Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive

The Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive or Lvov-Sandomierz Strategic Offensive Operation (Russian: Львовско-Сандомирская стратегическая наступательная операция) 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 (13 July 1944 – 27 July 1944)
  • Stanislav Offensive Operation (13 July 1944 – 27 July 1944)
  • Sandomierz Offensive Operation (28 July 1944 – 29 August 1944)

The LvovSandomierz Offensive is generally 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.[4] 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.[5] When the Soviets launched their Bagration offensive against Army Group Center, it would create a crisis in the eastern German front, which would then force the powerful German Panzer forces back to the central front, leaving the Soviets free to then pursue their objectives in seizing the western Ukraine, Vistula bridgeheads, and gaining a foothold in Romania.[6]

Lvov-Sandomierz Strategic Offensive Operation
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
RKKA Lviv

Soviet Soldiers advancing in Lviv
Date13 July 1944 – 29 August 1944
Location
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
 Germany
 Hungary

Soviet Union
Poland


Armia Krajowa
(23-27 July)
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Josef Harpe
(Army Group North Ukraine)
Soviet Union Ivan Konev
(1st Ukrainian Front)
Strength
900,000 men
900 AFVs
6,300 guns[1]
1,002,200 men[2]
1,979 AFVs
11,265 guns
Casualties and losses
55,000 killed, missing and captured
136,860 overall[3]
65,001 killed, missing or captured
224,295 wounded
289,296 overall
1,269 tanks and SP guns
289 aircraft[2]

Background

By early June 1944, the forces of Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model's Army Group North Ukraine had been pushed back beyond the Dniepr and were desperately clinging to the north-western corner of Ukraine. Joseph Stalin ordered the total liberation of Ukraine, and 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.[7]

Stavka was also planning an even 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, and also 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.

Opposing forces

BagrationMap2
German and Soviet deployments on the Eastern Front, June to August 1944, showing Operation Bagration to the north, Lvov-Sandomierz to the south. The encirclement of the German XIII Army Corps at Brody is shown in Konev's First Ukrainian command.

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 only 420 tanks, StuG's and other assorted armoured vehicles. His Army Group comprised around 900,000 men;[1] The Army Group was supported by the 700 aircraft of Luftflotte 4, including the veteran air units of VIII Fliegerkorps, and the 300-400 aircraft of the nearby Luftflotte 6. 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 considerably outnumbered the Army Group North Ukraine. The 1st Ukrainian Front could muster over 1,002,200 troops,[2] some 2,050 tanks, about 16,000 guns and mortars, and over 3,250 aircraft of the 2nd Air Army commanded by General Stepan Krasovsky.[8] In addition the morale of Konev's troops was extremely high following the recent victories in Ukraine. They had been on the offensive for almost a year, and 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 3rd Guards, 1st Guards Tank and 13th Armies. The second pincer was aimed at Lviv itself, and 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 guns and mortars per kilometer of front.

The assault begins

The northern attack towards Rava-Ruska began on 13 July 1944. The 1st Ukrainian Front forces easily broke through near Horokhiv. The weakened Wehrmacht XLII Army Corps managed to withdraw relatively 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 quickly 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 Baranov into the breach to help exploit the breakthrough. The Mobile Group advanced quickly, under cover of air support, and over the next three days managed to capture the town of Kamionka Strumilowa and to seize and hold a bridgehead on the western bank of the Southern Bug River, thus cutting the XIII Army Corps' line of communication and cutting off their path of retreat.

Encirclement at Brody (Brody Cauldron)

To the south, a major Red Army assault aimed at the juncture of the 1st and 4th Panzer Armies had been successfully repulsed on 14 July by the division-sized Korpsabteilung C. The 1st Ukrainian Front shifted their attack further south, and after an immense artillery and air bombardment assaulted the already weakened 349th and 357th Infantry Divisions. The 349th Infantry Division collapsed under the assault, the survivors falling back in disarray. Due to the actions of Korpsabteilung C and 357th Infantry Division, the 1st Ukrainian Front breakthrough was only 3-4 kilometers wide. Despite this, the 1st Ukrainian Front continued to advance towards the towns of Zolochiv and Sasiv, driving a wedge between XIII Army Corps and the neighboring XLVIII Panzer Corps.

