The East Prussian operation
The East Prussian offensive started on January 13 and was completed by April 25, 1945. It was carried out by combined forces of the 2nd Belorussian Front (commander – K. Rokossovsky), the 3rd Belorussian Front (commander – I. Chernyakhovsky, from February 20 – A. Vasilevsky), a part of the 1st Baltic Front (commander – I. Bagramyan). They were supported by the Baltic Fleet of Soviet Navy (commander – V. Tributs).
The main objective of the operation was the destruction of German forces in East Prussia and northern Poland. The Wehrmacht intended to defend this territory at any cost. For that purpose the elaborate system of fortification had been created.
The Soviet High Command devised a plan of “a deep enveloping blow” towards Marienburg – Elbing (Elblong) by the troops of the 2nd Belorussian Front. The 3rd Belorussian Front had to advance to the north of Masurian lakes toward Königsberg. The enemy forces in East Prussia had to be cut from the rest of Germany off, squeezed against sea shore and gradually destroyed. The Battle of Königsberg started on April 6. Three days later the capital of East Prussia was seized by Marshal Vasilevsky’s troops.
Although the price of victory in East Prussia was high for the Red Army, the enemy suffered much greater losses that brought it closer to a defeat in the war.