Red Army T-34/85’s & infantry of the 18th Tank Corps, 3rd Ukrainian Front conducting a counter attack during the German offensive near Lake Balaton of March, 1945. The offensive, known as Operation Spring Awakening, was the final major German offensive of World War Two. The Germans launched the offensive on March 6, 1945 with units recently withdrawn from the failed Ardennes Offensive in the west. Sepp Deitrich’s 6th ϟϟ Panzer Army was tasked with protecting some of the last German oil sources. STAVKA soon placed the 3rd Ukrainian Front in position to launch a counter stroke north of Lake Balaton on March 16 which halted the 6th ϟϟ Panzer Army in it’s tracks and pushed it back to it’s starting positions just three days into the counter offensive. By March 22nd the 6th ϟϟ Panzer Army was in full retreat towards Vienna with the 3rd Ukrainian Front hot on their heels. The Germans lost as many as 27,000 men killed, wounded or missing in the campaign along with 500 tanks and 200 aircraft. The Soviets suffered almost 33,000 casualties with 8,500 listed as killed in action or missing.
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