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Operation Tyhoon

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i am trying to design a operation based on the soviet counterattack NW of moscow 5.12.41

alas i cannot find any useful information on the subject

could somebody post links giving

1. accounts of the battles

2. map giving dispositon of forces and terrain

3. weather


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First a point of terminology - Typhoon was the code name of the German attempt to take Moscow. Formally, it began in October, but some historians use it to denote the last offensive push from about mid November to the first week in December. The Russian counterattack is generally called the battle of Moscow but comes after Typhoon has failed, essentially. The battle of Moscow as a term, typically covers both Typhoon and the counterattack, and the Russian offensives in the AG Center region through the first months of 1942.

Here is a solid website on the battle, Russian side account -


This is a large site with maps, though the treatment is quite high level, operational (armies typically). Some sample pages.






In print, the Soviet general staff study of the battle has been published in English translation, edited by Michael Parrish. It is quite good, though it is more a series of analytic articles focusing on lessons learned by various branches of service than a detailed tactical narrative.

The best German side account (in English anyway) is Battle of Moscow 1941-1942 by General von Greiffenberg, for the US military history debriefing series after the war. Greiffenberg was chief of staff of AG Center during the campaign. The book also contains the observations of General Blummentritt on the winter defensive fighting. This is a comparatively rare book, incidentally.

Another solid German side account is in Moscow to Stalingrad: Decision in the East by Ziemke. He covers Barbarossa was well but in whirlwind fashion to set the stage, the focus is on the counterattack and on the overall shift in the initiative to the Russians. It can be read along with John Erickson's first volume, "The Road to Stalingrad" to get a comparable Russian side account.

Avoid Seaton, Haupt, and Carrell. (Of those Seaton is better than the others - a standard popular account but superficial - but nothing like as good as the sources above. The others are grossly slanted - Haupt covers the entire Russian offensive period in one afterthought chapter). Glantz has little to say on the details of the Moscow fighting itself, most of it very high level, stuff you could mostly get from the website above.

As for weather it was very cold with snow on the ground. The snow became deep by mid December, but wasn't yet deep on December 6th.

Tactically, the Russians had a marked superiority in off road mobility from ski brigades and from cavalry, which used wooded marsh areas impassible in summer, the marshes being thoroughly frozen. They were readily able to bypass German units which were rapidly forced into strongpoint defenses, particularly built around villages.

Staying out of the cold was a high priority and no joking matter - German losses from frostbite probably equaled combat losses. The Russians exploited this to infiltrate e.g. at night when the Germans were inside huddled around fires. They made serious mistakes however in attacking many of the German strongpoints head on, without adequate artillery support. Russian artillery doctrine was still primitive and their guns were far less mobile in the snow than their infantry was. Light mortars, which they were able to move, had little effect in deep snow.

In CM terms, many German units were in "weakened" state or worse. Only "move" works since everything else exhausts the men rapidly, limiting their practical movements to largely defensive shifts in covered ground. Armor was seriously attrited on both sides and few tanks were operational. The Germans had artillery and could coordinate it to cover the open areas between their infantry strongpoints, but ammo supplies were not unlimited.

The Germans held the road net by holding the villages as fortified "stoppers". They could run modest reserves between them with remaining operational trucks, as long as they weren't cut off, and shift artillery fire to support this or that position as it was threatened. The Russians lapped around them through the forests which the Germans could not cover or even patrol, really. They sent fire missions instead, when they knew Russians were in these woods or those. It was very much an infantryman's war.

I hope this helps.

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