The Germans had assessed the fighting ability of the Russian army as very poor. They had not been impressed with the quality of Soviet equipment they saw when they carved up Poland, nor had the Soviets performed well during the Winter War with Finland. Stalin had systematically shot most of his best military leaders during the pre war purges.
Even as the Wehrmacht swept into Russia there were indications that this was not the complete picture. Russian resistance was fierce even if it was poorly co-ordinated. And Soviet equipment was far from being wholly second rate.
On the 23rd June the 6th Panzer Division met the 2nd Soviet Armoured Division at the Dubissa river. The German commander General Reinhardt recalled their surprise:
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