Project 60 - "The First Fight Against Fascism" - Archives

October, 1941

October 1, 1941

2nd Panzer Army under Guederian scores a clean breakthrough of the Soviet lines around Bryansk, driving 50 miles closer to Orel. The Soviet 13th Army is nearly surrounded

After driving east toward Kharkov and paving the way for the infantry units, the 1st Panzer Army turns south toward Rostov.

October 2, 1941

Operation Typhoon, the German assault on Moscow, begins in earnest as the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies in the north join with 2nd Panzer in attacks against the Soviets. 3rd Panzer Army, in heavy fighting advances 5 miles splitting the defenses of the Soviet 19th and 30th Armies. 4th Panzer Army breaks the Soviet 43rd Army and advances 25 miles, making contact with the second line of Soviet defenses.

The Soviet’s begin the evacuation of Odessa, not because of Rumanian attacks on the city, but because the Germans now threatened Sevastopol.

In response to the Japanese government’s multiple requests for peace talks, the US reiterates it’s requirement that Japan withdraw its forces from China and Indo-China before any such talks can take place. This would lead directly to the fall of the “moderate” Konoye government.

SS Chief Helmut Knochen orders the systematic destruction of synagogues in Paris.

October 3, 1941

Operation Typhoon continues as the forces of Army Group Center advance on several axis toward Moscow. The Soviet West, Bryansk and Reserve Fronts are all showing signs of breaking apart in the face of the relentless German attacks. Guederian’s 2nd Panzer Army has advanced 120 miles toward Orel, 3rd Panzer Army has reached the Dnepr east of Kholm. Soviet counterattacks have been ordered but only I.V. Boldin’s mechanized group is able to launch anything like a concerted attack..

At a rally in Germany, Hitler announces to the crowd that the attack on Moscow has begun and “The enemy has been broken and will never rise again”.

British researchers reported to their US counterparts that it was theoretically possible that an atomic bomb who’s core weighed 25 pounds could produce a 1800 ton detonation. The idea of the atom bomb was born.

October 4, 1941

3rd Panzer Army, stung by the attacks of Boldin’s tanks, slows the Russian, and continues their advance on a less difficult axis. 4th Panzer Army completes the destruction of the soviet 43rd army and shatters the 33 Army as it advances east. These attacks created a 90 mile gap in the Soviet lines between the Bryansk and Reserve Fronts. The 10th Panzer Division, in the van of the attack, reached Viasma. Once again, vast numbers of Soviet troops are threatened with encirclement and Stalin refuses to allow a retreat.

In the occupied town of Kovno, doctors, nurses and patients in the Jewish ghetto hospital are locked in the building and it is set on fire. Several people attempted to escape and were shot down.

October 5, 1941

Konev, against Stalin’s orders, begins the withdrawal of his West Front at Viazma. Later in the day, Stalin would order all three fronts guarding Moscow to withdraw.

October 6, 1941

The 1st Panzer Group and 11th Army succeed in surrounding the Soviet 9th and parts of the 18th Armies north of the Sea Azov. Nearly 100,000 Red Army soldiers are cut off.

On the Moscow axis, heavy fighting is reported in Viazma as the Germans clear the city. The threat of encirclement of the Bryansk Front has become even more serious as 17th Panzer Division reaches Bryansk.

October 7, 1941

Driving out of Viazma, the Germans complete the encirclement of the Soviet West Front. Four armies (16, 19, 20 and 24) are caught in the trap. The weather turns cold, thwarting the attempts by the Soviets to break out.

Finland, responding to diplomatic queries from Britain and the US indicates that it is fighting a defensive war to regain territories lost to the Soviets in the 1940 and, although it may seem they are fighting at the side of the Germans, they are fighting for Finland against the aggression of Russia.

The mass murder of 17,000 Jews at Rovno begins.

October 8, 1941

In Army Group Center, elements of 2nd Panzer Army captures Orel as heavy rain slows the attacks around Moscow. 17th Panzer Division captures Bryansk. 18th Panzer Division meets elements of the 113 Infantry Division (2nd Army), completing the encirclement of the Soviet 3, 13 and 50 Armies. The encirclement is not strong and the Soviets order withdrawls. 3 and 50 Army move back in good order while 13 Army fights its way east.

In Army Group South, 1st Panzer Army captures Malitpol on the Sea of Azoz, surrounding the 9th and 18th Soviet Armies. They continue their drive toward Rostov.

Hitler announces that, “The enemy [Russia] is broken and will never rise again.

