Operation Barbarossa

1941 World War II German invasion of the Soviet Union

Operation Barbarossa (German: Unternehmen Barbarossa, named after Frederick I) was the code name for the European Axis invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. It began on 22 June 1941. More than 3 million men attacked along the 2,900 km front, which made it the largest military invasion in human history.[8] It also involved 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses.[9]

Operation Barabarossa
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
DateJune 22, 1941 – December 5, 1941
Soviet Union
Result The Axis conquers huge areas of the Soviet Union and causes heavy losses on the Red Army but fails in its overall strategic goal of defeating the Soviets in a Blitzkrieg campaign.
 Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Nazi Germany Franz Halder
Nazi Germany Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Nazi Germany Fedor von Bock
Nazi Germany Gerd von Rundstedt
Kingdom of Romania Ion Antonescu
Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Kingdom of Italy Giovanni Messe
Soviet Union Joseph Stalin
Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
Soviet Union Aleksandr Vasilyevskiy
Soviet Union Semyon Budyonny
Soviet Union Kliment Voroshilov
Soviet Union Semyon Timoshenko
Soviet Union Markian Popov
Soviet Union Fedor Kuznetsov
Soviet Union Dmitry Pavlov
Soviet Union Ivan Tyulenev
~3 million
3,600 tanks,
4,389 aircraft[1]
46,000 artillery pieces
~5.7 million
12,000-15,000 tanks,
35,000-40,000 aircraft (11,357 combat ready on 22 June 1941)[2]
Casualties and losses
186,452 killed
40,157 missing
655,179 hurt
2,827 aircraft destroyed
2,735 tanks destroyed
802,191 killed
1,336,147 hurt
2,835,000 captured.[3][4]
21,200 aircraft destroyed[5][6][7]
20,500 tanks lost

In the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939 Germany and the Soviet Union agreed not to fight each other. Planning for the German surprise attack started in December 1940. The attack was to start on May 15, and its main objective was to destroy the Soviet military power. Some Nazi ideological goals were included, as were Soviet deposits of natural resources, which would be helpful to keep fighting the war against the Allies.

Even though the Soviet Red Army suffered huge losses, the attack did not complete its objectives. The Germans held some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union, mainly in Ukraine.[10] However, the Germans were pushed back from Moscow.

The German attack opened the Eastern Front, which in Russia is called the "Great Patriotic War". In the following years Axis powers could not do another attack as large and long as Operation Barbarossa.[11]

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Operation Barbarossa was the largest military operation in human history by the number of men involved and by the number of people who died.[12] The operation opened a theatre in which more men were involved than any other in history.

References change

  1. Bergström, p130
  2. Bergström 2007, p. 131-2: Uses Soviet Record Archives including the Rosvoyentsentr, Moscow; Russian Aviation Research Trust; Russian Central Military Archive TsAMO, Podolsk; Monino Air Force Museum, Moscow.
  3. "About the German Invasion of the Soviet Union". Archived from the original on 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  5. Bergström, p117
  6. Krivosheyev, G. 1993
  7. Note: Soviet aircraft losses include all causes
  8. World War II Chronicle, 2007. Legacy/ Publications International, Ltd. Page 146.
  9. "Yad vashem - Chronology of the Holocaust". Archived from the original on 2005-03-11. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  10. A.J.P Taylor & Colonel D. M Proektor, p. 106
  11. A.J.P. Taylor & Colonel D. M Proektor 1974, p. 107
  12. Peter Antill, Peter Dennis. Stalingrad 1942. Osprey Publishing, 2007,ISBN 1-84603-028-5, 9781846030284. p. 7.