Planners theorised about a possible advance to western Kazakhstan to secure the eastern frontiers. German plans to capture western Kazakhstan certainly existed as railway nets and territories in west Central Asian countries along lines of advance to the Middle East in order to aid the Afrika Korps in the African Campaign, with the additional purpose of seizing Persia.
Linked to these plans, the German Army planners conceived some operations to project Operation Barbarossa on a greater scale, extending to the Caucasus area, and other extensions of Barbarossa including Turkey, Iraq and Persia. Also, during General Von Kleist's Invasion (Operation Blue) of the Caucasus, there were German units (including certain Arabs, Caucasians and Central Asian SS volunteer groups) whose goal was to occupy the Caucasus region and Central Asia, enlarging General Erwin Rommel's forces in Alexandria via the Middle East. In relation to a German Persian invasion, a tripartite military pact was signed on January 18, 1942, where the three Axis Powers agreed to draw an operational line of demarcation at 70° east longitude (west of Bombay), which also was the frontier of their respective spheres of influence.
There was a power struggle between Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, ex-Prime Minister of Iraq, for the control and political objectives of Arabian units (also known as "Legion Freier Araber" or "Arabian Korps"). It was sent to the Caucasus region in September 1942 for the planned invasion of the Arab lands and saw action against the Red Army.
The German regime was planning to encourage settlement of Germans in the region after the war ended, together with repatriating certain ethnic Germans to the territory; for example Herbert Backe was born in Batum, Georgia, to ethnic German parents. The alleged motives were that the region was the residence of ancient German Goth tribes, control of rich oil fields in Krasnodar, Maykop, Grozny and Baku and also the rich Ural mineral resources.
This planning did not advance much further than preliminary discussions and paper planning, due to the advance of Red Army forces during the war.
The German plan for the Caucasus was particularly ambitious, and was combined with the capture of Stalingrad, in order to gain control of the oil resources of the region. After the encirclement of Stalingrad, the German forces advanced into the Caucasus proper, beginning in July 1942, with the Soviet loss of Rostov, followed by the disorderly Russian retreat from the Kuban zone and territory of the North Caucasus. The advance possessed qualities of the "Blitzkrieg" tactic, with heavy aircraft, mobile artillery and armoured support against which the Soviets offered only sparse and sporadic resistance in the river valleys without any significant results, due to the absence of their own artillery and aircraft support.
The primary German objectives of Baku and Grozny, denying the Volga route to the Russians, was also a strategic objective of the Stalingrad campaign, which would have dealt the Russian logistical system a severe blow.
Russian accounts mention the desperation of local residents, and the roads in combat zones full with refugees, accompanied by their cattle, domestic animals or crops, and other property. Others attacked trains in stations. The Soviets were unable to coordinate a plan for removing their industrial infrastructure and petrol installations, but applied the defensive tactic of "scorched earth". The Russian Army caused some damage to local factories and burned petrol and gasoline depots; they also exploded the petrol pit towers in Maykop. German engineers promptly repaired such damage in order to return the local industry to production.
The Wehrmacht attack in the Caucasus proceeded on several fronts:
Other strategists analyzed another simplified plan where Nazi forces were to be concentrated in the East Caucasus area, positioned to advance to Grozny and Baku. The strategists hoped some units of the German forces could be maintained in reserve for the so-called 1942 Barbarossa extension from the Caucasus to the Middle East and Persia, eventually to link up with Rommel's forces in Egypt.
On August 20, 1942 "Heeresgruppe A" of Von Kleist was ordered to advance to the west to the Black Sea coasts, to capture Krasnodar the capital of Kuban and Maykop, the third largest petrol center in the Caucasus. For inner west, the Wehrmacht if running over route in the direction of Grozny and Baku the other important petrol centers. More petrol installations and industrial centers were falling into German hands intact or lightly damaged during the Russian disorder retreat from the area. In the same month German forces captured the Taman Peninsula and partially the Novorossisk naval base, and continued their advance to Tuapse, the real key for domination of the Soviet Black Sea coast. In other German efforts units attempted to advance to Grozny and Tbilisi to establish another route, then met the Russians in Mozdok in the south.
In 1942, when Axis forces invaded the Volga Basin area, Hitler rejoiced with the idea of seizing the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, a considerable prize. If stay at at East with railway nets which offered the Nazis excellent ways to flank the Allied positions in Syria and Iraq and run to British India to establish contact with Japanese.
On November 2, 1942, they captured Nalchik, capital of Kabardo-Balkiar, for pressured to Vladikavkaz (Orjonikidze), capital of Ossetia north of the Georgian military pass. en route to Grozny in the south west area. Later the Germans decided to remain defensive in their posts at Mozdok and Nalchik waiting for the spring of 1943 to retake the offensive if the Stalingrad operations were successful.
The German units in Elista sent a light armored group on a recon mission to nearby Astrakhan, also Sandovska and Senseli, towns near Astrakhan. Similarly another unit attempted a recon mission from the Vladikavkaz-Grozny sector to Azerbaijan territory; another success was a Wehrmacht high mountain section from the Karachai-Cherkess area, raising Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Ranges. Some accounts mention a German visit to Mount Kazbek in North Ossetia.
