Battle of the Dnieper
The Battle of the Dnieper was a military campaign that took place in 1943 on the Eastern Front of World War II. It was one of the largest operations in World War II, involving 4,000,000 troops at a time stretched on a 1,400 kilometres long front. During its four-month duration, the eastern bank of the Dnieper was recovered from German forces by five of the Red Army's fronts, which conducted several assault river crossings to establish several lodgements on the western bank. Subsequently, Kiev was liberated in the Battle of Kiev. 2,438 Red Army soldiers were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, more than had been awarded since the award's establishment and never again was there such a large number of laureates. Following the Battle of Kursk, the Wehrmacht's Heer and supporting Luftwaffe forces in the southern Soviet Union were on the defensive in the southern Ukraine. By mid-August, Adolf Hitler understood that the forthcoming Soviet offensive could not be contained on the open steppe and ordered construction of a series of fortifications along the line of the Dnieper river.
On the Soviet side, Joseph Stalin was determined to launch a major offensive in Ukraine. The main thrust of the offensive was in a southwesterly direction; the operation began on 26 August 1943. Divisions started to move on a 1,400-kilometer front that stretched between Smolensk and the Sea of Azov. Overall, the operation would be executed by four Tank and five Air Armies. 2,650,000 personnel were brought into the ranks for this massive operation. The operation would use 2,400 tanks and 2,850 planes; the Dnieper is the third largest river in Europe, behind the Danube. In its lower part, its width can reach three kilometres, being dammed in several places made it larger. Moreover, its western shore—the one still to be retaken—was much higher and steeper than the eastern, complicating the offensive further. In addition, the opposite shore was transformed into a vast complex of defenses and fortifications held by the Wehrmacht. Faced with such a situation, the Soviet commanders had two options; the first would be to give themselves time to regroup their forces, find a weak point or two to exploit, stage a breakthrough and encircle the German defenders far in the rear, rendering the defence line unsupplied and next to useless.
This option was supported by Marshal Zhukov and Deputy Chief of Staff A. I. Antonov, who considered the substantial losses after the fierce battle of Kursk; the second option would be to stage a massive assault without waiting, force the Dnieper on a broad front. This option left no additional time for the German defenders, but would lead to much larger casualties than would a successful deep operation breakthrough; this second option was backed by Stalin due to the concern that the German "scorched earth" policy might devastate this region if the Red Army did not advance fast enough. Stavka chose the second option. Instead of deep penetration and encirclement, the Soviet intended to make full use of partisan activities to intervene and disrupt Germany's supply route so that the Germans could not send reinforcements or take away Soviet industrial facilities in the region. Stavka paid high attention to the possible scorched earth activities of German forces with a view to preventing them by a rapid advance.
The assault was staged on a 300-kilometer front simultaneously. All available means of transport were to be used to transport the attackers to the opposite shore, including small fishing boats and improvised rafts of barrels and trees; the preparation of the crossing equipment was further complicated by the German scorched earth strategy with the total destruction of all boats and raft building material in the area. The crucial issue would be heavy equipment. Without it, the bridgeheads would not stand for long. Central Front, commanded by Konstantin Rokossovsky and accounted for 579,600 soldiers 2nd Tank Army, led by Aleksei Rodin / Semyon Bogdanov 9th Tank Corps, led by Hryhoriy Rudchenko, Boris Bakharov 60th Army, led by Ivan Chernyakhovsky 13th Army, led by Nikolay Pukhov 65th Army, led by Pavel Batov 61st Army, led by Pavel Belov 48th Army, led by Prokofy Romanenko 70th Army, led by Ivan Galanin / Vladimir Sharapov / Aleksei Grechkin 16th Air Army, led by Sergei Rudenko Voronezh Front, commanded by Nikolai Vatutin and accounted for 665,500 soldiers 3rd Guards Tank Army, led by Pavel Rybalko 1st Tank Army, led by Mikhail Katukov 4th Guards Tank Corps, led by Pavel Poluboyarov 1st Guard Cavalry Corps, led by Viktor Baranov 5th Guards Army, led by Aleksei Zhadov 4th Guards Army, led by Grigory Kulik / Aleksei Zygin / Ivan Galanin 6th Guards Army, led by Ivan Chistyakov 38th Army, led by Nikandr Chibisov / Kirill Moskalenko 47th Army, led by Pavel Korzun / Filipp Zhmachenko / Vitaliy Polenov 27th Army, led by Sergei Trofimenko 52nd Army, led by Konstantin Koroteev 2nd Air Army, led by Stepan Krasovsky Steppe Front, commanded by Ivan Konev Southwestern Front, commanded by Rodion Malinovsky Southern Front, commanded by Fyodor To
