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Battle of Moscow

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Battle of Moscow
The Battle of Moscow (Битва под Москвой, Romanized: Bitva pod Moskvoy, German: Schlacht um Moskau) is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km (370 mi) sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow, capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the largest Soviet city. Moscow was one of the primary military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union. The German strategic offensive named Operation Typhoon was planned to conduct two pincer offensives, one to the north of Moscow against the Kalinin Front by the 3rd and 4th Panzer Groups, simultaneously severing the Moscow-Leningrad railway, and another to the south of Moscow Oblast against the Western Front, south of Tula by the 2nd Panzer Army, while the 4th Army advanced directly towards Moscow from the west. A separate operational German plan, codenamed Operation Wotan, was included in the final phase of the German offensive. Initially, the Soviet forces conducted a strategic defence of the Moscow Oblast by constructing three defensive belts, and deploying newly raised reserve armies as well as bringing troops from the Siberian and Far Eastern Military Districts. Subsequently, as the German offensives were halted, a Soviet strategic counter-offensive and smaller-scale offensive operations were executed to force German armies back to the positions around the cities of Oryol, Vyazma and Vitebsk, nearly surrounding three German armies in the process.

German planning
The original German invasion plan, which the Axis called Operation Barbarossa, called for the capture of Moscow within four months. However, despite large initial advances, the Wehrmacht was slowed by Soviet resistance, in particular during the Battle of Smolensk, which lasted from July to August, 1941. At this stage, Moscow was vulnerable, but Hitler ordered the attack to turn south and eliminate Russian forces at Kiev which resulted in a huge triumph for the Germans. Their advance on Moscow was resumed on 2 October 1941, with an offensive codenamed Typhoon. Participating in it were three out of four panzer armies on the eastern front: the German 2nd, 3rd and 4th (or Groups as they are sometimes referred to) along with the 2nd, 4th and 9th infantry armies. This was to be the knockout blow of the campaign. The initial advance resulted in two huge encirclements around the towns of Vyzama and Briansk which pocketed 660,000 Russian troops. But by mid-October, the Russian rainy period commenced, turning the roads and countryside into muddy quagmires. The German tank forces were reduced to a crawl, often unable to move two out of every three days. Through the great forests which lie in front of Moscow, only the narrow trails were negotiable and it required only small Russian forces to block these. Their cavalry became very active during this period, frequently moving through the woods and getting behind German lines where they laid mines and ambushed supply columns. Even before the poor weather arrived , however a series of Soviet counter-blows along the entire front helped to stabilize the situation . Perhaps the most effective of these blows fell on Guderian’s 4th Panzer Division as it approached Mtsensk on 6 October . Here two Soviet officers who later gained fame as superb battlefield commanders cooperated to ambush the Germans. Major-General D.D. Leliushenko’s 1st Guards Rifle Corps had rushed to the scene to block the advance of Second Panzer Group. Leliushenko’s troops included two tank brigades , the 4th and 11th and two airborne brigades, the 10th and 201st of 5th Airborne Corps , flown in to a nearby airfield. Colonel M.E. Katukov’s 4th Tank Brigade , equipped with newly produced T34s, displayed a tactical ability that the invaders had not encountered before. Katukov concealed his armour in the woods whilst the German advance guard rolled by. Leliushenko’s patchwork collection of infantry and airborne troops blocked 4th Panzer from the front , after which Katukov ambushed the Germans from the flanks. The under-gunned, under armoured German Mark IV’s attempted to break out of the ambush by maneuvering around Katukov but were quickly halted by short counter-attacks. By the end of the day , most of the 4th Panzer Division’s armour had been reduced to smoking

they had driven the Wehrmacht back 100–250 km (62–160 mi). 2 . The Battle of Moscow was one of the most important battles of World War II. some leading German units were able to see some of Moscow's buildings with binoculars. By early December. but no further. Tank crews had to maintain small fires under their vehicles to protect them. that it had been forced into a retreat from which it did not recover the initiative.000 cases of frostbite. However. pages 80. with more than a million total casualties. the Soviet command led by General Georgi Zhukov began creating a reserve around Moscow by taking what was left of the shattered divisions from the Vyazma-Briansk battles (mostly on the flank and unengaged). The Wehrmacht had been forced to retreat before. the 2nd Panzer Army under General Heinz Guderian operating to the south of Moscow got as far as the city of Tula where it finally ground to a halt. 81. The civilian population dug several rings of anti-tank trenches around the city and many were incorporated into the militia. which was grounded much of the time. Of the two German armored prongs. Glantz . resulting in cracked engine blocks. The battle was also one of the largest during the war. This shock to Second Panzer Group . Perhaps most serious was the effect on their air force. These were bolstered by scraping up units from other nearby Soviet commands such as Timoshenko's Southwest Front. which had just been re-designated Second Panzer Army .) Meanwhile. as it was the first time since the Wehrmacht began its conquests in 1939. In the north. On 5 December 1941. (from the book When Titans Clashed by David M. But the change in weather brought new problems for them. was so great that a special investigation was conducted. Most of the German troops lacked winter clothing resulting in over 100. Even Guderian grudgingly acknowledged that his opponents were learning. fresh Soviet Siberian troops constituting 18 divisions and prepared for winter warfare—attacked along with new and reconstituted units of the Red Army. By January 1942. Moscow marked a turning point. Axis forces began to move once more. Moscow was placed under martial law. Many Axis vehicles could not withstand the cool temperatures. ending the immediate threat to Moscow.Battle of Moscow hulks. It was the closest that Axis forces ever got to capturing the Soviet capital. With the onset of cold weather and the freezing of the ground. during the Yelnya Offensive in September 1941 and at the Battle of Rostov. primarily because the Soviets were able to prevent the most serious attempt to capture their capital. the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies pushed across the frozen Moscow-Volga canal.

