On the Defensive in the Heartland
The Soviet literature describes the strategic situation at the time of the November lull in somewhat contradictory terms. The official accounts maintain that Soviet resistance brought the Germans to a stop west of Moscow and dismiss the effect of the weather as a German excuse for failure, perpetuated by "falsifiers of history."1 On the other hand, they indicate that the effect of the Soviet success was temporary, and the initiative remained entirely the Germans'. The picture, then, is one in which the Soviet armies fought the enemy to a total standstill and gained a brief respite. As the Popular Scientific Sketch gives it, the enemy needed two weeks to prepare his next moves, and the pause allowed the Soviet Command to reinforce the front and consolidate the Moscow defenses.2
The Soviet Condition
For the Soviet Command, as for the German, the crucial strategic consideration in early November, aside from the approach of winter, which was as welcome on the Soviet side as it was unwelcome on the German, was the relative state of the two forces. The manpower and material that had kept the Soviet Union in the war thus far, despite enormous losses, were sufficient to sustain another round of operations.3 As of 1 December the Soviet armies in the field would have 4.2 million men, a slight numerical superiority in armor over the Germans, approximate equality with them in aircraft, and a small inferiority in artillery and mortars.4
The Germans substantially underestimated the Soviet strength. Estimates given to the chiefs of staff on
KV TANK HEADED FOR THE FRONT RUMBLES THROUGH PUSHKIN SQUARE, MOSCOW
November at the Orsha Conference put the totals of Soviet larger units at 160 divisions and 40 brigades and rated their combat effectiveness at below 50 percent because more than half of those units' troops and officers were believed to be untrained.5 The actual numbers as of 1 December, according to the Soviet sources, would be 279 divisions and 93 brigades. In part, these units, particularly those from the reserves, lacked training and experience. Interspersed among them, however, was a growing core of seasoned divisions. The individual principally, though indirectly, responsible for this increase in readiness was the Soviet agent, Richard Sorge. He had apparently supplied enough information on Japanese plans to let the Soviet Command begin shifting some forces west even before 22 June.6 Through Sorge, Stalin had undoubtedly then known about a Japanese decision of 30 June to uphold its neutrality treaty of April 1941 with the Soviet Union and to risk war with the United States.7 By the fall, Stalin had either become convinced of Sorge's reliability or desperate enough (or both) to redeploy more troops from the east to the west. Some had appeared at the front in October, more in
November. The Stavka had held most troops back from the front to stiffen the reserve armies being formed. By 1 December it had transferred 70 divisions from the Soviet Far East and had brought another 27 divisions out of Central Asia and the Transcaucasus. Together these units constituted at least 30 percent of the total strategic reserves committed during the 1941 campaign.8
Departing from previous practice, Stalin did not commit his main reserves when the German advance resumed. The reserve armies were still being formed, and it is possible that Stalin had not yet decided to undertake an all-out stand at Moscow. Nevertheless, in Stalin's view, the defense of the Moscow area would remain the paramount strategic requirement. (So far during the campaign--June through November--Stalin had committed 150 divisions, 51 percent of the Stavka's total divisional reserves, in the West Front zone.) In late October, West Front, under General Zhukov, had received 11 rifle divisions, 16 tank brigades, and 40 artillery regiments from the reserve and from other fronts. Then in the first half of November, it acquired 100,000 troops, 300 tanks, and 2,000 artillery pieces. Meanwhile, workers from Moscow and surrounding cities had been recruited to form 12 militia divisions and 4 line rifle divisions. On 10 November Zhukov took over Fiftieth Army from Bryansk Front, which was being deactivated, and a week later he acquired Thirtieth Army from Kalinin Front. These extensions of his flanks gave him control from just south of Kalinin to Tula.9
In mid-November, before the weather changed and the lull ended, the Stavka had incorporated almost all of its forces into the defense of Moscow. West Front was to hold the direct approaches and to counter anticipated strong-armored thrusts west of Klin and at Tula. Kalinin Front, commanded by General Konev, and Southwest Front, under Marshal Timoshenko, were to pin down Army Group Center's outer flanks and thus prevent its commander, Field Marshal Bock, from shifting more weight toward Moscow. South Front, commanded by General Polkovnik Ya. T. Cherevichenko, and Leningrad Front, under General Leytenant M. S. Khozin, had orders to ready offensives near Rostov and at Tikhvin, respectively, to draw enemy reserves away from the center.10
The German November Offensive
In the second week of November, Army Group Center retained the same general deployment it had had at the beginning of the lull. Ninth Army, under General Strauss, held the line from the North-Center boundary, west of Ostashkov, to Kalinin. Third Panzer Group, under Generaloberst Hans Reinhardt, who had replaced General Hoth in October, stood on the Lama River, thirty miles west of Klin, with Fourth Panzer Group, under General Hoepner, on its right in a sector north of the Smolensk-Moscow highway. Under
Field Marshal Kluge, Fourth Army's left flank straddled the highway and its right tied in with Second Panzer Army, under General Guderian, on the Oka River. Second Panzer Army's main weight of armor was concentrated in a salient projecting eastward south of Tula. Second Army, commanded by General Weichs, covered the south flank east of Orel and Kursk. Against these, Kalinin Front, West Front, and the right flank of Southwest Front had twelve armies.