Moscow Military District
The Moscow Military District was a military district of the Soviet Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In 2010 it was merged with the Leningrad Military District, the Northern Fleet and the Baltic Fleet to form the new Western Military District. In the beginning of the second half of the 19th century Russian officials realized the need for re-organization of the Imperial Russian Army to meet new circumstances. During May 1862, the War Ministry, headed by Army General Dmitry Milyutin, introduced to Tsar Alexander II of Russia proposals for the reorganization of the army, which included the formation of fifteen military districts. A tsarist edict of 6 August 1864, announced in a Defence Minister’s order on 10 August of the same year, established ten military districts, including Moscow; the District’s territory comprised 12 provinces: Vladimir, Kaluga, Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod, Smolensk, Tver and Yaroslavl. The District was intended as a reinforcement source for troops and equipment, being some distance from the frontier, rather than an operational area.
The District dispatched five infantry and a cavalry division south to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–8, as well as sending another division to the Caucasus area. This force totaled around 20,000 horses. Over 80,000 men were called into reserve units; the District housed 21,000 Turkish prisoners of war. During the First World War over a million men were stationed in the district. Much of the garrison was involved in the October Revolution of 1917, consequent establishment of a Soviet regime in the cities of Bryansk, Voronezh, Nizhniy Novgorod, Tver, Yaroslavl. By a resolution of the Moscow military revolutionary committee on 17 November 1917, Corps Commander N. I. Muralov was assigned as the new commander of the district. In the period of the Russian Civil War and military intervention in Russia 1917 - 22 the District prepared military personnel for all the fronts and supplied the Red Army with different forms of armament and allowances. From June to the middle of September 1919 the District conducted 33 callups totalling more than 500,000 people.
In Moscow the 1 Moscow Rifle Division, Warsaw revolutionary infantry regiment, 2nd revolutionary infantry regiment were formed, Latvian forces were brought to the Latvian Rifles Division. In Voronezh two cavalry divisions were formed, two rifle divisions and two rifle regiments in Nizhniy Novgorod, the 16th Rifle Division in Tambov. Artillery units too were being raised in the capital area. After the end of Civil War in the troops of region were demobilized, as a result of which their number was reduced from 580,000 to 85,000 in January 1923, the District was reorganised on a peacetime basis. In the 1920s the District had 10 rifle divisions: the 1st Moscow Proletariat Red Banner Rifle Division, the 6th Оrlovskaya. Autumn maneuvers began to be conducted yearly here in the district; the 2nd Rifle Corps was stationed in the district from 1922 to 1936. In the beginning of the 1930 tanks started to be introduced, including the MS or T-18, T-26, T-27, BT, T-28, the heavy T-35. In 1930 the first mechanized infantry brigade in the Soviet Army was formed in the district.
The Russian Ground Forces' official site notes that the first tactical parachute landing took place in the District on 2 August 1930. In World War II the District formed three fronts, 23 armies, 128 divisions of all arms, 197 brigades of all arms, an approximate total of 4.5 million men. In 1944–5 alone the District sent to the front 1,200,000 soldiers. From summer 1945 to summer 1946, in order to supervise the demobilisation process, the District was subdivided into four: the Moscow, Voronezh and Smolensk Military Districts. General Kirill Moskalenko took command of the District in 1953 and would be a Marshal of the Soviet Union after leaving his post; the Voronezh Military District was reactivated in 1949 and was active until 1960. In 1955 the district's forces comprised the 1st Guards Rifle Corps, the 13th Guards Rifle Corps, the 3rd Guards Rifle Division, the 15th, the 31st Guards, the 38th Guards Rifle Divisions, the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, the 23rd Guards, 65th, 66th Guards Mechanised Divisions, the 71st Mechanised Division, the 38th Guards Airborne Corps.
