Donbas Offensive Operation of 1943

Donbas Offensive Operation of 1943

 

an offensive operation by the troops of the Southwestern and Southern fronts from August 13 to September 22 during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45.

The rout of the fascist German troops in the battle of Kursk (1943) created favorable conditions for the liberation of the Donbas, which the fascist German command strove to hold at any cost. The Donbas was defended by the First Panzer Army and the Sixth Army of Army Group South under the command of Field Marshal F. E. von Manstein (a total of more than 20 divisions). The forward edge of the enemy’s deeply echeloned defense extended along the Severskii Donets and Mius rivers. On August 13 and 16 the troops of the right wing and center of the Southwestern Front (commanded by General of the Army R. la. Malinovskii) passed to the offensive. Forcing the Severskii Donets and capturing Izium, they attracted strong enemy reserves and thus facilitated the troops of the Southern Front (commanded by General of the Army F. I. Tolbukhin) to break through the enemy’s defense on the Mius River. The troops of the Southern Front passed to the offensive on August 18 and in the course of six days of bitter combat broke the enemy’s defense to the north of Kuibyshevo and captured the important strong point of Donetsko-Amvrosievka. Large mechanized and cavalry units were brought into the breakthrough, and they launched an offensive in a southern direction, enveloping the enemy’s Taganrog grouping.

Developing the offensive, the troops of the Southern Front liberated Taganrog on August 30. On September 1-2 the troops of the Southwestern and Southern fronts turned to the pursuit of the retreating enemy, and by September 8 they had advanced 75 km. Stalino (now Donetsk) was liberated on September 8. Mariupol’ and Osipenko were liberated with the support of landing forces from the Azov Military Flotilla. By September 22 the troops had reached a line extending from Novomoskovsk to the east of Zaporozh’e to the Molochnaia River. As a result of the Donbas Offensive Operation, the Soviet troops with the assistance of the partisans crushed a large enemy grouping, liberated the Donbas, and created favorable conditions for subsequent operations to liberate Northern Tavria, the Right-bank Ukraine, and the Crimea.

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