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The harsh weather slowed the German advance. German soldiers began to suffer in incredibly harsh conditions. Like Napoleon's army in the 19th Century, the Russian weather took its toll on the German forces. The Soviets used the weather to their advantage. The Soviets stationed considerable forces in the east to defend Siberia from a Japanese invasion. Staling withdrew these troops and placed them under the command of General George Zhukov. They were then organized into a strike force aimed at repelling the German advance on Moscow. On December 12th, Zhukov’s army launched a surprise attack on the German frontline and pushed them back with heavy losses some hundred miles from Moscow.<ref> MacDonald, John. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0785830979/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0785830979&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=ff12114d460899b1d3d40f8245e19df5 Great Battles of World War II]'' (London, Michael Joseph books, 1986), p. 245</ref> The Soviet Capital had been saved. However, despite the setback, the Germans had a secure hold over much of the western Soviet Union and had laid siege to Leningrad.
== Why did Hitler attack Stalingrad? ==