Bagration 1944: The Destruction of Army Group Center
On June 22, 1944, three years to the day after Germany's 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union, the Red Army launched a massive offensive in Byelorussia. Code named Operation Bagration, this campaign climaxed five weeks later with the Red Army at the gates of Warsaw. The Wehrmacht's Army Group Center was routed, a total of 17 Wehrmacht divisions were utterly destroyed, and over 50 other German divisions were shattered. It was the single most calamitous defeat of the German armed forces in World War II. In many respects Operation Bagration was the 1941 Operation Barbarossa invasion in reverse, fought over many of the same battlefields. The Wehrmacht's Army Group Center was routed, a total of 17 Wehrmacht divisions were utterly destroyed, and over 50 other German divisions were shattered. It was the single most calamitous defeat of the German armed forces in World War II, costing the Wehrmacht more men and material than the cataclysm at Stalingrad 16 months earlier. It was all the more catastrophic because it was timed to coincide with D-Day and the Allied liberation of France. This important Russian campaign is little appreciated in the West, overshadowed by the Normandy campaign.
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ORIGINS OF THE BATTLE
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11th Guards Army 1st Baltic Front 1st Byelorussian Front 1st Guards Tank 1st Ukrainian Front 26 June 2nd Guards 3rd Byelorussian Front 3rd Guards Tank 5th Guards Tank 5th Panzer Division 9th Army aircraft anti-tank armoured ARMY Gen.Lt Army Group Centre Army Group North artillery assault assault-guns attack attempt battalion battle Bobruisk bomber Borisov breakout bridgehead campaign captured cavalry Chernyakovskiy Corps Gen Corps Gen.Lt Eastern Front Fester Platz fighter fighting frontline Generalfeldmarschall German defences German forces German infantry German troops Group North Ukraine Guards Rifle Corps Guards Rifle Division Guards Tank Army Guards Tank Corps guns Hitler howitzer Infantry Division Janusz Magnuski July LIII Corps Lvov major Mechanised Corps Minsk Moscow-Minsk highway Operation Bagration Orsha partisan Polish PzKpfw reconnaissance Red Army regiment Rifle Corps Gen.Maj Rokossovskiy Russian sector Sovfoto Soviet infantry Soviet offensive Soviet tank Stalin STAVKA strategic summer tactical Tiger Vitebsk Wehrmacht xxxx