In the summer of 1942, the Wehrmacht invaded the Caucasus in order to overrun critical oil production facilities at Maikop, Grozny and Baku. However, the Red Army stopped the Germans short of their objectives and then launched a devastating winter counteroffensive that encircled them at Stalingrad. Consequently, Hitler grudgingly ordered an evacuation from the Caucasus, but ordered 17. Armee to fortify the Kuban bridgehead and hold it at all costs in order to leave open the possibility of future offensives. On the other side, the Soviet Stavka ordered the North Caucasus Front and the Black Sea Fleet to eliminate the Kuban bridgehead as soon as possible. The stage was set for a contest between an immovable object and an unstoppable force.
With the help of stunning specially commissioned artwork, this book tells the enthralling story of the impressive but strategically foolish German stand at Kuban, which tied down seven Soviet armies in a sideshow battle of attrition, which the Soviets dubbed `the Kuban meat grinder.'
Robert Forczyk has a PhD in International Relations and National Security from the University of Maryland and a strong background in European and Asian military history. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the US Army Reserves having served 18 years as an armour officer in the US 2nd and 4th infantry divisions and as an intelligence officer in the 29th Infantry Division (Light). Dr Forczyk is currently a consultant in the Washington, DC area.
Origins of the campaign /Chronology /Opposing commanders /Opposing armies /Orders of battle /Opposing plans /The campaign /Aftermath /The battlefields today /Further reading /Index