BETWEEN HITLER AND STALIN

 

BATTLE OF BRODY


The Battle of Brody took place from 13-22 July 1944. It was the most significant military action fought by the 14th Waffen SS Galicia Division. The Division was attached to the 13th German Army Corps, which had the task of defending Lviv.


The town of Brody is situated less than two hundred kilometers east of Lviv. As the Red Army advanced westward, the task of occupying Lviv fell to Marshal Ivan Konev, commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front. His offensive against Lviv began in early July 1944. The 13th Army Corps, commanded by Walther Model, was hopelessly outnumbered, more than 2:1 in men and 3:1 in armor and materiel. The 14th Waffen SS was ordered to plug the hole in the front at Brody.


The Division faced a Soviet force that was several times stronger, and had armored and air support, neither of which the Division enjoyed. Hopelessly outmanned and outgunned, the Division nevertheless fought bravely, even after its German commander, General Freitag, fled the battlefield. On 18 July the Division was surrounded, but on 21-22 July broke out of the encirclement. Of 12 000 men that fought in the 14th at Brody, only 3000 managed to return to German lines. Some joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The rest were killed, wounded or taken as POWs.


Despite its defeat at Brody, the brave resistance by the 14th delayed the Red Army for several crucial days on its march to Lviv. This allowed several thousand citizens of the city, including large numbers of the intelligentsia and political activists, to flee west in front of the Soviet advance, and thus saved several thousand people from the horrors of Soviet occupation.