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How did Kolmogorov help protect Moscow in WW2?

How did Kolmogorov help protect Moscow in WW2?

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I have been reading this blog post which mentions that:

during World War II Kolmogorov applied his mathematical gifts to artillery problems, helping to protect Moscow from German bombardment.

So, what were the mathematical solutions did Kolmogorov use in helping protect Moscow in the World War 2?

I think, the reference is to Kolmogorov's work on anti-aircraft artillery in 1942 (the theory of artificial scattering of shells).

The following is taken from the article

V.I. Arnolʹd, A. N. Kolmogorov and the natural sciences. Uspekhi Mat. Nauk 59 (2004), no. 1(355), 25-44; translation in Russian Math. Surveys 59 (2004), no. 1, 27-46.

Pages 35-36 (of the English trianslation):

During a state examination on military training, a general of artillery, who came to Moscow State University to evaluate the graduates, asked me: “Who is the best mathematician in Russia at present?” I mentioned Kolmogorov, and the general was pleased: “He did a lot of useful things for us as well, we remember it and also appreciate him.”

Kolmogorov told me with pleasure that in 1942 the Artillery Command requested that he come from Kazan (to which the Academy of Sciences had been evacuated) to Moscow for consultations; according to him, Kolmogorov got a sofa as a lodging (as he told me) in Neskuchnyi garden (in the building of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences) and worked out a statistical basis for his suggestions about how to organize antiaircraft fire against the massive bombing raids of the enemy. These suggestions, called a theory of artificial scattering of shells, show that under certain conditions it is preferable to shoot at random rather than aim, creating a curtain of shell bursts in the path of the enemy aircraft. The point is that, when trying to hit an individual aircraft, several antiaircraft guns or even a whole battery of guns can choose the same target, and then the nearby enemy aircraft would remain undamaged (if one tries to hit only chosen targets).

A caveat: Many things claimed by Arnold should be taken with a grain of salt. But this story, I think, is solid.

The Wikipedia article on Kolmogorov is a good starting point and will give you some search terms that could be fruitful.

For example, Shiryaev A.N. (2003) On the Defense Work of A. N. Kolmogorov during World War II. In: Booß-Bavnbek B., Høyrup J. (eds) Mathematics and War. Birkhäuser, Basel.

This survey references his 1941/42 paper "Estimation of the center and spread of dispersion for a bounded sample"

In the end of 1941 and beginning of 1942, the Soviets had multiple problems with artillery.

The first one was shell and batteries availability: there was not enough of them for field artillery. It was not that much a problem since the mud, and later the snow, reduced the capacity of artillery to inflict damages. So the Soviets relied on infiltration tactics with mobile units made for low intensity fights: light armoured cars, cavalry units, skiing units, airborne troops…

The second problem they faced was numerous air attacks made by the Luftwaffe againt the cities. Despite primitive radars and an increasing number of airplanes, front line operations were the priority and Soviets had to rely a lot on anti aircraft artillery to repel German raids. This artillery needed multiple data to be effective: how airplane behave, deflection, ballistic, how to stop a group of planes rather than destroy each airplane one by one (which is impossible in fact)… According to colonel Proektor, out of 4 000 airplanes targeting Moscow during eponym battle, only 120 airplanes actually reached and bombed targets over Moscow.

So I don't have primary sources on Kolmogorov, but it is probable that he helped in anti aircraft artillery based in Moscow rather than field artillery.

Panfilov's 28 Men

Panfilov's 28 Men (Russian: 28 панфиловцев , translit. 28 panfilovtsev) is a 2016 war film based on a legend about a group of soldiers – Panfilov's Twenty-Eight Guardsmen – heroically halting and destroying German tanks headed for Moscow. [3] It is set in the Eastern Front of World War II and covers the 8th Guards Rifle Division operations during the 1941 Battle of Moscow. [4] [5] On DVD, it is also known as Battle for Moscow or Thunder of War in North American distribution.

The film is directed by Kim Druzhinin and Andrey Shalopa, produced by Panfilov's Twenty Eight and Gaijin Entertainment. Initially the film used crowdfunding, later it has been financially supported by Russian and Kazakhstan governments and Gaijin Entertainment game development company. The premiere took place in Volokolamsk in 16 November 2016 and in Russia in 24 November 2016. [6]

The plot was written by Andrey Shalopa in 2009, and the production team took their teaser trailer of the film to Boomstarter crowdfunding platform, seeking co-financiers. "It will be a film about Soviet heroes. We will describe the battle near Dubosekovo, which went down in history as the deed of Panfilov's 28 men". The crowdfunding campaign was successful, and the film raised 3 million rubles out of planned 300 thousands. [7] By the time of the premiere the film raised 34,746 million rubles. [8]

In May 2014 Gaijin Entertainment, Russian game development company known for its game War Thunder joined the funding. [9] [10] In December 2014 the film won a grant of 30 million rubles from Russian Ministry of Culture, and later the Ministry of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan added another $287 thousand.

Collecting money, producing and renting the film accompanied a vigorous discussion of its historical authenticity in the blogosphere and the media. The picture was positively received by the spectators, having collected in the CIS 384 million rubles and becoming the best film of the year according to the results of the VTsIOM poll. [ citation needed ]

Iwo Jima Before the Battle

According to postwar analyses, the Imperial Japanese Navy had been so crippled by earlier World War II clashes in the Pacific that it was already unable to defend the empire’s island holdings, including the Marshall archipelago.

In addition, Japan’s air force had lost many of its warplanes, and those it had were unable to protect an inner line of defenses set up by the empire’s military leaders. This line of defenses included islands like Iwo Jima.

Given this information, American military leaders planned an attack on the island that they believed would last no more than a few days. However, the Japanese had secretly embarked on a new defensive tactic, taking advantage of Iwo Jima’s mountainous landscape and jungles to set up camouflaged artillery positions.

Although Allied forces led by the Americans bombarded Iwo Jima with bombs dropped from the sky and heavy gunfire from ships positioned off the coast of the island, the strategy developed by Japanese General Tadamichi Kuribayashi meant that the forces controlling it suffered little damage and were thus ready to repel the initial attack by the U.S. Marines, under the command of Holland M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith.

The first time Adolf Hitler ventured into the captured territory of the Soviet Union was six weeks into the campaign on August 4, 1941, when he traveled to Borisov to the headquarters of Army Group Center and its commander, Field Marshal Fedor von Bock. Colonel General Heinz Guderian, commander of the Army Group’s Panzer Group 2, whose troops had spent those seven weeks slashing through the western Soviet Union, had been called to the headquarters to make a report to the Führer.

During their meeting, Hitler spoke of his indecision regarding the further course of the campaign. He said that Leningrad was the campaign’s primary objective at this point because of its industrial capacity. But he was not sure whether Moscow or Ukraine would come next. Later, Guderian wrote, “He seemed to incline toward the latter target for a number of reasons: first, Army Group South seemed to be laying the groundwork for victory in that area secondly, he believed that the raw materials and agricultural produce of the Ukraine were necessary to Germany for the further prosecution of the war and finally, he thought it essential that the Crimea, ‘that Soviet aircraft carrier operating against the Rumanian oilfields’ be neutralized.”

On the flight back to his own headquarters, Guderian decided he would make preparations based on a continuation of the attack toward Moscow, which was the course he thought to be best and he knew that it was the priority for Field Marshal Walter von Brauchitsch, commander in chief of the Army, Army Chief of Staff Colonel General Franz Halder, and Field Marshal von Bock. At that point the troops on the panzer group’s north flank were in heavy combat in the Yelna salient east of Smolensk, while on the south flank they had just encircled several Soviet divisions in Roslavl, 425 miles from their start on June 22 and 225 miles from Moscow.

On July 19, Hitler had issued Directive 33, ordering Army Group Center to continue its advance toward Moscow with only infantry units and to turn its armored units to the north toward Leningrad and to the south toward Ukraine, unleashing a storm of controversy. Over the next five weeks, what had been a simmering bone of contention flared into open controversy. Halder pleaded for a continuation of the attack toward Moscow, believing that diversions to the north and south would only bog his troops down in positional warfare. Bock also lobbied for Moscow, supported by Guderian and Col. Gen. Hermann Hoth, commander of Army Group Center’s other armored spearhead, Panzer Group 3. All three firmly believed that the only way to defeat the Soviet Union was to capture its capital, the central hub of the entire nation, before year’s end.

On August 12, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, commander of the armed forces, issued an order confirming the intention of removing the armored units from Army Group Center for use in attacks to the north and south. On the 18th, Halder and von Brauchitsch sent a long memorandum to Hitler thoroughly explaining their objections. Hitler stood firm. Halder suggested to von Brauchitsch that they resign in protest, but von Brauchitsch vacillated. They did not resign. Ironically, on the other side of the front line Soviet Marshal Josef Stalin was enduring a similar struggle.

Toward the end of July, General Georgi Zhukov, chief of staff of the Red Army, had reported to Stalin that a continued German advance from Smolensk toward Moscow was unlikely. He said German losses at Smolensk had been heavy and they had no available reserve. He therefore suggested that some of the units in front of Moscow should be transferred to other, more threatened sectors. Stalin flatly refused. He was sure that Moscow was Hitler’s primary target and would not even consider lessening its protection.

As he was concluding his remarks, Zhukov struck what turned out to be another tender spot when he said that Kiev would have to be surrendered. Stalin would not even think of surrendering Kiev, the third most populous city in the Soviet Union. He saw Zhukov’s words as an indication that he had lost his nerve and removed him from his position as chief of staff. Fortunately for the Soviets, Stalin assigned Zhukov to command the Reserve Front rather than having him shot, as had been his previous practice.

