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Originally posted by JasonC:

The reason Manstein pushed so hard is he understood his own role in the German operational plan and the problem it was supposed to set up for the Russians. He was trying to make that problem as hard as possible, being much less concerned with how hard it made his own.

It is a bit more prosaic, according to Beaulieu. He did it because he was under orders to do so by Bfh. PzGr4, Generaloberst Hoepner.

When LVI.PzK was ordered to push 8.PD ahead, the Soviet counter-attack at Rossienie had started, and XXXXI.PzK was handling it. Aerial reconnaissance had shown that there was not any more relevant enemy in the front of 8.PD. The rear of LVI.PzK could be shored up by using 290.ID of that Korps and by moving SS-T up behind it. When they jumped off from the Dubissa, contact existed to X.AK on the right flank.

PzGr4 ordered LVI.PzK to only leave strongpoints behind, naming the villages where this should happen. When later enemy began to threaten the long southern flank (the northern flank was protected by the advance of XXXXI.PzK), the infantry of 290.ID and SS-T in these strongpoints was able to handle it, and to clear the roads inbetween the strongpoints.

The reason PzGr4 felt comfortable taking this risk was as follows:

1) significant gain if the bridges at Dvinsk are taken intact.

2) Good reconnaissance giving an indication of real enemy strength in the sector

3) Enemy had thrown away his strength at Rossienie

4) Sufficient infantry to protect a corridor against recognised enemy

5) By constant fast advance, you have the ability to defeat the enemy in detail, by keeping him off-balance. This did happen in the advance, where resistance had to be overcome at various places, but it was never strong enough to threaten the advance.

6) It is possible that enemy supplies are captured (this happened at Dvinsk), reducing the supply requirements.

It was still seen as a risk, but one well worth taking. It was not Manstein's decision to go on a drive though, but instead a decision taken by his commanding officer, in keeping with the Barbarossa orders.

I see what I can find on Stoltsy tomorrow, but I think there the situation was quite different, and Manstein had in effect cocked it up.

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Regarding the reliability of the whole section in Manstein covering the Panzerraid, von Beaulieu asserts that it was written from memory, contains numerous factual errors (e.g. Manstein's statement that no goal was given in the briefings for the campaign; Manstein's assessment of the performance of XXXXI.PzK; and Manstein's complaints about LVI.PzK being held up in the Dvinsk bridgehead), and completely fails to give adequate acknowledgment to the role of the Panzergruppe. He states that it is pretty much worthless when it comes to trying to understand doctrinal matters or historical events.

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