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How to give the name of the military operation? Winston Churchill had on this subject is quite sensible opinion. He believed that we should not make it too boastful, such as “victorious”. On the other hand, names like “Slaughterhouse” or “tangle” could plunge men into depression. Certainly not worth resorting to strange or discordant names like “obscene language”. And yet – it is important to observe secrecy and not reveal the plan is already in the title.

abide by these principles the two main opponents of the Second World War: Germany and the Soviet Union – and what names they gave their war plans?

Germans. Palette, mythology and pathos

Even in the First World War in Germany have a tradition of taking the name of the operations of religion, mythology and medieval history. Most likely, the “Saint Michael”, “Achilles” and “Roland” for its pretentious titles were army cheer leading heavy war. From the point of view of secrecy, they also look good.

Calling the military campaign against the Soviet Union in the name of the German emperor, fought a lot with the Slavs, was very imprudent on the part of the Germans

Do not get rid of the craving for pathos Germans during World War II. Operation of the attack on the Soviet Union, which originally bore the name “Fritz” (named after the son of one of its developers), was eventually renamed “Barbarossa.” Have Hitler that a military campaign called the name of the emperor, who fought a lot with the Slavs, too cautious? Had at least someone’s intelligence to know at least the name, it was not difficult to guess, and against whom it is directed.

Interestingly, the earliest operations in Germany during World War II were often much more modest and neutral names. For example, a set of “colored” occupation plans in Europe. Czechoslovakia was occupied by the plan, “Green”, a plan for the invasion of Poland was called “White”. The attack on the Low Countries and France in the 40th year was called “Yellow” and the second stage of the campaign against the French – “Red.” Plan of attack in the southwest of the USSR in 1942 was also a “color” and called “Blue.” None of these names did not give even a hint of it, against whom and where they will be kept fighting.

Германия против СССР в названиях операций
map “Operation Watch on the Rhine” – the German offensive against the Allies in the Ardennes

map “Operation Watch on the Rhine” – the German offensive against the Allies in Germany ArdennahVmeste so many times repeated the mistake of calling operations with semantic reference to the terrain. The attack on the Kola Peninsula from Finland called “Blue Fox”. Capturing and holding the nickel mines near Petsamo near Murmansk – “Reindeer”, the idea of ​​dropping paratroopers on the Caucasus have called the city of Maikop in honor of the leader of the mountaineers – “Shamil”.

Also, the Germans gave the names of the operations, the opposite of its intentions. For example, the offensive in the Ardennes in 1944, they named the “Watch on the Rhine” and the invasion of Denmark and Norway – “Scientists on the Weser.” This category includes the famous “Operation Citadel” – the summer offensive of the 43rd year of Kursk. She wore a “defense” title and was twice unsuccessful. Not that the Germans have not been able to reverse the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front, so also suffered a heavy defeat.

USSR. The parade of planets and generals

Command of the Red Army at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, for obvious reasons, was not up to inventing names. But by the end of 1942, the situation has changed.

Known operation “Uranus”, a plan to defeat the Germans at Stalingrad. Talking about it in his memoirs, the famous scout Paul Sudoplatov quoted Defense Commissar Vannykova. He said that Stalin, in October 42 th meeting with Soviet physicists, who told him about the atomic bomb. Commander was so impressed that he offered to name the coming offensive in honor of its main component.

Soviet Union called the operation initially neutral and then patriotic – the names of the great generals of the past

The question is: after some chemical elements were then called the operation “Mars” (Kalinin Front action against the German 9th Army between Rzhev and Sychovka) and “Saturn” (Breakthrough to Rostov and Taganrog, cutting off a large group of Germans in the Caucasus )? Most likely, the Soviet command had in mind all the same planet, not chemistry, and Sudoplatov wrong.

By the way, the American historian David Glantz mention more about the operation and “Jupiter”, which allegedly was intended for the German defeat at Vyazma. But, according to recent studies, this operation did not exist: the troops intended for her had to fight elsewhere. A large-scale operation “Saturn”, which was mentioned above, in December 1942 has been adjusted to “Small Saturn” – a much more modest advance on the Don.

Германия против СССР в названиях операций
Map of the operation “Uranus” – Soviet offensive at Stalingrad

The Soviet strategists Still others sought to maintain the confidentiality of the transaction. The liberation of Northern Donbass modestly called “Blink,” the breakthrough of the blockade of Leningrad – “Spark”.

After heavy fighting the first period of the war fighters wanted to cheer, to recall the glorious history of the army, to show that the enemy can beat not only in defense but in attack. Therefore, in 1943-44 significant operations assigned names of famous military leaders of the past. “Rumyantsev”, who beat the Prussian army in the Seven Years War, liberated Belgorod and Kharkov. “The commander Kutuzov” – Orel, Mtsensk and many other cities. The climax of the series, of course, was the “Bagration”, after which the group of armies “Center” left a trace. Note on any of the names still can not guess where it will be dealt a blow.

The main battle of the Red Army – the storming of Berlin – the name had not. More proof of the fact that the same name can not win the war. Yet aptly called the operation – it is also an art.

Lyricist – Eugene Belas


Jablonsky, D. Churchill, the Great Game and Total War. Routledge, September 1, 2013.
Sieminski, GC The Art of Naming Operations. Parameters, Autumn 1995, pp. 81-98.
1941 – lessons and conclusions. – M .: Military Publishing, 1992.
Military History Journal, 1959, № 1.
D. Glantz Battle for Leningrad. 1941-1945 / Ed. W. Saptsinoy. – M .: Astrel, 2008.
D. Glantz largest defeat Zhukov. The catastrophe of the Red Army in Operation “Mars” in 1942 – M .: ACT: Astrel, 2006.
Isaev AV when suddenly no longer there. History of the Second World War, we did not know. – M .: Yauza, Eksmo, 2006.
Sudoplatov PA security operation. Lubyanka and the Kremlin, 1930-1950 years. – M .: Olma-Press, 1997.

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