At dawn on 10 July 1941, massed tanks and motorised infantry of German Army Group Center's Second and Third Panzer Groups crossed the Dnepr and Western Dvina Rivers, beginning what Adolf Hitler, the FAhrer of Germany's Third Reich, and most German officers and soldiers believed would be a triumphal march on Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union. However, once across the rivers, the Wehrmacht encountered five fresh Soviet armies. Despite destroying two of these armies and severely damaging two, quick victory eluded them. The Soviet force that remained stubbornly refused to surrender, and while they fought on into September, seven newly-mobilised Soviet armies struck back viciously at the Germans, climaxing in two major counteroffensives that sapped German strength and will. Despite huge losses, these desperate Soviet actions derailed Operation Barbarossa. Hitler was forced to postpone his march on Moscow and turn his forces to engage "softer targets" elsewhere.This groundbreaking new study by the world's leading military historian on Eastern Front conflict, David M. Glantz exploits a wealth of Soviet and German archival materials to present a detailed mosaic and definitive account of what took place, why, and how during the prolonged and complex battles in the Smolensk region from 10 July through 10 September 1941.About the AuthorColonel David M. Glantz served for over 30 years in Europe and Vietnam, taught at the United States Military Academy, the Combat Studies Institute, and Army War College, founded and directed the U.S. Army's Foreign (Soviet) Military Studies Office, and established and currently edits The Journal of Slavic Military Studies. He has written or co-authored more than 60 books as well as hundreds of articles. He has received numerous awards including the Society of Military History's prestigious Samuel Eliot Morrison Prize.

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