On August 12, Stalin appointed Lt. Gen. Andrei Eremenko to command the new Briansk Front composed of the Fiftieth and Thirteenth Armies and gave him specific orders to prepare to stop the renewed German offensive against Moscow, which was expected soon. Zhukov, though no longer chief of staff, kept himself fully informed about the overall situation. When he learned that recent prisoner interrogations indicated that Army Group Center had indeed gone over to the defensive on the approaches to Moscow he became alarmed.

Zhukov wired Stalin on August 19 and reiterated his concerns in light of recent events. In his reply, Stalin agreed with Zhukov that enemy operations indicated a potential threat to the Southwestern Front in Ukraine, but he said that resolute measures were being undertaken to prevent that. Stalin also restated his resolve to hold Kiev. Col. Gen. Mikhail Kirponos, commander of the Southwestern Front, agreed with Stalin. He could and would successfully defend Ukraine.

Army Group Center’s Second Army, which was attacking eastward on Panzer Group 2’s right flank, had not been able to keep pace with the motorized units of the panzer group. During the first week of August, Second Army’s easternmost units were attacking near Cherikov on the Sosh River, almost 100 miles southwest of Guderian’s units fighting on the Desna River east of Roslavl. Therefore, the panzer group’s XXIV Motorized Corps spent the next three weeks cleaning up pockets of enemy troops on its southern and southwestern flanks, eliminating the threat and enabling the Second Army to catch up. This brought Panzer Group 2’s units farther south. Whether they would continue in that direction or turn to the northeast toward Moscow was still up in the air.

On the 23rd, Guderian, as well as all the Army commanders subordinated to Army Group Center, were summoned to a conference at army group headquarters with von Bock and Halder. Fourth Army’s Field Marshal Hans von Kluge, Second Army commander Col. Gen. Maximilian von Weichs, commander of the Ninth Army Colonel General Adolf Strauss, and the panzer leaders Guderian and Hoth were gathered in the conference room when von Bock and a dour looking Halder walked in.

German infantrymen question Red Army prisoners and round up villagers after capturing a small settlement in the Ukraine during their 1941 advance.

“The Führer has decided to conduct neither the operation against Leningrad as previously envisaged by him, nor the offensive against Moscow as proposed by the Army General Staff, but to take possession first of the Ukraine and the Crimea,” Halder announced.

The generals were stunned!

“What can we do against this decision?” asked von Bock. “Nothing. It’s immutable,” Halder replied. There it was, the decision that they all feared and fought had been made.

But maybe there was something they could do. Bock suggested that Guderian accompany Halder back to the Führer’s headquarters in East Prussia and try to convince Hitler to change his mind. They had to try something.

Guderian and Halder arrived at the headquarters about 8 on that Saturday evening Halder went to check on arrangements for a meeting with Hitler while Guderian reported to von Brauchitsch. Guderian was floored when von Brauchitsch greeted him with the words, “I forbid you to mention the question of Moscow to the Führer. The operation to the south has been ordered. The problem now is simply how it is to be carried out. Discussion is pointless!”

Guderian thought the meeting was, therefore, pointless, but the army commander insisted, make your report, but no mention of Moscow.

Several members of the Führer’s staff were present in the map room, including Keitel General Alfred Jodl, chief of the operations staff of the armed forces Colonel Rudolf Schmundt, Hitler’s chief adjutant and many others but neither Halder nor von Brauchitsch. Guderian was on his own.

Hitler greeted the panzer leader cordially and asked for his report. Guderian spoke about the current situation, the condition of his troops and their equipment, about the supply situation and Russian resistance.

“Do you believe your troops are still capable of a major effort?” Hitler inquired.

Guderian saw his opening. “If the troops are set a great objective, the kind that would inspire every man of them, yes.”

“You are, of course, thinking of Moscow,” Hitler replied.

“Yes my Führer, may I have permission to give my reasons?”

“By all means Guderian. Say whatever is on your mind.”

General Guderian began slowly, laying out the detail he had organized on the plane:

Moscow was the head and heart of the Soviet Union …

It’s the communications center …

It’s an important industrial area in its own right …

It’s the transportation hub of the empire …

It’s the only place Stalin would never
abandon …

It’s where the Red Army would stand and fight … and be destroyed.

The season and the weather were running out …

The orders and plans are ready …

Hitler listened quietly, and when Guderian finished he walked over to the map, put a hand on Ukraine, and launched into a lecture justifying his intention to attack there first.

German tank soldiers survey the muddy quagmire in the immediate vicinity as they pause near the banks of the Dneiper River in the Ukraine. During the conquest of the region, elements of the 17th Army crossed the great river at the end of August 1941.

The conference broke up around midnight. Guderian strode out of the Wolf’s Lair toward what would be the last victory in his long career. Guderian was the man who would be acknowledged as the creator of the German panzer forces in the 1930s. Western journalists coined the term “Blitzkrieg” to describe Guderian’s plunge through Poland in 1939 and France in 1940. It was now 1941, and his troops had just cut through the western Soviet Union in a similar fashion and were set to encircle the enemy’s capital. But first, there would be a diversion to the south, through the Ukraine.

In a quick call before leaving East Prussia, Guderian told his chief of operations, Lt. Col. Fritz Bayerlein, the news. This meant a suitably forlorn staff when the general arrived back at his headquarters. “There was nothing I could do, gentlemen, I had to give in,” he told the assembled group upon his return. Halder and von Brauchitsch had left him out to dry, alone in front of Hitler and his entourage. Interestingly enough, when Guderian arrived back at his headquarters well after midnight, Halder’s order for the attack was waiting for him, having arrived well before his meeting with Hitler.

The plan the German generals quickly developed was straightforward. Panzer Group 2 would continue south through eastern Ukraine and meet troops from Army Group South about 120 miles east of Kiev. Second Army would move south on the panzer group’s right flank and provide a tight seal on the north side of the forming pocket. Army Group South’s 17th Army, which was at that point closing up to the Dnieper River southeast of Kiev, would forge a bridgehead over the Dnieper near Kremenchug, about 150 miles southeast of Kiev. Panzer Group 1, Army Group South’s armored strike force, would then advance northeast out of that bridgehead and meet Panzer Group 2’s attack, closing and holding the eastern side of the pocket. Then the Sixth Army, currently holding the western side of the Dnieper north and south of Kiev, would crush Kiev and liquidate the pocket.

At the last minute Guderian had to give up his strongest corps, the XLVI Motorized Corps. Halder had it transferred to Army Group Center reserve on the eve of the attack in an attempt to husband it for his favored attack toward Moscow. This left the panzer group with only the XXIV Motorized Corps and the XLVII Motorized Corps.

All units of the panzer group were badly in need of rest and repairs. There had not been a break since the campaign began. The weather was hot and muggy between thunderous downpours. The best of the roads were compacted dirt that quickly turned into quagmires of deep mud when it rained. And when it did not rain there was the dust! Great clouds of dust hung over the march routes, stirred up by anything that moved and so fine that it penetrated clothing, coating the troops’ sweating bodies. Engines broke down because their air filters could not keep out the dust. But the capture of Ukraine would not wait.

Assignments for the attack depended to a great extent on a unit’s current location. The XXIV Motorized Corps units—3rd Panzer Division, 4th Panzer Division, and 10th Motorized Division—having been engaged for the last few weeks in eliminating pockets on the army’s southwestern flank, would lead the attack south on the army’s right flank while XLVII Motorized Corps units—17th Panzer Division, 18th Panzer Division, and the 29th Motorized Division—would cover the east. The attack would start on August 25 with the town of Konotop the first objective. After that, specific objectives would be decided on the road according to results achieved.

German engineers construct a bridge across a stream somewhere in the Ukraine during their advance in the summer of 1941. The engineers were also experienced combat troops.

On August 24, Marshal Boris Shaposhnikov, Stalin’s new chief of staff, informed Eremenko that his Briansk Front could expect Guderian’s main blow to fall on its northern flank, first toward Briansk and then toward Moscow, probably the next day. Guderian’s main blow did fall the next day. But it was on the front’s southern flank toward Ukraine, not toward Moscow.

At first light on the 25th, Guderian set out for the headquarters of the 17th Panzer Division near Pochep on the panzer group’s left, or eastern, flank. That flank was sparsely held, and Guderian wanted to make sure the division was fully informed as to its critical role. Unfortunately, before he could reach the division his command car and several vehicles of his column broke down completely due to poor road conditions.

General Walter Model, commander of the 3rd Panzer Division, XXIV Motorized Corps’ spearhead, had reorganized his division into three balanced battle groups after the capture of Novozybkhov and was thrusting southeastward toward Novgorod-Seversk on the afternoon of the 25th. Aerial reconnaissance had determined that the bridges over the Desna River were still intact. It was imperative that at least one of those bridges be captured. Time was of the essence. About 5 pm, the lead battle group (Kampfgruppe), Kampfgruppe von Lewinski, three kilometers short of the Desna River, ran up against the first Soviet defensive positions.

Lieutenant Colonel Werner von Lewinski, commander of the division’s 6th Panzer Regiment, called a halt to confer with his subordinates in a nearby ravine. Enemy observation aircraft circled overhead. General Model arrived to join the meeting. Just then the Soviet artillery fire escalated. Model was wounded in the hand, Colonel Gottfried Ries, commander of the division’s artillery regiment, and several staff officers were killed. Model had no alternative but to pull back, await the remainder of the division, and prepare an attack for the morning.

