Deception & Surprise
Army Group North
Army Group Center
Army Group South
Battle of Smolensk
Battle of Kiev
Siege of Leningrad
Why Did Barbarossa Fail?
In the Media
The Road to Stalingrad
Soviet Winter Counteroffensive
The Soviets however had an ace up their sleeve. Intelligence from their spy, Richard Sorge, had told them that Japan would not attack the Soviet Union, and thus they felt able to withdraw troops from the Far East: Over 18 divsions with 1,700 tanks, and more than 1,500 aircraft were thus sent to European Russia from Siberia and the Far East. Additionally, the Red Army had managed to accumulate a reserve force of a further 58 divisions.
Although overall the Soviets only slightly outnumbered the Germans in the areas that they were attacking, by carefully organizing their forces they were thus able to achieve a 2:1 ration in key sectors of the front. The counteroffensive began on December 5th.
On December 8th, Hitler signed War Directive No. 39 ordering the Wehrmacht (German armed forces) to go over to a defensive posture in the East. However, the Germans were unable to form solid lines at their then current positions, and Hitler countermanded orders from his Generals ordering withdrawals to more defensible positions. As a result, Generals Guderian, Walther von Brauchitsch, and Fedor von Bock were all dismissed.
The Soviet offensive continued until January 7th 1942, by which time the Germans had been pushed back 60 to 160 miles (100 to 250 kilometers) from Moscow. Army Group Center came close to collapse, and was saved only by improving weather which allowed the Luftwaffe to take to the skies and rescue the situation.
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