On March 18, southwest of Kongsberg, the Red Army fought to defeat the East Prussian enemy grouping and, narrowing the noose, cleared over 40 settlements of Germans, including Korschenruh, Patersort, Ludwigsort, Schwanis, Rippen, Laukitten, Preussisch Tierau, Lonhofen, Mahlendorf, Rehfeld and Grunenfeld. More than 800 prisoners were captured in the area.
On March 18, having discouraged the encircled enemy garrison, the Red Army took the town and Baltic port of Kohlberg.
In Czechoslovakia, west and southwest of Zvolen, the offensive of Soviet troops resulted in their seizing the settlements of Ostra Luka, Sasovske Podhradie, Horne Opatovce, Hlinik-na-Gron and Vigne.
Reconnaissance operations and local fighting continued on the other parts of the front.
On March 17, 136 enemy tanks and self-propelled guns were damaged and destroyed and 26 German aircraft were downed on all fronts.
Southwest of Königsberg, the Red Army continued to squeeze the East Prussian encircled enemy grouping from the east and south. Holding well-fortified settlements, heights and water obstacles, the enemy opposed Soviet troops bitterly. However, the Red Army cleared of Germans more and more land every passing day. The Hitlerites were forced into a little waterside. After taking the town of Brandenburg, a key German strongpoint, on the previous day, the Red Army dislodged the enemy out of the left bank of the Frisching River’s lower reaches. This morning, the enemy was driven out of the forestland that interdicts the northeast avenues of approach to Ludwigsort – a railroad station and high road junction. Later on, Soviet infantry seized the town of Ludwigsort. Simultaneously, Soviet troops advanced 4 km along the coast of the Frisches Haff Bay, taking several coastal settlements. Heavy fighting took place along the Konigsberg-Elbing highway southeast of the town of Braunsberg. There Germans had built a defensive line fortified with pillboxes. After shelling the enemy positions, the Red Army penetrated its defenses and took the locality of Grunenfeld, which is 8 km southeast of Braunsberg. Within the day, the Red Army took over 3,000 prisoners, destroyed 19 tanks, 39 field guns and 170 machineguns. Soviet troops seized a lot of trophies, including 11 tanks, 4 armored personnel carrier, 16 field guns and 3 ammunition depots.
The prisoners say that German troops have sustained heavy losses. Within three days, the 7th company of the 432nd regiment has lost 80% of its manpower. The remainder of the 50th Infantry Division has totaled one incomplete regiment. The 302nd Assault Gun Brigade has lost all its materiel and is fighting now as an infantry battalion. The grenadier regiment of the SS Great Germany Armored Division has been totally destroyed in the latest battles.
from "RIA Novosti" archives