These days 70 years ago, on the approaches to Moscow, not only the outcome of World War II and World War II was determined, but also in which direction the further development of human civilization would go. Will it be socialism or a kind of capitalism in the form of Nazism (or fascism).
Virtually all military forces and the economic power of continental Europe were united and thrown against the Soviet Union. In addition to the official satellite allies of the Third Reich: Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Finland, Spain, Italy, volunteers and “national” units from other countries that did not officially fight the USSR took part in the battles with the Red Army : from France, Holland, Belgium, Norway and other European countries, including those occupied by the German Empire. Official neutrality was respected by Sweden and Switzerland, but they assisted the Eternal Reich in finance and industry. Even the Vatican "blessed" Berlin to war with the USSR. It was a real "crusade" of Western civilization to the East. In addition, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the financial and industrial oligarchy of Great Britain and the United States made a decisive contribution to the creation of the Hitler regime and the militarization of Germany. "Eternal Reich" became the highest point in the development of the Western world, bringing all its basic ideas to life.
For four months of continuous brutal battles, units of the Wehrmacht and their satellites reached the frontiers, from which the decisive throw on the capital of the Soviet Union looked quite real. It should be noted that from the very first day of the war, June 22, fierce battles were going on, the Wehrmacht did not encounter such resistance anywhere else in Europe, and the plan of the “blitzkrieg” was actually already thwarted by the courage of the Soviet border guards, Red Army soldiers, Red Navy men, pilots, tank crews and artillerymen. .
A difficult situation has developed in the north and south of the country. Army Group North, under the command of Field Marshal Ritter von Leeb, together with the Finnish army, blocked the northern capital of the Union, the city of Leningrad, on September 8. September 6, by order of Adolf Hitler, armored vehicles tank groups of the 4th Panzer Group, Colonel-General Erich Göpner and a number of infantry units were transferred to Army Group Center to attack Moscow. Army Group South, under the command of Field Marshal Gerd von Runstedt, completed the rout of most of the troops of the Southwestern Front by September 26. The Wehrmacht opened the road to Eastern Ukraine, in the Sea of Azov and Donbass, the troops of the Southern Front of the Red Army were in a difficult situation. Therefore, in the fall, the situation in the south developed according to a very difficult scenario and it was impossible to transfer reserves to Moscow. In early October, in Priazovye, it fell into the "cauldron" and the 18th Army of the Southern Front perished; by October 16, they decided to leave the Odessa defensive area and the Odessa garrison was evacuated; October 17, the Wehrmacht occupied the Donbass (captured Taganrog); On October 25, the Germans captured Kharkov; By November 2, the Crimean peninsula was occupied and Sevastopol was surrounded.
Operation "Typhoon" - a plan to seize the Soviet capital - was to put the main point in the "blitzkrieg". The capture of Moscow was not only of great moral importance for Soviet citizens and the whole world - the “heart was breaking out” from the ideological, political, military system of the Union, but also the military-strategic one. The fall of this metropolis with a huge population, industrial and transport potential caused a huge damage to the defense capacity of the country. The Turkish and Japanese divisions had to go to war with the Soviet Union in order to complete the defeat and dismemberment of the country. In addition, there was a possibility that the United Kingdom and the United States abandoned the real allied relations with the USSR; for this, Rudolf Hess sat in store for the British.
That is why the Supreme Command and the State Defense Committee (GKO) decided that Moscow should not give up the Germans. Georgy Zhukov (he headed the Reserve Front from October 8 and the Western Front from October 10) November 26 wrote about the need to stop the enemy on the outskirts of the Soviet capital, not to let him into it, “grind the Nazi divisions and corps” in battles ... The Moscow knot of defense became decisive in the entire Soviet-German front, therefore it is necessary to “withstand the stress of these days by all means”, to stand.
And the tension in the days of the Battle of Moscow was such that infantry units, military equipment and even small weapon distributed literally by the piece. The fate of the battle for the capital, the USSR, the future of humanity was decided literally in the clashes of several thousand, hundreds and even dozens of fighters. This was reflected, for example, in the exploits of cadets of the infantry and artillery Podolsk schools or the soldiers of the 316 rifle division under the command of Major General I.V. Panfilova (from November 17 1941 of the year - 8-I Guards). In this most difficult situation, when the defense of the Bryansk Front collapsed in early October, mainly fighter battalions, Moscow people's militia units, cadets of military schools and other units of the Moscow garrison, NKVD troops fought against the front units of the Wehrmacht. Although they suffered terrible losses, they withstood this battle test with honor and made it possible to ensure the concentration and deployment of the Headquarters reserve troops. Under the cover of the Mozhaisk line, the Stavka was able to put in order and re-form the forces of the Western Front that had escaped from the encirclement or retreated.
