Korsun Pocket

The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944

Anders Frankson, Niklas Zetterling

Date Published :
March 2011
Publisher :
Illustration :
16 pages b/w photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781932033885
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781935149842
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
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During the second half of 1943, after the failure at Kursk, Germany’s Army Group South fell back from Russia under repeated hammer blows from the Red Army. Under Erich von Manstein, however, the Germans were able to avoid serious defeats, while at the same time fending off Hitler’s insane orders to hold on to useless territory.

Then, in January 1944, a disaster happened. Six divisions of Army Group South became surrounded after sudden attacks by the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts under command of generals Nikolai Vatutin and Ivan Konev around the village of Korsun (near the larger town of Cherkassy on the Dnieper). The Germans’ greatest fear was the prospect of another Stalingrad, the catastrophe that had occurred precisely one year before.

This time, though, Manstein was in control from the start, and he immediately rearranged his Army Group to rescue his trapped divisions. A major panzer drive got underway, led by General der Panzertruppen Hans Hube, a survivor from Stalingrad pocket, which promptly ran up against several soviet tank armies. Leading the break-in was Franz Baeke with his Tiger and Panther-tanks. Due to both weather and ferocious resistance, the German drive stalled. Ju-52s still flew into Korsun’s airfield, delivering supplies and taking out wounded, but it soon became apparent that only one option remained for the beleaguered defenders: breakout.

Without consulting Hitler, on the night of February 16 Manstein ordered the breakout to begin. Led by the strongest formation within the pocket, SS Wiking, the trapped forces surged out and soon rejoined the surrounding panzer divisions who had been fully engaged in weakening the ring.

When dawn broke, the Soviets realized their prey was escaping. Although the Germans within the pocket lost nearly all of their heavy weapons and left many wounded behind, their escape was effected. Stalin, having anticipated another Stalingrad, was left with little but an empty bag, as Army Group South—this time—had pulled off a rescue.

In The Korsun Pocket, Niklas Zetterling, a researcher at the Swedish Defense College since 1995 and Anders Frankson, have provided a highly detailed and often breathtaking account of one of the most dramatic battles of World War II. From grand strategy to soldiers’ voices on the ground, including expert statistical analysis, the action, and the stakes, of the battle at Korsun are made vividly clear.

About The Author

Niklas Zetterling is a military historian and researcher at the Swedish Defense College. His previous books include Bismarck; The Korsun Pocket; and The Drive on Moscow, 1941.



Chapter 1 Background: The War in the East
Chapter 2 The Battles on the Dnepr
Chapter 3 Planning, Preparation, and Readiness
Chapter 4 The Condition of the Armies
Chapter 5 Konev Attacks
Chapter 6 The Soviet Breakthrough
Chapter 7 Vatutin’s Attack
Chapter 8 The Korsun Pocket
Chapter 9 The Red Army Squeezes the Pocket
Chapter 10 Von Vormann’s Counterattack
Chapter 11 Hube Assembles a Rescue Force
Chapter 12 Breith’s III Panzer Corps Attacks
Chapter 13 8th Army, 4–10 February
Chapter 14 Breith Tries Again
Chapter 15 Stalin Invervenes
Chapter 16 “Now or Never”
Chapter 17 Time is Running Out
Chapter 18 Breakout from the Korsun Pocket
Chapter 19 Aftermath

Notes on the Text
Appendix I Orders of Battle
Appendix II German Combat Units in the Battle
Notes on the Appendices


“…loaded with lots of fascinating detailed accounts of the grim realities of East front combat…This behind the spearhead detail is truly interesting. …packed with good legible maps that help the reader immensely in following the action.”


“…compelling prose, abundant tactical detail, lots of maps, a clear narrative of events and running analysis of the battle as it unfolds. If you’re hungering for a good WWII East Front battle book, look no further… It’s very well done.

- Russ Lockwood, Magweb.com

“…provides a fascinating insight into a little known event within the vast Eastern front conflict… those who read this book will discover something they have not read about before.”

- Military Modelling

“The authors have provided a highly detailed account of one of the most dramatic battles of World War II. From strategy to soldiers’ voice on the ground, all aspects of the battle at Korsun are made vividly clear.”

- Scale Military Modeller

“..a story well told…maintains a level of observation at the human scale and is packed with detail…Highly recommended…”

- Playhistory

"…illuminating for a number of reasons; especially in its ability to highlight how the late war Red Army was able to defeat a Wermacht that had previously run circles around the best the Soviet Union could throw at it. The battles fought in and around Korsun rank as among the most interesting of the Second World War, an opinion only made stronger after reading Zetterling and Frankson's thoroughly researched and well written account."

- Globe at War

"Military history at it's very best. The quality of research undertaken is very impressive… very readable and fascinating."

- War Books Out Now

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