Sunday, December 5, 2021

good morning jacob



Two fast moving armored probes

aim to take Moscow.

Steamrolled by Nazis

Entire armies, hundreds of thousand of soldiers,

lost to you in the space of days.  You've lost all

communications with your front.  The forces

left to your command swing wildly as would 

a headless beast.

Soviet High Command - Stavka

Stalin and his circle of hand-picked men

whose orders were to be rigorously obeyed

even if they made no sense to you.

Stalin's man to the West

to:  Marshal Timoshenko

Demonstrating only the greatest resolve you are to attack

our enemy in the area of river gate, between the Dvina and

Dnepr Rivers.  Vitebsk and Smolensk must not fall.


It was the best tank made in 1941.

There were problems.  No one bothered to provide radios

so how do you operate as a unit under a central command?

Commanders don't know how to use tanks effectively, anyway.

For many in senior command it is on the job training.  Incompetence.

Stalin's purge of Red Army officers left inexperience in command.

Two Corps of Red Army armor

about 1,500 tanks, charge headlong into

 General Hoth's 3rd Panzer Group point.

Although the lead 7th Panzer Division was forced

into retreat near a town named Senno, Russian

armor was soon halted in its tracks when confronted

with overwhelming firepower in prepared defense.

Russian tanks attacked without air cover or antitank guns.

There was no coordination with infantry for their protection. 

Stuka dive bombers methodically picked off Red Army tanks

from overhead.  After four days fighting the two Russian 

armored corps were decimated.  Only poorly equipped and 

ill-trained infantry units are left to protect the key river towns

of Vitebsk along the Dvina and Orsha along the Dnepr River.

Field Marshal Bock and General Hoth plot their moves.

The objective to shatter the bulk of the Russian Army this side

of the Dvina and Dnepr Rivers has been accomplished.  East

of these rivers we would encounter nothing more than partial 

forces.  It is probably no overstatement to say that the 

Russian campaign has been won in the space of two weeks.

General Franz Halder

Chief, Army High Command

3 July 1941

Hoth's 3rd Panzer Group

was the northern-most of the two armored pincers

used to envelope all the armies and territories

that lay between Minsk and Smolensk - 

the next objective on the highway to Moscow.

Whereas Guderian's southern route was

grasslands, Hoth's battlefields were forest.

Along the Dnepr south of Smolensk

were the remnants of Stalin's old line of defense,

dilapidated fortifications along the river's east bank.

Hollowed out and antiquated they proved to be

easily punctured by modern armor.

Russian resistance has become haphazard.

But unexpected.  German generals

assumed this campaign would be

another France - 

pierce the outer shell and feast

on the goodies inside.

It should be getting pleasant about now.

General Heinz Guderian

3rd Panzer Group Commander


prima donna 

not a team player

How wonderous it all is.

The general's imaginings come to life.

Guderian can't wait to get to Moscow.

As a matter of fact, the general has

already gotten a bit ahead of things.




©  Tom Taylor


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