The Prague Offensive (Russian: Пражская стратегическая наступательная операция Prague Strategic 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 ultimately liberated by the USSR during the Prague Offensive. All of the German troops of Army Group Centre (Heeresgruppe Mitte) and many of Army Group Ostmark (formerly known as Army Group South) were killed or captured, or fell into the hands of the Allies after the capitulation.[b]
|Part of the Eastern Front of World War II|
Russian Liberation Army
|Commanders and leaders|
Army Group Centre:|
Army Group Ostmark:
|Casualties and losses|
|Some 860,000 captured; remainder killed, missing in action, or fled||
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, Berlin, 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 gradually 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 increasingly affiliated in command and control of German armed forces, especially 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, and 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 (Obergruppenführer) 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 also a general of the Waffen SS. The situation in Prague was unstable. Frank knew that several Soviet Army fronts were advancing towards Prague. More immediately, he was faced with a city population ready to be liberated.
At the same time, two divisions of the Russian Liberation Army (KONR) 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 significantly 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 also 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 finally 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 (formerly part of Army Group G) 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 roughly 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 (Schulze and Benicke) 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 slightly 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 (eastern) flank was 17th Army. The 17th counted 11 divisions, including one Panzer and 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 jutted eastward around Olomouc. 1st Panzer Army was outsized with six Panzer or motorized divisions in addition to 19 others organized into five corps; five divisions were directly under control of the army headquarters.
In southern Moravia, Army Group Ostmark's 8th Army was deployed on a front leading to the southwest into Austria where its right flank met up with the 6th SS Panzer Army in the area north and west of Vienna. 8th Army could call on a Panzer division and a motorized division, as well as six other divisions.
Facing part of the German 1st Panzer and 8th Armies in the region of Brno, the Soviet 2nd Ukrainian Front numbered 37 rifle divisions, six cavalry divisions, and four tank or mechanized corps. The 2nd Ukrainian Front was expected to advance northwest over the less mountainous country to Prague and would lead its advance with the 6th Guards Tank Army. Soviet allied forces with 2nd Ukrainian Front were the 1st and 4th Romanian Armies, totaling 12 infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions.
Confronting primarily the 1st Panzer Army, the 4th Ukrainian Front commanded 34 rifle divisions and one tank corps. 4th Ukrainian Front faced the dual obstacles of Olomouc, a small city as well as multiple hill ranges that cut across the projected line of advance. Unlike 2nd Ukrainian Front, the 4th lacked direct and major road connections from Olomouc to Prague, a factor almost guaranteed to slow its rate of advance. Soviet allied forces with 4th Ukrainian Front included the Czechoslovak Army Corps of four infantry and one tank brigades.
From the region north of Dresden and Görlitz over a large arc to the area of Breslau, the 1st Ukrainian Front counted 71 rifle divisions and three cavalry divisions, as well as nine tank and mechanized corps. The bulk of 1st Ukrainian Front's forces were massed north of Dresden for a direct advance on Prague and included the 3rd and 4th Guards Tank Armies. The primary opponent of this thrust would be the 4th Panzer Army. To the east, five combined-arms armies and the Polish 2nd Army made up the left (eastern) wing of the front, the advance of which would pressure mainly the German 17th Army. Facing the main 1st Ukrainian Front advance were the Ore Mountains, as well as the urban areas of Dresden and Bautzen.
The main axes of late-war Soviet offensives were marked on the one hand by tank armies and by the presence of Reserve of the Supreme High Command (Stavka Reserve) artillery divisions on the other. In May 1945, the 1st Ukrainian Front counted six artillery divisions and one rocket launcher division (as well as one Polish artillery division), the 4th Ukrainian Front had two artillery divisions, and the 2nd Ukrainian Front commanded four artillery divisions and one rocket launcher division.
Facing the German 7th Army to the west were the U.S. VIII Corps (of the 9th Army),[c] V Corps, and XII Corps (both of the 3rd Army). VIII Corps numbered one armored and three infantry divisions[d] while V Corps was made up of one armored division and two infantry divisions.[e] An additional infantry division under control of 3rd Army Headquarters was also in V Corps' sector,[f] and a second armored division would be subordinated to V Corps before VE Day.[g] XII Corps commanded two armored divisions and two infantry divisions.[h] Exerting some pressure on German 7th Army, these corps of the U.S. Army did not advance on Prague although their presence in western Bohemia stimulated Czech resistance to the German occupation, indirectly influencing the Prague Uprising. By agreement with the Soviets, the U.S. forces did not advance in strength eastward of an irregular demarcation line that at points touched Leipzig, Karlovy Vary, and Plzen.
