Operation Hannover II

(German city)

This was the German companion to ‘Hannover I’ by Generalfeldmarschall Günther von Kluge’s Heeresgruppe ‘Mitte’ to eliminate the Soviet pocket between Bely and Sychevka to the west of Moscow (3 June/2 July 1942).

This pocket had been created during the Soviet 'Moscow Strategic Offensive Operation' and related undertakings of the winter offensive of 1941/42 as the forces of General Leytenant Ivan S. Konev’s Kalinin Front swept to the south-west from Kalinin and the Volga Reservoir (north of Moscow) in the 'Kalinin Offensive Operation' with the object of linking with the forces of General Georgi K. Zhukov’s West Front near Vyaz’ma in the rear of the German forces seeking to capture Moscow.

In the event the junction of the two Soviet offensives was prevented by the determined counterattacks of Generaloberst Erich Hoepner’s 4th Panzergruppe (later 4th Panzerarmee), though the end of the Soviet offensive in April 1942 left Generaloberst Walter Model’s 9th Army dangerously exposed near Rzhev as General Leytenant Andrei I. Eremenko’s 4th Shock Army, General Major Vasili A. Yushkevich’s 22nd Army and General Leytenant Ivan I. Maslennikov’s 39th Army were disposed to its rear in a large salient stretching toward Vitebsk. By 2 July this salient had been eliminated as a base for the 39th Army and XXII Cavalry Corps, yielding 50,000 prisoners and shortening the German defence line to the west of Moscow by a tactically useful 130 miles (210 km).