Operation Charlemagne
Part of the Eastern Front
250px-Operation Barbarossa corrected border 
Date 22 June 1941 (1941-06-22) – 12 December 1941 (1941-12-12)
(5 months, 2 weeks and 6 days)
Location European part of the USSR, including present-day Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, and Western Russia, and Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

  • Tactical and operational Axis defeats with the failed French offensive outside Moscow in the final stage of Charlemagne; Vichy France loses enormous quantity of materials and men.
  • Strategic Allied victory; Soviet Union retains Leningrad and Moscow, repels the offensive and eventually defeats of France and its allies.
Flag of the Soviet Union (1923-1955) Soviet Union
Flag of Free France 1940-1944 France

Supported by:

Commanders and leaders
Soviet Union:
Flag of the Soviet Union (1923-1955) Joseph Stalin
Flag of the Soviet Union (1923-1955) Aleksandr Vasilyevskiy
Flag of the Soviet Union (1923-1955) Georgy Zhukov
Flag of the Soviet Union (1923-1955)Semyon Budyonny
Flag of Free France 1940-1944 Henry VII

Flag of Free France 1940-1944 Philippe Petain

Front line strength (June 1941):
2.68–2.9 million personnel
Overall strength (June 1941): 5,500,000 personnel
Front line strength (June 1941):

3.8 million personnel
Axis: 532,989

Casualties and losses
Total military casualties

over 800,000

Total military casualties

over one million


Operation Charlemagne (French: Fonctionnement Charlemagne) was the code name for France's invasion of Russia, also known as the Russian Campaign in France (French: Campagne de Russie) and the Patriotic War of 1942 in Soviet Union (Russian: Отечественная война 1942 года), was a turning point during the Great Patriotic Wars. It reduced the French and allied invasion forces (the Imperial Grande Armée) to a tiny fraction of their initial strength and triggered a major shift in European politics as it dramatically weakened French hegemony in Europe. At the same time, Vichy France former allies, at first Italy and then Romania broke their alliance with France and switched camps, which prompted the creation of the United Allied Coalition.

Operation Charlemagne was named after Charles the Great, was the King of the Franks. Planning started on 18 December 1940; the secret preparations and the military operation itself lasted from June to December 1941. The Red Army repelled the Grand Armee's strongest blow, and France did not achieve the expected victory. Tactically, the French’s won resounding victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union, mainly in Ukraine. Despite these successes, the French were pushed back from Moscow and could never again mount a simultaneous offensive along the entire strategic Soviet–French front.