Realizing that the Soviets would attack Army Group Centre following the surrender of Berlin, on 5 May Field Marshal Schörner devised a plan (Blumen-Operation) in which the units of Army Group Centre would attempt a fighting withdrawal to the west where they would be in a position to surrender to U.S. forces versus those of the Soviet Union. Schörner envisioned withdrawal phase lines (given the names of flowers) and intended for the 4th Panzer Army to hold off the 1st Ukrainian Front long enough for the other field armies of the army group to fall back to the west.
The orders from Stalin on 1 May to the three fronts called for the offensive to commence on 7 May. On 4 May, Marshal Konev provided detailed orders to his army commanders for three thrusts by the 1st Ukrainian Front. A main thrust would occur on the right (western) wing with three combined-arms armies, two tank armies (3rd and 4th Guards Tank Armies) and five artillery divisions, following the valleys of the Elbe and Vltava Rivers. A secondary thrust by the 28th and 52nd Armies was to advance on an axis from Zittau to Prague, and a final thrust by the Polish 2nd Army was to cut off the southeastern approaches to Dresden. Dresden itself was to be taken by the 5th Guards Army as part of the main thrust.
Suggesting to General Antonov that a U.S. advance to Prague was now feasible, General Eisenhower was informed that such was not desired by the Soviets. During the meeting with Marshal Ivan Konev on 5 May, General Omar Bradley also proposed the same offer. However, Marshal Konev – while he appreciated the good will of the American commander – refused the offer because Bradley's proposal violated the negotiated borderline between Soviet and Anglo-American forces, therefore Konev had no authority to accept it. Konev also promised that the USSR alone would destroy local German forces as soon as possible.
At that point, events external to formal military planning erupted. By 5 May, the lead units of the U.S. V Corps had reached Plzen, with word of the American advance reaching the residents of Prague and playing a part in the decision of the city's Czech citizens to rise up against the German occupation.
The uprising in Prague came into immediate conflict with the German occupation forces. Fighting in desperate circumstances, the Czechs gained control of a radio station and, besides calling on Czechs to join the uprising, also broadcast on 5 May an appeal in Russian and English for air support to hold off German armored units. These developments prompted Stalin to hasten the start of the Soviet offensive and it was ordered to commence one day earlier, on 6 May.
Adding to the confusion in Prague but providing useful assistance to the Czechs, the 1st Division of the Russian Liberation Army under General Bunyachenko moved into Prague and engaged in combat with their erstwhile German allies. By 7 May, the 1st Division had occupied the airport and the radio station.
The Soviet offensive commenced on 6 May and concluded on 11 May.
Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front opened the Prague Offensive with an attack by the 3rd and 4th Guard Tank Armies and the 13th, 3rd Guards, and 5th Guards combined-arms armies. This group of five armies was Konev's main attack and pushed south from the area around Riesa. Facing Konev's thrust were troops of the German 4th Panzer Army. The attack opened with a reconnaissance-in-force in the morning, followed by a brief but powerful artillery barrage. 13th, 3rd Guards, and both tank armies (as well as two other tank corps) attacked southward in the afternoon, with the 13th Army and the 4th Guards Tank Army pushing forward some 23 kilometers. By evening, 5th Guards Army had joined the attack with the objective of capturing Dresden.
Ending a separate 1st Ukrainian Front operation, 40,000 German troops in Breslau surrendered to the Soviet 6th Army after a two-month-long siege. On 6 May, 4th Ukrainian Front attacked to the west, intent upon capturing the city of Olomouc. Defending against the Soviet attack in front of Olomouc was the 1st Panzer Army.
In the west, the U.S. V and XII Corps attacked into western Czechoslovakia against the defenses of the German 7th Army. Elements of the 16th Armored Division captured Plzen while a combat command of the 4th Armored Division captured Strakonice. In all, the two corps advanced into Czechoslovakia with a strength of seven divisions. To the north, the U.S. VIII Corps was subordinated to the U.S. Ninth Army.
