Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh Operation of 1943
Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh’ Operation of 1943
an offensive operation by the troops of the Voronezh Front (commanded by Lieutenant General F. I. Golikov) from January 13 to 27 during the general Soviet Army offensive of the winter of 1942–43 in the Great Patriotic War of 1941—45.
The Voronezh Front was assigned the mission of crushing the Hungarian Second Army and part of the forces of the Italian Eighth Army, which were defending in the Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh’ region. The front was also to liberate the Liski-Kantemirovka railroad section and thus create conditions for a subsequent offensive along the Kursk and Donbas axes. The Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh’ operation involved strikes from bridgeheads on the Don River and from the region northwest of Kantemirovka to break through the enemy defense. Developing the offensive on converging axes toward Alekseevka, Ostrogozhsk, and Karpenkovo, the command intended to surround and wipe out the enemy Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh’ grouping. On the south the operation was supported by an attack by the right flank of the Sixth Army of the Southwestern Front against Pokrovskoe. On the axes of the main strikes the Soviet command was able to establish a significant superiority (by a factor of 2.3–3.7 for infantry, 5–8 for artillery, and 1.3–3.0 for tanks).
On January 13 the troops of the Fortieth Army assumed the offensive from the bridgehead on the Don River (in the Storozhevoe-I region), followed by troops of the XVIII Detached Rifle Corps and Third Tank Army on January 14. By late January 15, as a result of bitter fighting, the enemy defense was broken through on all the axes. On January 17 the left-flank units of the Fortieth Army reached the Ostrogozhsk region, where they met units of the XVIII Rifle Corps, and by late January 18 the XV Tank Corps of the Third Tank Army had joined up with the 305th Rifle Division of the Fortieth Army in the Ilovskoe-Alekseevka region. By this time the XII Tank Corps of the Third Army, which was advancing through Podgornoe against Kamenka, reached the Karpenkovo region and established contact with units of the XVIII Corps.
In this way the main forces of the enemy grouping (13 divisions) were not only surrounded but also broken into two isolated parts. At the same time the troops of the Sixth Army of the Southwestern Front supported the troops of the Voronezh Front on the south by reaching the Belolutsk-Novopskov-Tashkov line, and on January 18–19 units of the Fortieth Army and VII Calvary Corps created an external front of encirclement that ran along the Kostenki-Karaeshnik line and further along the Oskol River in the Valuiki region. All attempts by enemy troops to break out of the encirclement failed, and by January 27 the surrounded groupings had been wiped out.
During the Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh’ operation, Soviet forces advanced 140 km and crushed the main forces of the Hungarian Second Army, the Italian Alpine Corps, and the XXIV German Panzer Corps. Fifteen divisions were completely routed, and six were crippled. A breach was made in the enemy defense, and conditions were created for the Voronezh-Kastornoe operation of 1943 and an offensive on the Kharkov axis.