to Berlin: The Illustrated Edition.” Pen & Sword, Kindle 2014.

    Zaloga, S. "T-34/76 Medium Tank 1941-45." Osprey Publishing, 2010.

    Zaloga, S. "T-34-85 Medium Tank 1944-94." Osprey Publishing, Kindle 2010.

    A full list of all my WW2 and related books can be found here

    Thanks for watching! Bye for now!

  2. I expect you go thought heir pull out of the North in this 3rd part! You got to do a 4th one where they pulled back from the north through the gap to Courland

  3. Mannerheim meeting in "Sairaala" 😀 "Sairaala" means "Hospital". I wonder if the place is actually named "Sairaala" and it not meaning an actual hospital.

  4. From one of the most complex, dramatic and exciting battles in the North-African desert to the most boring standyouralreadylostgroundtothelastcartridge stalemate in the swamps of… uh… idunno.

  5. Hi TIK! Have you seen this documentary? I thought Greatest Tank Battles was a great series and this episode is relevant to your presentation. Tell me what you think.

  6. Not absolutely sure about this, but 7:00 should probably say "at Mikkeli" where Finnish army HQ was. "Sairaala" translates to hospital. Very interesting video anyway, have to finish watching it later today.

  7. One thing I find incomprehensible is the rate of loss for the various armies.

    The US lost 52K+ in Vietnam and 5K+ to date in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Yet, these Armies were losing 100K in a matter of weeks.

    Horrific and Astounding.

  8. Hello TIK. Please, can you make a video on the effect/importance of Swedish iron ore exports to Germany before and during ww2? thanks

  9. Really enjoyed this video, but…
    Half of your stresses are wrong in Russian (and Georgian and Armenian) surnames:
    In Eremenko the stress should be on the second syllabul (yeryOmenko, not yeryemEnko) because in Russian the letter "Ё" always must be stressed and pronounced like "yo".
    In Bagramian (as in the majority of other Armenian surnames ending with "-ian") the last syllabul is stressed (bagram'yAn, not bagrAmian).
    As for the Georgian surnames ending with "-dze" the last letter is not silent and should be pronounced. And Bagration (which is another Georgian surname btw) is pronounced bagratiOn, not bagrAtion.
    You're still doing greater job at Russian pronounciation then the 90% of Western Youtubers)

  10. The question is if the Germans were not that good how is it possible that it had to take so many countries to defeat them? Why the Russians had to beg the western allies to increase pressure and The Wehrmacht so as to ease pressure off Russian forces, even though the Germans were outgunned and outnumbered.

  11. Wonderful production as usual. Can not wait for the next episode. Very thankful for you spending your time on this for us.

  12. This Schorner sounds like a typical NAZI. Kill your own troops instead of the enemy. One more reason they lost the war.

  13. In the west we are given a picture of the three Baltic republics which emphasizes how tiny they are. Looking at the situation maps of this campaign, and allowing for the fact that the wet and forested nature of this region would have constricted the movements of large mechanized forces, it seems that there are an awful lot of units crammed into this space. How large, roughly, is this battlefield? What are some geographical areas of the world that I could use to compare it to to get an approximate size?

  14. Thanks, just love your videos, they are the best ever. I loved watching the Discovery canal Battlefield (documentary) in the old days, but now I see, how simple they were.

    Any way are you sure about the Panzer numers?

    You states early (time 15:50) on that 14 Panzer Division have like 197 tanks in all, and at the end, you state that the howl 3 Panzer Army have 281 tanks, it seams odd that the rest of 3PA only have like 100 panzers. Just an observation.

  15. I'm sorry to say this, but the strenght of the soviet are not depleted during Doppelkopf. The 51st and 2nd Guard Army have been on the reserve STAVKA until july 1st when the have been attached to the 1st Baltic front, and they did nor arrive at the front until de 17-20 july period.
    Their strenght at the start of the german operation are pretty strong.
    On august 16th the 51st army have this strenght :
    10RC : 91RD (5781 mens), 279RD (6066 mens), 257RD (5827 mens), 1489SU Reg (20xSU-76), 15Gd TR (?xJS2), 151 Art Brg, 77Gd AA Reg, 1267AA Reg/17AA Div.
    1GRC 347RD (6266 mens), 346RD (5446 mens), 417RD (6414 mens), 1102SU Reg (21SU-76), 60 Art Brg/20 Art Div, 34 Light Art Brg (2 Reg)/20 Art Div, 125 Mortar Reg, 27Gd Canon Brg/8 Art Div, 1276AA Reg/17AA Div.
    63RC : 267RD (6673 mens), 87RD (6943 mens), 1492SU Reg (21SU-76), 336Gd HvSu Reg (21SU-152), 3Gd TR (?xJS2), 26Gd Canon Brg/8 Art Div, 764 AT Reg, 20 Mortar Brg/20 Art Div, 34 Light Art Brg (1 Reg)/20 Art Div, 194 AT Reg ??? (I think it's a typo, the 194 was not engage in combat until august 8th 1945, I bet it's the third AT Reg of the 45 AT Brg, the 1971 AT Reg), 1279AA Reg/17AA Div.
    Directly under the Army : 77RD (6096 mens), 1022SU Reg (?SU-76), 45 AT Brg (2 Reg), 49Gd Mortar Reg (Katyusha), 2014AA Reg/17AA Div. [TsAMO, f: 406, Op: 9837, d: 821, pages : 53, 54]