Continuing the main attack of the 1st Ukrainian Front, 3rd Guards Army captured Meissen, home of the famous German porcelain. The 13th Army and the 4th Guards Tank Army pushed 45 kilometers further to the south and reached the northern slope of the Ore Mountains. The 3rd Guards Tank Army and 5th Guards Army began the battle to capture Dresden. The 2nd Polish Army thrust to the southwest in support of the operations against Dresden. Farther to the east, the second attack of the front developed as the 28th and 52nd Armies attacked to the south.
Following a 30-minute artillery barrage, the 7th Guards Army and the 6th Guards Tank Army led an attack to the northwest, opening the offensive of the 2nd Ukrainian Front. Adding to the difficulties of the defending German 8th Army, the Soviet 9th Guards Army and 46th Army reinforced the attack on its left (southern) wing. By the end of the day, the front had pushed 12 kilometers into the German lines along an advance 25 kilometers in breadth. Between the 2nd and 1st Ukrainian Fronts, the 4th Ukrainian Front continued its advance on Olomouc.
In Prague, German troops reached the Old Town Square, one of the centers of uprising, but later were pushed back. The buildings of Town Hall, despite being severely damaged, remained in the hands of insurgents for the whole uprising. The overwhelming pressure on the uprising and the civilian population continued.
On 7 May, General Alfred Jodl, Chief-of-Staff of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht ("German Armed Forces High Command"), signed the surrender of all German forces at SHAEF. The surrender was to become effective at 0001 hours on 9 May. In western Czechoslovakia, upon receipt of the news of the surrender, U.S. forces ceased offensive operations and assumed a defensive posture. U.S. V Corps took Karlovy Vary on the day of the surrender.
OKW had last heard from Schörner on 2 May when he reported his intention to fight his way west and surrender his army group to the Americans. On 8 May Colonel Wilhelm Meyer-Detring,[i] a German liaison officer from OKW, was escorted through the American lines to see Schörner. Meyer-Detring told Schörner the formal capitulation of Germany meant that any withdrawal as a large formation by troops of Army Group Centre was out of the question, and that the German troops should attempt to make their way west and surrender to U.S. forces. Schörner was skeptical that such was possible. On his return Meyer-Detring reported Schörner had ordered his operational command to observe the surrender but could not guarantee he would be obeyed everywhere.[j]
Pushing forward another 40 kilometers, the main thrust of the 1st Ukrainian Front broke through German resistance in the Ore Mountains and approached to within 70-80 kilometers of Prague. The advance of the 4th Guards Tank Army came upon the headquarters of Army Group Centre, capturing or killing the headquarters personnel, but not Schörner, who, deserting his command made his way to Podbořany where the next day wearing civilian clothes he flew to Bavaria (Nine days later he was detained in Austria by German troops who handed him over to the Americans).
By the evening of 8 May, Dresden fell to 3rd Guards Tank Army and the 5th Guards Army. On the same day, the 4th Ukrainian Front pushed the Germans out of Olomouc. The Soviets broadcast a demand that the remaining German forces in the field were to lay down their arms by 23:00 hours that day. No reply was received. Without a functioning army group headquarters and leaderless, the component armies of Army Group Centre had been left to their own devices. The plans of Schörner for an orderly withdrawal notwithstanding, the bulk of Army Group Centre's troops were destined to be captured by the Soviet Army.
The Czech National Council (ČNR), lacking significant supplies to support the uprising, fearing large-scale destruction of Prague, and in the wake of the overall German surrender, came to an agreement with the Germans in which the German troops were to leave Prague under conditions of ceasefire. Some SS units, however, continued their attacks against the Czech insurgents in Prague. The 1st KONR Division, its relations with the ČNR broken down and realizing no quarter could be expected from Soviet forces, joined the SS and other German troops in a wary alliance of convenience and started moving west. The KONR 2nd Division had already contacted the Americans and started the march west.
During the night of 8/9 May, armored units of the 3rd and 4th Guards Tank Armies pushed south some 80 kilometers, entering Prague at daybreak. The armored vanguards were shortly followed by elements of the 13th Army and 3rd Guards Army. With the help of the Czech population, Prague was freed of German troops around 10:00 hours. The Red Army casualties were only ten men killed, in what was described as their "easiest victory" of the war. In any event, German troops in and around Prague were anxious to flee to the west, although Soviet columns, Czech partisans, and an angry Czech populace made the journey to U.S. lines anything but certain.
In the late hours of the day, units from 4th and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts also reached Prague, including the armored brigade of the Czechoslovak Army Corps. The arrival of the other fronts meant the bulk of Army Group Centre was cut off and forced into a pocket to the east, northeast, and south of Prague.
