This pamphlet was prepared by a committee of former German officers under the supervision of the Historical Division, EUCOM. Among the contributors were former corps commanders and general staff officers at corps, army, and army group level, who had extensive experience on the Russian front during the period 1941-45. The main author, for instance, saw action before Leningrad, near Voronezh, and later at Stalingrad. Toward the end of the war he served successively as chief of staff of Army Groups North and Center, during their withdrawal from Russia.
In addition to discussing the tactical and logistical problems peculiar to operations of encircled forces, the authors take issue with Hitler's conviction that significant advantages can be gained by leaving isolated forces behind the advancing enemy lines. It was this notion, expressed in numerous specific orders, that made the desperate stand of encircled German troops a frequent occurrence during the Russian campaign.
The problems of air support for encircled ground troops are described in a separate appendix which deals with tactical air support, air reconnaissance, supply by air, and the employment of antiaircraft units. Based on the experiences of the German Air Force in Russia and presented by a former Luftwaffe officer, the views expressed are necessarily colored by the organizational peculiarities of the Luftwaffe and its relations to the German Army.
The reader is reminded that publications in the GERMAN REPORT SERIES were written by Germans from the German point of view and are presented without interpretation by American personnel. Minor changes in form and in chapter headings have been made to secure greater clarity. However, passages which reflect the authors' prejudices and defects, whatever they may be, have not been changed and find the same expression in the following translation as they do in the original German.