Strehla is a small town in the district of Meißen, Germany. It is located on the river Elbe, north of Riesa; this place name means arrow in Sorbian. Strehla includes the following subdivisions: Forberge Görzig/Trebnitz Großrügeln Lößnig Oppitzsch Paußnitz Unterreußen Strehla was first mentioned in 1002, when its castle was set on fire by Polish King Boleslaw I, on his way back to Poland from a meeting with German King Henry. During this war, Strehla went forth between Polish and German rule, it is situated on the Via Regia Lusatiae Superioris. The castle of Strehla belonged to the Pflugk family from the 14th century until 1945; the Battle of Strehla between Austria and Prussia took place around the town during the Seven Years' War. Strehla is regarded as the point towards the end of World War II where troops of the Western Allies heading East first encountered Soviet troops heading West, at 11:30am on April 25, 1945, when Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue of the 69th Infantry Division encountered a Russian on horseback at nearby Leckwitz identified as a trooper of a Soviet Guards rifle regiment.
The encounter on the same day at 4:40 p.m. in Torgau, about twenty miles to the north, would go into history books as the official link-up. Theodor Schreiber, professor of archeology in Leipzig Werner Unger, soccer player Maximilian Arnold, soccer player
The Prague Offensive was the last major military operation of World War II in Europe. The offensive was fought on the Eastern Front from 6 May to 11 May 1945. Fought concurrently with the Prague uprising, the offensive was one of the last engagements of World War II in Europe and continued after Nazi Germany's unconditional capitulation on 8 May; the city of Prague was liberated by the USSR during the Prague Offensive. All of the German troops of Army Group Centre and many of Army Group Ostmark were killed or captured, or fell into the hands of the Allies after the capitulation. By the beginning of May 1945, Germany had been decisively defeated by the coalition of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. Germany's capital, was on the verge of capitulation in the face of a massive Soviet attack and the great bulk of Germany had been conquered. However, in southeastern Germany, parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia, there were still large bodies of active German troops of Army Group Centre and the remnants of Army Group Ostmark.
On 2 May 1945, general Alfred Jodl ordered the German forces to avoid being captured by Russia and facilitate the separated negotiation with Western Allies. The German remnant forces continued to resist the USSR 4th and 1st Ukrainian Fronts while only accepting an armistice on the Western Front, and while the German command body lost its centralized control over its armed forces, SS and Gestapo forces were still working at their highest intensity and efficiency. SS officers and commanders were affiliated in command and control of German armed forces in Czechoslovakia, and in contrast to the declining quality of Wehrmacht units in the last days of the war, SS corps still maintained their remarkably high fighting capability. The Nazi regime considered Czechoslovakia and neighboring areas as their last bastion in the event that Berlin fell. Therefore, in 1945 they concentrated many powerful military units in the region, including elements of 6th SS Panzer Army, 1st and 4th Panzer Armies, 7th, 8th and 17th Combined Armies.
Alfred Jodl had ordered the local Nazi regime to prepare numerous fortified buildings which could serve as offices for the new Nazi government and German High Command. From 30 April to 1 May 1945, SS Senior Group Leader and General of Police Karl Hermann Frank announced over the radio in Prague that he would drown any uprising in a "sea of blood". Frank was a general of the Waffen SS; the situation in Prague was unstable. Frank knew. More he was faced with a city population ready to be liberated. At the same time, two divisions of the Russian Liberation Army arrived in the vicinity of Prague; the KONR 1st Division encamped north of the city while the KONR 2nd Division took up positions south of the city. Ostensibly allied with the Germans, the allegiance of the KONR forces would prove to vary depending on the situation they faced. On the Allied side, both Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin saw Prague as a significant prize, the seizure of which could influence the political makeup of postwar Czechoslovakia.
On 1 May 1945, before Berlin was subdued, Stalin issued orders directing the 1st Belorussian Front to relieve the 1st Ukrainian Front in the Berlin area so that the latter could regroup to the south along the Mulde River and drive on Prague. The 2nd Ukrainian Front received orders on 2 May to drive on Prague from the southeast. Stalin was determined to have the Soviet Army present in force in western Czechoslovakia when the German troops there surrendered; the terrain over which the Soviets had to advance was varied, but in the main mountainous and forested. The routes of march of the 1st and 4th Ukrainian Fronts were perpendicular to the orientation of the ridges while the 2nd Ukrainian Front was able to move along a less arduous route in regions of lower elevation that led to Prague. In particular, the 1st Ukrainian Front had to cross the Ore Mountains to advance on Prague from the area north of Dresden and Bautzen; the other significant military terrain obstacle was urban areas, the two largest of which to surmount were Dresden and Prague itself.