In spite of his doubts about how much farther he could go, Bock had tried to retain his option for a deep thrust past Moscow. He had drawn his armor inward toward Moscow somewhat but still had it arching well around and to the east of the city. He aimed Third Panzer Group south of the Volga Reservoir toward the Moscow-Volga Canal; Fourth Panzer Group, via Klin, toward the canal; and Second Panzer Army, past Tula, to Kashira and Ryazan. Those lines of advance would bring Third and Fourth Panzer Groups out on the Moscow-Volga Canal to strike toward Rybinsk and Yaroslavl, give Second Panzer Army a choice of going north from Kashira toward Moscow or east across the Oka River toward Gorkiy, and leave the close-in encirclement of the city to Fourth Army alone.11 As the time grew shorter, however, Bock's doubts increased, and he told Halder, chief of the General Staff, and the army commanders that he did not expect the army group to have enough troops, supplies, or tanks to get beyond the Moscow-Volga Canal on the north and the Moscow River on the south. But he let the armies' original orders stand, thereby, as Third Panzer Group put it, making their missions "unclear."12
On 14 November, Zhukov intervened--reluctantly--in what so far had been considered by both sides to be an exclusively German initiative. Forty-ninth Army--reinforced with a cavalry corps (2 cavalry divisions of 3,000 men each), a rifle division, a tank division, and 2 tank brigades, hit the Fourth Army right flank east of Serpukhov.13 At the last minute, because Zhukov expected the renewed German offensive any day, Stalin had insisted on "counterblows," which Zhukov believed could accomplish nothing other than to complicate the defense.14
During the morning on the 15th, one infantry corps of Ninth Army, which was only supernumerary in the offensive, jumped off south of Kalinin and experienced what Halder noted as "something new in this war": Soviet Thirtieth Army gave way without a fight.15 Although Third and Fourth Panzer Groups had less luck when they joined in a day later, the Soviet forces against them fared badly. A "counterblow" by Sixteenth Army's right flank, reinforced with a tank division and five cavalry divisions, ran head on into Fourth Panzer Group's attack east of Volokolamsk and collapsed.16 On the 18th, Second Panzer Army began its drive south of Tula, and one of its corps
covered nearly twenty-five miles during the day; the following day, Stalin asked Zhukov, "Are you sure we will be able to hold Moscow? It hurts me to ask you that. Answer me truthfully as a communist." Zhukov replied that Moscow would be held "by all means" but said he would need at least another two armies and two hundred more tanks.17 Stalin agreed to provide the two armies, but not the tanks, and said the armies would not be ready until the end of the month, which left the situation around Moscow unlikely to improve anytime soon unless relief came from the operations about to begin elsewhere.
West and north of Rostov, Timoshenko had doubled South Front's strength in the first half of the month by deploying two fresh armies, Thirty-seventh Army and Fifty-sixth Independent Army. On the 17th, Thirty-seventh Army together with elements of Ninth and Eighteenth Armies hit the shoulder of General Kleist's First Panzer Army fifty miles north of Rostov. Timoshenko had thought to fulfill the Stavka's requirement for a diversion and to block the gateway to the Caucasus, but the first days' results were discouraging: XIV Panzer Corps stood fast on the north while III Panzer Corps broke away to the southeast toward Rostov.18
The outlook for an effective diversion at Tikhvin appeared even dimmer. There, General Meretskov took command of the shattered Fourth Independent Army on 7 November, just as Tikhvin was being lost. Twelve days later, responding to "urgent demands" from the Stavka, he went over to the offensive at Tikhvin with the one infantry division and two tank battalions of reinforcements he had received so far. These forces were actually enough, in view of Army Group North's straitened circumstances, to alter the balance in the Soviet favor, but they were not likely to produce swift or devastating effects.19
Bock's armor had made good progress in the first three days of the offensive. The ground was frozen hard and dusted with light, dry snow. The Germans had painted their tanks, trucks, and guns white to blend with the landscape. Shortening days, low-hanging clouds, and snow flurries restricted air support, and temperatures ten to twenty degrees below freezing were new to troops so far accustomed to campaigning in warmer seasons. On the other hand, armor could move across country as if it were on paved roads. The fall mud and the summer's dust and mosquitoes were gone. The scenery was also improved. The Belorussian forests and swamps had given way to the Moscow upland dotted with prosperous-looking villages clean under the new-fallen snow.
This, the Germans were uneasily aware, was not the real Russian winter. Fighting then would be altogether different. Third Panzer Group had already told the OKH that while infantry could be made mobile in the coldest weather and the deepest snow, tanks and trucks did not respond like men and could not be ordered to master difficulties they were not built to meet. But meteorological statistics from as far back as the nineteenth century gave
PANZER III TANK AND INFANTRY ADVANCE OVER RUTTED BUT FROZEN ROAD
no reason to expect heavy snow and extreme low temperatures before mid-December.20
For the moment the weather was the least of the troubles that faced Army Group Center on the 18th. In three days of fighting, Fourth Army just barely had repulsed the Serpukhov "counterblow." When a second counterblow, in which some Siberian troops well fitted out for winter fighting, came at the same spot on the 18th, Kluge talked about pulling back ten to fifteen miles to cover on the Protva River. Since some of his regiments were reduced to four or five hundred men and commanded by first lieutenants, his right flank, he said, was unlikely to be able to complete the southern sweep of the Moscow encirclement.
Bock and Halder exchanged opinions late on the 18th on "what prospects the whole operation still had." They concluded that both sides were close to the end of their strengths, and the victory would go to the one who had the most will.21 Two days later, determined to be the one to commit his last regiment, Bock, using his special train as a command post, moved out to the army group left flank behind Third and Fourth Panzer Groups. From there, he revised the plan again, ordering Fourth Panzer Group to bear east, south of Klin, and to add weight on
Fourth Army's left flank. He told Third Panzer Group to take Klin and dip southeast along the road and the Klin-Moscow railroad toward Solnechnogorsk. But when Third Panzer Group took Klin on the 23d, Bock changed his mind again. Fourth Panzer Group's left flank units were already in Solnechnogorsk, and Bock responded to a proposal from Reinhardt to turn his Third Panzer Group southeast toward Moscow anyway with an order to cover Fourth Panzer Group's flank but also to push due east "as far as possible."22
After the 23d, as Third Panzer Group headed east away from Klin, the blitzkrieg worked surprisingly well. The Russians retreated steadily and, for once, did not set fire to their villages as they left, which the group's intelligence officers took to mean either that they were becoming demoralized or, though that seemed much less likely, that they expected to return.23 The lead division, 7th Panzer, picked up a deserter, an NKVD lieutenant, who said the Russians were evacuating the area west of the Moscow-Volga Canal and were readying fresh troops off the panzer group's open flank on the north for an attack toward Klin. Talk among the Soviet officers, he said, was that "Klin will be a klin [in Russian, a wedge] against the Germans." The interrogation report did not find its way to panzer group headquarters until the second week of December.24
On 27 November, 7th Panzer Division reached the Moscow-Volga Canal. The next morning, assuming its mission would still be to push east, Third Panzer Group took a bridgehead on the east bank of the canal at Yakhroma. During the day, Fourth Panzer Group's spearhead, 2d Panzer Division, came almost to a standstill twenty miles to the south, west of Krasnaya Polyana, and twelve miles north of Moscow. Echeloned in a fifteen-mile line on the 2d Panzer Division right, General Hoepner, commander of Fourth Panzer Group, had 11th Panzer Division, 5th Panzer Division, 10th Panzer Division, and the SS "Das Reich" Division all aimed toward Moscow but barely moving as they crunched head-on into the minefields and fiercely defended earthworks ringing the city. Kluge's Fourth Army left flank was inching ahead, but not enough to keep Hoepner's forces from having to stretch to maintain contact. Second Panzer Army had driven in a large bulge south of Tula, but Soviet Fiftieth Army held on grimly around the city, and a raid by one of Second Panzer Army's divisions north to Kashira was drawing a swarm of Soviet cavalry and tanks down on the 17th Panzer Division. On the night of the 28th, Bock, while changing the plan again, at least symbolically, committed his "last regiment." Giving Third Panzer Group the Lehrbrigade 900 (actually one battalion), the only reserve he had, he ordered Reinhardt to forget about the Yakhroma bridgehead, turn south along the west bank of the canal, and join Hoepner's push toward Moscow.25
Meanwhile, during the past week, Army Group South had undergone
some decidedly unpleasant experiences at Rostov. The SS division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" had taken the city on the 21st. This was a notable but dangerous feat. In and around Rostov, III Panzer Corps came under attack from the south across the frozen Don River and from the north over the open steppe, and on its left, elements of three Soviet armies battered away at XIV Panzer Corps. Kleist, the First Panzer Army commander, had begun to realize several days earlier that this onslaught was more than he had anticipated, and on 22 November, he ordered III Panzer Corps to evacuate Rostov and to go behind the Mius River.26 He had to cancel this order a day later, however, after Field Marshal Rundstedt, commander of Army Group South, told him that he personally approved of the evacuation, but Field Marshal Brauchitsch, commander in chief of the army, had demanded that the city be held because giving it up would have military and "far reaching political consequences."27 The timing was indeed inopportune since Hitler was preparing to stage a publicity spectacle for the renewal of the 1936 Anti-Comintern Pact, the cornerstone of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis.
