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Ianastasija Omoore
Ianastasija Omoore

From The Don To The Dnepr: Soviet Offensive Ope...

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From The Don To The Dnepr: Soviet Offensive Ope...

The Germans called the operation a fundamentally sound idea ruined by the dilettantism of planners lacking expert knowledge (but praised individual paratroopers for their tenacity, bayonet skills, and deft use of broken ground in the sparsely wooded northern region). Stavka deemed this second (and, ultimately, last) corps drop a complete failure; lessons they knew they had already learned from their winter offensive corps drop at Viazma had not stuck. They would never trust themselves to try it again.

At the end of the offensive, Soviet forces controlled a bridgehead 300 kilometers wide and up to 80 kilometers deep in some places. In the south, the Crimea was now cut off from the rest of the German forces. Any hope of stopping the Red Army on the Dnieper's east bank was lost.

The Soviet success during this battle created the conditions for the follow-up Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive on the right-bank Ukraine, which was launched on 24 December 1943 from a bridgehead west of Kiev that was secured during this battle.[12] The offensive brought the Red Army from the Dnieper all the way to Galicia (Poland), Carpathian Mountains and Romania, with Army Group South being split into two parts- north and south of Carpathians.

Consisting of a whole series of closely linked operations, the goal of this offensive was to split the Wehrmacht's Army Group South and to clear the German-Romanian-Hungarian forces from most of the Ukrainian and Moldavian territories, which were occupied by Axis forces. It was one of the biggest offensives of World War II, stretching over a 1,200 km (745 mi) front, to a 450 km depth (280 mi) and involving almost 3,500,000 troops from both sides.[30]

As a result of this strategic offensive, Wehrmacht's Army Group South was split into two parts, north and south of the Carpathian Mountains. The northern portion was pushed back into western Galicia, while the southern portion was pushed back into Romania. The northern portion was renamed to Army Group North Ukraine, while the southern portion to Army Group South Ukraine, which was effective from 5 April 1944, although very little of Ukraine remained in German hands. It was during this offensive that the Red Army reached the June 1941 borders of the USSR, recapturing the territory seized during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland.[34]

In accordance with the general military-political task of completely clearing the Soviet land from the German forces and restoring the USSR's state borders from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea, the Soviet Supreme Command, Stavka, for the winter of 1943/44 planned a series of major offensive operations- near Leningrad and Novgorod, in Belarus, on the right-bank Ukraine and in the Crimea.[57]

The terrain in the combat areas was very diverse, ranging from vast wooded swampy areas, endless steppes, to mountains and hills. On the right-bank Ukraine there are many rivers flowing mainly from the northwest to the southeast: for example, the Dnieper, Southern Bug, Ingulets, Dniester, Prut and Siret. Those rivers were serious natural barriers for the advancing Red Army troops that could be used by the Germans to organize defense. In general, the vast territory of the right-bank Ukraine allowed the Soviets to launch broad offensive operations and use all types of troops, including large armored and mechanized formations.

To close the gaps in their defense and to stop the Soviet offensive on this sector, the Germans had to urgently transfer 12 divisions of the 1st Panzer Army from the southern Ukraine to this area. The reserves turned out to be almost completely spent, which affected the further course of operations. To parry the subsequent attacks of the Soviet troops, the German command was forced to deploy troops from Western Europe, as well as from Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia.[77]

SENIOR MILITARY OFFICIAL: Yeah, thanks for the question. So, -- so what I would say is, you know, our focus is


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