Tula Defensive Operation of 1941

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tula Defensive Operation of 1941


combat operations by troops of the Briansk Front (after November 11, the left wing of the Western Front) from October 24 to December 5 in defense of Tula during the battle of Moscow (1941–42).

During the fascist German offensive against Moscow in October and November 1941, the German Second Panzer Army, commanded by Colonel General H. Guderian, struck at the Tula-Kashira-Kolomna axis in an attempt to encircle Moscow from the south. On October 24 the enemy began its offensive along the Orel-Tula highway; by October 29, forward units were approaching Tula. Between October 30 and November 1, two enemy panzer divisions and one infantry brigade attempted to capture the city by frontal assault. The enemy attacks were repelled by troops of the left wing of the Western Front, commanded by General of the Army G. K. Zhukov, the Fiftieth Army, commanded by Major General A. N. Ermakov (after November 22, by Lieutenant General I. V. Boldin), the Tula Workers’ Regiment, the 156th Rifle Regiment of the NKVD, and the 732nd Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment. Active support was given by the residents of Tula, headed by the city defense committee under chairman V. G. Zhavoronkov, secretary of the oblast party committee.

On November 7 troops of the Third Army, commanded by Major General la. G. Kreizer, and the Fiftieth Army mounted a counterattack that stopped the enemy offensive. From November 10 to 17 the Germans attempted to break through and cut off the Fiftieth Army south of Aleksin, but they were beaten back by the Forty-ninth Army, commanded by Major General I. G. Za-kharkin, and the Fiftieth Army.

After unsuccessful attempts to capture Tula from the south and northeast, the enemy struck at the eastern approach to the city. On November 18 the German Second Panzer Army, comprising four panzer, three motorized, and five infantry divisions, one infantry brigade, and one motorized regiment, began a combined air and ground offensive on the Dedilovo axis. The German forces broke through the Fiftieth Army’s front and occupied the Dedilovo area. The enemy then mounted an offensive against Stalinogorsk (now Novomoskovsk), which fell on November 22, and pushed on to Venev and Kashira. On November 25, units of the German 17th Panzer Division broke through to the southern outskirts of Kashira. At the same time, fascist German troops attacked in the northeast and east against Serebrianye Prudy, Mi-khailov, and Skopin. The enemy threatened to break through to the main line of communications linking Moscow with the central and eastern regions of the country and take Zaraisk and Riazan’.

Between November 27 and 30, the command of the Western Front launched a counterattack by the I Guards Cavalry Corps, commanded by Major General P. A. Belov, and the 112th Tank Division, commanded by Colonel A. L. Getman. The enemy was driven back south of Kashira into the Mordves area. On December 2 the enemy again tried to capture Tula, striking two concentric blows north of the city. The Germans succeeded in cutting through the railroad and the Tula-Serpukhov highway but could not completely encircle the city. By their stubborn defense and counterattacks the forces of the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth armies thwarted the enemy’s plan and forced the German troops to go on the defensive on December 5.

During the Tula Defensive Operation of 1941, Soviet troops were aided considerably by the 31 partisan detachments and 73 diversionary groups that attacked the enemy’s rear in Tula Oblast throughout October. The Tula Defensive Operation of 1941 eliminated the threat of Moscow’s encirclement from the south, inflicted serious losses on the enemy, and enabled Soviet troops to mount a counteroffensive.


Razgrom nemetsko-fashistskikh voiskpod Moskvoi. Moscow, 1964.
Klimov, I. D. Geroicheskaia oborona Tuly. Moscow, 1961.
Bitva za Tulu, 4th ed. Tula, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.