    And for the 2nd Guard army on august 11th :
    11GRC : 2GRD (6266 mens), 32GRD (5736 mens), 33GRD (6398 mens), 483 Mortar Reg, 1005 Canon Reg (maybe 53 Canon Brg/20 Art Div), 534 AT Reg/14 AT Brg, 3bat/2Gd Mortar Reg (Katyusha)
    13GRC : 3GRD (5613 mens), 24GRD (5270 mens), 87GRD (5011 mens), 113Gd AT Reg, 150 Art Brg, 93 Hv Howitzer Brg/20 Art Div, 1bat/2Gd Mortar Reg (Katyusha)
    54RC : 126RD (6556 mens), 263RD (6546 mens), 16Lit RD (4254 mens), 1104 Canon Reg (maybe 53 Canon Brg/20 Art Div), 14 AT Brg (2 Reg), 2bat/2Gd Mortar Reg (Katyusha)
    Under the army : 1TK (64xT34 and 1 on repair, 7xSU-85 and 4 on repair, 6xSU-76), 32Gd TR (?xJS2), 346Gd HvSU ( ?SU-152), 1402SU (?SU-76), 1490SU (?SU-76), 1491SU (?SU-76). [TsAMO, f: 303, Op: 4005, d: 531, pages :63, 67, 88]

    With the exception of the 16 Lith RD and the 1st TK who are fighting since the beguining of Bagration and have only the armored strenght of an armored brigade at this time, the rest are fresh units.

    For comparison on june 22nd the 6th Guard army have almost the same divisions strenght at the start of Bagration.
    6th Guard Army june 22th 1944
    2GRC : 9GRD (6045 mens), 46GRD (5938 mens), 166RD (5943 mens)
    22GRC : 51RD (6170 mens), 47RD (6468 mens), 90GRD (6468 mens)
    23GRC : 51GRD (6446 mens), 67GRD (6441 mens), 71GRD (6544 mens)
    103RC : 29RD (7154 mens), 270RD (7104 mens), 154RD (5731 mens)
    [TsAMO, f: 335, Op: 5113, d: 374, page : 35]

    So the german ran headlong against a really strong opposition on a good defensive terrain.
    And more, this already good armies receive a lot of reinforcement until the end of the month

    For the 51st army : 1TK (see 2nd Gd army for the strenght), 3GMK (strenght august 1st : 99xT34, 8xSU-76, 8xSU-85. [TsAMO, f: 235, Op: 2074, d: 873, p :665]), 19TK (strenght august 11th : 94xT34 and 8 in repair, 15xSU-76 and 2 in repair, 14xSU-85 and 4 in repair, 17xJS2 and 3 in repair. [TsAMO, f: 398, Op: 9308, d: 672, p: 7]), 64Gd TR, 380Gd Hv SU Reg, 1049SU Reg, 1050SU Reg, 1052SU Reg, 21 Art Div (55 Art Brg, 94 Hv Howitzer Brg), 376 Art REg, 17 AT Brg, 36 AT Brg, 43 AT Brg, 26Gd Mortar Reg (Katyusha), 34Gd Mortar Reg (Katyusha), 99Gd Mortar Reg (Katyusha), 1714 AA Reg. [Boevoj Sostav SA 1944/09/01]
    And for the 2nd Guard army : 25 AT Brg, 2 AA Div. [Boevoj Sostav SA 1944/09/01]

    I think they're no mistery why Doopelkopf was not a great success contrary to the beguining of the month at the battle of Radzymin, where the panzer strikes the not concentrated 2nd Guard Tank army under a sky controled by the luftwaffe and on a country panzer friendly.

  16. Great video. Soviet machines were of better quality and tactics had changed in late 1944. Hard to fight an enemy with radios in their tanks, when you don't. What is ironic was that the Germans had all of their great early victories with fielding inferior  tanks for the most part.

