A brief description of the Russian line of defenses in front of Moscow has
been translated from an authoritative German military publication. In the
account below, it will be noted that the numbers refer to defense zones
on the sketch map.
* * *
Twenty-five miles was the depth of the defense zone which the Soviets
had built in front of their capitol to block the way of the German
armies. Seven different systems, some very narrow, some in depth, were
designed to make the obstacle zone impregnable (see sketch map). At (1) on
the map is a long line of flame-throwers (figure 1), of which the tanks
were buried in the ground with only the nozzles extending above ground
level. On the approach of German soldiers, these devices were to be
electrically fired from a hidden bunker.
A deep system of trenches set with upright logs to trap tanks is indicated on the sketch
map at 2. The German troops called them "asparagus beds." In
addition to the log obstacles, the trenches were heavily mined. Closely adjoining
this antitank trench to the rear, along the swampy tributary of the Moskva, was
another zone (3), 1 kilometer deep, made up of wire obstacles. Then followed a
tank trap (4) in the form of a deep antitank ditch several meters wide. The next
defense zone (5) consisted of endless rows of chevaux-de-frise, made of sections
of railroad rails welded together (figure 2). Only then were found bunkers (6) of
all kinds, and field fortifications (7) as well as artillery emplacements (8).
Comment: In spite of the elaborate nature of this defense system, the
Germans assert that it was successfully penetrated. However, the outcome of the
operation indicates that the penetration was limited.