Jassy–Kishinev Offensive (August 1944)

The Second Jassy-Kishinev Offensive (Russian: Ясско-кишинёвская стратегическая наступательная операция) appointed by the two cities that determined their starting area (Iasi and Chisinau), was a Soviet offensive during World War II developed in August 1944 against the Axis troops, conducted in eastern Romania.

In this operation the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Front faced the Southern Army Group of the Wehrmacht, including the Armed Forces of Romania, between 20 to August 29, 1944, making the Kingdom of Romania break their alliance with the Third Reich and allowing Soviet advance into the Balkans, as well as cementing the USSR plans to annex the eastern Romanian region of Moldavia.

Background Information

The Red Army had already begun in April 1944 1st Jassy-Kishinev Offensive from the northeastern border of Ukraine to enter Romanian territory, but to begin June of that same year the attack had ended with a Soviet defeat. Despite this, as a result of German defeats in Operation Bagration, the Soviet Stavka planned a new attack against Romania taking advantage of the bad situation of the Southern Army Group of the Wehrmacht and its effective isolation of Army Group Centre.

The Soviet advance Operation Bagration had forced the head of Army Group Center, General Johannes Friessner, to accept that most of the tank divisions of the Wehrmacht were allocated to support the Army Group Center during the Offensive Lvov- Sandomierz. As a result, in August 1944 Army Group South just had three tank units, two German and one Romanian divisions.

Development

Beginning of the battle

The Soviet plan was to launch 2nd Ukrainian Front (formed by four armies: 37th, 46th, and 57th, plus 5th shock troops) attack from Iasi, moving towards the south to envelop the German and Romanian troops were stationed along the Dnestr River to form bridgeheads and penetrate deep into Romanian territory to the Prut River before the Axis troops could withdraw. This advance would attack directly to 8. º German Army and to 4th Romanian Army. Simultaneously, 3rd Ukrainian Front attack across the Dniester near Tiraspol the German 6th Army and the 3rd Romanian Army, and after securing a bridgehead would direct its forces to the northwest to encircle the German and Romanian troops near Chisinau and meet with the troops of the 2nd Ukrainian Front. Won this initiative, the Stavka planned that the Red Army could then join both fronts and lead into a general offensive against Bucharest and Ploiesti oil fields.

The Red Army had 1,250,000 in its favor Soldatos, 16,000 guns and artillery pieces, 1,870 tanks and 2,200 aircraft. The Wehrmacht and Romanian allies gathered 900,000 men, 7,600 artillery pieces, 400 tanks and 810 aircraft, including in these figures to all Romanian forces stationed in their own country.

The Soviet attack was developed according to plan, and on August 20 the two begin their attack Soviet fronts in parallel, with a “hammering” Soviet artillery on the German and Romanian defenses, causing heavy casualties to the troops of the Axis . Germans and Romanians were found sorpendidos at the sudden attack and outnumbered evident, in addition to facing a serious situation because after the German disaster in Operation Bagration can not expect any help from the OKH, while the means of Army Group South to stop the Soviets is too small for this company. After 48 hours of fierce Soviet attack with artillery and tanks, the German command in the Kingdom of Romania lost his two panzer divisions to the overwhelming numerical superoridad Soviet tanks, must rethink the tactics of defense and retreat rapidly towards Wallachia order to save as many soldiers as possible. The 8th German Army was encircled in Iasi by the 2nd Ukrainian Front and nearly destroyed after two days of extremely violent fighting, which a few survivors were able to withdraw in parallel to the river Prut with survivors of the 4th Romanian Army, being persecuted by the Soviets. By August 24 the Soviets had already taken the towns of Bacau and Piatra Neamt, reaching 200 kilometers notrte Bucharest.

The German military collapse in Iasi caused alarm in government circles of the Kingdom of Romania, while the Romanian military discontent regarding the alliance with Germany worsened unable to sustain the Wehrmacht staunch defense of the Romanian territory. The same August 20th the Soviets crossed the Dniester front of Tiraspol and fell on the German 6th Army, which inferiorirdad number was about to be fenced in Chisinau on the evening of August 22, so there was a removal order to avoid massive fence. On 23 August the 3rd Ukrainian Front (with seven armies at their disposal) were about to encircle inevitably the 6th Army and destroy it entirely, being that this unit had already lost much of its power in the two days before the fight while the speed of the Soviet attack disrupted the German supply lines. Other troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, meanwhile, had overwhelmed the defenses of the 3rd Romanian Army in the Dnestr and after three days of attacks had reached the banks of the Prut River on August 22, coming dangerously close to the delta of the Danube Bucharest , and linking on August 23 with the forces of the 2nd Ukrainian Front coming from the north. The troops of the 8th Army who were unable to flee the siege in Iasi had to capitulate to the Soviets to be trapped in Chisinau on 24 August, while the survivors of the 6th Army had rapidly back toward Bucharest.

