Volgograd Tsaritsyn, 1589–1925, Stalingrad, 1925–1961, is an industrial city and the administrative centre of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. The city lies on the western bank of the Volga River; the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II was one of the largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. Known locally as the "Hero City", it is home to The Motherland Calls, an 85 meter statue dedicated to the heroes of the battle; the city has many tourist attractions, such as museums, sandy beaches, a self-propelled floating church. Its population was 1,021,215 at the 2010 Census, growing from 1,011,417 in the 2002 Census. Although the city may have originated in 1555, documented evidence of Tsaritsyn at the confluence of the Tsaritsa and Volga rivers dates only from 1589. Grigori Zasekin established the fortress Sary Su as part of the defences of the unstable southern border of the Tsardom of Russia; the structure stood above the mouth of the Tsaritsa River on the right bank. It soon became the nucleus of a trading settlement.
In 1607 the fortress garrison rebelled against the troops of Tsar Vasili Shuisky for six months. In 1608 the city acquired St. John the Baptist. At the beginning of the 17th century, the garrison consisted of 350 to 400 people. In 1670 troops of Stepan Razin captured the fortress. In 1708 the insurgent Cossack Kondraty Bulavin held the fortress. In 1717 in the Kuban pogrom, raiders from the Kuban under the command of the Crimean Tatar Bakhti Gerai blockaded the town and enslaved thousands in the area. In August 1774 Yemelyan Pugachev unsuccessfully attempted to storm the city. In 1691 Moscow established a customs-post at Tsaritsyn. In 1708 Tsaritsyn was assigned to the Kazan Governorate. According to the census in 1720, the city had a population of 408 people. In 1773 the city became a district town. From 1779 it belonged to the Saratov Viceroyalty. In 1780 the city came under the newly-established Saratov Governorate. In the 19th century Tsaritsyn became commercial center; the population expanded increasing from fewer than 3,000 people in 1807 to about 84,000 in 1900.
The first railway reached the town in 1862. The first theatre opened in 1872, the first cinema in 1907. In 1913 Tsaritsyn got its first tram-line, the city's first electric lights were installed in the city center. During the Russian Civil War of 1917–1923, Tsaritsyn came under Soviet control from November 1917. In 1918 White troops under the Ataman of the Don Cossack Host, Pyotr Krasnov, besieged Tsaritsyn; the Reds repulsed three assaults by the Whites. However, in June 1919 the White Armed Forces of South Russia under the command of General Denikin captured Tsaritsyn, which they held until January 1920; the fighting from July 1918 to January 1920 became known as the Battle for Tsaritsyn. The city was renamed Stalingrad after Joseph Stalin on April 10, 1925; this was to recognize the city and Stalin's role in its defense against the Whites between 1918 and 1920. In 1931, the German settlement-colony Old Sarepta became a district of Stalingrad. Renamed Krasnoarmeysky Rayon, it became the largest area of the city.
The first institute was opened in 1930. A year the Stalingrad Industrial Pedagogical Institute, now Volgograd State Pedagogical University, was opened. Under Stalin, the city became a center of heavy industry and transshipment by river. During World War II, German and Axis forces attacked the city, in 1942 it became the site of one of the pivotal battles of the war; the Battle of Stalingrad had the greatest casualty figures of any single battle in the history of warfare. The battle became a titanic struggle between Hitler and Stalin as both saw it of great propaganda value, each keenly aware of the namesake of the city, each poured hundreds of thousands of men into the battle; the battle began on August 23, 1942, on the same day, the city suffered heavy aerial bombardment that reduced most of it to rubble. By September, the fighting reached the city center; the fighting was of unprecedented intensity. By early November, the German forces controlled 90 percent of the city and had cornered the Soviets in two narrow pockets, but they were unable to eliminate the last pockets of Soviet resistance before Soviet forces launched a huge counterattack on November 19.
