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After 14 days of fighting, the Wehrmacht had won, almost won
Material posted: Publication date: 11-07-2016
Until the beginning of July 1941, German soldiers smashed several Soviet armies and captured hundreds of thousands of enemy soldiers. The leadership of the Reich saw himself as a winner — and we have overlooked their own problems.

The numbers were striking: within two and a half weeks, the German tanks had advanced almost 600 kilometres. On the evening of 8 July 1941, the advanced units of the army Group "Center" were already in Vitebsk and Mogilev in Eastern Belarus.

This day ended the fighting in the first major pot during the German-Soviet war, and as a result, four of the army and the 323 of 898 soldiers were captured. About 3 300 Soviet tanks were destroyed, was captured 1 809 artillery. Another 90 thousand soldiers were killed or seriously injured and became disabled.

In the night from 10 to 11 July Joseph Goebbels, being in an ecstatic state, dictated the next entry in his diary: "Our success in the East was exceptional, and it pleases". Near Minsk, he continued, "was eliminated" a huge pot. The Minister of propaganda stated: "We have captured a vast number of trophies".

Franz Halder, chief of the General staff of the army, shortly before it reported back to Hitler: of the 164 known Soviet divisions more than half, namely, 89, has "destroyed". The fighting efficiency to retain only 46 divisions, the location of the 11 divisions is unknown. According to him, the 150 German divisions, augmented by 35 allied divisions, withstand, maximally, 57 Soviet connections.

It seemed that all this corresponds to what was described in an internal report of the Supreme command of the Wehrmacht management regime of 9 July: "of the Enemy, in General, are moving back to the East".

I had the impression that "the Plan Barbarossa" was successfully carried out across front lines, as expected: lightning victory after the lightning war. However, the reality was different: the Wehrmacht was experiencing fatigue "gained victories," as formulated by the historian Christian Hartmann Christian Hartmann of the Institute for contemporary history (Institut für Zeitgeschichte). The advance of German armored units advanced to a great distance were true, as the number of prisoners of war. However, this was only a half truth at best.

The fact that the offensive wedges of the German armed forces in the East, the two wings of the army Group "Center" and the left wing of the army Group "South" the only reason were able to move so far away: because "were deliberately ignored" a vast wetlands in the area of the Pripyat river, says the historian Rolf-Dieter müller, Rolf-Dieter Müller), who led for many years by the division of the Second world war in Military historical research office of the Bundeswehr in Potsdam (Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt der Bundeswehr).

Halder and his staff officers wanted to deliver a crushing blow to the red Army West of the Dnieper. For this Group of armies "Center" was to encircle as many Soviet divisions stationed between 2nd Panzer group under the command of Heinz Guderian and the 3rd Panzer group under the command of Hermann Hoth (Hermann Hoth).

To make this pot as large as possible, both tank groups converged just outside Minsk. However, nine tank divisions from both groups failed to fully implement the environment, and, in addition, followed the infantry of the 4th and 9th German armies were not able to completely "clean up" the boiler. 11 Soviet divisions managed with negligible loss out of the environment. Tens of thousands of red army soldiers were able to escape into the impassable Pripyat marshes. There began a guerrilla war, which caused great damage to the Wehrmacht and served as a pretext to commit heinous crimes.

But was not yet aware of Franz Halder, the gifted chief of the General staff of the army. On 3 July 1941, he recorded in his official diary: "it is No exaggeration to say that campaign against Russia won within 14 days." On the same day, he even wrote in one letter to his colleague that "the Russians in the first eight days of the" lost the war.

True that Soviet losses in manpower and equipment was unimaginable. However, Halder had not seen what he was, in fact, on a daily basis in their reports about the situation would have to tell his own subordinates: the Wehrmacht suffered huge and irreparable losses.

Only eight days later after the end of fighting in the Minsk cauldron, he realized the seriousness of the situation. July 21, 1941, he suddenly wrote that the situation is "not very happy", even "joyless". "Tired of continuously being on the March and fighting units in a certain way spoiled the mood."

The Wehrmacht was exhausted after only four weeks, and not having won for this time a decisive victory. Despite the vast number of prisoners and many trophies. The planned blitzkrieg against the Soviet Empire failed.

Johann Althaus



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