the Wehrmacht was ordered to first secure the Donbass region and to move towards Moscow afterwards. Romanian and Slovak troops invaded the Soviet Union. from 10 July-10 September 1941. Army Group South was to take control of Ukraine. Army Group Center had managed to encircle several Soviet armies near Minsk during the Battle of Białystok-Minsk.Battle of Moscow 3 Background On 22 June 1941. equipped and experienced than the Wehrmacht—faced several serious counterattacks and was stopped. an important stronghold on the road to Moscow. The desperate Soviet defense of the Smolensk region lasted for two months. and several other rivers.[3] which inflicted another significant defeat on the Red Army. The Wehrmacht now faced a dilemma. creating a huge breach in Soviet lines—one that the Soviets could not immediately fill. Thus. Having destroyed most of the Soviet Air Force on the ground. Dnieper. Army Group North was held up by the Luga defense line for almost a month before eventually overrunning it. Germany needed the food and mineral resources located in Ukraine. On 19 September 1941. delayed the German advance until mid-September.[5] [6] This refusal cost Zhukov his post of Chief of the General Staff.[2] This intense engagement. Armored units raced forward in pincer movements. Near Leningrad. In the south. according to Hitler. the Wehrmacht was able to cross the Dnieper river. Army Group South—which included many Hungarian and Romanian units that were less well-trained. Moreover. effectively disrupting the blitzkrieg and forcing Army Group Center to use almost half of its strategic reserves (10 of 24 divisions) during the battle.[8] . German forces captured the city of Smolensk.[7] but his prediction of German encirclement was correct. Smolensk was historically considered the key to Moscow because it controlled a landbridge located between the Dvina. German forces quickly advanced deep into Soviet territory using blitzkrieg tactics. The eastern front at the time of the Battle of Moscow:   Initial Wehrmacht advance — to 9 July 1941  Subsequent advances — to 1 September 1941  Encirclement and battle of Kiev to 9 September 1941  Final Wehrmacht advance — to 5 December 1941 By July 1941.[4] Heinz Guderian's Panzer Army was turned south to support Gerd von Rundstedt's attack on Kiev. the German advance was also bogged down. as recorded by Aleksandr Vasilevsky and Georgy Zhukov in their respective memoirs. with only minimal casualties.[3] Thus.[1] In August 1941. effectively starting Operation Barbarossa. Several Soviet armies were encircled and annihilated by the Wehrmacht in a double pincer movement. which barred the path to Moscow. known as the Battle of Smolensk. allowing the German forces to advance in the south. German.[2] Elsewhere. later also joined by Hungary (following the bombing of the Hungarian city Kassa). pocketing and destroying entire Soviet armies. allowing for a fast advance by ground troops without the necessity of building major bridges across wide rivers. The Soviet defenses were overwhelmed and the casualties sustained by the Red Army were significant. Army Group Center was still strong enough to reach Moscow. Soviet forces had to abandon Kiev after Stalin's persistent refusal to withdraw forces from the Kiev salient. While the German Army Group North moved towards Leningrad. but such an advance would create a bulge in the German lines. leaving it vulnerable to Red Army flanking attacks. while Army Group Center advanced towards Moscow. as no reserves were available—and destroying the Soviet Western Front as an organized force.

3rd and 4th) and by the Luftwaffe's Luftflotte 2. today starts the last battle of the year. Luftflotte 2 had only 549 serviceable machines.. German aerial strength had been radically reduced.Battle of Moscow Although a decisive Axis victory.[19] . the Luftwaffe had lost 1. The forces committed to the city's defense totaled 1. as he anticipated that the city's surrender would shortly afterwards lead to the general collapse of the Soviet Union. From that point. pocketing Red Army divisions and destroying them. while their tanks were obsolete models. with most of the troops deployed in a single line. The forces committed to Operation Typhoon included three armies (the 2nd. As a result. along with 1. Overall. However. were poorly located. but the question of whether it had a significant strategic importance still remains open. for example.[14] Facing the Wehrmacht were three Soviet fronts formed from exhausted armies that had already been involved in heavy fighting for several months. 7. including 158 medium and dive-bombers and 172 fighters.. the city was a primary target for the large and well-equipped Army Group Center.[17] Even with reinforcements. Extraordinary industrial achievements had begun to replace losses. Moscow was the most important military and political target.000 guns. wrote that some of his destroyed tanks had not been replaced.[18] Furthermore. and had little or no reserves to the rear.[13] The initial Wehrmacht plan called for two initial movements. the German armies were already battered and experiencing some logistical issues. All possible preparations were done. and that his mechanized troops lacked fuel at the beginning of the operation.[15] Troops and weaponry.700 tanks and 14. 1."[10] 4 Initial German advance (30 September – 10 October) Plans For Hitler. The first would be a double-pincer performed around the Soviet Western Front and Reserve Front forces located around Vyazma. Since 22 June. The second would be a single-pincer around the Bryansk Front to capture the city of Bryansk. the Battle of Kiev set the German blitzkrieg even further behind schedule. the plan called for another quick pincer north and south of Moscow to encircle the city. "Kiev was certainly a brilliant tactical success. while presenting a significant threat to the Wehrmacht based on their numbers alone. code-named Operation Typhoon.[12] The attack relied on standard blitzkrieg tactics. head of the Oberkommando des Heeres (Army General Staff). Army Group Center—under Fedor von Bock—launched its final offensive towards Moscow.028 damaged. using Panzer groups rushing deep into Soviet formations and executing double-pincer movements.603 aircraft and 1. Vasilevsky pointed out that while immediate Soviet defenses were quite well prepared. these errors in troop placement were largely responsible for the Wehrmacht's initial success.."[9] Hitler still believed that the Wehrmacht had a chance to finish the war before winter by taking Moscow. As Guderian later wrote.[11] In his memoirs. As Franz Halder.250. Hitler said soon after its start that "After three months of preparations.600 guns.. On 2 October 1941. "The best solution would be a direct offensive towards Moscow. 578 of which were bombers for the defense of the capital."[11] Therefore.. air strength was down to about ¼ of pre-war strength. and the VVS had 936 aircraft. more than one million men were committed to the operation. The Soviet Air Force/Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily (VVS) had suffered appalling losses of some 7.200[16] aircraft. Everything now depended on our ability to achieve expected results before the winter and even before autumn rains. many Soviet defenders were seriously lacking in combat experience and some critical equipment (such as anti-tank weapons). we finally have the possibility to crush our enemy before the winter comes. 4th and 9th) supported by three Panzer Groups (the 2nd.000 men. wrote in 1940. Guderian.500[15] or 21.000 tanks.