This led to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army and other Axis units. On January 31, 1943 the Sixth Army's commander, Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, by February 2, with the elimination of straggling German troops, the Battle of Stalingrad was over. In 1945 the Soviet Union awarded Stalingrad the title Hero City for its resistance. Great Britain's King George VI awarded the citizens of Stalingrad the jeweled "Sword of Stalingrad" in recognition of their bravery. A number of cities around the world established sister and twinning links in the spirit of solidarity or reconciliation. One of the first "sister city" projects was that established during World War II between Stalingrad and Coventry in the United Kingdom – both suffered extensive devastation from aerial bombardment. On 10 November 1961, Nikita Khrushchev's administration changed the name of the city to Volg
Battle of Moscow
The Battle of Moscow was a military campaign that consisted of two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942; the Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow, the capital and largest city of the Soviet Union. Moscow was one of the primary military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union; the German strategic offensive, named Operation Typhoon, called for two pincer offensives, one to the north of Moscow against the Kalinin Front by the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies severing the Moscow–Leningrad railway, another to the south of Moscow Oblast against the Western Front south of Tula, by the 2nd Panzer Army, while the 4th Army advanced directly towards Moscow from the west. According to Andrew Roberts, Hitler's offensive towards the Soviet capital was nothing less than an'all-out attack': "It is no exaggeration to state that the outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance during this massive attack".
The Soviet forces conducted a strategic defence of the Moscow Oblast by constructing three defensive belts, deploying newly raised reserve armies, bringing troops from the Siberian and Far Eastern Military Districts. As the German offensives were halted, a Soviet strategic counter-offensive and smaller-scale offensive operations forced the German armies back to the positions around the cities of Oryol and Vitebsk, nearly surrounded three German armies, it was a major setback for the Germans, the end of the idea of a fast German victory in the USSR. Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch was excused as commander of OKH, with Hitler appointing himself as Germany's supreme military commander. Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion plan, called for the capture of Moscow within four months. On 22 June 1941, Axis forces invaded the Soviet Union, destroyed most of the Soviet Air Force on the ground, advanced deep into Soviet territory using blitzkrieg tactics to destroy entire Soviet armies; the German Army Group North moved towards Leningrad, Army Group South took control of Ukraine, Army Group Centre advanced towards Moscow.
By July 1941, Army Group Center crossed the Dnieper River, on the path to Moscow. In July 1941, German forces captured an important stronghold on the road to Moscow. At this stage, although Moscow was vulnerable, an offensive against the city would have exposed the German flanks. In part to address these risks, in part to attempt to secure Ukraine's food and mineral resources, Hitler ordered the attack to turn north and south and eliminate Soviet forces at Leningrad and Kiev; this delayed the German advance on Moscow. When that advance resumed on 30 September 1941, German forces had been weakened, while the Soviets had raised new forces for the defence of the city. For Hitler, the Soviet capital was secondary, he believed the only way to bring the Soviet Union to its knees was to defeat it economically, he felt. When Walther von Brauchitsch, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, supported a direct thrust to Moscow, he was told that "only ossified brains could think of such an idea". Franz Halder, head of the Army General Staff, was convinced that a drive to seize Moscow would be victorious after the German Army inflicted enough damage on the Soviet forces.
This view was shared by most within the German high command. But Hitler overruled his generals in favor of pocketing the Soviet forces around Kiev in the south, followed by the seizure of Ukraine; the move was successful, resulting in the loss of nearly 1,000,000 Red Army personnel killed, captured, or wounded by 26 September, further advances by Axis forces. With the end of summer, Hitler redirected his attention to Moscow and assigned Army Group Center to this task; the forces committed to Operation Typhoon included four infantry armies supported by three Panzer Groups and by the Luftwaffe's Luftflotte 2. Up to two million German troops were committed to the operation, along with 1,000–2,470 tanks and assault guns and 14,000 guns. German aerial strength, had been reduced over the summer's campaign. Luftflotte 2 had only 549 serviceable machines, including 158 medium and dive-bombers and 172 fighters, available for Operation Typhoon; the attack relied on standard blitzkrieg tactics, using Panzer groups rushing deep into Soviet formations and executing double-pincer movements, pocketing Red Army divisions and destroying them.
