Loza's Breakthrough Scenario

Berlin: Soviet

Loza’s Breakthrough Scenario

Dmitriy Loza’s Forward Detachment breakthrough of the German 211. Volksgrenadierdivision near Kamenica towards Komárno (on the northern bank of the Danube River in Slovakia).

The 6th Guards Tank and 7th Guards Armies, were ordered on 4 January 1945 to attack from Kamenica towards Komárno (on the Danube), 45km northwest of Budapest, as part of actions to halt the German attacks towards Budapest to relieve the besieged city. The aim was to secure the river crossing points.

Forward Detachment

Dmitriy Loza notes the operation was distinguished from other operations by a number of factors. The operation was conducted with no preliminary bombardment, at night, and in a heavy snow storm.

For navigation the tanks of the 6th Guards Tank Army relied on the American gyrocompasses mounted in the Emcha M4 Sherman Lend-lease tanks to maintain direction. The 9th Guards Mechanised Corps’ gyrocompasses from the Emchas were left in the command tanks, but all the other tanks handed theirs over to be fitted to the T-34 command tanks of the 5th Guards Tank Corps. Before this operation these navigational aids were ignored by the tankers.

A bridge was captured in December 1944 on the west bank of the Danube near Kamenica. It was from this bridgehead that the 46th Guards Tank Brigade would lead the 9th Guards Mechanised Corps attack. 

Soviet M4 76mm (M4A2 Sherman) tanks
Dmitriy Loza

The spearhead of the attack was led by Kapitan Dmitriy Loza, of the 46th Tank Brigade’s 1st Tank Battalion, commanding a Forward Detachment of his tank company, two platoons of Tankodesantniki and three ZSU M17 MGMC half-tracks.

Loza’s detachment was to slam into the German lines, punch a hole in depth and lead the rest of the brigade through. At 0300 hours 7 January 1945 the Emcha tanks and the riding infantry moved off, guided through their own minefields by sappers.

The Battle

Loza’s detachment smashed through the first line of enemy defence and the rest of the brigade quickly followed crushing any remaining resistance in the sector. Due to the suddenness of the attack and the terrible weather the Germans were taken completely by surprise.

The Soviets continued their assault with great haste. The snow stopped falling, but the Soviet force was well in to the German positions by then. 

Loza’s force came on a brickworks, where some of the German artillery was located at the rear of the German positions. Once again the Germans were taken by surprise by the sudden appearance of the Soviet tanks. Loza’s tanks fired on the battery, working them over with volleys of high-explosive rounds. As the Shermans went to moved on, fire from the other batteries of the German division landed amongst Loza and his men from the direction of Belá, lighting up the area with illuminating rounds.

Soviet M4 76mm (M4A2 Sherman) tanks
Soviet M4 76mm (M4A2 Sherman) tanks Instead of taking on the battery in the brickworks directly, Loza swung his command around the southeast of the position and attacked the guns in Belá from the flank. Artillery continued to fall on the Soviet tanks, but Loza ordered them to disperse and to gather speed. The Shermans finally left the illuminated area and advanced on the German guns. They continued to take fire, though it was less effective because of the lack of illumination. Finally they crushed the battery under their tracks in an assault on the battery’s position.

The Battle Continues

After a brief rest, and quick report to the brigade commander, Loza was once more on the move. A series of battles continued through the night, the Germans had alerted reserves and each village had to be stormed one-by-one. In these following battles Loza’s detachment reverted to pinning down the enemy strong-points and waiting for the main body of the brigade to arrive for the assault.

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Soviet push beyond Budapest
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Last Updated On Thursday, February 9, 2023