Why Hitler was afraid to advance on Moscow in 1942

History 05/01/20 Why Hitler was afraid to advance on Moscow in 1942

as a result of the battle of Moscow Wehrmacht troops were not only stopped on the outskirts of the capital, but, after the counter-offensive of the red Army, thrown back. In the minds of a wide audience perceived that after the Germans were forced to retreat and suffered huge losses, the offensive threat to Moscow had passed, and further fighting of the great Patriotic war was far away from the capital.

However, this view is incorrect, and resulted from the fact that in the Soviet period a very large number of operations of the war was concealed or distorted. During the offensive of the red Army in December 1941, German troops were pushed back, but in different parts of the Wehrmacht retreated at different distances. In the area of Rzhev, Vyazma, and Gzhatsk was formed protrusion in the direction of Moscow. The front line held only two hundred kilometers from the capital. And the Soviet leadership remembered the sad experience of 1941 when the German Panzer wedges were easily overcome much longer distances and to stop them failed.

of Course, near Moscow, the Wehrmacht suffered huge losses, almost all of the tanks remained on the battlefield and along the roads by which the Germans retreated. But it was clear that after some time the German army will be able to regain their strength. Therefore, Rzhev protrusion had to be eliminated. Than unsuccessfully and was engaged in the Red Army during 1942. Soviet historians concealed one of the biggest battles of the Second World war and readers of the Soviet Union did not know about it.

for the First time about the battle of Rzhev became widely known from the book by American historian David glance “Biggest defeat Zhukov. The disaster of the red Army in operation Mars, 1942”. Moreover, Glantz just wrote about one of the episodes of the epic battles, which was much bigger. Today on the Rzhev battle known many modern historians this topic as any, previously concealed, is particularly interesting.

mostly fighting the red Army on the liquidation of the Rzhev bulge are considered as the encirclement and destruction of a large group of German troops. However, the liquidation of the Rzhev bulge pursued another goal, which may have had greater importance for the Soviet leadership. It’s about the fact that at any time the Wehrmacht could use Rzhevskiy acted as a springboard for an attack on Moscow.

the Situation is compounded by the fact that the Rzhev bulge was not alone. In early 1942, during the onset of the North-Western front was formed Demyansk boiler. The Germans were able to break through the corridor to his troops surrounded and “pot” turned into a ledge. The elimination of this salient, Soviet forces were engaged in all in 1942 and also to no avail.

If you look at the map of the Soviet-German front in 1942, in the Central and North-Western part you can see only the red arrow of the Soviet offensive operations. The Germans, as you know, on these sites in front offensive not conducted.

However, if you look at the map so you can see immediately and Rzhev and Demyansk projections, it is easy to see that a convergent shock with both bridgehead could lead to the encirclement of all of the Kalinin front, with the subsequent blow to Moscow on the infamous already Mozhaisk-Volokolamsk direction. About how the Germans successfully carried out such operations in 1941, the red Army remembered well.

For this reason, the command of the red army not only held in these areas of immense power, and almost continuously attacked the Germans. Around Moscow, for its immediate defense were always concentrated force, exceeding the size of the army in many European countries.

About the Moscow zone of defense (MLO) is mentioned in many sources. But not everyone understands that we are not talking about the kind of territory and structure. This operative Association of the red Army, in its size similar to the front. The objective of the MOH was notmediocre defense of the capital, from the suburbs to the city centre. In December 1941, it included two army: the 24th and 60th, which contained 12 infantry and 1 cavalry divisions, 12 brigades, 5 machine-gun and 9 separate infantry battalions. The number was about two hundred thousand people.

After the defeat of the Germans near Moscow on the basis of the 60-th army was formed 3rd shock and 24 army reorganized the 1st backup. About the Moscow zone of defense is almost never mentioned, but this does not mean that it was not. In early 1942, the Zone was included, the 3rd sapper army, which began the construction of fortified areas around Moscow. In 1941, no real defensive structures have not been established, and almost all remained still strengthen military time, built in 1942.

In accordance with the resolution No1501сс “On the construction of new and restoration of defensive lines,” was built 12 fortified areas, more than 30 thousand Bunkers and Pillboxes, hundreds of kilometers of anti-tank ditches and barbed wire, tens of thousands of anti-tank obstacles. As follows from the Handbook “the Combat composition of the Soviet army 1941-19145 gg.”, in the summer of 1942 part of the MOH, there were 11 infantry divisions, 10 Level, 2 infantry brigades, 18 artillery regiments, 2 engineer brigades and other units. During the year, the composition did not change significantly, some compounds were sent to the front, but they replaced the other and the MOH continued to be the largest Union troops.

the Germans withdrew their troops from the Demyansk bridgehead in February 1943, with Rzhev in March. However, after that the Soviet leadership expected a possible attack on Moscow. And only on 15 October 1943, an order came for NGOs to abolish the Moscow defense zone. It was decided that the threat to the capital had passed.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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