German artillery from both Corps and the 18th Artillery Division began saturating the narrow salient, dubbed the Koltiv Corridor. A hasty counterattack by the 1st Panzer and 8th Panzer Divisions took place, accompanied by elements of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Galizien (1st Ukrainian). While the Galizien and 1st Panzer fought well, the 8th Panzer division got lost, and found itself in the XIII Army Corps area. Cut off from the XLVIII Panzer Corps and the 1st Panzer Division, it was unable to take part in the attack. Despite initial gains, the 1st Ukrainian Front finally managed to halt the German attack, with the help of the 2nd Air Army which dropped 17,200 bombs on the attacking panzers. The absence of 8th Panzer Division meant that the attack was doomed to fail. The commander of 8th Panzer had ignored explicit orders, and attempted to lead his force on a short cut. Instead, the division was strung out on the Zolochiv - Zboriv section of the Lviv - Ternopil road, and suffered immense losses from Red Air Force Il-2s. Despite this, the southern attack was slowing.

On the 16 July, Konev took a great risk and committed Lieutenant General Pavel Rybalko's 3rd Guards Tank Army to the southern assault. This meant that the Army would have to travel through the narrow Koltiv Corridor, constantly under artillery fire and fierce German counterattacks. The 3rd Guards Tank tilted the balance in the Lviv direction, and soon the Soviet advance resumed its advance west. The commander of the XIII Army Corps realised that his Corps needed to retreat if it were to avoid encirclement. The order was given for all Corps units to fall back to the Prinz-Eugen-Stellung, a series of unmanned defensive positions built in June 1944 which ran partly along the Strypa river about 35 km west of Ternopil. Strong 1st Ukrainian Front attacks throughout 17 July succeeded in capturing parts of the Prinz-Eugen-Stellung. The 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS joined the combat in an attempt to recapture these lost positions, but after some success ran into a unit of Soviet IS-2 tanks which put an end to the SS advance. Despite repeated warnings from his subordinates, the Corps commander, General der Infanterie Arthur Hauffe, did not order further withdrawal, condemning the three XIII Army Corps divisions and Korps-Abteilung C in the Brody salient to their fate.[9]

On 18 July, renewed 1st Ukrainian Front attacks resulted in a breakthrough in the Lviv operational direction. Late in the day, the 1st Ukrainian Front spearheads met near the town of Busk. The encirclement was complete. 45,000 men of the XIII Army Corps were trapped around Brody, and a 200 km breach had been created along the Army Group North Ukraine's front.

Annihilation at Brody: objectives redefined

For the men trapped at Brody, help would not come. Despite several desperate attacks by the exhausted and under strength forces of XLVIII Panzer Corps and XXIV Panzer Corps, the 1st Ukrainian Front cordon continued to tighten. Under continued 1st Ukrainian Front attacks, Harpe ordered his forces to fall back, abandoning the trapped XIII Army Corps. Under constant artillery and aerial bombardment, the beleaguered forces made several breakout attempts, but these were easily repulsed by the 1st Ukrainian Front armoured forces and the Germans suffered heavy casualties. On 22 July, a 1st Ukrainian Front attack cut the pocket in two, and by nightfall almost all resistance had been eliminated. The scattered survivors broke up into small groups and attempted to break out. Few reached Axis lines, but among them were 3,500 men of the Galizien SS. Before the operation, the division had numbered 11,000 men. Konev was elated at the unexpected success of the operation. Harpe's Army Group was falling back; the 4th Panzer Army to the Vistula River and the 1st Panzer Army along with 1st Hungarian Army to the area around the Carpathian Mountains.

Lviv itself was occupied again by the Soviets on 26 July, the first time being in September 1939 during the Nazi-Soviet alliance and joint invasion of Poland. This time, the city was retaken by the 1st Ukrainian Front, a Soviet force, relatively easily. The Germans had been completely forced out from Western Ukraine. Seeing this success, Stavka issued new orders on 28 July. Konev was to attack across the Vistula and to capture the city of Sandomierz, in Nazi-occupied southern Poland. Ukrainian hopes of independence were squashed amidst the overwhelming force of the Soviets, much like in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army, UPA, would continue waging a guerrilla war against the Soviets well into the 1950s.