During the 25th the 10th Motorized Division, on the XXIV Motorized Corps’ right flank, was moving south. There were small pockets of determined resistance and roving groups of enemy troops who had been cut off from their headquarters. The division had captured Klinzy against light resistance on the 24th and was now moving toward Semenovka and Cholmy. The 4th Panzer Division, which had been clearing enemy pockets around Unecha, was now maneuvering south as well and began meeting stiff resistance as it approached Starodub, 45 miles north of Novgorod-Seversk.

Guderian did not reach the 17th Panzer Division headquarters near Pochep until mid-afternoon, just ahead of the XLVII Motorized Corps commander, General Joachim Lemelsen. Guderian was worried that the forces assigned to him for flank protection (XLVII Motorized Corps) were insufficient to handle the task and maintain the pace of the XXIV Motorized Corps as it plunged south into Ukraine. Guderian had requested the return of the XLVI Motorized Corps but had been rebuffed. He explained his concerns to General Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma, commander of the 17th Panzer Division, and General Lemelsen. Both men understood and were confident that they could maintain their advance along with the XXIV Motorized Corps. Guderian spent the night in Pochep so he could observe the division’s attack in the morning.

Lemelsen also updated Guderian on the positions of the other corps units. The 29th Motorized Division was clearing the western bank of the Sudost River north of Pochep and waiting for relieving units from Fourth Army. The 18th Panzer Division was regrouping, having been spread out during the fighting for Roslavl.

At 5 am on the 26th, the renewed 3rd Panzer Division attack on Novgorod-Seversk began with the three combined arms battle groups attacking from different directions. Artillery fire rained down on the lead elements as they approached the first positions, but now their own artillery was able to respond. The first roadblock was overrun. Maps indicated that the bridge over the Desna was at the northern entrance to the city. The advanced guard was soon at the northern entrance, but there was no bridge.

Under the leadership of General Heinz Guderian, German forces invaded the Ukraine on Hitler’s orders in the summer of 1941. Hitler chose to move into the region rather than continue efforts to capture the Soviet capital of Moscow or the major city of Leningrad.

At about that time, Lt. Col. Gustav-Albrecht Schmidt-Ott reached the high ground northeast of the city with his 1st Battalion, Panzer Regiment 6. The broad valley of the Desna spread out before them, on their right the city and beyond that the high wooden road bridge over the Desna with a never-ending stream of vehicles fleeing eastward. Schmidt-Ott immediately ordered an attack.

By 10 am the lead tanks reached the foot of the 875-yard-long wooden bridge. Suddenly, machine-gun and rifle fire erupted from two guard houses on the near end of the bridge. Artillery and mortar shells from the far bank began to fall. Tanks of the advanced guard opened up and quickly destroyed both guard houses. A German engineer vehicle roared up, and several men scampered under the bridge to remove demolition charges.

The tankers knew the bridge could go up at any minute. The tanks, firing at anything that moved, reached the far end of the bridge, and the shocked Soviet riflemen fled their positions. Tanks and half-tracks rushed across engineers were rapidly cutting wires. Success! The panzer group had breached the Desna River. General Model immediately ordered his entire division over the bridge with the 10th Motorized Division securing the rear.

Guderian received the news just after he had left the 17th Panzer Division operation on the east side of the Sudost River south of Pochep. Earlier he had diverted the 4th Panzer Division to the left flank to deal with Soviet forces gathering near the confluence of the Sudost and the Desna, southeast of Pogar. They would temporarily fill the gap between the 17th Panzer Division bridgehead at Pochep and the 3rd Panzer Division bridgehead at Novgorod-Seversk. There was little else Guderian could do until Second Army units arrived from the west or Fourth Army units arrived from the north to relieve his units.

In late afternoon, the 4th Panzer Division moved into Kister, a small city near the confluence of the two rivers, in open combat formation and met significant Soviet forces. General von Langermann’s troops spent the remainder of that day and most of the next in difficult house-to-house combat, eliminating that threat to the panzer group’s flank.

Guderian’s headquarters had moved to Unecha during the day, and he arrived there just before midnight.

On the 27th, most units remained in contact with the enemy. The 17th Panzer Division was fighting near Semtsy, 7.5 miles south of Pochep the 3rd Panzer Division was defending and enlarging its bridgehead south of Novgorod-Seversk, the 4th Panzer Division was engaged in heavy combat near Kister, and the 29th Motorized Division was covering the panzer group’s deep eastern flank between Shukovka and Pochep. The 10th Motorized Division now covered the western flank near Cholmy. The 18th Panzer Division had finally gotten clear of Roslavl but was strung out on the road from there to Mglin.

Operations were mostly suspended the next day when early downpours created a sea of mud. By this time the Second Army was approaching the Desna River east of Chernigov. The boundary between Second Army and Panzer Group 2 was established as the line Surash-Klinzy-Klimovo-Cholmy–Sosnitza.

Sunrise on the 29th found virtually all units under Soviet air attack. During the next week the Soviets threw more than 4,000 ground attack and bomber sorties against the panzer group. Soviet units desperate to withdraw to the east undertook several vigorous and coordinated attacks against the panzer group’s spearhead.

The 10th Motorized Division, having crossed the lower Desna, was leading on the panzer group’s west flank and approaching the Kiev-Moscow railroad west of Konotop when it came under heavy attack to its front and right flank. The situation became so dire at one point that the division’s bakery company had to drop its aprons and pick up its rifles. But the division still had to pull its forward units back across the Desna temporarily to stabilize the situation. The lead elements of the 3rd Panzer Division were also under extreme pressure at Shostka and Voronezh on the east side of the Desna. Voronezh had to be evacuated, but Shostka held.

The 17th Panzer Division was struggling to clear the east side of the Sudost south of Pochep. Once units of the Fourth Army had taken over for the 29th Motorized Division along the eastern flank south of Zukovka it was moved through the Novgorod-Seversk bridgehead to the east side of the Desna and turned north to relieve some of the pressure on the 17th Panzer Division. The 18th Panzer Division had finally begun to arrive and was replacing the 4th Panzer Division while clearing up the enemy on the west side of the Sudost near Kister. After it was relieved, the 4th began shifting to Novgorod-Serversk, but its maneuvering was limited due to lack of fuel.

Once again General Guderian became concerned about his flank, but this time it was his west flank. He flew to XXIV Motorized Corps headquarters and told General von Geyr to spend the 30th liquidating the threat to his west flank. He could then resume his advance to the south on the 31st.

Guderian repeated his appeal for enough troops to do the job and pleaded for the return of the XLVI Motorized Corps. This time his entreaties bore fruit, if only grudgingly. Initially, only the Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland was released to him on the 30th. Guderian needed the whole corps, but it was not available. On September 1, Army Group Center added the 1st Cavalry Division and on the 2nd came the 2nd SS Division Das Reich. Finally, the XLVI Motorized Corps headquarters arrived.

On the Army Group South front, 17th Army units made several assault crossings of the Dneiper River near Kremenchug, 160 miles southeast of Kiev, on the morning of August 29. They quickly enlarged and fortified their bridgehead against pressure from the Soviet 38th Army’s units nearby.

On the 30th, Stalin ordered the new Briansk Front to attack from the Sevsk area toward Starodub and Guderian’s spearhead. However, because it was still ordered to guard against an attack on Moscow, its efforts were more aimed at keeping Guderian from turning east than preventing his moving south. These attacks hit hard, but 3rd Panzer Division units were able to more or less fend them off and continue southward. The Germans did, however, recognize the threat to their left wing and leave forces to protect it.

The more immediate concern for the 3rd Panzer Division on the 30th was the Soviet force attacking its western flank. Lokotki and Schostka were hit in the morning from a dense wooded area to the west. Several 52-ton KV-1 tanks, against which the German antitank guns were powerless, threatened to overrun positions there until individual artillery pieces were brought forward to fire on the Soviet giants over open sites.

The next day, 4th Panzer Division tanks struck south-southwest from the Novgorod-Seversk bridgehead into the north flank of the enemy concentration in the wooded area and destroyed the threat. By evening on the 2nd, reconnaissance elements of the 3rd Panzer Division had pushed south to just five miles north of Krolovetz. The surge to the south continued.

The Grossdeutschland Regiment began arriving on September 2 and was directed to Novgorod-Seversk to hold the bridgehead, freeing up more of the 3rd and 4th Panzer Divisions to continue the attack southward.

Soviet tanks and infantrymen advance across open ground during their effort to stem the German tide in the Ukraine. The Red Army suffered heavy casualties and yielded significant territory to the invaders.

Guderian met the commander of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich, General Paul Hausser, in Avdeievka on September 3, informed him that 1st Cavalry Division would be coming up on his right flank in a day or two, and told him to be prepared to attack Sosnitza on the 4th.

Guderian next visited the 10th Motorized Division, which had been under extreme pressure and had suffered exceptionally high casualties fighting off attacks from the west. Over the past few days the division had been opposed by a greatly superior force of no less that four infantry divisions and a tank brigade. Guderian met with division commander General Friedrich von Loeper and praised him for his steadfast defense against such an overwhelming enemy force.

Pushing south along the east side of the Desna on September 2, the 3rd Panzer Division ran up against stiff resistance south of Voronezh. In the middle of a large wooded area with several lakes, the Soviets were holding the rail and road bridges over Essmany Creek, the only bridges for miles.

At mid-afternoon, after the division artillery had been brought forward and placed intense fire on the enemy positions, the reinforced 1st Battalion of Rifle Regiment 3 made an assault crossing of the creek and stormed the enemy positions. Simultaneously, the regiment’s 2nd Battalion, which had found a concealed crossing spot upstream, fell on the enemy positions from behind. The Soviets pulled back.

