Battle of Bialystok And Minsk
The battle of Bialystok and Minsk was occurred during World War II between the Germans and the Soviet Union. The code name for this battle is Operation Barbarossa from 22 June to 3 July 1941. The German army was headed by Fedor Von Bock as Army Group Center. Its superior was the Wehrmacht, German’s unified armed forces 1935-1946 and constitutes Heer (army), Kriegsmarine (navy) and Luftwaffe (air force). The Army Group Center operated to attack from Poland through the Bialystok – Minsk – Smolensk towards Moscow. The Soviet union which well known as Red Army was headed by Dmitry Pavlov. The German Army Group Center had called up the air wing Luftwaffe along with their operation of Bialystok-Minsk.
The demarcation of Poland in 1939 had the land separation for both the Germans and the Soviet Union. The Bialystok in Poland had set the start of the battle. The Red Army had took the double envelopment strategy in starting stages of the battle. The Double Envelopment strategy means attack from all the sides, by surrounding the opposition or the enemy. This strategy had gone against them and the German army had took the full advantage, which was led by the German supreme force OKH (Oberkommando Des Heeres). The German force with twin encirclement had took the command centering Bialystok and Navahrudak.
The Red Army had moved in to Bialystok, Poland. This makes German Army (OKH) to plan strategically. The other place, which is of important to invade Moscow is the Minsk, which have railway service from Belarus (Minsk) to Moscow. German army had battled out the Soviet Union and had crossed the Neman river. The another wing had crossed the Bug River on 23rd June and entered 60 kilometers into the Soviet Union. Germany had a Panzer Group as part of their army, whose objective is to meet at the east of Minsk and to prevent the withdrawal of Red Army from the encirclement. German army on the other end had moved towards the Bialystok and encircles the Red Army. The Soviet Union responded to the encirclement but they had a major setback. On 24th June, the Soviet Union army head Dmitry Pavlov had ordered the operations officer, General Boldin to take charge of their army in the Hrodna region, Belarus, but they suffered a heavy loss.
On 25th June, the German army had moved towards Shchara River at Slonim, Belarus. This makes Soviet Union head Dmitry Pavlov to order his troops to withdraw from encircling and the troops had to withdraw by mere walking, since they have lost the fuel and the transport asset. On 27th June, five days after the invasion, the German army had closed east of Minsk. On 28th June, the German army had splited the Red Army encirclement of Bialystok into two pockets. In 17 days, the Soviet army had lost 420,000 lives out of 650,000 soldiers. On 26th July, the German Army Wehrmacht had captured Minsk, the capital city of Belarus. In the battle, the German forces had took the Soviet union soldiers as prisoners. There are nearly 1669 Soviet aircrafts were destroyed. Luftwaffe had lost 276 aircrafts and damaged their 208 aircrafts. There are nearly 750,000 people representing German army had deployed in the battle.
Many Soviet troops had trapped in gigantic pockets and continued fighting, this cost the lives of many German troops. Nearly quarter of a million arrested Soviet soldiers escaped due to the infantry German troops limitations in access to transport, which slows down the encirclement process. The captured Soviet Union soldiers was then sent to Penal Battalions. The Polish Institute Of National Remembrance said that withdrawing the Soviet forces had led to the crimes in Bialystok, the civilians was fired by the firing squad. Overall 290,000 soldiers were captured by the German army, nearly 1500 guns and 2500 tanks were destroyed. And 250,000 people had escaped from German troops, most of the people, who were captured had died in a few months due to the inhumane conditions in the Prisoner Of War (POW) area.
During the war, German forces advancement towards the east through Smolensk, Russia had created Wehrmacht to plan for the attack on Moscow. OKH was impressed that the war with the Soviet Union was won a few days after the start. Hitler had told his army, the Panzer group that the gap was created in the line while encirclement and Panzer group on their part claimed that they were slowed sown due to the infantry group not catching up with the armed forces during advancement towards east. On the Soviet Union side, the head of the operations Dmitry Pavlov was recalled to Moscow and was accused of disorganizations and retreat of the soldiers without the battle, which claimed his life, he was executed. His family was repressed and pardoned in 1956. The operations officer Ivan Boldin is the exception, he had returned in a month and half later with the soldiers after tackling with the German invasion.