The Battle of the Dnepr: The Red Army's Forcing of the East Wall, September-December 1943

The Battle of the Dnepr: The Red Army's Forcing of the East Wall, September-December 1943

by Richard Harrison

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The Battle of the Dnepr: The Red Army’s Forcing of the East Wall, September-December 1943, details a critical period in the Red Army’s advance along the southwest strategic direction during the general offensive that followed the fighting in the area of the Kursk salient in July-August 1943. The Germans, who were now on the strategic defensive in the East, sought to fall back and consolidate their front along the line of the Dnepr River. The Red Army’s success in overturning these expectations along this particularly important sector is the subject of this study.

This is a composite work based upon three studies carried out by the Red Army General Staff’s military-historical directorate, which was charged with collecting and analyzing the war’s experience. The first is a lengthy internal document, dating from 1946, which was eventually published in Russia in 2007, although heavily supplemented by commentary and other information not contained in the original. The present work omits these additions, while supplying its own commentary in places deemed necessary. Two short articles from another publication round out the collection.

The book is divided into two parts. The first deals with the efforts by General N.F. Vatutin’s Voronezh (later renamed First Ukrainian) Front to exploit the Soviet victory during the battle of Kursk and to carry the war to the Dnepr River and beyond. This involved pursuing the retreating Germans and attempting to seize crossings over the Dnepr in the Kiev area before the Germans could get across and consolidate their position. Although they were able to seize several small footholds, the Soviets were unable at first to expand them to bridgeheads of operational significance. By shifting their efforts to the bridgehead north of Kiev, the Soviets were eventually able to break out and capture Kiev, although a German counterattack from the Zhitomir area threw them back somewhat. Nevertheless, by the end of the year the Red Army in this area was ready to resume the offensive to retake the Ukrainian right bank.

The two articles, which comprise the second part, cover the combat operations of General I.S. Konev’s Steppe (later renamed Second Ukrainian) Front through Poltava and Kremenchug and to cross the Dnepr and seize bridgeheads south of Kiev. This is a more narrowly focused tactical-operational study, dealing with the efforts of the front’s 37th and 52nd armies to expand their positions on the Ukrainian right bank into operational bridgeheads capable of supporting a larger offensive to the west in 1944.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781913118471
Publisher: Helion and Company
Publication date: 04/19/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 344
File size: 53 MB
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About the Author

Richard W. Harrison earned his Undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Georgetown University, where he specialized in Russian Area Studies. He later earned his doctorate in War Studies from King’s College London. He also was an exchange student in the former Soviet Union and spent several years living and working in post-communist Russia. Dr Harrison has worked for the US Department of Defense as an investigator in Russia - dealing with cases involving POWs and MIAs. He has also taught Russian History and Military History at college and university level - most recently at the US Military Academy at West Point. Dr Harrison lives with his family near Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

List of Maps vii

List of Tables viii

Preface to the English-Language Edition ix

Part I The First Ukrainian Front's Offensive along the Kiev Axis in 1943 11

Introduction 13

A Brief Military-Geographical Description of the Area of Combat Activities 16

The Operational Situation in the Voronezh Front's Sector 23

1 The Forcing of the Dnepr and the Seizure of Bridgeheads Along the River's Right Bank. The Voronezh Front's Offensive Operation in October 1943 26

The Forcing of the Dnepr and the Seizure of Bridgeheads Along the River's Right Bank (22-29 September) 26

The Voronezh Front's First Offensive on the Right Bank of the Dnepr in October 1943 48

The Voronezh Front's Second Offensive Along the Right Bank of the Dnepr in October 1943 70

The Organization of Communications and Troop Control During the Front's First and Second Offensives in October 1943 73

Results and Conclusions 74

2 The First Ukrainian Front's November Offensive Operation 80

The Planning and Preparation of the Operation 80

The Breakthrough of the German Defense North of Kiev and the Liberation of Kiev (3-6 November). The Fighting Along the Front's Left Wing on the Bukrin Bridgehead 109

Overall Results and Conclusions from the First Ukrainian Front's November Offensive Operation 140

3 The First Ukrainian Front's Defensive Battles in the Areas of Kornin, Zhitomir and Brusilov During 13-30 November. The Offensive by the Front's Right Flank Along the Korosten' and Ovruch Axes 144

The First Ukrainian Front's Defensive Battles in the Area of Kornin, Zhitomir and Brusilov 144

The Offensive by the 60th Army's Right Wing Along the Korosten' Axis 157

The 13th Army's Offensive Along the Ovruch Axis 158

Rear Organization and Materiel Support 159

Results and Conclusions From the First Ukrainian Front's Defensive Fighting During the Second Half of November 1943 162

Conclusions 170

Part II The Second Ukrainian Front's Operations in September-December 1943 241

1 The Forcing of the Dnepr by the 37th Army in the Kremenchug Area (September-October 1943) 243

Introduction 243

The Training of the 37th Army's Forces for Forcing the Dnepr 247

The Forcing of the Dnepr and the Seizure of Bridgeheads Along its Right Bank 264

Brief Results and Conclusions 284

2 The Forcing of the Dnepr by the 52nd Army in the Cherkassy Area (November-December 1943) 290

Introduction 290

The Operation's Preparation 295

The Conduct of the Operation 309

The Operation's Results and Brief Conclusions 333

Index 340

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