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a special type of offensive, operational or strategic in scope, with the objective of routing an advancing enemy who has been weakened in preceding battles against defending forces.
Unlike the conventional offensive, preparations for the counteroffensive are made in the course of defensive battle. The history of the art of war gives many examples where a counteroffensive grew into a general offensive of all the forces of the defending troops and achieved major strategic objectives. During the Civil War and military intervention of 1918–20 it was in the course of a counteroffensive that the forces of the Red Army routed the counterrevolutionary troops of A. V. Kolchak (1919), N. N. ludenich (1919), and A. I. Denikin (1919) and the army of bourgeois-landowner Poland (1920). During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 the outstanding examples of counteroffensives by Soviet troops were the counteroffensives during the battles of Moscow (1941–42), Stalingrad (1942–43), and Kursk (1943). In all these operations the counterofl’ensive ended with the defeat of the enemy, and in each case the Soviet forces switched to a general offensive.
N. N. FOMIN