The Battle of Moscow was a ferocious military encounter fought on the Eastern Front of WWII, between the Wehrmacht’s Army Group Center, under Fedor von Bock, and the Soviet Western Front, which was an army group led by Georgy Zhukov. It was fought near Moscow, under extreme cold weather conditions, from October 2, 1941, to January 5, 1942. The battle was the result of Operation Typhoon, which was the German attack on Moscow carried out during the last stage of Operation Barbarossa. This latter military operation was the invasion of the Soviet Union, which had been launched on June 22, 1941. Despite its name, the Battle of Moscow was not an urban military engagement, like the Battle of Stalingrad, as it did not take place in the city itself but on a 300-mile-long front about 15 miles away from Moscow.

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Summary

Launched on October 2, 1941, Operation Typhoon was conducted by the German 2nd Panzer Army, attacking the Soviet Western Front south of Moscow, the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies, storming the enemy lines north of the city, and the 4th Army, which struck the central sector, pushing directly towards Moscow. However, muddy roads, the Russian winter, and the arrival of fresh Soviet divisions from the Siberia, armed with the new T-34 tanks, first slowed and finally stopped the German advance at twelve miles from the gates of Moscow, whose defenses included barbed wire, anti-tank hedgehogs, and specially deep trenches dug by women and childre. The cold weather rendered the Wehrmacht howitzers useless as their breeches got stuck and could be opened. Military vehicles diesel also got frozen as many German soldiers suffered from frostbite and were thus put out of action by the Russian winter. By the end of December, the German forces had been pushed back about 120 km and the front got stabilized by January 5.

Map of Operation Typhoon as Planned

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