World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF RUSSIA: Two Cities

The city squatted on a towering bluff above the forests and marshes across the Desna. It looked shabby and scarred and a little indolent, for its steel mills and cement plants were silent and its people hid in dark corners. Atop the cliff German soldiers were building new defenses. Beyond the river two grimy, shattered railroad stations echoed the rumble of troop trains. And from the forests guerrillas watched the city, and emerged at night to derail German trains, ambush convoys, kill sentries.

The city's name was Bryansk.

Six hundred miles to the south, along...

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