With Rostov lost, Leningrad isolated, and Moscow in imminent danger, the Soviet strategic position looked worse than ever. But Stalin apparently believed as strongly as Bock and Hitler did that the contest was one of willpower, and on 22 November, the Stavka told Timoshenko that the loss of Rostov did not abrogate the counterattack against First Panzer Army. A directive issued two days later gave Cherevichenko's South Front the mission of destroying First Panzer Army and retaking the Taganrog-Rostov area. However, Cherevichenko, apparently aware by then that he could not outfight the whole panzer army, chose a smaller but more promising approach and in three days shifted the weight of his forces from the north front to the line at Rostov.28
Tension, no doubt already enormous for the Russians, was also gripping the Germans in late November. Brauchitsch, not yet recovered from a heart attack earlier in the month, became more and more querulous, impatient for successes to smooth his interviews with Hitler. Bock developed the "Russian disease," diarrhea. Rundstedt lapsed into haughty silence, letting his Chief of Staff, General Sodenstern, talk to the OKH. Hitler circulated between the Wolfsschanze and Berlin on business of state that had some ominous undertones. On 21 November, he was in Berlin for the funeral of Generaloberst Ernst Udet, the Luftwaffe's chief of aircraft development, whose death, actually a suicide, was being attributed to an airplane accident. On the 25th, Hitler was back in Berlin to sign the Anti-Comintern Pact and to welcome two new and reluctant members, Finland and Denmark. He spent the next two days in ceremonies and festivities associated with the signing, and on the 28th, he attended another funeral, that of Germany's top air ace, Colonel Werner Moelders, who had been killed in an airplane crash.
Hitler devoted the rest of the day to talks with visiting diplomats.
Retreat from Rostov
At his return to the Wolfsschanze, early on 29 November, Hitler found awaiting him the rarest kind of news thus far in the war: German troops were retreating. By the 28th, Cherevichenko had brought up twenty-one Soviet divisions against III Panzer Corps at Rostov. The corps commander, General der Kavallerie Eberhard von Mackensen, had reported several weeks earlier, before the last advance began, that his two divisions, the "Leibstandarte" and the 13th Panzer, were worn out, short on everything from socks to antifreeze, and down to a half to two-thirds their normal strengths. During the day on the 28th, as he expected to have to do, Kleist ordered Mackensen to give up Rostov.29 When Hitler arrived at the Wolfsschanze, III Panzer Corps had evacuated Rostov, and the advantage in position and numbers was still heavily on the Soviet side.
On the morning of the 30th, as he had tried to do a week earlier, Kleist ordered his whole right flank, including III Panzer Corps, to go behind the Mius River forty-five miles west of Rostov.30 Tactically Kleist was making the right move. He had nothing to gain militarily from a prolonged stand in the open, and the short but relatively straight Mius offered a good winter line. On the other hand, a forty-five-mile German retreat in a strategically important sector at this stage was bound to have the psychological effect of a Soviet victory. Nobody could be more sensitive to such an implication than Hitler. In an afternoon interview with Brauchitsch on the 30th, Hitler, using "accusations and invective," browbeat Brauchitsch into trying to get Rundstedt to delay executing Kleist's order. When Rundstedt refused and offered his resignation, Hitler dismissed him early the next day and named Field Marshal Reichenau to succeed him at Army Group South. After insisting through the day that he could hold a line somewhere east of the river, Reichenau finally had to give in at dark and let the withdrawal to the Mius be completed that night.31 (Map 4.)