Renewed attack: capture of Sandomierz

The renewed Soviet offensive got underway on 29 July, with Konev's spearheads quickly reaching the Vistula and establishing a strong bridgehead near Baranów Sandomierski. However, strong German counterattacks near Sandomierz prevented further expansion of the Soviet bridgehead. In early August, Harpe gained some respite. Five divisions, including one Panzer division, were transferred from Army Group South Ukraine. These were immediately thrown into action around Sandomierz. Soon after, another five German divisions, three Hungarian divisions, six StuG brigades and the 501st Heavy Tank Battalion (equipped with Tiger II tanks) were placed under Harpe's command.

Large-scale German counterattacks were launched in an attempt to throw the Soviets back across the Vistula. Using the towns of Mielec and Tarnobrzeg on the eastern bank of the river as bases, these attacks caused heavy casualties to the Soviet forces. By mid-August, Konev's spearhead, the 6th Guards Tank Corps had only 67 tanks remaining. The Germans launched a fierce counterattack with the 501st Heavy Tank Battalion and the 6th Panzer Division, totaling around 140 tanks including 20 Tiger IIs. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the 6th Guards held the bridgehead, knocking out 10 Tiger IIs. By 16 August, the German counterattacks were beginning to lose steam, and Rybalko, the commander of the bridgehead, was able to expand the Soviet controlled area by a depth of 120 kilometers, capturing the city of Sandomierz. With both sides exhausted, the fighting died down and the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive was deemed complete.

Order of battle

Red Army

1st Ukrainian Front (Konev)

Rava-Ruska operational direction
Lviv operational direction

Axis

Army Group North Ukraine (Generaloberst Josef Harpe) - 12 July 1944[10]

Casualty estimates

Wehrmacht reports stressed the successful withdrawal of several forces, in line with the Frieser estimate. Soviet estimates were considerably higher: according to an August 1944 report by the Soviet Information Bureau, German forces suffered 350,000 casualties. Of these, 140,000 were killed and 32,360 captured, primarily in the Brody pocket. Additionally, the Soviets claimed to have taken out 1,941 German tanks and 687 aircraft during the offensive.[11]

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Zaloga (1996), p. 74
  2. ^ a b c Glantz (1995), p. 299
  3. ^ Frieser (2007), p. 711-718
  4. ^ Watt 2008, p. 687-688.
  5. ^ Watt 2008, pp. 683-684
  6. ^ Watt 2008, pp. 695-700.
  7. ^ Watt 2008, p. 695
  8. ^ Wagner, p. 285
  9. ^ Lange, W. Korpsabteilung C; the encircled divisions were Korpsabteilung C, 349th Infantry Division, 14th SS Division 'Galicia', and 454th Security Division. The Soviet history claiming eight divisions in the encirclement is most likely counting the Divisional Groups 183, 217, and 339, which made up the regiments of Korpsabteilung C, as divisions.
  10. ^ Lange, W. Korpsabteilung C; Map 10.
  11. ^ Наша Победа. День за днем — проект РИА Новости (in Russian)

References

  • Frieser, Karl-Heinz; Schmider, Klaus; Schönherr, Klaus; Schreiber, Gerhard; Ungváry, Kristián; Wegner, Bernd (2007). Die Ostfront 1943/44 – Der Krieg im Osten und an den Nebenfronten [The Eastern Front 1943–1944: The War in the East and on the Neighbouring Fronts]. Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg [Germany and the Second World War] (in German). VIII. München: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt. ISBN 978-3-421-06235-2.
  • Glantz, David M. & House, Jonathan. (1995), When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0-7006-0899-0.
  • Hinze, Rolf. (2006) To the Bitter End: The Final Battles of Army Groups A, North Ukraine, Centre, Eastern Front 1944-45 ISBN 978-1-907677-28-1
  • Konev, Ivan, Aufzeichnungen eines Frontbefehlshabers (in German), OCLC 250490659
  • Lange, Wolfgang (1960), Korpsabteilung C vom Dnjeper bis nach Polen (in German), Neckargemuend, OCLC 258241485
  • Lysiak, Oleh (1951), Brody: Zbirnyk (in Ukrainian), Munich, OCLC 11456877
  • Mitcham, Samuel (2001), Crumbling empire : the German defeat in the East, 1944, Westport, Conn: Praeger, ISBN 978-0-275-96856-4
  • Melnyk, Michael James. To Battle: The Formation and History of the 14 Galician Waffen-SS Division 1943-1945, Helion and Co, (reprint 2007) ISBN 978-1-874622-19-2
  • Dr Watt, Robert. "Feeling the Full Force of a Four Point Offensive: Re-Interpreting The Red Army's 1944 Belorussian and L'vov-Przemyśl Operations". The Journal of Slavic Military Studies. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. ISSN 1351-8046.
  • Wagner, Ray (ed.), Fetzer, Leland, (trans.), The Soviet Air Force in World War II: the official history, Wren Publishing, Melbourne, 1973 ISBN 0-85885-194-6.
  • Zaloga, S. Bagration 1944: The Destruction of Army Group Centre, Osprey Publishing, 1996, ISBN 978-1-85532-478-7.
22nd Rifle Corps

