June 22nd ~ 1941 â€“ Operation Barbarossa, the German attack on the Soviet Union, begins. Despite the massive preparations spread over many months and the numerous indications Stalin receives from many sources, the Soviet forces are taken almost completely by surprise and lose very heavily in the first encounters. The Germans have assembled almost 140 of their own divisions, including 17 Panzer and 13 motorized divisions. These forces are organized in three army groups: Army Group North (Field Marshal Leeb), Army Group Center (Field Marshal Bock) and Army Group South (Field Marshal Rundstedt). Altogether, the Germans deploy over 3,000,000 men, 7100 guns, 3300 tanks, 625,000 horses and 2770 aircraft. The Red Army has 230 divisions (170 of which are in the west, 134 facing the Germans). The Soviet forces are organized into Northwest Front (Kuznetsov), West Front (Pavlov), Southwest Front (Kirpono) and South Front (Tyulenev). They include 24,000 tanks and 8000 aircraft. On the first day of the attack almost everything goes the German way. The attack begins at 0300 hours with advances on the ground and simultaneous air strikes. The Luftwaffe begins its operations very early in order to be over the Soviet bases exactly at zero hour. By noon the Soviet Air Force has lost around 1200 planes. The land battle is equally successful. The panzer spearhead Army Group North advances 40 miles during the day and Army Group Center captures most of the Bug River bridges intact. Army Group South forces based in Hungary and Romania do not attack during the day.