Operation Barbarossa

Period: June 22 - December 5, 1941

Quote: Stalin, July 1941: The Red Army and the Navy and the entire Soviet people have to fight for every centimeter of Russian soil until the last drop of blood.

On June 21, 1941 the largest invasion force in history gathered at the border with Russia. About 10% of adult men in Germany were ready to attack Russia. The next day Operation Barbarossa started. The 3.6 million strong German army took some 3,600 tanks, 7,200 guns and nearly 2,800 aircraft. This accounted for roughly 75% of the German army.

On June 21, 1941 the largest invasion force in history gathered at the border with Russia. About 10% of adult men in Germany were ready to attack Russia. The next day Operation Barbarossa began. The 3.6 million-strong German soldiers army took some 3,600 tanks, 7,200 guns and nearly 2,800 aircraft. This accounted for roughly 75% of the German army.

In the course of October bad weather halted the German advance and the roads became impassable. The onset of the harsh Russian winter during November put a definite end to the German advance.

This failure would be a turning point in the war. The German had huge losses in men and material. Although the war would last for a few more years, the failure of Operation Barbarossa was for the Germans the beginning of the end.

Operation Barbarossa is to this day the largest military operation ever.

A German infantryman walks toward a dead Russian soldier and a burning tank
Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-020-1268-36 / Johannes Hähle

Russian prisoner of war
Source: Public domain

American propaganda film Operation Barbarossa

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