The 22nd Rifle Corps was a corps of the Red Army, formed twice. It was initially formed from the Estonian Army after the Soviet occupation of that country in June 1940. The corps was destroyed during the Baltic Operation. After large-scale desertions of its troops, the corps disbanded in September 1941. Its soldiers were used in construction battalions in the Urals, where many of them died. The corps was reformed in November 1942 with the Transcaucasian Front. It fought in the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive, Sandomierz–Silesian Offensive and the Prague Offensive during the war. The corps was disbanded in the summer of 1945.

340th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)

The 340th Rifle Division began forming in August 1941, as a standard Red Army rifle division, at Balashov in the Saratov Oblast. The division went into the lines defending Moscow in November, then into the winter counteroffensive in December. After rebuilding, the division was assigned as the only rifle division in the new 5th Tank Army, but avoided the fate of most of the tank units of that formation when it attacked in July 1942. Following another aborted offensive in July, the 340th settled into mostly defensive assignments until after the Soviet victory at Kursk, when it joined in the general offensive through eastern Ukraine to the Dniepr River, winning honors for its role in the liberation of Sumy, and later Kiev. During 1944 the division continued the westward march through northern Ukraine and on into Poland in the Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive before being reassigned to 4th Ukrainian Front advancing into the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia. The 340th ended its distinguished record of service in 1st Guards Army in Czechoslovakia.

3rd Guards Army (Soviet Union)

The 3rd Guards Army (Russian: 3-я гвардейская армия) was a field army of the Soviet Red Army that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II.

The army fought in the Battle of Berlin, during which it mopped up German resistance around Cottbus.

41st Guards Rocket Division

The 41st Guards Rocket Division (Russian: 41-я гвардейская ракетная дивизия) was a division of the Soviet and Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, active from 1961 to 2001.

The division traced its lineage to the formation of the Red Army's 68th Anti-Aircraft (AA) Artillery Division during World War II in October 1943. The 68th Division was assigned to the 38th Army, directly subordinated to the 1st Ukrainian Front, and assigned to the 4th Tank Army (later the 4th Guards Tank Army) for the duration of its combat service, which began in April 1944. The division provided air defense and artillery support to ground troops, and fought in the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive, the Vistula–Oder Offensive, the Silesian Offensives, the Berlin Offensive, and the Prague Offensive. In March 1945 it became the 6th Guards Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division, and for its actions during the war the division received the honorifics Berlin and Lvov and was awarded the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 2nd class and the Order of Kutuzov 2nd class. In the postwar period the division continued to serve with the 4th Guards Tank Army in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and East Germany. In 1958 it was redesignated as the 138th Guards Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade. It was withdrawn to the Soviet Union two years later and disbanded.

In 1961 its heritage was transferred to the Strategic Rocket Forces' 41st Guards Rocket Division, recently expanded from the 216th Rocket Brigade at Tyumen. The division relocated to Aleysk in 1964, and operated intercontinental ballistic missiles from there as part of the 33rd Guards Rocket Army. In 2001 it was disbanded in accordance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

4th Guards Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division

The 4th Guards Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division (Russian: 4-я гвардейская зенитная артиллерийская дивизия) was an anti-aircraft artillery division of the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II and the Soviet Army during the early years of the Cold War.

