Operation Barbarossa Facts

Operation Barbarossa Facts
The German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, codenamed Unternehmen Barbarossa (Operation Barbarossa), was a surprise attack along a 1,800 mile front in eastern Europe. It involved close to four million military personal from nearly every Axis country-including: Germany, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Finland, Croatia, and volunteers from Spain- making it the largest military operation in history. Always attempting to resurrect the past in their favor, the Germans took the codename from Frederick I (1122-1190), who was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 until his death. Barbarossa is Italian for "red beard", which referred to his signature look, but Frederick I was known more as a tough fighter, conqueror, and crusader. Despite having the element of surprise and nearly four million military personnel, Operation Barbarossa was an Axis failure. Although the Axis forces were able to drive deep into Soviet territory, it took too long. By December bad weather set in and the Axis forces were no longer able to keep moving. From that point on the war on the Eastern Front was fought in smaller operations around cities such as Leningrad, Kiev, Kursk, and Sevastopol.
Interesting Operation Barbarossa Facts:
Operation Barbarossa established the policy of brutality by both the Soviets and the Axis powers on the Eastern Front. The murder of POWs became common, with reprisals then becoming just as common.
Walther von Brauchtisch was the German Field Marshal during Operation Barbarossa.
Hitler ordered that Soviet commissars were to be killed immediately upon identification.
Georgy Zhukov was the Soviet Field Marshal during Operation Barbarossa.
A novel concept that Zhukov employed during Barbarossa was the building of "underwater bridges," which couldn't be spotted by German bombers.
Most of the non-German Axis units were infantry in support of the Germans. The Finns were technically not in the Axis powers and were instead a "co-belligerent" with Germany against the Soviet Union.
The Finns fought against the Soviets entirely in the region known as Karelia, which is the border area between Finland and Russia.
The Finns referred to their war with the Soviet Union as the "Continuation War," as it was a continuation of the Winter War of 1939-1940.
Although the Axis forces killed far more Soviet forces then they lost, the Soviets had far more men to lose. Once it became a battle of attrition and numbers, the tide turned in favor of the Soviets.
The Red Army was initially hesitant to shoot back at the advancing Axis army. It may be possible that Stalin thought the initial attack was not ordered by Hitler.
The Luftwaffe attained air supremacy by the end of the first week, destroying up to 4,000 Soviet aircraft.
The heaviest Soviet resistance was in the center of the front, in and around Ukraine.
The Germans made it to the suburbs of Moscow by late October 1941, but bad weather and overextended supply lines stopped their advance.
By November the Red Army was able to bring in enough man and new equipment produced east of the Urals to push back the German advance and end Operation Barbarossa.

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