In the early hours of June 22, 1941 the German army poured across the borders of the Soviet Union. This would initiate four years of horrific warfare. The Wehrmacht had assembled the largest invasion force ever seen in military history, 3050 tanks, 7000 field guns and over 2000 aircraft. Many trucks and logistical vehicles had also been taken from France. 3 million German troops along with other pro axis armies such as Hungary and Romania bringing the total to 4 million were mobilised for the invasion. The German campaign was spearheaded by three armies who fought on a front stretching from the Baltic coast to the Black Sea. Hitler used the same armies and commanders that had swept through the lower countries and France in little over a month. Those included; army group North commanded by Generald fieldmarcell Wilhelm Ritter Van Leeb who launched their attack from East Prussia driving towards the Baltic port of Leningrad.
Army Group Centre under GFM Fedor Von Bock erupted out of Poland with Moscow at its objective. In the south Field Marshal Gerd Van Rundstedt headed for Ukraine and the rich oil fields of the Cauasus. Russia's air force was taken by surprise and thousands of aircraft were destroyed during the early hours of the invasion before the even got off the ground.
"The world will hold its breath" Hitler had declared in a planning session several months before. Hitler's words proved through as his forces rolled triumphantly across the Russian steppe. In the early hours of the invasion Stalin was still hopeful of making peace with Hitler and refused to order any direct counter attack to the border guards. The frontier armies were also not given any coherent directions to mount a defence of these borders. The Red army fell back in disorder,