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isolating a certain enemy grouping from the remainder of enemy troops in order to subsequently destroy or capture the grouping.
Encirclement is most often achieved when the enemy defense is broken through in two or more sectors of the front and the attack develops along converging axes. As a result, a solid internal front and an active external front are created, cutting the surrounded grouping off from the remainder of its forces. Encirclement may be carried out during pursuit of a retreating enemy, when defending troops conduct counterattacks and counter-strikes along converging axes, and when troops are operating along a coastal axis and the enemy is pressed against the sea and cut off from other forces. A superiority over the enemy in forces and weapons is ordinarily established during actions with the objective of encirclement. Sometimes, under favorable conditions, encirclement is possible with equal forces. The surrounded enemy grouping is blockaded from the air and, on coastal axes, from the sea.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, Soviet forces successfully encircled and routed major enemy groupings in the battle of Stalingrad of 1942–43, the Korsun’-Shevchenkovskii operation of 1944, the Iasi-Kishinev operation of 1944, the Byelorussian operation of 1944, the Budapest operation of 1944–45, the East Prussian operation of 1945, and the Berlin operation of 1945.
P. K. ALTUKHOV