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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: March 2013

Introduction

Summary

The launch of Operation Typhoon heralded the opening of one of the biggest German offensives of World War II. Indeed, it is surpassed in scale only by the German operations to invade France and the Low Countries in May 1940 (Case Yellow) and the Soviet Union itself in June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa). Although the fighting on the eastern front is arguably best known for Hitler's 1942 offensive to reach and conquer the oil fields of southern Russia (Case Blue), culminating in the battle for Stalingrad, Army Group South's 1942 summer offensive involved only half the number of German troops employed for Operation Typhoon. Likewise, the German summer offensive at Kursk in July 1943 saw some three-quarters of a million German troops engaged, which also falls well short of Typhoon's proportions. While the German operations to invade France and the Soviet Union were sizeably larger in scale (each involving the commitment of more than three million German troops), command in the field was split between three theatre commanders. Operation Typhoon, on the other hand, was directed by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock alone, making it the largest German field command of the war, with almost two million men taking orders from a single commander.

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