Novi Petrivtsi


On the morning of November 3, 1943, the 1st Ukrainian front launched a bombardment of Kiev under the leadership of Soviet general Nikolai Vatutin. This was the beginning of the second battle of Kiev and aimed to liberate Kiev after just over two years of German occupation as well as knock out German supply lines. The german 4th army was surprised by the bombardment and after two days soviet troops entered Kiev and after another two days Kiev was in soviet hands. Kiev was then heavily destroyed, partly by the Soviet bombardment, partly by the fighting and partly by the Germans gradually destroying the city during their retreat.

But the germans had no plans to let Kiev remain in Soviet hands, but planned to recapture it. The commander of the 4th army, field marshal Erich von Mainstein, persuaded Hitler to release the 48th armoured corps in order to carry out a counterattack and recapture Kiev. Manstein had hoped for further reinforcements but Hitler rejected his request for this. Hard fighting was fought around Kiev in November but without the Germans succeeding in making a breakthrough.

On December the 5th, the Germans launched a surprise attack, attacking both north and east. The soviet forces were in danger of being surrounded, but soviet reinforcements thwarted a German breakthrough. The fighting raged until December 22, when the Germans withdrew. Although the goal of knocking out German supply lines was unsuccessful, the liberation of the third largest city in the Soviet Union was an important moral victory.

Current status: Museum (2019).

Location: 50°37'28.83"N 30°25'11.30"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Classically spectacular and period Soviet museum with a diorama painting depicting the battle with an equally period patriotism. Outside the museum, trenches and command centers have been recreated from where the battle was led by the Soviet leaders.

Follow up in books: Bellamy, Chris: Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War (2008).