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World War II Wiki
World War II Wiki

Operation Bagration was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian(Modern Day Belarus) Strategic Offensive Operation, a military campaign fought between 23 June -19 August 1944 in Soviet Byelorussia(Belarus) in the Eastern Front of World War II. The result of the operation is the Soviet red army victory, Destruction of Army Group Centre , and the red army were able to take poland quickly.

The offensive would be a characteristically Soviet enterprise, a massive push along a


450-mile-long axis of advance. Four army group fronts would launch artillery barrages and attack simultaneously. To the north, th


e First Baltic Front under General Ivan Bagramyan, ultimately fielding 359,500 men, would push into Latvia to screen the right flank of the main assault and support forces farther south. Below him, the Third Belorussian Front under General Ivan Chernyakhovsky, with 579,300 men, would capture heavily defended Vitebsk and the area north of Orsha, then push southwest toward Minsk, the Belorussian capital, and Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, crushing or encircling Busch’s Third Panzer Army at Vitebsk and his Fourth Army, centered around Orsha. South of Orsha, General Georgy Zakharov’s Second Belorussian Front, with 319,500 men, would help complete the encirclement of Minsk and push west toward Grodno on the Niemen River as part of a mopping-up operation in the wake of the other fronts.

Farthest south, the First Belorussian Front — 1,071,100 men commanded by General Konstantin Rokossovsky — would assault Busch’s Ninth Army, skirting the Pripyat Marshes and pushing due west toward Bobruisk on the Berezina River, then in the general direction of Minsk. The First and Third Belorussian fronts, which held the bulk of the armor and firepower, would attack along converging lines with the aim of encircling the German armies east of Minsk, not simply pushing them back into Poland. To aid the attackers, partisan units coordinated by Stavka, the Red Army high command, would launch demolition attacks against Belorussian railways to prevent reinforcements from reaching the threatened zone.

Because the undertaking was so extensive and complex, the four army group fronts would fall under the overall command of two trusted Stavka representatives. Marshal Aleksandr Vasilevsky, the organizer of victory at Stalingrad, would direct the two northern fronts, while the southern fronts would be supervised by Marshal Georgi Zhukov, who directed the defenses of Leningrad, Moscow and, with Vasilevsky, Stalingrad.

For an offensive of this scope, the Red Army assembled 118 rifle divisions, eight tank and mechanized corps, 13 artillery divisions and six cavalry divisions, a total of approximately 2.3 million frontline and support troops. The attack would be led by the rifle and tank divisions, which collectively fielded 2,715 tanks and 1,355 assault guns. To feed the offensive, the Red Army stockpiled 1.2 million tons of ammunition, rations and supplies behind the front lines.

The assaulting troops would be supported on the ground by 10,563 heavy artillery pieces and 2,306 Katyusha multiple rocket launchers, nicknamed “Stalin’s Organ” because of their pipe-organ appearance. Air cover would be provided by 2,318 fighters of various types, 1,744 Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik ground-attack planes, 655 medium bombers and 431 night bombers; another 1,007 medium bombers would be drawn from the Soviet strategic bomber reserve. The code name selected for the operation referred to General Piotr Bagration, the fiery Russian prince who died fighting Napoleon at Borodino in 1812.

If successful, Operation Bagration promised huge rewards for Stalin. Minsk and other major Belorussian cities would fall back into Soviet hands, and a successful push would isolate Army Group North, which could then be dispatched more or less at Stalin’s leisure. To capitalize on the anticipated success, as Bagration achieved its objectives and the Nazis fed troops from northern Ukraine into Belorussia to stop the onslaught, a secondary Red Army attack would thrust toward Lwow in northern Ukraine, driving Axis troops out of Soviet territory; Romania, Hungary, Warsaw and East Prussia would become the new front lines of the war.