Formed in November 1942 as the 8th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division, the division was sent to the front in late April 1943, serving with the 1st Tank Army (later 1st Guards Tank Army) for most of the war. It fought in the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of the Dnieper, and the Battle of Kiev. For its actions in the latter the division received the honorific Kiev. For its actions in the Zhitomir–Berdichev Offensive the 8th was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. It received the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky for actions in the Proskurov–Chernovitsy Offensive and in May 1944 was converted into the 4th Guards Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division. In the final year of the war, the 4th Guards fought in the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive and the Vistula–Oder Offensive, receiving the honorific Lodz and the Order of Kutuzov and ending the war in the Battle of Berlin.

Postwar, the division remained in eastern Germany with the army and was converted into the 140th Guards Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade in 1958. In 1961, it was withdrawn to the Leningrad Military District and reorganized as the 169th Guards Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment, equipped with surface-to-air missiles. In 1993 its lineage was transferred to another unit after disbandment and in 1994 it became the 1490th Guards Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment.

52nd Rocket Division

The 52nd Rocket Division (Russian: 52-я ракетная дивизия) was a division of the Soviet and Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, active from 1961 to 2002.

The division traced its lineage to the formation of the Red Army's 23rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division during World War II in January 1943. In the spring of that year it served on the Northwestern Front with the 27th Army, then was transferred to the Steppe Front with the army in May. The 23rd provided air defense for the army in the Belgorod–Kharkov Offensive, the Battle of the Dnieper, and the Battle of Kiev. In December it transferred to the 60th Army, with which it spent most of the rest of the war. The division fought in the Proskurov–Chernovitsy Offensive, the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive, the Sandomierz–Silesian Offensive, and the Battle of Berlin. For helping to capture Ternopol and Berlin, the division received the cities' names as honorifics, and was awarded the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky and the Order of the Red Star for fighting in Silesia. At the end of the war in May 1945 the division fought in the capture of Dresden with the 3rd Guards Tank Army.

Postwar, the 23rd was stationed near Vienna, and after the Soviet withdrawal from Austria in 1955 was stationed in western Ukraine and renumbered as the 97th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division before being disbanded in 1960. Two of its regiments were used to form the 206th Rocket Brigade of the new Strategic Rocket Forces at Bershet, Perm Oblast. In 1961, the 206th was expanded into the 52nd Rocket Division, which inherited the honors of the 97th Division. Until 2002, as part of the 31st Rocket Army, the division successively operated R-16, UR-100, and RT-23 intercontinental ballistic missiles. It was disbanded in 2002 and its lineage inherited by a base for storage and transshipment which was tasked with dismantling the division's missile facilities. The base was disbanded in 2007 after the completion of its task.

5th Guards Army

The 5th Guards Army was a Soviet Guards formation which fought in many critical actions during World War II under the command of General Aleksey Semenovich Zhadov. The 5th Guards Army was formed in spring 1943 from the 66th Army in recognition of that army's actions during the Battle of Stalingrad. The 5th Guards Army fought in the Battle of Kursk, Belgorod-Khar'kov Offensive Operation, Battle of the Dnieper, Uman–Botoșani Offensive, Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive, Vistula–Oder Offensive, Berlin Offensive, and the Prague Offensive. During the Berlin Offensive elements of the army linked up with American troops at Torgau on the Elbe. Postwar, the army was disbanded as part of the Central Group of Forces.

70th Guards Rifle Division

The 70th Guards Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army and Soviet Army. It was formed after the Battle of Stalingrad from the 138th Rifle Division in recognition of that division's actions during the battle. The 70th Guards continued a record of distinguished service through the rest of the Great Patriotic War, and continued to serve postwar, as a motor rifle division, until being finally disbanded in 1991.

76th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division (Soviet Union)

The 76th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division (Russian: 76-я зенитная артиллерийская дивизия) was an anti-aircraft artillery division of the Soviet Union's Red Army (later the Soviet Army) during World War II and the early postwar period.

