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|Date||June 27, 1943 - August 27, 1943|
Operation Pluto (Операция Плутон) was the code name for a massive summer offensive by the forces of the Soviet Union in the Summer of 1943.
On March 17, 1942, the massive German armies invaded the Soviet Union. In just a few days panzer units advanced more than 200 miles, wiping out most of the Red Army and taking millions prisoner. By July 1 German forces were approaching Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev. on July 22nd, the Germans took Moscow. Once those three cities were taken, and defensive lines were established, German soldiers set up defensive lines around the cities and waited for winter. In the south, in Ukraine, troops continued to advance to the edge of the Ukraine before digging in, as the winter there would be less harsh and come later. Rather than continue to conquer and overextend German forces, the German army sent groups of scout troops to round up all Soviet citizens within 100 miles of the front lines, and along with the already-captured soldiers and captive citizens of the areas already conquered, these people proved to be potent hostages. Germany threatened to kill every last one of them unless Stalin surrendered himself, and Russia withdrew its border to the Ural Mountains. Stalin refused, Saying "I will not yield to the Fascists and their threats. Millions might be dead, but we have millions more. We shall overcome." Stalin ordered Zhukov to plan a mighty summer offensive to push the Fascists back. It would take advantage of the many newly raised divisions, and the tanks being constructed in the factories that were evacuated to the Urals.
During the Initial phase of the assault, the Russians enjoyed massive successes. Most of the 11th Panzer was wiped out in the first few days of the Assault. Most of the troops at the line were Hungarian and Romanian, as most German units were disbanded and sent home to work the factories. The Allied troops fought hard, but were decisively defeated.
The German Response
Large numbers of troops were hastily recalled and labouriously shifted east to deal with the massive assault.
The Battle of Vladamir
Vladamir was a very important city 200 km east of Moscow. If the Russians could capture Vladimir, then they could use it as a base for recapturing Moscow. Hitler ordered that the city was to be held at all costs.
Germany: For the defense, Hitler amassed 12 Infantry divisions, supported by the 2nd and 10th panzer divisions. Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler, the premier SS division, would also moved east to aid the troops there, though it was several weeks travel away. the Panzer divisions mainly consisted of Panzer IIIJ and Panzer IVF2 tanks, which were good tanks, but nowhere near as good as the Soviet T34. a few battalions of the new Panzer VI tiger would also be deployed. the divisions were spread along the line, so that when the attack went through, only two were opposing them.
Soviets: For the attack on Vladimir, Zhukov concentrated 3 armies, including 4 Guards Divisions. most would be used for distracting attacks, with the best units amased for the assault on the city itself.
The German Infantry divisions were spread along the line so that when the attack went through, only two were opposing the Russian troops.
Pluto was Stalin's last gasp. After the failure of the offensive, the Soviet Union was doomed to fall.