|Part of Operation Bagration / Eastern Front|
|Nazi Germany||Soviet Union|
|Commanders and leaders|
(2nd Belorussian Front)
|Casualties and losses|
Osovets is the Russianised version of the Polish name Osowiec / Ossowiec / Ossowitz.
Operational goals[edit | edit source]
The offensive commenced after the 2nd Belorussian Front had successfully taken Grodno and Bialystok in the Belostock Offensive. The Front was issued with new objectives at the end of July, being ordered to move on Łomża (German language: Lomscha) and Ostrołęka (German language: Scharfenwiese) and to enlarge bridgeheads over the Narew river in preparation for a further advance into East Prussia.
The defenders were somewhat aided by fortifications from previous eras, including a major Imperial Russian-era fortress complex at Osowiec on the Biebrza River that was a scene of a siege in 1915 (February to August) during the First World War, and which was partly demolished by Wehrmacht troops in 1939 before its surrender to the Red Army. There were also substantial Soviet border fortifications remaining from the Molotov Line located 20 km west of the old fortress.
Deployments[edit | edit source]
Wehrmacht[edit | edit source]
- Elements of Fourth Army (General Friedrich Hossbach)
- Elements of Second Army (Colonel-General Walter Weiss)
Red Army[edit | edit source]
Below is a list of units credited with participation in the liberation of Osovets, and not those participating in the operation as a whole.
- 87th NKVD Border Guard Regiment (Major Aleksander Olschuk)
- 81st Rifle Corps (General-Major Fedor Zakharov)
- 230th Assault Air Division (General-Major of Aviation Semyon Get'man) (part only)
- 233rd Assault Air Division (Colonel Valentin Smolovik) (part only)
- 229th Fighter Air Division (Colonel Mikhail Volkov) (part only)
- 309th Fighter Air Division (Colonel Vasily Buss) (part only)
- 325th Night Bombing Air Division (Colonel Grigory Pokoyevoy)
- 8th Fighter Air Corps (General-Major of Aviation Fedor Zherebchenko) (from 16th Air Army)
- 215th Fighter Air Division (Colonel Mikhail Yakushin)
- 4th Assault Air Corps (General-Major of Aviation Georgiy Baidukov)
- 199th Assault Air Division (Colonel Nikolay Vinogradov)
The offensive[edit | edit source]
The offensive began on August 6 with further penetrations by the 2nd Belorussian Front west of Byalistok.
The approaches to Osowiec were heavily defended; the 1st Guards Assault Engineer Brigade was required to establish river crossings under fire. Units of the Front stormed and took the fortress, after a heavy air bombardment by Major-General Georgiy Baidukov's 4th Strike Aviation Corps, on August 14. Joseph Stalin's Order no. 166 for that day noted the capture of the fortress and congratulated the units and commanders involved.
August 14 is noted as the end of the offensive in official Soviet historiography, but in fact attempts continued to seize bridgeheads over the Narew throughout the remainder of August. The 49th Army, however, found that the German defences on the approaches to Lomza were difficult to overcome, sustaining many casualties (even losing a divisional commander, Major-General Iakimovich of the 343rd Rifle Division, in their attempt to force the defensive lines).
Lomza itself was not taken until mid-September; there were intense battles along the Narew as Second Army was progressively reinforced and attempted to crush the bridgeheads.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
Although there were many local actions (including attacks by Polish partisans, who had a strong presence in the area) the German defence line on the Narew held through the remainder of 1944, until the 2nd Belorussian Front's advance in the East Prussian Operation of January 1945.
References[edit | edit source]
- Maslov, A., translated by Glantz, D., Fallen Soviet Generals, Routledge, 1998 ISBN 0-7146-4790-X
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Liberation of cities - Poland - Osovets http://www.soldat.ru/spravka/freedom/9-poland.html
- Biography of Aslan Verizov
- See RIA Novosti Archive
- Maslov, p.155
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