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Operation Barbarossa, also called Operation Fritz, during World War II, was started on June 22, 1941, and ended on December 5, 1941 (period of 5 months and 2 weeks). This battle occurred in Russia going to the main cities that had the Soviet Union Force: Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad. The main leaders and generals were Adolf Hitler, Gen. Gerd von Rundstedt, Gen. Wilhelm von Leeb, Gen. Fedor von Bock, Gen. Walther von Brauchitsch, and Joseph Stalin. Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party and leader of Germany.
General Gerd von Rundstedt was a German field marshal, he was Hitler’s most qualified leader. General Wilhelm von Leeb was a German field marshal and artillery officer. General Fedor von Bock was a German army officer and field marshal during the invasion of France, Poland, and Russia. Walther von Brauchitsch was a German field marshal and army commander chief who was basically the battle strategist and planner. Joseph Stalin was the secretary general of the Soviet Union and prime minister of the Soviet state.
The following picture is the battle area of Operation Barbarossa. Operation Barbarossa was a failure to the German forces to defeat the Soviet Union, which signaled a critical turning point in World War II. Hitler started his attack on June 22, 1941, by sending three different army groups under the same generals from the invasion of France to different locations. First, General Wilhelm von Leeb Army Group of the North, his mission was to start his attack at East Prussia leading to Leningrad. Next, General Gerd von Rundstedt Army Group of the South, his mission was to start his attack at southern Poland going through Ukraine leading to Stalingrad with the help from General Paul Ludwig von Kleist.
Lastly, General Fedor von Bock’s Army Group of the Center, his mission was to start his attack on the northeastward of Smolensk and Moscow with the help from General Heinz Guderian and General Hermann Hoth. This invasion was a surprise to the Soviet Union and the Germans caught them off-guard and in an unprepared state. The Soviet Union forces were able to retreat to the east and were ordered to slow the Germans attack by making roadblocks or fighting back On July 10, Gen. Heinz Guderian’s tanks were slowed down while crossing the Dnieper River. Six days later, the German forces enter Smolensk and intersected with Gen. Hermann Hoth’s Army Group in Vitebsk. At this time, 200,000 Soviet Union prisoners were taken, but some Soviet Union forces managed to retreat to Desna.By the middle of July, the weather has gotten worse and a series of storms were turning the ground into mud, which made German vehicles move slower. Their movement was also slowed down by the scorched-earth policy, a military strategy that focused on destroying anything useful to the enemy while continuing their retreat, by the retreating Soviet Union forces. Some of the things that the Soviet Union destroy was: crops, bridges, and factories. Other things such as steel and munition factories were moved to the east, to be put back into production. They also destroy their own rolling stock, railroad cars, so that the Germans were unable to use the Soviet Unions railroad. The Germans were unable to use their own rolling stock because it was different from the Soviet Union and wouldn’t fit on the track.As the winter season slowly came to, Hitler ordered Gen. Wilhelm von Leeb to stop his advance to Leningrad. He then ordered Gen. Gerd von Rundstedt and Gen. Paul Ludwig von Kleist to continue their attack to the Don and Caucasus. Meanwhile, Gen. Fedor von Bock was to continue his advance towards Moscow. Gen. Fedor von Bock’s new advance orders began on October 2, 1941. His Army Group succeeded in their pincer movement around Vyazma, resulting in a capture of around 600,000 Soviet Union soldiers. This basically made the path to Moscow free of interference. This battle in Vyazma was not finished until the end of October. Next thing you know is that Germans were starting to have problems Their troops were tired, the country became a swamp as the weather made the ground all muddy and the Soviet Union Forces continued to receive and block off the roads with more soldiers as the Germans became slower and slower. Some German generals wanted to have their army take a rest in this winter season, but Gen. Fedor von Bock wanted to continue the advancement because he believed the Soviet Union was in a weak state, while Gen. Walther von Brauchitsch and Gen. Franz Halder agreed with his belief. Hitler was also in agreement and posed no objection towards it.On December 2, 1941, a change in the army has happened and they launched in with full force towards the suburbs of Moscow. But, the launch was actually more in the forest which was covering the capital. The cause of this German attack was because of the effects from the Russian winter. In October and November, the German troops were killed by frostbite because they did not have the proper winter clothing, while their vehicles were frozen from subzero temperatures. On the other hand, the Soviets had proper winter clothing so they tend to be more effective in the winter season than the Germans. By this time, the German casualties were in the high numbers that were extraordinary from their other battles. In result in November, the Germans suffered around 730,000 casualties.Meanwhile, in the south on November 22, 1941, Gen. Paul Ludwig Kleist has reached Rostov-na-Donu, a city of Rostov, door to the Caucasus, but had worn out his tanks’ fuel in doing so. Gen. Gerd von Rundstedt sees that place as unsustainable and wanted to clear from it, but was countermand by Hitler. Later on November 28, 1941, the Soviet Union retaliate with a counterattack and retake Rostov-na-Donu. This resulted in Gen. Gerd von Rundstedt being put on probation for four days. Furthermore, as the Germans continue their attack against Moscow, the Soviet Union General of the Moscow front, Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov, initiated a counterattack Gen. Fedor von Bock’s side in the Tula and Yelets districts. The Soviet Unions Siberian troops were used for this attack because they were extremely effective soldiers. A blow to both German sides come to and the counterattack was suffered throughout the winter season of 1941-1942.In conclusion, Hitler would send three different army groups to the North, Center (East), and South. The three army groups would be lead by General Wilhelm von Leeb, General Gerd von Rundstedt, and General Fedor von Bock. Although the Germans succeeded in taking over Leningrad and Stalingrad. Operation Barbarossa had begun to abort in the month of August 1941. Its failure was clear when the Soviet Union began their counterattack. The Soviet Union managed to prevail and pushed back the German army towards a victory to the Soviet Union. In result, the Germans would suffer a total of 850,000 casualties. The Germans loss 400,000, the Romanians loss 200,000, the Italians loss 130,000, the Hungarians loss 120,000. Although the Soviet Union managed to get the victory, they lose a tremendous number of a soldier. In total, the Soviet Union lost over 4.9 million soldiers. This defeat for Nazi Germany would become a turning point to World War II and will lead to Germany’s defeat after World War II. Operation Barbarossa will stand as the largest military battle in world history.
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