Sometimes it seemed that even a little bit more - and the defense of the Red Army would not survive, the Germans would be able to break into Moscow. In some areas, the advanced units broke very close to the capital of the USSR and were only 15-25 km from the city center. But in the end, the Soviet troops responded with a counterattack to every hit of the Hitlerites, and more and more new lines of defense were created on the way of the Army Group Center. And the Wehrmacht ran out of steam, as Heinz Guderian, the commander of the German 2 Tank Army, wrote: “The attack on Moscow failed. All the sacrifices and efforts of our valiant troops were in vain. We suffered a strong defeat ... In the German offensive a crisis ensued, the morale and strength of the German army were broken. ”
The new offensive of the Army Group Center, which was launched on November 15-16 from the northwest and November 18 from the southwest, failed. The main blows of the Wehrmacht struck in the directions of Klin — Rogachevo and Tula — Kashira. At the end of November, the Germans managed to seize the Klin, Solnechnogorsk, Istra regions, and go to the Moscow-Volga Canal near Yakhroma and Krasnaya Polyana (it was only 32 km from the Moscow Kremlin). But the further advance of the Wehrmacht in the northern direction stopped the discharge of water from the Istra, Ivankovo reservoirs and reservoirs of the Moscow Canal (the waterways of the reservoir were blown up). The Nazis failed to close the laps. The 1-I Shock and 20 armies were thrown into battle, they were given to the Western Front, they covered the gap between the 30 and 16 armies, and the Wehrmacht was forced to go on the defensive.
On November 27, the Red Army launched a counterattack on the Wehrmacht’s 2 Tank Army and threw it away from Kashira. 2-I tank army under the command of one of the most famous commanders of the Third Reich, Colonel-General Heinz Guderian tried to circumvent Tula from the north-east and was able to cut the railways and highways Serpukhov-Tula, but the counter-attack of the Soviet units threw the Nazis to their original positions.
December 1 German troops made a new attempt to break through to the capital in the Aprelevka area. December 2 German troops occupied Burtsevo - the closest settlement to Moscow in the south-western direction. But thanks to the well-established interaction between the 33-th army of General MG. Efremov and 5-th army of General LAGovorov Wehrmacht actions had no success. In the same period, the Supreme Headquarters (SVG) ordered to include, in addition to those already transferred to the Western front from the reserve of the Headquarters of the 1 Shock, 10 and 20 armies, 24 and 60 armies.
December 2 The advance units of the 1 Shock and 20 armies beat off all the attacks of the Wehrmacht north of the capital in the Dmitrov area and to the south and forced the German troops to stop the offensive. 3-5 December 1-I Shock and 20-I armies conducted several strong attacks in the area of Yakhroma and Krasnaya Polyana and began to push the enemy. The Soviet divisions of the left flank of the 16 Army, interacting with the 5 Army, rejected the Wehrmacht forces from a large bend of the Moscow River northeast of Zvenigorod. December 4-5 The shock group of the 33 Army defeated enemy units and restored the situation on the Nara River.
During the defensive stage of the battle for Moscow, the Soviet command was able to disrupt the Wehrmacht’s maneuvering warfare, when the initiative belonged to the Army Group Center, and imposed a “war of exhaustion” on the German command (when everything is determined by the availability of reserves, when the outcome of the battle is decided by the “last battalion”) . By December, in some Wehrmacht companies, no more than 15-20% of personnel remained. The command of Army Group "Center" has completely exhausted its reserves.
On November 30, the commander of Army Group Center, Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, concluded that his forces did not have the capacity to continue the offensive. In the first days of December, the Wehrmacht 1941 actually went on the defensive, performing only private offensive actions, and it turned out that the German command had virtually no plans for this case, since the military and political leadership of the Third Reich was dominated by the opinion that the Red Army did not have forces both for a long defense and for a counter attack. The Wehrmacht was not ready to strike the Red Army.
Sensing this moment in the course of the battle, the SVG gave the order for the counterattack.
Soviet counteroffensive near Moscow
70 years ago, 5 December 1941, the Red Army launched a counter-offensive near Moscow. This strike was the beginning of the first strategic offensive of the Soviet troops in the Great Patriotic War, the first major victory of the Red Army. For the Wehrmacht, this defeat was not only the first major defeat, it meant the final breakdown of the hopes of Berlin and its allies for victory in the “blitzkrieg”, for the entry of Turkey and Japan into the war. The German military-political leadership had to transfer the empire to the “total war” mode, a war to the depletion of resources, which eventually led to defeat.
