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The Zhitomir–Berdichev Offensive[1] operation (Russian: Житомирско-Бердичевская наступательная операция) was a part of the strategic offensive of the Red Army in the right-bank (western) Ukrainian SSR. The offensive operation was conducted by the forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front commanded by General of Army Nikolai Vatutin during World War II, from 24 December through to 14 January 1944. The task was to inflict a crushing defeat on the opposing German 4th Panzer Army of Army Group South, and to advance to the Southern Bug river while preventing new attempts by the enemy to again capture Kiev. As a result of the successful operation, the Soviet troops, after opening an attack on a 300 kilometer front, moved from 80 to 200 km, almost completely liberated the Kiev and Zhitomir regions, and also a number of regions of the Vinnytsa and Rivne Oblasts, and destroyed six enemy divisions.

The 1st Ukrainian Front also occupied a new advantageous position to the north of the main concentration of forces of the Army Group South. The armies of the left wing of front deeply enveloped the enemy formations, which retained the right (western) shore of the Dnieper in the Kaniv region. In the final phase of the operation, from 11 January 1944, the front’s forces deflected strong counter-attacks by the enemy. Besides the formations and units of the Red Army, the 1st Czechoslovak Brigade also participated in the operation.

As a result of the Kiev Strategic Offensive operation late in 1943, troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front under Vatutin took a large bridgehead on the right bank of the Dnieper in the Kiev region that “overhung” the enemy group of the troops in the south-western Ukraine. In an attempt to reduce the bridgehead and to retake Kiev, on 15 November German forces undertook counter-attacks in the region south of Zhytomyr, but this plan was foiled with the Kiev Strategic Defensive operation.

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