With Soviet units in Prague and pushing further west and south into Bohemia, the Soviet military objectives of the offensive had been met. The bulk of German troops in Army Group Centre were taken prisoner by the Soviets in the two days following the liberation of Prague, while elements of the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts pushed west to the Chemnitz-Karlovy Vary-Plzen demarcation line with U.S. forces.
Fearing their treatment at the hands of the locals or Soviet Army troops, remnant formations of Army Group Centre continued their resistance until 10/11 May, and in the cases of some small units, later into May 1945. The left flank of the 2nd Ukrainian Front met with troops of the U.S. Third Army (George Patton) in the regions of České Budějovice and Písek. Later, 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts met with Americans in the regions of Karlovy Vary and Klatovy. With these unit movements, the Prague Offensive concluded three days after Victory in Europe Day.
German soldiers, ethnic German civilians, and ethnic Czech collaborators fleeing Prague were surprised by the advancing Soviets and were completely routed. The Czech partisans resumed hostilities against the fleeing German troops regardless of their intentions or nationality, in what the veterans of the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian) who had laid their weapons down in May 1945 recalled as the Czech Hell.
The Prague Offensive destroyed Army Group Centre and parts of Army Group Ostmark. These army groups were the last large intact military formations of Germany, and following the offensive, all surviving German soldiers became prisoners of war or fugitives.
The number of German prisoners taken by the Soviet Union reached almost 900,000 and other Axis soldiers, numbering at least in the tens of thousands, surrendered to U.S. forces in western Czechoslovakia and Austria, although numbers of these were later turned over to the Soviet Union.
Czechoslovakia was free of the German occupation regime for the first time since late 1938. The country's prewar borders, however, would not be completely restored as the Soviets engineered the cession of Carpathian Ruthenia to the U.S.S.R. in July 1945.
Western Czechoslovakia was split by a military frontier of superpowers, on one side of which was the Soviet Army and on the other side of which was the U.S. Army. Although both armies would depart Czechoslovakia by the end of 1945, Stalin had achieved his goal of ensuring a strong Soviet military presence in Prague at the time of the surrender of German forces in Czechoslovakia.
Communist influence in the postwar Czechoslovak Army and government mounted. Czech soldiers who had fought with the Western Allies found themselves increasingly on the sidelines, and the country itself was forced to become a Soviet satellite state in 1948 by a communist coup.
On 12 May, Baron Pückler-Burghauss, commander of Waffen-SS in the Protectorate, committed suicide after he signed the capitulation.
On 14 May, Dr. Emil Hácha, the State President of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was arrested in Prague. He died in prison on 26 June 1945.
Volume 10 of the Soviet official history of the Second World War treats the Prague Offensive as a primarily military event, identifying the major military formations involved, their axes of advance, and in some cases, their daily rate of advance. Unsurprisingly, the Soviet history praises the operation for the international efforts of Soviet, Polish, Czech, and Romanian soldiers on behalf of "the freedom of the Czechoslovakian People". No mention is made, however, of Stalin's political intentions regarding Czechoslovakia. The final push to Prague during the night of 8–9 May 1945 is presented as having been necessary to relieve struggling Czech insurgents in Prague while the authors could not resist accusing former officers of the prewar Czech Army of abandoning the barricades during combat with the Germans in Prague.
That the offensive was a military event involving serious combat is made clear by the over 50,000 casualties suffered by the Soviet forces and their allies from 6 to 11 May 1945. Published in 2008, Volume 10/1 of the German official history of the war criticizes the Soviet view of the event, noting the percentage of casualties of the Prague Offensive to be far lower than that of the Berlin Offensive.[k] The German official history makes note of Stalin's political intentions and his desire to prevent Army Group Centre from surrendering to U.S. forces. Despite titling the relevant section The End of Army Group Centre the German official history only briefly mentions the situation of the army group in May 1945 and instead discusses other topics. The actual surrender of Army Group Centre is not discussed at all.
