Combat actions of the 4th Ukrainian front troops for the liberation of Poland and Czechoslovakia in January 1945

Author(s):  T.R. Latypov, JSC «Zarubezhneft», Moscow, Russia,

Issue:  Volume 46, № 1

Rubric:  Topical issues of russian history

Annotation:  In the second half of January 1945, the 18th and the 1st Guards armies of the 4th Ukrainian Front took part in the Western Carpathian strategic offensive operation, liberating the northern regions of Slovakia, and the 38th Army in the Vistula-Oder strategic offensive operation, freeing the southern regions of Poland. Their opponents were German and Hungarian troops from the 17th and 1st Panzer Armies of Army Group «A». The enemy's defense included a number of advanced, intermediate and rear lines, which were based on natural obstacles and prepared in engineering terms. However, five days after the commencement of the 18th Army offensive and three days after the onset of the 38th Army offensive, the German command, fearing encirclement, decided to withdraw its troops. From January 18 to 29, 1945, troops of the 4th Ukrainian Front carried out an operation to pursue an organized retreat enemy, whose ski-rearguers actively used mining and anti-tank grenade launchers. In turn, the Soviet troops, in a mountainous-woodland environment, overcoming snowdrifts and icing roads, used such tactical methods as the creation of advanced mobile groups, advance without a solid front and with open flanks, infantry assaults on self-propelled artillery systems, the use of antiaircraft artillery and machine guns against the infantry of the enemy and others. The result of the operation of the persecution was the defeat inflicted on several German and Hungarian formations, the advance of the forces of the Fourth Ukrainian Front to 120–205 km and the liberation of significant territories of Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Keywords:  4th Ukrainian Front, Western Carpathian and Vistula-Oder strategic offensive operations, retreat, pursuit, tactics.

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