Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Bloodiest Battle You've Never Heard Of

Stuart Wavell, reviewing Moscow 1941 by Sir Rodric Braithwaite:

Few westerners have heard of the greatest battle of the second world war, fought on a scale never matched in western Europe or Africa. The Russians wrote the battle of Moscow in 1941 out of their history books after their suicidal bravery smashed the myth of German invincibility.

More than 7m combatants on both sides took part, compared with the 4m who fought at Stalingrad in 1942-43 and the 2m at Kursk in 1943. The Soviet Union lost more people — 926,000 soldiers killed — than the British lost in the entire first world war.

It was the price they paid for inflicting on the Wehrmacht its first real defeat, hurling the Germans back hundreds of miles.

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