Battle of Smolensk (1941)

The Battle of Smolensk was a successful encirclement operation by Army Group Centre's 2nd Panzer Army led by Heinz Guderian and the 3rd Panzer Army led by Hermann Hoth of parts of four Soviet Fronts.

The Soviet formations were the Western Front commanded by Timoshenko, the Soviet Reserve Front commanded by Zhukov, the Soviet Central Front commanded by Kuznetsov, and Soviet Bryansk Front commanded by Yeremenko. Ultimately the Soviet 16th, 19th and the 20th Armies were encircled just to the south of Smolensk but large parts of the 19th Army managed to escape the pocket. As a result of large parts of Soviet soldiers escaping the net, Hitler called off the operation for encirclement as the premier means of defeating the Soviet Union and concentrated on inflicting severe economic damage to the Soviet Union.

PU-36. It will take historians years to reconstruct the Battle of Smolensk shot by shot. But it is already possible to reconstruct its general outlines. For the Russian plan of defense was based on a single document—a field manual designated as PU-36, which was drawn up in 1936 by Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, then Vice Commissar of Defense. It was his last great service to the Red Army. He was executed in the purge a year later.