With overcast skies hampering bombing missions and poorly coordinated artillery preparations, the Russian 3rd Guards Army made only lackluster gains on the first morning of the “Little Saturn” Offensive. Combat in the 203rd Rifle Division’s 592nd Rifle Regiment’s sector was typical. In the early morning of the 16th, the 592nd moved up to its starting positions on the Chir River. The river was covered with thick ice but the crossing was made difficult by Germans manning defensive positions in buildings scattered along the river. After vicious fighting, the Russian infantry was able to gain the far side of the river and advance as far as the train station. Once the Russian advance had gone to ground, Axis counterattacks began immediately.
Attacker: Axis (Romanian/German) (294th Infantry Division / 22nd Panzer Division and Romanian 14th Infantry Division)
Defender: Russian (592nd Rifle Regiment of the 203rd Rifle Division)