In June 1941 Hoth led the Third Panzer Army in the invasion of the USSR. His Group was to penetrate along the River Niemen to Kaunas and Vilna and link up with Genera GUDERIAN’s Panzer Group at Minsk. In the first few weeks of the war Hoth and Guderian sealed off the pocket at Bialystok which led to the surrender of about 290,000 Russians. Hoth’s forces regrouped east of Vyazma and continued the advance on Moscow but his Panzers were fighting in severe cold and in difficult terrain. However they reached the Moscow-Volga canal and were only twelve miles from Moscow when they faced the Soviet counterattack and were pushed back. The other Panzer Commanders, Guderian and HOPNER, were dismissed but Hoth retained his command and led the Fourth Panzer Army in the advance on Stalingrad. When it became clear that General PAULUS’ Army was trapped in Stalingrad Hoth led the valiant attempt to break through and relieve them. He only just failed. At Kursk Hoth led the Fourth Panzer Army in the southern pincer but he had insufficient artillery to achieve a breakthrough. HITLER finally lost confidence in him after the fall of Kiev in November 1943 and he was dismissed. A less volatile and colorful figure than Guderian, Hoth was a thoroughly competent tank Commander.