Upper Silesian Operation of 1945

Upper Silesian Operation of 1945

 

an offensive operation of the troops of the First Ukrainian Front, under the command of Marshal of the Soviet Union LS. Konev, on March 15-31; it was part of the strategic offensive of the Soviet Army from January to March 1945 along a 1,200 km front from the Baltic Sea to the Danube. As a result of the Vistula-Oder Operation of 1945 and the Lower Silesian Operation of 1945, the troops of the First Ukrainian Front reached the Oder and Neisse rivers, outflanking the Upper Silesian grouping of the fascist German troops (the Seventeenth Army and the army group of Heinrici of Army Group Center). Directly in the zone of the impending offensive of the Soviet troops, the Germans had the First Panzer Army and the Seventeenth Army of Army Group Center, with a total of about 20 divisions, 340 tanks and assault guns, about 5,000 guns and infantry mortars, and 750 aircraft. The aim of the Upper Silesian Operation was the encirclement and destruction of the enemy grouping southwest of Oppeln and the approach of the troops of the left wing of the front to the foothills of the Sudetes. The commander of the front formed two main attack forces: one north of Oppeln, composed of the Fourth Tank Army, the Twenty-first Army, the IV Rifle Corps and the IV Guards Tank Corps; and the other south of Oppeln, composed of the Fifty-ninth Army, the Sixtieth Army, the VII Guards Mechanized Corps, and the 31st Tank Corps. On March 15 both Soviet groups passed to the offensive, in three days broke through the tactical zone of the enemy defense, and on March 18 completed the encirclement of five enemy divisions southwest of Oppeln. On March 19-20 the encircled grouping was liquidated. The fascist German troops lost about 60,000 men, including 18,000 prisoners. As a result of the Upper Silesian Operation, the Soviet troops seized the southwestern part of Upper Silesia and on March 31 reached the frontiers of Strehlen, the Neisse River, and Dollen in the foothills of the Sudetes, taking up a favorable position for delivering a blow along the Dresden and Prague axes.

F. D. VOROB’EV

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