[Lone Sentry: WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
  [Lone Sentry: Photographs, Documents and Research on World War II]
Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Intel Articles by Subject

"Russian Defenses Before Moscow" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following translated German report on the Russian defenses around Moscow in WWII was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 26, June 3, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


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.

[System of Defenses before Moscow in WWII]

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).

[Russian Defenses Before Moscow: Figures 1 and 2]

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.


[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page

Web LoneSentry.com