Korsun-Shevchenkovskii Operation of 1944
Korsun’-Shevchenkovskii Operation of 1944
an offensive operation of the First Ukrainian Front (commanded by Soviet Army General N. F. Vatutin) and the Second Ukrainian Front (commanded by Soviet Army General I. S. Konev) on January 24-February 17 in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45.
The aim of the Soviet command was to deliver strikes with the troops of the First and Second Ukrainian fronts in the general direction of Zvenigorodka in order to surround and destroy the grouping of fascist German troops in the Korsun’-Shevchenkovskii salient, which had been formed in the preceding Zhitomir-Berdichev and Kirovograd operations. At the beginning of the operation the Soviet troops had 27 rifle divisions, one mechanized and four tank corps (255,000 men, 5,300 guns and mortars, and 513 tanks and self-propelled guns), and 772 combat planes. The enemy had 14 divisions (including three tank divisions), one motorized brigade (170,000 men, 2,600 guns and mortars, and 310 tanks and assault guns), and 1,000 combat planes.
On January 24 the troops of the Second Ukrainian Front (Fourth Guards Army, Fifty-third Army, and Fifth Guards Tank Army), supported by the Fifth Air Army, passed to the offensive with advanced detachments and on January 25, with the main forces. The troops of the First Ukrainian Front (Fortieth and Twenty-seventh Armies and Sixth Tank Army), sup-ported by the Second Air Army, opened the offensive on January 26 and made contact with the troops of the Second Ukrainian Front on January 28 near Zvenigorodka. Up to ten fascist German divisions and one brigade, a total of about 80,000 men, were encircled.
To help the encircled troops, the fascist German command tried to break through the front of encirclement in the regions of Novomirgorod and Tolmach (February 3) and Rizino (February 4), but they failed. The ring of encirclement squeezed tighter and tighter. On February 8 the Soviet command asked the enemy divisions to lay down their arms, but the enemy rejected the proposal. On the outer front the enemy continued reinforcing the grouping of troops, which by February 10 had six infantry and eight tank divisions and various detached units (a total of over 110,000 men and 940 tanks and assault guns).
On February 11 the enemy once more opened an offensive from the Rizino region, pressed the Soviet troops while suffering great losses, and reached the Lysianka region. The encircled fascist German troops succeeded on February 12 in breaking through from the Steblev region to the Shenderovka region, and the distance between them and the German troops in the Lysianka region was reduced to between 10 and 12 km. On February 12 the Headquarters of the Supreme Command, in order to unite the efforts of all the troops assigned to destroy the enemy, subordinated them to the commander of the Second Ukrainian Front. On the night of February 16 three enemy columns, under the cover of a blizzard, moved from Shenderovka to break through the front of encirclement, but only a small group of tanks and armored personnel carriers succeeded in joining their troops in Lysianka.
About 55,000 enemy soldiers and officers were killed or wounded and over 18,000 captured in the Korsun’-Shevchenkovskii operation. The elimination of the Korsun’-Shevchenkovskii enemy grouping set the stage for the final liberation of the Right-bank Ukraine.
REFERENCESIstoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1941-1945, vol. 4. Moscow, 1962.
Grylev, A. N. Dnepr — Karpaty— Krym. Moscow, 1970.
A. N. GRYLEV