Before daylight on the morning of 2 December, Hitler left East Prussia by air for Kleist's headquarters in Mariupol on the Black Sea. He stopped at Poltava later in the morning to pick up Reichenau and change from his comfortable but vulnerable four-engine "Condor" transport to a faster and better defended Heinkel 111 bomber. The weather was unusually cold for December in the Ukraine, and from Mariupol east a five-mile-wide, foot-thick band of ice already fringed the Gulf of Taganrog. At Mariupol, Hitler and Reichenau, as Kleist obliquely put it, "visited" with Kleist and the commanding general of the "Leibstandarte," SS Obergruppenfuehrer Josef Dietrich. The visit was far from routine, if only because Hitler seldom traveled so near to the front as an army headquarters. It was also not pleasant for the participants
Army Group South
28 November-3 December 1941
and was generally pointless since there was nothing more to be decided. Hitler apparently wanted an assurance from Dietrich, one of his oldest party cronies and former bodyguard, that Rostov could not have been held and assurances from all three generals that the Mius line would be. After receiving those, Hitler switched to talk about restarting the offensive in the new year, promising Kleist everything from tanks and self-propelled assault guns to parachute troops and fresh divisions.32
At the Wolfsschanze, when he returned early on 4 December, after an overnight stop in Poltava caused by bad flying weather, Hitler found a prediction of another Rostov awaiting him. Field Marshal Leeb, commander of Army Group North, believed the Russians were beginning to see a chance not only to retake Tikhvin but to liberate Leningrad, which would constitute a substantial political and military success for them. A German push north out of the Tikhvin salient toward Lake Ladoga had been stopped on 1 December at Volkhov, thirty-five miles south of the lake. (Map 5.) If the Russians retook Tikhvin and opened the railroad to Volkhov, they could readily sluice the reinforcements they were bringing up northwest for an attack on the Leningrad bottleneck. (German air reconnaissance had reported twenty-nine trains headed west on the Vologda-Tikhvin line on 2 December.) What concerned Leeb most was less his own situation than that of Army Group Center. As he saw it, if a strong threat to Moscow could not be maintained, the enemy would surely be able to release enough reserves to go after Tikhvin and Leningrad.33
"Something Does Not Add Up"
Although it was not exactly the brightest of days for Army Group Center, 27 November was one of acute crisis in the Soviet Moscow defense. North of the capital, the advances of Third Panzer and Fourth Panzer Groups past Klin and Solnechnogorsk had opened a twenty-seven-mile-wide gap between Dimitrov, on the Moscow-Volga Canal, and Krasnaya Polyana, twelve miles north of Moscow. General Mayor D. D. Lelyushenko, who had taken command of Thirtieth Army on 18 November, had brought the army back under control but had not done so in time to prevent its being pushed into a corner in the angle of the Volga River and the Moscow-Volga Canal. There, for the moment, Thirtieth Army could do nothing to block German progress to the east and south.34 Sixteenth Army, under General Leytenant Konstantin Rokossovskiy, had, since the front had broken open between Klin and Solnechnogorsk, been having to stretch its flank east to cover Moscow and to take the whole shock of the enemy's sweep toward the city. The 17th Panzer Division's thrust toward Kashira was beginning to form a deep pocket around Tula and was putting a Second Panzer Army spearhead within sixty-five miles of Moscow on the south.
Thirtieth Army's debacle had paid one dividend. It had given the Stavka early
Army Group North
1 December 1941
SOVIET GUNNERS MAN A MACHINE GUN WEST OF MOSCOW
warning of the trouble to come, and so when the crisis arrived, means were being assembled to meet it. Unlike Bock, Stalin was apparently not prepared to venture his last regiment in the battle for Moscow, but he also had enough resources to stay in the fight for one more round. In late November, he gave West Front 9 rifle divisions, 2 cavalry divisions, 8 rifle brigades, 6 tank brigades, and 10 independent tank battalions.35 Of those, 3 rifle divisions went to Thirtieth Army; a rifle division, the 2 cavalry divisions formed into the I Guards Cavalry Corps under General Mayor E. A. Belov, and a portion of the armor went to the Kashira area; and the rest went to Sixteenth, Fifth, and Fiftieth Armies and the front reserve.36
Additionally, as the Germans were passing Klin, Stalin and the Stavka had begun setting up two reserve armies to cover the gap that would be developing farther east. On 23 November, General Kuznetsov took command of one of these, First Shock Army, on the line of the Moscow-Volga Canal south of Dimitrov. The shock armies were conceived
of as being particularly heavy in armor, motorization, artillery, and automatic weapons, but First Shock (and the others of this category created during the winter of 1941-1942) was not so well equipped. When Kuznetsov arrived in Dimitrov on the 23d, his command consisted of a rifle brigade. By the end of the month he had 1 rifle division, 9 rifle brigades, 10 separate battalions, a regiment of artillery, and a contingent of rocket launchers. About 70 percent of the troops were over thirty years old.37
The second of the two new reserve armies, Twentieth Army, was built in what, by 27 November, had become the most critical spot on the entire front, the sector between the right flank of Sixteenth Army and the Moscow-Volga Canal. This area included the much-fought-over village of Krasnaya Polyana. Because of the subsequent behavior of its commander, General Leytenant Andrei Vlasov, the Soviet histories are reticent in dealing with Twentieth Army's role at Moscow.38 In late 1941, however, Vlasov was regarded in the Soviet Army as one of the most brilliant younger Soviet generals. He had commanded the Thirty-seventh Army, which had been destroyed in the Kiev pocket, but he and some of his staff had escaped. Like Kuznetsov, Vlasov initially had just odds and ends: he said later, a Siberian brigade, some ten thousand criminal prisoners, and fifteen tanks.39 No doubt, Twentieth Army, which was also in position to take over some of Sixteenth Army's right flank elements, was quickly brought up to a strength at least equal to that of First Shock.
In the last week of November, the Stavka also began bringing five of the newly formed reserve armies forward from the line of the Volga River. Three--Twenty-fourth, Twenty-sixth, and Sixtieth Armies--were stationed east of Moscow, and one, Sixty-first Army, behind Southwest Front's right flank. The other, Tenth Army, was deployed west of the Oka River, downstream from Kashira in position to block Second Panzer Army thrusts toward Kolomna and Ryazan.40
Tenth Army, under General Leytenant F. I. Golikov, was very likely typical of the ten reserve armies. Its main forces were seven reserve rifle divisions recruited in the Moscow region. It had approximately one hundred thousand troops. After receiving its marching orders on 24 November, Tenth Army had to negotiate the more than three hundred miles from its original station at Syzran on the Volga by rail and on foot, since it had almost no motor vehicles.41
During the day on 29 November, Third and Fourth Panzer Groups made contact with elements of First Shock and Twentieth Armies at Yakhroma and west of Krasnaya Polyana. Late in the day, after Zhukov had assured him that the Germans would not commit any new large forces in the near future, Stalin turned over First Shock, Twentieth, and Tenth Armies to Zhukov's control for a counterattack.42 During the day, also,
Third Panzer Group made its turn south, and Fourth Panzer Group registered a small gain. Talking to Halder, Bock said he was afraid that if the attack from the north did not succeed the battle would soon degenerate into a "soulless frontal confrontation" similar to the World War I Battle of Verdun.43
On the night of the 30th, while his one colleague, Leeb, worried about what might happen at Leningrad once the pressure was off Moscow and the other, Rundstedt, was a few hours away from dismissal over the Rostov affair, Bock, musing about his own situation, concluded that "something does not add up." During the day, while the panzer groups were again reporting very small gains, Colonel Adolf Heusinger, the operations branch chief in the OKH, had been on the telephone to Bock talking as if encircling Moscow were only a preliminary to thrusts toward Voronezh and Yaroslavl. When Bock later called Brauchitsch to tell him that Army Group Center did not have enough strength to encircle at Moscow much less to do anything more, he had to ask several times whether Brauchitsch was still listening. Early the next morning, wondering whether Brauchitsch had listened, Bock repeated by teletype what he had said the day before, adding that the belief in an impending Soviet collapse had been proved "a phantasy."44 His troops, he said, were exhausted, and the offensive had therewith lost "all sense and purpose." The army group, he concluded, was shortly going to be at a standstill "before the gates of Moscow," and it was time to decide what to do then.
