The Stalin and Molotov lines: Soviet western defences, by Neil Short

By Neil Short

In the course of the Russian Civil battle, the purple military created a sequence of fortified components, or ukreplinnyje rajony (UR), that have been for use not just for defence yet have been additionally to behave as staging issues for offensive operations. Following the top of the conflict those defences have been prolonged, making a entrance that stretched over 2,000km from the Baltic to the Black Sea, that consisted of greater than 3,000 positions from forts to desktop gun and antitank positions, emplaced tank turrets, and commentary and command positions. by means of the outbreak of global struggle II, those defenses - referred to as the Stalin Line - have been mostly whole. even though, after the Soviet profession of jap Poland in October 1939 the Stalin Line used to be too some distance in the back of the hot border to be of use as a springboard for an offensive. So, a brand new set of defenses was once all started, named after the Soviet international Minister, Molotov. gear was once stripped from the Stalin Line, yet merely 25 percentage of the positions were accomplished by the point of the German invasion in June 1941 and it proved no fit for the Wehrmacht - positions have been generally empty or just bypassed throughout the develop. Illustrated with cutaway paintings and infrequent images this publication presents a close exam of the advance of those shielding strains, and the battling that came about round them in 1941, and is full of element and data that's not on hand within the English.

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By Neil Short

In the course of the Russian Civil battle, the purple military created a sequence of fortified components, or ukreplinnyje rajony (UR), that have been for use not just for defence yet have been additionally to behave as staging issues for offensive operations. Following the top of the conflict those defences have been prolonged, making a entrance that stretched over 2,000km from the Baltic to the Black Sea, that consisted of greater than 3,000 positions from forts to desktop gun and antitank positions, emplaced tank turrets, and commentary and command positions. by means of the outbreak of global struggle II, those defenses - referred to as the Stalin Line - have been mostly whole. even though, after the Soviet profession of jap Poland in October 1939 the Stalin Line used to be too some distance in the back of the hot border to be of use as a springboard for an offensive. So, a brand new set of defenses was once all started, named after the Soviet international Minister, Molotov. gear was once stripped from the Stalin Line, yet merely 25 percentage of the positions were accomplished by the point of the German invasion in June 1941 and it proved no fit for the Wehrmacht - positions have been generally empty or just bypassed throughout the develop. Illustrated with cutaway paintings and infrequent images this publication presents a close exam of the advance of those shielding strains, and the battling that came about round them in 1941, and is full of element and data that's not on hand within the English.

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The mobilization was to be complete by 1 July for the western border defences and by 1 October for the old defences of the Stalin Line. In addition, this force was to be bolstered with a further 17 new fortified regions, which together with other units, would see the number of men swell by more than 120,000. However, the reinforcement plan did not start until the beginning of June and was nowhere near complete when the Germans invaded on 22 June 1941. On this fateful day the overall strength of the fortified regions, the majority of which (42 out of 57) were stationed in the west (with the remainder in the Far East), totalled 192,240.

These troops were equipped 41 with 1,700 guns and 9,800 light and heavy machine guns. But the impressive numbers could not disguise the fact that the fortified regions were not combat ready with only a third of officers and NCOs and less than half of regular troops manning the defences which themselves were only partially complete. TheNKVD As well as the fortified regions, the border was manned by men of Beria's NKVD. These border guards were lightly armed and were charged with patrolling the frontier to detain transgressors and to counter the threat from insurgents.

Those troops seeking salvation in the old fortifications were in for a nasty surprise. The Stalin Line Army Group North With the border defences now far behind them, Leeb's army group continued its advance towards Leningrad. Once again Hoepner's Panzers were in the van and by the end of June the lead elements had reached the Western Dvina. Timoshenko was determined to hold this line and on 2S June he ordered Colonel-General Kuznetsov to organize a 'stubborn defence' of the river; however, the horse had already bolted.

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