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Operation Barbarossa

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Operation Barabarossa
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
Original German plan
Date June 22, 1941 – December 5, 1941
Location Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Western Russia
Result Axis conquers huge areas of the Soviet Union and causes heavy losses on the Red Army, but fails in its overall strategic goal of defeating the USSR in a Blitzkrieg campaign
 Nazi Germany
 Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Nazi Germany Franz Halder
Nazi Germany Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Nazi Germany Fedor von Bock
Nazi Germany Gerd von Rundstedt
Kingdom of Romania Ion Antonescu
Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) Giovanni Messe
Soviet Union Joseph Stalin
Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
Soviet Union Aleksandr Vasilyevskiy
Soviet Union Semyon Budyonny
Soviet Union Kliment Voroshilov
Soviet Union Semyon Timoshenko
Soviet Union Markian Popov
Soviet Union Fedor Kuznetsov
Soviet Union Dmitry Pavlov
Soviet Union Ivan Tyulenev
~3.9 million (including reserve),
3,600 tanks,
4,389 aircraft[1]
46,000 artillery pieces
~3.2 million at the beginning (later 5 million+)
12,000-15,000 tanks,
35,000-40,000 aircraft (11,357 combat ready on 22 June 1941)[2]
Casualties and losses
250,000 killed[3]
500,000 wounded
25,000 missing[3]
2,093 aircraft destroyed
2,758 tanks lost
802,191 killed (Documented losses only)[4]
3,000,000 wounded
3,300,000 captured.[5][6]
21,200 aircraft destroyed[7][8][9]
20,500 tanks lost

Operation Barbarossa (German: Unternehmen Barbarossa, named after Federick I) was the code name for the European Axis's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II which began on 22 June 1941. More than 4.5 million men attacked along 2,900 km front.[10] It also involved 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses.[11] Planning for the operation started since December 1940.

Even though the Soviets were in a terrible condition, the Axis did not complete its objectives. Tactically, the Germans held some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union, mainly in Ukraine.[12] However, the Germans were pushed back from Moscow and could not start an attack as large and long as Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front again.[13] The failure led to Hitler's demands for more operations, but all of which failed.

A freezing Russian winter broke in and froze many of the tank's fuel and men were still wearing summer uniforms which they stuffed with newspapers in an attempt to stay warm. The war lasted only for a few months with a German victory, But the Soviets struck back when the Allies invaded Normandy. The Soviets invaded, and continued to occupy more German Territories in Eastern Europe When they Reached the capital the Battle of Berlin began.

Operation Barbarossa was the largest military operation in human history, both by the number of men involved and by the number of people who died.[14] The operation opened a theatre in which more men were involved than ever before in history.


  1. Bergström, p130
  2. Bergström 2007, p. 131-2: Uses Soviet Record Archives including the Rosvoyentsentr, Moscow; Russian Aviation Research Trust; Russian Central Military Archive TsAMO, Podolsk; Monino Air Force Museum, Moscow.
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. Krivosheev, G.F, 1997, p.96. Documented losses only
  5. About the German Invasion of the Soviet Union
  7. Bergström, p117
  8. Krivosheyev, G. 1993
  9. Note: Soviet aircraft losses include all causes
  10. World War II Chronicle, 2007. Legacy/ Publications International, Ltd. Page 146.
  11. Yad vashem - Chronology of the Holocaust
  12. A.J.P Taylor & Colonel D. M Proektor, p. 106
  13. A.J.P. Taylor & Colonel D. M Proektor 1974, p. 107
  14. Peter Antill, Peter Dennis. Stalingrad 1942. Osprey Publishing, 2007,ISBN 1-84603-028-5, 9781846030284. p. 7.