The 4th Panzer Division resumed the advance to the southwest and captured Zarevka on
September 3 against light resistance. It then encountered a Soviet column in Shernovka and destroyed it, taking 800 prisoners.

In the XLVII Motorized Corps sector on the 3rd, the 18th Panzer Division engaged a Soviet tank brigade at Trubchevsk and destroyed it, capturing four tanks intact and taking more than 1,000 prisoners. The 17th Panzer Division held the line of the Desna southwest of Trubchevsk to near Yevdokolye, and the 29th Motorized Division south from there to where the Sudost flows into the Desna. Since the beginning of the attack on August 25, the XLVII Motorized Corps had taken 17,000 prisoners, while the XXIV Motorized Corps had taken 13,000.

Guderian returned to his headquarters late, just as it started to rain again. He was a worried man, now more than ever. Not only were his flanks under heavy pressure, but his spearheads were meeting more and more resistance. The mud was making travel by wheeled vehicle virtually impossible. His panzer divisions had been reduced to half their original complement of tanks. Disabled vehicles littered the sides of every road they had traveled.

The next morning it had stopped raining, but it still took Guderian 4 1 /2 hours to travel the 45 miles to the 4th Panzer Division’s front. The 4th was attacking Korop from the northeast and running into more determined resistance the closer it got. A Ju-87 Stuka dive bomber attack just after Guderian arrived loosened the defense, and Korop was captured later that afternoon. This allowed the 10th Motorized Division to shift to the west and fill the gap with the Das Reich at Sosnitza.

The corps commander, General Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg, was also with the 4th that day. He told Guderian that the 3rd Panzer Division had captured a map of Soviet dispositions and it indicated that his XXIV Motorized Corps was quite near the seam between the Soviet Thirteenth and Twenty-first Armies. The officers agreed that this presented an opportunity. Guderian then left for the 3rd Panzer Division to get Model’s thoughts on the matter.

Completely by accident, the 3rd had taken a notable prisoner on September 3. Soviet General Pavel Vasilevich Chistov, a holder of the Order of Lenin, had been dispatched from Moscow to oversee the establishment of defensive positions along the Desna River. He had more than a million workers at his disposal. He arrived by train in Novgorod-Seversk direct from Moscow that morning, completely unaware that the city was in German hands.

The 3rd Panzer Division had captured Krolovetz the night before and was moving south toward Spaskoye when Guderian reached it. Model agreed with Guderian as to the opportunity they faced and the need for speed to exploit it. A short time later word came from the advance guard that there were no serviceable bridges over the Seim River at Spaskoye. Unfortunately for the impatient Model, it took his division two days and attacks at three different locations to get across the Seim.

Behind the XXIV Motorized Corps spearhead and covering the lengthening eastern flank, the 18th Panzer Division was holding along the Desna at Trubchevsk, the 17th Panzer Division was holding south to the confluence with the Sudost River, the 29th Motorized Division was extending the line along the Desna to Novgorod-Seversk, and Grossdeutschland was holding from Novgorod-Seversk to Schostka and moving southeast toward Gluchov. On the west flank, the 1st Cavalry Division was patrolling the area behind Das Reich at Sosnitza north to Seminovka as units of the Second Army moved in from the northwest.

On September 6, Guderian drove to the Das Reich front southwest of Sosnitza. That afternoon, after heavy combat against a determined enemy, the division captured the railroad bridge over the Desna at Makoshino, just downstream from the confluence of the Seim and the Desna. Guderian told Hausser to enlarge the bridgehead as quickly as possible and to be prepared to attack eastward toward the south side of the Seim to help XXIV Corps units to cross that river.

Both of Guderian’s spearhead divisions were locked in heavy combat at the Seim River, the 4th Panzer Division at Baturin and the 3rd Panzer Division just upstream at Melnya. For the first few days of the offensive the spearhead divisions had usually met unorganized resistance from surprised units that were hastily brought together to oppose them. But for more than a week now the defense had been growing more and more stout every day. It now seemed that whichever way the Germans turned the enemy met them with combined arms attacks and artillery.

The 3rd Panzer Division approached the Seim River bridge in Melnya just before midnight on September 6, and just as they had been so many times recently, this bridge was blown up. This time, however, Colonel Oskar Audoersch, commander of the division’s 394th Rifle Regiment, was on the scene and immediately ordered his men into rubber rafts and across the river. Against heavy rifle and machine-gun fire the assault succeeded, thanks in part to the gathering darkness. The riflemen struggled to expand the bridgehead under constant machine-gun fire and air attack throughout the next morning. At 1 pm, just as Model arrived at Audoersch’s command post, German bombers hit the dominant Soviet positions on the high ground overlooking the river, obliterating them. The engineers immediately set about building a combat bridge while the riflemen continued to expand the bridgehead as best they could.

Tanks of German Army Group South’s Panzer Group 1 pass a burning Soviet tank along a dirt road in the Ukraine during late summer 1941.

Sixteen miles to the west, the 4th Panzer Division was in a similar situation. Early on September 7, its tanks had set upon an enemy assembly area just north of the Seim bridge at Baturin. They destroyed some 30 artillery pieces, 13 antitank guns, and six tanks. The action, however, alerted the bridge guards. This span was also blown up. At 4 am on September 8, the 3rd Panzer Division engineers completed a combat bridge at Melnya, and both divisions’ motorized units began to cross there.

In Moscow, Zhukov was again counseling Stalin to pull back all Southwest Front troops to the eastern bank of the Dneiper and send all available reserves to the Konotop area to defend against Panzer Group 2. He also continued to insist that Kiev would have to be abandoned. The next day, September 9, in a sign that he might be coming around to Zhukov’s point of view, Stalin ordered the Southwest Front to pull its northernmost Fifth Army and the right wing of the Thirty-seventh Army defending Kiev back to the east bank of the Dnieper and to bend their fronts back to the east to face Second Army and Panzer Group 2 coming down from the north. In the process, they were to continue to protect Kiev.

Early on September 8, the commander of the Southwest Front, Col. Gen. Mikhail Kirponos, requested that forces be sent immediately from Kiev to Romny to block the German penetration there. Stalin said the Southwest Front should hold its positions as ordered and the Briansk Front would handle the penetration at Romny, as ordered. Later that morning, Marshal Semen Budenny, commander of the South West Theater, appealed again to the Soviet High Command, STAVKA, for a withdrawal from Kiev. These repeated requests annoyed Stalin he accused the commanders of incompetence and loss of nerve and decided to replace Budenny with Marshal Semen Timoshenko. The one move that Stalin did allow was the transfer of two infantry divisions from the Twenty-sixth Army holding the Dnieper line southeast of Kiev to the struggling Fortieth Army. The Fortieth Army was a new formation that had been hastily assembled two weeks earlier and inserted into the Konotop-Shostka area to block Guderian.

When the XXIV Motorized Corps overcame the Soviet forces at the Seim River on September 7-9, it burst through the Fortieth Army and penetrated deeply between the front of the Soviet Twenty-first and Thirteenth Armies, at the seam between the Southwest Front and the Bryansk Front. Model surged south, bypassing Konotop to the west. By the evening of the 9th, his advance guard had reached Korabutovo and captured the two bridges there. Rain began to fall during the night.

With word of the 3rd Panzer Division’s success, Guderian set out for the front early on the 10th. At Geyr’s command post in Ksendovka, he learned that Model had completely bypassed Konotop and penetrated all the way to Romny, that the 4th Panzer Division was attacking Bachmach, and that Das Reich was moving on Borsna. Before setting off for the 3rd Panzer Division, Guderian had Geyr order the 10th Motorized Division to attack and secure Konotop.

Shortly before noon on September 10, after six hours of struggling through the mud and the muck, Major Heinz-Werner Frank’s lead detachment of Model’s division rushed up to the Roman River bridge at the northwest edge of Romny. The Soviet guards there were so startled that at first they did not resist. The lead German vehicles did not stop they dashed through the cobblestone streets of the small city and grabbed the vital bridge over the Sula River in the center of town.

As more 3rd Panzer Division elements arrived they spread out and combed through the city, clearing it block by block. Enemy air forces attacked relentlessly throughout the afternoon despite the bad weather. By dark the city of clean white houses and cobblestone streets was as one single torch blazing in the night sky, abetted by the numerous new oil wells that the Soviets had ignited on their way out of town. The 3rd Panzer Division now held Romny, 131 miles east of Kiev.

Guderian continued to worry. With his strength dwindling every day, the mud that seemed only to be getting deeper, and his 145-mile-long southeastern flank it was difficult to feel optimistic. At this time the XLVII Motorized Corps was spread thinly, covering the eastern flank north from Novgorod-Seversk. To the south, the XLVI Motorized Corps was pushing southward on the eastern flank. The 17th Panzer Division was holding Gluchov and advancing on Putivl while Grossdeutschland had leapfrogged south and was approaching Shilovka on the Seim south of Putivl.

Both spearhead units were out of touch with the enemy on the 11th, undertaking only patrolling and reconnaissance. The 4th Panzer Division had captured Bachmach late on September 10 against nominal opposition but could go no farther due to lack of fuel. The mud made it difficult for the fighting troops to move, but it was doubly difficult for the supply sections that had to move back and forth from the nearest railhead some 248 miles away. The 3rd Panzer Division captured a small fuel dump in Romny but spent all of the 11th and most of the 12th there consolidating forces and getting a little rest.