On 22 February 1968, for the large contribution to the cause of strengthening the defense of the state, for its successes in combat and political training, in view of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Army plus its important role in the 2nd World War, the District was awarded with the Order of Lenin. In 1979 Scott and Scott reported the HQ address as being A-252, Chapayevskiy Per. Dom 14; the District's dispositions at the end of the 1980s were: 13th Guards Army Corps, Gorkiy. In 1990 this corps was under the command of General Fyodor Reut. 60th Tank Division, Dzerzhinsk 206th Motor Rifle Division, Tambov District Troops 2nd Guards'Taman' Motor Rifle Division, Kalinnets 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, Naro-Fominsk 26th Guards Tank Training Division, Vladimir 32nd Guards Motor Rifle Divisio
The Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive or Lvov-Sandomierz Strategic Offensive Operation was a major Red Army operation to force the German troops from Ukraine and Eastern Poland. Launched in mid-July 1944, the Red Army achieved its set objectives by the end of August; the offensive was composed of three smaller operations: Lvov Offensive Operation Stanislav Offensive Operation Sandomierz Offensive Operation The Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive is overshadowed by the overwhelming successes of the concurrently conducted Operation Bagration that led to the destruction of Army Group Centre. However, most of the Red Army and Red Air Force resources were allocated, not to Bagration's Belorussian operations, but the Lviv-Sandomierz operations; the campaign was conducted as Maskirovka. By concentrating in southern Poland and Ukraine, the Soviets drew German mobile reserves southward, leaving Army Group Centre vulnerable to a concentrated assault; when the Soviets launched their Bagration offensive against Army Group Center, it would create a crisis in the eastern German front, which would force the powerful German Panzer forces back to the central front, leaving the Soviets free to pursue their objectives in seizing the western Ukraine, Vistula bridgeheads, gaining a foothold in Romania.
By early June 1944, the forces of Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model's Army Group North Ukraine had been pushed back beyond the Dniepr and were clinging to the north-western corner of Ukraine. Joseph Stalin ordered the total liberation of Ukraine, Stavka set in motion plans that would become the Lviv-Sandomierz Operation. In the early planning stage, the offensive was known as the Lvov-Przemyśl Operation; the objective of the offensive was for Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front to liberate Lviv and clear the German troops from Ukraine and capture a series of bridgeheads on the Vistula river. Stavka was planning an larger offensive, codenamed Operation Bagration to coincide with Konev's offensive; the objective of Operation Bagration was no less than the complete liberation of Belarus, to force the Wehrmacht out of eastern Poland. The Lvov-Sandomierz Strategic Offensive Operation was to be the means of denying transfer of reserves by the OKH to Army Group Centre, thus earning itself the lesser supporting role in the summer of 1944.
While the Stavka was concluding its offensive plans Generalfeldmarschall Model was removed from command of the Army Group North Ukraine and replaced by Generaloberst Josef Harpe. Harpe's force included two Panzer Armies: the 1st Panzer Army, under Generaloberst Gotthard Heinrici and the 4th Panzer Army under General der Panzertruppen Walther Nehring. Attached to the 1st Panzer Army was the Hungarian First Army. Harpe could muster other assorted armoured vehicles, his Army Group comprised around 900,000 men. However, due to the complicated inter-service chain of command, Harpe could not directly control the Luftwaffe units; the 1st Ukrainian Front forces under Konev outnumbered the Army Group North Ukraine. The 1st Ukrainian Front could muster over 1,002,200 troops, some 2,050 tanks, about 16,000 guns and mortars, over 3,250 aircraft of the 2nd Air Army commanded by General Stepan Krasovsky. In addition the morale of Konev's troops was high following the recent victories in Ukraine, they had been on the offensive for a year, were witnessing the collapse of Army Group Centre to their North.