At the Gates
In the morning on 30 November, Zhukov submitted to the Stavka a West Front plan for a counteroffensive north and south of Moscow. The idea, of course, was not new. As Zhukov has put it, "The counter-offensive had been prepared all through the defense actions. . . ."45 The continuing Soviet strategy, since June, had been "let the enemy wear himself down, bring him to a stop, and create the conditions for a subsequent shift to the counterattack."46 Counteroffensives had been launched on the frontiers in June and on the Dnepr-Dvina line in July, and the Stavka and the General Staff had considered others throughout the campaign, most recently, when the Germans had been stopped on the Moscow approaches in early November.47
However, neither the plan Zhukov sent in on the 30th--in response to earlier instructions from the General Staff--nor the circumstances under which the plan was expected to be executed actually conformed to previous thinking, which had envisioned a counteroffensive against an enemy who had been stopped. The plan was conceived as a near-to-last move in a battle that was likely to turn against the Russians. Zhukov says he told Stalin on the night of the 29th that the Germans were "bled white" and gives the essence of the plan as having been to strike past Klin and Solnechnogorsk sixty miles to Teryaeva Sloboda and Volokolamsk in
the north and up to the same distance past Stalinogorsk to the Upa River in the south.48 On the other hand, General Vasilevskiy, acting chief of the General Staff, in briefing the Kalinin Front commander, Konev, who would have two of his armies included in the counterattack, said: "We can only halt the German attack toward Moscow and thereby . . . lay the groundwork for beginning to inflict a serious defeat on the enemy by active operations with a decisive aim. If we do not do that in the next few days, it will be too late."49 The order for the counterattack Kuznetsov, the First Shock Army commander, received on the morning of 2 December was to have the Zakharov group attack toward Dednevo and Fedorovka and "in the longer run" strike toward Klin50 Dednevo and Fedorovka were villages directly opposite the army's left flank, and the Zakharov group, parts of three divisions and a tank brigade under General Mayor F. D. Zakharov, had been the rear guard at Klin and were pinned down west of the Moscow-Volga Canal by Third Panzer Group's spearhead.51
Zhukov's chief of staff at the time, General Leytenant V. D. Sokolovskiy, wrote later, "The main objective of our counterattack was to break up the enemy's attack conclusively and give him no opportunity to regroup and dig in close to our capital."52 Zhukov also qualifies his statement of the objectives by saying the "initial task" was to be "removing the immediate threat to Moscow," and "we would need more forces to assign further-going and more categorical missions."53 However, Stalin, who had been willing during the summer to commit reserve armies into counterattacks as fast as they could be formed, was being remarkably parsimonious in dealing them out for this counterattack. The reserve armies stationed east of Moscow were earmarked to be used "in the defense, if necessary, or, if they were not required, in developing a counteroffensive." But the decisions as to how and when the armies would be committed were reserved to the Stavka, which meant to Stalin, and he had not yet made up his mind.54
In the first two days of December, it looked as though Bock might have been too pessimistic, and the Soviet counterattack might very well come too late. To the Germans' surprise as much as the Russians', Fourth Army's 258th Infantry Division broke through the Soviet line south of the Moscow-Smolensk highway on the 1st. Northeast of Tula, the next day, Second Panzer Army began a hook to the west which, if it succeeded in pinching off the city, could have brought the Fourth Army right flank into motion. Bock at Army Group Center had reverted to fighting what he assumed to be the battle of the last regiments, vacillating between desperate hope and gloomy apprehension. Early on the 2d, he told Kluge, Reinhardt, and Hoepner that the enemy was close to breaking. Talking to Halder later in the day, however, he said that owing to declining strength, cold, and stiffening resistance, "doubts
of success are beginning to take definite form."55
On the 3d, despite even more reasons for doubts, Bock's determination increased slightly. In the morning, when Kluge proposed giving up Fourth Army's attack because it would not get through to Moscow, Bock opted to wait two or three days to see what effect Third Panzer Group could have. By late afternoon, 258th Infantry Division was fighting its way westward out of an encirclement; Fourth Panzer Group had reported its offensive strength "in the main exhausted"; and Third Panzer Group was embroiled with First Shock Army at Yakhroma. Second Panzer Army was still advancing northeast of Tula but through a blizzard that was piling up snow all along the army group front. Bock told General Jodl, Hitler's operations chief in the OKW, that although his troop strength was almost at an end, he would stay on the attack. The reason he was holding on "with tooth and claw," Bock added, was because keeping the initiative was preferable to going over to the defensive with weakened forces in exposed positions.56
During the previous two weeks the weather had been getting colder, with temperatures ranging between 0° F. and 20° F. On the morning of 4 December, after heavy snowfalls the day before, the temperature stood at -4° F. In his diary, Bock observed in passing that it was "icy cold." During that day, Fourth Army went over to the defensive, its front quiet. Fourth Panzer Group repelled several tank-led Soviet counterattacks southwest of Krasnaya Polyana but declared itself unable to advance until Third Panzer Group came fully abreast. Third Panzer Group, meanwhile, while trying to bring three panzer divisions to bear southwest of Yakhroma, was getting pressure on its front northwest of Yakhroma from Soviet reinforcements, some of which Reinhardt, its commander, believed were Siberian troops. And Second Panzer Army was regrouping to try again to pinch off Tula. Again Bock had decided to stay on the offensive. Mildly disturbed by a reported half-dozen new enemy divisions in the front northwest of Moscow, all well provided with tanks and rocket launchers, he concluded that they were probably not new strength but units shifted from nearby quiet sectors. A counteroffensive, he stated in his last report of the day to the OKH, was unlikely: the enemy did not have enough forces.57
Stalin, the Popular Scientific Sketch says, kept in close communications with Zhukov in the first days of December, calling him several times a day to inquire about the progress of the fighting. "In the complicated situation . . . , it was very important to time the shift from the defense to the counteroffensive correctly. The most favorable moment for the shift to the counteroffensive presented itself when the enemy was forced to stop his attack but could not yet go on the defensive because his troops were not yet properly regrouped,
CREW OF GERMAN s. F.H. 18, 150-MM. HOWITZER, BUNDLED-UP AGAINST THE COLD
no reserves had been created, and the defense lines were not prepared."58 While most Soviet accounts do not specify a day, according to Sokolovskiy, the decision was made to shift to the counterattack on 4 December. On that day, he says, the West Front troops had brought the enemy near Moscow to a standstill, and it then became "urgently necessary" to go over to the counteroffensive "without any pause." Vasilevskiy says the Stavka set the date for the counterattack as 5 and 6 December.59
Vasilevskiy went to the Kalinin Front headquarters on the night of the 4th to deliver the directive from the General Staff to start the counteroffensive--and, possibly, to make certain it began on the 5th. Konev, claiming he had neither the tanks nor the infantry to attack, had opposed a counterattack when Vasilevskiy had talked to him about it three days earlier.60 Kalinin Front's mission was to hit the German Ninth Army front southeast of Kalinin with the Twenty-ninth and Thirty-first Armies and to bear south and west "in the general direction of Minkulino-Gorodishche," twenty-five miles east of Klin.61 Vasilevskiy indicates that he told Konev on 1 December to have Kalinin Front ready to start "in two or three days."62 Timoshenko, at Southwest Front,
received orders on 4 December to strike against German Second Army on the 6th with the Third and Thirteenth Armies and to aim for Yefremov and past Yelets toward Livny.63 Yefremov was just behind the front on the Second Army north flank, and Yelets, in the center, was then still in Soviet hands.
