Friday, June 21, 2013

Barbarossa


Seventy-two years ago, at 0315 on the 22nd of June, 1941, a Sunday, German aircraft began bombing Soviet positions behind the frontier inside Russian-occupied Poland.


In conjunction with those behind the lines air strikes, German artillery began pounding Soviet positions along that same frontier.


Shortly thereafter, German tanks and infantry moved forward. In many places overrunning stunned and disoriented Soviet troops. The largest military operation in human history had just begun, Fall Barbarossa, Case Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.




This was more than a war over territory, this was a war of competing ideologies. A war to determine, in the sick, twisted minds of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, who would have the privilege of enslaving all of Europe. A titanic struggle, the end result of which might well plunge mankind into a new Dark Age.


Again, the roads were choked with refugees. The first batches of prisoners were taken.

Soviet soldiers began surrendering by the thousands.



The Luftwaffe ranged over the front and deep behind Russian lines. For the most part, the Red Air Force had been destroyed on the ground.


Each day saw the German armored formations penetrating deeper and deeper into Soviet territory.


But all was not well. While the Panzers drove deep, they were also bypassing resistance, leaving tens of thousands of Russian troops in their rear. The hard marching infantry, try as they might, could not keep up.


And the Panzers were starting to encounter a new foe, one which shocked and concerned the Panzer generals. The Soviet T-34.


Russian resistance to the German onslaught began to stiffen.


Appeals were made to the Russian people to fight back, for Holy Mother Russia. To defend their families, their native land.


More of the powerful T-34s were reaching the front.


The Red Army was finding its fighting spirit.


The summer was gone, autumn was arriving, the weather was turning...



Winter was coming...


What began on the 22nd of June, 1941, would not end until nearly four years later in May of 1945 in the ruins of Berlin. Literally millions had died. Millions more had suffered from the deprivations of war


The Red Army would advance into Germany and an Iron Curtain would fall over Eastern Europe which wouldn't be lifted until the collapse of the Soviet Union itself in 1991.

It had been a massive campaign of global implications. The echoes of that campaign still resonate these many years later.

Russian Celebration of the Victory of Stalingrad

8 comments:

  1. Interestingly, I was just in a used book store in Perth, and they had a big picture book on the Russian front, lots of pictures and stories. But at over $100 and two inches thick, I didn't pick it up. Great pics though!!!

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    1. Doesn't sound like something you'd want to lug around with you while traveling. Bit pricey too. But still, I'd be tempted.

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  2. We in the West should celebrate Adolf's stupid invasion of the USSR, among the great many other dumb-ass things he did. We really were fortunate that Germany's supreme leader was just so frickin' incompetent.

    Great pics, yet again.

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    1. Amazing how badly things can go to Hell with a dumbass in charge isn't it?

      Oh wait, we're seeing that now!

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    2. Don't get me started...

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  3. There was a great series on TV in the 1970's I believe called: "The Unknown War", about the German invasion on the Russian front.

    It was narrated by Burt Lancaster and ran over an entire season.

    I believe it was produced by a company called: "AirTime International. Most of the footage was in color and pretty spectacular.

    YouTube has a lot of footage from this epic, but forgotten series.

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    Replies
    1. I had no idea. I will definitely have to check that out. Thanks!

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