the Western and Reserve fronts were quickly defeated by the highly mobile forces of the 3rd and 4th Panzer groups that exploited weak areas in the defenses and then quickly moved behind the Red Army lines.[11] Furthermore. in Asia and in the Urals. The first part. as some of the encircled troops escaped in groups ranging in size from platoons to full rifle divisions. again. a mixture of 100 dive bombers and medium bombers destroyed rail lines and hampered Soviet troop movements in the Sumy-Lgov-Kursk area. was built on the Rzhev–Vyazma–Bryansk line. new Soviet divisions were being formed on the Volga. the last remnants had escaped from the pocket.[19] Soviet resistance near Vyazma also provided time for the Soviet high command to quickly bring some reinforcements to the four armies defending the Moscow direction (namely. Finally. Moscow women [11] dig anti-tank trenches around Moscow in 1941. and the Wehrmacht had to employ 28 divisions to eliminate the surrounded Soviet armies. and Soviet troops were ordered to assume a total defensive With all the men at the Front. the German attack plan had been discovered quite late. the encircled Soviet forces did not surrender easily. still under construction. 24th and 32nd) were trapped in a huge pocket just west of the city. and to transport three rifle and two tank divisions from the Far East. 20th.[18] In the south near Bryansk.Battle of Moscow 5 The Soviet command began constructing extensive defenses around the city. Luftflotte 2 flew 984 combat missions and destroyed some 679 vehicles on 3 October. the surrounded Soviet forces were not completely destroyed. By 23 October.[19] Four Soviet armies (the 19th. The defense setup. The second. stance only on 27 September 1941. Instead. the Mozhaisk defense line. was a double defense stretching between Kalinin and Kaluga. a triple defense ring surrounded the city itself.[18] Contrary to German expectations.[11] . severing communications between the Bryansk and South-Western Fronts. using forces that were needed to support the offensive towards Moscow. and it would only be a matter of a few months before these new troops could be committed. forming the Moscow Defense Zone. retreating to intermediate defense lines around Poniry and Mtsensk. did not surrender.[18] Moreover. the Rzhev-Vyazma defense setup. On 4 October. The remnants of the Soviet Western and Reserve Fronts were able to retreat and consolidate their lines around Mozhaisk. the 5th. However. linking with the advancing 2nd Army and capturing Orel by 3 October and Bryansk by 6 October. initial Soviet performance was barely more effective than near Vyazma. and troops were able to escape in small groups. the fighting was fierce and desperate.[20] making the battle a race against time as well. Vyazma and Bryansk pockets Near Vyazma. 16th.[21] The Soviet 3rd The German offensives during operation Typhoon and 13th Armies were encircled but. was overrun as both German armored spearheads met at Vyazma on 10 October 1941. 43rd and 49th). The Second Panzer Group executed an enveloping movement around the whole front. These defenses were still largely unprepared by the beginning of the operation because of the speed of the German advance.

Stalin publicly remained in the Soviet capital. turning roads into stretches of mud. According to Zhukov. massive Soviet counterattacks had further slowed the German offensive. namely 499. moving almost three million cubic meters of earth with no . much of the civilian population tried to flee. However. fresh Soviet forces. with the Luftwaffe destroying 22 tanks and over 450 vehicles. Despite all this. 16th.[25] although recent research suggests a significantly lower—but still enormous—figure of 514.000 men.000 soldiers were captured by the Wehrmacht in both pockets.[27] The desperate Red Army resistance. reducing Soviet strength by 41 %. Mozhaisk. The 2.[22] The 4th Panzerdivision fell into an ambush set by Dmitri Leliushenko's hastily-formed 1st Guards Special Rifle Corps. on 10 October 1941."[23] Luftflotte 2 flew 1. had greatly slowed the Wehrmacht.[19] 6 Mozhaisk defense line (13 October – 30 October) By 13 October 1941. German armored groups were greatly slowed and were unable to easily maneuver. When. Soviet Forces were caught in the open.[28] The Luftwaffe still controlled the sky whenever it appeared in strength.[11] He immediately ordered the concentration of all available defenses on a strengthened Mozhaisk line. The Stukageschwader and Kampfgruppen (Stuka and bomber groups) flew 537 sorties destroying some 440 vehicles (mainly motor vehicles and trucks) and 150 artillery pieces. the Germans arrived within sight of the Mozhaisk line. 43rd and 49th armies) barely reached 90. "Our T-IV tanks with their short 75 mm guns could only explode a T-34 by hitting the engine from behind. they found a well-prepared defensive setup and new. 152 Stuka sorties and 259 medium bombers blunted the Soviet attack while another 202 Stuka and 188 medium bomber strikes were flown against supply columns in the Brynask area. building trenches and anti-tank moats around Moscow.000 women and teenagers worked. hardly sufficient to stem the German advance. the Luftwaffe inflicted heavy losses to the VVS. The entire Soviet Western Front—almost completely destroyed after its encirclement near Vyazma—was being recreated from scratch. as a scratch team of Soviet infantry contained their advance. Stalin ordered the evacuation of the Communist Party.400 attacks against Soviet positions to support the 4th Panzerdivision. For the Wehrmacht. the General Staff and various civil government offices from Moscow to Kuibyshev (now Samara). The evacuation caused panic among Muscovites.[21] [24] Elsewhere.[33] Moscow itself was transformed into a fortress. the combined strength of the Soviet armies manning the line (the 5th. 250.[31] [32] In light of the situation. According to German estimates. to their dismay. Despite being numerically inferior. a hastily constructed double set of fortifications protecting Moscow from the west and stretching from Kalinin towards Volokolamsk and Kaluga. As the general wrote. the Wehrmacht had arrived at the Mozhaisk defense line. somewhat calming the fear and pandemonium. a move supported by Vasilevsky.[26] The personnel losses (permanent as well as temporary) calculated by the Soviet command are smaller but still enormous. The Soviets supported the assault with heavy air-support. wearing down men and tanks. Georgy Zhukov was recalled from Leningrad to take charge of the defense of Moscow. destroying 20 tanks. Soviet armor attacked from both flanks and savaged the German Panzer IV formations. that new Soviet T-34s were almost impervious to German tank guns. The first snow fell and quickly melted.[29] [30] On 13 October. Newly-built T-34 tanks were concealed in the woods as German panzers rolled past them.000 prisoners. Zhukov decided to concentrate his forces at four critical points: Volokolamsk. mobbing the available trains and jamming the roads from the city.[19] Guderian and his troops discovered. Armee operating to the North of Guderian's forces with the aim of trapping the Bryansk front became faced with a strong Soviet counter-attack. the Soviet attack had been routed. however. 34 artillery pieces and 650 vehicles of various kinds. That same day." Guderian also noted in his memoirs that "the Russians already learned a few things. near the city of Mtsensk. On 16–17 October.[21] The magnitude of the initial Soviet defeat was appalling. the shock of this defeat was so great that a special investigation was ordered. a phenomenon known as rasputitsa in Russia. including Mikhail Katukov's 4th Tank Brigade. despite recent reinforcements. the German offensive in this area was bogged down.Battle of Moscow By 7 October. Maloyaroslavets and Kaluga. 673.001. leaving only a limited number of officials behind.

