“They burned all the villages.” The defeat of the Germans near Moscow through the eyes of eyewitnesses

Plot World history with Andrey Sidorchik

December 5, 1941 in the history of not only the Great Patriotic War, but also the Second World War as a whole, became an important date. On this day, the troops of the Kalinin Front, having gone over to the offensive, broke through the enemy's defenses & nbsp; and managed to advance 4-5 kilometers.

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In the first hours, the Nazis were sure that they were talking about a local operation, which they could easily cope with. However, the next day, units of the Western and Southwestern Fronts began their offensive operations.

A couple of days later, the Germans admitted: they were faced with a crisis that they had not experienced during the entire war period. Hitler's directive on the transition to defense in all sectors of the front did not fundamentally change the picture & mdash; & nbsp; The Wehrmacht rolled back from Moscow.

On December 11, 1941, the jubilant voice of the announcer Yuri Levitan sounded on the radio: “ The troops of our Western Front, having exhausted the enemy in the & nbsp; previous battles, went over to the & nbsp; counteroffensive against his shock flank groupings. As a result of the launched offensive, both of these groups were defeated and & nbsp; hastily retreat, abandoning equipment, weapons and & nbsp; suffering huge losses … & raquo;

The defeat of the Wehrmacht near Moscow became a world sensation. The German military machine, which after the campaign in Europe received the reputation of invincible, for the first time received such a savory slap in the face. A force was found capable of fighting the Third Reich on an equal footing.

The plan of a lightning war, on which the calculations of the Hitlerite strategists were based, was finally buried. And the most far-sighted German military leaders predicted that nothing was & nbsp; a good “ Eastern campaign '' now won't end.

How did their direct witnesses and participants remember those December 1941 days?

“ After Klin was liberated by us, British Foreign Secretary Eden arrived there ''

Marshal Georgy Zhukov , during the Battle of Moscow, the commander of the Western Front: “ On the first day of the offensive, the troops of the Kalinin Front wedged themselves into the front edge of the enemy's defense, but could not overturn the enemy. Only after ten days of stubborn fighting and a change in offensive tactics did the front's troops begin to move forward. This happened after the right wing of the Western Front defeated the German group in the Rogachevo area & mdash; Solnechnogorsk and bypassed Klin & hellip; On December 13, the 1st Shock Army and part of the forces of the 30th Army of the Western Front approached Klin. Covering the city from all sides, Soviet troops burst into it and, after fierce fighting on the night of December 15, cleared the Klin of the enemy … After Klin was liberated by us, British Foreign Secretary A. Eden arrived there. At the end of December, we read in & ldquo; Pravda & rdquo; & nbsp; A. Eden's statement, made by him on his return to London. Sharing his impressions of the trip to the USSR, he said: “I was happy to see some of the exploits of the Russian armies, truly magnificent exploits.”

“ If a hut or another was preserved somewhere, then it was necessarily mined ''

Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky , during the Battle of Moscow, the commander of the 16th Army: “ During the retreat, the German troops did everything to slow down our advance. They densely mined the roads, arranged all kinds of mine traps. The army headquarters tried to be closer to the warheads, and often had to overtake the troops, advancing where our sappers had not yet managed to remove the mine obstacles. The feeling, I will say, is not pleasant … On their way, the Nazis burned all the villages. If a hut or another was preserved somewhere, then it was necessarily mined. I remember once we with & hellip; several comrades settled down to warm up in the surviving house. It was necessary to urgently make a decision and prepare an order for the troops for action the next day. The house, of course, had already been cleared of mines, which was confirmed by the defused mines lying nearby. As soon as we got ready to get down to business, first the correspondents entered, and then a few more people with cameras. The room was filled with people. In such conditions, there is no time for work. I had a sad joke about the mine danger, and pretty soon the hut was empty. “

Commander of the 16th Army of the Western Front, Lieutenant General K. & nbsp; K. Rokossovsky near Istra (second from the right). A shot from the & nbsp; documentary film The Defeat of German Troops near Moscow. October 1941 & nbsp; & mdash; January 1942 & nbsp; gg. & raquo; Central newsreel studio. 1942 Photo: RIA Novosti/S. Shcherbakov

“ Garneau, we ground them. They've killed Moscow after all, you bastards! ''

General Afanasy Beloborodov , in December 1941, the commander of the 9th Guards Rifle Division: “ The fascist strongholds located in the building of the Snigirev school and at the brick factory fell at dawn. They were defeated with their own fire by the heavy howitzer division of Captain Tertyshny. When the gunners were changing firing positions, the divisional commissar, political instructor Romanchenko, stopped the convoy near the school & mdash; let the fighters clearly see the strength of their weapons. In the building & nbsp; under the collapsed beams, among broken bricks, twisted iron, twisted anti-tank guns and machine guns, hundreds of corpses of SS men from the Führer regiment were lying around.

A short meeting took place. Gunner Sergeant Petrenko said:

& mdash; Garneau we ground them. They've killed Moscow after all, you bastards! And we, lads, will beat Berlin in kind. Is that so?