The 1st Ukrainian Front attack was to have two axes of attack. The first, aiming towards Rava-Ruska, was to be led by 1st Guards Tank and 13th Armies; the second pincer was aimed at Lviv itself, was to be led by 60th, 38th, 3rd Guards Tank and 4th Tank Armies. The Red Army achieved massive superiority against the Germans by limiting their attacks to a front of only 26 kilometres. Konev had concentrated some 240 mortars per kilometer of front; the northern attack towards Rava-Ruska began on 13 July 1944. The 1st Ukrainian Front forces broke through near Horokhiv; the weakened Wehrmacht XLII Army Corps managed to withdraw intact using reinforced rearguard detachments. By nightfall, the 1st Ukrainian Front's 13th Army had penetrated the German lines to a depth of 20 kilometers; the 1st Ukrainian Front's breakthrough occurred to the north of the XIII Army Corps. On the 14 July 1944, the assault with the objective of liberating Lviv was begun to the south of the XIII Army Corps, which had positions near the town of Brody, an area of Red Army failure earlier in the war.
Red Army units had punched through the line near Horokhiv to the north and at Nysche in the south, leaving the XIII Corps dangerously exposed in a salient. The northern pincer towards Rava-Ruska now began to split, turning several units of the 13th Army south in an attempt to encircle XIII Army Corps; the northern forces soon encountered weak elements of the 291st and 340th Infantry Divisions, but these were swept aside. On 15 July, Generaloberst Nehring, realising his 4th Panzer Army was in serious jeopardy, ordered his two reserve divisions, the 16th and 17th Panzer Divisions to counterattack near Horokiv and Druzhkopil in an attempt to halt the Soviet northern assault; the two divisions could muster only 43 tanks between them and despite their best efforts, the German counterattack soon bogged down. The massively superior Red Army forces soon forced the two Panzer divisions to join the retreating infantry divisions. Konev ordered Mobile Group Barano
A battle honour is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or operation on its flags, uniforms or other accessories where ornamentation is possible. In European military tradition, military units may be acknowledged for their achievements in specific wars or operations of a military campaign. In Great Britain and those countries of the Commonwealth which share a common military legacy with the British, battle honours are awarded to selected military units as official acknowledgement for their achievements in specific wars or operations of a military campaign; these honours take the form of a place and a date. Theatre honours, a type of recognition in the British tradition allied to battle honours, were introduced to honour units which provided sterling service in a campaign but were not part of specific battles for which separate battle honours were awarded. Theatre honours could be listed and displayed on regimental property but not emblazoned on the colours.
Since battle honours are emblazoned on colours, artillery units, which do not have colours in the British military tradition, were awarded honour titles instead. These honour titles were permitted to be used as part of their official nomenclature, for example 13 Field Regiment. Similar honours in the same tenor include unit citations. Battle honours, theatre honours, honour titles and their ilk form a part of the wider variety of distinctions which serve to distinguish military units from each other. For the British Army, the need to adopt a system to recognise military units' battlefield accomplishments was apparent since its formation as a standing army in the part of the 17th century. Although the granting of battle honours had been in place at the time, it was not until 1784 that infantry units were authorised to bear battle honours on their colours. Before a regiment's colours were practical tools for rallying troops in the battlefield and not quite something for displaying the unit's past distinctions.
The first battle honour to be awarded in the British Army was granted to the 15th Hussars for the Battle of Emsdorf in 1760. Thereafter, other regiments received battle honours for some of their previous engagements; the earliest battle honour in the British Army is Tangier 1662–80, granted to the Tangier Horse, the oldest line cavalry regiment of the British army, who in 1969 amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards to become The Blues and Royals. Awarded the honour was the 2nd Regiment of Foot, or the Tangier Regiment now The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, the senior English regiment in the Union, for their protracted 23-year defence of the Colony of Tangier; the battle honour is still held by the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. During these early years of the British standing army, a regiment needed only to engage the enemy with musketry before it was eligible for a battle honour. However, older battle honours are carried on the standards of the Yeomen of the Guard and the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, neither of which are part of the army, but are instead the Sovereign's Bodyguard, in the personal service of the sovereign.
The need to develop a centralised system to oversee the selection and granting of battle honours arose in the 19th century following the increase of British military engagements during the expansion of the Empire. Thus in 1882, a committee was formed to adjudicate applications of battle honour claims; this committee called the Battles Nomenclature Committee, still maintains its function in the British Army today. A battle honour may be granted to infantry/cavalry regiments or battalions, as well as ships and squadrons. Battle honours are presented in the form of a name of a country, region, or city where the unit's distinguished act took place together with the year when it occurred. Not every battle fought will automatically result in the granting of a battle honour. Conversely, a regiment or a battalion might obtain more than one battle honour over the course of a larger operation. For example, the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards were awarded two battle honours for their role in the Falklands War.
