CLOSE COMBAT

st006.jpg (15916 bytes)After fortnight pause, Group of armies "Centre" was required for preparation of new attack. During this time German forces had rest, are filled up, made a regrouping, strengthened from a reserve by the people, tanks, artillery. Germans aspired to occupy initial positions, favourable to offensive. German commander prepared to break, at last, resistance of the Soviet forces and to take possession of Moscow. In November attack is direct on Moscow participated 51 divisions, including 13 tanks and 7 motorize divisions, having on arms enough of tanks, artillery and supported by aircraft.

Soviet High Command, correctly estimated conditions, has decided to strengthen Western Front. From November 1-15, tank brigades, rifle and cavalry divisions were handed to it. In total, front has received 100 thousand soldiers, 300 tanks and two thousand artillery guns. Western Front at this time had already more divisions, than opponent, and the Soviet aircraft in 1,5 times surpassed enemy.

November 12 in Orshe, Wehrmacht discussed  the question: to continue offensive to Moscow immediately or to be fixed on the achieved boundaries and to expect spring. Fact of such meeting testified to crisis of German attack, that Germans generals have begun to doubt in ability Wehrmacht to achieve originally object in view. The representatives group of armies "North" and "South", offensive opportunity practically were exhausted, have expressed act to defense. Group of armies "South" in October — the beginning of November, captyre a southern part of Donbass, included Stalino (Donetsk) and Taganrog and stop the lower reaches of Don. However November 6-7, they have undergone strong counter-attack and could not take possession of Rostov and Novocherkassk. November 21, Germans have rushed into Rostov, but November 29, were dislodge there from Red Army and have receded to the river Mius. Group of armies "North" in the beginning of November have confronted   with counter-offensive of the Soviet armies under Tikhvin.

The representatives group of armies "Centre" insisted on continuation attack, considering that, having stopped in snows in fifty kilometers from Moscow, the German army will undermine the battle spirit, that is why it is necessary to make last attempt. This opinion was resolutely maintained Hitler, which has required in a near future "to finish with Moscow ". The plan Germans command carried venturesome character: it consist in wide scope of Moscow from north and south with its subsequent encirclement. To prevent transference of the Soviet reserves from east part of the country, it was offered even to cut with tank impacts the railway under Gorki (Nizhni Novgorod). In reply to this offer one general has thrown: " Now not May, and we are not in France! "

Klin-Solnechnogorsk defence operation (15.11-5.12). November 15, group of armies "Centre" has renewed offensive to Moscow. November 16,  28 soldiers division of the general I.V. Panphilov near village Dubosekovo fight against several tens German tanks. Only five hardly wounded soldiers alive after this combat, but 18 tanks were destroy. However as a whole on a northwest direction there was an especially dangerous situation.

November 23,  Klin was captured by Germans, then-Istra and Solnechnogorsk. November 28, Germans rushed in Yakhrama and were forwarded through the channel Moscow-Volga. December 2, Kryukovo was occupied. December 3 the German formations came in Red Polyana (25 kms from Moscow). There was a threat bombardment  city from big guns.

Naro-Fominsk defence operation (1-5.12). On the west direction Germans unsuccessfully tried to attack Zvenigorod and Kubinka.They entered in Naro-Fominsk, however completely to take possession of city have failed and  pressed by the Red army on the east coast of the river Nara. The advanced Germans troops have managed by village roads to break to Golitcino, but were soon compelled to depart.

On the southwest direction to Moscow German Tank army, was failed to take possession of Tula, has bypassed it from the east and north. Tula — Moscow railway and highway was cut. Germans attempt to force Oka river under Kashira was broken by counter-offensive 112th Soviet Tank Division.

According to the German battle report, this testified that "the soldiers fighting capacity  is on the verge of an exhaustion, and it is impossible more to expect performance of difficult tasks".

Thus, the Germans  did not achieve the purposes to break in Moscow. At the same time the situation at the front developed extremely dangerous. Both sides have carried heavy losses. There were gaps and breaks, where at all there were no armies. It explains a little-known episode: German motorcycle scout battalion, most likely, is unexpected even for itself, has rushed on suburb of Moscow, where was defeat by Soviet Tank Brigade, put forward on a position.

December 5,  the German attack has completely stopped. Soviet command also has come to a conclusion about crisis of enemy offensive. G.K. Zhukov recollected:

"The information from partisan groups and interrogations from prisoners of war, in last numbers of Novemberi, given us an opportunity to establish, that in rear of enemy there are no more reserve armies. In the first of December we have felt, that the enemy exhausts, and that for conducting serious offensive on Moscow direction it do not suffice forces".


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