World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF RUSSIA: Mincemeat at Minsk

The crushing power of the Soviet offensive amazed and delighted the Allied world. It amazed and staggered the Germans.

In the first week of the great push, five major Nazi strongholds fell: after Vitebsk (which had withstood two fierce Red assaults in the past year), Orsha, Mogilev, Bobruisk, Zhlobin. Nothing like this, in so short a time, had ever happened to the Wehrmacht before.

In that week, the Russians said, they killed or captured at least 183,000 German troops, and the enemy was losing 30,000 more every day. Some Red thrusts had maintained a pace of 20 to 24 miles a...

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