Vasilevskiy's account indicates that the Stavka's orders to begin the counteroffensive on 5 and 6 December applied to West Front as well as Kalinin and Southwest Fronts.64 However, Zhukov describes his telephone conversation with Stalin late on 4 December in which they talked about air and armor reinforcements for West Front and which Stalin closed by reminding Zhukov to "remember" that Kalinin Front would be going over to the counteroffensive on the 5th, and Southwest Front would follow on the 6th.65
During the night of 4 December, the temperature dropped to -25° F. One German regiment on a night march had over three hundred frostbite casualties, and several of its wounded men froze to death. The next morning, tanks would not start; machine guns and artillery would not fire because their lubricants and the oil in their recoil mechanisms had congealed; and all the armies reported numerous frostbite cases. In the paralyzing morning cold, the Soviet Twenty-ninth Army attacked across the ice-covered Volga west of Kalinin and broke into the Ninth Army line about a mile before being stopped.66 Reinhardt and Hoepner both reported more fresh Soviet troops on their fronts and their own offensive capabilities evaporating. Reinhardt's Third Panzer Group tried to push a wedge south between the left flank of Hoepner's Fourth Panzer Group at Krasnaya Polyana and the Moscow-Volga Canal, but his automatic weapons did not work; the cold quickly drained the troops' energy; and the attack had barely begun before it had to be called back. In the morning, Guderian thought Second Panzer Army could still take Tula, but by evening his confidence had faded, and he proposed a gradual withdrawal from the whole bulge east of Tula to the Don and Shat rivers. His tanks, he complained, were breaking down in the cold, while Soviet tanks kept running.67
Zhukov's order to begin the counteroffensive on 6 December went to West Front's armies on the 5th.68 The Germans later believed that the drastic temperature drop on the night of the 4th had much to do with Zhukov's timing. Early in 1942, too late to be of use, German intelligence circulated to the commands in the East a partial transcript of statements Timoshenko and Zhukov allegedly had made at a Moscow conference in late November urging a counteroffensive at Moscow. The information was described as having come from a very good source. Timoshenko, whose Southwest Front forces were at the time of the conference building toward victory at Rostov,
recommended giving priority to Zhukov's West Front, stating:
The great danger for the German Command is that the first big change in the weather will knock out all of their motorized equipment. We must hold out as long as in any way possible but immediately go over to the attack when the first few days of cold have broken the back of the German forces. This backbone consists of the tanks and motorized artillery that will become useless when the temperature hits 20° [F.] below zero.
Zhukov supposedly added that he proposed to let the "start and the course of the offensive be determined by the weather" and expected its success to be in proportion to the "freezing off" of the German equipment.69
The Soviet accounts, however, totally ignore the possibility of the weather's having had any part in the timing of the counteroffensive. They respond to German and other contentions that it worked to the Soviet advantage by pointing out that both sides had to cope with cold and snow and that temperatures in December 1941 were not actually as low (-25° to -50° F.) as was claimed. One Soviet work asserting these two points does give the December mean temperature as recorded by Soviet weather stations around Moscow as -28.6° C. (-19.3° F.) which was, after all, quite cold.70 The relationship between the weather and the counteroffensive appears coincidental up to 4 December. After then, however, the probability of its having influenced the timing of West Front's operations increases.
As of 5 December, Second Panzer Army and Third and Fourth Panzer Groups were at a standstill, enforced by the cold, regardless of whether Soviet resistance could have achieved the same effect. For the counteroffensive, West Front was to aim "blows" toward Klin, Solnechnogorsk, and Istra to "smash" the enemy on the right flank, and to deliver "blows in the flanks and rear of the Guderian group [Second Panzer Army]" to Uzlovaya and Bogoroditsk "to smash the enemy on the left flank."71 The final order Kuznetsov's First Shock Army received on 5 December instructed it again to clear the Dednevo-Fedorovka area and "in the longer run" to advance in "the direction of Klin."72
Soviet postwar accounts treat the strengths of both sides' forces on the eve of the counterattack as a matter of outstanding historical significance. They emphasize that, as of 5 December, German forces outnumbered Soviet in the Moscow sector. However, the figures they employ vary and in the aggregate do not substantiate the existence of an actual Soviet numerical inferiority. The latest, hence presumably most authoritative figures, those given in the History of the Second World War, are 1,708,000 German and 1,100,000 Soviet troops on the approaches to Moscow.73 The numbers used in earlier Soviet works were 800,000 or "more than 800,000" German and between 719,000 and 760,000 Soviet troops.74 The German strength as it appears in the History of the Second
World War comprises all personnel assigned to Army Group Center including air force troops.75 The Soviet strength is that of the forces assigned to the counterattack.76 The strengths given in the other works are said to be those of the divisions and brigades in Army Group Center and those of the Soviet fronts, in other words, the combat strengths for the two sides.77 None of the Soviet strengths given include the eight armies still in the Stavka reserve, a total of about eight hundred thousand men.
