Vistula–Oder Offensive

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 capture 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 (the Grosskampflinie and Hauptkampfli

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is a United States national forest that manages and protects public land surrounding Lake Tahoe and the Lake Tahoe Basin. Straddling the state borders of California and Nevada in the Sierra Nevada, the LTBMU encompasses 150,000 acres of National Forest system lands, ranging in altitude above sea level from 6,225 feet at lake level to 10,881 feet at Freel Peak; the U. S. Forest Service established the LTBMU in 1973; the name of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit reflects a unique sort of National Forest, as unique as the resources of the Tahoe Basin. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is responsible for the conservation and restoration of the Lake Tahoe watershed ecosystem within National Forest Lands. Projects and programs include habitat, fire management, urban lot management. Additionally the LTBMU provides and maintains high quality recreational opportunities for millions of visitors and residents annually. Compared to other National Forest Lands the LTBMU is small, yet it is the Tahoe Basin's largest land manager, responsible for 78% of basin lands.

As such the Forest Service has the largest single role in ecosystem and watershed management and protection. The LTBMU is a part of the National Forest System, yet is managed somewhat differently than other National Forests. Many common forest activities such as mining, grazing or timber harvesting are either not a part of LTBMU management or play a small role. Since the lake is so dependent on all that happens around it, LTBMU programs manage the whole of the basin as a complete inter-dependent system; the LTBMU is a unique inter-mix of forest and urban communities, presenting challenges and complexities few other National Forests experience. Since its establishment in 1973, the LTBMU has become a pioneer and leader in the science of forest and ecosystem management; the work of the Forest Service is supported by many partners. Other federal and local agencies are working together in the effort to face challenges and restore natural and cultural resources, enhance the recreational values of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

In 1899 President William McKinley created the Lake Tahoe Forest Reserve, becoming the core of National Forest Lands in the Tahoe Basin. Three separate forests were developed out of the reserve, the Tahoe and Toiyabe National Forests; each of these forests managed separate sections. In 1973, the LTBMU was created from basin portions of the three existing National Forests, forming a single "management unit." This unification provided the focus needed for the basin, more effective management of its watershed and recreational values. The name "Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit" was a temporary one, but after three decades, the name remains. Lake Tahoe Official Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit site

Indian star tortoise

The Indian star tortoise is a threatened species of tortoise found in dry areas and scrub forest in India and Sri Lanka. This species is quite popular in the exotic pet trade, the main reason it is endangered; the Indian star tortoise was upgraded to CITES Appendix I in 2019 by full consensus among all member states, giving it the highest level of international protection from commercial trade. Conservation group TRAFFIC found 6,040 were seized globally that were intended to be sold in the pet trade; the carapace of G. elegans is convex, with dorsal shields forming humps. It has no nuchal scute, the supracaudal is undivided, curved inward in the male; the first vertebral scute is longer than broad, the others are broader than long, with the third at least as broad as the corresponding costal. The plastron is large, truncated or notched in front, notched and bifid behind; the head is moderate in size, with the forehead swollen and covered with rather small and irregular shields. The outer-anterior face of the fore limbs have numerous unequal-sized, imbricate, pointed tubercles.

The carapace is black, with yellow areolae. The plastron has black and yellow, radiating streaks; the Indian star tortoise can grow to 10 inches long. The patterning, although contrasting, is disruptive and breaks the outline of the tortoise as it sits in the shade of grass or vegetation, they are herbivorous and feed on grasses, fallen fruit and leaves of succulent plants, will eat carrion. In captivity, they should never be fed meat; the sexual dimorphism of adult Indian star tortoises is quite apparent. Females are larger than their male counterparts. In addition, the females' plastrons are much flatter than those of the males, which have a concave shape; the shape of this creature is presumed to be specially adapted to assist it to return to a stable stance after it has been turned over. Mathematicians Gábor Domokos of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and Péter Várkonyi of Princeton University designed a homogeneous object called a gömböc that has one unstable balance point and one stable balance point.

Just as a bottom-weighted sphere would always return to the same upright position, they found it was possible to construct a shape that behaves the same way. After that, they noted the similarity to the Indian star tortoise and subsequently tested 30 turtles by turning them upside down, they found many of them to be self-righting. They range from India, extending west to Sri Lanka. A large number of specimens of this species are found in the illegal wildlife trade in India. Few studies exist which have quantified the effect of trade on them. Asian Turtle Trade Working Group. "Geochelone elegans". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2014. Retrieved 2017-05-06.old-form url Indian Star Tortoise Self-righting objects Star Tortoise care sheet