Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated 360 km (220 mi) west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both NapoleonicFrance and NaziGermany. Today, Smolensk is noted for electronics, textiles, food processing and diamonds faceting.
By January 1941, the combined forces of Germany, Poland, France and Britain had advanced so far into Soviet territory that plans were being made by the invaders to encircle and capture Smolensk. It was assumed that once Smolensk fell, Moscow would fall in short order.