Schlager 9 capital, Moscow. Army Group Center was projected four months to take Moscow, starting from June 22 nd , and by July they were already crossing the Dnieper River, a little more than 400 miles from Moscow. Moscow was the most important mission of the three; Hitler told his men “Moscow must disappear from the earth’s surface as soon as its riches have been brought to shelter” (Trevor-Roper, 6). Hitler also did not just talk about Moscow’s importance; he showed it by sending four times as many men compared to Leningrad and Ukraine, two million men accompanied by 1,000 tanks and 550 aircrafts. Hitler believed, correctly, that the only way to bring the Soviets to their knees was through the destruction of their economic system. Up to this point the Germans had experienced general success with straight forward attacks on Soviet lines, so Walther von Brauchitsch, Commander-in-Chief of the Army saw no reason to change this approach. With the support of Franz Halder, head of the Army General Staff and many other German officials he began the execution of his plan, but was stopped. Hitler did not approve of the strategy and instead called for the army to move south, to Kiev, to take the 660,000 Soviet soldiers surrounding the city (Chen, n.pg.). While this move did succeed in adding in the capture of Kiev, it put a big strain on the timetable of Operation Barbarossa. It would not be until the end of summer, when Army Group Center would return to the original task of taking down Moscow. Due to this delay, the German army was working with damaged goods, as nearly two thirds of the Luftwaffe had been damaged; only leaving roughly 500 serviceable aircrafts. Due to this Hitler would base the attack on the standard blitzkrieg tactics, using Panzer groups to rush deep into Soviet formations and execute double-pincer movements, pocketing Red Army divisions and destroying them (Chen, n.pg.).
Schlager 10 The attack on Moscow was never a surprise, it could be said that every citizen of the Soviet Union knew that the Germans were coming for Moscow; Stalin himself would say “Moscow will be defended to the last” (Lightbody, 112). Stalin would defend and prepare his capital for the massive German army, on October 2, 1941; Fedor Von Bock started his troops on the trek to Moscow. Unfortunately all of the timetable problems caught up to the Germans, it was fall and the temperatures started to drop, accompanied by heavy rainfall. Not only would this render German military vehicles vastly immobile and inefficient, but it would affect the moral of the German men, slow progress and creating harder work, with nothing to show for it destroyed the men. The men became tired and sluggish, after six weeks the German forces had made little to no process towards Moscow, but the German commanders were still determined. On November 15 th , the Germans launched a second attack for Moscow, with a new drive the men were able to get within 15 miles of the capital city. Then the fear of the Soviet winter was realized, sub-zero conditions hit, destroying moral and supplies.
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