Posted on January 22nd, 2018 by:

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From the July 12, 1944 Edition of Stars and Stripes

Powerful Soviet tank columns drove a deep wedge between Vilna and Dvinsk yesterday, and while Red infantry mopped up encircled Nazis in the center of Vilna, light tanks and cavalry of Gen. Ivan Chernyakhovsky’s White Russian army flowed past the city to within 40 miles of Kaunas, the former Lithuanian capital, itself only 50 miles from East Prussia.

The Red Army flowed westward as relentlessly as a flood across the northern front, narrowing the Nazis’ escape corridor from the Baltic states and closing within 60 miles of the East Prussian border west of the captured rail junction of Lida, 90 miles west of Minsk.

At this point the Russians were within 55 miles of Grodno, a fortress junction on the Germans’ defense line running from Brest-Litovsk through Bialystok. Grodno and Vilna to Dvinsk Dvinsk, all but cut off except from the north, seemed likely to hear Soviet shells soon, with Red artillery moving up within range of the city.

To the south, Russian claws reached out nearer the important base of Brest-Litovsk. With the Red Army little more than 50 miles from the junction on the southeast, the northern arm of a pincers began closing in with an advance from Baranovichi to within 78 miles of the city on the northeast.

soviet red army tanks dvinsk is2

Nazis Admit Big Breach

The German bulge into the Russian lines in the Pinsk region was flattened steadily. A swift advance of 25 miles in less than 24 hours moved up the Russian front lines within 15 miles of Pinsk on the east and brought that enemy supply base, too, within gun range. From Pinsk it is about 100 miles due west to Brest-Litovsk.

German dispatches made little effort to conceal the extent of the Russian breakthrough between Vilna and Dvinsk.

Where Marshal Stalin Monday night announced the capture of Utena, 43 miles southwest of Dvinsk on the Kaunas-Dvinsk road, Berlin military spokesman went further and asserted the Russians had reached the Dvina River in that area–a position that would mean they had cut the road and advanced northward from Utena some 50 miles, 11 of them inside Latvia.

For Further Reading Check Out:

Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War

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  • It was Belorussian Front, not the “White Russian Army”! Yes, the name Belorussia (or Belarus in its latest spelling) originated from the words “ Belaya” (White) and “Rossiya” (Russia), however, White Russian Army would have completely different meaning as it relates to the White Movement, an anti-Bolshevik opposition after the 1917 revolution and during the Civil war in Russia! Ah, those little details of Russian language….

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