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BARBAROSSA DERAILED: THE BATTLE FOR SMOLENSK 1941 Vol 2


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The key events that thwarted Operation Barbarossa. At dawn on 10th July 1941, massed tanks and motorised infantry of German Army Group Centre's Second and Third Panzer Groups crossed the Dnepr and Western Dvina Rivers, beginning what Adolf Hitler, the Führer of Germany's Third Reich, and most German officers and soldiers believed would be a triumphal march on Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union. The ensuing battles in the Smolensk region frustrated German hopes for quick victory. Once across the Dvina and Dnepr Rivers, a surprised Wehrmacht encountered five fresh Soviet armies. Despite destroying two of these armies outright and severely damaging two others a quick victory eluded the Germans. Instead, Soviet forces encircled in Mogilev and Smolensk stubbornly refused to surrender, and while they fought on a total of seven newly mobilised Soviet armies struck back viciously at the advancing Germans, conducting multiple counter-attacks and counterstrokes, capped by two major counter-offensives that sapped German strength and will. Despite immense losses in men and materiel, these desperate Soviet actions derailed Operation Barbarossa. Smarting from countless wounds inflicted on his vaunted Wehrmacht Hitler postponed his march on Moscow and instead turned his forces southward to engage "softer targets" in the Kiev region. The 'derailment" of the Wehrmacht at Smolensk ultimately became the crucial turning point in Operation Barbarossa. This study exploits a wealth of Soviet and German archival materials to present a detailed mosaic and definitive account of what took place, why, and how during the prolonged and complex battles in the Smolensk region. At dawn on 10 July 1941, massed tanks and motorised infantry of German Army Group Centre's Second and Third Panzer Groups crossed the Dnepr and Western Dvina Rivers, beginning what Adolf Hitler and most German officers and soldiers believed would be a triumphal march on Moscow. Between 22 June and 10 July, the Wehrmacht advanced up to 500km into Soviet territory, killed or captured up to one million Red Army soldiers, and reached the western banks of the Western Dvina and Dnepr Rivers. In doing so, they satisfied the premier assumption of Plan Barbarossa that the Third Reich would emerge victorious if it could defeat and destroy the bulk of the Red Army before it withdrew to safety behind those two rivers. With the Red Army now believed shattered, Hitler and most Germans expected total victory in a matter of weeks. The ensuing battles in the Smolensk region frustrated German hopes for quick victory.

This groundbreaking new study exploits a wealth of Soviet and German archival materials, including the combat orders and operational practises of the German OKW, OKH, army groups, and armies of the Soviet Stavka, the Red Army General Staff, the Western Main Direction Command, the Western, Central, Reserve, and Bryansk Fronts, and their subordinate armies to present a detailed mosaic and definitive account of what took place, why and how during the prolonged and complex battles in the Smolensk region from 10th July-10th September 1941.

Within the context of Guderian's southward march toward the Kiev region, Volume 2 in this series describes in unprecedented detail the Red Army's attempts to thwart German offensive plans by defeating Army Group Centre with a general counteroffensive by three Red Army fronts. This volume restores to the pages of history two major military operations which, for political and military reasons, Soviet historians concealed from view, largely because both offensives failed. Based on the analysis of the vast mass of documentary materials exploited by this study, David Glantz presents a number of important new findings. Quite simply, this series breaks new ground in World War II Eastern Front and Soviet military studies.

  • AUTHOR: Glantz, D
  • FORMAT: 528pp 35 Bw 110 maps 234x156 Hb
  • Code: 20049

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