Under the heading world war, in this second Appendix, the political situation as a result of which Germany was induced to attack the USSR at 3 am on June 22, 1941 was given (vol. I, pp. 1118-19); the German military preparation prepared for action and the general strategic criteria pursued by the German high command with the attack plan, the so-called “Operation Barbarossa”, were illustrated (pp. 1146-48); have examined each other (ibid) the tactical-strategic criteria adopted by the Soviets to parry the attack; the modifications to the original strategic plan made by the Germans during the second campaign (1942) were illustrated on the basis of their experience especially in the operations of autumn-winter 1941 (pp. 1151-53), the plan, finally, which led the Russians to stop the German advance and start their victorious counter-offensive (ibidem and pp. 1161-63) up to the battle for Berlin and the conclusion of the war in Europe (pp. 1166-68). In particular, the performance of the operations will be taken into account here.
The elements of the struggle and the relationship of forces. – According to itypetravel.com, the deployment of the German forces was estimated at 190 divisions, of which 17 were armored and 10 were motorized. To these must be added 14 Finnish, 2 Slovak, 27 Romanian, 7 Hungarian and, later, 3 Italian divisions. In the north, in Finland, the army of gen. N. v. Falkenhorst – 14 divisions – in aid of the Finnish army of Marshal Mannerheim, with the task of occupying the ports of Murmansk and Kandalakša in the White Sea; advance in the Karelia isthmus and between lakes Onega and Ladoga, to take the offensive in conjunction with that which would have developed, through the Baltic States, with the aim of the Valdai and Leningrad, the group of armies of the von Leeb. This, gathered in East Prussia – 35 divisions – through Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia had the task of conquering Leningrad, the coast of the Gulf of Finland and go eastwards, to participate in the offensive against Moscow from the north. The Soviets opposed these forces operating in northern Europe with 3 armies, one of which was battleship.
Along the White-Russian-Polish border and up to Dęblin the group of armies of the center was deployed under the orders of Marshal von Bock, strong of 4 armies and 2 Panzergruppen, which were under the orders of Generals Hot and Guderian, and had one 7 and the other 10 armored divisions. This group was faced by the Russian armies under the orders of Marshal Timošenko: about 40 divisions, of which 5 were armored. Along the Galician-Romanian-Hungarian border was the southern army group of Marshal von Rundstedt, with 30 German divisions; interspersed with these were the Slovakian and Hungarian divisions and, at the far right wing of the line-up, the two Romanian armies under the command of Marshal Antonescu; furthermore, the first armored group of the von Kleist, which included 7 armored divisions, was deployed in Volhynia. Opposed to this group of armies was the mass of the Soviet Marshal Budennyj, 12th army in the Pripyat region, other 4 armies as far as the sea, with a total of about 60 divisions; of which, 8 battleships. In general reserve on the German side 40 divisions; on the Soviet side it seems about thirty divisions, located west of the Urals; several of which, however, are still in training. It was therefore calculated, according to Germanic evaluations, that the Soviet army had a total of about 120 divisions. located west of the Urals; several of which, however, are still in training. It was therefore calculated, according to Germanic evaluations, that the Soviet army had a total of about 120 divisions. located west of the Urals; several of which, however, are still in training. It was therefore calculated, according to Germanic evaluations, that the Soviet army had a total of about 120 divisions.
The battles on the borders. – The Soviet government did not foresee the outbreak of war, much less without ultimatum and without declaration; so the surprise was full and general. After overthrowing the front-line troops in cover and facilitating the movement by having found the bridges intact, the German columns quickly and deeply penetrated the opposing array. Even the airfields were surprised and this caused the destruction on the ground of a few thousand planes. There, where the sector reserves managed to resist the armored masses radiating in all directions, the resistance was tenacious and allowed to maintain possession of the positions, despite the invader’s advance in depth. This possession was worth, first, to oppose the progress of the enemy, then, to force him to stop and to fight with an inverted front against the forces he had passed.
In the northern sector, on June 24, the Hoeppener armored group penetrated deeply into Lithuania and Estonia, and occupied Kovno, then, on June 27, Libau and Memel. Reaching the Dvina, the armored army crossed it on July 4, after occupying Riga and, pushing their right wing in the direction of Ostrov, threatened to envelop the Soviet 11th army already broken in two sections. The maneuver, however, was not successful. The Finnish troops, meanwhile, were advancing in the Karelian isthmus on Leningrad.
Better luck had the advance of the army group of the center. The rapid movement of the two armored groups of gen. Hot from Grodno on Baranowicze and Minsk and of the gen. Guderian from Brest-Litovsk on Pińsk, combined with the frontal one of the masses transported to Bialystok, determined the enveloping of a large part of the two Soviet armies massed in the Białystok-Baranowicze-Nowogródek triangle, despite powerful counterattacks launched by the Soviets, in the direction of Grodno and of Brest-Litovsk.