There are several days that have been named Day of Military Glory in the calendar of important and memorial dates celebrated in the Russian Federation. These are the days, when the Russian army had secured significant victories, which played a decisive role in the history of Russia.
One of those memorial days is December 5, 1941. This was a day when the counter-offensive of the Red Army began near Moscow.
Hitler intended to overrun and seize the Soviet Union using a lightning war tactic, Blitzkrieg in German. The well-known Operation Barbarossa, Directive No. 21, was drafted taking into account the results of the war game conducted by the German General Staff in December 1940. Various options for conducting a war against the Soviet Union had been examined and developed during military simulations. The Directive set the objective to destroy the USSR in five months, at most.
Hitler’s army crossed the border of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 in full battle array. The army had great military experience. It was a well-trained and well-armed, highly organized army.
According to the plan, by May 1941 Germany had to have 180 fully-equipped divisions. For this purpose, in summer of 1940, part of German soldiers were transferred to the factories to increase military production. In addition, the troops received military equipment and armament from Czechoslovakia, France, the Netherlands, and other countries. Of course, such a variety of brands of weaponry and equipment generated a maintenance problem, but for a swift war campaign this did not seem critical.
By the beginning of summer 1941, Hitler had obtained not 180, but 208 divisions. Hitler had moved 117 of the German divisions together with non-combatant corps and allied forces, to invade the USSR.
The Blitzkrieg against the Soviet Union was disrupted at the start, at the first steps made by Hitlerites’on the Soviet soil. However, at the end of November 1941, the German army came close to Moscow.
And they were stuck right in front of Moscow.
The five months’ term wasn’t met. Already back then, the most perspicacious German generals realized that Germany’s war against the USSR was lost.
But in order for the German defeat to become a reality, the Red Army had to go all the way west, walk the whole path which the German army walked through Europe to come to Moscow. Ahead were Stalingrad and the Kursk salient, Operation Bagration, and capturing Berlin. And this long and arduous road began on December 5, 1941…
After December 5, 1941, Barbarossa plan was ready for the trash bin.
On December 5, 1941, the Red Army launched a counter-offensive which started on the Kalinin Front and continued on the Western and South-Western Fronts.
As a result of the battles, which lasted for more than a month, the threat to Moscow was eliminated, and the Germans were driven back to a distance of 100 to 250 km.
The victory of the Red Army at the battle of Moscow marked a radical turn in the course of the war. Although the strategic initiative passed into the hands of the Soviet General Staff much later, the lightning war did not meet its objectives and became protracted. German chances to secure victory became naught.
Source: Essence of Time unit in Donbass