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Battle for Rostov 1942: Who was there?

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Can anyone shed some light on this conflict, specifically which Russian armies / commanders were there to defend the city and surrounding areas?

I have maps with some army icons but can't make sense of who is who. Surprisingly little content available on the web so far...


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The defenders were from the 18th (roughly, the west facing or left sector) and 56th Armies (roughly, the north facing or right). Both were disorganized and in retreat at the time, since they had been flanked deeply to their north and their supports there had given way. The Russians conducted a fighting withdrawal and avoiding giving the Germans the large bags of prisoners their more rigid defense had led to in 1941. (There were still sizable "bags" farther north, but not at Rostov).

The main German effort was a hook from the north by von Kleist's 1st Panzer Army, with the 17th Army taking a more direct route at the city from the west. The outer hook got there first, and was led by the 14th and 22nd Panzer divisions, joined soon after by SS Wiking.

Note that Wiking was already a Panzergrenadier division in effect at this point, as it had a 50+ tank panzer battalion plus a StuG battalion organic. A company of the tanks were Panzer IV longs, another III longs and another's worth were just Pz IIs, and the StuGs were early model longs.

14th Panzer bypassed the city after the first day or two of the fighting, 22nd was involved longer, and Wiking was clearing it block by block for days. Mostly long IIIs in the Panzer regiments.

17th Army arrived in time to participate in the street fighting phase. Notably it made use of some of the more obscure Axis minors in the fight for the city. The 100th Jager division was one of its formations involved, and included the 369th Croat regiment. 100th Jager got a reputation as street fighting experts there, and carried it to Stalingrad later in the campaign. The 1st Slovakian (fast) division also took part, some of its heaviest fighting of the war occurring at a collective farm northeast of the city.

While the fighting was moderately prolonged - days I mean - it was never seriously in doubt, since the Germans had flanked the whole position and the Russians were withdrawing across the board.

I hope this helps. Sorry I can't offer more detail on the Russian defense.

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JasonC, you are a deep well of knowledge my friend.

I was in fact coming back here in hopes of getting your attention and you had already been here.

That information helps alot. I have been reading as much as I can on the web but in all honesty you just supplied more information than a half dozen other articles.

If you could, what would you suggest a good generic if not specific force mix for a small Rostov Campaign might be? When I say small, I am thinking 8 players (4 per side) with Rostov and the surrounding areas to the Northeast/Northwest mapped out over a 5 x 3 grid with each sector being 2000m x 2000m +/- (10km wide by 6km high)

I am using the map below, along with others to build the campaign maps. I will be extending the area north to include outlying roads / villages.


I am taking an alternate history approach to this one, with the Russians standing and fighting for the city not wanting to let the city fall to the Germans again.

So, thanks again for your information JasonC.

Lastly if I were to read one book about the Battle or 1942 summer offensive into the Caucuses, what would you suggest?

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GDog.. good post, and JasonC awesome reply. GDog, it appears you are doing what I am looking at doing, setting up a campaign-type game. I am still fairly new to CM gaming though, and have been trying to find a guideline for how to do this, I have some of my ideas, but perhaps we could trade ideas? It seems like this is the idea behind the "cm campaigns" game coming out, but for months, before I purchased CMBB, i have watched and waited for that game, and still no clue when it will be out smile.gif

take care

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Originally posted by abneo3sierra:

GDog.. good post, and JasonC awesome reply. GDog, it appears you are doing what I am looking at doing, setting up a campaign-type game. I am still fairly new to CM gaming though, and have been trying to find a guideline for how to do this, I have some of my ideas, but perhaps we could trade ideas? It seems like this is the idea behind the "cm campaigns" game coming out, but for months, before I purchased CMBB, i have watched and waited for that game, and still no clue when it will be out smile.gif

take care

Certanly be happy to exchange ideas. I am still in the very early planning stages. I am currently playing in my first META Campaign: The Battle of Lauban.

It is simply amazing in detail and organization. The creators and GM's there have inspired me to think about creating my own (be it MUCH smaller scale) campaign.

