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Liveblogging World War II: October 31, 1942

Operation Uranus in detail:

After the 298. Infanteriedivision and 22. Panzerdivision were designated as reserves behind the Italian front line and the Soviet bridging operations across the Don River became known on 25 October, Hitler finally realized a Russian winter offensive was possible… [even though] his operational order no. 1, dated 23 October, where he had already dismissed any possibility of such an operation…. [H]e expressed his worries about the weak flanks of the 6th Army many times during the daily staff meetings. On 30 October…. Finally on 31 October the ongoing reinforcements of the Russian bridgeheads at Kletskaya and Serafimovic were clearly reported. Fremde Heere Ost defined them as purely defensive measures.

A possible attack was only considered on a tactical, but not a strategic level. Gehlen’s department evaluated the situation and came close to envisioning the actual Soviet preparations. The Southwest Front was moved to their assembly areas around the end of October…