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In October 1941, the Second World War teetered on a knife edge.

1941年10月,第二次世界大战形势莫测。



There was war in China and war in North Africa, and soon there would be war between America and Japan. But in the autumn of 1941, the only war that really seemed to matter was fought in a portion of central Russia.

63813.com_【官方首页】-众彩网当时的中国和北非都处于战争之中,而很快,美国和日本之间就会爆发战争。但在1941年秋,唯一真正重要的战争,似乎发生在俄罗斯中部的一些地区。

Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet unx, had begun brilliantly on June 22, 1941. Encirclement after encirclement had inflicted almost 4 million casualties on the huge but disorganized Soviet armies. By early October, they had advanced to within 200 miles of Moscow. Now came Operation Typhoon, the offensive to seize the Soviet capital and—or so the Germans hoped—end the campaign.

1941年6月22日开始的德国入侵苏联---代号“巴巴罗萨”的计划一开始进行得异常顺利。一次次的围剿战,让庞大而混乱的苏联军队伤亡近400万人,到了10月初,德军已经推进到莫斯科200英里以内的地方了,然后德国又启动了“台风行动”---攻占苏联首都的计划,德国人希望以此结束这场战争。



63813.com_【官方首页】-众彩网【译注:1940年5月10日,德军以“闪击战”进攻法国,6月13日,巴黎失守,6月17日,法国请求停战,6月22日,法国投降。】

Operation Typhoon was like a boxing match between two battered and bloodied fighters barely on their feet. The Soviets could field more than a million soldiers and a thousand tanks at Moscow, dug into multiple defensive lines dug by women and children. The Germans managed to muster almost two million men, and more than a thousand tanks and five hundred aircraft. The plan was do more of what had already worked so well: conduct a series of pincer operations to surround and destroy the Soviet armies in front of Moscow, and then roll into the capital. The fast-moving panzers would be the arms of the pincers, encircling the enemy to keep them from escaping until the footslogging German infantry caught up with the armor and mopped up the pocket. When the Wehrmacht reached Moscow, the city would also be encircled and captured.

63813.com_【官方首页】-众彩网台风行动就像是两个受伤的满身是血仅仅只能站立的人之间的拳击。苏联可以在莫斯科部署100多万士兵和上千辆坦克,发动妇女和儿童挖掘出多条防线。而德国人则设法集合了将近两百万人,一千多辆坦克和五百架飞机。这个计划(台风行动)已经完成了很多,而且有一些做得相当好:进行了一系列钳制行动,包围并歼灭了拦在莫斯科前面的苏联军队,然后推进到了苏联首都(前面)。快速移动的装甲车将成为钳子的武器,包围敌人以防他们逃跑,直到速度较慢的德国步兵追上装甲部队来收尾。当德国军队到达莫斯科时,这座城市也将被包围和占领。

With proper supply and good weather, such a big German strike force could probably have conquered any country in the planet. Alas, neither condition would prove true. The initial phase of Typhoon went according to plan, with four Soviet armies and more than 500,000 Soviet soldiers killed or captured at Vyazma alone.
如果有合适的供给以及良好的天气,这样一支庞大的德国战斗部队,可能已经征服了地球上的任何国家。63813.com_【官方首页】-众彩网但是,这两个条件都没有得到保证。台风行动初期,按计划一切顺利,仅在维亚兹马,就有4支苏联军队以及50多万苏军士兵阵亡或被俘。

But then rain and melting snow fell in early October, bringing with them the infamous rasputitsa, the muddy season that turned the Russian landscape into such a quagmire that vehicles sank to their axles. They had to be hauled out by teams of sweating soldiers whose boots also disappeared into the glutinous morass. Not only couldn''t the combat troops advance, but neither could the supply trucks. Meanwhile, Soviet counterattack after Soviet counterattack, even if repelled, left German forces battered and exhausted.

但随后的10月初,雨雪交融,拉斯普提萨(俄语,意为“道路泥泞难行的季节”))来临了,这个泥泞的季节将俄罗斯变成了一个泥潭,车辆陷入到泥沼中不能自拔,只能让一群汗流浃背的士兵拖出来,(士兵们)的靴子同样陷入黏性的泥沼中。不仅作战部队不能前进,补给卡车也不能前进。同时,随着苏联的反攻,即使他们被击退,但德国军队也遭受了重创,精疲力尽。



So close and yet so far. By the beginning of December, the thermometer had dropped to 45 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. It''s not true that the Germans were unaware of the Russian winter. But with limited supply capacity, priority was given to fuel and ammunition. Besides, who needs winter clothing if Moscow was supposed to be captured before General Winter struck?

距离如此之近却又如此遥远。63813.com_【官方首页】-众彩网到12月初,温度已降至零下45度之下。德国人并不是对俄罗斯的冬天不够了解,但是由于供应能力有限,得优先考虑燃料和弹药。而且,(如果按照计划),莫斯科本应该在冬季来临前被占领的,那时候谁还需要冬装?

