Summer–Autumn Campaign of 1941

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The Summer–Autumn Campaign of 1941 from 22 June to 4 December was the name given by Soviet military command to the period that marked the commencement of Operation Barbarossa. It marked the opening phase of the Axis powers operations in USSR, and spectacular losses by the Soviet forces as they retreated to the East.[1]

Initially the fighting in Soviet historiography is divided into the Baltic Strategic Defensive Operation (22 June 1941 – 9 July 1941), Belorussian Strategic Defensive Operation (22 June 1941 – 9 July 1941), L'vov-Chernovitsy Strategic Defensive Operation (22 June 1941 – 9 July 1941), Arctic-Karelia Strategic Defensive Operation (29 June 1941 – 10 October 1941), and Moldavian Defensive Operation (1 July 1941 – 26 July 1941) that describe the strategically significant periods of defensive fighting at the Soviet border regions.[2]

With the Axis, and notably German Wehrmacht blitzkrieg tactical successes producing strategic pincer movements that penetrated into the strategic depth of the Soviet Union, a second stage of defensive fighting period became recognised that included the Kiev Strategic Defensive Operation (1941) (7 July 1941 – 26 September 1941), the Leningrad Strategic Defensive Operation (10 July 1941 – 30 September 1941), the Battle of Smolensk (1941) (10 July 1941 – 10 September 1941), and the Odessa Defensive Operation (5 August 1941 – 16 October 1941) that led to the Siege of Odessa.[3]

Deeper penetrations were achieved when renewed thrusts by the Axis troops in the south, and German troops with Finland's support in the north, sought to secure the strategic goals of Leningrad, Moscow and the Caucasus that eventuated in the Crimean Defensive Operation (18 October 1941 – 16 November 1941), the Donbass-Rostov Strategic Defensive Operation (29 September 1941 – 16 November 1941) as a precursor to the offensive into the Caucasus region, what was seen as the final offensive by OKH towards Moscow, and the Moscow Strategic Defensive Operation (30 September 1941 – 5 December 1941), and the Tikhvin Defensive Operation (16 October 1941 – 18 November 1941) to logistically isolate Leningrad from Moscow.[4]

In the final months of 1941 as the Defense of Sevastopol (30 October 1941 – 4 July 1942) continued, the Red Army was however able to stage its first two strategic offensives: the Tikhvin Strategic Offensive Operation (10 November 1941 – 30 December 1941) that sought to maintain logistic communications between Moscow and Leningrad, and the Rostov Strategic Offensive Operation (17 November 1941 – 2 December 1941), which attempted to deny Axis advance further towards the Caucasus.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Erickson 2003, p. 101.
  2. ^ Erickson 2003, p. 136.
  3. ^ Erickson 2003, p. 181.
  4. ^ Erickson 2003, p. 249.

References[edit]

  • Erickson, John (2003). The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin's war with Germany. Volume One. London: Cassell Military Paperbacks. ISBN 0-304-36541-6.