Wednesday, December 26, 2018

October 2, 1941: Operation Typhoon Broadens

Thursday 2 October 1941

6th Panzer Division 2 October 1941
This is a photo of Panzer-Brigade (Oberst Richard) Koll of 6th Panzer Division advancing north of Vyazma. Immediately ahead is the brigade commander's Panzerbefehlswagen III, denoted by the white turret code "RO6." The vehicles ahead of it are Phänomen Granit 25H ambulances, while Soviet POWs walk toward the rear on the right. The smoke is from a Soviet oil dump hit by Luftwaffe Junkers Ju-87 Stukas. This photo is by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen on 2 October 1941 and is from his book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45."
 Eastern Front: While Operation Typhoon got off to an early start at the end of September when General Guderian's Panzer Group 2 launched its attacks, the main offensive involving the rest of the army begins on 2 October 1941

Finnish tanks 2 October 1941
Finnish troops at Petrozavodsk (Äänislinna), 2 October 1941.
Adolf Hitler issues an Order of the Day to the entire German Army (Heer) that makes clear his intentions in the lengthy order which is read out to the troops. It reads in part:
Today begins the last great, decisive battle of this year. It will hit this enemy destructively and with it the instigator of the entire war, England herself. For if we crush this opponent, we also remove the last English ally on the Continent. Thus we will free the German Reich and entire Europe from a menace greater than any since the time of the Huns and later of the Mongol tribes.
As per usual, Hitler goes to great pains in his order to place the blame for the entire war on England. This is an odd thing to do when encouraging his troops to attack east, and it would have been fair for his troops to wonder why they are attacking east when England, the supposed instigator of the war, lies to the west. But, as usual, Hitler includes some very tortured reasoning to justify his position even if it isn't particularly inspiring for the actual battle he is writing the order about.

Paris Synagogue attacks 2 October 1941
October 2, 1941, marks the beginning of the Jewish celebration of Yom Kippur. In Paris, certain extreme elements of French society attack Jewish-owned businesses and similar places in a "mini-Kristallnacht." They also plant bombs in many synagogues that explode in the early morning hours of the 3rd.  
On a more general note, Hitler's Order of the Day revealing in other ways, too. It is full of anti-Semitic rhetoric which pins the blame for Germany's problems on the usual suspects:
This is a result of nearly a 25-year Jewish rule that, as Bolshevism, is basically similar to the general form of capitalism. The bearers of this system in both cases are the same: Jews and only Jews.
If anyone ever wonders why there are so many atrocities on the Eastern Front by the Wehrmacht, one need look no further than orders like this one of 2 October 1941. What somewhat ironic is that Stalin is not particularly a friend of the Jews either, but details like that don't enter into Hitler's worldview.

Illustrierter Beobachter 2 October 1941
German Army commander von Brauchtisch is pictured on the cover of the 2 October 1941 ILLUSTRIERTER BEOBACHTER. This is an illustrated propaganda magazine for the German NSDAP party. It is distinctly anti-Semitic and trumpets Adolf Hitler's arguments about England being the "instigator" of the war and similar ideologically driven viewpoints.
As with many orders issuing from the Fuhrer's Headquarters, it is unclear how the ordinary rank and file feel about this one. For instance, it is the last battle - of 1941. Even that is slightly disingenuous because, as OKH Chief of Staff Franz Halder has noted previously in his daily war diary, Moscow is still far away and it will take an entire campaign just to come close enough to the Soviet capital to actually attack it. Thus, it will take more than one battle for the Wehrmacht to end 1941 successfully, and perhaps many more - assuming that it does end successfully, that is.

Paris Synagogue attacks 2 October 1941
The Synagogue of Montmartre was among those damaged in the attacks of 2 October 1941 (Federal Archive Bild 183-S69265).
Five major German formations - Panzer Group 3 (Colonel General Hermann Hoth), Panzer Group 4 (Colonel General Erich Hoepner), and 2nd Army, 4th Army, and 9th Army - now join General Guderian's Panzer Group 2 coming up from the southwest. It is a more powerful combination of forces than at any time to date in the war, and they all are pointed directly at Moscow. Panzer Group 3 advances five miles between Soviet 19th and 30th Army, Panzer Group 4 in the north advances 25 miles, and gains are achieved all up and down the line. General Guderian is so confident that he splits his forces into two prongs at Sevsk, one heading toward Bryansk and the other toward Orel. The Soviet defenses appear to be crumbling, and the German field marshals and generals breathe a sigh of relief that the final assault on Moscow has come late, but not too late.

World Series 2 October 1941
In the United States, the second game of the World Series is played between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers takes place on 2 October 1941. Here, in a classic photograph, pitcher Spud Chandler of the Yankees (notice that Chandler is wearing a jacket, as pitchers on the basepaths always did at the time) is out at third at Yankee Stadium.

October 1941

October 1, 1941: Germans and Finns Advance in USSR
October 2, 1941: Operation Typhoon Broadens
October 3, 1941: Air Battles Near Moscow
October 4, 1941: Stalin Contemplates Defeat
October 5, 1941: Hoth Goes South
October 6, 1941: First Snowfall After Dark
October 7, 1941: Stalin Gets Religion
October 8, 1941: FDR Promises Stalin Aid 
October 9, 1941: FDR Orders Atomic Bomb Research
October 10, 1941: Reichenau's Severity Order
October 11, 1941: Tank Panic in Moscow
October 12, 1941: Spanish Blue Division at the Front
October 13, 1941: Attack on Moscow
October 14, 1941: Germans Take Kalinin
October 15, 1941: Soviets Evacuate Odessa
October 16, 1941: Romanians Occupy Odessa
October 17, 1941: U-568 Torpedoes USS Kearny
October 18, 1941: Tojo Takes Tokyo
October 19, 1941: Germans Take Mozhaysk
October 20, 1941: Germans Attack Toward Tikhvin
October 21, 1941: Rasputitsa Hits Russia
October 22, 1941: Germans Into Moscow's Second Defensive Line
October 23, 1941: The Odessa Massacre
October 24, 1941: Guderian's Desperate Drive North
October 25, 1941: FDR Warns Hitler About Massacres
October 26, 1941: Guderian Drives Toward Tula
October 27, 1941: Manstein Busts Loose
October 28, 1941: Soviet Executions
October 29, 1941: Guderian Reaches Tula
October 30, 1941: Guderian Stopped at Tula
October 31, 1941: USS Reuben James Sunk


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