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Following the destruction of Sixth Army at Stalingrad in February 1943, Army Group South slowly withdrew westwards, using the Dnieper as a fortified position. In late 1943, the Soviet 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Ukrainian Front launched a strategic offensive against the German Army Group South A - one of the largest operations of the war. In May 1944, Red Army troops defeated Army Group South and Army Group A on the Dnieper.
Many thousands of German troops evacuated across the Black Sea. In July, troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front launched an operation into the Crimea. The offensive coincided with other Red Army operations further north, including the Lublin-Brest Offensive - part of Operation Bagration.
Slowly and inexorably, the powerful Russian attacks forced the tattered German army group to retreat hundreds of miles west, into Eastern Poland and Romania. Here German forces defended their positions and built defences in Hungary and Austria to try and slow down the overwhelming might of the Red Army. There, the Germans would fight a series of desperate battles until the remnants surrendered in early May 1945.
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