  17. Fantastic work! I'm sure any Latvian and Lithuanian would be very grateful if you were to get some assistance with pronunciation of place names, and the alternate, German names for many of these places. Those wishing to do further research will often find that many texts (especially memoirs) will refer to Jelgava as Mitau, Liepaja as Libau, Tallin as Ravel, etc. Thanks for the incredible effort, though, and I can't wait for the next installment. This is such a chaotic place and period in the war that trying to bring this information together in the manner that you have is a monumental task. Even having read tomes about the history of the area I haven't truly understood the details and unit strengths and movements. You've found all the unit movement details and laid them out in an incredibly succinct fashion. Amazing!

  18. About german mobile divisions not able to achieve goals:
    everybody always like to overlook the fact that red army was learning , slower or faster ,but learning how to counter german army .
    That is in my opinion the main reasson duppelkopf failed.

  19. At about 4:30,is shown an attack on 3rd SS Panzer Corps,with commander labeled Steiner. Is this the same Steiner whose Steiner offensive that wasn't sent Hitler into such a tizzy in the closing days of the war ?

  20. Germany had already lost the war. It happened in 1941 after the failure to take Moscow. The lightning war failed and thus turned the war into a war of attrition,which Germany could not win. They simply did not have the time because of the United States and Britain trying to mount a second front,but also did not have the resources to maintain the war.

  21. tik i can't find your panzer corps videos 🙁 i really wanted to watch them but there no sight of em 🙁

  22. Hey TIK, awesome documentary!

    Where did you get the maps from? They seem very detailed with roads and wood from the time.

  23. What about the Air support? Many people miss but airforce was The key point at any attack. This whole operation looks like a lot The third battle kharkov, tired russian troops against top high quality german troops yet they managed tô have an impressive sucess, unlike this battle.

    So i think luftwaffe couldnt help at this point of War thats why they failed, ofc this Plus The problems u mentioned

  24. Schorner had nothing to do with the Waffen SS training and building them into the fighting force they became and he was actually in the German army forces who put down the Beer hall putsch.

  25. Hey there, huge fan here! Could you please let me know what program you use for these maps and battle formations? <3

  26. Amazing work, maybe consider putting a scale on somewhere on the screen permanently. It would make it easier to imagine/think about the distances covered by the units.

  27. Terrain and Soviet total air superiority is the main reason why Germany's blitzkrieg fails in Operation Doppelkopf. Blitzkrieg needs to be flexible to work, and without an eye in the sky to report enemy troop concentrations in real time, a war of maneuver will fail. Couple with a constant threat of air attack during daylight hours, the most elementary aspects of trying to fight a battle are exacerbated. Sticking to a time table, keeping supplies up to the troops, reacting to the unexpected, all can be thrown into disarray by an enemy Air Force. As an example, the 12th SS Panzer Divison was constantly delayed and suffered 10% casualty's as it was rushed to the Normandy Front in 1944. Serious losses for a fighting formation before it even engages the enemy. The modicum of success the Germans achieved was only due to the Soviets outrunning their supplies and reinforcements. By this time of the war the Soviets where outclassing their opponents and had redressed the lack of radios, a lack that gave the Germans so much success and the Russians so much grief. After the battle of Stalingrad, Command and Control was dramatically improved, a force multiplier now enjoyed by the Red Army for the rest of the war and they made the Germans pay in spades for the early years of Barbarossa. As is witnessed in this battle, some of the cream of the Wehrmacht was fought to a standstill by tired undersupplied battle-hardened Soviet troops.

  28. Lake Pepsi…Rly? actually i guess it makes sense. Pepsi is known to heal the political divide, as seen in their commercial. Why not make a Great Lake Pepsi as a barrier against misunderstandinks?

  29. 8:17mins the youth soldier on the right of the photo looks rather like David Bowie mid 1970's "Heroes" period. No?

  30. These are fantastic episodes. I wonder how much Enigma and Colossus information the Red Army were in receipt of, that enabled them to help defeat the Germans

  31. Germany: "The Italians turned on us! What a disgusting betrayal!"
    Finland: "Yeah how could they do that!? Perfidious swine!"
    Germany: "The Romanians turned coat and are conspiring with our Bolshevik nemeses!"
    Finland: "How awful! No quarter will be given!"
    Germany: "We're pretty sure those Hungarians are thinking about pulling a Romania! Good thing we Aryans always stick together!"
    Rinland: "Yeah, that's uh… pretty fucked up for them to do. Grrrr, those darned… Hungarians. Let's not be too hasty about this whole 'Aryan solidarity' thing, though…>.>"

    Germany: "…"

    Finland: "…"

    Soviet Union: "(☭ ͜ʖ ☭)"

  32. Brilliant job, my friend. Nice to see the lesser known battles of WW2 getting the spotlight. Would love it if you'll cover the Greek and Yugoslavian Campaigns of 1941.

