«Военная Литература»
Военная история

Note On Sources

A word must be said regarding the reliability of Soviet sources. In the writing of this book, every possible attempt was made to correlate Russian data with information available in the West. One critical concern for most readers, no doubt, will be how valid the information is regarding Soviet troop deployments in the western regions to counter the German invasion. It has for so long been taken as an article of faith that the Russians were caught by surprise on June 22, 1941, and had no overall defense plan in operation that it seemed at first to be an insurmountable task to convince readers otherwise.

In the last part of Chapter 1 dealing with Soviet defense strategy, a plan is revealed. The revelation can be said to be based largely on conjecture, and in one sense this is true no one privy to Stalin's war councils ever confided the whole story-but the facts should speak for themselves. When, for example, the deployment of the operational echelon is discussed, in particular the positioning of the Twenty-first Army around Gomel on the southern flank of the Army Group Center, the Russian sources are adequately backed up by contemporary German records. The German maps presented in Figures 1 and 2 are a good case in point: Figure 1 shows what the German army high command thought the Russian deployment would be before June 22, 1941. Notice that the bulk of the Red Army is positioned far to the west and that a breakthrough on both sides of the Biolystok salient would open the way into the hinterland and eventually Moscow-that is, if in fact the Soviet forces were so deployed. Figure 2 shows the situation a few weeks [XX] [Fig.1] [XXI] [Fig.2] [XXII] later after contact with the operational echelon. Note in particular the position of the Russian Twenty-first Army near Gomel on the southern flank of Army Group Center. The war diary of the Second Army command confirms the danger that Army Group Center faced from this direction. Halder's diary also speaks of this threat in specific terms. The Twenty-first Army did not just magically appear, nor was it slapped together in a rush and thrown into battle. It was there in position before the invasion, waiting to perform its mission-which it did with some effectiveness.

Another way to verify the operational deployment of the Red Army is to look at the casualty and prisoner statistics compiled from German sources. An examination of these figures shows where the heavy fighting took place-along the Dnepr line and farther east, not along the frontier where the Russians were supposed to have massed their army according to preinvasion German calculations. The forces along the border represented only a fraction of the Red Army's force in existence in the early phase of the war, as the tables show.

German Casualty Statistics for 1941 (Including all KIA, MIA, and WIA)

Numbers in parentheses indicate percentage of total field army
July 13, after the end of the Bialystok-Minsk battles 92,120 (3.6%)
August 13, after the elimination of the Smolensk pocket 389,924 (10%)
August 26, after the battles along the Dnepr and Dvina rivers on the flanks of Army Group Center 441,100(11.6%)
September 30, after the battles around and to the east of Kiev 551,039(16.20%)
November 13, after the battles of Briansk-Viazma and the resumption of the Typhoon offensive 699,726 (20.58%)

Total for 1941

930,903 (26%)
25.67% of these casualties occurred by the end of July, 74.32% thereafter
Note: From October 1, 1941 to January 31, 1942 during the Typhoon offensive and the Red Army counteroffensive after December 6, 1941, Army Group Center suffered 369,500 losses. [XXIII\
Soviet Prisoner Statistics for 1941
Battle Number of Prisoners
Bialystok-Minsk, July 8 287,704*
Uman, August 12 103,000
Total 390,704
Note: that only 17.3% of the total of 2,258,535 prisoners were taken in the areas west of the Dvina-Dnepr line.
Battle Number of Prisoners
Mogilev, July 16 35,000
Smolensk, August 5 309,110
Roslavl, August 6 38,561
Zhlobin, August 18 50,000
Krichev and Gomel, August 19 78,000
Velikie Luki, August 26 34,000
Kiev, September 26 665,212
Briansk-Viazma, October 19 657,948
Total 1,867,831
Note: that 82.7% of the total of 2,258,535 prisoners in 1941 were taken in the areas east of the Dvina-Dnepr line.

*Only 100,000 of these were taken around Bialystok. The rest were captured around and to the east of Minsk.



Field Marshal Fedor von Bock
Colonel-General Heim, Guderian
Colonel-General Franz. Holder
Colonel-General Hermann Hoth
Lieutenant-General Friederich Paulus
Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge
Field Marshal Albert Kesselring
Colonel-General Freiherr von Weichs (center, facing)
Reichsmarshal Hermann Goring
General of the Army Georgii Zhukov
Marshal S. K. Timoshenko
Marshal B. M. Shaposhnikov
Lieutenant-General A. I. Eremenko
Marshal M.N. Tukhachevsky
Lieutenant-General I. S. Konev
Major-General K. K. Rokossovskii
Colonel-General M. P. Kirponos