The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello to all :D; here goes a little story dealing with the actions carried out by one Soviet Rifle Division, which was but one division among the 166 assembled for Operation Bagration...........

THE BATTLE OF BOBRUISK
Background - Tactical Situation.

In the spring and early summer of 1944, the German Army in Poland was preparing for what it knew would be a massive onslaught by the Russian Army. All hopes for a German victory in the east had faded with the disastrous campaigns of 1942, and the Germans hung on hoping for a stalemate at best. Napoleon's great leader, General Ney, wrote in his memoirs that Napoleon's soldiers marched to Waterloo "without fear and without hope." This was the sentiment of most German officers at the onset of the great Russian counteroffensive in 1944.

By April of 1944, the series of offensives and counteroffensives that characterized the eastern front over the past three years had left the Red Army postured to begin the final push that would "liberate" White Russia and take the war to the borders of Germany. The operation, code named BAGRATION, was planned to coincide with the Allied invasion at Normandy though Stalin eventually launched the counteroffensive on June 22, 1944, the third anniversary of the German invasion of Russia.

Operation BAGRATION'S purpose was the envelopment of the German Army Group Center in White Russia by two attacking Soviet forces: a northern force comprised of two fronts and commanded by Marshal Alexander Vasilevsky, and a southern force, also containing two fronts, commanded by Marshal Georgi Zhukov. The battle for Bobruisk was the first phase of the southern force's mission, and would form the penetration that would allow Zhukov to pursue and envelop German forces from the south (Figure 6).

Source: SETTING THE CONDITIONS: THE COMMANDER'S INTEGRATION OF FIRE SUPPORT IN MANEUVER WARFARE. SAMUEL R. WHITE, JR., MAJ, USA B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1984.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Figure 6.
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello to all :D; more follows................

The city of Bobruisk site astride important crossing sites on the Berezina River, and was key to zhukov's success in the operation (Figure 7).

These crossing sites would be vital in the rapid advance of a Soviet second echelon front (2nd Belorussian Front) across the river and to the west towards Minsk. Though other crossings are available further to the south, the marshy terrain of the Pripyat Swamp relegated the southern axis to the role of economy of force.

Bobruisk was zhukov's main effort, and against it he would commit the bulk of the forces of the 1st Belorussian Front (commanded by Marshal Viktor Rokossovski) to create the penetration, while the forces of the 2nd Belorussian Front waited to exploit towards Minsk. The crossings had to be taken at all costs.

Source: SETTING THE CONDITIONS: THE COMMANDER'S INTEGRATION OF FIRE SUPPORT IN MANEUVER WARFARE. SAMUEL R. WHITE, JR., MAJ, USA B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1984.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello to all :D; more follows................

The 14th Rifle Division.

The 14th Rifle Division was but one division among the 166 assembled by the Soviets for Operation BAGRATION. The 14th Rifle Division, part of the 65th Army, was given the mission to seize one of the key crossing sites south of Bobruisk to allow the First Guards Tank Corps to pass to the west. Figure 8 reflects the composition of the 14th Division (See below).

Opposing the division on the west side of the Berezina was a Regiment (nine companies) of German infantry, supported by three battalions of 105 millimeter towed artillery (Figure 9). The German defenses were arrayed in three echelons! a four company battalion as the first, a two company battalion as the second, and a two company battalion as the third; a rifle company formed the reserve.

Source: SETTING THE CONDITIONS: THE COMMANDER'S INTEGRATION OF FIRE SUPPORT IN MANEUVER WARFARE. SAMUEL R. WHITE, JR., MAJ, USA B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1984.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello to all :D; more follows................

Planning.

The 14th Division Commander General Mitka Biryokov developed a tactical plan not at all different from current breaching and river crossing methodology (Figure 9). He intended to establish the 244 Rifle Regiment as a supporting force on the east side of the river as the 242d Rifle Regiment attacked to secure a crossing site across the river. When the 242d had secured the far side of the river the 246th Rifle Regiment would attack across the river to expand the crossing. The 244th, as the supporting force, would direct the fires of its own close support artillery group (PPG), as well as preparation fires by the Division Support Group.