Formed in February 1944 with the 4th Ukrainian Front, the division fought in the Crimean Offensive and received the honorific Perekop for its actions there in April. It spent the next several months as a garrison for Crimea with the Separate Coastal Army but rejoined the 4th Ukrainian Front in August during the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. Advancing westward, the 76th fought in the Battle of the Dukla Pass, the Moravian–Ostrava Offensive, and the Prague Offensive in late 1944 and 1945. From December 1944 it was part of the 38th Army. The division was disbanded by the 1950s.

9th Mechanized Corps (Soviet Union)

The 9th Mechanized Corps was a mechanized corps of the Soviet Red Army, formed twice. It was first formed in November 1940 and disbanded in September 1941 after suffering heavy losses. The corps was formed again in August 1943 at Tula. The second formation fought with the 3rd Guards Tank Army. It participated in the Battle of the Dnieper, the Battle of Kiev (1943), the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, the Zhitomir–Berdichev Offensive, the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. the Battle of Berlin and the Prague Offensive. During the war the corps received the honorifics "Kiev" and "Zhitomir" and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of Suvorov 2nd class, and the Order of Kutuzov 2nd class.

Arkady Chepelev

Arkady Yegorovich Chepelev (Russian: Аркадий Егорович Чепелев; 24 January 1915 – 31 July 1985) was a Red Army Starshina or sergeant major and Hero of the Soviet Union. He was awarded the title for ferrying weapons and ammunition to troops in the Dnieper bridgehead and repelling counterattacks during the Battle of the Dnieper. Chepelev continued to fight in combat and served with the 167th Rifle Division during the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive and Battle of the Dukla Pass, among others. He was demobilized postwar and returned to Voronezh, working as a mechanic in an aircraft factory.

Avaz Verdiyev

Avaz Hashim oglu Verdiyev (Azerbaijani: Əvəz Həşim oğlu Verdiyev; 1916–1 May 1945) was an Azerbaijani Red Army Senior Sergeant and a Hero of the Soviet Union. Verdiyev was awarded the title on 23 September 1944 for his actions during the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. During the offensive, he reportedly raised the red flag at the Staszów town hall during its capture. Verdiyev was seriously wounded in the Battle of Berlin and died of wounds on 1 May 1945.

Gerhard Lindemann

Gerhard Heinrich Lindemann (2 August 1896 – 28 April 1994) was a German general (Generalmajor) in the Wehrmacht during World War II, and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, awarded by Nazi Germany for successful military leadership.

Lindemann surrendered to the Red Army in the course of the Soviet July 1944 Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. Convicted as a war criminal in the Soviet union, he was held until 1955.

Hans Felber

Hans-Gustav Felber (July 8, 1889 – March 8, 1962) was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II.

From 15 October 1939 Felber was the chief of staff of the 2nd Army, becoming chief of staff of the Army Group Centre in February 1940. On 25 October 1940 he was given the command of the XVIII Army Corps and in 1942 transferred to the XXXXV (later renumbered to LXXXIII) Army Corps. On 21 May 1942 an Army Group named Felber was formed under his leadership. From 26 September to 27 October 1944 he headed the Army Group Serbia.

On 6 December 1944 he led the Corps Group Felber, which was renamed XIII Army Corps after the original XIII Corps had been wound up following their crushing defeat in the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. From 22 February to 25 March 1945 Felber was the commander of the 7th Army.

LVI Panzer Corps

LVI Panzer Corps was a panzer corps in the German Army during World War II.

This corps was activated in February 1941 for the German invasion of the Soviet Union, which commenced on June 22, 1941. Erich von Manstein led the corps in its advance from East Prussia to Demyansk, where, in September 1941, he was informed of his appointment as commander of the German Eleventh Army.In 1942, as part of Army Group Center's 3rd Panzer Army, the LVI Panzer Corps was used to fight Soviet partisans on the Eastern Front. The corps was active in the Spas-Demensk and Kirov area before withdrawing to Krichev and across the Dnieper.

In the Spring of 1944, the LVI Panzer Corps fought at Zhlobin and Kalinkovichi in Belarus. From June 22 to August 19, during Operation Bagration, the Soviets destroyed Army Group Center and swept the Germans from Belarus. The corps withdrew through the Pripet Marshes towards Brest-Litovsk. From 13 July to 29 July, as part of the 4th Panzer Army, the LVI Panzer Corps was involved in the unsuccessful German defense against the Soviet Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive. The corps continued to withdraw through Poland and into Germany as the Soviet advance continued.

