Rzhev Salient

When German officers peered through their binoculars and spied the rooftops of Moscow in the distance, they felt assured of their victory over the Russians.  But by the end of January 1942, all that would change when the Red Army launched a massive assault that drove the Germans back over 100 miles.

Reinforcing their positions near the town of Rzhev, the Germans entrenched themselves to prevent any potential Red Army breakthrough.  Due to constant artillery bombardments and attacks, a salient was created in the German lines.  This area soon became of vital importance, as it granted a path to the exposed Russian capital.  The positions in and around Rzhev would become some of the most heavily fortified areas on the Eastern Front.

Amid another attempt to penetrate the German lines, the Red Army was beaten and hurled back in disarray.  Constant fighting took its toll on both sides as nearly two million men were killed in this small area of Russian alone.  Artillery bombardments, armored assaults, and rocket attacks were all thrown at the German positions, to no avail.

Yet another Russian offensive proved to be just as costly.  A mismanaged and uncoordinated attack, the Germans defenders held, but they were pushed to the breaking point.  5th Kompanie, along with other units, were battered beyond recognition as they were ordered to hold on at all costs.

The struggle soon shifted to the beleaguered army trapped in Stalingrad, which was eventually surrounded and forced to surrender.  This compromised the entire German front and Hitler pulled his men back from the salient in March 1943.  The hope of taking Moscow and knocking Russia out of the war was now impossible.

The Vanquished series finds young German Captain Erich Bodo von Moritzleading his men with grit and determination as they face yet another Red Army onslaught.


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