Operation Brückenschlag

gap bridging

'Brückenschlag' was the German alternative designation for the 'Landbrücke' evacuation of the Demyansk pocket (21 March/21 April 1942).

The German forces trapped in the Demyansk pocket had been ably supplied by the Luftwaffe, and it was this ability for ground forces to by supplied from the air that persuaded Adolf Hitler that any German formation cut off behind the Soviet lines could be nourished with food, ammunition, fuel and other essential supplies, an erroneous assessment that led to the destruction of Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich Paulus’s 6th Army at Stalingrad, and to the loss of other such formations encircled by the increasingly powerful Soviet forces, whose improving tactical air forces could decimate the German transport units that were running out of adequate freight aircraft.