The bad weather. Encouraged by this initial success. the Germans conducted a frontal assault against the fortified line. and south towards Kaluga and Tula. Moscow's factories were hastily transformed into military complexes: the automobile factory was turned into a submachine gun armory." The German forces were worn out. and thus the war.[34] However.[37] The German plan initially called for an instant capture of Tula and for a pincer move around Moscow. by late October the Wehrmacht and the Red Army could be compared to "punch-drunk boxers. Soviet troops paraded past the Kremlin and then marched directly . according to other sources). staying precariously on their feet but rapidly losing the power to hurt each other.Battle of Moscow mechanical help.[38] 7 Wehrmacht at the gates (1 November – 5 December) Wearing down As David Glantz pointed out in his book When Titans Clashed. the chocolate factory was producing food for the front. the Wehrmacht resumed its offensive. and serious logistics issues preventing the delivery of warm clothing and other winter equipment to the front. since the Mozhaisk defense line did not extend that far south. He highlights that the colossal loss of material on the eastern front – without having won a decisive victory – was bleeding the German economy to death – reaching "a total impasse". as moving east of Smolensk meant stretching German supply lines beyond their effective limit.[36] In the south. and automobile repair stations were repairing damaged tanks and vehicles. infantry divisions at ⅓ to ½ strength. Additionally. As events between June and December 1941 made clear. the Germans were unwilling to assault the Soviet defenses directly and attempted to bypass them by pushing northeast towards the weakly protected city of Kalinin. He concludes "It was through the achievement of Lebensraum on American scale that the Third Reich hoped to achieve both the standard of affluence and the encompassing reach of global power already attained by Britain and the United States."[40] To stiffen the resolve of both the Red Army and boost the civilian morale. However. the first attempt to capture the city failed. Nazi Germany lacked both the time and the resources to take this first step. with only ⅓ of their motor vehicles still functioning. although these caused only limited damage because of extensive anti-aircraft defenses and effective civilian fire brigades. November 1941 In his study of the Nazi economy.[35] On 13 October 1941 (15 October 1941. Moscow was now a target of massive air raids. Guderian's army had to stop within sight of the city on 29 October 1941. after intense fighting. and because there were no significant concentrations of Soviet troops to slow down the advance. the Second Panzer Army was moving towards Tula with relative ease. a clock factory was manufacturing mine detonators. and Volokolamsk on 27 October. At first. as the Soviet capital was still within reach of German panzers. since the prospect of sending tanks into such a large city without heavy infantry support seemed risky after the costly capture of Warsaw in 1939. Stalin ordered the traditional military parade on 7 November to be staged in Red Square. Adam Tooze contends that the very survival of the Red Army as a fighting force indicated that the Germans had lost the conflict in Russia.[11] Because of the increasing danger of flanking attacks. the situation was very dangerous. taking Mozhaisk and Maloyaroslavets on 18 October. as German panzers were stopped by the 50th Army and civilian volunteers in a desperate fight. Guderian reached the outskirts of Tula only by 26 October 1941. Zhukov was forced to fall back[19] and withdraw his forces east of the Nara River. capturing all except Tula by 14 October. Naro-Fominsk on 21 October. fuel problems. and damaged roads and bridges greatly slowed the Germans.[39] The mud of the rasputitsa before Moscow. Even Hitler seemed to surrender to the idea of a long struggle.