& mdash; So! & mdash; The artillerymen answered unanimously. “

” After five days of continuous fighting, no more than 10 fighters remained from the battalion “, in December 1941, assistant platoon commander of the 1166th Infantry Regiment of the 346th Infantry Division: “ I will remember the first days of my stay at the front, our first baptism of fire for a lifetime. We arrived at the front in new white sheepskin coats and fur mittens. After five days of continuous fighting, no more than 10 fighters remained from the battalion, and our fine uniforms practically fell into disrepair … The fighting continued, we liberated settlements, exhausting the enemy. Finally & nbsp; our offensive stopped near the city of Belev, which stretches along the banks of the Oka River & hellip; It was here for the first time that I saw a salvo of our guard mortars & bdquo; Katyusha & ldquo;. Heavy fire effect & bdquo; katyusha & ldquo; was amazing, but I learned about this much later, when, continuing our way to the west, we passed the German positions, the Nazis fled, throwing weapons in the trenches, the burnt corpses of dead soldiers and wounded. ''

Battle for Moscow. December 1941. Artillery crews are fighting in a forest near Moscow. Photo: RIA Novosti/Oleg Knorring

“ Potatoes have fallen in price among collective farmers. This is how they respond to our victories. The German retreats, and they retreat ''

A resident of Moscow, journalist Nikolai Verzhbitsky , from his diaries for December 1941: 'December 11 We returned Yelets & mdash; a very important node, a strategic point. Big Trophies & hellip;

December 13, 1941 & mdash; maybe from this date historians will begin the period of the defeat of fascism in the planetary war …But in general & mdash; in these days of joyful victories and the defeat of the Germans near Moscow, one will not see much jubilation. Everyone rejoices in a very restrained manner. Muscovites are just beginning to really understand what disaster awaited them and what misfortune they were freed from … Then they will understand. Such majestic events really reach the feeling and consciousness, when time pushes them somewhat into the past …

For collective farmers, potatoes have fallen in price & mdash; 6 & mdash; 7 rub. This is how they respond to our victories. The German is retreating, and they are retreating “.

“ In the & nbsp; liberated village ''. A woman hugs a Soviet soldier after liberating her village during the & nbsp; period of the Soviet counteroffensive near Moscow. Photo: RIA Novosti/Ivan Shagin

'Understand, I am dying, I am going to die, I can feel it'

From a letter from Private Wehrmacht Volheimer to his wife, December 1941: “ This is hell. The Russians don't want to leave Moscow. They began to attack. Every hour brings terrible news to us. I beg you, stop writing to me about silk and rubber boots that I promised to bring you from Moscow. Understand, I am dying, I am going to die, I can feel it. ”

“ The memory of Napoleon’s Great Army haunted us like a ghost. ”

General Gunther Blumentritt , in December 1941, the chief of staff of the 4th Army of the Wehrmacht: “ We did not believe that the situation could change so much after our decisive victories, when the capital seemed almost to be in our hands. The Russians surprised us. The troops now recalled with indignation the pompous October statements of our propaganda ministry … The memory of Napoleon's Great Army haunted us like a ghost. The book of memoirs of Napoleonic General Caulaincourt, which always lay on the desk of Field Marshal von Kluge, became his bible. There were more and more coincidences with the events of 1812 & nbsp; The Russian counteroffensive began with the fact that the superior forces of the Russians struck north of Moscow. In those poor conditions, German tank forces could not withstand the strongest pressure from the Russians and were forced to slowly retreat, continuing to fight stubbornly in deep snow and hoping to restore the united front further to the west. During the retreat, we left behind a lot of heavy weapons & hellip; In battles with the enemy, we suffered heavy losses. ''

The beginning of the Soviet counteroffensive near Moscow

Marching companies are sent to the front directly from Moscow. In the background is house No. 17 on Tverskaya Street. © Commons.wikimedia.org/RIA Novosti archive/Oleg Ignatovich

Soviet aircraft fly over enemy positions near Moscow. © RIA Novosti/Samariy Gurarii

Soldiers in camouflage coats go on the attack in a village near Moscow occupied by Nazi troops. © RIA Novosti/Still from the documentary “The defeat of the Nazi troops near Moscow”

The beginning of the Red Army's counteroffensive. Soviet troops are on the streets of the liberated village. © RIA Novosti/Samariy Gurarii

Broken German tanks near Moscow. © RIA Novosti/Samariy Gurarii

Captured German artillery. © RIA Novosti

Captured German vehicles. © RIA Novosti/Alexander Kapustyansky

German cemetery and a broken cannon. © RIA Novosti

The moment of the battle for Moscow. The fighting lasted from September 30, 1941 to April 20, 1942 and ended with the strategic victory of the USSR and the collapse of the Barbarossa plan. © RIA Novosti

The beginning of the Soviet counteroffensive near Moscow

Marching companies are sent to the front directly from Moscow. In the background is house No. 17 on Tverskaya Street. © Commons.wikimedia.org/RIA Novosti archive/Oleg Ignatovich

Soviet aircraft fly over enemy positions near Moscow. © RIA Novosti/Samariy Gurari

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Soldiers in camouflage coats go on the attack in a village near Moscow occupied by Nazi troops. © RIA Novosti/Still from the documentary “The defeat of Nazi troops near Moscow”

The beginning of the Red Army's counteroffensive. Soviet troops are on the streets of the liberated village. © RIA Novosti/Samariy Gurari

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Broken German tanks near Moscow. © RIA Novosti/Samariy Gurari

​​

Captured German artillery. © RIA Novosti

​​

Captured German vehicles. © RIA Novosti/Alexander Kapustyansky

German cemetery and a broken cannon. © RIA Novosti

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Moment of the battle for Moscow. The fighting lasted from September 30, 1941 to April 20, 1942 and ended with the strategic victory of the USSR and the collapse of the Barbarossa plan. © RIA Novosti

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