Meanwhile, at Army Group South 115 miles to the south, operations were starting to move. At noon on the 11th, a temporary bridge over the Dneiper at Kremenchug was finished in driving rain, and Panzer Group 1’s XLVIII Motorized Corps began crossing into the 17th Army bridgehead as soon as it was dark. The 9th and 16th Panzer Divisions crossed in the pouring rain on a pitch black night. At 9 am on the 12th, Hans Hube’s 16th Panzer Division took the lead and surged north out of the bridgehead. In knee-deep mud the division plowed forward 43 miles in barely 12 hours. The race to close the pocket was on.

News of the Army Group South attack renewed the enthusiasm and vigor of the 3rd Panzer Division troops. Major Frank and his advance guard moved out of Romny at last light on September 12, overran the weak Soviet positions around Romny, and surged south. In less than two hours it captured the intact bridge over the Sula River at Mliny. Lochvitsa, its objective, lay just over a mile beyond the river. By daybreak on the 13th, the Soviets had realized the situation and were bringing heavy pressure to bear on the small bridgehead. Major Frank radioed for help.

Soon a Kampfgruppe built around the 3rd battalion of Panzer Regiment 6 was heading south from Romny to help Frank. Fortunately it had not rained in more than a day, and the roads were drying out so the Kampfgruppe was able to set a rapid pace and reached the advance guard at about 4 pm.

Major Frank and Lt. Col. Werner von Lewinski, the Kampfgruppe commander, decided not to wait for infantry and artillery support but to attack Lochvitsa at once. A small tributary of the Sula snaked around Lochvitsa and joined the river at that point, and several bridges over both water courses needed to be secured. As they began to move out, the Soviets brought heavy fire on the bridgehead from Lochvitsa. Direct fire from antiaircraft guns quickly became the major concern.

By early evening, the Germans had worked their way into the eastern part of Lochvitsa but became bogged down there. The Soviets were firing heavy guns over open sites down every street that the Germans approached. As darkness fell Lewinski pulled his tanks out of the city for fear of individual infantry attacks during the night. The tanks took up screening positions in the defiles and gullies along the edge of town. One battalion of German infantry had arrived during the attack, and it was left to hold the eastern part of Lochvitsa overnight. It defended against several strong Soviet attacks and was able to hold those parts of the city that had been captured.

At 5 the next morning, while the fog still hung low over the rivers and Lochvitsa, Major Ernst Wellmann and his troops moved out to attack pockets of enemy resistance. As they took the large northern bridge they were amazed to find six heavy antiaircraft guns standing in front of the bridge on the far side, wheel to wheel across the width of the street, unmanned. As they dragged the gunners out of their bedrolls in a nearby hut and made them prisoners, the rest of the Soviet troops began withdrawing. By 10:30 am on September 14, Lochvitsa was in German hands.

Crouching in the cover of a ditch, German infantrymen prepare to move out during an attack near the city of Kiev, capital of the Ukraine. A group of dazed Red Army prisoners sits farther down in the depression at right. Kiev fell to the Germans on September 19.

Guderian was still worried. Despite a dry day here and there, rain predominated and the mud grew worse, air reconnaissance was possible occasionally, and ground reconnaissance impossible. All of his divisions were strung out 20 to 40 miles. Furthermore, the pressure on his spearheads was great. With Panzer Group 1 surging northward, the Soviets would surely put two and two together and rush for the exits from the developing pocket, only increasing that pressure.

After breaking through the stiff Soviet defenses around the Kremenchug bridgehead on the 12th, the XLVIII Motorized Corps encountered much less resistance as it raced north to meet Guderian’s troops. On the 13th, the 9th Panzer Division captured Mirgorod against only moderate resistance while the 16th Panzer Division took the intact bridge over the Sula River at Lukomye and turned north toward Lubny.

Lubny was fiercely defended. The local Soviet commander had called on the populace to defend the city, and they did along with antiaircraft units and formations of the NKVD, Stalin’s secret police. General Hube pulled his units back to reorganize and prepare an attack for the next day. It went in at first light on the 14th and produced savage street fighting. In the end, the ad hoc Soviet force was no match for the panzergrenadiers, and by afternoon Lubny was in German hands with only small pockets of enemy resistance remaining. Thirty miles remained to close the pocket.

The capture of Lubny meant that the last rail and road connections for supplying the five Soviet armies in the pocket were cut. Their only supply now would have to come by air.

At about the same time, a small detachment of the 3rd Panzer Division was moving south from Lochvitsa. Lieutenant Hans Warthmann, commander of the 6th Company of Panzer Regiment 6, had only two tanks and four other armored vehicles at his disposal. His mission was to find the 16th Panzer Division.

The only enemy force that Warthmann met was traveling west to east across his path, trying to escape the encirclement. The Soviets did not want any part of the enemy. Whenever the Germans approached, the Soviets jumped from their vehicles and fled into the fields. Then the Germans raced through.

Warthmann’s little group crossed the Sula River over an intact bridge near Luka at about 4 pm and then followed the east bank southwest toward Lubny. It was just getting dark as it crested a small rise and the troops could suddenly see the silhouette of a city in the distance and hear the crack of small arms fire. This must be Lubny. But where was the enemy, and where were the friendly troops?

Warthmann scanned the skyline through his binoculars for a few moments and then cautiously moved on. He soon approached a small creek that was not fordable and began to look for a bridge. A small bridge was spotted, and it would have to do. As he approached, the bridge was blown sky high. The Germans had crossed many small bridges this day, and this was the first one that had been defended. Suddenly, gray-clad figures jumped up from the underbrush and rushed toward the blown bridge waving their arms frantically. They were covered in dirt with stubbly beards. They were men of the 2nd Company, Panzer Pioneer Battalion 16, of the 16th Panzer Division. It was 6:20 pm on September 14, and the pocket had been closed.

As more troops arrived over the next few days the east side of the pocket was securely sealed. On September 17, Stalin finally relented and gave permission for the Southwest Front to withdraw. On the 19th, Kiev fell to the Germans, and on the 25th fighting in the pocket came to an end. Despite concerted efforts to break out and several external attacks to free the trapped troops, six Soviet armies were destroyed and 665,000 soldiers captured in the worst Soviet defeat of World War II.

Guderian had little time to enjoy this great victory. In less than two weeks the next major offensive of Army Group Center, Operation Typhoon intended to capture Moscow, would begin, and his Panzer Group 2 would play an integral part. After Typhoon’s failure in December 1941, Guderian was relieved of duty by a frustrated Hitler looking for a scapegoat.

Author Jeff Chrisman is a writer, producer, and director of television commercials and corporate video programs. He resides in Columbus, Ohio, and is a graduate of Ohio State University.


Good article and I enjoyed the read.
I’m mystified by this new revisionist wave of the last 10 years or so that has nearly all military enthusiasts convinced the Moscow operation was useless and impossible. Do you have any idea why?

Also there might be a mistake as Guderians rank in the Barbarossa campaign was listed as “Colonel” and not some “General” rank.

Heinz Guderian’s promotions:
01/10/1933 – Oberst (Colonel)
01/08/1936 – Generalmajor
10/02/1938 – Generalleutnant, mit RDA vom 01/08/1937
23/11/1938 – General der Panzertruppe, mit RDA vom 01/11/1938
19/07/1940 – Generaloberst mit, RDA vom 19.07.1940

It is possible the Guderian was, at that time in his career, a Colonel-General!

Yes, Guderian was in fact a Generaloberst (colonel General) at that time.

The article says exactly that 7 lines down (when viewed on my phone) Colonel General Guderian.

Why do you write “The” Ukraine? Do you write or say the Germany, or the Russia, or the Ireland, or the England, or the Brazil?

Yes, one does say the USSR, the USA, the United Kingdom, the Maldives, etc. because these are plural countries, islands, entities.

Imperial and Soviet Russia always sought to “brainwash” people into adding ‘the” before Ukraine because they did not want others to think of it as a country, but rather as an area of Ukraine. Like going to the mountains, or to the beach, or to the shore. This is because they feared Ukrainian nationalism and wanted the world to think Ukraine is just a region of Russia, not a separate country. Ukrainians as a whole do not consider themselves to be Russians.

Therefore, the word “the” should not be used exclusively in referring to the independent country of Ukraine.

I would think it would be obvious that during the time covered by the article Ukraine was not an independent country, and was commonly referred to as the Ukraine.

Moscow’s struggle to protect nuclear material

US intelligence reports renew fears over Russia’s weapons stockpile security.

Washington DC – More than two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the planet’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons materials remains insecure, according to a series of US intelligence reports obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

In the wake of the Soviet collapse into 15 independent states, hundreds and perhaps thousands of grammes of nuclear material – including highly enriched uranium used in atomic bombs – were spirited away from Russia’s nuclear heartland.

“We assess that undetected smuggling of weapons-usable nuclear material has occurred, but we do not know the total amount of material that has been diverted or stolen since the dissolution of the Soviet Union,” the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) said in a 2011 report, the latest unclassified document released by the intelligence community.

“We judge it highly unlikely that Russian authorities have been able to recover all of the stolen material.”

The conventional wisdom is that a dirty bomb is far more likely than a conventional nuclear bomb.

- Page Stoutland, Nuclear Threat Initiative

The release of the report comes as questions arise about embarrassing lapses in the security of the United States’ own nuclear stockpile. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a review of the nation’s nuclear forces last month after a series of problems, including rampant cheating by officers on proficiency tests at a nuclear missile launch site in Montana, and an investigation of 10 Air Force officers accused of possessing recreational drugs.

