|A Change in Orders|
As the German Army continues to drive the Red Army back, Hitler is dismayed by Army Group Southís progress. Hitler now begins to exert his personality into front-line operations.
On August 23, 1941, Hitler orders Col. Gen. Heinz Guderianís Second Panzer Group and the Second Army to attack south in order to link up with Army Group South. Most generals disagree with the orders - they believe the drive to Moscow should continue rolling and that the rapid capture of Moscow is one of the keys to the success of Barbarossa.
In the short term, the move is a success; within three weeks the linkup is complete and another 600,000 Soviet troops are encircled. In the long term, the move is a disaster. It costs the Germans the chance to capture Moscow; without the fall of Moscow, the fall of the Soviet Union is all but impossible.
By September 1, the Germans are closing in on Leningrad. The city will be under siege for more than two years; more than 50,000 civilians will die of starvation and disease. In the end the city is never captured by the Germans. On September 19, after more than 40 days of fighting, the Germans capture Kiev. It costs the Germans about 100,000 men - it costs the Soviets over 500,000. By early October, Army Group South has bottled up another 700,000 Soviet troops along with vast quantities of supplies and much equipment.
The Red Army Attacks
The Beginning of the End