This article relies largely or entirely on a single source . (October 2016)
|First Jassy–Kishinev Offensive|
|Part of Eastern Front, World War II|
Advance of the Red Army, 1943–1944
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|45,000 casualties||150,000 casualties|
The First Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, named after the two major cities Iași (Jassy) and Chișinău (Kishinev) in the area, refers to a series of military engagements between 8 April and 6 June 1944 by the Soviets and Axis powers of World War II. According to David Glantz, the offensive was supposedly a coordinated invasion of Romania conducted by Red Army's 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts, in accordance with Joseph Stalin's strategy of projecting Soviet military power and political influence into the Balkans.
Iași is the second largest city in Romania, and the seat of Iași County. Located in the historical region of Moldavia, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life. The city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859, then of the United Principalities from 1859 to 1862, and the capital of Romania from 1916 to 1918.
Chișinău, also known as Kishinev, is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Moldova. The city is Moldova's main industrial and commercial center, and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bâc, a tributary of Dniester. According to the results of the 2014 census, the city proper had a population of 532,513, while the number of population in the Municipality of Chișinău was 662,836. Chișinău is the most economically prosperous locality in Moldova and its largest transportation hub.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
According to the plans of the Main Command of the Soviet Military ( Stavka ), the two Soviet fronts would cut off vital Axis defensive lines in Northern Romania, facilitating a subsequent advance by the Red Army into the entire Balkan region.The Soviet attack commenced with the First Battle of Târgu Frumos and the Battle of Podu Iloaiei, and culminated with the Second Battle of Târgu Frumos. Soviet forces failed to overcome German defenses in the region and the offensive operation ultimately failed, mainly due to the poor combat performance of Soviet troops and the effectiveness of German defensive preparations.
The Stavka was the high command of the armed forces in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. In Imperial Russia Stavka refers to the administrative staff, and to the General Headquarters in the late 19th Century Imperial Russian armed forces and subsequently in the Soviet Union. In Western literature it is sometimes written in uppercase (STAVKA), which is incorrect since it is not an acronym. Stavka may refer to its members, as well as to the headquarter location.
The First Battle of Târgu Frumos was part of the First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive of World War II, fought between Axis powers commanded by Otto Wöhler and Soviet forces led by Ivan Konev.
The Battle of Podu Iloaiei was part of the First Jassy–Kishinev Offensive of World War II fought between the Romanians along with their German allies and the Soviets. The battle was a reaction to the Soviet defeat at the First Battle of Târgu Frumos. It consisted mainly of a tank battle near Scobâlțeni where the First Romanian Armored Division held off the Soviet tanks for a single day. At the end of the battle, the Germans joined to drive the Soviets back to the positions they held before the battle.
This operation is part of a series of battles almost completely ignored by Soviet archival records and historiography.According to military historian David Glantz, "During the almost 60 years since the end of World War II, Soviet and Russian military historians and theorists have carefully erased from the historical record any mention of the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts' first Iasi–Kishinev offensive, during which the Red Army's two fronts attempted to invade Romania in April and May 1944. As is the case with so many other military operations the Red Army conducted during the war, they have done this deliberately, in the process relegating this offensive to a lengthy list of "forgotten battles" of the Soviet–German War."
David M. Glantz is an American military historian known for his books on the Red Army during World War II, and the chief editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies.
On 5 March 1944, Marshal Ivan Konev—commander of the 2nd Ukrainian Front—commenced the Uman–Botoşani Offensive operation in the Ukraine. This operation succeeded in separating Army Group South's 1st Panzer-Armee from 8th Army by 17 March.by early April Soviet units approached the Romanian border.
Marshal is a term used in several official titles in various branches of society. As marshals became trusted members of the courts of Medieval Europe, the title grew in reputation. During the last few centuries, it has been used for elevated offices, such as in military rank and civilian law enforcement.
Ivan Stepanovich Konev was a Soviet military commander who led Red Army forces on the Eastern Front during World War II, retook much of Eastern Europe from occupation by the Axis Powers, and helped in the capture of Germany's capital, Berlin.
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.
Starting with early April 1944, Stavka ordered the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts to mount a major offensive with strategic implications in western Romania. 's strategic intentions were to break German and Romanian strategic defenses in northern Romania, capture the key cities of Iași and Chișinău, and afterward project forces deep into Romanian territory, if possible as deep as Ploiești and Bucharest. By 5 April, Konev's front had crossed the upper reaches of Dniester and Prut rivers, captured Khotyn and Dorohoi, and approached Târgu Frumos and Botoşani regions—30–60 mi (48–97 km) northwest of Iași—facing only light Romanian resistance. On 8 April, Konev ordered the 27th and 40th Armies to conduct a coordinated offensive southward along the Târgu Frumos axis, in close cooperation with Semyon Bogdanov's 2nd Tank Army. While Konev's shock group was advancing toward Târgu Frumos, Konstantin Koroteev's 52nd Army and elements of Andrei Gravchenko's 6th Tank Army— which were operating north of Iași—were conducting operations alongside the Iași axis in order to support Konev's main effort.Stavka
3rd Ukrainian Front was a Front of the Red Army during World War II.