Over the coming weeks/months I am going to be working on the details and picking the brains of the likes of JasonC.

Let me know in this thread when you have your initial concept together and we should speak further about our ideas.

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On sources, they tend to be quite thin on this one. While the early stages of Case Blue and particularly the fighting around Voronezh up north get some coverage in the higher level histories, most rapidly focus on the big German command decisions that led to the dismissal of Bock and the division of effort between the far south oil quest and Stalingrad.

Frankly I have learned far more about the operation from operational level wargames like Drive on Stalingrad (Panzergruppe Guderian game system) than from books.

A good campaign focused on Rostov would have to fictionalize many aspects to keep it reasonably competitive - in the real deal the Germans held all the high cards - and to cover ignorance of the details. Also to deal with the scale - CM simply won't handle multiple armies clashing over tens of miles and more. The way to do it is to run a "shrunken", representative, and more balanced campaign, where the sides have period forces, representative tactical force mixes and strengths, etc.

I will give the OOB and force structure I'd use if I were running a campaign for this, in the immediately following post.

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German OOB

The German force consists of 3 KGs, representing elements of, respectively, 22nd Panzer division, 5th SS Wiking, and 100th Jager.

In addition to the maneuver forces stated, the Germans get 1x150mm (4 tube), 4x105mm, 2x81mm (6 tube) FOs, plus occasional air support (fighter strafing most often, occasional fighter bomber).

I will sequentially number all the platoons.

22nd Panzer division KG - all forces veteran quality.

Basic structure is 3 Panzer and one Marder platoons, 2 PSW platoons, an armored group with an armored panzer rifle company plus a panzer pioneer platoon and heavy weapons, 2 motorized panzer rifle companies, and attached single heavy and light Flak platoons.

1st Panzer platoon - 2 Pz IIF, 2 Pz IV F1 (with HC, at least 6 each).

2nd, 3rd Panzer platoons - each 4 Pz 38 E model

4th Panzerjaeger - 4 Marder III (early)

5th, 6th PSW - each 4 20mm PSW 6 Rad

7th, 8th, 9th SPW mounted, armored panzer rifle

10th Hvy Wpns 2 SPW MG, 2 SPW 81mm, HQ, 3 HMG

plus company HQ, SPW

11th Panzer Pioneer - 5 SPW, HQ 4 squads, 4 FTs

12, 13, 14 Motorized Panzer Rifle

15 - Hvy Wpns, Co HQ, HQ, 4 HMG, 2 81mm motorized

16, 17, 18 as previous mot. panzer rifle

19 - as previous heavy weapons

20 - Heavy Flak, 2 88mm with Sdkfz 9

21 - Light Flak, 2 20mm quad with Sdfkz 9

5th SS Wiking KG. All forces regular. If all forces present 5th SS, 25% fanaticism.

Basic structure is 3 AFV platoons, 1 tank and 2 StuG, 3 Panzer rifle companies each with heavy weapons and a panzer pioneer platoon attached, all motorized, plus attached single sIG light Flak platoons.

22 Panzer platoon - 4 Pz III L

23, 24 StuG platoon - each 3 StuG III F (long, 50mm front)

25, 26, 27 - motorized panzer rifle as above

28 - motorized hvy weapons as above

29 - motorized panzer pioneer

30-34 - as 25-29

35-39 - as 25-29

40 sIG - 2 150mm sIG with Sdkfz 9

41 Light Flak - 4 20mm Flak with Kubelwagen

100th Jager KG, regulars unless noted.

Basic structure is 3 German Jager companies each with heavy weapons, plus a Croat company with 4th platoon plus heavy weapons, and 3 each leIG and le PAK platoons usually supporting the German Jagers, one each.

