2nd Belorussian Front
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The 2nd Belorussian Front (Russian: Второй Белорусский фронт, alternative spellings are 2nd Byelorussian Front) was a military formation, of Army group size, of the Soviet Army during the Second World War. Soviet army groups were known as Fronts.
|2nd Belorussian Front|
Standard of the 2nd Belorussian Front
|Role||Co-ordination and conduct of Red Army Operations in Ukraine, Poland, and Germany|
|Engagements||World War II|
|Pavel Kurochkin (February – April 1944)|
Ivan Yefimovich Petrov (April – June 1944)
Georgy Zakharov (June – November 1944)
Konstantin Rokossovsky (November 1944 – June 1945)
The 2nd Belorussian Front was created in February 1944 as the Soviets pushed the Germans back towards Byelorussia. General Colonel Pavel Kurochkin became its first commander. In hiatus in April 1944, its headquarters was reformed from the army headquarters of the disbanding 10th Army.
On 2 January 1944 2BF entered the former Polish territories.
On 26 June 1944 the Front's forces captured Mogilev in the Mogilev Offensive. On 4 July, 2BF was tasked with mopping up the remains of Army Group Centre's Fourth Army under the command of General von Tippelskirch and the remains of the Ninth Army in a large pocket southeast of Minsk. On 9 July The 2BF attacks northwest from Vitebsk as part of a major Soviet offensive east of Riga towards Rezekne in order to cut off the German Army Group North. On 29 July Soviets reach the coast cutting Army Group North off in Estonia and Eastern Latvia. On 13 September 2BF captured Łomża, west of Białystok. In November 1944 Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky was appointed commander of 2BF just in time for its last two great offensives of World War II. As part of a massive attack by four Fronts on 14 January 1945 2BF attacked East Prussia (East Prussian Offensive) and later Pomerania (East Pomeranian Offensive).
- 27 July 1944 Liberation of Bialystok
- 10 January 2BF attacked towards Neustettin but was halted by German counterattacks.
- 14 January 2BF attacks East Prussia (East Prussian Offensive).
- 24 January 1st and 2nd Belorussian Fronts attack in Pomerania (East Pomeranian Offensive). German Second Army cut off.
- 27 February Elements of the 2BF enter Pomerania
- 28 February 2BF captured Neustettin.
- 5 March The fortress city of Graudenz on the Vistula surrenders to troops of the 2BF
- 10 March 2BF captures Zoppot
- 13 March 2BF launches an offensive against the Braunsberg pocket south of Königsberg
- 18 March 1st Polish Army of the 2BF captured the fortress city of Kolberg
- 23 March 2BF attacked the German II Army in the Danzig area.
- 30 March Soviet troops finally capture Danzig,
- 20 April 2BF offensive across the lower Oder towards Neubrandenburg, Stralsund and Rostock.
- 25 April 2BF, seized a large bridgehead on the Oder River south of Stettin forcing the centre of the III Panzer Army back to Prenzlau.
- 26 April 2BF takes Stettin.
- 27 April 2BF captures Prenzlau and Angermünde 70 km (44 mi) northwest of Berlin
- 5 May elements of the 2BF entered Peenemunde.
On 9 April 1945 Königsberg in East Prussia finally fell to the Red Army. This freed up 2BF to move west to the east bank of the Oder river. During the first two weeks of April the Soviets performed their fastest Front redeployment of the war. General Georgy Zhukov concentrated his 1st Belorussian Front (1BF) which had been deployed along the Oder river from Frankfurt in the south to the Baltic, into an area in front of the Seelow Heights. The 2BF moved into the positions being vacated by the 1BF north of the Seelow Heights. While this redeployment was in progress gaps were left in the lines and the remnants of the German II Army which had been bottled up in a pocket near Danzig managed to escape across the Oder.
In the early hours on 16 April the final offensive of the war to capture Berlin and link up with Western Allied forces on the Elbe started with attacks by 1BF and To the south General Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front (1UF). On 20 April the 2BF join in the attack. By 25 April 2BF broke out of its bridge head south of Stettin and had by the end of the war captured all of Germany north of Berlin as far west as the front lines of the British 21 Army Group which had advanced over the river Elbe in some places.
In Demmin on and around 1 May 1945 members of the 65th Army of 2nd Belorussian Front first broke into a distillery and then rampaged through the town, committing mass rapes, arbitrarily executing civilians, and setting fire to buildings. Many Demmin civilians committed suicide.
The Headquarters of the 2nd Byelorussian Front become the Headquarters of the Northern Group of Forces (NGF), the Soviet occupation force in Poland, effective on 10 June 1945. Most of the NGF's forces were drawn from 2nd Belorussian Front, along with some elements of the 1st Byelorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts.
The Armies that were part of the 2nd Belorussian Front included:
- Bonn, Slaughterhouse, Aberjona Press, 2005, p.313
- Buske, Norbert (Hg.): Das Kriegsende in Demmin 1945. Berichte Erinnerungen Dokumente (Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Landeskundliche Hefte), Schwerin 1995, in German (The End of the War in Demmin 1945 - Reports, Reminiscences, Documents). ISBN 3-931185-04-4.
- Bscheid, Andrea Karoline (2009). "Das Nürnberger Bündnis gegen Depression. Prä/Post-Vergleich eines depressions- und suizidpräventiven Programms nach 2 Jahren Intervention" (PDF) (in German). University of Munich. p. 19.
Die bislang größte bekannte Massenselbsttötung in der deutschen Geschichte ereignete sich im Mai 1945 in Demmin. Ca. 900 Einwohner nahmen sich vor und nach dem Einmarsch der Roten Armee das Leben, indem sie sich selbst in der Peene ertränkten (lit.: The greatest mass suicide that is known in the history of Germany so far took place in May 1945 in Demmin. About 900 citizens took their lives before, and after the Soviet invasion [of the town] by drowning themselves in the Peene river).
- Zimmer, Gisela. "Kriegsende in Demmin" (in German). NDR. p. 1. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
Die Schreckensbilanz am Ende: fast tausend Frauen und Kinder begehen Selbstmord (lit.: The horrible outcome: almost a thousand women and children commit suicide).
- Craig Crofoot, document on Northern Group of Forces accessible at www.microarmormayhem.com, including Conventional Forces in Europe data exchange material
- Antill, P., Battle for Berlin: April – May 1945, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_berlin.html