By Henrik Lunde The Situation in the East, Summer 1944 The area between the Baltic Sea and the Carpathian Mountains had been relatively quiet since the end of Operation Bagration late in the summer of 1944. In early January 1945 we find the Soviet armies positioned along the Vistula River to its great bend and then north along the Narew River. Stalin’s armies held several bridgeheads across each––at Serock and Rozan on the Narew and at Pulawy, Magnuszev, and Baranow on the Vistula. The Soviets had an extremely impressive array of forces confronting the Germans. The 2nd and 3rd Belorussian Fronts (Army Groups) in the north, with 12 armies, faced Army Group Center’s three armies. Their superiority was even more ominous on the 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts opposite Army Group A. There the Soviets had 2,200,000 troops, 6,400 tanks and self-propelled assault guns, and 46,000 indirect-fire weapons. Against these two fronts Army Group A’s Seventeenth, 4th Panzer, and Ninth Armies could muster “only” 400,000 troops, 1,150 tanks, and 4,100 indirect-fire weapons. Operation Bagration, the Soviets’ 1944 summer offensive, had suffered logistically in its closing days, but they intended to avoid a similar situation in their next offensive. By January they had completed the most massive logistical buildup of the war. The two fronts––1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian––received 132,000 carloads of supplies. That was more than received by all four fronts


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