According to historian Lloyd Clark, on the day of the invasion Hitler said, “Before three months have passed, we shall witness a collapse of Russia, the like of which has never been seen in history.” The only force that could stop this catastrophe was the Red Army. And its numbers included many soldiers from Kazakhstan, not the least of whom was to be our Baltabay Kaziev.
In fact, Hitler’s armies enjoyed considerable success in the early stages of the campaign, rapidly progressing across much of western Russia. Three powerful German armies fought their way across Soviet territory: Army Groups North, Centre and South. Although the Nazis reached nearly as far as the outskirts of Moscow, they did not get to Kazakhstan.