There are unofficial histories that touch upon the offensive, or more generally, on the end of the war in Czechoslovakia. Somewhere between the official German and Soviet views, John Erickson's The Road to Berlin discusses the offensive in some detail while including mention of Stalin's intentions, the Prague Uprising, and role of the Russian Liberation Army. Erickson wrote the work to present a balanced view of Soviet politics and military operations during the war, and so his description of actions by German forces is correspondingly limited.[l]
|Losses: Soviet and Soviet Allied, Prague Offensive|
Source: G. F. Krivosheev, Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century, p. 159
|Unit(s)||Strength 6 May 1945||Total losses||Average daily losses|
|1st Ukrainian Front||806,400||23,383||3,897|
|2nd Ukrainian Front||613,400||14,436||2,406|
|4th Ukrainian Front||350,900||11,529||1,922|
|Polish 2nd Army||69,500||887||148|
|Romanian 1st and
|Czechoslovak Army Corps||48,400||533||89|
Losses in men of both army groups taken prisoner by the Soviets amounted to some 860,000 men. The Soviets claimed to have captured 9,500 guns and mortars, 1,800 armored vehicles, and 1,100 aircraft in the course of the operation.
The 100th Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II, formed twice.
In November 1923 in the Belaya Tserkov area of the Ukrainian Military District, the 45th Territorial Rifle Division was established. On 24 April 1924 the 45th Territorial Rifle Division became the 100th Rifle Division (Territorial).
The division fought in the Winter War with Finland. When Operation Barbarossa began, it was part of 2nd Rifle Corps, with 2nd Rifle Corps immediately subordinate to Western Front (Soviet Union). It became 1st Guards Rifle Division on 18 September 1941, one of the first Guards units, immediately after the Yelnya Offensive.
According to Poirer and Connor's Red Army Order of Battle of 1985, the division was recreated at Vologda in March 1942. Fought near Stalingrad, and in Ukraine and Belorussia. It was awarded the honorific "Lviv" for its part in the capture of that city during July 1944. On 27 January 1945, the division liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. During the Moravian-Ostrava Offensive, the division captured Ratibor and entered Czechoslovak territory. It then fought in the Prague Offensive. It was with 60th Army of the 4th Ukrainian Front in May 1945. The division was disbanded in the summer of 1945.1st Guards Airborne Division
The 1st Guards Zvenigorod-Bucharest Red Banner Order of Suvorov Airborne Division (Russian: 1-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная Звенигородско-Бухарестская Краснознамённая ордена Суворова дивизия) was a division of the Soviet Airborne Troops. The division was first formed in December 1942 and fought in the Battle of the Dnieper, the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket, the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, the Battle of Debrecen, the Siege of Budapest and the Prague Offensive. In August 1945 it was sent east and fought in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The division became the 124th Guards Rifle Division in November 1945 and disbanded in 1956.286th Rifle Division
The 286th Rifle Division (Russian: 286-я стрелковая дивизия) was an infantry division of the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II. Formed in the summer of 1941, the division entered combat during the fall of that year, fighting in operations attempting to break the Siege of Leningrad. The division fought in the same area until the relief of Leningrad in February 1944, when it was transferred northwards to fight in the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive, which ended the Continuation War. The division was transferred to Poland with the end of the Continuation War, and fought in the Vistula–Oder Offensive and the Prague Offensive in early 1945. The division was disbanded soon after the end of the war in the summer of 1945.38th Guards Airborne Corps
The 38th Guards Airborne Corps was an airborne corps of the Soviet airborne. It was activated during World War II in August 1944 and became a rifle corps in December of that year. The corps fought in the Vienna Offensive and the Prague Offensive during the spring of 1945. After the end of the war, it was converted back into an airborne corps. The corps served at Tula until its 1955 disbandment when the Soviet airborne was reorganized.39th Guards Airborne Corps
The 39th Guards Airborne Corps was a Red Army airborne corps. First formed in August 1944, it was converted to infantry in January 1945 and fought during World War II in the Vienna Offensive and the Prague Offensive. Postwar, it was converted back into an airborne unit and served in Ukraine before its disbandment in 1955.41st 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.46th Army (Soviet Union)
The 46th Army was a Soviet Red Army field army during World War II. The army was formed in August 1941 and guarded the Turkish border. During the summer of 1942, it fought in the Battle of the Caucasus. During the spring of 1943, the army helped capture Maykop and Krasnodar. During the summer of 1943, it fought in the Donbass Strategic Offensive and the Battle of the Dnieper. During early 1944, it fought in the Nikopol–Krivoi Rog Offensive and the Odessa Offensive. During the summer it fought in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive. The army advanced westward and participated in the Battle of Debrecen and Budapest Offensive during the fall. After the fall of Budapest in February 1945, the army fought in the Vienna Offensive and the Prague Offensive. During the summer of 1945 the army moved to the Odessa Military District and was disbanded in September.4th Guards Airborne Division
The 4th Guards Airborne Division (Russian: 4-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная дивизия) was an airborne division of the Red Army that fought as infantry during World War II.