Facing the Wehrmacht were three Soviet fronts forming a defensive line between the cities of Vyazma and Bryansk, which barred the way to Moscow. The armies comprising these fronts had been involved in heavy fighting. Still, it was a formidable concentration consisting of 1,000 tanks and 7,600 guns; the Soviet Air Force had suffered appalling losses of some 7,500 to 21,200 aircraft. Extraordinary industrial achievements had begun to replace these, at the outset of Typhoon the VVS could muster 936 aircraft, 578 of which were bombers. Once Soviet resistance along the Vyazma-Bryansk front was eliminated, German forces were to press east, encircling Moscow by outflanking it from the north and south. Continuous fighting had reduced their effectiveness, logistical difficulties became more acute. General Guderian, commander of the 2nd Panzer Army, wrote that some of his destroyed tanks had not been replaced, there were fuel shortages at the start of the operation; the German attack went according to plan, with 4th Panzer Group pushing through the middle nearly unopposed and
Western Front (World War II)
The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. World War II military engagements in Southern Europe and elsewhere are considered under separate headings; the Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations. The first phase saw the capitulation of the Netherlands and France during May and June 1940 after their defeat in the Low Countries and the northern half of France, continued into an air war between Germany and Britain that climaxed with the Battle of Britain; the second phase consisted of large-scale ground combat, which began in June 1944 with the Allied landings in Normandy and continued until the defeat of Germany in May 1945. The Phoney War was an early phase of World War II marked by a few military operations in Continental Europe in the months following the German invasion of Poland and preceding the Battle of France. Although the great powers of Europe had declared war on one another, neither side had yet committed to launching a significant attack, there was little fighting on the ground.
This was the period in which the United Kingdom and France did not supply significant aid to Poland, despite their pledged alliance. While most of the German Army was fighting against Poland, a much smaller German force manned the Siegfried Line, their fortified defensive line along the French border. At the Maginot Line on the other side of the border, French troops stood facing them, whilst the British Expeditionary Force and other elements of the French Army created a defensive line along the Belgian border. There were only some minor skirmishes; the British Royal Air Force dropped propaganda leaflets on Germany and the first Canadian troops stepped ashore in Britain, while Western Europe was in a strange calm for seven months. In their hurry to re-arm and France had both begun to buy large numbers of weapons from manufacturers in the United States at the outbreak of hostilities, supplementing their own production; the non-belligerent United States contributed to the Western Allies by discounted sales of military equipment and supplies.
German efforts to interdict the Allies' trans-Atlantic trade at sea ignited the Battle of the Atlantic. While the Western Front remained quiet in April 1940, the fighting between the Allies and the Germans began in earnest with the Norwegian Campaign when the Germans launched Operation Weserübung, the German invasion of Denmark and Norway. In doing so, the Germans beat the Allies to the punch. However, when the Allies made a counter-landing in Norway following the German invasion, the Germans repulsed them and defeated the Norwegian armed forces, driving the latter into exile; the Kriegsmarine, suffered heavy losses during the two-months of fighting required to seize all of mainland Norway. In May 1940, the Germans launched the Battle of France; the Western Allies soon collapsed under the onslaught of the so-called "blitzkrieg" strategy. The majority of the British and elements of the French forces escaped at Dunkirk. With the fighting ended, the Germans began to consider ways of resolving the question of how to deal with Britain.
If the British refused to agree to a peace treaty, one option was to invade. However, Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, had suffered serious losses in Norway, in order to consider an amphibious landing, Germany's Air Force had to first gain air superiority or air supremacy. With the Luftwaffe unable to defeat the RAF in the Battle of Britain, the invasion of Great Britain could no longer be thought of as an option. While the majority of the German army was mustered for the invasion of the Soviet Union, construction began on the Atlantic Wall – a series of defensive fortifications along the French coast of the English Channel; these were built in anticipation of an Allied invasion of France. Because of the massive logistical obstacles a cross-channel invasion would face, Allied high command decided to conduct a practice attack against the French coast. On 19 August 1942, the Allies began an attack on Dieppe, France. Most of the troops were Canadian, with some British contingents and a small American and Free French presence along with British and Polish naval support.
