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Description

Soviet Military Map of Right-Bank Ukraine, West of the Dniepr River at Kiev, with Contemporary Manuscript Additions Showing the Theater of Operations of the 3rd Guards Tank Army, 1st Ukrainian Front, as They Attempted to Push the Germans out of Ukraine.

The map is composed of two sheets from standard Red Army military map series of the Second World War. The eastern sheet is from the "Генеральный Штаб РККА Масштаб 10 верст в дюйме" (General Staff of the Red Army Scale 10 versts per inch) series. The western sheet is from the "Управление Военных Топографов Масштаб 10 верст в дюйме" (Office of Military Topographers Scale 10 versts per inch) series.  Scales on the map are given in versts (a Russian unit of measurement roughly equal to .66 miles and kilometers.

The map covers most of the northwestern quadrant of Ukraine, roughly stretching from Ternopil to Dubno at the western edge and from Borzna to the opposite side of the Dniepr from Cherkasy.  East of the Dniepr, many towns and hamlets are numbered, presumably with the date of liberation by the Red Army.  The area shown comprised a large part of the territory under the purview of the 1st Ukrainian Front.

The positions and movements of the Red Army are called out in red pencil in the standard Soviet military mapping iconography of the War. A linear border divides the area of operation of the 3rd Guards Tank Army from that of the forces to its north and south. 

German forces are illustrated in blue pencil. Though we cannot fully decipher the symbols, artillery seems to be shown, as do reinforcements flowing in from the northwest.

Liberation of Kiev

The map depicts the initial breakout from the Kiev region that followed the liberation of the Ukrainian capital in November 1943.  As one can see on the map, the initial hope had been to move forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front to the west and northwest of the Dniepr River. Retaking western Ukraine was the prime objective of the Soviet Eastern Front offensive of late 1943, taking precedence over all other activities on the Front.  This initial breakout suffered a sustained counterattack that almost pushed the forces back to the River.

A second attempt at a breakout from the Kiev region was much more successful and resulted in the deepest intrusions into previously-German-held territory along the entire Eastern Front.  The salient that developed around Kiev allowed the Red Army to threaten the encirclement of hundreds of thousands, if not over a million troops in southwestern Ukraine, as well as providing a diversion from the Red Army advance on Minsk in the north.  Eventually, the 3rd Guards Tank Army and other forces did redirect to the southwest, pushing much of Army Group South up against the Carpathian Mountains the Black Sea.

The 3rd Guards Tank Army played an important role in the rest of the campaign of the 1st Ukrainian Front, culminating in the Berlin and Prague Offensives of early 1945.