The Battle of Smolensk was a large-scale battle during the opening stages of the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, in World War II.
It was the first battle where the Soviet Union was able to significantly delay the whole German Wehrmacht offensive which attacked toward Smolensk. The German Force consisted of the 2nd Panzer Army, commanded by Heinz Guderian, and the 3rd Panzer Army of Hermann Hoth.
The Soviets deployed against the invaders under the command of Semyon Timoshenko, the Reserve Front of Georgy Zhukov, the Central Front of Fyodor Kuznetsov and the Bryansk Front of Andrey Yeryomenko.
In the end, the entire soviet 16th, 19th, and 20th armies became encircled from the East and the North of Smolensk, even though a significant amount of soldiers managed to escape the pocket.
Some historians have asserted that the losses in terms of men and materiel incurred by the Wehrmacht during this drawn-out battle, together with the 2-month delay in their march towards Moscow, were one of the reasons they were defeated by the Red Army in the Battle of Moscow three months later.
According to German reports, casualties reached 250,000 during the Battle of Smolensk. The Soviet defenders paid a high price for the resistance as well. The majority of the city lay in ruins when the Germans finally occupied it.
In 1985, Smolensk was awarded the title Hero City for the fierce resistance.