They posed as "enemy" (Slavs and Baltics, among others) and Baron Adrian von Folkersam personally led the undercover section, disguised with "NKVD" uniforms with some "Red Army" deserters. He pretended to be "Major Truschin" from "Stalingrad" accompanied by his men, explained their role to recover deserters to the Soviet Commander in Maykop. The Russian General, believing their story, gave him a personal tour of the city defenses. By August 8, the German Army was only away so the "Brandenburgers" made their secret move. Using hand grenades to simulate an "artillery attack", these unit knocked out the Communications Center outside the city perimeter. Folkersam then went to the Russian defenders and told them that a "withdrawal" was taking place. Having seen Folkersam with their commander and lacking any communications to rebut or confirm his statement, Soviets began to evacuate Maykop; followed by the German advance which entered the city without a fight on August 9, 1942.
Unlike the German civil authorities, the Wehrmacht saw the Caucasians and Cossacks as potential friends, rather than considering them "Untermenschen". The German Army organized Caucasian and Cossack native police forces, promised agrarian reforms, the return to private properties, and recruited 25,000 Cossacks for service in the Wehrmacht under the command of the German General Helmuth von Pannwitz.
Adolf Hitler expected Turkey to enter the war, to advance from the Caucasus to the Middle East, with the formation of Islamic fighting units in the Caucasus, along with Arabian and other Islamic legions, taking part in the task of attracting the Middle East into the Nazi influence zone. Alfred Rosenberg mentioned the Berlin-Tbilisi Axis, and during the German invasion some Georgians, Armenians and others arrived to serve in their own countries. The Nazis established contact with some nationalities - Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingushes, Balkars, Karachays, Kabardins, Balkars and others. In Kalmykia was organized, with Prince Tundotov's patronage, some military units; in Karachai the population organized the Karachai National Committee in support of German policies. Germans in Islamic North Caucasus lands applied "liberal" policies: return of confiscated goods, the abolition of the Soviet kolkhoz system, the opening of mosques and temples, and some compensation for confiscated goods.
Regarding Muslims and Caucasian supporters the "Führer" commented to Martin Bormann: "Be astounded, Bormann!, I am a religious convert". Bormann responded: "always thought you were religious mein Führer"; Hitler said: "Promptly was great chief of Tatars, also exist Arabs and Moroccans who prayed for my name in their prayers. Between Tatars, if convert to "Khan", the unique thing why sense incapable to share was the "Metchiu" of "Sheiks". Their debt to eximed to meat, I am Vegetarian if no awaited much time, I to recoup me, with the "Harens".
In accord with the Wehrmacht such policies were for gaining these populations, with their own "intachable conduct" towards local women. In Karachai locals celebrated the "Bairam" feast, a great Muslim celebration on October 11th in Kislovodsk. The German high ranking officers receiving rich gifts from locals and they promised the implementation of liberal policies to gained their support against Soviet forces. On December 18, in Nalchik they celebrated the "Kurman" ceremony, capital of Kabardino-Balkaria. Other times, they exchanged gifts with notable locals who offered beautiful horses and received some captured Russian weapons and copies of the Koran. Otto Brautingam representing the German East civil authority led by Alfred Rosenberg gave an emotive public speech to praise the "eternal links" between German and Caucasian peoples. A local prince offered a beautiful horse as a personal gift to the German Führer.
Exactly two months later at an emotional ceremony in February 1943, the Germans abandoned Nalchik and started moving westward. Numbers of native collaborators and soldiers from their Caucasian friends followed during the retreat to the northern area. The greatest project of Middle East conquest with Caucasia Islamic support had vanished.
German forces organized a strategic withdrawal when encircled by the Red Army Transcaucasian Front and North Caucasian Front, from combat in Mozdok. Soviet forces captured some German equipment including 1500 rail wagons in Mineralnye Vody, abandoned in retreat. The majority of German formations took the route to Rostov, via the Taman Peninsula.
Adolf Hitler was interested in maintaining the Taman Peninsula, as a possible "springboard" for future operations in the Caucasus area. So the Wehrmacht forces deployed 400,000 men to protect this land; these units changed the course of success in the Don river Battles and Eastern Ukraine campaign. In the long run this decision was futile, and German forces had to retreat from the Caucasus area. Germans could not apply the accustomed "Scorched Land" policy for their rapid retreat, only damaged some numbers of little cities and towns, along with the confiscation or "buying" of great quantities of cattle and farming resources in the Kuban region.
During the Von Manstein withdrawal, a considerable number of Caucasians, Crimean Tatars and Kossacks (or Pseudokossacks) followed in exodus in December 1943. A large number of such collaborators served in districts German units through the conflict until Berlin. General Krasnov and Vasili Glazkov, for the Kossacks, and the Prince Tundotov for Kalmuks, among others remained supporters.
The Russians took revenge on the collaborators from 1943, when they ordered the expulsion of all active or passive aides to the German cause, among other severe measures.
Azerbaijani,Georgian and Armenians volunteers
North Caucasian volunteers
Central Asian volunteers
Caucasian mixed volunteers unit
Caucasian, Central Asian, Krimean and Ural mixed volunteers
Kosaken (Kossack Nation)
Krimtürken (Crimean Turks)
Tataren (Tatar nation)
Turkestaner(Central Asian nation)
German Commanders linked with Central Asian, Caucasian and Kossacks units
These German commanders also received honorary military or leading titles between their units at charge; for example Helmuth von Pannwitz received the title of "Ataman" between his Kossack units.
German representative of East Affairs ministry
Central Asian anticommunist commander
Central Asian,Caucasian and Kossacks political leaders
Central Asian,Caucasian and Kossacks political Organizations