By Steven J. Zaloga
Osprey's evaluation of the main calamitous defeat of the German defense force in global conflict II (1939-1945). On 22 June 1944, 3 years to the day after Germany's 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union, the crimson military introduced an incredible offensive in Byelorussia. Codenamed 'Operation Bagration', this crusade climaxed 5 weeks later with the purple military on the gates of Warsaw. The Wehrmacht's military staff Centre used to be routed, a complete of 17 Wehrmacht divisions have been completely destroyed, and over 50 different German divisions have been shattered.
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Additional resources for Bagration 1944: The destruction of Army Group Centre (Campaign, Volume 42)
It is difficult to judge Schörner's military skills, as most of his higher commands were faced with almost impossible situations. Despite his implacable insistence on soldiers remaining at the front, however, he himself abandoned his command in the last days of the war and fled to Austria, where he was arrested by the Americans. They promptly handed him over to the Russians; he remained a Soviet prisoner until 1955, often treated harshly in captivity, and was then prosecuted and imprisoned in West Germany for ordering the execution of a soldier who had fallen asleep.
By 4 July, the army group had effectively ceased to exist, a 400km gap in the German front had been ripped open, and 350,000 German soldiers, from generals to privates, were dead, captured or missing. The magnitude of this defeat dwarfed even the losses at Stalingrad, as the Soviet tank armies immediately went on to exploit their success, opposed only by whatever scratch forces and transferred units the Germans could throw into the immense hole in their lines. By late July, the Red Army had advanced from Vitebsk to the Vistula and stood in the suburbs of Warsaw.
At the same time, the Soviet Air Force's strength was growing steadily, and whilst its fighters and ground-attack aircraft - and their crews - didn't reach the high standards of their counterparts in the RAF and USAAF, they played an increasing part in the battles in the east. As manpower shortages began to bite, Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to make men available to the army as replacements. Rather than lose personnel and prestige, Hermann Goring, head of the Luftwaffe, created a series of Luftwaffe field divisions.
Bagration 1944: The destruction of Army Group Centre (Campaign, Volume 42) by Steven J. Zaloga