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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a special type of offensive, operational or strategic in scope, with the objective of routing an advancing enemy who has been weakened in preceding battles against defending forces.

Unlike the conventional offensive, preparations for the counteroffensive are made in the course of defensive battle. The history of the art of war gives many examples where a counteroffensive grew into a general offensive of all the forces of the defending troops and achieved major strategic objectives. During the Civil War and military intervention of 1918–20 it was in the course of a counteroffensive that the forces of the Red Army routed the counterrevolutionary troops of A. V. Kolchak (1919), N. N. ludenich (1919), and A. I. Denikin (1919) and the army of bourgeois-landowner Poland (1920). During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 the outstanding examples of counteroffensives by Soviet troops were the counteroffensives during the battles of Moscow (1941–42), Stalingrad (1942–43), and Kursk (1943). In all these operations the counterofl’ensive ended with the defeat of the enemy, and in each case the Soviet forces switched to a general offensive.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Next, it is quite possible the Soviets did themselves more harm than good by their fruitless battering of German lines in hasty counteroffensives. The Smolensk pocket trapped and destroyed three Soviet armies; the most successful Soviet counterattack (by Konev's 19th Army) succeeded in damaging a German infantry division.
Taking advantage of the pause, Timoshenko launched Ivan Konev's 19th Army in a counteroffensive north of Smolensk, while Georgii Zhukov relentlessly pounded the German bridgehead across the Desna River at El'nia, just east of Smolensk.
forces south of Seoul in a massive counteroffensive (November 25, 1950-January 15, 1951); unable to maintain his gains, he was forced back northward by a series of U.N.