The Eastern Front was a theatre of World War II which primarily involved combat between the nations and allies of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Combat in the Eastern Front began with the two powers remaining peaceful towards each other, with the annexation of countries such as Albania and portions of Poland by Germany and its allies, and the annexation of Finland and the rest of Poland by the Soviet Union. However, in 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, putting an end to the peacetime. The majority of major battles in the Eastern Theatre from 1941 until the end of the war in 1945 were fought between the two powers. The following timeline indicates major events taking place on the Eastern Front.
|World War II|
The European theatre of World War II was one of the two main theatres of combat during World War II. It saw heavy fighting across Europe for almost six years, starting with Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 and ending with the Western Allies conquering most of Western Europe, the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe including the German capital Berlin, and Germany's unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945 although fighting continued elsewhere in Europe until 25 May. On 5 June 1945, the Berlin Declaration proclaiming the unconditional surrender of Germany to the four victorious powers was signed. The Allied powers fought the Axis powers on two major fronts, but there were other fronts varying in scale from the Italian campaign, to the Polish Campaign, as well as in a strategic bombing offensive and in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East theatre.
The Eastern Front was a theatre of World War II that fought between the European Axis powers against the Soviet Union (USSR), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. Of the estimated 70–85 million deaths attributed to World War II, around 30 million occurred on the Eastern Front, including 9 million children. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome in the European theatre of operations in World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis nations.
The Battle of Moscow was a military campaign that consisted of two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km (370 mi) sector of the Eastern Front during World War II, between September 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow, the capital and largest city of the Soviet Union. Moscow was one of the primary military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union.
Operation Little Saturn was a Red Army offensive on the Eastern Front of World War II that led to battles in Don and Chir rivers region in German-occupied Soviet Union territory in 16–30 December 1942.
The 6th Panzer Division was an armoured division in the German Army, the Heer, during World War II, established in October 1939.
The XXXIX Panzer Corps was a German panzer corps which saw action on the Western and Eastern Fronts during World War II.
The 4th Panzer Army, operating as Panzer Group 4 from its formation on 15 February 1941 to 1 January 1942, was a German panzer formation during World War II. As a key armoured component of the Wehrmacht, the army took part in the crucial battles of the German-Soviet war of 1941–45, including Operation Barbarossa, the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, and the 1943 Battle of Kiev.
The 161 Infantry Division was a major unit of the German Wehrmacht. It fought in the Battle of France, and then later on in the Eastern Front.
When the Second World War in Europe began, the territory which now forms the country of Belarus was divided between the Soviet Union and the Second Polish Republic. The borders of Soviet Belarus were greatly expanded in the Soviet invasion of Poland of 1939. In 1941, the country was occupied by Nazi Germany. Following the German military disasters at Stalingrad and Kursk, the collaborationist Belarusian Central Council (BCC) was formed by the Germans in order to raise local support for their anti-Soviet operations. The BCC in turn formed the twenty-thousand strong Belarusian Home Defence (BKA), active from 23 February 1944 to 28 April 1945. Assistance was offered by the local Soviet administrative governments, and prewar public organizations including the former Soviet Belarusian Youth. The country was soon retaken by the Red Army in 1944. Devastated by the war, Belarus lost significant populations and economic resources. Many battles occurred in Belarusian and neighbouring territory. Belarusians also participated in regional conflicts.
The 110th Rifle Division was a formation of the Soviet Union's Red Army during the course of World War II, which was formed, dissolved, and re-formed three times throughout the war.
The 6th Combined Arms Army is a field army of the Red Army and the Soviet Army that was active with the Russian Ground Forces until 1998 and has been active since 2010 as the 6th Combined Arms Army.
The strategic operations of the Red Army in World War II were major military events carried out between 1941 and 1945 on the Eastern Front or in 1945 in the Far East during the Second World War. Such operations typically involved at least one Front – the largest military formation of the Soviet Armed Forces. The operations could be defensive, offensive, a withdrawal, an encirclement, or a siege – always conducted by at least two Services of the armed forces and often included the naval forces. In most cases the Stavka divided the strategic operations into operational phases which were large operations in their own right. In very few cases the phases were tactical, such as those requiring amphibious landings.
The 30th Army was a Soviet field army of the Red Army active between 1941 and 1943. It was re-organised to the 10th Guards Army on 16 April 1943.
The 39th Army was a Field Army of the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II and of the Soviet Army during the Cold War.
The 252nd Rifle Division was the eighth of a group of 10 regular rifle divisions formed from cadres of NKVD border and internal troops as standard Red Army rifle divisions, very shortly after the German invasion, in the Moscow Military District.
The Demyansk Offensive Operation was part of the Soviet strategic offensive known as Operation Polar Star against Axis forces. The operation took place in Demyansk from 15 to 28 February 1943. The Northwestern Front and Mikhail Khozin Special Group engaged the 16th Army of Army Group North in an operation for control of Demyansk and to destroy Axis forces in the region.
The 103rd Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army, formed three times. It was first formed in 1939. It was converted into a motorized division and fought in the Yelnya Offensive. After being converted back to a rifle division it was destroyed in the Battle of Vyazma. The division reformed in early 1942 but was destroyed during the Second Battle of Kharkov. It was reformed a third time in the Far East in summer 1942 and participated in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria.
The 375th 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 reached the fighting front in December, coming under command of the 29th Army in the vicinity of the Rzhev salient and it took part in the bloody and tragic battles for this heavily-fortified position until March, 1943, mostly as part of 30th Army. Following the German evacuation of the salient the 375th got a brief spell in reserve before being reassigned to Voronezh Front in the buildup to the Battle of Kursk. When the offensive began it held a crucial sector on the extreme left flank of 6th Guards Army where the II SS Panzer Corps attempted to break through south of the salient. Following the German defeat the division joined in the counteroffensive towards Kharkov in August and won its first battle honor. It continued to advance through Ukraine and into Romania over the next eight months, being brought to a halt east of Iași in the spring of 1944. In late August the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts crushed the defending German and Romanian forces, and on the last day of the month the 375th played a leading role in the capture of the Romanian capital, Bucharest; it won its second battle honor and two of its rifle regiments were awarded decorations. For the duration of the war the division fought its way through Romania and Hungary, finally advancing into Austria with 7th Guards Army. Its record of admirable service was capped with the award of the Order of the Red Banner soon following the German surrender, but it was nevertheless disbanded shortly thereafter.