Instead, it was the Soviets who struck. Stalin had been reassured by information from Richard Sorge, a German living in Japan but working for Soviet intelligence, that the Japanese would turn south to fight the Americans and British instead of north against Siberia. He felt able to transfer 18 elite Siberian divisions, well-trained and well-equipped for operating in harsh winter conditions, by rail to Moscow.

相反的,苏联人发动了袭击。63813.com_【官方首页】-众彩网生活在日本,但为苏联情报部门工作的德国人理查德送来的消息,让斯大林放心了,日本人将转向南方与美国和英国作战,而不是向北与苏联的西伯利亚地区作战。斯大林觉得能够通过铁路将18个西伯利亚的精锐师转移到莫斯科,这些师训练有素,装备精良,能够在严冬的条件下作战。

When the counter offensive began on December 5, German weapons were frozen, German soldiers were frozen, and sometimes the soldiers froze to the weapons. The survivors could only watch helplessly as the attackers, warmly clad in fur-lined jackets and boots, and camouflaged in white snowsuits, emerged like ghosts through the mist and snow.

63813.com_【官方首页】-众彩网12月5日反攻开始时,德国的武器被冻住了,德国士兵也被冻住了,有时候甚至士兵都被冻在了武器上。幸存者们只能眼睁睁地看着袭击者,穿着毛皮夹克和靴子,穿着白色的雪衣,像鬼魂一样在雾中和雪地里出现,(而毫无还手之力)。

Now came one of those decision points that occur in every major battle. Some of Hitler''s generals wanted to retreat to a line far from Moscow. But Hitler feared that a retreat would disintegrate into a panic-stricken rout that would bring the Red Army to the gates of Germany. He ordered his troops to hold their positions to the last man. Though Hitler fired some generals who disagreed, many German commanders later praised the decision as preventing a collapse like that suffered by Napoleon''s Grande Armee in 1812.

现在到了每一次重大战役中都会出现的决定性时刻。希特勒手下的一些将军们,想撤退到离莫斯科很远的地方,但希特勒担心撤退会变成恐慌般的溃退,使得苏联军队推进到德国的边境上来。希特勒命令他的部队坚守阵地直到最后一个人。尽管希特勒将一些持不同意见的将军解职,但很多德国指挥官,后来都称赞这一决定,称其阻止了像1812年拿破仑大军遭受的那样的崩溃。

The Germans were pushed back to Rzhev, 150 miles from Moscow. But their lines were still intact, and though battered, their armies were still ready to fight. And now it was Stalin''s turn for overconfidence. The Soviets had also suffered grievously during the counteroffensive: their troops were inexperienced, their supply lines were strained by snow and mud, and they also suffered from the cold. Nonetheless, with dreams of reaching Berlin in his eyes, Stalin ordered his exhausted forces to continue attacking. The result was heavy losses in futile attacks. By February, the Germans even counterattacked, destroying several Soviet divisions.

德国人被推回到距离莫斯科150英里的雷哲夫,但他们的防线仍然完好,尽管遭到重创,他们的军队仍然准备战斗。现在轮到斯大林过度自信了,苏军在反攻中也遭受了惨痛的打击:他们的军队缺乏经验,他们的补给线因为大雪和泥泞不堪重负,他们也遭受了严寒的折磨。尽管如此,斯大林还是满揣着到达柏林的梦想,命令精疲力尽的军队继续进攻,结果徒劳的攻击造成了重大损失。到了二月份,德国人甚至反击,摧毁了苏联的几个师。

What had been accomplished? Both sides had gambled and failed. German dreams of capturing Moscow and ending the War in the East had evaporated. Stalin''s dreams of a grand counteroffensive that would kick the Germans out of the Soviet unx also faltered. The slaughterhouse that was the Eastern Front would continue into 1942, and then into 1945.

结果是什么呢?双方的赌博都失败了。德国占领莫斯科和结束东部战争的梦想破灭了,斯大林发动大规模反攻,把德国人赶出苏联的梦想也步履蹒跚。东线战线的绞肉机一直延续到1942年,然后再一直延续到了1945年。

However, it was Hitler''s gamble that proved fatal. 1941 and 1942 would be the last years that the Germans had the luxury of waging a one-front war. After that, the Americans and British would open Second Fronts with amphibious landings in Europe and around-the-clock bombing over the Third Reich. If Hitler was to win, it had to be before the Anglo-Americans mustered their strength, and before the Soviets reorganized their armies and harnessed their vast industrial potential.



But the Russo-German War was no ordinary conflict fought over territory or resources. For Nazi Germany, it was a war of extermination and subjugation that would have killed the Russian people or reduced them to slavery. For the Soviet unx, it was a war of survival.

但苏德战争并不是为争夺领土或资源而进行的普通冲突。对纳粹德国来说,这是一场灭绝和征服的战争,它会杀死俄罗斯人民或将他们沦为奴隶。对苏联来说,这是一场生存之战。

The War in the East was a fight to the death, and neither capturing nor defending Moscow would change that. The Soviet unx would probably have fought on despite the loss of its capital.

东部战争是一场殊死搏斗,占领或者保住莫斯科,都不能改变这一局面。就算失去了首都,苏联也可能还会继续战斗。