October 9, 1941

Roosevelt requests Congress to amend the Neutrality act to allow US flag merchants to be armed for self defense stating, “We cannot permit the­ affirmative defense of our rights to be annulled and diluted by sections of the Neutrality Act which have no realism in the light of unscrupulous ambition of madmen."  Man, that guy had a way with words.

Soviet reserves move into defensive positions on the direct approaches to Moscow. The 1st Guard Rifle Corp is committed at Mtsensk and temporarily stops Guederian’s tanks from moving closer to Moscow.

Germany and Turkey conclude a trade agreement worth 200 million marks.

October 10, 1941

Despite the withdrawal, 3 and 50 Armies are once again surrounded in the Bryansk area. This time the encirclement would hold. The trapped soldiers would fight on for two more weeks, but in the end, only 30,000 of the 600,000 would escape.

The German 4th Army, straddling the Minsk-Moscow highway, begins its advance on Moscow after a week of regrouping. All of Army Group Center is now moving in on Moscow.

In Moscow, orders are given to prepare 1119 factories, schools and public buildings for demolition before the Germans can capture them.

With the success of Zhukov’s measures to save Leningrad in hand, Stalin recalls the general back to Moscow to restore the situation there by taking command of West Front.

In the Ukraine, 9th and 18th Armies fight their way out of the German encirclement and take up defensive positions around Stalino.

October 11, 1941

The remnants of the old West Front and the Reserve Front are combined to form the new West Front under General Zhukov’s command. The Soviets order the forces encircled at Viazma to break out. Only the 91st Rifle division is successful.

October 12, 1941

440,000 Moscow citizens, mostly women, children and old men, are mobilized to build defenses in and around Moscow. In four days they would dig 60 miles of anti-tank ditches, 5000 miles of troop trenches and lay 177 miles of barbed wire.

On the northern flank of Army Group Center, 1st Panzer Division takes Rhzev and moves on to the outskirts of the vital communications hub of Kalinn. On the southern flank, Kaluga, less than 100 miles southwest of Moscow is captured by the Germans.

Heavy rain and the subsequent mud forces the Army Group South to call a temporary halt in their advance.

Remnants of the Soviet forces still encircled at Viazma continue to attack east in feeble attempts to escape the German encirclement.

The first large convoy from England reaches the Soviet port of Archangel, bringing 20 heavy tanks and 193 aircraft to the beleaguered Russians.

October 13, 1941

1st Panzer Group, advancing along the north coast of the Sea of Azoz, reaches the Mius River opposite Taganrog.  

October 14, 1941

The Germans capture the vital transportation and communications hub of Kalinn, 90 miles northwest of Moscow. Rzhev is also captured.

Operation Karlsbad begins in the area between Smolensk and Minsk. This would be the first of many operations by the Germans against partisans in Russia.

The first substantial snow of the season falls at Leningrad. Temperatures in the Moscow area fall hover around freezing. Rain and the subsequent mud slow the German advance toward Moscow.

Hitler orders that Moscow is to be surrounded and starved out rather than assaulted directly.\

October 15, 1941

Extremely heavy fighting is reported in the Kalinn area as Soviet forces launch massive and desperate attacks against the city. The attacks do stop the advance of the 3rd Panzer Army.

Orders are issued to government leaders, Red Army staff and other critical personnel to prepare for the evacuation of Moscow.

Ten inches of snow falls in the Moscow area.

In Moscow, all diplomatic missions were ordered to prepare to evacuate Moscow

October 16, 1941

The Japanese Government of Prime Minister Konoye collapses.

The Soviets, evacuation of Odessa is completed. The evacuated troops are to be landed at Sevastopol, which will also soon be cut off. German and Rumanian troops move into the empty city.

In Moscow, panic breaks out in the citizenry as they learn that Lenin’s tomb has been moved out of the city to prevent it’s capture by the Germans. Stalin decides to stay in the city and this show of confidence steadies the uneasy citizens.

The Japanese arrest Richard Sorge, ending the carrier of one of the most successful and productive Soviet spies in history. He would be hanged three years later.

Despite being stripped of most of its mechanized formations, Army Group North opens a fresh set of attacks east of the Volkhov River south of Leningrad.

October 17, 1941

The destroyer USS Kearney is attacked by an unknown, presumed German, submarine. In the attack, ten sailors are killed and scores injured. America suffers it’s first war casualties in World War II. Pearl Harbor is still seven weeks away.

