Voronezh-Kastornoe Operation of 1943

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Voronezh-Kastornoe Operation of 1943

 

an offensive operation carried out between January 24 and February 17 by the main forces of the Voronezh Front (Colonel General F. I. Golikov) and the Thirteenth Army of the Briansk Front (Colonel General M. A. Reiter) during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45.

After the defeat of the enemy in the Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh’ Operation of 1943, a 220-km breach from Staryi Oskol to Svatovo formed in the German defense. This created conditions for a thrust at the flank and rear of the German Second Army, which with the Hungarian III Corps (ten German and two Hungarian divisions, totaling 125,000 men, 2,100 guns and infantry mortars, and 65 tanks) was defending the Voronezh-Kastornoe salient (base, 130 km; depth, about 100 km). The enemy’s defense was strongest on the northern and eastern sectors of the salient; its southern face was less fortified and defended by a group made up of remnants of defeated units.

The operation began on January 24 with a thrust by the Fortieth Army reinforced by the Fourth Tank Corps along the Gorshechnoe and Kastornoe axes of operations. On January 25 the Sixtieth Army entered into combat; it completely liberated Voronezh and opened an offensive on Nizhniaia Veduga. On January 25 the troops of the Thirty-eighth Army and on January 26 the troops of the Thirteenth Army passed to the offensive in the general direction of Kastornoe, while part of the forces advanced toward Nizhniaia Veduga. On the evening of January 25 the fascist German command began withdrawing its troops, but on January 28 the strike groupings of the Fortieth, Thirteenth, and Thirty-eighth armies joined near Kastornoe, intercepting the route of retreat of the troops of the German Second Army to the west. Simultaneously, part of the forces of the Thirteenth and Fortieth armies conducted an offensive westward with the aim of creating an outer front of encirclement. Late on January 30 the Soviet troops routed part of the forces of the enemy grouping encircled south of Nizhniaia Veduga, while the grouping’s main forces were squeezed in the vicinity of Novool’shanka, Alisovo, Gorshechnoe, and Staryi Oskol. The enemy made desperate attempts to break out of the encirclement. In bitter combat, which continued until February 17, the encircled grouping was routed by the troops of the Thirty-eighth Army. Nine enemy divisions lost two-thirds of their men and almost all their heavy armament and materiel. As a result of the Voronezh-Kastornoe Operation, which was carried out under the conditions of a severe winter and heavy snowfall, the Soviet troops inflicted a serious defeat on the German Second Army and the Hungarian III Corps. Up to 11 divisions (nine German and two Hungarian) were routed and much of the munitions was captured. The Soviet troops liberated a large part of Voronezh and Kursk oblasts, advanced to the line of the Tim and Oskol rivers, and created conditions for subsequent offensive operations along the Kursk and Kharkov axes.

REFERENCES

Istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1941-1945, 2nd ed., vol. 3. Moscow, 1964.
Morozov, V. P. Zapadnee Voronezha. Moscow, 1956.

G. A. KOLTUNOV

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