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Operation Little Saturn was a Red Army offensive on the Eastern Front of World War II that led to battles in Don and Chir rivers region in German-occupied Soviet Union territory in 16–30 December 1942.
|Operation Little Saturn|
|Part of the Eastern Front|
Soviet advances during Little Saturn.
|Commanders and leaders|
Erich von Manstein
Edwald von Kleist
The success of Operation Uranus, launched on 19 November 1942, had trapped 250,000 troops of General Friedrich Paulus' German 6th Army and parts of General Hoth's 4th Panzer Army in Stalingrad. To exploit this victory, the Soviet general staff planned an ambitious offensive with Rostov-on-Don as the ultimate objective, codenamed "Saturn". Later, Joseph Stalin reduced his ambitious plans to a relatively smaller operation codenamed "Little Saturn". The offensive succeeded in smashing the Axis troops and applied pressure on the over-stretched German forces in Eastern Ukraine. Another counter-offensive south of the Don prevented further German advances to the relief of the entrapped forces at Stalingrad.
With subsequent operations, in January and February 1943, the Soviet armies eventually reached and took Rostov as originally planned in "Saturn". Despite these victories, the Soviets themselves became over-extended, setting up the stages for the German offensives of the Third Battle of Kharkov and the Battle of Kursk.