  33. What you said about Finland at the start: Mannerheim had been trying to distance Finland from Germany ever since Operation Barbarossa failed to destroy the Soviet Union in 1941. It's kind of wrong to say that the loss of the Baltics is what made Finland want to get out of the war. It's a combination of the fact that Finland managed to stop the Soviet spring offensive in 1944, the fact that Germany was losing and the fact that Stalin was suprised by how bad the resistance against Operation Bagration was.

  34. When your six elite divisions do diddly dick against the soviet lines but some dude makes up his own formation with ducttape and fairydust and finds a weakened soviet unit

  35. I`m constantly amazed by the resilience of the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front at this stage of the war.
    Say what you like, they were facing HUGE odds and this was VERY LATE in the war………….the USSR DID NOT achieve this ON IT`S OWN; the US supplied the Soviets with ~ 450,000 trucks & ~ 2,000 locomotives AMONG MANY OTHER THINGS.

  36. OK, good video..BUT..Blitzkrieg was a COMBINED forces tactic, Courland never had any air support, no Blitzkrieg

  37. Collectivism is such a meaningless buzzword and I think it’s beneath someone as serious as TIK. The fact that all political movements require collective engagement (and thus by necessity a collective exclusion or dismissal of those outside the movement from the collective) means that the term doesn’t really warrant use unless one is willing to dive into the murky waters of political and moral philosophy, which is far beyond the scope of these videos.

  38. #NB I ask all what the qualifying grade actually is for truthful historiography? For example Dave Emory spitfirelist dot com is abundant with literary referees, far more than TIK, yet denounced by many as a salient crank. Any comments are respectfully welcomed.

  39. Great video series! A very complex action. It did leave me wondering why Schonner was not attacking the Soviet flank during Dopplekopf, but maybe he was and just not making any headway.

  40. extreme frustration with trying to view these in order, really very dissappointing, it seems very simple to use a simple title format to make clear the order in which these are meant to be viewed, and to begin each with a statement which makes the order clear. This is facinating WW2 obsurata, with which TIK has now stuck the needle in my arm!!!!!!!!!! Unless my (relatively unsuccessful) recent brain surgery is my only problem here, I would be grateful if TIK would make an effort in this direction. It is very fucked up, just like all the other recent history channels on utoob, it's never easy to navigate this, and I LOVE this stuff. 61 years old, this brit is inspiring me to go back to college get a goddamn Phd, (at least a faux master's), or at least summarize my thesis, or at least stop watching utoob and read a book…. i think the last was "Blink", Malcolm Gladwell c.2010? …. then got brain cancer… heh…. hehehe… hah… hahahahahahhahahahha…. uh. oh man oh man…. I think need a new vape pen… just got some I-95 from Humbolt co…

  41. I just wanna thank you for making the overall movements of the armies and their subsequent unit movements easy to understand. In general, I've found that you are consistent in making these videos easy to understand, unlike most historians. Thank you.

  42. Why is it that Soviet Generals all look like professional wrestlers and all Nazi commanders look like undertakers?

  43. I know this never happened but guderian and kurt zeitler pleaded with Hitler to not attack the Russians in the summer of 1943 at kursk. They wanted the Russians to attack into the German defense absorb it and counter attack with the reinforcements from the rebuilt panzer divisions and ss panzer corps. I know this never happened so that is why the courland pocket was possible

  44. Your videos are much better when you're not spewing your libertarian bullshit. Your comments aren't getting ratioed.

  45. 10:55 To use a rugby league analogy, go west on the burst, score under the posts on the Lithuanian coast no one home.

  46. Dude I died when you said at 27:44 there’d be National Socialists in the Comments section 🤣 great job on being filthy detailed TIK

  47. Mind you the Finns waited until a requested shipment of weapons and ammo from Germany, to continue the fight against the Russians, would arrive before said resignation would occur and then the same weapons would be used against the Germans. Mannerheim jbaited Hitler.

  48. 12:55 "I'm sorry, Mr Ryti doesn't work here any more. Mr Ribbentrop's contract has been transferred to our Distressed Assets department. Please hold." That must have stung.

  49. Schörner executed many german Soldiers during the Kurland pocket and was punished at a federal german court after the war

  50. For past 52 years ,I am reading WW2 .Glorification of Nazi generals is cold war politics. I am happy that TIK brings out truth.

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