Chronicle of war:

Military operations
1941. Initial period of war

At dawn, on June 22, 1941 Germany treacherously violating the Non-Aggression Pact suddenly, without declaration of war, brought destructive ordnances down the Soviet Union. Its aircraft made massive raids on airfields, railway nodes and groups of the Soviet forces in the border zone, as well as cities of Murmansk, Kaunas, Minsk, Kiev, Odessa, and Sebastopol. The enemy’s artillery fiercely bombed the border areas, deployment of advanced compounds and parts of the army border troops. Following the first air strikes and artillery preparation the Ground Army went on the offensive from the Baltic to the Carpathians. At the same time fighting further south of the Carpathians along the Romanian border to the Black Sea broke out. Hungary, Italy, Romania and Finland entered in the war against the Soviet Union together with Germany.

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Front in July 1941

In mid-July 1941 situation on the front for the Soviet army continued to be unfavorable. The fighting took place in 120 km from Leningrad, in the Smolensk region and on the outskirts of Kiev. The enemy created a direct threat to the capture of these large administrative centers. Only in the north (the Subarctic and Karelia) and south (Moldova) the German troops fought their minor way forward.

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1941. The beginning of the defense of Leningrad

The Soviet command had nothing to fear during military operations in the Far North and in Karelia. The German forces fought their way slightly in some narrow areas of the front. Troops of the 14th Army in cooperation with the Northern Fleet thwarted the German Operation Norway to seize Rybachy peninsula, Murmansk, Polar naval base, and the Kirov railroad.

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1941. The battle of Smolensk

On July 10-12, with the onset of fierce fighting on the distant outskirts of Leningrad, and in Estonia, in the main – west direction – Smolensk battle unfolded. By its nature, it represented a complex of defensive and offensive operations of the Soviet troops against the German fascist army group “Center” and part of the Army Group “North” It was here, at the Smolensk-Moscow axis where the enemy hoped to achieve a decisive success.

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1941. Defense of Kiev

In July – September 1941, fierce fighting turned out on the southern flank of the Soviet-German front. The fight, which lasted without operational pauses for two and a half months, was conducted on a vast territory, from north to south from Polesie (northern border of the Ukraine) to the Black and Azov Seas, and from west to east – from Sarny, Berdichev, Kamenetz-Podolsk, the lower reaches of the Prut River and the mouth of the Danube to Shostka, Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk, Melitopol, and the Crimean straits. The length of the front of the fighting ranged from 1,200 km in July to 800 km in September. The depth of its movements during this period ranged from 500 to 600 km.

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1941. Defense of Odessa

In late September 1941, the situation in the entire southern flank of the Soviet-German front deteriorated dramatically.

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1941. Defense of Subarctic

From the very beginning of military actions the Germans attempted to seize Murmansk. The active participation of ships, aircraft and marine parts of the Northern Fleet in the defense of the distant outskirts of Murmansk helped the 14th Army to disrupt the enemy’s attempt to seize this important port, stop it at the turn of the Zapadnaya Litsa River where the front was then stabilized for a long time.

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1941. Struggle for Rostov-on-Don

For the defense of Rostov – the most important item on the way to the Caucasus – the North-Caucasian military district on the STAVKA desicion formed the 56th Army including nine divisions and a tank brigade. General F. Remezov was appointed Army Commander.

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1941. Struggle for Donets Basin and the Crimea

In late September, on the southern flank of the Soviet-German front, as well as in other parts of the Soviet forces it was very difficult to fight with the enemy. The troops of the Southwestern and Southern Fronts suffering heavy losses in the left-bank Ukraine, further east of Kiev, on the outskirts of the Crimea and Donets Basin, needed replenishment of people, weapons, military equipment and ammunition.

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1941. Battle of Moscow. Defense

In late September, the situation in the Soviet-German front still remained difficult. The German fascist army occupied an advantageous operational-strategic position, and despite the losses, still had superiority in manpower and equipment.

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1941. Battle of Moscow. Offensive

The Supreme Command preparing a counter-offensive in early November, decided to form ten reserve armies. At the same time it was chalked out to strengthen the fronts with new troop formations and marching completion.

