SS-Panzergrenadiers in the Pocket.
Quick and decisive action could save the situation from becoming a major disaster. The forces in the pocket would have to be rescued soon, but first the pocket would have to hold firm. To accomplish this, the establishment of new fronts was initiated at possible breakout points, mostly along the southern edge of the pocket. Initially most of the German forces were facing north and east, along the Dnepr River. Units would have to be repositioned to secure the perimeter of the pocket.
Orders were received from 8th Army, ‘Gruppe Stemmerman will shorten the front lines and move the pocket in the direction of Shenderovka in order to be able, when the time comes, to break out towards the forces mounting a relief attack from outside.’
This would require a masterful handling of the forces within the pocket. Stemmerman took on the task with a vengeance and successfully contracted the northern edge of the pocket, with 42nd Korps abandoning the Dnepr River positions. At the same time, the pocket was extended to the south by 11th Korps, with the objective of capturing the key villages of Shenderovka, Novaya-Buda and Komarovka. The focal point of all activity was Korsun, which lay in the centre of the pocket and provided the pocket’s only airfield. Here supplies were flown in and casualties flown out, by up to 70 aircraft per day, as the weather permitted.
It was the only contact that the German forces had with the outside of the pocket, with the exception of radio communications.