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Through the LEGO Lens - September 25, 1943

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On this day 74 years ago...

Smolensk, a city Southwest of Moscow was liberated by Soviet forces. Intended to clear Nazi occupation from the area, this battle, known as the second Battle of Smolensk was a Soviet-offensive operation conducted by the Red Army as part of the Summer-Autumn Campaign of 1943 in the Western USSR. Smolensk had been under German occupation since the first Battle of Smolensk in 1941. Soviets marched steadily across Ukraine, forcing the retreat of German troops westward and their first major victory came on August 22, when the Red Army retook the city of Kharkov. Meanwhile, the Germans were planning the construction of a wall, the Panther Line, from the Gulf of Finland to the Sea of Azov. The wall was never built, however, for the Soviets advanced too quickly for the construction site to be held. On September 25, Stalin’s forces retook the city of Smolensk, which was a keystone in Germany’s defense effort. Dnepropetrovsk fell on October 25, followed by the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on November 6. Germany’s southern army group was now in full-scale retreat and would be expelled from Soviet territory early in 1944.

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