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The Drive on Moscow, 1941: Operation Taifun and Germany's First Great Crisis of World War II

The Drive on Moscow, 1941: Operation Taifun and Germany's First Great Crisis of World War II

by Anders Frankson, Niklas Zetterling


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At the end of September 1941, more than a million German soldiers lined up along the frontline just 180 miles west of Moscow. They were well trained, confident, and had good reasons to hope that the war in the East would be over with one last offensive. Facing them was an equally large Soviet force, but whose soldiers were neither as well trained nor as confident. When the Germans struck, disaster soon befell the Soviet defenders. German panzer spearheads cut through enemy defenses and thrust deeply to encircle most of the Soviet soldiers on the approaches to Moscow. Within a few weeks, most of them marched into captivity, where a grim fate awaited them.

Despite the overwhelming initial German success, however, the Soviet capital did not fall. German combat units as well as supply transport were bogged down in mud caused by autumn rains. General Zhukov was called back to Moscow and given the desperate task to recreate defense lines west of Moscow. The mud allowed him time to accomplish this, and when the Germans again began to attack in November, they met stiffer resistance. Even so, they came perilously close to the capital, and if the vicissitudes of weather had cooperated, would have seized it. Though German units were also fighting desperately by now, the Soviet build-up soon exceeded their own.

THE DRIVE ON MOSCOW: Operation Taifun, 1941 is based on numerous archival records, personal diaries, letters, and other sources. It recreates the battle from the perspective of the soldiers as well as the generals. The battle, not fought in isolation, had a crucial role in the overall German strategy in the East, and its outcome reveals why the failure of the German assault on Moscow may well have been the true turning point of World War II.

Niklas Zetterling is a researcher at the Swedish Defense College. Along with Anders Frankson he has previously written Kursk 1943: A Statistical Analysis and The Korsun Pocket: The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944. Both authors currently live in Sweden

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612005966
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
Publication date: 05/22/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Niklas Zetterling is a military historian and researcher at the Swedish Defense College. His previous books include Bismarck, The Korsun Pocket, and The Drive on Moscow, 1941.

Table of Contents

Preface 7

Prologue 9

1 The Soviet Defense of Moscow 19

2 Operation Taifun-The German Plans 35

3 Guderian Attacks 49

4 The Main German Attack Begins 57

5 The Offensive Continues 67

6 Encirclement 79

7 Cut off 95

8 Strategic Decisions 111

9 Vyazma-Bryansk 121

10 One Hundred Kilometers to Moscow 129

11 On to Tula 153

12 The End of October-Halftime for Operation Taifun 173

13 The November 7 Parade 185

14 The Orsha Meeting, November 13 193

15 The Final Attempt 199

16 At The Gates of Moscow 217

17 Causes and Consequences 231

Appendices 247

Notes 285

Bibliography 315

Index 327

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