Separately, in 2012, three peace activists breached security at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where enriched uranium for nuclear bombs is stored. Nuclear operations were temporarily shut down.

Lax security

The DNI report on Russia was recently obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit under the federal Freedom of Information Act. At its peak, the Soviet Union controlled 45,000 nuclear weapons, according to a study published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, an online magazine that focuses on global security issues. The 1991 collapse of the nation and its central economy resulted in lax security, desertions and thefts from secret “atomic cities” located in southern Siberia, where nuclear weapons were manufactured and stored.

Experts agree an attack using a fully functioning nuclear device built with at least six kilogrammes of plutonium – the same amount used in the US bomb dropped on Nagasaki during World War II – is most likely beyond the capability of separatist organisations operating in southern Russia.

A “dirty bomb” that features conventional explosives laced with radioactive materials such as cobalt or strontium is considered a more feasible threat.

“The conventional wisdom is that a dirty bomb is far more likely than a conventional nuclear bomb,” says Page Stoutland, vice president for nuclear materials security at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Washington-based nonprofit created to slow the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Almost four dozen United Nations members, including the United States and Russia, agreed in April 2010 to secure and account for all nuclear materials within four years. While the Russian government has rejected fears that its nuclear inventory is not secure, the DNI report questions whether the billions in aid, including money for radiation sensors at key border crossings, will prevent nuclear materials theft and smuggling.

‘Attractive target’

“Russia’s vast stockpile of nuclear material, scattered across multiple facilities, continues to present an attractive theft target,” US officials wrote in their report. “Security of this material has improved since the fall of the Soviet Union, but we lack information on the extent of recent thefts, and vulnerabilities remain. Probable Russian-origin weapons-usable nuclear material has continued to circulate on the black market.”

Russian officials have periodically confirmed and denied reports of attempted thefts of nuclear materials from the nation’s arsenals. Valentin Ivanov, the former Russian deputy atomic minister, said at a 2000 press conference there had been 23 attempts to steal fissile material from nuclear sites. All but two occurred between 1991 and 1995, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.

A 2009 report for the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, an academic journal of international relations, estimated the US Departments of Defense, State and Energy spend about $1.4 billion annually to help Russia dismantle and secure its nuclear materials. Even so, Matthew Bunn, a former White House science adviser who co-authored the report, said the money hasn’t ensured complete safety. The International Atomic Energy Agency has documented 18 cases of theft or loss of plutonium or highly enriched uranium, he said.

“A key question is: How many other cases may have occurred without being detected?” he wrote. “It is sobering to note that nearly all of the stolen [highly enriched uranium] and plutonium that has been seized over the years had never been missed when it was originally stolen.”

In January, a Nuclear Threat Initiative report found Russia’s control of materials was in the bottom third of nuclear states, and its overall score remained unchanged from 2012. The report said Russia has the second-highest risk factors of any nuclear state, ahead of only Pakistan. Those risk factors include political instability, ineffective governance, pervasive corruption, and the presence of groups determined to obtain nuclear materials.

So far, what we're seeing is that the Russians have done a fairly decent job of preventing leakage.

- Steven Pifer, Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative

The US, with the world’s second-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, slipped slightly from 2012, falling to the 11th-safest nuclear state. Its political risk factors ranked 10th in the world, tied with Poland and trailing countries that include Japan, Germany and France.

Despite repeated requests from Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Washington did not respond to questions about the DNI report.

Wrong hands

The study was released as authorities in Moscow are hosting the $51 billion Winter Olympic Games. The authorities contend that Sochi will be a safe destination, despite its proximity to separatist movements and a history of politically motivated attacks on the Olympics.

Steven Pifer, a former US ambassador to Ukraine who leads the Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative in Washington, told Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit the Russians have made strides in securing their stockpile since the early 1990s, when “there were real concerns that weapons would slip into the wrong hands”.

“Part of the current problem is that the Russians aren’t as transparent as we’d like them to be,” Pifer says. “But they seem to be making the right efforts. And so far, what we’re seeing is that the Russians have done a fairly decent job of preventing leakage.”

Who did Russians fight against in Iran during WWI?

Iran had no plans of joining in World War I. The country, which had been weakened by domestic political strife, economic problems, endless rebellions and troubles, hoped to remain on the sidelines of the conflict between the Entente and the Central Powers.

However, Iran&rsquos strategic position was too important for the warring sides to accommodate its desire for neutrality. The strong influence that Russia and Great Britain had there was not something that the Ottoman and German empires, which wanted to oust their rivals from the region, were prepared to countenance for long.

Istanbul was mostly concerned by the presence of Russian troops in the northwestern part of Iran (the so-called &ldquoIranian Azerbaijan&rdquo). They had been deployed there by the tsar to protect Russian subjects during a civil war in Iran in 1909 and, despite repeated appeals from the Iranian government, still remained there by the time WWI broke out. In October 1914, the Turks officially notified the Iranians that, under these circumstances, it would not be able to respect their neutrality.

Russian troops in Isfahan.

Having joined in the war on November 2, the Ottoman Empire led hostilities against Russia, not only in the Caucasus, but also in Persia. In early 1915, the Turks managed to capture most of the province with its capital in Tabriz. Thus, the enemy could secure direct access to oil fields in Azerbaijan, which was part of the Russian Empire at the time.

Realizing the danger, the Russians almost immediately launched a counteroffensive, forcing the Turkish troops to retreat. The parties switched to trench warfare, while Iran was forced to adopt a wait-and-see attitude, not entering into confrontation on either side.

&lsquoHoly war&rsquo

Having failed to achieve military success, the Turks (together with the Germans) focused on propaganda and espionage efforts instead. They began to stir up anti-Russian and anti-British sentiments among the local population, calling Iranians to a &ldquoholy war&rdquo against the two empires oppressing their country and urging them to fight for liberation from the two empires&rsquo &ldquotutelage&rdquo. Turkish and German intelligence officers, caravans with weapons and ammunition began to secretly enter the country and contacts began to be established with Shia clergy and leaders of local tribes.

The Germans&rsquo main lever of influence in Iran were local gendarmerie units, created by the Shah on the European model with the help of Sweden. Except that the Swedish officers commanding them had before the war been recruited by the Germans as their agents. Interestingly, there was a counterbalance to the gendarmes in the form of Persian Cossack detachments, established with Russia&rsquos involvement and subordinated to Russian officers serving the Shah.

The intelligence services of the Central Powers were also active in the south of Iran, where Her Majesty&rsquos troops landed in October 1914. The British justified this violation of Iran&rsquos neutrality by the desire to protect the oil fields of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, in which the British government held a majority stake.

British troops in Hamedan.

As a result of the activities of German and Turkish agents, the influence of the Central Powers in Iran increased significantly. Guerrilla and sabotage detachments were set up under their guidance. The gendarmerie openly sided with the opponents of the Entente and clashed with Persian Cossacks. The Ottoman Empire, having already violated Iran&rsquos neutrality, nevertheless did not dare to launch a full-scale invasion. Istanbul and Berlin tried to persuade the Shah to come to their side by diplomatic pressure and through their agents in the country&rsquos government.

A surge in anti-British and anti-Russian sentiments indicated that this hope could soon come true. As Alexei Yemelyanov, a Russian officer who was in Persia at the time, recalled that during their sermons local mullahs often said: &ldquoThe Sunni Turks have already raised their sword against the cross. Shias, it is your turn now! Enslaved peoples have one friend - the German people. Islam has a defender before Allah &ndash the Prophet, and on this sinful earth - the German emperor.&rdquo

From left: German admiral (in Ottoman uniform) Guido von Usedom, Emperor Wilhelm II., Enver Pasha, Vice admiral Johannes Merten.

Russian expeditionary force

For Berlin and Istanbul, recruiting Iran to its side was just the beginning. By sending their agents and military detachments to Afghanistan and northwestern India, they sought to kindle the flame of a national liberation war there, to rally local Muslims to a fight against the infidels.

Having realized that through Turkish and German efforts, a huge region could flare up like a match, the Allies began to act. In October 1915, a Russian expeditionary force led by General Nikolai Baratov landed in the Iranian port of Anzali on the Caspian Sea - about 8,000 troops with 20 guns.

The Russian corps made swift progress to the south of the country, destroying units of the Persian gendarmerie, pro-German and pro-Turkish forces. Lacking a numerical advantage (gendarmes alone numbered over 7,000 people), the Russian force made up for it with speed and the element of surprise. The Shah still maintained neutrality, but should he have decided (or was forced) to declare war on the Entente, Baratov was ordered to &ldquooccupy Tehran in order to consolidate Russia&rsquos political position in Persia&rdquo.

In December 1915, the Khorasan detachment of 1,000 troops entered Iran from the Central Asian part of the Russian Empire. Having joined forces with the British troops, they were tasked with catching and eliminating German-Turkish detachments that were trying to break through to Afghanistan.

General Baratov, Russian and British officers.

By the spring of 1916, the main pro-German and pro-Turkish forces in Iran were either destroyed or forced into Ottoman territory. Baratov&rsquos corps entered Mesopotamia (Iraq), which belonged to the Ottoman Empire, to join the British forces there. At the request of the Allies, who were under strong pressure from the Turkish troops near Baghdad, Baratov sent a detachment of 100 men led by Vasily Gamaliy to make their way behind enemy lines. Having covered a distance of over 1,000 km in unbearable heat, they managed to divert the enemy&rsquos attention, which allowed the British to gain time and bring up reinforcements.

In November 1916, the Russian troops rescued the regime of the Iranian ruler, Ahmad Shah Qajar, when an uprising against his rule began in Tehran. Throughout it, the Shah was hiding inside the Russian embassy.