With Soviet and U. S. forces pressing in from all sides, Army Group Centre's deployment resembled a horseshoe straddling the historical regions of Bohemia and Moravia. To the west, the 7th Army had been pushed east by operations of the U. S. Sixth Army Group and had become a subordinate command of Army Group Centre. 7th Army was deployed along a north-south axis in western Czechoslovakia. Besides one Panzer division and one Volksgrenadier division, 7th Army had only four other "divisions", two of which were named battle groups while the remaining two were replacement army formations mobilized for combat and filled out with military school staffs and trainees. To the northeast of Prague and just north of Dresden and Bautzen, the 4th Panzer Army defended along a front running southeast. 4th Panzer Army had five Panzer or mechanized divisions as well as 13 other divisions or battle groups. Furthermore, 4th Panzer Army had just won the Battle of Bautzen, damaging the Soviet 52nd and Polish 2nd Armies.
To 4th Panzer Army's right flank was 17th Army. The 17th counted 11 divisions, including one motorized division; these were organized into three corps and deployed in an arc that began about 40 kilometers SW of Breslau and which led to the southeast in the vicinity of Ostrava. From here the front ran southeast to Olomouc, where the 1st Panzer Army was deployed, including a salient that jut
32nd Guards Tank Division
The 32nd Guards Tank Division was a tank formation of the Soviet Army/Soviet Ground Forces. Its predecessor, the 9th Guards Airborne Division, was a Red Army Airborne division of World War II. On 19 June 1945, it became the 116th Guards Rifle Division. In 1946, it became the 14th Guards Mechanized Division. In 1957, it became the 14th Guards Motorized Rifle Division. In 1982, it became the 32nd Guards Tank Division, disbanded in June 1989; the 9th Guards Airborne Division was formed on 15 December 1942 in the Moscow Military District from the 204th and 211th Airborne Brigades and the 1st Maneuver Airborne Brigade of 1st Airborne Corps. In February 1943, it became part of the 1st Shock Army. Beginning on 12 March 1943, the division fought in the Staraya Russa Offensive Operation. After the end of the Starayarussa Operation, the division was transferred to Reserve of the Supreme High Command and in May was transferred to the 5th Guards Army of the Steppe Front. During July and August, the 9th Guards Airborne fought in the Battle of Kursk.
They were distinguished during the defence of Prokhorovka, where they repulsed German counterattacks by the Leibstandarte. As part of the 33rd Guards Rifle Corps, the division participated in the Belgorod-Khar'kov Offensive Operation. In September 1943, it fought in the Chernigov-Poltava Offensive. On 22 September, in conjunction with the 95th Rifle Division and the 84th Rifle Division, the division crossed the Vorskla River and stormed Poltava. For its participation in the capture of Poltava, the division was given the title "Poltava". At the end of September, the division captured Kremenchuk. On 6 December, the division participated in the capture of Oleksandriia. On 22 March 1944, the 9th Guards Airborne crossed the Southern Bug in the area of Ivanovka, it participated in the capture of Pervomaisk and crossed the Dniester on the night of 13 April, capturing Grigoriopol. For their actions in the capture of Pervomaisk, the division was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. During the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive, the division repulsed German counterattacks, although its commanding officer, Ivan Pichugin, was killed on 4 August, in the area of Mielec and defending the Sandomierz bridgehead.
In the Sandomierz–Silesian Offensive, the 9th Guards Airborne broke through German defences and on 14 January 1945 crossed the Nida. On 21 January it captured Rosenberg and on 24 January crossed the Oder. For its actions in Poland, it was awarded the Order of Suvorov 2nd class on 19 February 1945. During February and March, the 9th Guards Airborne participated in the Lower Silesian Offensive and the Upper Silesian Offensive. On 20 April, during the Berlin Offensive, the division stormed Spremberg. In early May, it repulsed a German counterattack near Schwepnitz; the 9th Guards Airborne ended the war in Prague. On 4 June, it was awarded the Order of Kutuzov 2nd class for its actions during the capture of Dresden. On 13 June, the 9th Guards Airborne Division became the 116th Guards Rifle Division. In 1946, it became the 14th Guards Mechanized Division. On 20 April 1957, it became the 14th Guards Motorized Rifle Division at Juterborg, part of the 18th Guards Army; the 236th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment transferred to the 82nd Motor Rifle Division in April 1958 and was replaced by that division's 69th Motor Rifle Regiment.