42-44 Jager infantry platoons

45 - foot heavy weapons, Co HQ, plt HQ, 4 HMG, 2 81mm

46-49 - as 42-45

50-53 - as 42-45

54-57 - Croats (use green Rumanians; if alone, 25% fanaticism)

58 - Croat heavy wpns HQ, 3 ZB37 MG, 2 60mm

59-61 leIG, each 2 75mm leIG with Kubelwagen

62-64 le PAK, each 3 37mm PAK with Kubelwagen

Initial deployment is 22nd Panzer on the German left or north "edge" facing south, 100th Jagers on the German right or west "edge" facing east, and SS Wiking behind and between them at the northwest map corner.

Russian OOB and initial deployment follows.

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Russian OOB

All units green quality unless otherwise noted.

Russians receive the following artillery support - 1x122mm (regular), 1x120mm, 3x76mm, and 2x82mm (6-tube).

Rifle forces -

8 rifle companies, each 3 platoons plus a heavy weapons platoon with Co HQ, Platoon HQ, 3xMaxim MMG, 1x82mm mortar on map, 2x50mm mortar, and 3xPTRD ATR

2 pioneer companies, each company HQ and 2 platoons, each also 2 flamethrower and 1 ampulet

2 militia companies, each HQ, 3 platoons of light type, no heavy weapons, all units conscript quality and maxed out Molotov cocktails.

NKVD company, as regular quality regimental SMG company (9 man squad variety) plus veteran Recon A platoon, 2 veteran sniper, 6 veteran PTRS ATR, platoon HQ and 4 regular Maxim MMG (MG platoon), all regulars or better get 25% fanaticism.

(Note that historically, an NKVD brigade put up fierce resistence for their HQ area in downtown Rostov, hence this force component)

Mixed tank company, regulars, with

heavy platoon, 2 KV-1, 2 T-60

medium platoon, 3 T-34, SMG HQ, 2 SMG squad (7 man), tank hunter as riders, all regulars

light platoon, 5 T-60

2 45mm ATG batteries each 4 45mm ATG

2 76mm ATG batteries each 4 76mm ZIS-3

Initial deployment is 6 of the rifle companies with their company heavy weapons along the outer perimeter, 3 facing west and 3 facing north approximately. The 45mm ATG batteries are with them in first echelon, either kept together with a single company or split into 2 gun sections supporting 2.

Behind each face is a second echelon consisting of a reserve rifle company, a pioneer company, and a militia company, plus a 76mm ATG battery.

In the center in mid-city Rostov is the NKVD company in reserve, and the entire tank company.

Notice, the Germans have a huge edge in armor, both number of vehicles and roughly 2 to 1 in long 75 AFVs (10 StuGs and Marders vs. 5 KVs and T-34s). Fully half the German armor by vehicle numbers are light PSW or SPW, however, concentrated in the 22nd Panzer division part of the force.

Most Russian anti-armor firepower comes from towed guns rather than AFVs, the reverse for the Germans.

The artillery and heavy weapons are much more even, and the Russians have a modest edge in total infantry manpower, but no more than equality in decent units (the numbers edge, such as it is, all comes from conscript militia). The Germans have a large edge in unit quality.

In return, the Russians have a defensive mission and urban terrain.

As for fortifications, the Russians should not have many, as they had little time to prepare the city since the German operational breakthrough. They should have some roadblocks within, and gullies on maps outside the city, to represent their anti-tank ditches, the only thing dug in large numbers.

There should also be some factories in the city regions to represent reinforced buildings, large concrete apartment blocks and reinforced concrete office structures.

For artillery resupply, the Russians should be on standard "refire" meaning any module used previously becomes reusable on a roll of 1-2 on the next op turn. They should also lose a 76mm FO if any 76mm ATG battery is lost on map.

The Germans should also have standard "refire", 1-2 to resupply, for their 150mm and 81mm FOs. Their 105s can have "abundant" resupply of 1-3 to reuse next op turn.

Neither side should get any infantry replacements during the struggle. The Russian mission should be to continue to hold the city center and to inflict maximum German losses, the German mission to take it while minimizing own-side losses. Russian losses should be immaterial to victory (other than making the defense collapse if they run too high, naturally).

I hope this is helpful.

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JasonC I am now 100% convinced you are not human, but in fact a WWII data base with word recognition software allowing you to communicate directly with human forum users!


