BBC History Magazine

Initial velocity

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Your interview with Jonathan Dimbleby in the May issue (Books) reminded me that, when I worked in London in the 1960s, a colleague had a German friend who had been involved in the Second World War Barbarossa campaign. This friend had told my colleague that, when they attacked Russia, his unit first advanced 20, 30 or 40 miles a day. This went on for weeks. In the end, they paused and were called into the commandant’s HQ for a briefing.

The commandant had a map of the whole of Russia spread out. He pointed at it and said: “We are here.” It was at that moment that the German friend had a revelation about the scale of the operation: he saw in a flash that they had not yet even reached the “U” of “USSR”!

M Underwood, Birmingham

 ??  ?? Troops gather at a village on the eastern front, 1942. Reader M Underwood recalls a story told by a participan­t in the German invasion of the Soviet Union
Troops gather at a village on the eastern front, 1942. Reader M Underwood recalls a story told by a participan­t in the German invasion of the Soviet Union
 ??  ?? A 12th-century depiction of St Augustine (right). Imran Asim Hayat highlights his efforts in spreading Christiani­ty
A 12th-century depiction of St Augustine (right). Imran Asim Hayat highlights his efforts in spreading Christiani­ty
 ??  ?? We reward the Letter of the Month writer with a copy of a new history book. This issue, that is Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy by Anne Sebba. You can read our review of the book on page 82
We reward the Letter of the Month writer with a copy of a new history book. This issue, that is Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy by Anne Sebba. You can read our review of the book on page 82

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