With early November came the biting Russian frosts. The chilling hints of the Russian winter at first served to aid the Wehrmacht, for the wheels which had been caught in the vast muddy traps

of late autumn could now move more easily. The drive on Moscow, which was already in an extremity of danger, could be renewed, although weather conditions were far from favourable and the German casualty lists were carrying the first tallies of severe frost-bite cases. But the German spearheads were once more on the move and the Red Army was committed to a desperate act of defence. The month of November figures in Soviet accounts as the period of greatest danger, both military and economic. Already German troops had penetrated over 500 miles in the north-west, some 600 miles at the centre and 900 miles in a south-easterly direction. Leningrad was tightly invested. As German advances lopped off its coal and electric power resources, Moscow's industrial production suffered an inevitable drop. Occupation of the Donets coal basin robbed the Soviet Union of 57 per cent ofits pre-war coal production; 68 per cent of the pig-iron, 58 per cent of the steel, 60 per cent of the aluminium and 38 per cent of the grain production of the Soviet Union had been lost in areas invested by the enemy. Voznesenskii, who was responsible after Stalin and the COKO for war-time economic measures, was of the opinion that November 1941 embodied 'the most critical period' of the whole history of the Soviet war economy. The production of weapons and ammunition had fallen in October and took a disastrous tumble in November. Weapon production was incapable of catching up with the immense losses suffered by the Red Army in the course of the disastrous frontier battles. In November the production of combat aircraft fell to less than a quarter of what it had been in September. Even though the output of artillery ammunition had increased to 2'3 times what it had been in the first half of 1941, the Red Army's ammunition requirement jumped ahead of what could be produced.l In November the COKO decided to organise the production in Moscow of the artillery ammunition required by the forces defending the city. This included the

manufacture of explosives, which had hitherto not been an item produced in the capital. Although some 200,000 skilled workers were evacuated. along with plant from the city, the production of 22-mm, 37-mm, 76-mm (and 76-mm anti-aircraft), 45-mm and 85-mm (anti-aircraft and armour-piercing) shells was intensified. The great limiting factor was the amount of explosive which could be manufactured. In Leningrad intensive reconnaissance and hydrographic research had been designed to explore the usefulness of an 'ice road' across Lake Ladoga. On 20th November, using an M-l lorry, the Chief of the Rear Services of the Leningrad Front Major-General F. N. Lagunov travelled over the 'road' from Konkorev to Kobona. On 22nd the first convoy of sixty lorries under Major Parchunov travelled the 'road' - a life-line of some fragileness, where the ice thickness was in places only 51 inches - and opened this crack in the blockade. Horses were used extensively in this work. 2

Improvisations in this fashion could bring local relief and stave off dire consequence, but they remained local ameliorations. The immense capacity for improvisation remained, nevertheless, asignal advantage for the Russians. Much of the military and economic activity during the initial period of disasters bore that very stamp, including the partisan movement. Stalin, in his 7th July speech, did formally inaugurate this, but the reality fell far behind the speeches. No comprehensive plan for possible guerrilla operations existed prior to the German attack. Groups of Red Army men, cut off by German advances, were bereft of command and control; in fear of possible punishment on return to their own lines and anxious to avoid the rigours of German prison camps, these groups of fighting men degenerated into marauding bands, preying when they could on German supplies. The Communist Party organisation was used to set up small, independent partisan units, but in the absence of adequate supplies of weapons and explosives, as well as wireless sets, this resulted in neither significant result nor co-ordination. A factor of very great importance was the passivity, and in not a few cases the accommodation of the population towards the Germans. In that respect, the blunders of German policy could themselves be held accountable as bringing an extensive pro-Soviet partisan movement into being. Only in December 1941 was a central command of the partisan movement - GShPD - set up, although there seems to be considerable evidence of a rudimentary collaboration between guerrilla fighting units and the Red Army at the approaches to Moscow.3 The partisan movement, upon which the centre was only obtaining the slightest grip, was beset with enormous political problems. Out of the activities of the German Sicherheitsdienst and the central Soviet partisan command a new dimension of bestiality and ferocity was to be added to the war on the Eastern Front.