With the threats to Moscow becoming critical, STAKVA decides to abandon the bulk of the eastern Ukraine and concentrate all fresh and newly formed formations in the Moscow area.

October 18, 1941

General Hideki Tojo becomes the Prime Minister of Japan. With the ascension of the military to the head of the national government of Japan, the road to war is now set.

Guederian’s 2nd Panzer Army captures Maloyaroslavets and Tarusa on the southern approaches to Moscow.

Manstien’s 11th Army begins its attacks on Perekop at the neck of the Crimean Peninsula. Fighting is very heavy.

October 19, 1941

President Roosevelt decided to go forward with the development of the atomic bomb.

At the request of the joint occupation forces of the Soviet Union and Britain, the Afghan government ejects all Axis nationals from their country.

Soviet resistance in the Vyazma pocket collapses as the last remnants of the outer defenses to Moscow are destroyed.

Soviet forces from the Far East command (facing the Japanese in China), begin to arrive in the Moscow area.

The American merchant ship Lehigh is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the west coast of Africa.

October 20, 1941

The Germans capture Borodino and are now 60 miles from Moscow.

In the south, Army Group South captures the major industrial city of Stalino. Elements of the German 6th Army reach the outskirts of Kharkov but stubborn resistance by the Soviet 38th Army prevents the city’s capture.

October 21, 1941

Stalin names General Zhukov, the savior of Leningrad, commander of all military forces in the Moscow area.

At Kharakov, the workers at the massive Kramatorsk heavy-machine factory finish packing the last of their factory onto rail cars for the journey east. The men unable to find places on the train walk 20 miles to the nearest railhead to find transport there. The Germans were seven miles behind them.

October 22, 1941

Rumania denounces the Vienna pact with Hungary, opening the road for the reoccupation of Transylvania.

October 23, 1941

The German 39th Panzer Corp captures Malaia Vishera in heavy fighting southeast of Leningrad.

October 24, 1941

The German 6th Army occupies Kharkov after five days of heavy fighting. The Soviet 28th Army withdraws in good order. This city would change hands four times during the course of the war. Belgorod is also captured.

The last remnants of the Bryansk Pocket surrender. 9th Army, freed from the operation, moves to support 3rd Panzer Army at Kalinn but fails to jump start the stalled offensive there.

October 25, 1941

Assistant Secretary Berle spoke on the Nazi plan for a Church of Germany. Seems there was some consternation on our part that God was on Germany’s side.

The British Cruiser-minelayer Latona is bombed and sunk north of Bardia. Lybia.

October 26, 1941

The relief of the Australians at Tobruk begins as the British 70th Division, the Polish Carpathian Brigade and supporting armored units begin to arrive.

October 27, 1941

At a Navy Day speech, President Roosevelt, in reference to the torpedoing of the USS Kearney, said, “Hitler’s torpedo was directed at every American”.

Soviet forces launch desperate attacks against the Germans in front of Moscow. The attacks are bloodily repulsed but do buy some time for the Russians.

October 28, 1941

Elements of the 11th Army break into the Crimean peninsula sending the Soviet 51st Army in retreat toward Sevastopol and Kerch.

October 29, 1941

The destroyer USS Reuben James becomes the first American warship lost in action. She was torpedoed and sunk while escorting convoy HX156 . Of the 160 man crew, 115 died.

October 30, 1941

Army Group Center reports heavy fighting in the Volkolamsk, Mozhaisk and Kaluga areas. Although successful in these battles, the Germans call a temporary halt in their advance on Moscow as Soviet counter attacks, depleted supply levels, and the worsening weather conditions make attack difficult.

Elements of the German 11th Army close on Sevastopol, beginning a siege, which would last for 9 months.

President Roosevelt extends $1,000,000,000 in credits and interest free loans to the Soviet Union so they can “purchase” Lend Lease supplies and equipment.

The US Navy oiler Salinas is torpedoed off Newfoundland but makes it back to port with no losses

October 31, 1941

The Luftwaffe launches 45 separate attacks on Moscow

In Leningrad, the air evacuation of 17,614 factory specialists and 8,590 wounded Red Army soldiers is completed.

In the Baltic States, SS General von dem Bach Zelewski reports that “Today, there are no more Jews in Estonia.”

The Poltova Lunatic Asylum was officially handed over to the Wehrmacht to be used as a military hospital. Two-hundred of the inmates were placed in agricultural forced labor groups. They were the lucky ones as the other 600 (along with 137 Jews) were killed.
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