The Germans were aware of the continuous influx of Soviet reinforcements from the east. Nevertheless. Soviet poster proclaiming. the multi-layered defense reduced Soviet casualties as the Soviet 16th Army slowly retreated and constantly harassed the German divisions trying to make their way through the fortifications.[42] Soviet troops strength had in fact been reduced to about 500. As Zhukov recalls in his memoirs. Although 100. and by 25 November Solnechnogorsk as well. Artillery support and sapper teams were also concentrated along major roads that German troops were expected to use in their attacks. the ground had finally frozen. Soviet defenses were still relatively thin. where new German offensives were expected.[39] At of the beginning of November.Battle of Moscow to the front. Although Army Group Centre still possessed a considerable amount of troops on paper. In order to achieve this objective. the German 7th Panzer Division had seized a bridgehead across the Moscow-Volga Canal—the last . solving the mud problem. east of the capital. "Let's where no Soviet reserves were available because of Stalin's wish to attempt a defend Moscow!" counteroffensive at Volokolamsk."[43] Despite the Wehrmacht's efforts. linking up with the northern pincer at Noginsk. a triple defensive ring surrounding the city. the Red Army was actually in a very precarious position. who pointed out the complete lack of reserves. as the troops were worn out and there were only few replacements. Soviet resistance was still strong. Most of the Soviet field armies now had a multilayered defense with at least two rifle divisions in second echelon positions. However. which had forced the relocation of all available reserves forces further south. despite protests from Zhukov. German tank armies began their offensive towards Klin. like a communist. Soviet troops—and especially officers—were now more experienced and better prepared for the offensive. and advance to Kashira and Kolomna. but that reserves were desperately needed. Finally. compared to October. ignoring the casualties. Reportedly.000 additional Soviet troops had reinforced Klin and Tula.[11] 8 Final pincer On 15 November 1941. The parade had a great symbolic significance in demonstrating the Soviet resolve and was invoked as such frequently in the years to come. despite such a brave show. The Third Panzer Army finally captured Klin after heavy fighting on 24 November.[39] Several days of intense combat followed. the Second Panzer Army intended to bypass Tula. Soviet rifle divisions occupied much better defensive positions. willing to get to Moscow by any means necessary. "The enemy. but given the tremendous Soviet casualties they did not expected the Soviets to be able to establish a determined defense. then proceed to Klin and Solnechnogorsk to encircle the capital from the north.[11] However. The offensive was only successful west of Moscow near Aleksino.[41] The Wehrmacht was able to repel most of these counteroffensives. with the goal of encircling Moscow and linking up near the city of Noginsk. The armored Wehrmacht spearheads were unleashed.[39] By 15 November 1941. the Wehrmacht high command prepared the launch for a second offensive towards Moscow. and some remains of the Mozhaisk line still in Soviet hands near Klin. still in Soviet hands.000 men and 890 tanks at Moscow." Zhukov replied that it was possible. the German Third and Fourth Panzer groups needed to concentrate their forces between the Moscow reservoir and Mozhaisk. as well as the presence of large reserves in the back.[43] By 28 November. well-armored T-34 tanks. Stalin asked Zhukov whether Moscow could be successfully defended and ordered him to "speak honestly. There were also a large number of Soviet troops still in reserve armies behind the front available. and the outcome of the battle was by no means certain. In the south. its fighting strength had thoroughly diminished. separating the 16th Army from the 30th. was making frontal assaults. Stalin wanted several preemptive counteroffensives to be launched against the German lines. where Soviet tanks inflicted heavy losses on the 4th Army because the Germans still lacked anti-tank weapons capable of damaging the new. Initial German attacks split the front in two. depleting the Red Army of men and vehicles that could have been used for Moscow's defense.

both Soviet and German forces were severely depleted.2 mi) per day. However. who still had no winter clothing. were freezing. As Guderian wrote in his journal. In the south. which marked the farthest advance of German forces on Moscow. and training and militia units. the German offensive stalled and was driven back four days later in the ensuing Soviet counteroffensive. However. As a result. along the Minsk-Moscow highway near the city of Naro-Fominsk.[39] On 2 December a German soldiers in heavy snow west of Moscow Reconnaissance-Battalion managed to reach the town of Khimki—some 8 km (5.[50] [51] According to Glantz by early December. protected by fortifications and determined defenders. with the Second Panzer Army trying to encircle the city. Fortunately.[31] Frozen grease had to be removed from every loaded shell[31] and vehicles had to be heated for hours before use. the Wehrmacht never got close to the capital.[45] German officers were able to make out some of the major buildings of the Soviet capital through their field glasses. a violent Soviet counterattack was launched the following day. The German troops. However. "the offensive on Moscow failed.1–6. battle resumed on 18 November 1941. a city controlling a major highway to Moscow..We underestimated the enemy's strength. I stopped my troops on 5 December. In response. the Wehrmacht attempted.[48] The Germans were driven back in early December. taking Stalinogorsk on 22 November 1941 and surrounding a Soviet rifle division stationed there. Guderian was still able to pursue the offensive. More than 130. German panzers approached Kashira. further slowing the advance.[39] In the south. securing the southern approach to the city. spreading his forces in a star-like attack. both soldiers and civilians. near Tula. After meeting determined resistance from the Soviet 1st Guards Motorized Rifle Division and flank counterattacks staged by the 33rd Army."[53] 9 .[47] halted the German advance near Kashira. on 1 December 1941. as well as his size and climate. sometimes having only 150–200 riflemen—a company's full strength—left in a regiment. otherwise the catastrophe would be unavoidable. this offensive had only limited tank support and was forced to assault extensive Soviet defenses. making chances of success "less than certain" according to Guderian. located near Tula. supported by hastily-assembled formations which included 173rd Rifle Division. General Belov's 2nd Cavalry Corps. On 26 November. it exposed the German tank armies to flanking attacks from the Soviet 49th and 50th armies. the Wehrmacht reached Krasnaya Polyana. 9th Tank Brigade.000 cases of frostbite were reported among German soldiers. little more than 20 km (12 mi) from Moscow.[46] Moreover.[49] Tula itself held. initial German progress was only 5–10 km (3.0 mi) away from Moscow—and captured its bridge over the Moscow-Volga Canal as well as its railway station. Because of the resistance on both the northern and southern sides of Moscow.[39] The German forces involved were extremely battered from previous fighting.[44] Just northwest of Moscow. two separate tank battalions. The Axis offensive on Moscow stopped. and still had no winter clothing. and their vehicles were not designed for such severe weather.Battle of Moscow major obstacle before Moscow—and stood less than 35 km (22 mi) from the Kremlin.. a direct offensive from the west.[39] but a powerful counterattack by the 1st Shock Army drove them back across the canal. the temperatures[52] dropped as low as twenty to fifty below zero.

