After the completion of the battle for Kiev, General Guderian hurried the movement of II Panzergruppe to its next jump off point near Glukhov.
Field Marshal von Bock held a planning session on 24 September, 1941, at Smolensk. Supreme Army Commander Brauchitsch and his chief of staff, General Halder, attended along with commanders of the involved armies and Panzergruppen.
The plan directed IV Army and IV Panzergruppe commanded by General Kluge to advance on the line of the Roslavl – Moscow road. IX Army, commanded by General Strauss, would attack north of the Smolensk – Moscow road. These two armies were to surround Soviet troops west of Vyazma.
To the south, II Army was assigned the breaking of the Desna line north of Bryansk. Additionally, II Panzergruppe was to attack the Desna position from the south to contain and destroy Soviet forces in the Bryansk area with the cooperation of II Army.
Army Group Center, up to now, had already suffered considerable losses and, though on the defensive since August, had expended almost as much in supplies and personnel as if they had been on the offensive. Their units were at 2/3rd strength, though morale remained good.
During the second half of September Luftflotte II struck railroad targets, troops, and airfields. Eleven attacks took place on Moscow. The Soviet Air Force defended Moscow with 364 aircraft, 50% being older models. Five divisions of long-range bombers were reinforced by 6th Fighter Air Corps. During a nine-day period the Moscow Military District Air Force flew 1,340 sorties.
Soviet forces opposing the drive on Moscow included Western Front, Reserve Front, and Bryansk Front. German armor possessed a 2 – 1 advantage. The Luftwaffe possessed a 3 – 1 superiority.
General Guderian’s jump off point was farther from his goals so he was given additional two days to advance to put his forces in position for the attack on Moscow. II Panzergruppe jumped off 30 September. The general attack began 2 October.
Deep penetrations were made by the Germans. Forces of the Western and Reserve Fronts were surrounded near Vyazma.
During the first eleven days the Bryansk Front Air Force flew 1,700 sorties against II Panzergruppe. Even during a period of poor weather conditions they flew 100 – 200 sorties per day. Bryansk fell on 6 October.
Tula became II Panzer Army’s next objective. They advanced toward the Moskva River then turned toward Moscow’s southern limits. IV Army crossed the River Protva at Maloyaroslavets and Borovsk, then followed the motor road through Mozhaysk.
The Mozhaysk Defense Front Air Force, from 30 September to 10 October, flew 8,500 sorties defending Moscow.
Supreme Army Commander von Brauchitsch directed IX Army via Gzhatsk – Rzhev toward Kalinin to guard the flanks of Army Groups North and Center.
By 10 October fierce fighting took place around Kalinin and Tula. The Soviet government moved to Kuibyshev. Kaluga was taken on 12 October and Kalinin was taken on 14 October. On 19 October a state of siege was declared in Moscow.
Sources: “Battle for Moscow: The German View,” Generalmajor (AD) Alfred Pilippi, History of the Second World War, 1970s
“Battle for Moscow: The Russian View,” Colonel D. Proektor, History of the Second World War, 1970sThe Soviet Air Force in World War II, Translated by Leland Fetzer, Edited by Ray Wagner, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY, 1973