Fancy a drive to Moscow?

Guderian’s Panzers

By Craig Luther

Adolf Hitler unleashed his surprise attack on Soviet Russia, code-named Operation Barbarossa, at dawn on 22 June 1941. The massive undertaking involved nine field armies—composed largely of marching infantry and horse-drawn artillery—spearheaded by tank and motorized units in four army-sized Panzergruppen. The largest of these was Generaloberst Heinz Guderian’s Panzergruppe 2, earmarked to drive east along the direct route to Moscow via Minsk and Smolensk.

A mere eight days before the attack, Hitler secretly assembled the chief commanders of the Ostheer (eastern army) and its supporting air fleets at the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin for a final conference. Each officer was assigned a strict agenda of arrival routes and times, and a particular street entrance into the Chancellery complex. These were prophylactic measures to conceal from curious Berliners that

Read more in STQ20

Strategy & Tactics Quarterly, Issue #22 available!

Guderian’s Panzers: From Triumph to Defeat: Operation Barbarossa, which had commenced with such promise for Guderian’s panzers, and for the eastern army at large, ended in catastrophic failure. How did it come to pass that, with each dazzling victory in the east, final victory seemed to move further away from Germany’s grasp? This issue examines Guderian’s role in the first half-year of the Russian campaign, in the process opening a window onto the failure of Barbarossa as a whole.

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