The offensive liberated Kalinin and the Soviets reached Klin on 7 December. In the south.000 men. respectively. Soviet forces committed to the operation numbered only 1. as Stalin transferred fresh divisions from Siberia and the Far East. The Germans pulled their forces out in time. Soviet armies retook Krasnaya Polyana and several other cities in the immediate vicinity of Moscow. Nevertheless. it unhinged the German defenses."[57] Guderian protested. relying on intelligence from his spy. The Red Army had accumulated a 58-division reserve by early [31] December.[31] On 5 December 1941. 5 December 1941-7 May 1942 However. with Southwestern Front forces relieving Tula on 16 December 1941."[59] Walther von Brauchitsch. the offensive went equally well.[58] (The Soviets were also suffering large losses from the freezing cold but nevertheless had better equipment for the cold than the Germans. attempted to envelop any German forces remaining. when the offensive proposed by Zhukov and Vasilevsky was finally approved by Stalin. without Hitler's approval. Guderian wrote that discussions with Hans Schmidt and Wolfram von Richthofen took place the same day.[11] The same day. overrunning the headquarters of the LVI Panzer Corps outside the city. "digging trenches with howitzer shells if needed. Franz Halder and Günther von Kluge finally gave permission for a limited withdrawal to the west of the Oka river. the counteroffensive started on the Kalinin Front. protecting Guderian's Second Panzer Army's southern flank. commanders of the 4th Panzers and 9th Army.100. and both commanders agreed that the current front line could not be held. which indicated that Japan would not attack the Soviet Union.[60] Meanwhile.[55] On 14 December. Hitler cancelled the withdrawal and ordered his soldiers to defend every patch of ground. German intelligence estimated that Soviet forces had no more reserves left and thus would be unable to stage a counteroffensive. General Konev. Although the encirclement failed.Battle of Moscow 10 Soviet counteroffensive Although the Wehrmacht's offensive had been stopped. German troops were unable to organize a solid defense at their present locations and were forced to pull back to consolidate their lines. along with generals Hoepner and Strauss.[54] The Soviet winter counter-offensive.[56] On 20 December. forming a salient that would last until 1943. with careful troop deployment. Hitler signed his directive number 39. to help Konev trap the Third Panzer Army. and Guderian was dismissed by Christmas. had been removed even earlier. After two days of little progress.[52] only slightly outnumbering the Wehrmacht.) Nevertheless. As the Kalinin Front drove west. A major achievement was the encirclement and destruction of the German XXXIX Corps. Richard Sorge. This estimate proved wrong. The Soviet front commander. officially for "medical reasons. A second attempt was made against the Second Panzer Army near Tula. a bulge developed around Klin. during a meeting with German senior officers. Fedor von Bock was also dismissed. but met strong opposition near Rzhev and was forced to halt. Hitler's commander-in-chief. Zuhkov diverted more forces to the southern end of the bulge. Hitler insisted on defending the existing lines. ordering the Wehrmacht to assume a defensive stance on the whole front. the Soviet offensive continued in the north. even with these new reserves. However. a ratio of two-to-one was reached at some critical points. pointing out that losses from cold were actually greater than combat losses and that winter equipment was held by traffic ties in Poland.[61] . on 19 December.

000. as Hitler hoped it would "save" the situation. Immediately after the Moscow counter-offensive. As Guderian wrote in his memoirs. but the Red Army was exhausted and overstretched and they failed. a series of Soviet attacks (the Battles of Rzhev) were attempted against the salient. the initial Soviet advance was unable to level the Rzhev salient. but the city was still considered to be threatened. hampering the Red Army's pursuit of the German Army.[11] Soviet reserves ran low. whilst four Transportgruppen (Transport Groups) with a strength of 102 Junkers Ju 52 transports were deployed from Luftflotte 4 (Air Fleet 4) to evacuate surrounded army units and improve the supply line to the front-line forces. with the Wehrmacht suffering its first defeat. Hitler dismissed his 1."[67] This increased Hitler's distrust of his senior officers and severely reduced the German advantages .000 men.[63] [64] In the center. Because of this.[62] On 4 January. Soviet progress was much slower. the skies cleared. the Luftwaffe had contributed enormously to the survival of Army Group Center. and German losses between 300. Germany now had to prepare for a prolonged struggle. recorded as −42°. the Moscow front was not finally secured until October 1943.600 Soviet personnel were commander-in-chief. the Luftwaffe vanished from the skies over Moscow. The German air arm was to help prevent a total collapse of Army Group Centre. In the meantime. "This created a cold (chill) in our relations. after 10 days of violent action. on 19 December 1941. personal charge of the Wehrmacht. Soviet troops liberated Naro-Fominsk only on 26 December. and took awarded the Medal for the Defence of Moscow from 1 May 1944. 11 Aftermath The Red Army's winter counter-offensive drove the Wehrmacht from Moscow. It was a last minute effort and it worked. was a meteorological record. while the Red Air Force.[60] effectively taking control of all military decisions and setting most experienced German officers against him.[62] Logistical difficulties and freezing temperatures created technical difficulties until January 1942. The weather. the Wehrmacht had to disengage from the salient as the whole front was moving west. with the front line still relatively close. Operation Barbarossa had failed. when Army Group Center was decisively repulsed from the Smolensk landbridge and from the left shore of the upper Dnieper at the end of the Second Battle of Smolensk.[65] This victory provided an important boost for Soviet morale. Two Kampfgruppen (Bomber Groups) (II. and the offensive halted on 7 January 1942. who at first appeared to be in shock due to the initial German success.[66] In particular. The Luftwaffe was quickly reinforced.000 and 450. By early 1943.028. after having pushed the exhausted and freezing German armies back 100–250 km (62–160 mi) from Moscow. Additionally. Stalin continued to order more offensives in order to trap and destroy Army Group Center in front of Moscow. however. each time with heavy losses on both sides.000 and 1. and Maloyaroslavets on 2 January. held by several divisions of Army Group Center. the Moscow direction remained a priority for Stalin. Kaluga on 28 December. Hitler surrounded himself with staff officers with little or no recent combat experience. grew stronger. Between the 17 December and 22 December the Luftwaffe destroyed 299 motor vehicles and 23 tanks around Tula. Furious that his army had been unable to take Moscow./KG 30) arrived from refitting in Germany. Despite the Soviets' best efforts.000 men. Soviet losses are estimated to be between 500./KG 4 and II.Battle of Moscow The Luftwaffe was paralysed in the second half of December. Walther von Brauchitsch. a cold (chill) that could never be eliminated afterwards. operating from better prepared bases and benefiting from interior lines. Nevertheless. Having failed to vanquish the Soviet Union in one quick strike.