According to Zhukov’s plan, approved by the General Headquarters, the Western Front had the task of defeating the 3 th, 4 th Reinhardt and Göpner tank groups in Klin-Solnechnogorsk-Istra and 2 th Guderian Tank groups in the Tula – Kashira area with sudden covering blows. And then surround and crush von Kluge's 4-th German army, which hung from the west. At the same time, the right wing of the South-Western Front (commanded by Marshal S.K. Tymoshenko) and the troops of the Kalinin Front (under the command of Colonel-General I.S. Konev) delivered a strike. The troops of the South-Western Front were supposed to strike at the enemy grouping near the town of Yelets, defeat the German 2 Army and assist the Western Front in defeating the Nazis in the Tula area.
The Kalinin Front was to defeat the main forces of the 9 of the German army and liberate the city of Kalinin (Tver). At the same time, strikes were carried out near Rostov and Tikhvin, which deprived the German command of the ability to transfer additional forces to Moscow from the North and South army groups.
More than 1 million Soviet soldiers and commanders participated in the offensive near Moscow. Neither numerical superiority, nor superiority in equipment, armaments at the beginning of the transition to the offensive of the CSA could not be created. The soldiers and officers of the Red Army had the only advantage - moral superiority. The Soviet fighters saw that “the German is no longer the same”, that “the German is exhaled,” and they had a “second wind”. Although it cannot be said that the Germans were completely morally broken by the beginning of the Soviet counter-offensive and retreated themselves. Thus, the German general Blumentrit wrote: “It was clear to every soldier of the German army that our life or death depends on the outcome of the battle for Moscow. If the Russians here defeat us, we will have no hope left. ” Therefore, the soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht fought fiercely, but judging by the result, the intention of the Russians to defend the capital turned out to be stronger than that of the Germans - to seize it.
Since the Soviet command did not possess a decisive advantage in men or armaments, in order to achieve superiority in the areas of the main attacks inside each of the fronts, large regroupings of forces and assets had to be made, leaving the minimum number of troops on the secondary sections of the defense line.
For example, the commander of the Kalininsky front, General I.S. Konev reported to the Supreme High Command that due to the lack of troops and tanks the front was not able to complete the task in its entirety. The general proposed to limit the actions of the Kalinin Front to a private operation to seize the city of Kalinin. But this contradicted the general plan of the offensive, so the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, General A.M., was sent to the front. Vasilevsky. Together with Konev, they studied in detail the forces of the front, the divisions were removed from secondary sectors, and they were reinforced with artillery from the reserves of the front. As a result, the Kalininsky Front was able to complete the assigned tasks.
The first 5 of December 1941 of the year was the counter-offensive of the Kalininsky Front (Commander Konev), on December 6 the offensive of the Western (Zhukov) and South-Western Fronts (Tymoshenko) began. Already on December 8, the commander-in-chief of the German armed forces, Adolf Hitler, signed directive No. 39 on the transition of troops to defense throughout the Soviet-German front. During the Soviet counteroffensive near Moscow, Kalinin, Klinsko-Solnechnogorskaya, Narofominsko-Borovskaya, Yeletskaya, Tula, Kaluga and Belevo-Kozelskaya offensive operations were carried out.
Kalinin offensive (December 5 1941 - January 7 1942). The Kalinin Front launched an offensive as part of the strike force as part of the 5 rifle divisions of the 31 Army and the 3 rifle divisions of the 29 Army. The left flank of Lieutenant-General I.I. Maslennikov (29-I army) could not break through the defense of the enemy. Parts of the 31 Army, Major-General V.A. Yushkevich after stubborn 3-day battles broke through the defenses of the German 9 th army south of Kalinin. And by the end of December, 9 took control of the Kalinin-Moscow railway, creating a threat in the rear of the German group in the Kalinin area. On December 14, units of the 31 Army marched Kalinin from the southeast, cutting off Volokolamsk and Turginovsky highway. The Germans in Kalinin remained only one road that connected them with the rear - Staritskoye highway. The Wehrmacht quickly dismissed the forces, but did not manage to withdraw all the units, on December 16, after the battle, the city was taken.
In December 20, a fresh 39 army was brought into battle, and by the end of the month, the front forces in the 39 army band broke through the defense of the Wehrmacht to the entire tactical depth. During the 2-7 battles of January 1942, the troops of the Kalinin Front on the right wing reached the line of the Volga. In the center, a new German line of defense was opened, which was organized by the enemy along the right bank of the Volga, and swept the city of Rzhev from the west and south-west.
Klin-Solnechnogorsk offensive (6 - 26 December 1941 of the year). The operation began on December 6, parts of the right wing of the Western Front, in cooperation with the forces of the Kalinin Front, launched an offensive against the 3 and 4 of the German tank groups. The defense of the enemy was broken north of Klin by the troops of the 30 Army (Major General DD Lelushenko). Heavier battles were fought in the 20 th band (Major General AA Vlasov) and the 16 armies (Lieutenant General KK Rokossovsky), only 9 of the opposing Rokossovsky German forces began to withdraw. 14 December, Soviet troops liberated Solnechnogorsk. 16 December Klean was liberated, the Wehrmacht made several attempts to inflict counterattacks, but they failed. German troops failed to stop the Soviet forces at the turn of the Istra reservoir. December 20 The Germans were driven out of Volokolamsk, on the same day the right flank of the 1 shock army, developing an offensive, went out to the Lama River. But the attempts of the 1 Shock, 16 and 20 armies on the move to break the defense of the Wehrmacht did not produce significant results. The offensive was exhausted, the front stabilized.