The raid was a disaster two-thirds of the attacking force became casualties. However, much was learned as a result of the operation – these lessons would be put to good use in the subsequent invasion. For two years, there was no land-fighting on the Western Front with the exception of commando raids and the guerrilla actions of the resistance aided by the Special Operations Executive and Office of Strategic Services. However, in the meantime, the Allies took the war to Germany, with a strategic bombing campaign the US Eighth Air Force bombing Germany by day and RAF Bomber Command bombing by night; the bulk of the Allied armies were occupied in the Mediterranean, seeking to clear the sea lanes to the Indian Ocean and capture the Foggia Airfield Complex. Two early British raids for which battle honours were awarded were Operation Collar in Boulogne and Operation Ambassador in Guernsey; the raids for which the British awarded the "North-West Europe Campaign of 1942" battle honour were: Operation Biting – Bruneval, St Nazaire, Operation Myrmidon – Bayonne, Operation Abercrombie – Hardelot, Dieppe (19 Augus
Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million. An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject. Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703. During the periods 1713–1728 and 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved to Moscow, about 625 km to the south-east. Saint Petersburg is one of the most modern cities of Russia, as well as its cultural capital; the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. Many foreign consulates, international corporations and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg. An admirer of everything German, Peter the Great named the city, Sankt-Peterburg.
On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial government renamed the city Petrograd, meaning "Peter's city", in order to expunge the German name Sankt and Burg. On 26 January 1924, shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin, it was renamed to Leningrad, meaning "Lenin's City". On 6 September 1991, Sankt-Peterburg, was returned. Today, in English the city is known as "Saint Petersburg". Local residents refer to the city by its shortened nickname, Piter; the city's traditional nicknames among Russians are the Window to Europe. Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, in what was called Ingermanland, inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians; the small town of Nyen grew up around it. At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great, interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, wanted Russia to gain a seaport in order to trade with the rest of Europe, he needed a better seaport than the country's main one at the time, on the White Sea in the far north and closed to shipping during the winter.
On 12 May 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans and soon replaced the fortress. On 27 May 1703, closer to the estuary 5 km inland from the gulf), on Zayachy Island, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city; the city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city; the city became the centre of the Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, 9 years before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war. During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan. By 1716 the Swiss Italian Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals; the project is evident in the layout of the streets.
In 1716, Peter the Great appointed Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg. The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century. In 1724 the Academy of Sciences and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great. In 1725, Peter died at the age of fifty-two, his endeavours to modernize Russia had met with opposition from the Russian nobility—resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his son. In 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow, but four years in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg was again designated as the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tsars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.
In 1736–1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Münnich commissioned a new plan in 1737; the city was divided into five boroughs, the city centre was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka. It developed along three radial streets, which meet at the Admiralty building and are now one street known as Nevsky Prospekt, Gorokhovaya Street and Voznesensky Prospekt. Baroque architecture became dominant in the city during the first sixty years, culminating in the Elizabethan Baroque, represented most notably by Italian Bartolomeo Rastrelli with such buildings as the Winter Palace. In the 1760s, Baroque architecture was succeeded by neoclassical architecture. Established in 1762, the Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg ruled that no structure in the
40th Army (Soviet Union)
The 40th Army of the Soviet Union's Soviet Army was an army-level command that participated in World War II from 1941 to 1945 and was reformed for the Soviet–Afghan War from 1979 to circa 1990. The Army became the core for the Soviet occupational force in Afghanistan in 1980s named as the limited contingent of Soviet forces in Afghanistan, it was first formed, after Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, had commenced, from elements of the 26th and 37th Armies under the command of Major General Kuzma Petrovich Podlas in August 1941 at the boundary of the Bryansk Front and the Soviet Southwestern Front. By 25 August 1941 the 135th and 293rd Rifle Divisions, 2nd Airborne Corps, 10th Tank Division, 5th Anti-Tank Brigade had been assembled to form the force; as part of the Southwestern Front, it took part in the Battle of Kiev, where the Army was badly shattered, General-Major Semenchenko's 10th Tank Division was reduced to twenty tanks. By the time of the main German offensive against Moscow at the end of September, 40th Army was on the extreme right flank of Southwestern Front defending the Kursk axis.
The German offensive was directed at Soviet forces to the north of 40th Army, though the attack of the German 48th Motorised Corps, operating on the extreme southern flank of Second Panzer Group hit 40th Army's right flank positions. 40th Army began a steady retreat to the east. By 3 November 40th Army had been driven from Kursk, but by the end of the month it had brought the German advance to a halt near the town of Tim some 50 kilometres further east; as part of a general winter offensive by the Red Army across the entire Eastern Front, on 1 January 1942 40th Army, by based on six rifle divisions and two tank brigades, attacked German positions east of Tim. Off 40th Army's right flank the 13th Army had for several weeks been conducting offensive operations towards Orel, advancing some 50 kilometres to the west and retaking Elets and Kastornoye in the process; the advance of 40th Army was less rapid. By 3 January 40th Army, in conjunction with 21st Army further south, was involved in heavy fighting on the line of the Seym river as the two armies attempted to advance on Kursk and Oboyan respectively.