In June 1964, the division became part of the 20th Guards Army. The division participated in Operation Danube in 1968 as part of the 1st Guards Tank Army; the 330th Tank Regiment inherited the honors of the 343rd Guards Tank Regiment in 1975 and became the 343rd Guards Tank Regiment. In 1976, the division became the first GSFG unit to receive the new T-64A tank. On 14 September 1982, it became the 32nd Guards Tank Division, its 216th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment became the 287th Guards Tank Regiment and the 223rd Guards Motor Rifle Regiment became the 288th Guards Tank Regiment. On 28 August 1988, the 640th Separate Missile Battalion was disbanded and absorbed by the newly formed 464th Missile Brigade. In May 1989, the 69th Motor Rifle Regiment transferred to the 35th Motor Rifle Division; the 1009th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade was transferred to the 47th Guards Tank Division. The division was disbanded in June 1989 after withdrawal from Jüterbog to Krivoy Rog. Colonel M. V. Grachev Colonel Konstantin Nikolaevich Vindushin Major General Alexander Mikhailovich Sazonov Major General Ivan Pichugin Colonel Fedor Afanasiev Colonel Pavel Shumeev Colonel EM Golub 23rd Guards Airborne Regiment 26th Guards Airborne Regiment 28th Guards Airborne Regiment 7th Guards Airborne Artillery Regiment Zaloga, Steven.
T-64 Battle Tank: The Cold War's Most Secret Tank. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781472806307
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
1st Ukrainian Front
The 1st Ukrainian Front was a front—a force the size of a Western Army group—of the Soviet Union's Red Army during the Second World War. On October 20, 1943, the Voronezh Front was renamed to the 1st Ukrainian Front; this name change reflected the westward advance of the Red Army in its campaign against the German Wehrmacht, leaving Russia behind and moving into Ukraine. The front participated or conducted battles in Ukraine, Poland and Czechoslovakia during 1944 and 1945. During 1944, the front participated with other fronts in the battles of Korsun-Shevchenkivskyy, the battle of Hube's Pocket in Ukraine, it conducted the Lviv-Sandomierz Offensive, during which the Front was controlling the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army, 3rd Guards Tank Army, 4th Tank Army, 3rd Guards, 5th Guards Army, 13th, 38th, 60th Armies. It took part in the battle for Ternopil'. In 1945 the front participated in the Vistula-Oder offensive, conducted the Silesian and Prague Operations, the siege of Breslau, it participated in the Berlin operations in Germany and Poland.
The front conducted the major part of the Halbe Encirclement, in which most of the German 9th Army was destroyed south of Berlin. By this time the Polish Second Army was operating as part of the Front. 1st Ukrainian Front provided the defence against the counter-attacks by Armee Wenck which aimed to relieve Berlin and the 9th Army. The Prague Offensive was the final battle of World War II in Europe. Following the war, the Front headquarters formed the Central Group of Forces of the Red Army in Austria and Hungary, guarding the Iron Curtain. General Nikolai F. Vatutin Marshal Georgy K. Zhukov Marshal Ivan S. Konev The armies that were part of the 1st Ukrainian Front included: 13th Army 27th Army 38th Army 40th Army 47th Army 60th Army 3rd Guards Tank Army 2nd Air Army? 5th Guards Army 2nd Polish Army 52nd Army 4th Guards Tank Army 28th Army 31st Army 3rd Guards Army Konev, I. S. Aufzeichnungen eines Frontbefehlshabers Konev, I. S. Das Jahr 1945 Ziemke, E. F. Stalingrad to Berlin Tissier, Tony Slaughter at Halbe Duffy, Christopher Red Storm on the Reich Antill, P.
