and the US forces by day. During 1943, a raid on Hamburg produced one of the most devastating fires in history. A firestorm was created in the city, and 40,000 people were killed. Only the raid on Dresden in 1945, the firebombing of Tokyo and the atomic bombs killed more people through a single attack. In addition to the direct damage caused by these attacks, large amounts of resources were diverted to air defense.The BalkansOn October 28 1940, Italy invaded Greece but was unable to match the German's success in France. Not only did the Italians fail to conquer Greece, but the Greeks successfully counterattacked into Albania. This prompted German intervention, which also involved the invasion of Yugoslavia, where a pro-German coup had been defeated a few days earlier. British forces were dispatched from Egypt to Greece, but were comprehensively beaten. After the mainland wasconquered, the Germans invaded Crete. Instead of an amphibious assault as expected, the Germans mounted a large airborne invasion. It suceeded, but the paratroops of the German army were so badly mauled in the process that an airborne operation was never again attempted by Germany during the war.Once the Balkans was secure, the largest land operation in history was launched, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union.The Eastern FrontOn June 22, 1941, the Germans launched a surprise invasion, code-named Operation Barbarossa, against their erstwhile Soviet allies. The early weeks of the invasion were devastating for the Soviet Army. Enormous numbers of Soviet troops were encircled in pockets and fell into German hands. However, it wasn't only German troops that went into the Soviet Union. Italian, Hungarian and Romanian troops were also involved in the campaign.Out of all the adversaries of the Allies, the situation of Finland was unique. Finland initially declared neutrality, however with German and Soviet troops on her soil, and well prepared for co-belligerence with Germany when the Soviet Union attacked on June 25. The following conflict from 1941-1944 is referred to as the Continuation War, i.e. the continuation of the Winter War.Operation Barbarossa suffered from several fundamental flaws. The most serious of these was the logistical situation ofthe attack. Ultimately it is logistics that determine what a military can do. The sheer vastness of the distances in the
Soviet Union meant that the Germans could only advance so far before outrunning their supply chains. By the time the German attack froze to a halt before Moscow on December 5, 1941, it literally could not go any further. There simply were not enough supplies reaching the front to conduct proper defensive operations, let alone a proper offense. The timetable that Barbarossa was planned to assumed that the Soviets would collapse before the Russian winter hit. The failure of that to happen also fatally affected German plans.