Where on earth did you get this information?

Thanks a heap, you just gave me a GREAT starting point!

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Note that I envision the frontage in the above as running about 6 operational areas, and the typical force in each operational area being only company size. Attacks may overload one sector with 2 reinforced companies plus armor. Both attackers and defenders are expected to use some depth, with 2-3 echelons front to back to deal with defeats along the front.

The frontage should shrink somewhat as you near the Russian center. In other words, the Russians are trying to defend the southeast corner of a map about 3 "cells" long initially on both north and west faces.

The design is meant to keep battle sizes and the reinforced company scale for ready resolution. I am a firm believer in avoiding the giantism tendency in campaigns, where you start by expecting a battalion per "op square", and then one side or the other gets the bright idea to overload one sector, and the result is entire regiments on a single map. CM just can't handle that scale.

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As for where info, of course I am making some of it up, and otherwise just using "division slices" from standard OOBs. With some "period points", like knowing the vehicle composition with 22nd PD and with 5th SS, knowing the typical mix of tank types in a mid 1942 Russian tank brigade, etc. And an eye to play balance and some "flavor", to give each side assets to try to use well, etc.

If you multipled everything by 6 about, you'd get 3 divisions of Germans attacking 2 rifle divisions of defenders, roughly, plus supporting elements for both sides. But that would be giantism, CM couldn't handle it as a campaign. This scale, you could readily handle through a day or two's worth of operational turns, with something like 15-20 reinforced company to single battalion -scale battles, likely to decide the campaign.

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I agree, JasonC this is all great stuff and will be a big help during the creation of this campaign.

I share your ideas about the size and composition of the campaign map/grid. I have included a rough layout of what I am thinking. (There will be one additional Row of sectors extended North.)

This image is an area 24km x 14km (2000m x 2000m sectors with the bottom sectors being 2000m x 3000m to include the bridges) which I plan to map at 1/2 scale for a total area of 12km wide x 9km deep (including additional row).

I will also be taking some liberties with the location and route of the Don River, dropping the East & West sections of it lower into the bottom sectors to provide more land to fight on.

My idea for final objectives is having the Germans capture and establish bridgeheads at 4 -of- 5 bridges over the Don.


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Well, I wouldn't be too slavish about distances or scale, and half seems too big for forces reduced by far more than that.

But having a half dozen op-squares across the top, and four or five north to south with the Germans on that "rim" and the Russians in the southeast corner, will work fine.

As for bridges as an objective, it might be a secondary one, but historically the Germans easily crossed the Don much farther east and getting over the river wasn't the issue. Clearing the city was.

Yes to get more crossing sites, but primarily to clear the rail net to points farther south and southeast. It is one thing to have motorized military forces across a river barrier, and another to be able to ship hundreds of tons per day of supplies hundreds of miles, efficiently.

I'd start SS Wiking's KG in reserve in an urban area in the NW corner, with the rest of the Germans out in open steppe terrain around the city. The first layer of Russians should be in light suburb terrain (wood buildings etc), with added linear obstacles in the form of gullies (anti-tank ditches).

The second line of Russian positions should start to become true city, with lots of large wood building areas and some factory-style larger blocks as key locations.

Deeper in, for variety add a railyard area with significant amounts of open and a "jungleyard" of track; differentiate the region right along the river with "balkas", riverside and brush along with soft ground; and have a true "downtown" in the Russian "rear" with large city block tiles and a few "factories". The Russian NKVD and tank forces should start in the last of those.

For the size of forces engaged, the tactical maps should be on the order of 800 meters on a side, maximum. Not anything like 2 km. 1-2 companies in even that much city will feel quite empty in force to space terms. But with set up zones and modest no man's land, it will work on 800x800 meter maps.