Battle for Berlin: April – May 1945. 1st Ukrainian Front on Unithistory
Battle of Kursk
The Battle of Kursk was a Second World War engagement between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front near Kursk in the Soviet Union, during July and August 1943. The battle began with the launch of the German offensive, Operation Citadel, on 5 July, which had the objective of pinching off the Kursk salient with attacks on the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously. After the German offensive stalled on the northern side of the salient, on 12 July the Soviets commenced their Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Kutuzov against the rear of the German forces in the northern side. On the southern side, the Soviets launched powerful counterattacks the same day, one of which led to a large armoured clash, the Battle of Prokhorovka. On 3 August, the Soviets began the second phase of the Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev against the German forces in the southern side of the Kursk salient; the battle was the final strategic offensive that the Germans were able to launch on the Eastern Front.
Because the Allied invasion of Sicily had begun, Adolf Hitler was forced to have troops training in France diverted to meet the Allied threat in the Mediterranean, rather than use them as a strategic reserve for the Eastern Front. Hitler canceled the offensive at Kursk in part to divert forces to Italy. Germany's extensive losses of men and tanks ensured that the victorious Soviet Red Army enjoyed the strategic initiative for the remainder of the war; the Germans hoped to weaken the Soviet offensive potential for the summer of 1943 by cutting off the forces that they anticipated would be in the Kursk salient. The Kursk salient or bulge was 250 kilometres long from north to south and 160 kilometres from east to west; the plan envisioned an envelopment by a pair of pincers breaking through the northern and southern flanks of the salient. Hitler believed that a victory here would reassert German strength and improve his prestige with his allies, who were considering withdrawing from the war, it was hoped that large numbers of Soviet prisoners would be captured to be used as slave labour in the German armaments industry.
The Soviet government had foreknowledge of the German intentions, provided in part by the British intelligence service and Tunny intercepts. Aware months in advance that the attack would fall on the neck of the Kursk salient, the Soviets built a defence in depth designed to wear down the German armoured spearhead; the Germans delayed the offensive while they tried to build up their forces and waited for new weapons the new Panther tank but larger numbers of the Tiger heavy tank. This gave the Red Army time to construct a series of deep defensive belts; the defensive preparations included minefields, artillery fire zones and anti-tank strong points, which extended 300 km in depth. Soviet mobile formations were moved out of the salient and a large reserve force was formed for strategic counter-offensives; the Battle of Kursk was the first time in the Second World War that a German strategic offensive was halted before it could break through enemy defences and penetrate to its strategic depths.
The maximum depth of the German advance was 8–12 kilometres in the north and 35 kilometres in the south. Though the Red Army had succeeded in winter offensives their counter-offensives following the German attack at Kursk were their first successful strategic summer offensives of the war; as the Battle of Stalingrad ground to its conclusion, the Red Army moved to a general offensive in the south, in Operation Little Saturn. By January 1943, a 160 to 300 km wide gap had opened between Army Group B and Army Group Don, the advancing Soviet armies threatened to cut off all German forces south of the Don River, including Army Group A operating in the Caucasus. Army Group Center came under significant pressure as well. Kursk fell to the Soviets on 8 February 1943, Rostov fell on 14 February; the Soviet Bryansk and newly created Central Fronts prepared for an offensive which envisioned the encirclement of Army Group Center between Bryansk and Smolensk. By February 1943 the southern sector of the German front was in strategic crisis.
Since December 1942 Field Marshal Erich von Manstein had been requesting "unrestricted operational freedom" to allow him to use his forces in a fluid manner. On 6 February 1943, Manstein met with Hitler at the headquarters in Rastenburg to discuss the proposals he had sent, he received an approval from Hitler for a counteroffensive against the Soviet forces advancing in the Donbass region. On 12 February 1943, the remaining German forces were reorganised. To the south, Army Group Don was placed under Manstein's command. Directly to the north, Army Group B was dissolved, with its forces and areas of responsibility divided between Army Group South and Army Group Center. Manstein inherited responsibility for the massive breach in the German lines. On 18 February, Hitler arrived at Army Group South headquarters at Zaporizhia just hours before the Soviets liberated Kharkov, had to be hastily evacuated on the 19th. Once given freedom of action, Manstein intended to utilise his forces to make a series of counterstrokes into the flanks of the Soviet armoured formations, with the goal of destroying them while retaking Kharkov and Kursk.
