Lower Silesian Operation of 1945

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lower Silesian Operation of 1945

 

an offensive operation by forces of the First Ukrainian Front (commanded by Marshal of the Soviet Union I. S. Konev) from February 8 to 24 during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45).

As a result of the Vistula-Oder operation of 1945, troops of the First Ukrainian Front had reached the Oder River by late January. The immediate zone of the front was defended by one corps of the Ninth Army of Army Group Vistula and the Fourth Panzer and Seventeenth armies of Army Group Center (commanded by Colonel General F. Schörner). Plans called for delivering the main strike against the enemy grouping from two major buildup areas on the Oder, to the north and south of Breslau (Wroclaw). An assault group consisting of the Third Guards, Thirteenth, Fifty-second, and Sixth Combined Arms armies, the Third Guards and Fourth Tank armies, and the XXV Tank and VII Guards Mechanized corps was formed north of Breslau. At the buildup area south of Breslau, the Fifth Guards and Twenty-first armies and the IV Guards Tank and 31st Tank corps were assembled. A third group consisting of the Fifty-ninth and Sixtieth armies and the I Guards Cavalry Corps was to operate on the left flank of the front, delivering a strike from a buildup area southeast of Oppeln (Opole) along the northern slopes of the Sudetes Mountains. The operations of the troops of the front were supported by the Second Air Army.

On February 8 the forces of the front went over to the offensive after an artillery bombardment and on the very first day broke through the enemy defense in the center and on the right flank. The Fifty-ninth and Sixtieth armies were not able to break through the enemy defense and went on the defensive on February 10 by order of the command. Developing the offensive, the main forces of the front routed the enemy reserves that had been brought up, crossed the intermediate defensive lines, and by February 15 had advanced 60–110 km, taking numerous administrative and industrial centers in Lower Silesia, as well as the cities of Naumburg (Nowogrodziec), Liegnitz (Legnica), Bunzlau (Boleslawiec), and Sorau (Zary). Remnants of the enemy’s Fourth Panzer Army retreated beyond the Bóbr River. In the rear of the front remained two surrounded German garrisons in Breslau (about 40, 000 men, liquidated on May 6) and Glogau (about 18, 000 men, liquidated by April 1). By February 24 the forces of the front reached the Neisse River on the same line as the forces of the First Byelorussian Front and took a favorable operational and strategic position for the final strike along the Berlin axis and an encircling position with respect to the Upper Silesian (Oppeln) enemy grouping, which was wiped out during the Upper Silesian operation of 1945.

REFERENCE

Konev, I. S. Sorok piatyi, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.

I. S. LIAPUNOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.