40th Army retook Tim and advanced to within 30 kilometres of Kursk before being stopped by determined German resistance in mid-January. Thereafter the frontline stabilised west of Tim through the rest of the winter and through the spring. On 3 April its sector of the frontline was assigned to the command of Bryansk Front. On 12 May 1942 Southwestern Front launched a major offensive to retake Kharkov by an encirclement from north and south. At the same time Bryansk Front was preparing an offensive of its own to retake Orel. However, by 16 May the offensive by Southwestern Front north of Kharkov had stalled and Bryansk Front was ordered to divert the bulk of its combat aircraft to 40th Army in the south and to launch an immediate offensive by 40th Army to support Southwestern Front's right wing. However, this hurriedly prepared offensive by 40th Army in the second half of May made little progress. In June 1942, Operation Blau saw Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army thrust in full force against 40th Army, which had its headquarters overrun by 24th Panzer Division on 29–30 June.
The 40th Army fell back from the Kastornoye area back to Voronezh, alongside the 4th, 17th, 24th Tank Corps. In response, the STAVKA hastened to establish the new Voronezh Front. During July, 40th Army, subordinated to Voronezh Front, was assigned to defend the river Don along the Liski - Pavlovsk sector, positions that it held throughout the remainder of 1942. On 12 January 1943 40th Army began offensive operations against the left flank of the Hungarian Second Army north of Liski; this offensive was coordinated with an attack by a Soviet tank army further south to surround Axis forces on the Liski - Novaya Kalitva sector of the Don front. By 18 January most of the Hungarian army and an Italian corps had been surrounded east of Alekseyevka; the advance of 40th Army had left the German Second Army in exposed positions at Voronezh and, in a hurriedly prepared offensive coordinated with three other Soviet armies further north, 40th Army struck north on 24 January to surround much of Second Army east of Kastornoye.
Having completed this operation, on 2 February 40th Army was launched into an offensive on the Kharkov axis to the southwest. It reached Belgorod four days later. Continuing to the southwest, 40th Army had reached Akhtyrka northwest of Kharkov by 23 February, but by a German counter-offensive on the Kharkov axis had developed and 40th Army was pushed back to defensive positions east of Sumy; these defensive positions, which were to form part of the southern face of the Kursk Salient, remained unchanged through April and June 1943. In March 1943 6th Pontoon Bridge Brigade joined the army. On 5 July 1943 Germany's last strategic offensive on the Eastern Front opened with attacks on the northern and southern shoulders of the Kursk Salient; the objective was to envelop and destroy the defending Central and Voronezh Fronts north and south of Kursk. At that time 40th Army, occupying what was expected to be a quiet sector of the frontline facing the left flank of the German Fourth Panzer Army, was based on seven rifle divisions with armoured support.
During the Battle of Kursk, where the Army fought as part of Voronezh Front, it transferred a number of reinforcements to 6th Guards Army to help 6th Guards hold back the 48th Panzer Corps, including the 29th Tank Destroyer Brigade and the 1244th and 869th Tank Destroyer Regiments, a total of over 100 antitank guns. 40th Army transferred a tank brigade
5th Combined Arms Army
The 5th Combined Arms Red Banner Army is a Russian Ground Forces formation in the Eastern Military District. It was formed in 1939, served during the Soviet invasion of Poland that year, was deployed in the southern sector of the Soviet defences when Adolf Hitler's Operation Barbarossa began in June 1941 during World War II. In the disastrous first months of Barbarossa, the 5th Army was destroyed around Kiev. Reformed under Lelyushenko and Govorov, it played a part in the last-ditch defence of Moscow, in the string of offensive and defensive campaigns that saw the Soviet armies liberate all of Soviet territory and push west into Poland and beyond into Germany itself; the 5th Army itself only advanced as far as East Prussia before it was moved east to take part in the Soviet attack on Japan. Since 1945 under the Soviet and now Russian flag it has formed part of the Far East Military District keeping watch on the border with the People's Republic of China; as the Russian armed force shrunk it found itself part of the larger Eastern Military District in the twenty-first century.