Biryokov lacked overwhelming force ratios in maneuver forces (three regiments [each with only six companies] conducting a river crossing against a nine company German regiment). He did, however, have twenty-one artillery battalions versus the Germans' three. The key, surmised Biryokov, was to gain overwhelming advantage at the decisive point. Though the aggregate maneuver force ratio across the battlefield was 2:1, Biryokov wanted overwhelming ratios at a single point on the battlefield, at a single point in time. Be determined this point to the far side bridgehead as the 242d arrived at the far shore (see Figure 9 ) . Biryokov wanted a situation in which the 242d rifle regiment was engaged with only one German company (or a 6:1 force ratio) as it secured the far shore.

Biryokov felt that surprise was his key to achieving these force ratios, and that surprise could be gained by combining three actions :

1. By concealing the division's movements
2. By a good choice of place for the blow to fall
3. By the speed and energy with which the blow itself is delivered.

Source: SETTING THE CONDITIONS: THE COMMANDER'S INTEGRATION OF FIRE SUPPORT IN MANEUVER WARFARE. SAMUEL R. WHITE, JR., MAJ, USA B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1984.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello to all :D; more follows................

Execution.

The 242d Rifle Regiment made preparations for a river crossing, staging men and equipment in front of the German Company 2. The artillery preparation of the German positions began shortly before sunrise on June 23, 1944. The 244d Rifle Regiment, as the supporting force, directed a fifteen minute heavy artillery preparation against the German infantry Companies 2, 4, and the reserve Company 9 (see Figure 10). At the same time, artillery smoke began falling on Company 3 and in front of Company 5. The remainder of the German forces were not engaged at all. The effect was catastrophic for the Germans.

Companies 2 and 4 began suffering heavy casualties almost immediately. The combined weight of the 244d and 242d PPGs, as well as the Division Support Group smashed the two companies badly. Machine gun positions were completely destroyed, and seventy percent of the deep timber and earth dugouts were destroyed. At one point during the preparation, 108 guns were concentrated on one German infantry platoon in Company 2. After the Russian guns fired 1,150 shells in five minutes, the platoon disappeared.

Source: SETTING THE CONDITIONS: THE COMMANDER'S INTEGRATION OF FIRE SUPPORT IN MANEUVER WARFARE. SAMUEL R. WHITE, JR., MAJ, USA B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1984.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Figure 10. Arty HE (granadas de artillería alto explosivo); Arty SMK (granadas fumígenas).
Figure 10. Arty HE (granadas de artillería alto explosivo); Arty SMK (granadas fumígenas).
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello to all :D; more follows................

Execution (2º part).

The situation in the reserve company (Company 9) was little better. The company was lightly dug-in and the thinly protected infantrymen were horribly mauled in the first few minutes, suffering over 60 percent casualties; the defending German regiment had lost its reserve.

In Companies 3 and 5, confusion was wide spread. Company 3, by now completely engulfed in the artillery delivered smoke the Russians were firing on it, pulled in company outposts and forward platoons because of the commander's fear of fratricide in the limited visibility.

The company was now completely isolated. Company 5 was also isolated by the wooded terrain to its north and was unable to see the first echelon defenses because of the smoke in front of it. The German regimental commander, overwhelmed by the completeness of the barrage, felt positive the Soviet assault would come in the center because of concentrated artillery preparation there. As a preemptive measure, and unaware of the magnitude of focused artillery fires on the center, he ordered Company 5 to move to Company 3's position to reinforce the center.

Source: SETTING THE CONDITIONS: THE COMMANDER'S INTEGRATION OF FIRE SUPPORT IN MANEUVER WARFARE. SAMUEL R. WHITE, JR., MAJ, USA B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1984.