Russian and British officers in Mesopotamia, 1916.

Withdrawal from Iran

In 1917, the Russian expeditionary force was supposed to take part in a joint campaign with the British against Mosul, but the February Revolution that broke out in Russia cancelled those plans.

The so-called &ldquodemocratization of the army&rdquo (abolition of the principle of unity of command) launched by the new government led to a swift disintegration of the Russian army, which affected Baratov&rsquos soldiers in Persia, too. After the Bolshevik Revolution and the country&rsquos withdrawal from the war, there were no Russian troops left in the region.

1st Caucasus Cossack Division.

After Russia lost all its influence in Iran, the only significant foreign power left there was Great Britain. Soon, its garrisons appeared even in the northern part of the country, which had once been in the Russian sphere of interests.

In 1920, (already Soviet) Russia returned to Iran. Having landed in the port of Anzali and defeated the British troops stationed there, the Bolsheviks helped an uprising that had broken out against the Shah&rsquos rule in the hope of turning Iran into a socialist country. However, the gamble did not pay off.

A little over 20 years later, Russia and Britain were once again acting as allies in Iran. During World War II, in August and September 1941, the two states jointly carried out &lsquoOperation Countenance&rsquo, as a result of which they temporarily occupied part of the country and overthrew the pro-German shah, Reza Pahlavi.

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Significance of World War 2

significance of world war 2:
World War II is important for many reasons. First, it stopped the spread of dictatorships ruling both in Asia and Europe. Had Hitler and Japan been victorious, North and South America would be surrounded by enemies to the democratic institutions represented in those areas. The United States would be surrounded by hostile forces bent upon complete world domination. Second, the war ushered in the Atomic Age. The dropping of the Atomic bombs not only signaled an escalation of war weaponry, but it also ushered in an era that could be beneficial to mankind, via the peaceful uses of atomic and nuclear know how. Thirdly, the end of World War II saw the beginning of the Cold War and the conflict between the east (Soviet Union) and the west (United States) and the allies of each. The war also saw how nations could effectively help one another as example in the Marshall Plan, begun during the Truman administration. And, the United States saw the need for an effective world organization to help prevent future wars and try to solve disputes between nations. The creation of the United Nations was an attempt to solve problems that President Wilson had hoped would be accomplished by the League of Nations. well, it offered women's rights more, and more women worked from then at least, in the USA. also, the war pulled the allies more closer together, like us and the Britain because they were in real danger when we halped them. but not soviet union (cold war). hope u like my answer. :) Answer

also, it helped the great deprssion to the end, and boosted the economy from the great depression, exept when they went into the national debt. Answer
A lot more than just this stuff. It was the most important turning point for all mankind. German power was a major fear among Allied powers even after World War I. The Germans only signed an armistice after World War I, and were allowed to still exist. This time, they were humiliated and were occupied by.

How Hitler Sabotaged Nazi War Effort

"History" is a Charade

Australian history buff, Geoff Ferguson,
gives a host of reasons
why he believes Hitler
was controlled opposition, i.e.
an Allied (Illuminati Jewish) agent.

"Only a traitor to Germany and to Europe

and future of the White Race than Adolf Hitler."

Makow Comment: Hitler's betrayal of Rudolf Hess is proof he was a great actor. He authorized Hess's peace mission then acted as though Hess was crazy. He could have saved his loyal comrade and reaped political capital if he had acknowledged Hess was a peace envoy and demanded his return. In general, the Illuminati media gave Hitler credibility. They suppressed evidence Hitler was part-Jewish or had been a street sweeper and homosexual prostitute.

(from Dec 27, 2014)
by Geoff Ferguson

In Mein Kampf, Hitler called Slavic peoples "subhuman" alienating tens of millions of potential allies like the Christian Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians who hated Bolshevism and the Jews that ran their countries and the slave Gulags.

He allowed the best and brightest Jews to leave and work relentlessly against Germany. Many helped to build the first atom bomb which was always intended to be dropped on Germany - not Japan.

Here are some more ways Hitler sabotaged his own cause:

* He built a Navy unsuitable for challenging the Royal Navy. His submarine war efforts were a copy of WWI which also failed. He built no invasion force capable of crossing the English channel - only 22 miles wide, and never intended to do this.

* His newly built Air Force also was not suitable for fighting the British, or even the Soviet Union which vastly outnumbered the Luftwaffe (e.g. 20,000 Soviet planes fighting 3,000 German planes). The Royal Air Force defeated him over the English skies. His bombers had a tiny payload intended for tactical support of ground forces. His jets could have been a war winning weapon even near the end of the war - but Hitler insisted these very fast planes should only be used as bombers.

*The choice of the former fighter ace and drug addict Hermann Goering, left, was a fatal decision. Hitler stayed loyal to incompetent senior leaders like Goering yet would fire a competent leader like Guderian (twice) for telling him the truth.

*His expensive rockets were only of benefit to the winners of the war - not the Germans. The bomb payload was tiny and the high speed of the rocket meant the one-ton bomb exploded underground with minimal damage. * He located the labs at Peenemunde then Nordhausen in East Germany - ensuring that the Soviets would capture much of the scientists, rockets and equipment - not the Western Allies.

* The "miracle" of Dunkirk is evidence that Hitler wanted the English to save face and win the war. The English in the UK were then almost without any weapons. An immediate makeshift invasion after capturing the British at Dunkirk would probably have succeeded and was worth the high risk. This was less risk than at Stalingrad and Tunisia to name two later battles. In any case, had he captured the British, then an armistice or peace may have been possible. He sabotaged his best chance to win the war against the British. Hitler said many times he loved the British Empire.

(Hitler let his Japanese allies sign a neutrality pact with Russia April 13, 1941, nine weeks before he attacked Russia. This released Stalin's Mongolian divisions which later repulsed the Wehrmacht at Moscow and Stalingrad.Yet after Pearl Harbor, Hitler gratuitously declared war on the US.)

*He did not pressure the Japanese to help him destroy Russia - which would have solved Japanese supply problems (such as oil) without their reckless war against the USA and Britain - another guaranteed loss for the Axis. The Soviet Union was a hated pariah nation which should have been invaded by both Axis partners and broken up to share the spoils. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbour Hitler declared war on the USA unilaterally. He got nothing from the Japanese, having asked for nothing. The USA would not have fought Germany except in the Atlantic until the Japanese were defeated say four years later.

* Admiral Canaris, the head of the Abwehr (spy agency), was a traitor and an Allied spy. It is not possible that Hitler did not know this. He would have been informed of this via Himmler and perhaps others. Many of the rival fiefdoms maintained their own spy networks in competition with each other.

*German espionage, spy catching (e.g. Richard Sorge) and code breaking efforts were weak compared with Allied successes. German hubris or Hitler treason?

*Hitler's six-week delay in attacking Russia doomed the invasion and was not necessary. He invaded Yugoslavia and Greece and as usual the Allies were trounced by the Germans. But those hilly and backward countries were of no danger to Germany as the slow 1944 invasion via Italy later proved.

* German Armies were close to Moscow when Hitler diverted his tank forces to capture Ukraine instead. Then the "unimportant" Moscow was attacked for a second time with worn out tanks and exhausted crews. The capture of Moscow may have brought Japan in on his side and shelved Pearl Harbour.

Hitler then blamed and fired his able Field Marshals for his own blunders and replaced them with younger ambitious men - who would be afraid to question his orders as the Old School had done.

* Hitler starved Rommel of support when he was invading Egypt. When Rommel was losing and retreating, Hitler sent about 200,000 fresh German soldiers who were all captured in Tunisia - a loss as serious as Stalingrad which is ignored by most "documentaries" as it is not visually interesting like the Stalingrad winter. These 200,000 troops could (earlier) have captured Egypt, the Suez Canal, Palestine and Syria, linking up with the Germans in Russia.

* Hitler refused to allow von Paulus to break out of Stalingrad to the West, which could have been done easily while von Manstein was attacking from the West. Hitler intentionally threw away the 6th Army.

*The 1943 pincer attack at Kursk was the most obvious counter attack in history and bound to fail. This battle alone lost the war for Germany by destroying his tank forces.

*Hitler did everything he could to allow the Communists from the East to overrun as many Central and Eastern European countries as possible who then installed mostly Jewish Marxist dictators - people that Hitler claimed to hate.

* He withdrew troops and tanks from the East to attack in the West in the Battle of the Bulge - a misguided campaign that Hitler subsequently sabotaged. Unless his intention was to allow the Bolsheviks into Prussia and Germany before the Allies could get there from the West. That is exactly what happened. Any normal pro European leader (say de Gaulle or Churchill) would have delayed the Soviets while retreating without fighting in the West. Perhaps even moving his entire army to the East in a strong defence and allowing the Allies a cake walk as far as mid Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia from June 1944.

Only a traitor to Germany and to Europe and a lover of Communism would do as Hitler did. Or an Anarchist perhaps. Hitler claimed his decisions would have the Allies and Soviets at each others throats - what he did achieved the opposite. Stalin would have been furious if Hitler had allowed the Allies to move quickly to Central Europe.

* Hitler ordered the mistreatment of subjugated peoples which ensured a strong Resistance and Partisan warfare against his own soldiers, who were hugely outnumbered by their subjects. Lasting Empires are mostly built on cooperation, diplomacy and mutual benefits - not brutality.

*Hitler in 1945 personally ordered the destruction of all German industry and power stations, consistent with the then secret US Morgenthau Plan.
Some claim that the shadowy Bormann was a Soviet spy. If so, Hitler would have known as Canaris and Himmler would both have told him.