The 5th Army was created in August 1939 in the Special Kiev Military District from the Northern Army Group. In September 1939 the 5th Army took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland, justified by the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact; the Army was placed under the command of I. G. Sovietnikov. On 22 June 1941, the 5th Army consisted of the 15th Rifle Corps, as well as the 27th Rifle Corps, the 22nd Mechanised Corps, the 2nd Fortified Region, seven artillery regiments, 2 NKVD border regiments, an engineer regiment; the Army's rifle divisions were assigned to cover the Lutsk-Rovno approaches to the Ukraine and were tasked to man the Kovel and Vladimir-Volynsk fortified districts. The Army was stationed in barracks up to forty miles from the frontier, would need three to four days to take up its positions. On 22 June, the 15th Rifle Corps managed to take its place in the line, holding the sector from Vlodava to Vladimir-Volynsk, but that same day, the southern end of the line at Vladimir-Volynsk "began to buckle in," in John Erickson's words.
The main German thrust in the sector came at the junction point between the 5th Army and its neighbour to the south, the 6th Army, both the 5th and 6th Armies committed their mechanised forces to try to stem the gap, but without success. The Commander Southwestern Front, Mikhail Kirponos, decided to halt this with an attack into the flank of Panzer Group 1 using all the available mobile forces – five mechanised corps; this was unsuccessful in the face of the thrusting German advance, lack of coordination from the various Soviet formations, acute shortage of equipment and spares, lack of proper equipment radio sets. Meanwhile General M. I. Potapov, now commanding the 5th Army, was ordered on 29 June to make another attack on Panzer Group 1's flank from the woods of Klevany. Amid these efforts, Kirponos managed to withdraw most of his Front to a new line on the old Soviet/Polish border, prevented the Germans from rupturing the Soviet defensive line; the 11th Panzer Division took Berdichev on 7 July, the juncture between the 5th and 6th Armies was broken.
The gap between the 5th and 6th Armies widened to forty miles. To remedy the situation another counterattack was ordered, Potapov, now commanding the 15th and 31st Rifle, 9th, 19th and 22nd Mechanised Corps, was directed to strike northwards from Berdichev and Lyubar. However, his forces had been badly worn down: the 9th Mechanised Corps had 64 tanks left, the 22nd less than half that number, the rifle regiments of 31st Corps had "no more than three hundred men." Potapov's force cut the Zhitomir highway and kept up the pressure for a week, afterwards remained as a thorn on the German Sixth Army's northern flank. By 7 September the 5th Army was threatened with being split in two by the Second Army coming from the east and the Sixth Army's northern outflanking of Kiev; the Stavka refused permission for the 5th Army to withdraw, as they were still hoping for results from a counterattack by the Bryansk Front. By 9 September Stalin had given authority for the 5th Army to withdraw but by it was trapped, on 20 September Potapov and his command group were taken prisoner.
In the disastrous battle, the German forces encircled forces from the 5th, 21st, 26th, 37th Armies, captured Kiev, claimed 665,000 prisoners. The 5th Army was re-raised for the second time in October 1941, under the command of Dmitri Lelyushenko, as part of the Soviet Western Front. Recent sources give the actual re-raising date as 11 October 1941, it included two three tank brigades. At the Battle at Borodino Field, on a former Napoleonic battlefield, the first elements of the reforming Army to arrive at the front—two regiments of the Soviet 32nd Rifle Division and the 18th and 19th Tank Brigades—attempted to halt the German 10th Panzer Division and Das Reich divisions which were striking for Mozhaisk. Lelyuschenko was wounded and General L. A. Govorov took over. What thin reserves there were ran out, Mozhaisk fell on 18 October; that year the Army took part in the Klin-Solnechogorsk offensive operation. On 15 November, another German strike toward Moscow opened, but while
Oryol or Orel is a city and the administrative center of Oryol Oblast, located on the Oka River 360 kilometers south-southwest of Moscow. Population: 317,747 . While there are no historical records, archaeological evidence shows that a fortress settlement existed between the Oka and Orlik Rivers as early as the 12th century, when the land was a part of the Principality of Chernigov; the name of the fortress is unknown. In the 13th century the fortress became a part of the Zvenigorod district of the Karachev Principality. In the early 15th century, the territory was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; the city was soon abandoned by its population, after being sacked either by Lithuanians or the Golden Horde. The territory became a part of the Tsardom of Russia in the 16th century. Ivan the Terrible decreed that a new fortress be built on the spot in 1566, for the purpose of defending the southern borders of the country; the fortress was built speedily, work starting in the summer of 1566 and ending in the spring of 1567.
