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Battle of Dukla Pass
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Located in the far north-east of present-day Slovakia, the Dukla Pass is a mountain pass through the Carpathian mountains, connecting the country with the territory of Poland. All through history, the Dukla Pass has been regarded as a location where both Western and Eastern European cultures met - but in 1944, during the final months of World War II, it became a fierce battlefield.

One of memorials of
the Dukla Pass battle of 1944.

After the Slovak National Uprising a few days earlier, Soviet General Konev commanded his 1st Ukrainian Front to commence with the Red Army’s Eastern-Carpathian Operation (Wostotschno-Karpatskaja operazija), aiming at breaking through the German-Hungarian lines defending the Carpathian region. Together with the 4th Ukrainian Front led by General Petrov, the Soviet troops counted more than 240.000 Soldiers, 320 tanks and 1150 aircraft.

On the opposing side, the Armeegruppe Heinrici (Army Group Heinrici), commanded by the eponymous German General, was composed of the 1st Panzer Army and 1st Hungarian Army. In total strength, the Axis forces counted about 300.000 Soldiers, 100 tanks and 450 aircraft.

One part of the Eastern-Carpathian Operation led to the intense Battle of Dukla Pass, where well dug-in Axis troops were able to summon major resistance against the advancing Red Army forces. Not only of major strategic importance for the German war effort, the territory was also important to it’s Hungarian ally, which annexed the Carpathian region from Czechoslovakia after the country was split in 1938.

Most renowned for it’s role in this battle is the strategic Hill 534 not far from the town of Dukla, which was captured more than twenty times between the opposing forces. Ultimately, due to the fierce Axis resistance, it took the Red Army two months to penetrate the so-called Karpatenfestung (Carpathian Fortress) by a mere 30 kilometers. Eventually, however, the Axis forces had to withdraw, with six German divisions and large parts of the equipment heavily battered.

In the end, this small but strategic Soviet victory led to be the onset of pushing the German forces out of Slovakia and is considered the first day Soviet troops set foot on Czechoslovakian territory.

The War Thunder Team

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