While in Korea, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry earned both "Kapyong" and "Korea 1951–1953". A unit does not have to defeat their adversary to earn a battle honour: the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps received the battle honour "Hong Kong" despite the defeat and capture of most of the force during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong, while the cruiser HMAS Sydney was awarded the naval engagement honour "Kormoran 1941" after being sunk with all aboard by the German raider Kormoran. Supporting corps/branches such as medical, ordnance, or transport do not receive battle honours; however and uniquely the Royal Logistic Corps has five battle honours inherited from its previous transport elements, such as the Royal Waggon Train. Commonwealth artillery does not maintain battle honours as they carry neither colours nor guidons—though their guns by tradition are afforded many of the same respects and courtesies. However, both the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers were in 1832 granted by King William IV the right to use the Latin "Ubique", meaning everywhere, as a battle honour.
This is worn on the cap badge of both the Corps of Royal Enginee
The Vazuza is a river in Novoduginsky and Sychyovsky districts of Smolensk Oblast and Zubtsovsky District of Tver Oblast, Russia, a right tributary of the Volga River. It is 162 kilometres long, its drainage basin covers 7,120 square kilometres; the lower part of the river has been transformed into Vazuza Reservoir. The towns of Sychyovka and Zubtsov are located on the banks the Vazuza; the main tributaries of the Vazuza are the Kasnya River, the Gzhat River, the Osuga River. The source of the Vazuza is located east of the village of Lukino in Novoduginsky District; the river flows north, crosses into Sychyovsky District, downstream of the town of Sychyovka turns east. Several kilometers downstream of Sychyovka the reservoir begins, all major tributaries of the Vazuza form bays in the reservoir; the Vazuza turns northeast. Downstream of the mouth of the Gzhat it makes a short stretch of a border between Tver and Smolensk Oblasts, flowing northwest, further downstream turns northeast and deviates from the border into Tver Oblast.
The damb of the reservoirs is located several kilometers upstream from the mouth of the Vazuza and several kilometers downstream from the mouth of the Osuga. The drainage basin of the Vazuza includes the major part of Sychyovsky District, the eastern part of Novoduginsky District, the northern parts of Gagarinsky and Vyazemsky Districts of Smolensk Oblast, as well as the southern parts of Zubtsovsky and Rzhevsky Districts and minor areas in the eastern part of Oleninsky District in Tver Oblast; the towns of Zubtsov and Gagarin, as well as the selo of Novodugino, the administrative center of Novoduginsky District, are all located in the drainage basin of the Vazuza
Gliwice is a city in Upper Silesia, in southern Poland. The city is located on the Kłodnica river, it lies 25 km West from Katowice, regional capital of the Silesian Voivodeship. Gliwice is the westernmost city of the Upper Silesian metropolis, a conurbation of 1.9 million people, is the third-largest city of this area, with 183,392 permanent residents as of 2015. It lies within the larger Upper Silesian metropolitan area which has a population of about 5.3 million people and spans across most of eastern Upper Silesia, western Lesser Poland and the Moravian-Silesian Region in the Czech Republic. It is one of the major college towns in Poland, thanks to the Silesian University of Technology, founded in 1945 by academics of Lwow University of Technology expelled from Soviet Ukraine in 1945-48. Over 20,000 people study in Gliwice. Gliwice is an important industrial center of Poland. Following an economic transformation in the 1990s, Gliwice switched from steelworks and coal mining to automotive and machine industry.
The last remaining coal mine in Gliwice was set to close before 2021, however following its good economic results this decision has been postponed. Founded in the 13th century, Gliwice is one of the oldest settlements in Upper Silesia. Gliwice's medieval old town was destroyed by the Red Army in World War II, however has since been rebuilt and underwent a major restoration in recent years. Gliwice's most historical structures include St Bartholomew's church, Gliwice Castle and city walls, Armenian Church and All Saints Old Town Church. Gliwice is known for its Radio Tower, where Gleiwitz incident happened shortly before the outbreak of World War II and, though to be the world’s tallest wooden construction, as well as Weichmann Textile House, one of the first buildings designed by world-renowned architect Erich Mendelsohn. Gliwice will host the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2019 which will take place on 24 November 2019. In Slavic languages, the root gliw or gliv suggests terrain characterized by wetland.