Formed in December 1942 from three airborne brigades, the division spent the next few months training for airborne operations. However, it first saw combat as an infantry unit in the Demyansk Offensive in late February 1943, then helped defend Ponyri during the Battle of Kursk. The division fought in Operation Kutuzov and advanced west in the Battle of the Dnieper, during which it captured Pryluky and crossed the Dnieper. It received the Ovruch honorific for the capture of the key rail junction during the Battle of Kiev. The division then fought in the Zhitomir–Berdichev Offensive and the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive in late 1943 and early 1944.
The 4th Guards received the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky for actions during the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, then fought in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive and received the Order of Suvorov. The division advanced westward into Hungary, fighting in the Battle of Debrecen and the Budapest Offensive in late 1944. In the last months of the war it fought in the Bratislava–Brno Offensive and ended the war fighting in the Prague Offensive. Shortly after the end of the war, the division was redesignated as the 111th Guards Rifle Division, and disbanded in 1946–1947.4th Ukrainian Front
The 4th Ukrainian Front (Ukrainian: Четве́ртий Украї́нський фронт Četvértyj Ukraḯns’kyj front) was the name of two distinct Red Army strategic army groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II.
The front was first formed on 20 October 1943, by renaming the Southern Front and was involved in the Lower Dnieper Strategic Offensive Operation, two battles of Kiev and the Crimean Strategic Offensive Operation. After the liberation of Crimea, the front was disbanded in May 1944.
For the second time the 4th Ukrainian Front was created on 4. August 1944, by separating the left wing of the 1st Ukrainian Front. The front took part in the Carpathian Offensive simultaneously with the Battle of the Dukla Pass and after that the front was involved in the battles in East-, North- and Central Slovakia, as well as in the Moravian-Ostrava Offensive Operation on the Polish-Moravian borders and finally in the Prague Offensive which was the final battle of World War II in Europe.The 4th Ukrainian Front actions were important for the liberation of the Czechoslovakia. The 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps also served within the front since November 1944 until May 1945.On 25 August 1945, the front was disbanded and its elements incorporated into the Carpathian Military District.53rd Army (Soviet Union)
The 53rd Army was a field army of the Soviet Union's Red Army which was formed in August 1941, disbanded in December 1941, and reformed in May 1942. It fought throughout World War II before again being disbanded after the war in October 1945. The army was first formed for the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran and was disbanded there in December 1941. The army reformed in May 1942. It fought in the Demyansk Pocket, the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of Belgorod, the Battle of the Dnieper, the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket, the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, the Battle of Debrecen, the Budapest Offensive, and the Prague Offensive. At the end of the war in Europe it was moved to the Far East and fought in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The army was disbanded in October 1945.54th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 54th Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Soviet Union's Red Army and Soviet Army, formed twice. The division was formed in 1936 and fought in the Winter War. The division spent most of World War II in Karelia fighting with Finnish troops in the Continuation War. After Finland left the war the division was relocated southward and fought in the East Prussian Offensive and the Prague Offensive in 1945. The division was disbanded in the summer of that year. The 54th Rifle Division was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Kutuzov 2nd class. It was also awarded the honorific "Masuria" for its actions in the East Prussian Offensive. The division was reformed in 1955 from the 341st Rifle Division and became a motor rifle division in 1957.59th Army (Soviet Union)
The 59th Army was a field army of the Soviet Union's Red Army. It was formed in November 1941 in the Siberian Military District. It was soon redeployed to the Arkhangelsk Military District and by December was part of the Volkhov Front. From January to April 1942, it fought in the Lyuban Offensive Operation, an unsuccessful attempt to relieve Leningrad. For the next two years, the army defended its bridgehead on the Volkhov River. During spring 1944, it fought in the Leningrad–Novgorod Offensive, which broke the Siege of Leningrad. During the summer of 1944, the army fought in the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive, helping to end the Continuation War. In December, the army transferred to the Sandomierz bridgehead, from which it launched the Vistula–Oder Offensive in January 1945. At the end of January, the army crossed the Oder and then fought in the Lower Silesian Offensive and the Upper Silesian Offensive. By late March it was in the Sudetes. In May 1945, the army launched the Prague Offensive. Postwar, the army headquarters was used to create the Stavropol Military District in July 1945.5th 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.6th Guards Airborne Division
The 6th Guards Airborne Division (Russian: 6-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная дивизия) was a Red Army airborne division that fought as infantry during World War II.
