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Liveblogging World War II: June 29, 1942

Case Blue:

The Nazi summer offensive begins in southern Russia, with Fourth Panzer Army starting its drive towards Voronezh. Close air support from the Luftwaffe also played an important role in this early success. It contained the Red Air Force, through air superioriAs many as 100 German aircraft were concentrated on a single Soviet division in the path of the spearhead.

Fearing that this is the start of a renewed attempt to outflank Moscow from the south, 7 Soviet tank corps (1st, 2nd, 4th, 11th, 16th, 17th, 24th) with 1000 tanks converge on Voronezh for a counterattack...

Stephen Fritz:

When Operation Blue, the main German summer campaign, finally commenced in late June, its design also revealed serious weaknesses. Since the Wehrmacht had been unable to assemble the necessary forces by the time Blue was to start, the Army High Command (OKH) designed a complicated, staggered operation in which each phase had a specific goal, thus setting the stage for the achievement of the next step in the plan. The initial phase aimed at seizing the city of Voronezh, just east of the Don, which would allow flank protection to the forces advancing to the east (it also, in the event, sparked furious Soviet counterattacks, since German forces could easily turn north toward Moscow, as anticipated by Stalin)….

At first all seemed to go well, perhaps too well. Timoshenko's disaster at Kharkov had weakened the Soviets precisely at the main point of effort for Operation Blue, while hastily formed and poorly trained Russian formations thrown in to stop the Germans often seemed to dissolve before German eyes...