Cheers. Raúl M 8) .
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello to all :D; last part................

Execution (3º part).

Company 5, unable to see Company 3 because of the artillery delivered smoke screen, charged through the smoke and into the artillery fires, becoming pinned down almost immediately. An alert battalion commander from the 244d Rifle Regiment saw the soldiers from Company 5 repositioning through the smoke and informed Biryokov that the trap was sprung; the 242d Rifle Regiment began its assault across the river as the artillery began a preparation of Company 1, Biryokov's true point of penetration. Thus, as the assault began, the German regiment was completely ill-positioned for an assault on its southern flank (Figure 11).

A description of the ensuing assault is academic. The 242d Rifle Regiment, massed on the hopelessly outmanned Company 1, easily secured the crossing sites. The 246th Rifle Regiment, the assault and exploitation regiment, completely routed the remainder of the defending German Regiment. On the operational level, BAGRATION achieved immediate and crushing success all along the front. Both the German Ninth and Fourth Armies (Army Group Center) were largely destroyed. In less than two weeks, the Germans had lost twenty-eight divisions and 300,000 men in a disaster far greater than Stalingrad.

Image
Figure 11. Situation as the 242nd Rifle Regiment Begins it’s assault.

Source: SETTING THE CONDITIONS: THE COMMANDER'S INTEGRATION OF FIRE SUPPORT IN MANEUVER WARFARE. SAMUEL R. WHITE, JR., MAJ, USA B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1984.

It's all folks. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello to all :D; the last Figure again................

Situation as the 242nd Rifle Regiment Begins it’s assault.

Source: SETTING THE CONDITIONS: THE COMMANDER'S INTEGRATION OF FIRE SUPPORT IN MANEUVER WARFARE. SAMUEL R. WHITE, JR., MAJ, USA B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1984.

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Figure 11. Situation as the 242nd Rifle Regiment Begins it’s assault...................
Figure 11. Situation as the 242nd Rifle Regiment Begins it’s assault...................
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

Post by AMVAS »

Hi, Tigre

I'm a bit confused here with the numbers of units first of all. I consider your data is not exact.

65th Army composition
by June 1'44
18 Rfl. Corps (44 Gds., 69 Rfl. Div),
105 ск (37 & 75 Gds., 193 Rfl. Div),
15, 354 Rfl. Div., 115 Rfl. Bde,
119, 153, 161 fortified regions

by July 1'44:
18 rifle corps (37 Gds., 15, 69 Rifle Divs.),
105 Rifle Corps (75 Gds., 354, 356 Rfl. Divs, 115 Rfl. Bde),
44 Gds Rfl. Div., 193 Rfl. Div.

The 14th Rifle Division you are speaking about
had 95, 325, 155 Rifle Regiments by 1944 and was subordinated to the 14th Army/Karelian Front

The 242nd Rifle Regt. was organic to the 104th Rfl. Div./19th Army/Karelian Front
The 244th Rfl. Regt. was organic to the 41st RD (III)/25 RC / 69 A / 1st Byelorussian Front
The 246th Rfl. Regt. was organic to the 22nd RD/26 RC/1 A/Far Eastern Front
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello AMVAS :D; interesting indeed, because this work was a thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. Army
Command and General Staff College. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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tigre wrote: Tue Aug 08, 2023 5:56 am Hello AMVAS :D; interesting indeed, because this work was a thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. Army
Command and General Staff College. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
That doesn't make it free from mistakes :D
After observing KV-2 tanks in the CIA report for the Kursk Battle :[] I'm not too much surprised in any other sort of mistakes. :roll:

If you wish, I can find which units in reality were engaged in liberation of Bobruisk. I can remember besides some units of the 65th army they were units of the 48th and 3rd Armies
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Re: The Soviet 14 RD - Bobruisk 1944.

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Hello AMVAS :D;
If you wish, I can find which units in reality were engaged in liberation of Bobruisk.
It would be very helpful, thanks. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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