Formed in December 1942 from an airborne corps, it first saw combat as an infantry unit in the Staraya Russa in March 1943, then fought in the Battle of Kursk. The division fought in Operation Kutuzov and advanced west in the Battle of the Dnieper. The division then fought in the Kirovograd Offensive and the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive in late 1943 and early 1944.
The 5th Guards received the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Suvorov for actions during the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, then fought in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive. The division advanced westward into Hungary, fighting in the Battle of Debrecen and the Budapest Offensive in late 1944. In the last months of the war it fought in the Bratislava–Brno Offensive and ended the war fighting in the Prague Offensive.
Weeks after the end of the war, it was redesignated as the 113th Guards Rifle Division. It was downsized into a brigade between 1947 and 1953, serving in the Taurida Military District. The division became a motor rifle division in 1957 and disbanded in 1959.7th Mechanized Corps (Soviet Union)
The 7th Mechanized Corps was a mechanized corps of the Red Army, formed three times. The corps was first formed in 1934 in the Leningrad Military District and was converted into the 10th Tank Corps in 1938. The corps was reformed in the summer of 1940 in the Moscow Military District and fought in the Battle of Smolensk, after which its headquarters became part of Group Yartsevo's headquarters. The corps was formed a third time in August and September 1943. The third formation fought in the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, Uman–Botoșani Offensive, Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, Battle of Debrecen, Budapest Offensive, Bratislava–Brno Offensive, Prague Offensive, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. Postwar, the corps' third formation became a division and was disbanded in 1957.99th Guards Rifle Division
The 99th Guards Rifle Division was a Red Army division of World War II. It was formed from the 14th Guards Airborne Division in January 1944. It fought in the Svir-Petrozavodsk Offensive between June and August 1944. It became the 99th Guards Airborne Division in August but was converted into infantry again in December 1944 and January 1945. The division fought in the Budapest Offensive and in the defense against Operation Spring Awakening. At the end of the war it participated in the Vienna Offensive and the Prague Offensive. In August 1945 it transferred to the Far East and was converted into an airborne division in 1946. The division served in the Far East for the next decade and was disbanded in 1956.9th Guards Army
The 9th Guards Army was a field army of the Red Army during World War II, which fought in the Vienna Offensive and the Prague Offensive at the end of the war. The army was formed in January 1945 and included airborne divisions converted into infantry. Postwar, the army headquarters became Soviet airborne headquarters.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.Battle of Prague
Battle of Prague may refer to:
Battle of White Mountain (1620), an early battle in the Thirty Years' War
Battle of Prague (1648), the last action of the Thirty Years' War
Siege of Prague (1742), a siege during the War of the Austrian Succession
Battle of Prague (1757), a battle in which the Prussians defeated the Austrians in the Seven Years' War
Siege of Prague, which directly followed the 1757 battle
Prague Offensive (1945), the last major Soviet operation of World War II in Europe
1st Ukrainian Front
• 2nd Air Army
• 3rd Guards Army
• 5th Guards Army
• 3rd Guards Tank Army
• 4th Guards Tank Army
• 13th Army
• 21st Army
• 28th Army
• 31st Army
• 52nd Army
• 59th Army
• Polish 2nd Army
2nd Ukrainian Front
• 5th Air Army
• 6th Guards Tank Army
• 7th Guards Army
• 9th Guards Army
• 40th Army
• 46th Army
• 53rd Army
• 1st Romanian Army
• 4th Romanian Army
4th Ukrainian Front
• 8th Air Army
• 1st Guards Army
• 18th Army
• 38th Army
• 60th Army
• 1st Czechoslovak Corps
• XIII Corps
• XII Corps
4th Panzer Army
• LXXXX Corps
• Hermann Goering Panzer Corps
• Grossdeutschland Panzer Corps
• LVII Panzer Corps
• VIII Corps
• XVII Corps
• XXXX Corps
1st Panzer Army
• XI Corps
• LIX Corps
• LXXII Corps
• XXXXIX Corps
• XXIV Panzer Corps
• Feldherrnhalle Panzer Corps
• XXXXIII Corps