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I have done some research on this as part of my 22nd Panzer Division scenarios, but haven't got around to making the Rostov scenarios yet. Anyway, here's some data you may find helpful:


1. The Caucasus and the Oil, Wilhelm Tieke: J.J. Fedorowicz, 1995 (Tieke was a veteran of Wiking and fought with Wiking throughout the Rostov battles)

2. Nafiziger Collection: Niehorster, L.W.G., German World War II Organization Series, Vol 4/I, Mechanized Army Divisions: 22nd Panzer Division, 28 June 1942

3. PanzerTruppen Vol. 1, Thomas L. Jentz: Schiffer Military, 1996

4. http://rkkaww2.armchairgeneral.com

5. http://www.feldgrau.com

The 140th Schutzen-Regiment and Div. Artillerie-Regiment were reassigned at the end of May, leaving the 22nd with a single infantry regiment (II gepanzert and I Mot. battalion) and no divisional artillery. All Panzer Divisions participating in 'Fall Blau' received up to 12 of the new Panzer IV 75L43 units.

- The 22nd PZD/204th Panzer Regiment reported the following tanks operational in July 42 prior to the Rostov committment:

28 PzII

60+ Pz38t

12 PzIIIj

11 PzIVf

11 (new) PzIVg

-Soviet forces research, rostov defense july 1942

9th NKVD Mot Div Rostov formed 01 Jan-42

56th Army: (AA,Art,AT ) (south front, forming South east of Rostov - keep in mind most of these units were not committed in the city but pulled back across the Don early)

---317th Rifle Div 30July-41 Baku

---343rd Rifle Div 23Aug-41 Stavropol N Cauca MD

---347th Rifle Div 16Sep-41 Krasnodar N Cauca MD

---11th Stud Rifle Brigade 01nov-41

---13th Stud Rifle Brigade 20nov-41

---16th Stud Rifle Brigade 01Oct-at Rostov

---62nd Cav Div 01Sep-41 N Cauca MD

---64th Cav Div 11Aug-41 Lobinskaya N Cauca MD

---70th Cav Div 31Aug-41 Voroshilovsk N Cauca MD

---55th Guards Rifle Div 18 Dec-42

---68th Cav Div 15 Sep-41 Rostov

-63rd Tank Brig. (56th Army) July 01 42 tank strength (rkkaww2 site)


KV-1 9

T34 2

T26 14

OT26 6

T60 19

T37 5


Total 55

-62nd Seperate Tank Battalion of South Front had following dug-in tanks: 18 BT, 12 T26

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More info on Wiking:

-was subordinated to the 73rd ID at this time and was only half assembled at the time of the Rostov battles.

-SS Division Wiking 27 June 42: (cmdr: Oberfuhrer Gille)

--Pz.Abt.5 under Sturmbannfuhrer Muhlenkamp:

---12 pzII, 12 pzIII(kz), 24 pzIII(lg), 4 pzIV(kz)

--Mot Infantry: I battalion/"Germania" regiment, I and II battalions/"Nordland" regiment.

--III battalion/5 SS artillery, 12th Battery SS artillery 5

-1 pioneer company

-elements of Flakabteilung

-update: 6 heavy anti-tank guns (R-Sfl) *this means 76mm Marders of some sort.

[ February 23, 2008, 09:03 AM: Message edited by: Renaud ]

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Info on 13th Panzer-Division:

-Panzer Regiment 4

--I and II Panzer Battalions

---15 pzII, 41 pzIII(kz), 30 pzIII(lg), 12 pzIV(kz) ...apparently 13th pzd did not receive their new Panzer IV G's in time for the campaign.

--3 infantry battalions

--elements of supporting weapons (?)

Showpiece of 13th Panzer Division was the re-equipped I/66 Armored Infantry Battalion (Major Brux):

-Battalion staff and communications platoon in SPW

-3 Panzergrenadier companies mounted on SPW

--1 'heavy' platoon per company, including: 2 7.5cm gun SPW, 2 8cm mortar SPW, 2 SPW carrying HMG platoon, 1 panzergrenadier pioneer platoon in 4 SPW

--3 Panzergrenadier platoons per company

---Platoon: 1 3.7cm SPW, 3 mg SPW.