Ploiești is a city and county seat in Prahova County, Romania.
Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, at, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km (37.3 mi) north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border.
As Konev's armies prepared to launch their offensive toward Târgu Frumos, Otto Wöhler's 8th Army was involved in the heavy fighting taking place in and around the village of Popricani, 9 mi (14 km) north of Iași, where two Soviet corps were fighting with armored Kampfgruppen , distracting the Germans' attentions and forces away from the critical Târgu Frumos sector. Exploiting the 52nd Army diversionary operations in the Iași region, the three armies of Konev's shock group began advancing southward early in the morning of 8 April. The advance was quite slow due to mud-clogged roads during the rasputitsa (the twice yearly period of water-logged ground), as well as crossing to the west bank of the Prut River northwest of Iași.
Otto Wöhler was a German general in the Wehrmacht and a war criminal during World War II. He rose to a corps and army level commander.
Popricani is a commune in Iași County, Romania, part of the Iași metropolitan area. It is composed of nine villages: Cârlig, Cotu Morii, Cuza Vodă, Moimești, Popricani, Rediu Mitropoliei, Țipilești, Vânători and Vulturi.
In military history, the German term Kampfgruppe can refer to a combat formation of any kind, but most usually to that employed by the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany and its allies during World War II and, to a lesser extent, of the German Empire in World War I.
Konev's armies' initial mission was to reach Târgu Frumos, Pașcani, and Târgu Neamț regions —30–60 mi (48–97 km) west of Iași—and capture the three towns from their Romanian defenders by surprise. While three divisions of 51st Rifle Corps were ordered to press southward toward Pașcani, another two rifle divisions were protecting their advance in the region north and northwest of Târgu Neamţ. Further to the east, seven rifle divisions assigned to 35th Guards and 33rd Rifle Corps of 27th Army would advance southeastward along the Prut starting on 7 April, forcing the Romanian 8th Infantry Division to retreat toward Hârlău, 17 mi (27 km) north of Târgu Frumos. Meanwhile, another two divisions of 33rd Rifle Corps joined by two corps of the 2nd Tank Army would press the Romanian 7th Infantry Division back toward Târgu Frumos.
The Second Battle of Târgu Frumos, part of the First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive, was a military engagement primarily between the Wehrmacht and Red Army forces in May 1944, near Iași, Romania.
The Jassy–Kishinev Operation, named after the two major cities, Iași and Chișinău, in the staging area, was a Soviet offensive against Axis forces, which took place in Eastern Romania from 20 to 29 August 1944 during World War II. The 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts of the Red Army engaged Army Group South Ukraine, which consisted of combined German and Romanian formations, in an operation to reclaim the Moldavian SSR and destroy the Axis forces in the region, opening the way into Romania and the Balkans.
The Battle of Romania in World War II comprised several operations in or around Romania in 1944, as part of the Eastern Front, in which the Soviet Army defeated Axis forces in the area, Romania changed sides, and Soviet and Romanian forces drove the Germans back into Hungary.
The Uman–Botoşani Offensive or Uman-Botoshany Offensive was a part of the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, carried out by the Red Army in western Ukrainian SSR against the German 8th Army of Army Group South. Led by Marshal Ivan Konev, this Soviet operation became one of the most successful Red Army operations of the whole war.
The Battle of Târgu Frumos, also known as the Battles of Târgu Frumos, occurred during 1944 in World War II in and around the town of Târgu Frumos in Iaşi County, Moldavia, Romania.
Mikhail Konstantinovich Puteiko was a Belarusian Red Army major general killed in action during World War II.
The 52nd Army was a field army of the Red Army of the Soviet Union in World War II, formed twice.
The 46th Army was a Soviet Red Army field army during World War II. The army was formed in August 1941 and guarded the Turkish border. During the summer of 1942, it fought in the Battle of the Caucasus. During the spring of 1943, the army helped capture Maykop and Krasnodar. During the summer of 1943, it fought in the Donbass Strategic Offensive and the Battle of the Dnieper. During early 1944, it fought in the Nikopol–Krivoi Rog Offensive and the Odessa Offensive. During the summer it fought in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive. The army advanced westward and participated in the Battle of Debrecen and Budapest Offensive during the fall. After the fall of Budapest in February 1945, the army fought in the Vienna Offensive and the Prague Offensive. During the summer of 1945 the army moved to the Odessa Military District and was disbanded in September.
The 5th Mechanised Corps was a mechanised corps of the Red Army, formed on three occasions. It was first formed in 1934 and was converted into the 15th Tank Corps in 1938. It was reformed in the Far East in 1940 and moved west before the German invasion of the Soviet Union. It fought in the First Battle of Smolensk, losing large numbers of tanks in the Lepel counterattack. The corps was encircled in the Smolensk pocket and after breaking out was disbanded in late August 1941. Its third formation, from elements of the 22nd Tank Corps, occurred in September 1942. The corps fought in: Operation Little Saturn, Operation Gallop, the Second Battle of Smolensk, the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, and the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive. In September 1944, it became the 9th Guards Mechanised Corps.
