In the dying days of Summer 1942. German armoured forces fanned southeast to STALINGRAD towards the banks of the river VOLGA. Spearheading the 2 Panzer Armee advance against minimal opposition were 10 Panzer and 2nd SS Panzer divisions from 46 Mot Korps less Gross Deutchland, which had been engaged at TAMBOV junction.
48 MotKorps, comprising 17 and 18 Panzer divisions with 29 Motorised and 167 Infantry divisions, were echeloned northwards behind them. These formations were all well understrength and although coming to the end of their logistical chains, were benefitting from the opening of TAMBOV junction to rail traffic.
Opposing them was South Front comprising 2 Armies :
57 Army comprising 99, 150, 317 and 351 Rifle and 14 Guard Rifle division
9 Army comprising 51, 106, 333, 335, 341 and 349 Rifle divisions
and South Front troops comprising 3 Guards Cavalry division and 24 Tank division. Unusually fo rthis stage of the campaign, the operation had the characteristic of a meeting engagement.