On the central sector of the Western Front was held Narofominsk-Borovskoy operation. Initially, the troops were tied up by the forces of the German 4, then an order was received for an offensive on the whole front. December 11 The 5 Army managed to break through the defense of the Wehrmacht in the area of Dorokhov. The fighting was hard, the Red Army had to literally “bite” into the German defensive orders. December 26 The 33 Army (commanded by Lieutenant General MG Efremov) took Naro-Fominsk, and January 4 1942 of the year took Borovsk. The 43 Army (Major General KD Golubev) was able on January 2 to knock out units of the Wehrmacht from Maloyaroslavets. South of the 49 army units (Lieutenant-General IG Zakharkin) December 19 released Tarusa and by the end of December entered the Maloyaroslavets-Kaluga line.
German command. Adolph Hitler 16 December ordered to stop the retreat of large compounds. "Stop order" spoke about the need to tighten all possible reserves, keep the defense, eliminate breakthroughs. The Supreme Commander ordered to “hold the front to the last soldier”, to show “fanatical” resistance, to win the time necessary for the transfer of reserves from Germany and Western Europe. At the same time, Hitler spent the change of command: 19 in December, Hitler displaced the commander-in-chief of the ground forces, Field Marshal von Brauchitsch (he himself took this post), Army Group General Marshal von Bock, replaced by von Kluge, then retired several other generals . It is believed that exactly this order of Hitler (the German version of the order “Not one step back”) was absolutely correct under these conditions and saved Army Group “Center” from complete defeat, the retreat did not escalate into a stampede and did not lead to the collapse of the front.
In addition, the Wehrmacht used the strategy of "total war", the German troops destroyed everything they could - destroyed cities, villages, burned villages, courtyards, schools, collective farms, carried out mass executions and the destruction of the population in other ways (burning and so forth).
Tula offensive operation (December 6 1941 - December 16 1941). During it, the troops of the left wing of the Western Front defeated the German 2 Tank Army of Heinz Guderian. Wehrmacht 7 divisions were defeated, 2 of them were tank and 1 were motorized, the enemy was rejected from Tula, which was in a semi-circle. It should be noted that Guderian used the tactics of defense of the fortified points (fortified villages with approximately 5-thousand garrison), but this did not save the Germans.
In the course of the Tula operation, the integrity of the Wehrmacht’s 2 Tank Army was destroyed, the main German forces retreated south-west towards Orel, while the 53 Army Corps left flank retreated to the west. By order of Zhukov, a mobile group was established under the command of Major-General V.S. Popova, her goal was Kaluga. During Kaluga operation on the night of December 30 after heavy fighting Kaluga was liberated.
The troops of the left flank of the Western Front also conducted Belevo-Kozel operation. December 28 The 1 Guards Cavalry Corps liberated Kozelsk. December 27 offensive on Belev began part of the Soviet 10-th army, December BeN was 31 captured. Meshchovsk, Serpeysk, Mosalsk were liberated; by January 7, the forces of the left wing of the Western Front reached the line Detchino – Yukhnov – Kirov – Lyudinovo.
Elets offensive operation (6 - 16 December 1941). The offensive of the Kalinin and Western fronts supported the right flank of the South-Western front. 6 December, a strike by the Yelets from the north was dealt by a group of Major General K.S. Moskalenko (from the 13 Army). On December 7 south of the city, the cavalry-mechanized group of Lieutenant-General F.Ya. Kostenko. After fierce battles, the two groups were able to close the 14 of December west of Yelets and take part of the 45 and 134 of the German infantry divisions into the "boiler", 16, they were destroyed. The result of the operation was the release of Yelets, Efremov, the defeat of the 2 of the German army.
In January 1942, the first stage of the counteroffensive near Moscow was completed. In different directions, the Wehrmacht was dropped on 100 – 250 km. And although there were still months and years of bloody and heavy battles, there will be severe defeats, it has now become clear to everyone: we will not lose the Great Patriotic War and as a result there will be victory for the USSR and the Soviet people. This is apparently the main meaning of the battle for Moscow.
The defeat of the Nazi troops near Moscow dispelled the myth of the "invincibility" of the German armed forces in front of the whole world community, undermined the Wehrmacht morale, dealt a severe blow to the German belief in victory in the war. The victory of the Red Army near Moscow spoke of the beginning of a radical turn in the Great Patriotic War and the entire Second World War.