World War: BATTLE OF RUSSIA: Before Moscow

The weather around Moscow had chilled, the ground had hardened. Suddenly, despite discomfort, despite disease, despite losses, the Germans struck harder than ever. They launched an offensive "the like of which," a Soviet spokesman said, "has not yet been seen."

For several weeks the Russians had been building formidable defenses on Moscow's flanks at Kalinin and Tula. The German drive was designed to circumvent, and later destroy, those two key areas of defense. One German column drove between Moscow and Kalinin. This week it reached a point 30 miles from the capital. Another column skirted Tula to the south and then...

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