The II SS Panzer Corps had arrived from France in January 1943, refitted and up to near full strength. Armoured units from the 1st Panzer Army of Army Group A had pulled out of the Caucasus and further strengthen
The Vistula–Oder Offensive was a successful Red Army operation on the Eastern Front in the European Theatre of World War II in January 1945. It saw the fall of Kraków, Warsaw and Poznań; the Red Army had built up their strength around a number of key bridgeheads, with two fronts commanded by Marshal Georgy Zhukov and Marshal Ivan Konev. Against them, the German Army Group A, led by Colonel-General Josef Harpe, was outnumbered 5:1. Within days, German commandants evacuated the concentration camps, sending the prisoners on their death marches to the west, where ethnic Germans started fleeing. In a little over two weeks, the Red Army had advanced 300 miles from the Vistula to the Oder, only 43 miles from Berlin, undefended, but Zhukov called a halt, owing to continued German resistance on his northern flank, the advance on Berlin had to be delayed until April. In the wake of the successful Operation Bagration, the 1st Belorussian Front managed to secure two bridgeheads west of the Vistula river between 27 July and 4 August 1944.
The Soviet forces remained inactive during the failed Warsaw uprising that started on 1 August, though their frontline was not far from the insurgents. The 1st Ukrainian Front captured an additional large bridgehead at Sandomierz, some 200 km south of Warsaw, during the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. Preceding the offensive, the Red Army had built up large amounts of materiel and manpower in the three bridgeheads; the Red Army outnumbered the opposing Wehrmacht in infantry and armour. All this was known to German intelligence. General Reinhard Gehlen, head of Fremde Heere Ost passed his assessment to Heinz Guderian. Guderian in turn presented the intelligence results to Adolf Hitler, who refused to believe them, dismissing the apparent Soviet strength as "the greatest imposture since Genghis Khan". Guderian had proposed to evacuate the divisions of Army Group North trapped in the Courland Pocket to the Reich via the Baltic Sea to get the necessary manpower for the defence, but Hitler forbade it. In addition, Hitler commanded that one major operational reserve, the troops of Sepp Dietrich's 6th Panzer Army, be moved to Hungary to support Operation Frühlingserwachen.
The offensive was brought forward from 20 January to 12 January because meteorological reports warned of a thaw in the month, the tanks needed hard ground for the offensive. It was not done to assist American and British forces during the Battle of the Bulge, as Stalin chose to claim at Yalta. Two Fronts of the Red Army were directly involved; the 1st Belorussian Front, holding the sector around Warsaw and southward in the Magnuszew and Puławy bridgeheads, was led by Marshal Georgy Zhukov. Zhukov and Konev had 163 divisions for the operation with a total of: 2,203,000 infantry, 4,529 tanks, 2,513 assault guns, 13,763 pieces of field artillery, 14,812 mortars, 4,936 anti-tank guns, 2,198 Katyusha multiple rocket launchers, 5,000 aircraft. 1st Belorussian Front 47th Army 1st Polish Army 3rd Shock Army 61st Army 1st Guards Tank Army 2nd Guards Tank Army 5th Shock Army 8th Guards Army 69st Army 33rd Army 1st Ukrainian Front 21st Army 6th Army 3rd Guards Army 13th Army 4th Tank Army 3rd Guards Tank Army 52nd Army 5th Guards Army 59th Army 60th Army Soviet forces in this sector were opposed by Army Group A, defending a front which stretched from positions east of Warsaw southwards along the Vistula to the confluence of the San.
At that point there was a large Soviet bridgehead over the Vistula in the area of Baranów before the front continued south to Jasło. There were three Armies in the Group; the force had a total complement of 450,000 soldiers, 4,100 artillery pieces, 1,150 tanks. Army Group A was led by Colonel-General Josef Harpe. Army Group A 9th Army LVI Panzer Corps XXXXVI Panzer Corps VIII Corps 4th Panzer Army XLII Corps XXIV Panzer Corps XLVIII Panzer Corps 17th Army LIX Corps XI Corps XI SS Panzer Corps German intelligence had estimated that the Soviet forces had a 3:1 numerical superiority to the German forces. In the large Baranow/Sandomierz bridgehead, the Fourth Panzer Army was required to defend from'strongpoints' in some areas, as it lacked the infantry to man a continuous front line. In addition, on Hitler's express orders, the two German defence lines were positioned close to each other, placing the main defences well within striking range of Soviet artillery; the offensive commenced in the Baranow bridgehead at 04:35 on 12 January with an intense bombardment by the guns of the 1st Ukrainian Front against the positions of the 4th Panzer Army.
Concentrated against the divisions of XLVIII Panzer Corp