It is clear that, even without the reserve armies, the Soviet forces opposing Army Group Center were relatively stronger on 5 December than they had been in October when Operation TAIFUN began. While Army Group Center had not been able to replace its losses in troops and equipment, the Soviet armies in the Moscow sector had acquired a third more rifle divisions, five times more cavalry divisions, twice as many artillery regiments, and two-and-a-half times as many tank brigades by 5 December than they had had on 2 October.78
Along the front around Moscow at daybreak on 6 December, the temperature dropped as low as -38° F. During the night, Bock at Army Group Center had approved Guderian's proposed withdrawal of Second Panzer Army, and he had told Reinhardt and Hoepner to "adjust" their plans for Third and Fourth Panzer Groups to pullbacks from Yakhroma and Krasnaya Polyana to a line covering Klin. He had also called General der Panzertruppen Rudolf Schmidt at Second Army, which had been drifting slowly eastward toward Yelets for the past several days, and had told him he had better come to a stop; otherwise, his army would soon find itself standing farther east than any of the others.79
The Soviet armies, entering the first day of the full counteroffensive, gave variously executed solo performances. Thirty-first Army joined in with the stalled Twenty-ninth Army at Kalinin Front but failed to get across the Volga south of Kalinin. Thirtieth Army made the day's best--and, for the Germans, most dangerous--showing by breaking into the Third Panzer Group deep flank northeast of Klin to a depth of eight miles. First Shock and Twentieth Armies hit Third and Fourth Panzer Groups from Yakhroma to west of Krasnaya Polyana, but only Twentieth Army made a gain, a small one, on the southern edge of Krasnaya Polyana. Tenth Army, most of which was still on the march from Syzran, began its attack on Mikhaylov, on the eastern rim of the Tula bulge, with one rifle division and two motorized infantry regiments.80 During the day Second Army took Yelets while Southwest Front's
Thirteenth Army was shifting to the offensive there.81
Before noon on the 6th, Reinhardt told Bock that Third Panzer Group would have to start pulling away on the south during the night to provide some armor to put against Thirtieth Army. That meant Fourth Panzer Group, Third Panzer's neighbor on the south, also would have to start back soon. The Soviet pressure subsided everywhere that afternoon, and Kluge talked to Bock about keeping the pace of the withdrawals slow to evacuate all the equipment and supplies.82 Nevertheless, in the bitter night that followed, the battle turned. From Tikhvin, to Moscow, to the Mius River, the BARBAROSSA campaign had run its course.
1. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 122; IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 250; IVMV, vol. IV, pp. 98-101.
2. See Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 337; VOV, p. 99.
3. The Soviet literature provides virtually no information on Soviet losses and, except in the instance of the Kiev battle, dismisses the German counts as vastly exaggerated. However, if, as a scattering of figures indicates, 461 divisions were committed to the campaign between June and December (170 divisions were in the frontier military districts on 22 June 1941, and 291 divisions were committed from the Stavka reserves between 22 June and 1 December) and only 279 of these divisions were in the field in early December, then the divisions lost alone could have totaled 182, or 39 percent. Since not all of the divisions and other units employed in the campaign were either in place on 22 June or deployed from Stavka reserves thereafter, this number would have to be regarded as the minimum possible loss. The military districts, fronts, and armies undoubtedly mobilized a number of other divisions and units during this period. Additionally, peoples' militia divisions and so-called independent regiments and battalions, numbering about two million men, were recruited in the threatened areas. What became of them is impossible to determine. See V. Zemskov, "Nekotoriye voprosy sozdaniya i ispolzovaniya strategicheskikh rezervov," M. Kazakov, "Sozdaniya i ispolzovaniye strategicheskikh reservov," and V. Golubovich, "Sozdaniya strategicheskikh rezervov," Voyenno-istoricheskiy zhurnal, 3(1971), 12-16; 12(1972), 45-49; 41(1977), 10-13, respectively.
4. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 129.
5. H. Gr. Nord, Der Chef des Generalstabes, Ia Nr. 769/41, Niederschrift ueber die Besprechung beim Chef des GenStdH am 13.11.41, AOK 18 35945/1 file.
6. Golubovich, "Sozdaniya strategicheskikh," p. 17; VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 69; VOV, vol. I.
7. Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte, Deutsche Geschichte seit dem ersten Weltkrieg (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1973), vol. II, p. 115.
8. Zemskov, "Nekotoriye voprosy sozdaniya i ispolzovaniya strategicheskikh rezervov," p. 14. See also p. 42.
9. Kazakov, "Sozdaniya i ispolzovaniya strategicheskikh rezervov," p. 48; VOV, p. 99; IVMV, vol. IV, p. 104; A. Sinitsyn, "Iz istorii sozdaniya dobrovolcheskikh chastey i soyedineniy Sovetskoy Armii," Voyenno-istoricheskiy Zhurnal, 1(1973), 11-15.
10. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 124.
11. H. Gr. Mitte, Ia Nr. 2250/41, Befeld fuer die Fortsetzung der Operationen, 30.10.41, Pz. AOK 4 22547/14 file.
12. Pz. AOK 3, Ia Nr. 520/42, Gefechtsbericht Russland 1941-42, 29.4.42, Pz. AOK 3 21818/2 file; Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 287.
13. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 256.
14. Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 338.
15. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 290.
16. Rokossovskiy, Soldier's Duty, p. 70; IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 256.
17. Guderian, Panzer Leader, p. 251; Zakharov, Proval, p. 39.
18. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 222; IVMV, vol. IV, pp. 120-21.
19. Meretskov, Serving the People, pp. 157-70; IVMV, vol. IV, p. 113; Leeb, Tagebuchaufzeichnungen, pp. 392-94.
20. Pz. AOK 3, Ia Nr. 520/42, Gefechtsbericht Russland 1941-42, 29.4.42, Pz. AOK 3 21818/2 file; Pz. AOK 3, Ic/AO, Klimatische Verhaeltnisse an der oberen Wolga im Winter, 27.10.41, Pz. AOK 3 20839/5 file.
21. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 294.
