The Finns under Marshal C.-G. von Mannerheim conquered Vyborg (August 29, 1941) and the Karelian Isthmus and advanced in East Karelia to the Swir and Onega Lakes and from central Finland with German troops against the Murman Railway.
In the Kessel Battle near Kiev (September 1941), a large part of the Soviet troops commanded by Marshal S. M. Budjonny were captured (around 665,000 soldiers). Kiev was occupied by German troops on September 19, and Kharkiv soon after.
According to A2ZDIRECTORY,The Wehrmacht and the units of the Waffen-SS fighting at their side were followed by four Einsatzgruppen (around 3,000 men) who immediately began to systematically murder the Jewish population in the occupied territories (including Babi Yar). There were two – easily the “Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories” (A. Rosenberg) subordinate – »Reichskommissariate« formed: »Ostland« (Baltic states and Belarus) and »Ukraine«. The invading German soldiers were initially v. a. In the Baltic States and in the Ukraine, parts of the population saw them as liberators from the Stalinist tyranny, so that a larger number were willing to collaborate and even partly participated in the genocide of the Jews in the ranks of the auxiliary police or in volunteer formations on the German side fought, the intensifying German policy of violence (including forced recruitment of workers) in the conquered areas led to increased resistance even among non-Russian nationalities and attempts to win them over as allies against the communist system were destroyed. In addition, the Soviet leadership reacted to every approach or only the possibility of cooperation with the German occupying power. B. under the wrongly raised accusation of collective collaboration, whole peoples (the Volga Germans in 1941, a number of Caucasian mountain peoples in 1944) were deported to Central Asia or Siberia and their national territorial units (ASSR or similar) dissolved. Stalin, who took over the chairmanship of the “State Defense Committee” formed on June 30, 1941, relied on Soviet patriotism (propagation of the “Great Patriotic War”) in organizing national defense.
The Soviet-Japanese non-aggression agreement allowed the government of the USSR to bring in reinforcements from the east. It also succeeded in evacuating more than 1,500 industrial companies and around 10 million people in good time before the approaching front to the east.
The heavily strained German troops, however, increasingly suffered from supply problems. Nevertheless, Hitler rejected it in August 1941 the Council of the High Command of the Army (OKH) to combine forces and seek a decision in the advance on the center of Moscow. Instead he ordered the advance on Leningrad in the north and the occupation of Ukraine in the south (temporary capture of Rostov-on-Don November 21-28). On August 18, the German troops took Narva. On September 8, 1941, Leningrad was cut off from all land connections (blockade); In the nearly 900 days of the siege of the city (until January 27, 1944) hundreds of thousands died of starvation, epidemics, frostbite, and air and artillery bombings. The attack on Moscow (Operation Typhoon) was delayed (apart from a first advance by Guderian commanded Panzer Group 30 9. towards Orel-Bryansk) to the second 10. The Army Group Center struck below the space of Moscow covering armies of Marshal S. K. Timoshenko in cauldron battles for Bryansk and Vyazma (2nd-20th 10th; 673,000 prisoners) and advanced to Kalinin (October 14th) and Klin (90 km northwest of Moscow, November 23rd). The offensive of the German troops, who were neither prepared for the autumn muddy season nor for the rapidly falling winter, which were also exhausted and were confronted with the failure of their engines and their automatic weapons, then got stuck about 30 km from the Soviet capital, from which they emerged on October 16 the government, but not Stalin, withdrew. By an on 5./6. 12. The beginning of a counter-offensive relieved the Red Army in Moscow. On December 16, Hitler gave the “order to halt” for “fanatical resistance” in “hedgehog positions” that were tough to defend; on December 19, he himself took over the command of the army instead of Brauchitsch, who had advocated retreating to more favorable winter positions. The failure of the Blitzkrieg strategy in front of Moscow marked the decisive turning point for Hitler entire war plan. The Red Army had suffered defeats and heavy losses (more than 3 million soldiers as prisoners by mid-October alone, a large number of whom later died in German camps or concentration camps), but still had large reserves and was much more productive and better equipped as accepted (battle tank T 34; Katyusha, also called Stalin organ). By December 1, 1941, the Wehrmacht recorded around 162,000 dead, 33,000 missing and 572,000 wounded (a quarter of their original number) in the eastern theater of war. On January 10, 1942, Hitler shifted the focus of German armaments back to the army. A. Speer, after the death of F. Todt Appointed Minister for Armaments and Ammunition on February 8, 1942, began with the systematic increase in armaments production, which was only now aimed at fully utilizing capacities (peak in 1944).