The 53rd Army was a field army of the Soviet Union's Red Army which was formed in August 1941, disbanded in December 1941, and reformed in May 1942. It fought throughout World War II before again being disbanded after the war in October 1945. The army was first formed for the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran and was disbanded there in December 1941. The army reformed in May 1942. It fought in the Demyansk Pocket, the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of Belgorod, the Battle of the Dnieper, the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket, the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, the Battle of Debrecen, the Budapest Offensive, and the Prague Offensive. At the end of the war in Europe it was moved to the Far East and fought in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The army was disbanded in October 1945.
The 7th Mechanized Corps was a mechanized corps of the Red Army, formed three times. The corps was first formed in 1934 in the Leningrad Military District and was converted into the 10th Tank Corps in 1938. The corps was reformed in the summer of 1940 in the Moscow Military District and fought in the Battle of Smolensk, after which its headquarters became part of Group Yartsevo's headquarters. The corps was formed a third time in August and September 1943. The third formation fought in the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, Uman–Botoșani Offensive, Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, Battle of Debrecen, Budapest Offensive, Bratislava–Brno Offensive, Prague Offensive, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. Postwar, the corps' third formation became a division and was disbanded in 1957.
The 320th Rifle Division was formed in September 1941, as a standard Red Army rifle division, based on an existing division of militia. This formation was devastated in the Kerch Peninsula in May 1942, and officially disbanded before the end of the month. A second division began forming in the Transcaucasus in August, and served for the duration in the southern regions of the Soviet-German front. It distinguished itself in the liberation of Yenakiyevo in March 1943, but also suffered massive losses, including the death of the division's commanding officer, along the Dniestr River in May 1944. A substantially rebuilt division soldiered on through the Balkans, ending the war near Vienna.
The 81st Guards Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army and the Soviet Army. It was formed after the Battle of Stalingrad from the 422nd Rifle Division in recognition of that division's actions during the battle, specifically the encirclement and the siege of the German forces in the city. The 81st Guards continued a record of distinguished service through the rest of the Great Patriotic War, and continued to serve postwar, as a rifle division and later a motor rifle division, until being reorganized as the 57th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade in 2009 in the Russian Ground Forces. Most of its postwar service was in the Soviet (Russian) far east, where it was originally formed as the 422nd.
The 16th Guards Tank Division was a tank division of the Soviet Army and later the Russian Ground Forces.
The 337th Rifle Division was first formed in August 1941, as a standard Red Army rifle division, at Astrakhan. Like the 335th Rifle Division, this formation was assigned to the southern sector of the Soviet-German front during the winter counteroffensive, but was encircled and destroyed during the German spring offensive that formed the Izium Pocket. The division was formed again from July until August 13, 1942, serving in the Caucasus and along the coast of the Black Sea before being moved to the central part of the front to take part in the Soviet counteroffensive following the Battle of Kursk. As the front advanced towards the Dniepr River the 337th was recognized for its role in the liberation of the Ukrainian city of Lubny and was granted its name as an honorific. As the division continued to advance through northern and western Ukraine and into Hungary, it earned further honors before ending its combat path in western Austria.
The 353rd Rifle Division formed on August 27, 1941, as a standard Red Army rifle division, at Krasnodar. It was assigned to the southern sector of the Soviet-German front, at first in 56th Army, and it would remain on this sector for the duration of the war. After assisting in the first liberation of Rostov-on-the-Don in late 1941, but in 1942 it retreated into the Caucasus region, and fought to hold the Axis forces from reaching the coast of the Black Sea. Following the retreat of the Germans and Romanians in the wake of their defeat at Stalingrad, the 353rd took part in the offensives that freed Ukraine in 1943 and 1944, winning a battle honor for the liberation of Dneprodzerzhinsk in October, 1943. In the summer of 1944 it participated in the offensive that finally drove Romania out of the Axis, and then advanced into the Balkan states. Shortly thereafter it was assigned to 37th Army, which was detached from the active army to garrison the southern Balkans, and the division remained on this quiet front for the duration of the war.
The 4th Guards Motor Rifle Division was a motorized infantry division of the Soviet Army during the Cold War.
The 373rd Rifle Division was raised in 1941 as an infantry division of the Red Army, and served for the duration of the Great Patriotic War in that role. It began forming in August 1941 in the Urals Military District. It was moved to the front northwest of Moscow while still trying to complete its training and went straight into action in mid-December during the winter counteroffensive. Until May 1943, it was involved in the bloody fighting around the Rzhev salient. After a period in reserve for rebuilding, the division's combat path shifted southward when it was assigned to 52nd Army, where it remained for the duration of the war. It won a battle honor in eastern Ukraine, then fought across the Dniepr River late that year, and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for its successes. Following this it advanced through western Ukraine in the spring of 1944, then into Romania in the summer, where it played a major role in the second encirclement and destruction of the German 6th Army. After again moving to the reserves the division shifted northwards with its Army to join 1st Ukrainian Front, fighting through Poland, eastern Germany and into Czechoslovakia. By then the 373rd had compiled an enviable record, and went on to serve briefly into the postwar era.