Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 661 June 22, 1941

Operation Barbarossa. At 4.15 AM, Germany invades USSR, breaking their non-aggression agreement, in the largest military operation ever. 3.5 million German and Romanian troops (with 3,350 tanks, 600,000 motor vehicles and 750,000 horses) cross the border along an 1800 mile front from East Prussia on the Baltic Sea, Poland in the middle and Romania on the Black Sea. Soviet border troops have some warning of the attack but they are overwhelmed. Soviet response is weak due to poor communications and dispositions which hold the main Soviet forces back from the border. Using classic blitzkrieg tactics, Luftwaffe bombs supply dumps, railways and airfields. 2000 Soviet aircraft are destroyed neatly lined up on the ground for the loss of 35 Luftwaffe aircraft. Stalin is paralysed by the attack and, at 11 PM, Foreign Minister Molotov addresses the Soviet people.

At 3.29 AM 100 miles off the North coast of Ireland, U-141 sinks neutral Swedish SS Calabria (3 dead and 21 survivors escape in a lifeboat). At 10.36 PM 550 miles East of St. Johns, Newfoundland, U-77 sinks British SS Arakara being used as a weather ship (all 33 crew and 12 Royal Navy meteorologists lost).

1 comment:

  1. And so it begins!

    Did you read Alan Clarke's Operation Barbarossa? Great read. Unbiased in my opinion.