The location chosen was less than ideal strategically, as the fortress was located on a seasonally flooded low ground targeted from the neighboring high ground. False Dmitry I and his army passed through Oryol in 1605. Polish intervention sacked it in 1611 and 1615. Orlovsky Uyezd nonetheless continued to exist on paper. Oryol was rebuilt in 1636; the question of moving the fortress to the more advantageous high ground was in the air up until the 1670s, but the move was never made. The fortress was taken apart in the early 18th century. In the mid-18th century Oryol became one of the major centers of grain production, with the Oka River being the major trade route until the 1860s when it was replaced by a railroad. Oryol was granted town status in 1702. In 1708, Oryol was included as a part of Kiev Governorate; the Province was transferred to the newly created Belgorod Governorate in 1727. On March 11, 1778 Oryol Vice-Royalty was created from parts of Belgorod Governorates. In 1779, the city was entirely rebuilt based on a new plan.
After the October Revolution of 1917, the city was in Bolshevik hands, except for a brief period between October 13 and October 20, 1919, when it was controlled by Anton Denikin's White Army. Oryol was once again moved between different oblasts in the 1920s and 1930s becoming the administrative center of its own Oryol Oblast on September 27, 1937; the Oryol Prison was a notable place of incarceration for political prisoners and war prisoners of the Second World War. Christian Rakovsky, Maria Spiridonova, Olga Kameneva and 160 other prominent political prisoners were shot on September 11, 1941 on Joseph Stalin's orders in the Medvedev Forest massacre outside Oryol. During World War II, Oryol was occupied by the Wehrmacht on October 3, 1941, liberated on August 5, 1943, after the Battle of Kursk; the city was completely destroyed. In February 2012, the city duma abolished the direct election of mayor. In December 2013, a referendum was held, which 71% of the people supported the return of direct mayoral election.
Oryol is the administrative center of the oblast and, within the framework of administrative divisions, it serves as the administrative center of Orlovsky District though it is not a part of it. As an administrative division, it is incorporated separately as the city of oblast significance of Oryol—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts; as a municipal division, the city of oblast significance of Oryol is incorporated as Oryol Urban Okrug. The city is served by the Oryol Yuzhny Airport. Since 1868, there has been a railway connection between Moscow. Oryol is a major transport hub on the borders of the Central and Central Black Earth economic regions. Through the city converge 7 important highways of federal and republican values: M2, P92, R119, R120, A142, 5 railway lines: on Yelets, Kursk, Mikhailovsky mine; the city has an airport. The formation of the Oryol as an important transportation hub is due to the favorable geographical position of the city on the borders of economic regions.
The town has trolley and bus systems. These kinds of public transport cover the entire territory of the city; each bus and trolley is equipped with route indicators that inform about the route through the city, designated stops. There is a waterbus on the Oka River. In the city there are taxis and shuttles, rental cars. Intercity transport terminals: Oryol Station, Station Luzhki-Oryol, Oryol Bus Station, as well as federal highway M2, P92, R119, R120, A142. On November 3, 1898 Orel inaugurated an electric tram; the draft was prepared by the Belgian entrepreneur FF Gilon and firm «Compagnie mutuelle de tramways», which won the right to build not only a tram, but lighting in the city. Oryol has a humid continental climate. 1991–1997: Alexander Kislyakov 1997–2002: Yefim Velkovsky 2002–2006: Vasily Uvarov 2006–2009: Alexander Kasyanov 2009–2010: Vasily Eremin 2010–2012: Viktor Safianov 2012: Mikhail Bernikov 2012–2016: Sergey Stupin 2016–present: Vasily Novikov Oryol is twinned with: Brest, Belarus Ke