22. Pz. AOK 3, Gefechtsbericht Russland 1941-42, Pz. AOK 3 21818/2 file.
23. Pz. AOK 3, Ic/AO, Taetigkeitsbericht Nr. 3, 23.11.41, Pz. AOK 3 16911/32 file.
24. Pz. Gr. 3, Ic, Mitteilungen, 21.12.41, Pz. AOK 4 16911/36 file.
25. Pz. AOK 3, Ia Nr. 520/42, Gefechtsbericht Russland 1941-42, Pz. AOK 3 21818/2 file.
26. Pz. AOK 1, Ia Nr. 3108/41, Pz. Armeebefehl Nr. 31, 22.11.41, Pz. AOK 1 19194/5 file.
27. H. Gr. Sued, Ia Nr. 3463/41, an OB der 1. Pz. Armee, 23.11.41, Pz. AOK 1 19194/5 file.
28. IVMV, vol. IV, pp. 120-21; IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 223.
29. III AK, Stichwort-Beurteilung der Lage, 29.10.41, Pz. AOK 1 58682 file; Pz. AOK 1, Ia Nr. 5119/41, Pz. Armeebefehl Nr. 38, 28.11.41, Pz. AOK 1 19194/5 file.
30. Pz. AOK 1, Pz. Armeebefehl Nr. 40, 30.11.41, Pz. AOK 1 19194/5 file.
31. Halder Diary, pp. 317-22.
32. Pz. AOK 1, Ia Nr. 1294/41, an die Herren Kommandierenden Generale, 3.12.41, Pz. AOK 1 19194/6 file.
33. H. Gr. Nord, Ia Kriegstagebuch, 1-3 Dec 41, H. Gr. Nord 75128/4 file; Leeb, Tagebuchaufzeichnungen, pp. 401-03.
34. D. D. Lelyushenko, Moskva-Stalingrad-Berlin-Praga (Moscow: Izdatelstvo "Nauka," 1970), p. 73.
35. Marshal V. D. Sokolovskiy puts the strengths of tank brigades at that time at 1 battalion of fourteen medium tanks, 1 battalion of light tanks, and 1 motorized rifle battalion. He places the independent tank battalions at 11 T-34s and 3 KVs. Figures for individual tank brigades given in Krupchenko, Tankovye voyska, pp. 38-44, indicate strengths of thirty to sixty tanks. See V. D. Sokolovskiy, "Die sowjetische Kriegskunst in der Schlacht vor Moskau," Wehr-Wissenschaftliche Rundschau, 1(1963), pt. 2, 87.
36. V. N. Yevstigneyev, ed., Velikaya bitva pod Moskvoy (Moscow: Voyennoye Izdatelstvo, 1961), p. 178; Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 340.
37. Zakharov, Proval, p. 278.
38. See p. 259.
39. Sven Steenberg, Vlasov (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), pp. 16-19.
40. IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 271; IVMV, vol. IV, p. 280. See p. 42.
41. Zakharov, Proval, pp. 256-58. See also F. I. Golikov, "Reservnaya armiya gotovitsiya k zashchite stolitsy," Voyenno-istoricheskiy zhurnal, 5(1966), 65-76.
42. Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 348.
43. Halder Diary, vol. III, p. 316.
44. Generalfeldmarschall Fedor von Bock, Kriegstagebuch, Osten I, 30 Nov 41, CMH files MS # P-210 (hereafter cited as Bock Diary, Osten I).
45. Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 347.
46. Sokolovskiy, "Die sowjetische Kriegskunst," p. 76.
47. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 161.
48. Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 348.
49. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 164. See also VOV, p. 110.
50. Zakharov, Proval, p. 283.
51. Ibid., pp. 278-81; Yevstigneyev, Velikaya bitva, pp. 144-47.
52. Sokolovskiy, "Die sowjetische Kriegskunst," p. 92.
53. Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 348.
54. VOV, p. 110.
55. H. Gr. Mitte, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Dezember 1941, 1 and 2 Dec 41, H. Gr. Mitte 26974/6 file; Bock Diary, Osten I, 1 and 2 Dec 41; Guderian, Panzer Leader, p. 257.
56. H. Gr. Mitte, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Dezember 1941, 3 Dec 41, H. Gr. Mitte 26974/6 file; Bock Diary, Osten I, 3 Dec 41.
57. H. Gr. Mitte, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Dezember 1941, 4 Dec 41, H. Gr. Mitte 26974/6 file; Bock Diary, Osten I, 4 Dec 41.
58. VOV, p. 111.
59. Sokolovskiy, "Die sowjetische Kriegskunst," p. 92; Vasilevskiy, Delo, pp. 164-65.
60. Vasilevskiy, Delo, pp. 164-65.
61. Yevstigneyev, Velikaya bitva, p. 177.
62. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 163.
63. Yevstigneyev, Velikaya bitva, p. 177.
64. Vasilevskiy, Delo, p. 166.
65. Zhukov, Memoirs, p. 349.
66. Yevstigneyev, Velikaya bitva, p. 183; IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 277.
67. Pz. Gr. 4, Ia, Lagebeurteilung, 5.12.41, AOK 4 13763/7 file; Pz. Gr. 3, Ie Morgenmeldung, 6.12.41, Pz. AOK 3 16911/30 file; H. Gr. Mitte, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Dezember 1941, 5 Dec 41, H. Gr. Mitte 26974/6 file; Guderian, Panzer Leader, pp. 258-59.
68. Zakharov, Proval, p. 284.
69. Pz. AOK 3, Gefechtsbericht Russland, 1941-42, Pz. AOK 3 21818/2 file.
70. Deborin and Telpukhovskiy, Itogi i uroki, p. 129.
71. IVMV, Vol. IV, p. 281; Yevstigneyev, Velikaya bitva, p. 177.
72. Zakharov, Proval, p. 284.
73. IVMV, vol. IV, p. 283.
74. VOV (Kratkaya Istoriya), p. 130; VOV, p. 110; Zakharov, 50 let, p. 295.
75. Army Group Center's total complement, which included a very large rear echelon that the army group was having to maintain to support its operations and to control and to administer the Soviet territory it occupied, was about 1.7 million men. Reinhardt, Moskau, pp. 57, 315.
76. IVMV, vol. IV, p. 283.
77. The 800,000 troops appear to be about the maximum Army Group Center could have had in the first week of December considering that its seventy-eight divisions then had 207,000 unreplaced losses. Zakharov, 50 let, p. 295; Reinhardt, Moskau, p. 57.
78. Yevstigneyev, Velikaya bitva, p. 178.
79. H. Gr. Mitte, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Dezember 1941, 6 Dec 41, H. Gr. Mitte 26974/6 file.
80. VOV, pp. 112-13; Zakharov, Proval, pp. 135, 260; IVOVSS, vol. II, p. 280.
81. H. Gr. Mitte, Ia Kriegstagebuch, Dezember 1941, 6 Dec 41, H. Gr. Mitte 26974/6 file.
82. Ibid., 6 Dec 41.