The tank battle of Lauban, 1-8 March 1945
Post Number:#1 by Acolyte on 11 Aug 2005, 19:05
(below is the rough translation of an article from thisHungarian site – excuse my occasionally poor English)
OPERATION GEMSE (the armoured clash at Lauban)
The fierce tank battle which took place in early March 1945 near the Silesian town of Lauban („Luban” in Polish) was a rather interesting episode of WW2 for two reasons:
1. It was the last counterattack of the Wehrmacht which had the desired tactical results.
2. You won’t find much of a mention of this battle in Soviet documentations of the „Great Patriotic War”.
On 12 January, 1945 the Red Army’s 1st Belorussian Front and 1st Ukrainian Front, joined by the 1st Polish Army, launched a massive offensive from the bridgeheads established on the Western bank of the Vistula. They advanced 500 kms westwards in 23 days, reaching the Oder on 3 February and establishing bridgeheads on its Western bank.
On 8 February, the 980.000-strong 1st Ukrainian Front, commanded by Marshall Koniev, launched a further attack in Lower Silesia from two bridgeheads on the Oder. Their aim: encircle and capture Breslau. The left flank of the front – two armies and one cavalry guard corps – was to advance further towards Dresden together with the 4th Ukrainian Front.
The Silesian industrial area, vital to the German war effort, was defended by the remnants of Army Group Middle commanded by colonel Schörner. Forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front – eight armies, two tank armies, two armoured corps, one mechanised corps and one cavalry corps – began their advance. Both Glogau and Breslau were encircled by 16 February. Due to stiff German resistance in the vicinity of Breslau, Koniev ordered two-thirds of the 3rd Guard Tank Army, commanded by colonel Ribalko, to turn back towards the East and finish the defenders. By that time two corps of the same unit already reached Bunzlau, the town where the heart of Kutuzov, the famous...