who include the Rzhev and Vyazma operations in the scope of the battle (thus making the battle end in May 1942). published in 1997. and to a string of Red Army defeats.000 and 1. While the start of the battle is usually regarded as the beginning of Operation Typhoon on 30 September 1941 (or sometimes on 2 October 1941).000 German and 900. . Moscow was awarded the title of "Hero City" in 1965. something it was not prepared for and bound to lose in the long run. Many of the Soviet casualties.[70] Glantz.000 for the Wehrmacht (GSE / Moscow encyclopedia estimate) and between 650. the defense of Moscow became a symbol of Soviet resistance against the invading Axis forces. in his Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies.[11] A Museum of the Defence of Moscow was created in 1995[69] 12 Casualties Both German and Soviet casualties during the battle of Moscow have been a subject of debate. Germany now faced the prospect of a war of attrition. there are two different dates for the end of the offensive. Overall.[11] Therefore. known as the "Rzhev meat grinder". low Red Army reserves and Wehrmacht tactical skill led to a bloody stalemate near Rzhev. the failed attempt at elimination of the Demyansk pocket. This resulted in Stalin becoming overconfident and deciding to further expand the offensive. consisted of captured men. some sources (such as Erickson[70] and Glantz[71] ) exclude the Rzhev offensive from the scope of the battle. plus 370. In particular. Other historians.000 Soviet casualties for the counteroffensive until 7 January 1942. its authors. Ultimately. these failures would lead to a successful German offensive in the south and to the Battle of Stalingrad.955 for the winter counteroffensive until 7 January 1942. though not necessarily a crushing one. however.924 Soviet casualties between October 1941 and January 1942.000 Soviet casualties for the defensive phase.000 German casualties by January. and the encirclement of General Vlasov's army near Leningrad in a failed attempt to lift the siege of the city. 1942. Nevertheless. estimates 400. the battle was a stinging defeat for the Axis. considering it as a distinct operation and making the Moscow offensive "stop" on 7 January 1942—thus lowering the number of casualties.[11] [59] There are also significant differences in figures from various sources. which would be staged simultaneously near Moscow. gives a figure of 658.Battle of Moscow due to their superior military leadership.279 for the defense phase alone.[59] Another estimate available is provided in the Moscow Encyclopedia. Soviet forces had stopped the Germans and driven them back. gives a figure of 653. Not all historians agree on what should be considered the "Battle of Moscow" in the timeline of World War II. and 7 January 1942. during a meeting in the Kremlin. give a figure of 145.[68] However. give higher casualty numbers. the Battle of Moscow is considered among the most lethal battles in world history. such as the Second Battle of Kharkov. To commemorate the battle. along with 103. are estimated to be between 248.000 and 400. Regardless of these disagreements. Leningrad and in southern Russia. This plan was accepted over Zhukov's objections.000 German and 380.280. on the 20th anniversary of Victory Day. as various sources provide somewhat different estimates. Stalin announced that he was planning a general spring counteroffensive. based on various sources. in his book When Titans Clashed. John Erickson. and it ended German hopes for a quick and decisive victory over the Soviet Union. published in 1973–1978. total casualties between 30 September 1941.000 for the Red Army (Erickson / Moscow encyclopedia estimate). On 5 January 1942.[71] The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. For the first time since June 1941.

1978. Great Russian Encyclopedia. 74 ff. 18. Geoffrey Jukes. Moscow.Battle of Moscow 13 Footnotes [1] Heinz Guderian. [57] Guderian.M. [14] Guderian. Glantz. tome 2. tome 2.6. 574. Klink. tome 2. pp. 90. 1991. 22.91. [20] Vasilevsky. p. [10] Hitler. pp. [2] Great Soviet Encyclopedia. pp. . Voenizdat. tome 2. Olma-Press. [9] Guderian. tome 2. Zhukov. p. 37. Chronology of World War II Day by Day. p. [5] A. [8] Vasilevsky. 352. 97. p. Moscow. p. The matter of my whole life. 354–5. [56] Guderian.93 Jukes.' p. 'The Road to Stalingrad. ch. pp486ff. 318. Zhukov. entry "Battle of Moscow" [12] Bergstöm 2007. Moscow. The Story of the Second World War. 307 [15] Hardesty. pp. sub-ch.K. 134. Belov. p. 32. 135. pp. [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] Bergström 2007. 2002. 267–9. p.260 A. tome 2. p.90-91. [18] Vasilevsky. 345. 86ff. Guderian. 340. p. pp. 354. [55] Guderian. "To the Gates".P. 353. p. p. Erinnerungen eines Soldaten (Memoirs of a soldier). p. tome 2. The Second World War — The Eastern Front 1941–1945. Braithwaite. 1997. pp. Glantz. 106. Plocher 1968. Osprey. 78 Glantz. pp. Jukes. Moscow. p. chapter 15 "December 1941: Turning Point". Plocher 1968. [4] Guderian. p. p. 10 October 1941. Erickson. 329–30. Rusich. p. Guderian. p. 138. Henry Steele Commager. 28. Zhukov. pp. 17. entry "Battle of Smolensk" [3] Guderian. p. Guderian. chapter 6. tome 2. p. tome 2. p. 307–9.231. "Viaz'ma and Briansk". p. p. 24. Guderian. p. 272. p. Memoirs. Tooze. subchapter "December counteroffensive". Zhukov.231 Bergström 2007. sub-ch.61. p. 590-592 Zhukov. 353–5. 139. [11] Moscow Encyclopedia. 29. 229. Zhukov. Moscow is behind us. Guderian. Vasilevsky. p. 2002. Zhukov. Guderian. in "Völkischer Beobachter".118. When Titans Clashed p336 n15. p. [13] Guderian. 23–5. 316. Zhukov. pp. 360–1. tome 2. p. 1973–1978. [19] Glantz. ed. [17] Bergström 2007. 10. Belov. 30. p. p. Moscow. [16] Bergström 2007. chapter 6. pp. 184–210. p. p. Poitizdat. Zhukov. p. 1963. p. 27. [6] Marshal G. Zhukov. pp. [7] Zhukov. p. 305. 31. p. p. 80ff. p. Zhukov. 1999. ISBN 1-84176-391-8. p. Smolensk. 144 Christopher Argyle.

