Operation Wolga-Staubecken

Volga reservoir

This was a German operation by Generaloberst Adolf Strauss’s 9th Army and Generaloberst Georg-Hans Reinhardt’s 3rd Panzergruppe of Generalfeldmarschall Fedor von Bock’s Heeresgruppe ‘Mitte’ to repel a Soviet counterattack on the Lama river, reach the western end of the Volga Reservoir and advance to the line of the Volga Canal between Moscow and the Volga Reservoir within ‘Taifun’ (i) (15/19 November 1941).

The undertaking marked the resumption of the German offensive after a pause of 15 days after the German forces had broken though the 'Mozhaysk Line', and began in clear but cold conditions. The 3rd Panzergruppe and a part of the 9th Army drove in General Major Vasili A. Khomenko’s 30th Army on the left wing of General Polkovnik Ivan S. Konev’s Kalinin Front in an attack toward Klin. On the orders of Iosif Stalin, Khomenko was immediately relieved of his command in favour of General Major Dmitri D. Lelyushenko.

On the following day Generaloberst Erich Hoepner’s 4th Panzergruppe attacked General Major Konstantin K. Rokossovsky’s 16th Army on the right wing of General Georgi K. Zhukov’s West Front, driving in the direction of Sitar, and on 18 November Generaloberst Heinz Guderian’s 2nd Panzerarmee also went over to the offensive from the area of Tula farther to the south. Meanwhile Generalfeldmarschall Günther von Kluge’s 4th Army, in the centre to the south of the Moscow Highway and between the 4th Panzergruppe and 2nd Panzerarmee, was itself attacked. The 3rd Panzergruppe and 4th Panzergruppe on the northern flank had some success against Rokossovsky’s 16th Army and Lelyushenko’s 30th Army, taking Klin on 24 November and Solnechnogorsk on 25 November. Three days later the Panzergruppen were immediately to the north of Moscow at Dmitrov and Yakhroma, and had in fact crossed the Volga Canal to reach a point less than 25 miles (40 km) from the north-western outskirts of the Soviet capital.