The manoeuvre was stunningly successful, netted vast territory and half a million prisoners.
Panzergruppe II‘s commander, Heinz Guderian, protested vehemently. The swing south meant abandoning the thrust towards Moscow, putting Operation Barbarossa‘s timetable seriously behind schedule.
By the time the Wehrmacht could resume its advance towards the Soviet capital, Stalin had strengthened the city’s defences. Plus winter was fast approaching.