In the early autumn of 1941 a half-million civilians, mainly women, took part in digging trenches and building tank traps around Moscow. In October and November the Germans launched major offensives against Moscow involving more than 70 divisions or a total of 1.8 million troops.
During the Battle of Moscow the Russian armies, like Hitler's, suffered heavy losses. Throughout the conflict almost 75% of wounded Russian soldiers were returned to the army in the field. During the whole war the Russians lost some 27 million soldiers and civilians killed.
On the morning of 6 December 1941 the forces of the Western Front launched a counter offensive. The battle developed on a grand scale and its success was of tremendous importance as the strike forces of Hitler's Army Group Centre suffered a severe defeat and began retreating to the west.
The Battle of Moscow delivered the first powerful political and military blow at Germany.
Historical notes by Albert Axell