In South Slavic languages, glive or gljive refers to mushrooms, with gljivice meaning little mushrooms. Gliwice was first mentioned as a town in 1276 and was ruled during the Middle Ages by the Silesian Piast dukes. During the reign of Mieszko I Tanglefoot, the town was part of a duchy centered on Opole-Racibórz, became a separate duchy in 1289. According to 14th-century writers, the town seemed defensive in character and was ruled by Siemowit of Bytom; the town became a possession of the Bohemia crown in 1335, passing with that crown to the Austrian Habsburgs as Gleiwitz in 1526. Because of the vast expenses incurred by the Habsburg Monarchy during their 16th century wars against the Ottoman Empire, Gleiwitz was leased to Friedrich Zettritz for the amount of 14,000 thalers. Although the original lease was for a duration of 18 years, it was renewed in 1580 for 10 years and in 1589 for an additional 18 years. During the mid 18th century Silesian Wars, Gleiwitz was taken from the Habsburg Monarchy by the Kingdom of Prussia along with the majority of Silesia.
After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Gleiwitz was administered in the Prussian district of Tost-Gleiwitz within the Province of Silesia in 1816. The city was incorporated with Prussia into the German Empire in 1871 during the unification of Germany. In 1897 Gleiwitz became its own Stadtkreis, or urban district; the first coke-fired blast furnace on the European continent was constructed in Gleiwitz in 1796 under the direction of John Baildon. Gleiwitz began to develop into a major city through industrialization during the 19th century; the town's ironworks fostered the growth of other industrial fields in the area. The city's population in 1875 was 14,156. However, during the late 19th century Gleiwitz had: 14 distilleries, 2 breweries, 5 mills, 7 brick factories, 3 sawmills, a shingle factory, 8 chalk factories and 2 glassworks. Other features of the 19th century industrialized Gleiwitz were a gasworks, a furnace factory, a beer bottling company, a plant for asphalt and paste. Economically, Gleiwitz opened several banks and loan associations, bond centers.
Its tram system was completed in 1892, while its theater was opened in 1899. According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Gleiwitz's population in 1905 was 61,324. By 1911 it had two Protestant and four Roman Catholic churches, a synagogue, a mining school, a convent, a hospital, two orphanages, a barracks. Gleiwitz was the center of the mining industry of Upper Silesia, it possessed a royal foundry, with which were connected machine boilerworks. Other industrialized areas of the city had other foundries, meal mills, factories producing wire, gas pipes and paper. After the end of World War I, clashes between Poles and Germans occurred during the Polish insurrections in Silesia; some ethnically Polish inhabitants of Upper Silesia wanted to incorporate the city into the Second Polish Republic. Seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict, the League of Nations held a plebiscite on 20 March 1921 to determine which country the city should belong to. In Gleiwitz, 32,029 votes were for remaining in Germany, Poland received 8,558 votes, 113 votes were declared invalid.
The total voter turnout was listed as 97.0%. This prompted another insurrection by Poles; the League of Nations determined that three Silesian towns: Gleiwitz and Beuthen would remain in Germany, the eastern part of Upper Siles
Battle of Kiev (1943)
The Second Battle of Kiev was part of much wider Soviet offensive in Ukraine known as the Battle of the Dnieper involved three strategic operations by the Soviet Red Army, one operational counterattack by the Wehrmacht which took place between 3 October and 22 December 1943. Following the Battle of Kursk, the Red Army launched Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive Operation, pushing Erich von Manstein's Army Group South back towards the Dnieper River. Stavka, the Soviet high command, ordered the Central Front and the Voronezh Front to force crossings of the Dnieper; when this was unsuccessful in October, the effort was handed over to the 1st Ukrainian Front, with some support from the 2nd Ukrainian Front. The 1st Ukrainian Front, commanded by Nikolai Vatutin, was able to secure bridgeheads north and south of Kiev; the structure of the strategic operations from the Soviet planning point of view was: Kiev Strategic Offensive Operation by the Central and Voronezh Fronts Chernobyl-Radomysl Offensive Operation Chernobyl-Gornostaipol Defensive Operation Lyutezh Offensive Operation Bukrin Offensive Operation Bukrin Offensive Operation Kiev Strategic Offensive Operation Rauss' November 1943 counterattack Kiev Strategic Defensive Operation In October 1943, several of Vatutin's armies were having serious trouble trying to break out of the rugged terrain of the Bukrin bend, the southern bridgehead.
