Marshal K.K. Rokossovsky by Boris Sokolov

Marshal K.K. Rokossovsky by Boris Sokolov

Author:Boris Sokolov
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: HISTORY / Military / World War II
ISBN: 9781912174508
Publisher: Helion and Company
Published: 2015-03-19T04:00:00+00:00


Here’s how Rokossovsky recalled the start of the battle:

In the early morning hours of 5 July, German sappers, who were clearing minefields, were captured in the sector of the 13th Army and 48th Army. They revealed that the offensive was designated to begin at 0300, and that German troops were already in their jumping-off positions.

A little more than an hour remained until that time. Believe or disbelieve the prisoners’ testimony? If they were speaking the truth, then it was now necessary to begin our planned artillery counter preparation, for which we had allotted up to half of the allowance of shells and mortar rounds.

There was no time for a query to the Stavka; a situation was emerging so that a delay could only lead to heavy consequences. The Stavka representative G.K. Zhukov who had arrived the evening before and was in attendance, entrusted the decision of this question to me. Thanks to this I was immediately able to give an order to the commander of the Front’s artillery to open fire.

At 0220 5 July, the thunder of the guns shattered the pre-dawn silence that was reigning over the steppe, over the positions of both sides, on a broad sector of the front south of Orel.

Our artillery opened fire in the sector of the 13th Army and partially in the sector of the 48th Army, where the main attack was expected, and as it turned out, just 10 minutes before the start of the artillery preparation set by the enemy.

The fire of more than 500 guns, 460 mortars and 100 M-13 rocket launchers rained down upon their [artillery] batteries and the enemy troops in their jumping-off positions. As a result the enemy suffered heavy losses, especially in artillery, and his system of command and control over the troops was disrupted.

The German-fascist troops were caught off-guard. The enemy decided that the Soviet side itself had gone on the offensive. This, naturally, snarled his plans and introduced confusion into the ranks of his troops. Only at 0430 was he able to begin the artillery preparation. It started in a disorganized fashion with weaker strength.



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