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Nevel offensive operation began

6 October 1943

On October 6, 1943 began the offensive operation of the right wing troops of Kalinin front that lasted until October 10, 1943.

The goal of the operation was to free the town of Nevel and to create favorable conditions for the upcoming attack in Byelorussia and Baltic countries.

On October 2, 1943, several days before the offensive, the 43rd and the 39th armies of Kalinin front made a diversion blow at the West and after the four days battle entered the territory of Byelorussia.

On October 6, at 10 a.m., after artillery training, the formations of the 3rd and the 4th shock armies of Kalinin front under support of aviation of the 3rd aerial army, started to assault the fortifications blocking the way to Nevel. The battle immediately became fierce. The 3rd shock arm under the commandment of K.N. Galitsky was attacking from the area to the West of Zhigar in the direction to Nevel, and the 4th shock army under the commandment of V.I. Shvetsov – to the South of Nevel. Nevel, the important joint of railways and highways of German ‘North’ and ‘Center’ groups of armies, was transformed by the enemy into the strong point defended by 5 divisions of the 3rd tank army and of the 16th field army. Taking advantage of a marshy-wooded country with a big number of lakes near the town, the enemy had built a strong echelon defense.

The troops of the 3rd and the 4th shock armies, having broken a strongly fortified defensive line of Germans and overcoming a stubborn resistance of the enemy, had by the end of the day widened the breach front up to 16 km and moved 8-10 km forward, having occupied over 50 places. Defeating the enemy’s strong points one after another on their way close to Nevel, by the morning of October 7 the Soviet troops had stormed into the town and freed it. By October 10, the 3rd and the 4th shock armies had moved 25-30 km to the North and the South of the town.

 In order to stop the offensive of Soviet troops, the Nazi commandment had redeployed from other sectors of the front to Nevel 4 infantry and 1 tank divisions as well as a significant part of the aviation of the 6th air fleet. As a result of battling with counterattacking enemy the advance of Soviet troops was stopped. On October 11 by the agreement of General Headquarters they proceeded to the defense.

As a result of Nevel operation the Soviet troops had defeated the enemy defense in the triangle of Nevel, Novosokolniki, Velikiye Luki, cut the railway Dno – Vitebsk that joined the German-Nazi groups of ‘North’ and ‘Center’ armies, created the conditions for offensive at Polotsk and Vitebsk directions. To mark the occasion of the victory in Nevel operation there was issued an order of the Supreme Commander in Chief I.V. Stalin on awarding to the formation and units that participated in battles for Nevel the name of the town (‘Nevelskiye).

Lit.: Свердлов Ф. Невельская наступательная операция // Военно-исторический журнал. 1968. № 11; Семёнов Г. Г. Наступает ударная. М., 1970; То же  [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/semenov_gg/05.html.

Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Memory of the Great Victory: [digital collection].