The 24th Panzer Corps of Walther Nehring, in an effective defensive position, had the opposing Soviet forces squeezed in. As a result, Vatutin decided to concentrate his strength at the northern bridgehead at Lyutezh; the 3rd Guards Tank Army, commanded by Pavel Rybalko, moved northwards toward the Lyutezh bridgehead under cover of darkness and diversionary attacks out of the Bukrin bend. The Soviet preparations were considerable, including the installation of 87 ferries. Many of the Soviet bridges were built making them difficult to detect. Feint attacks and the construction of fake bridges may have fooled the Germans for a short while. Fire support was provided by 700 combat aircraft; the 27th and 40th Armies launched the Soviet diversionary attack at Bukrin on 1 November, two days ahead of schedule but advanced only 1.5 kilometers before being driven back. Soviet historians claimed complete success for the Red Army deception measures but the Germans identified the Soviet assault sector and sent armored reinforcements to the area.
The 4th Panzer Army war diary referred to the main Soviet push north of Kiev on 3 November as the offensive we have been expecting. The Germans were uncertain whether the anticipated Soviet assault had far-reaching objectives from the outset or was for the capture of an initial bridgehead to be exploited later. Early on the morning of 3 November 1943, the 4th Panzer Army was subjected to a massive Soviet bombardment; the Soviet 38th and 60th Armies attacked in the first wave but failed to break through the positions of the German VII Army Corps. On 4 November the 3rd Guards Armored Army and I Guard Cavalry Corps were added to the assault, compelling VII Army Corps to retreat and evacuate Kiev; the Soviets captured Kiev on 6 November. The second phase of the Soviet offensive now began, with the 1st Ukrainian Front's objective consisting of the capture of the towns of Zhitomir, Korosten and Fastov, the cutting of the rail link to Army Group Center. By 7 November the Soviet spearheads had reached the important railway node at Fastov 50 kilometers south-west of Kiev.
The plan went well at first for Vatutin. As Rybalko's tanks moved through the streets of Kiev on 6 November, Manstein pleaded with Adolf Hitler to release the 48th and 40th Panzer Corps in order to have sufficient forces to retake Kiev; the 48th Panzer Corps was committed to Manstein. Hitler refused to divert the 40th Panzer Corps, replaced Hoth with Erhard Raus, ordered to blunt the Soviet attack and secure Army Group South's northern flank and communications with Army Group North. A number of sources give 6 November as the date for the fall of Kiev; the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Brigade seems to have started the assault earlier, at 12.30 on 5 November, reaching the Dniepr at 02.00 on the 6th, after sweeping through the western suburbs of the city and were the first unit in the city center, with Kiev being captured at 06.50 on the 6th. Raus was in difficulty with his units suffering heavy casualties in the initial stages of Vatutin's offensive; the 4th Panzer Army was reinforced with artillery and rockets.
The German divisions were bolstered on 7 November by the arrival of the newly formed 25th Panzer Division commanded by General der Panzertruppen Georg Jauer. Its drive on Fastov was halted by the 7th Guards Tank Corps; the half-formed 25th Panzer Division had only emergency individual training, lacked entire equipment categories and was committed against the protests of Heinz Guderian, the Inspector of Panzer Troops. It became the first committed Panzer Division that failed to achieve at least initial offensive success on the Eastern Front; the failed German offensive stopped the advance of the Soviet 3rd Guards Armored Army. The rest of the Soviet forces continued their attacks. Rybalko was soon just 40 mi from Berdichev. Zhitomir was taken by the 38th Army on 12 November but the Soviet advance came to a halt as the I Guards Cavalry Corps troopers looted the German 4th Army's alcohol stocks; the 60th Army took Korosten on 17 November and 40th Army was moving south from Kiev. The only re