Operation Minsk

Operation Minsk

Military Conflict
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Operation Minsk

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Operation Minsk refers to the Polish offensive and capture of Minsk from the Bolshevik control in early August 1919.

In the summer of 1919 after the Polish successes in several Polish-Russian skirmishes, the two combatants (both engaged on multiple fronts) have been near the limits of their capabiity to wage warfare with each other; they needed time to regroup and concentrate their forces. However the Polish High Command intended to strike one more blow against the Bolsheviks while the Polish forces were on the offensive: they decided to cripple the Western Army (Soviet Western Division), headquartered in Minsk, and further damage Soviet logistics by taking control of this important railway center.

In July, Polish forces (the 'Northern Group') under general Stanisław Szeptycki (whose officers included Władysław Anders, Jozef Lasocki and Stefan Mokrzecki) were strengthened to 12,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 40 guns. Polish plan involved a wide pincer movement around the city of Minsk. The battle raged throughout the first week of August. Soviet forces took heavy casualties and Minsk fell to the Poles on August 8.

The success of the Polish offensive allowed the Poles to move forward again, and by the end of August Józef Piłsudski ordered his armies to stop, as he considered all territories important to Poland - and feasible to take before winter - secured.


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