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Operation Blue - the Race for Oil Timeline

Authored By Dan Alex | Last Updated: 3/19/2015

In a bold move, Hitler enacted Operation Blue - an attempt to seize the oil-rich fields of the Soviet Caucasus.

One year had already passed since the German invasion of the Soviet Union during June of 1941. The destruction heaved upon the Soviet nation did not go as smoothly as intended for Hitler and his generals, stopped by logistics and weather just outside the reach of Moscow. Supply lines he become stretched and resources were being used at a faster rate than they could be replenished. To ensure the German Army's survival, the oil-rich fields of the Soviet Caucasus region were targeted for capture and thus Hitler devised "Operation Blue" for the action. The operation began on May 8th, 1942.


Progress was initially good as was the case with most German offensives in the war's early going. The Soviets lost 250,000 men at Kharkov after the Germans had completed an encirclement of the city. Multiple German attacks involving seasoned Panzer tank elements against strategic cities were launched and yielded promising results. A long siege against Soviet-held Sevastopol brought about another notable German conquer as did the fall of Rostov and another 83,000 Soviet Army prisoners of war.


Hitler then began to eye the important Soviet city of Stalingrad as a crowning jewel to the wide-reaching campaign and began his obsession to capture it. This resulted in diverting firepower and supplies to fulfill his objective. This resulted in an over-extension of forces and supplies creating yet another precarious situation for his German ground commanders. By November, the German advance was bogged down once again as Army Group A reached Mt Elbus while 6th Army was stuck trying to take Stalingrad. Hitler did not budge from his objective and reaffirmed to his commanders that Stalingrad must fall at any cost.


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There are a total of 28 Operation Blue - the Race for Oil Timeline Events. Entries are listed below by date of occurrence.

1942
Sunday
March 1st - April 30th

Hitler and his commanders flesh out Operation Blue - in invasion of the oil-rich, Russian-held Caucasus.

1942
Sunday
April 5th

Hitler issues the official Fuhrer Directive for Operation Blue.

1942
Friday
May 8th

Operation Blue begins.

1942
Friday
May 8th

German General Manstein leads his 11th Army onto the Kerch Peninsula towards the city of Sevastopol.

1942
Tuesday
May 12th

Soviet ground forces launch a pre-emptive offensive against German-held Kharkov.

1942
Tuesday
May 12th

German forces enact Operation Fridericus and attempt to take Izyum.

1942
Saturday
June 27th

The Soviet Army is encircled and defeated at Kharkov, netting the Germans some 250,000 Soviet prisoners.

1942
Saturday
June 27th

German forces complete their capture of Izyum.

1942
Sunday
June 28th

The German Army turns its attention towards the Volga.

1942
Sunday
June 28th

The German 2nd Army and 4th Panzer Army launch their attack towards Voronezh near Kursk.

1942
Tuesday
June 30th

German General Paulus attacks at Belgorod.

1942
Thursday
July 2nd

The Soviet city of Sevastopol officially falls to the Germans.

1942
Monday
July 6th

The Soviet city of Voronezh falls to the German Army.

1942
Monday
July 6th

The German 6th Army reaches the Don River.

1942
Monday
July 6th

The German 6th Army moves on Stalingrad.

1942
Tuesday
July 7th

German General Field Marshal List takes command of the new Army Goup A, made up of the 1st Panzer Army and the 17th Army.

1942
Thursday
July 9th

The German Army begins its move towards Rostov.

1942
Thursday
July 9th

German Army Group South is renamed Army Group B and placed under the control of Field Marshal von Bock.

1942
Monday
July 13th

General von Weichs takes control of Army Group B from Bock.

1942
Monday
July 13th

Adolf Hitler assigns General Paulus and his 6th Army to take Stalingrad.

1942
Friday
July 17th

Hitler diverts the 4th Panzer Army away from Stalingrad and sends them towards the Caucasus.

1942
Thursday
July 23rd

Rostov falls to the German Army Group A, netting some 83,000 Soviet prisoners as a result.

1942
Thursday
July 23rd

Hitler issues a supplemental directive to Operation Blue requiring his 6th Army to take Stalingrad.

1942
Sunday
August 9th

Army Group A captures the Maikop oil field on the Black Sea.

1942
Sunday
August 23rd

Army Group B reaches the Volga River.

1942
Tuesday
September 1st - September 30th

German progress throughout the Casucasus is slowed by Soviet resistance and fuel/supply shortages.

1942
Sunday
November 15th

Army Group A reaches as far as Ordzhonikidze and Mt. Elbus.

1942
Monday
November 30th

German General Paulus and his 6th Army is contained by the fierce resisting Soviets in Stalingrad, putting Hitler's plans on hold.