The general course campaign

The short description of operations in territory of East Prussia
During the period October 1944 - April, 1945

East Prussian operation*

On October, 18th, 1944 armies of 3rd Belarus front (the commander – general I.D.Chernyakhovsk) with fights have entered on territory of East Prussia. After capture of several frontier settlements, approach of the Soviet armies has been suspended. Item opposition in frontier area of East Prussia after the first stage of fights lasted 2,5 months. During this period command of 3 Belarus fronts prepared resolute operation, the opponent improved defence.

In territory of northern part of East Prussia old strengthenings were quickly modernised and field defence which system included the Ilmenhortsky, Lettsensky, Hajlsbergsky Allenshtajnsky, Mlavsky and Torunsky strengthened areas, and also 13 fortresses was created.*

Defence of this area has been assigned to group of armies "Centers" under command of the general of G.Rejngardta. It consisted of 35 infantry, 4 tank and 4 motorised divisions, gravity s and 2 separate groups and totaled 780 thousand soldiers and officers, from them 200 thousand folksturmovez, 8200 tools and mortars, 700 tanks and assault tools and 775 warplanes.

The approach of the Soviet armies which have become history as East Prussian operation, has begun on January, 13th, 1945.

According to a plan of the Rate of General headquarters the overall aim of East Prussian operation consisted in cutting armies of group of armies "Centers" from other forces, to press them to the sea, to dismember and destroy in parts, completely having cleared of the enemy territory of East Prussia and Northern Poland. Cutting off of group of armies "Centers" from the main forces of fascist armies was assigned to 2nd Belarus front (the commander — general K.K.Rokossovsky). In a strip to the north of Masurian lakes on Kyonigsberg struck blow 3rd Belarus front (the commander - general I.D.Chernyakhovsk). It was assisted by 43rd army of 1st Baltic front transferred on January, 19th in structure of 3rd Belarus front. Krasnosnamensk the Baltic fleet under command of an admiral F. Tribuza should active actions from gulf of Riga to the Pomeransky bay break sea messages on communications, aircraft blows, fire of ship coastal artillery, disembarkation of landings to seaside flanks of the opponent to promote the land forces coming along coast.

As a part of the armies, attacking an East Prussian direction, was available 14 combined, tank and two air armies, four tank, the mechanised and cavalry separate cases which totaled in the structure of 1 million 669 thousand persons, 25 426 tools and mortars, 3859 tanks and self-propelled artillery installations, 3097 planes. Thus, the Soviet armies surpassed the opponent in staff in 2,1 times, artillery — in 3,1, in tanks — in 5,5 and in planes — in 4 times.

The first armies of 3rd Belarus front which activity will be considered in more details on January, 13th, 1945 have gone over to the offensive.

After powerful artillery preparation of connection of 39th, 5th and 28th armies which the generals I.I.Ljudnikov, N.I.Krylov, A.A.Luchinsky supported by fire of artillery accordingly ordered, have advanced to the attack. On the night of January, 17th the tactical zone of defence of the opponent has been broken through, and 39th army operating here has passed to prosecution of the departing enemy. 1st tank case of general V.V. Butkova, and then and connection of 11th Guards army has been entered into the formed break under command of general K.N.Galitsky in the beginning. As a result of six-day continuous fights of an army of 3rd Belarus front have broken through defence of the opponent to the north Gumbinnen, have put a crushing defeat of 3rd German tank army and have created conditions for blow on Kyonigsberg.  2nd Belarus front has gone over to the offensive on January, 14th from bases on the river Narev, to the north of Warsaw, on the Mlavsky direction. By the end of month they have released territory of Northern Poland, by January, 26th have finished cutting off of East Prussian grouping of the opponent and, having created strong internal front from the southwest, have carried out the problem set by it.

More difficultly, but also it is successful, approach of armies of 3rd Belarus front on Konigsberg irection developed. On January, 20th the Soviet armies have seized city Tilsit. In second half of day on January, 21st front armies have broken resistance of the opponent and took city Gumbinnen, and to morning of next day city Insterburg has been grasped.

By February, 1st of a part and connection of 11th Guards and 5th armies isolated Konigsberg from the south, and connection of 39th and partially 43rd armies have rejected divisions of the enemy from Kyonigsberg deep into Zamlandsky peninsula, having formed external front of an environment.

Thus, within four weeks the most part of territory of East Prussia and Northern Poland has been occupied by the Soviet armies, created here  defence has been broken, and the serious loss in a manpower and the technician is caused to the enemy. Conditions for destruction of the surrounded groupings of Hitlerites have been created.

On February, 10th, 1945 the second stage of operations on destruction of the largest, haylsbergsky groupings of armies of the opponent, demanded considerable time - - on its liquidation has begun more than 1,5 months. Final fights in the end of March went around Heiligenbeil – Balga.

By March, 29th of an army of 3rd Belarus front have completely crushed grouping of the enemy jugo-to the west Kyonigsberg, thus having destroyed 220 thousand and having captivated 60 thousand soldiers and officers wehrmacht. As trophies it has been grasped 650 tanks and assault tools, to 5600 tools and mortars, over 8 thousand machine guns, more than 37 thousand motor vehicles, 128 planes.

Preparation for storm of fortified city Konigsberg has begun. 39th should participate In it, 43rd, 50th and 11th Guards armies. In total for carrying out of offensive operation it has been decided to involve about 5200 tools and mortars, 125 tanks and 413 samohodno-artillery installations. For support of armies from air it was allocated about 2400 warplanes. Direct storm of a fortress was preceded by the four-day period of destruction of long-term engineering constructions of the opponent.

On April, 6th after powerful artillery preparation the infantry and tanks have moved on storm of serf strengthenings. Four days went fierce fights. On April, 9th the garrison of a fortress of  Kyonigsberg apitulated. It has been destroyed to 42 thousand and it is taken prisoner about 92 thousand soldiers and officers of the opponent.

On April, 13th in a direction on Fischhausen destruction of last grouping of the opponent has begun approach of armies of 3rd Belarus front. On April, 17th front armies have occupied Fischhausen and have begun fights for mastering by Pillaussky peninsula. On April, 20th, 1945 11th Guards army in interaction with forces of the Navy has seized on April, 26th naval fortress Pillau. With defeat of grouping of Hitlerites on plait Frische-Nerung in the end of April, East Prussian operation has been finished.  

The victory in East Prussian operation has entered into military history as an epopee of valour, courage and heroism of the Soviet soldiers, officers, generals. For exemplary performance of fighting tasks over one thousand connections and parts have been awarded by awards, and 217 from them have received the name Insterburgsky, Mlavsky, Kyonigsbergsky and others.