Kiev Offensive Operation of 1943

Kiev Offensive Operation of 1943

 

combat actions by troops of the First Ukrainian (called Voronezh before October 20) Front between November 3 and 13 with the objective of routing the Kiev grouping of fascist German forces and liberating Kiev during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45.

In late September 1943 forces of the First Ukrainian Front (commanded by Army General N. F. Vatutin) reached the Dnieper in the vicinity of Kiev, crossed the river, and captured two beachheads on the right bank—on the Liutezh-Vyshgorod line to the north of the city and in the Velikii Bukrin region to the south. The offensive undertaken by forces of the Fortieth, Twenty-seventh, and Third Guards Tank armies from the Bukrin base of operations on October 12–15 and October 21–23 according to a directive from General Headquarters was not successful because the small size of the base made it difficult to concentrate troops and combat matériel and the enemy had a strong defense. At the same time forces of the Thirty-eighth Army, operating on the axis of the secondary attack, widened the Liutezh base of operations slightly. Taking this into account, General Headquarters ordered the military council of the First Ukrainian Front to shift the main effort to the Liutezh base. It ordered that the Third Guards Tank Army and the Reserve Artillery of the Supreme Command be rushed there secretly for this purpose.

On November 1 the forces of the Fortieth and Twenty-seventh armies went over to the offensive from the Bukrin base of operations, drawing off enemy reserves. On November 3, after heavy artillery preparation (more than 2,000 guns and mortars with a caliber higher than 76 mm and 500 rocket launchers were concentrated on the axis of the main effort) and strikes by aircraft of the Second Air Army, troops of the Thirty-eighth Army and V Guards Tank Corps delivered the main attack from the Liutezh base and broke through the enemy defense to a depth of 5–12 km. On November 4 the Third Guards Tank Army and the I Guards Cavalry Corps were introduced into the battle to develop the offensive. The 1st Czechoslovak Detached Brigade (commanded by Colonel L. Swoboda) fought as part of the Soviet forces. On November 6, Soviet troops took Kiev, on November 7 they liberated Fastov, and on November 12 Zhitomir was liberated. After this, on orders from General Headquarters, the troops of the left wing and center of the First Ukrainian Front went over to the defense for the purpose of repelling the enemy counterstrikes that began on November 8–15, while the forces of the right wing (the Thirteenth and Sixtieth armies) continued the advance and reached the line of Mozyr’, Korosten’, and Cherniakhov by November 25.

As a result of the Kiev offensive operation the enemy’s Kiev grouping was routed (15 German divisions were defeated), the capital of the Ukraine was liberated, and a strategic base of operations was established in the region. This base played an important part in the fighting to liberate the Right-bank Ukraine. Soviet troops were helped greatly by underground party organizations, partisans, and the local population. J. Nálepka’s Czechoslovak partisan detachment fought together with the Soviet partisans.

REFERENCES

Istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza 1941–45, vol 3. Moscow, 1961.
Vtoraia mirovaia voina. Moscow, 1958.
Voznenko, V. V., and G. M. Utkin. Osvobozhdenie Kieva (osen’ 1943 g.). Moscow, 1953.
Zhukov, G. K. Vospominaniia i razmyshleniia. Moscow, 1969.
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