So this unit had extremely high firepower and was 100% mounted on SPW. 13th PZD fought throughout the battle and inside the city street-to-street.

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Another interesting unit that was on the scene and fought to near destruction for the Bataisk causeway and bridgehead: 8/Brandenburger Company (German special forces)

-2 half-companies, each divided into 2 einsatzgruppen (like a big platoon) equipped with: LMG's, HMG's, mortars, AT weapons. The unit was a 50/50 mix of infantry and engineers...all definitely 'Elite'.

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Some specific information on units actually involved in breaching the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defense belts, and who fought within the city itself and over the Don to Bataisk:

-Rostov battle began July 21 and ended July 26, 1942.

-West and Northwest face:

--13th PZD

--5th SS Wiking Pz.KGr (armored battlegroup)

--73rd ID

--298th ID (followup: west to east along the Don)

--4th Gebirgsdivision (late followup 7/26)

-North face:

--125th ID (partial)

---421st Infantry Regiment (Oberst Reinhardt): 3 battalions - committed 7/24 to clear the city center behind the Panzer troops.

----I battalion: Major Ortleib

----II battalion: (close reserve)

----III battalion: Hauptmann Winzen

--Fast Slovak Division (7/24)

-East-Northeast face:

--22nd Panzer (led the attack: breached 3 defense belts and entered city 23 July)

--198th ID (followup)

--9th ID (followup)

--1st Gebirgsdivision (late followup 7/26)

The initial fighting in the city center and river crossings July 23-24 were mainly borne by these units:

-13th Panzer Division

-22nd Panzer Division

-5th SS Wiking Pz.KGr

-43rd Kradschutzen Battalion (MC recon)

-8th Company/II Battalion Brandenburg Special Purpose Training Regiment (Hauptmann Siegfried Grabert, Lt. Hiller: captured the 6000 meter long bridge embankment across the Don delta between Rostov and Bataisk 7/25)

-Fast Slovak Division

--125th (421st Regiment only), 73rd, 298th, 198th (partial), and 9th followed closely behind the above units and cleaned up nests of resistance July 25-26th. 9th ID relieved the 22nd Panzer which was then redeployed north. The 1st and 4th Gebirgsdivisions followed behind. 2nd Rumanian Mountain Division was in the 3rd echelon.

Note: 14th Panzer was not directly involved in the city assault, but established bridgeheads on the Don to the east of Rostov (took Novo-Cherkask)

update: added some more detail, dates and names

[ February 23, 2008, 09:24 PM: Message edited by: Renaud ]

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No mention of 100th Jaeger or the Croats during the 21st-26th in Tieke, and Tieke is superbly researched...it's possible these units arrived piecemeal and were subordinated to one of the divisions I mentioned, or just got lost in the shuffle. Jentz lists 13th and SS-Wiking in 17th Pz.K., but then he does not deal with non-panzer units. None of my other sources (web, Jentz) mention these. The 97th and 101st Jagerdivisions were involved in later operations.

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Renaud, thanks for your input as well! JasonC, of course continued thanks to you as well.

Perhaps I have thought to big when considering map sizes.

Note: This will be an alternate history campaign in many regards. We also plan to keep the rules system much "dumbed down" when compared to other CMMC's (which this is not of course).

Again, I can't thank the both of you enough.

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JC, cool. Reconciling all the conflicting sources out there can be a challenge, a lot of it is 3rd party authors perpetuating each others mistakes...i'm always prepared to revise my conclusions in light of new and better sources.

GDog, my pleasure, researching unit histories, OOB's and battles is what most interests me about CM. If you ever get that campaign together and need some help, let me know.

The one book you really need is "The Caucasus and the Oil", Wilhelm Tieke: J.J. Fedorowicz, 1995(first published 1970 in German). It's a little wonky due to the translation and rambling style (this is a former German officer not a professional writer after all), and there are a few unit designation typos and mis-translations but on the whole super-detailed and paints an impressive picture of the entire Caucasus campaign. Obviously a labor of love for the author and most of the officers named in the book were actualy friends and he interviewed dozens.

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