p. LCCN: 65-54443. 1991. Horst. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Meretskov. Ernst.. Dec. Moscow: The Turning Point? The Failure of Hitler's Strategy in the Winter of 1941–42. • Hardesty. [63] Bergström 2007. Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg: Der Angriff auf die Sowjetunion. [59] Great Soviet Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. Hoffmann.'" [67] Guderian. . When Titans clashed: how the Red Army stopped Hitler. ISBN 0-7147-1830-0. Oxford: Berg Publishers. ISBN 0-7006-0717-X. p. table 12.. Rolf-Dieter. • Nagorski. [62] Bergstrom 2003. • Sokolovskii. [65] Glantz and House 1995. Washington. entry "Battle of Moscow" • Belov.A. Von. • Moscow Encyclopedia. Klink. com/ p/ articles/ mi_m3955/ is_n8_v47/ ai_18173704) "Marshal Georgii K. • Tooze. ed. Gerd r. Arno Press. Lifelong cause. Adam (2006). Andrew (2007). Luftwaffe versus Russia. • Vasilevsky. Förster. Barbarossa – The Air Battle: July–December 1941. Ueberschär (1983). ISBN 978-0-14-100348-1. A. entry "Battle of Moscow 1941–42" [60] Guderian. 43–4. New York: Simon & Schuster. 297. • Bergström.. Oxford: Osprey. (1981). Great Russian Encyclopedia. who had pressed Stalin on several occasions to alert and reinforce the army. [68] Zhukov. ISBN 1-86197-759-X). nor the General Staff thought that the enemy could concentrate such a mass of . Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Müller. 299. Jürgen. nonetheless recalled the shock of the German attack when he noted that 'neither the defence commissariat. ed. Moscow: Progress. [66] Planning for war: the Red Army and the catastrophe of 1941 Europe-Asia Studies. 91–97. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Izvestia. London: Chervron/Ian Allen. Heinz (1951). A. ISBN 978-1-85780-270-2. Pavel Alekseevich (1963). [70] John Erickson. (1995).C. • Guderian. 365. Vasilii Danilovich (1964). (ed. and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II. Za nami Moskva. Christer (2007). Hermann (1968). forces and commit them on the first day. • Erickson. House. The Wages of Destruction: The making and breaking of the Nazi economy. tome 2.. Heidelberg: Vowinckel. • Boog. Shaposhnikov and K. ISBN 1-56098-071-0 • Jukes.. Klaus. [64] Bergström 2003. D. 112-113. 1941. Dilks. Roberts (http:/ / findarticles. Jonathan M. Geoffrey (2002). [69] Rodric Braithwaite. 1973–78. London: Profile Books Ltd. 359. 1992 (hardback. • Reinhardt. pp. p.Battle of Moscow [58] Guderian. • Plocher. • Prokhorov. ISBN 0-7432-8110-1. ISBN 0-7486-0504-5.4 [71] Glantz. ISBN 1-84176-391-8.. myself. The Second World War: The Eastern Front 1941–1945. Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Hitler. my predecessors B. pp. Moscow: VoenIzdat. Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at War. p. M. 363–4. Stuttgart: Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt. pp. Moscow. The Greatest Battle: Stalin. 88–90. • Collection of legislative acts related to State Awards of the USSR (1984). Razgrom Nemetsko-Fashistskikh Voisk pod Moskvoi (with map album). Zhukov. David M. Moscow. "Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at War". Joachim. ISBN 3-421-06098-3. New York: USAF: Historical Division. p. 1997. New York: Macmillan. p. [61] Glantz and House 1995. 345. Moscow. M.: Smithsonian Institution Press. Erinnerungen eines Soldaten. David (1994). Rodric.) (1973–1978). John. 1995 by Cynthia A.M. • Glantz. Red Phoenix. ISBN 0-85496-695-1). 2006 (hardcover. p. Table B 14 References • Braithwaite. Barbarossa: The Axis and the Allies. Moscow: Voenizdat.

ISBN 978-9997393487.com/battle_spec. Murray (1983).com/ maps/maps1941W.airmail. etc. 49A = 49th Army. cd = rifle division. The memoirs of Marshal Zhukov. Strategy for Defeat: The Luftwaffe 1933–1945.Battle of Moscow • Williamson. • Zhukov.htm) Moscow Attacked! (http://LCoat. London: Cape.php?battle_id=37) Armchair General/Maps 1941/Western Direction/The Moscow Battle (http://rkkaww2.htm) — Free/educational Battle of Moscow boardgame. WW2DB: Battle of Moscow (http://ww2db.ru (http://www.htm) — The Moscow battle.tripod. ISBN 0-224-61924-1. kd = cavalry division.htm#Moscow41) — Excellent maps down to brigade level. . (1971).armchairgeneral. G. tbp = tank brigade. United States Government Printing. For the Russians. Battle of Moscow 1941 + maps (http://web2.com/moscatt.su/dima/war/eng/eindex.serpukhov. K.net/napoleon/Battle_of_Moscow_1941. 15 External links • • • • • serpukhov.

Trumpet marietta 45750. Tim!. I am the heir of the pic File:Map Soviet 1941 Winter counteroffensive. File:Soldiers on guard in December 1941 to the west of Moscow. Omnibus. Schmausschmaus. Jokestress. Delldot.org/w/index. Kameraad Pjotr.wikipedia. Semper-Fi 2006.org/w/index. Gogo Dodo. Mild Bill Hiccup. Piledhigheranddeeper. SuperDeng. Kiosacoup. PhnomPencil. Kusunose. Wukappa.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2. King nothing.php?oldid=464736768  Contributors: . Kolt. Paulmlieberman. Bryant.5  Contributors: Original uploader was Grafikm fr at en. Neilb123. Dodo19. my dead uncle. Clarityfiend. TigerShark. EEBAN. Der Marschall.0  Contributors: pic from Wilhelm Gierse. Mortense. Dorf vor Moskau. Rickyrab. Blackmissionary. WilyD. Rjwilmsi. Kpalion. Andrei nacu. Hirudo.jpg  Source: http://en. Parsecboy. Billthefish. Boothferry. Kuban kazak.org/w/index. GrahamBould. Mboverload. Mercenary2k. Raudys. Faerun._Russland. Justinmo. Kurt Leyman.wikipedia. Robsmyth40. RobertG. 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