The trap closes on Kiev

The situation in the south of the Soviet Union in mid September 1941 as the encirclement of Kiev was completed and the Crimea threatened.

In August Hitler had decided to break off the main thrust towards Moscow and divert forced from Army Group Centre to assist with operations in the North and South. Army Group North now almost completely encircled Leningrad in the north. In the south a vast encirclement of huge numbers of Soviet troops was now taking place.

Ukraine.

The operations aimed at the encirclement of Kiev and the subsequent destruction of the Russian forces within that sector had already begun when the bridgehead at Kremenchug was secured over a week ago. At the same time, whilst German infantry kept the Russian forces heavily engaged all along the line of the River Desna, north-east of Kiev, as far as Chernigov, the armoured thrust from Glukhov was being prepared, and actually began about the llth September. At the same time, strong armoured and motorised forces began advancing northwards from the bridgehead at Kremenchug, and it is probable that the two forces have by now met.

At the Dhiepropetrovsk bridgehead the Germans appear to be merely holding their position pending the further development of operations in the Glukhov-Kremenchug area and south-east of Berislav. Considerable Russian forces are believed to be in the Dniepropetrovsk area and to be harassing the Germans without, however, affecting the position as a whole.

The bridgehead at Berislav has been considerably enlarged and German infantry have reached the vicinity of Perekop. A further advance eastwards towards the only railway connecting the peninsula with the mainland appears also to have heen made and, if developed, would cut all land communication with the Crimea.

From the Military Situation Report for the week, as reported to the British War Cabinet, see TNA CAB/66/18/46

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