* Hitler declined to conscript German women as a factory labour force even though he knew the British were doing this even in 1939. This decision alone was enough to lose the war. Just to "protect" German women, whom he allowed to be raped and murdered by Soviet soldiers in the last months of the war? It took Goebbels to declare Total War in 1942. Where was Hitler on this vital issue? Did he ever want to win?

*Hitler made no attempt to capture Gibraltar e.g. via paratroops. He also could have marched through Spain - it is not likely that Franco would have ordered his soldiers to fight the Germans. Hitler only had scruples about neutrality with ungrateful "friends" like Franco.

*Hitler also made no attempt to invade Malta which was essential to win the war in North Africa. He was hardly interested in the North African campaign and was there just to bail out Mussolini. Rommel did as well as he did by disobeying orders from above, who gave him very little support.

Overall, no man has done more harm to the present and future of the White Race than Adolf Hitler.


Under occupation the Poles had not been idle. Now that the Nazis were on the verge of defeat the underground Polish Home Army in Warsaw decided that it was time to overthrow their hated conquerors.

Liberated Jewish prisoners of the Warsaw Concentration Camp after being freed by members of the Polish Home Army (1944).

Their reason was simple – they had to take control of their country and therefore secure recognition from the western allies before they were occupied by the Soviets and met the same fate as other areas such as Ukraine. In August 1944 they began their desperate struggle for freedom, which continued over the next few months.

The Polish partisans were incredibly brave and determined, but their struggle was in vain. Weakened though the Wehrmacht or German army was, it was still a formidable fighting force and far better equipped than their mainly civilian enemy, who enjoyed only limited air support from the British.

As the year slid into Autumn their struggle weakened and eventually capitulated. The captured and survivors were shipped off to concentration camps, which were desperate to dispose of as many people as possible before they were liberated by the Russians.

The Soviets, meanwhile, halted their armies outside Warsaw, encouraged and promised to support the uprisings, and did nothing.

An Amazing War Memorial At Site of Biggest Tank Battle Ever (Kursk Battle)

Brumfield is the world's leading historian of Russian architecture. He makes frequent trips to Russia, often to her remote regions, and records the most unusual examples of surviving architecture with detailed, professional photography.

The German advance was stopped by unimaginable willingness of Russian soldiers to die, and the will of their commanders to sacrifice them

His most recent book is a real treasure, Architecture At The End Of The Earth, Photographing The Russian North (2015). (Amazon). This truly beautiful book was made possible by the support of a US philanthropist, and its true cost is 3 times its retail price, and we can't recommend it highly enough. Here is our 2015 review of it.

Bravo to RBTH for making Brumfield's work possible, and providing such a great platform for his beautiful photography. We recommend visiting the RBTH page, which has a slide show for each article with many more pictures than we can fit in here.

Don't believe in miracles? Well, we can assure you, Brumfield's work is undoubtedly just that. You can find a complete list of his articles on RI here.

The original headline for this article was: The Prokhorovka Memorial Complex: Bearing witness to sacrifice and faith. All photos are by the author.

In the middle of the rich agricultural lands of Belgorod Region lies the ​small town of Prokhorovka (population 9,000). At the beginning of World War II, it was little more than a railroad whistle stop near a collective farm, but events in summer 1943 conspired to make it one of the most important places on the planet. It was at Prokhorovka that the German army’s final offensive effort on the eastern front was stopped for good.

The origins of Prokhorovka date to the late 17th century, when a settlement known as Ilinskaya Sloboda was established by Polish settler Kirill Ilinsky, who moved to the Belgorod lands following the Russo-Polish war of 1654-1667. In addition to its rich soil, the area was located near the origins of the Psyol River, making it an ideal site for farming.

After 1860, the village bore the name of Alexandrovskoye in honor of the reigning Tsar, Alexander II. The name Prokhorovka appeared in the 1880s on a nearby station on the newly opened Kursk-Kharkov-Azov Railroad, one of whose engineers was V. I. Prokhorov. Alexandrovskoye absorbed the station into its territory after World War II, and the town was renamed Prokhorovka in 1968 in a recognition of the fame of the Prokhorovka battlefield.

Prokhorovka at war

The epic clash that occurred at Prokhorovka on July 12, 1943 was part of the much larger Battle of Kursk, which lasted from July 5 to August 23 and is recognized as the biggest tank battle of all time. The Battle of Kursk began when the German army launched Operation Citadel, an attempt to use a pincer formation to smash a large bulge at the center of the eastern front created by the sporadic fighting following the Soviet victory at Stalingrad.

The north side of the bulge formed as a result of Soviet gains during the Kharkov Offensive in February and early March 1943. This part of the offensive also led to the German evacuation of the Rzhev salient, a bloody stalemate that had cost hundreds of thousands of casualties in 1942. In the south, however, a German counteroffensive retook Kharkov and Belgorod in the middle of March, thus denting the Soviet line and creating the south flank of the bulge. At that point, both sides consolidated positions in anticipation of more favorable conditions in the summer.

Lacking the sweep of summer operations the preceding two years, Operation Citadel was Hitler’s last attempt to achieve a major tactical victory on Soviet territory. On the north flank, Soviet forces led by Konstantin Rokossovsky held the Wehrmacht to modest gains despite a massive assault. On the south flank, German forces led by Erich von Manstein had greater success against the Voronezh Front commanded by Nikolai Vatutin and posed a threat to Kursk and its vital rail junction. In order to blunt the German armored thrust developing toward Prokhorovka, on July 10, Ivan Konev, commander of the newly created Steppe Front, rushed forward the Fifth Tank Army, led by Pavel Rotmistrov.

The approach of Rotmistrov’s tanks on the morning of July 12 brought a massive concentration of military hardware in a relatively confined space. The rapid movements of armored vehicles combined with the dust and smoke over broad fields created the proverbial fog of war, and to this day historians argue about the details of the battle, including the actual strength of the opposing forces and their losses.

It is now accepted that the Soviet losses in armor were much larger than the German. Soviet aviation was more active on the northern flank, and Rotmistrov’s exposed, lighter tanks were outgunned by SS armored formations. Nonetheless, the desperate Soviet effort succeeded in its main task of halting von Manstein.

Shortly thereafter, Hitler halted Operation Citadel and began withdrawing forces to deal with the threat to Italy posed by the Allied invasion of Sicily. The Red Army in turn launched offensives that culminated in the march to Berlin in spring 1945. In the interests of boosting war morale, the clash at Prokhorovka was proclaimed not just a critical part of an overall strategic victory (which it was) but also a tactical victory over SS divisions (now considered a debatable assertion).

Remembering the sacrifice

After the war, the Prokhorovka battlefield was enshrined as a memorial to Soviet resistance against the Nazi invaders. Pavel Rotmistrov returned to the site for a commemoration 25 years after the battle, yet many felt that not enough had been done to mark this extraordinary event. Regional public efforts advocating a higher level of commemoration found a major ally in 1993 when the prominent politician Nikolai Ryzhkov actively supported the construction of a major memorial complex at Prokhorovka. The site was now designated Russia’s Third Battlefield (Tretye ratnoye polye), following Kulikov polye (Snipe Field), where Dmitry Donskoy defeated the Tatars in 1380, and the Borodino battlefield, where the Russians fought the French on their approach to Moscow in early September 1812.

This memorialization campaign resulted not only in a new museum but also in the creation of a narrative that placed the struggle in religious, and specifically Russian Orthodox, terms. As Ryzhkov proclaimed in a widely distributed article in November 1993, “We will build a temple at Prokhorovka.” The realization of this campaign, which found enormous public and state support, is readily evident in the ascending tower of the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, visible on the approaches to Prokhorovka. Completed in the spring of 1995, the shrine was consecrated on May 3, 1995 by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II.

The towering form of the church, designed by the architect Dmitry Sokolov, bears a strong resemblance to a Russian memorial designed by Vladimir Pokrovsky and erected in Leipzig in 1912-1913 to commemorate the joint Russian and German victory over Napoleon a century earlier. Other prototypes include 16th-century Muscovite tower churches such as the Ascension at Kolomenskoye. The design also corresponds to the medieval Russian concept of a “church beneath a bell tower.”

The interior of the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul is richly decorated with frescoes, mosaics and icons. It also includes the names inscribed on marble tablets of some 7,000 Soviet soldiers who died in the days surrounding the Prokhorovka battle.

The territory around the cathedral includes the more modest parish Church of St. Nicholas, a parish house and a center for war veterans. To the southwest of the cathedral is an arched monument containing the “Bell of Unity of Three Fraternal Slavic Peoples” — Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian — who made the essential contribution to the victory. This monument, surmounted with an Orthodox cross, was dedicated on May 3, 2000, in the presence of the three presidents of the respective countries — Vladimir Putin, Leonid Kuchma and Alexander Lukashenko — as well as Patriarch Alexy II.

Beyond the cathedral memorial complex is a large museum built during the same period. Its several interior halls present the military history of Prokhorovka and the Kursk Battle, as well as the larger context of the Great Patriotic War, as World War II is known in Russia. In the center of the main atrium is an example of the legendary T-34 tank, the workhorse of Soviet armored forces.

The memorial complex, located in the center of Prokhorovka, is complemented by a monumental bell tower 59 meters in height. Designed by Vyacheslav Klykov and dedicated on May 3, 1995, the tower consists of four sides with relief panels devoted to the sacrifices and the religious faith that led to victory.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

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Watch the video: American Reacts to. The Fallen of World War II (June 2022).


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