THE RUSSIAN WINTER ARRIVES WWII
The Russian Winter Arrives WWII In addition to the might of the Red Army, German troops were also worn down by ?General Winter??the nickname used to describe the deadly Russian frost. Adolf Hitler?s invasion plans called for the Germans to conquer the Soviet Union before the legendary cold could set in, but supply issues and an unexpectedly spirited resistance combined to stall the advance at Moscow?s doorstep in late-1941. Still clad in their summer uniforms, the German Wehrmacht had to resort to using newspaper and straw to insulate themselves against subzero temperatures. They soon faced frostbite in epidemic proportions. Some 100,000 cases were reported by end of 1941, resulting in the amputation of nearly 15,000 limbs. The cold also wreaked havoc on Nazi heavy machinery. Tanks and jeeps refused to start, and guns and artillery often froze and failed to fire. The Soviets were more accustomed to the chill, and used specially designed rifles, skis and camouflage to continue fighting even in some of the most inhospitable conditions. The annual deep freeze proved to be a thorn in the side of the German armies for the rest of the war, but the warmer months were only nominally better. Russian summers were often boiling hot, and spring and fall brought a miserable rainy season known as the ?rasputitsa,? which left roads waterlogged and often impassable.
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