Outcome

On August 23, when Soviet troops had already exceeded alemanass and Romanian defenses in the Dniester broke a coup in Bucharest, the Romanian capital. A group of politicians sympathetic to the Allies persuaded King Michael I of Romania to depose the dictator Ion Antonescu and install a new government contrary to Germany, the obvious intention was to get Axis Romania, change sides and declare war on the Third Reich , and thereby prevent the destruction and loss of territory that Romania would suffer to be treated by the USSR as a defeated country. The revolt took place quickly and took by surprise the German troops who had not yet participated in the struggle Antonescu’s supporters offered no further resistance, and that day was established in Bucharest a new government headed by Romanian Constantin backed Sanatescu Open King Michael.

The Soviet government agreed to change Romanian government side but Stalin demanded to be allowed free passage through Romanian territory to prosecute Nazis, claiming also that pass Romania Armed Forces to attack on the Wehrmacht. A few hours after having been seized of the coup, some troops of the 8th German Army who were on the west bank of the Prut tried to march on Bucharest to remove the new regime, but were stopped by units Romanian soldiers who closed the step, counting the Romanians with air support from the Air Force of the United States. The German divisions survivors defeat the Soviets retreated to Ploiesti on August 25, to at least fight to keep the oil fields of the area, but were driven away by Romanian troops.

That same day the vanguard of the Red Army entered Bucharest, while the rest of Romania local troops suddenly turned against German forces following an order of Michael I of Romania to expel the Wehrmacht. No options to preserve the Romanian territory, and unable to receive reinforcements, OKH allowed the remnants of German troops in Romania to withdraw as fast as they could toward Hungary, but suffered heavy casualties during that process across the region of Transylvania. On August 29, the last German troops left Romania.

Consequences

The Soviet victory in 2nd Offense Jassy-Kishinev caused Romania to abandon the Axis and also changed sides, becoming belligerent against Germany since August 23, 1944, as a result Romanian troops participated in the rest of World War II sending divisions to fight alongside the Red Army, participating in the campaigns Soviet territories of Hungary and Austria. Likewise, the new Romanian government declared null and void the Second Vienna Award had been set by the Third Reich in 1940. The Romanian side change caused in neighboring Bulgaria fear of a Soviet invasion and led to the appointment of a new Bulgarian government on September 2, in order to maintain the neutral ity to the USSR, while withdrawing to Bulgaria the alliance with the Axis to prevent the entry of Soviet troops. Forcing the Bulgarian decision, the USSR declared war on Bulgaria on September 5, with the troops of the Red Army crossing the Danube and invading Bulgarian soil the next day Bulgarian forces were ordered not to resist Soviet divisions while taking the ports of Varna and Burgas in just three days, but not penetrate the rest of the Bulgarian territory. The crisis was resolved when a coup broke out in Sofia on September 9 and formed a new government anti-German Bulgarian character; immediately Bulgaria sued for peace to the USSR and the Western Allies, declaring war on Germany.

The transit pass issued by Romania allowed Soviet troops reach the territory of Yugoslavia in early October, in order to attack German troops still held there. However, to date the arrival of the Red Army divisions, the partisan s Tito’s Yugoslavia had occupied most of Serbia, the Banat, Vojvodina and Bosnia, expelling from there to the Germans, so the Soviet forces assisted by the Yugoslav partisan s was much less decisive. However, the arrival of the Soviets to Bulgaria and Bulgarian withdrawal of the historical region of Macedonia (returned to Yugoslavia), led to it since early September German troops stationed in Greece accelerate its withdrawal to the north to avoid being besieged by the Soviet advance.

Battles of Romania

Operations of the Second World War

Battles of the Eastern Front (World War II)

Battles of Nazi Germany

Battles of the Soviet Union

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