Memel operation (1944)
January 24, 2022
The Memel operation is an offensive operation of the Soviet troops of the 1st Baltic and 39th Army of the 3rd Belorussian Fronts, carried out from October 5 to 22, 1944 with the aim of cutting off the troops of Army Group North from East Prussia. It was part of the Baltic strategic operation. The troops of the 1st Baltic Front reached the approaches to Riga south of the Daugava. There they met strong enemy resistance. The headquarters of the Supreme High Command decided to transfer the main direction of attack to the Memel direction. The forces of the 1st Baltic Front were regrouped in the area of the city of Siauliai. The command of the Soviet troops planned to reach the coast at the turn of Palanga-Memel-the mouth of the Neman River when breaking through the defenses west and south-west of the city of Siauliai. The main blow was inflicted on the Memel direction, the auxiliary one on the Kelmet-Tilsit direction. The decision of the Soviet command came as a complete surprise to the enemy, who was waiting for the resumption of attacks in the Riga direction. On the first day of the fighting, Soviet troops began to break through the defenses and by evening advanced to a depth of 7-17 km. By October 6, all the troops trained according to the preliminary plan were involved. By October 10, the Germans were cut off from East Prussia. As a result, between the enemy groupings in East Prussia and Courland, a Soviet defense zone up to 50 kilometers wide was formed, which the enemy could no longer overcome. By October 22, most of the northern bank of the Neman River was cleared of the enemy. In Latvia, the enemy was driven out to the Courland Peninsula and securely blocked there. In addition, 3 German divisions were blocked in Memel itself (Memel was taken by storm on January 28, 1945). As a result of the Memel operation, advancement up to 150 km was achieved, an area of more than 26 thousand km² and more than 35 thousand settlements were liberated. 78 Soviet units and formations were awarded orders.