Bagration, Operation

   One of the most significant victories of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War was made possible by the creative use of intelligence to deceive the Germans. In early 1944, the GKO (State Defense Committee) decided to stage a major offensive against the German Army Group Center. The strike was to destroy the German army group, liberate Minsk and Byelorussia, and drive the Nazis from Soviet territory. To accomplish this, the GKO mandated a complicated program of strategic deception (maskirovka) to convince Berlin that the strike would fall farther south in the Ukraine. German intelligence was fed hundreds of false reports about a Soviet buildup in the south, which had been the center of the war for the previous 18 months. The movement of Soviet reserves was carefully masked, as Soviet infantry, armor, and artillery were moved silently into position for the June offensive. Moreover, Soviet radio silence along the front made German signals intelligence efforts fruitless.
   Moscow was able to measure and then modify the extent of the deception efforts through partisans in Germany and through agents it was running inside the German intelligence structure. The Red Army blow, involving 14 combined armies from four different fronts (army groups), was launched on 20 June. Over 2.4 million soldiers, 4,000 tanks, and 24,000 artillery pieces were engaged. In the first two weeks of the campaign, Germany lost 250,000 soldiers, dead or captured. By the end of Operation Bagration, 450,000 of the German forces were dead, wounded, or captured, and 25 German divisions had been destroyed.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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