Operation Barbarossa

On June 20, 1942, Adolf Hitler launched his great attact into the Soviet Union. 

With blitzkreig tactics, the German Wehrmacht crushed the Soviet armies and swept through western Russia.

Operation Barbarossa ended in the winter, with the German Army spliting into 3 directions, one pointing at, and nearly taking, Moscow, one pointed at Leningrad, and one sweeping into the Caucasus in a wild bid to take the Russian oilfields.

The Red Army possessed 23,106 tanks. However, maintenance and readiness standards were very poor; ammunition and radios were in short supply, and many units lacked the trucks needed for resupply beyond their basic fuel and ammunition loads.

The Red Army was dispersed and unprepared, and units were often separated and without transportation to concentrate prior to combat. Although the Red Army had numerous, well-designed artillery pieces, some of the guns had no ammunition. Artillery units often lacked transportation to move their guns. Tank units were rarely well-equipped and also lacked training and logistical support.

The German Wehrmacht had about 5,200 tanks overall, of which 3,350 were committed to the invasion. This yields a balance of immediately available tanks of about 4:1 in the Red Army's favor. The best Soviet tank, the T-34, was the most modern in the world, and the KV series the best armored. But the Soviets still lacked the communications, training and experience to employ such weapons effectively. The Soviet fighter force was equipped with large numbers of obsolete aircraft.

All three of the attacks bogged down with winter.During the war, there was severe winter weather so if an army was not prepared physically and mechanically they would fail. Their weapons would have to be “cold-weather weapons.” The German Army was not prepared for the winter war, nor were they ready for the vicious street fights for Leningrad, Moscow, or Stalingrad.

Germany eventually lost on all three major battles that began then, although they came into view of the Kremlin in Moscow.

Stalingrad cost them their biggest, best equipped army, and was the real turning point for the whole war in Europe. On Februay 2, 1943, after beginning the battle in July the previous year, German Field Marshall Von Paulus surrendered the German 6th Army, and much of the 4th Army, to the new Soviet hero Georgiy Zhukov.