During World War II, Adolf Hitler and Franz Halder, Chief of General Staff of the Wehrmacht, deployed three German army groups for the invasion of the Soviet Union, whose codename was Operation Barbarossa, which would begin on June 22, 1941. Each of these large military units was supported by one Luftwaffe’s air fleet. They were very successful until December 1941, when the Germans were at the gates of Moscow, then the tide of war began to change.
Order of Battle
– Under the command of Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, Army Group North was made up of the 16th and 18th Armies, the 4th Panzer Group, and Air Fleet 1. Its 29 divisions had been massed in East Prussia before the beginning of the operation and they would attack eastward, across Luthania and Latvia, with their final objective being Leningrad.
– Led by Fedor von Bock, Army Group Center consisted of the 4th and 9th Armies, the 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups, and Air Fleet 2. They totalled 49 divisions, which had been stationed in eastern Poland. They would strike deep across the center of the Russian plain, towards Minsk and Moscow. They had the mission of capturing the capital of the Soviet Union.
– Commanded by Gerd von Rundstedt, Army Group South was composed of 6th, 11th and 17th Armies, and the 1st Panzer Group under Ewald von Kleist, with the air support of Air Fleet 4. They were reinforced by the Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies. This army group’s 41 divisions would invade the Ukraine and take Kieve.
The Soviet terroritory was defended by the following Russian forces: the Northern Front, the North-Western Front, the South-Western Front, and the Southern Front. Each of these Fronts were composed of three Soviet armies approximately.