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1941. Naval combat operations

In the first months of the war the sea fighting was limited and was associated mainly with providing inland marine communications. The Red Banner Baltic, North and Black Sea fleets at that time acted primarily in conjunction with ground forces to defend coastal areas which included naval bases, coastal and island strongholds.

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Results of 1941

The first five months of the war were the most difficult for the Soviet Union. The German troops invaded the country to a depth of 850 to 1200 km, besieged Leningrad, were dangerously close to Moscow, and captured Kharkov, most of Donets Basin and the Crimea. Nazis occupied the Baltic States, Belarus, Moldova, almost all of the Ukraine, a number of areas of the Russian Federation and part of the Karelian-Finnish Republic. The territory occupied by the enemy exceeded 1.5 million square kilometers. Its pre-war population was of 74.5 million people.

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1942, Strategic Plans of the parties

In accordance with military and political goals of further warfare in the early spring of 1942 when the active armed struggle on the Soviet-German front almost stopped, both warring parties began to develop strategic plans for military actions.

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1942, Battle of the Kerch Peninsula and at Kharkov

In early May of 1942, on the Soviet-German front, both sides began fighting for the strategic initiative. The struggle lasted for almost two months. The Soviet Army suffered difficult times. Wehrmacht was ahead of its active operations in the Crimea where on May 8, went on the offensive on the Kerch peninsula against the forces of the Crimean front.

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1942 Defense of Sebastopol

Defeat of the Soviet forces on the Kerch Peninsula and at Kharkov on May 1942, facilitated the German-Fascist command preparation for the big summer offensive on the Eastern Front. Supreme Command of the Soviet Armed Forces in the situation took a serious correction of strategic decision and organization of urgent measures to counter attack the enemy.

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1942, Fighting in the north-west and west directions

Simultaneously with the battles for Kharkov sector and in the Crimea in May – June our troops struggled to the last breath near Leningrad and in Demyansk.

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1942, Defense of Stalingrad

As a result of failure of operations conducted by the Soviet army in May – June of 1942, the situation in the Soviet-German front changed in favor of the enemy. The German invaders managed to improve significantly the situation of their troops and to create favorable conditions for a “major operation” in the south of the Eastern Front.

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1942, Defense of the Caucasus

The Caucasus is an important economic region. On the eve of the war there was built a major fuel and energy base. The North Caucasus and Transcaucasia shared 86.5 percent of the country’s total oil production, 65 percent of natural gas, and 56.5 percent of manganese ore. Baku district gave nearly three-quarters of the oil produced in the USSR. The Caucasus is a rich agricultural region.

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1942, Defense of Leningrad

The events of the summer and autumn of 1942, at Stalingrad and in the North Caucasus proceeded in a strategic connection with the actions of the parties in other areas of the Soviet-German front.

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1942, the Soviet offensive in the area of Rzhev and Voronezh

In summer and autumn of 1942, intense fighting was in the west where both parties had or prepared their offensive operations. Here the enemy had one of the most powerful strategic groups – Army Group “Center” under the command of Field Marshal G. Kluge.

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1942, Naval combat operations

During spring, summer and autumn of 1942 the Soviet Navy took part in joint operations with ground troops in the coastal areas (in defense of the Crimea, the Caucasus, Leningrad, and Subarctic) and carried out independent missions in the Barents, Kara, Baltic, Black , Azov and Caspian Seas, Ladoga and Onega Lakes.

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1942, The Air Force combat operations

Since spring 1942, the Soviet Air Force continued to struggle for air supremacy, participated in joint operations of ground and naval forces, killed and destroyed the important enemy facilities in the deep rear.

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1942, The Air Defense combat operations

The period from spring to autumn 1942, was characterized by increased activity of the Wehrmacht aviation on the Eastern Front. During this time about 445 thousand sorties were made including about 167 thousand in the operational boundaries of the country’s Defense Forces.

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1942, Results of the armed struggle on the Soviet-German front

Stage of World War II covering the events of the spring, summer and autumn of 1942, was characterized by a particularly difficult and tense struggle of the Soviet Armed Forces against the combined forces of the fascist bloc for more than seven months.

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