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Battle for East Prussia
The German Army Defends the Reich
201 pages; 12 chapters and 2 appendixes
In 1944-45 the seemingly irresistible Soviet Army stormed into German East
Prussia. The German Army defending East Prussia was strong but poorly led
and invariably the Soviet Army broke through. Numerous fortified areas covered
a major portion of East Prussia. However, German Army Group North that was
linked to the defense of East Prussia to the north proved invincible and was not
broken by massive Soviet Army assaults. German Army Group North was
transformed into Army Group Courland, which held out until after World War II
Prior to January 1945, in East Prussia, the German Army had experienced a
series of Soviet Army offensives rippling across the western Soviet Union from
June to August of 1944. Those Soviet offensives included the Belorussian
operation, the Lvov-Sandomierz Operation, and the operations in the Baltic States.
As a result, Soviet Army forces swept to the boundary of East Prussia and to
the Narev and Vistula River lines north and south of Warsaw. Battle For East
Prussia describes how the German Army defended East Prussia in 1944-45.
"On 19 January 1945, the Soviet 11th Guards Army began its commitment against the German 3rd Panzer Army's left
flank. The attack was made along a narrow corridor north of the Inster River, on a twelve-kilometer front. Twelve Soviet
divisions advanced westwards, spearheaded by the Soviet 2nd Guards Tank Corps. The Soviet 1st Tank Corps attacked
to the west with orders to turn south, after its initial breakthrough of the German front, into the Soviet 11th Guards Army's
sector. The Red Army’s aim was to cut behind German forces defending the Insterberg-Gumbinnen area of East Prussia.
The Soviet attack caught the German forces in the flank as the Soviet 2nd Guards Tank Corps, and elements of the
Soviet 1st Tank Corps penetrated 20 to 30 kilometers into the German rear area. The German 5th Panzer Division
attempted to react rapidly to meet the Soviet breakthrough and stop it before it reached the critical rail line running to the
rear from Insterberg to Konigsberg.
However, the Soviet armored advance effectively unhinged those German defenses that had held firm for so many days in
the Gumbinnen area. From that point on the entire German defensive front began to unravel."
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Excerpt from Battle for East Prussia