In 1945, the LVI Panzer Corps became part of Army Group Vistula's 9th Army. From 16 April to 19 April, at the Battle of Seelow Heights, the corps suffered heavy losses along with the rest of the 9th Army. The remnants of the LVI Panzer Corps ended the war defending the Nazi capital in the Battle of Berlin.

Leonid Kolobov

Leonid Alexandrovich Kolobov (Russian: Леонид Александрович Колобов; 8 August 1907 – 13 November 1993) was a Soviet Army Lieutenant general and Hero of the Soviet Union. After being drafted into the Red Army in 1928, Kolobov graduated from the Moscow Infantry School and became an officer. In 1940 he became chief of staff of a Finnish People's Army infantry division. In September 1941, Kolobov became chief of staff of the 408th Rifle Division in Iran. From September 1942 he commanded the 389th Rifle Division. He led the division until the end of the war, being awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union for his leadership in the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. Postwar, he led the 97th Guards Rifle Division, 114th Guards Airborne Division, 86th Guards Rifle Division and 4th Guards Army Corps. Kolobov also served as an adviser in East Germany during the 1950s. He retired in 1969, lived in Moscow and died in 1993.

Lublin–Brest Offensive

The Lublin–Brest Offensive (Russian: Люблин‐Брестская наступательная операция, 18 July – 2 August 1944) was a part of the Operation Bagration strategic offensive by the Soviet Red Army to clear the Nazi German forces from the Eastern Poland and Western Belarus. The offensive was executed by the left (southern) wing of the 1st Belorussian Front and took place during July 1944; it was opposed by the German Army Group North Ukraine and Army Group Centre.

The operation was accompanied by several other offensives, particularly the Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive of the 1st Ukrainian Front in the south; both offensives launched weeks after the start of the successful Operation Bagration to the north which cleared German forces from most of Belarus.

After reaching its target objectives, the offensive momentum carried on as the Soviet forces advanced on Warsaw during August (2 August – 30 September 1944); however Soviet forces did not aid the Polish Warsaw Uprising, which is a matter of some controversy.

Sandomierz bridgehead

Sandomierz bridgehead, also known as Sandomierz-Baranów bridgehead (Polish: przyczółek baranowsko-sandomierski, Russian: Сандомирский плацдарм) was a pocket of resistance created by Red Army's 1st Ukrainian Front in late July 1944 on the left bank of the Vistula River in German-occupied Poland. Located around the towns of Sandomierz and Baranów, it covered roughly 40 by 70 kilometres.

The creation of the bridgehead was one of the final acts of the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive of the Red Army. In the evening of 29 July 1944 elements of the 350th Rifle Division under Major General Grigori Vekhin reached the Vistula River and crossed it near Baranów. The following day a large part of the 13th Army followed into the gap, along with 1st Guards Tank Army. By the end of the day the bridgehead was expanded to a strip of land 12 by 8 kilometres. Simultaneously, elements of the 3rd Guards Army created a new bridgehead across the Vistula near Annopol, some 60 kilometres (37 mi) downstream.

The Wehrmacht started a massive counter-attack on 1 August 1944 by a pincer movement from Mielec and Tarnobrzeg. After several days of heavy fighting, the Soviet 33rd Infantry Corps and 9th Mechanized Corps pushed the German forces back and threw them out of Tarnobrzeg by 6 August.

On 11 August the Germans started yet another counter-attack, this time from Szydłów intending to cut the Soviet units from the river. However, the German offensive came to a standstill after three days, and on 14 August the Soviets started a push from the direction of Klimontów and a small bridgehead near Zawichost towards the north. The Soviet attack reached Sandomierz, but was stopped soon afterwards. By the end of the month both sides dug, unable to mount further offensive movements, and went on defence. The front stabilised until 7 January 1945, when the Vistula–Oder Offensive started.

XIII Army Corps (Germany)

German XIII. Corps (XIII. Armeekorps) was a corps in the German Army during World War II. It was destroyed during the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive and reformed in late 1944.

Poland 1944–45
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