After completing the Vilnius Offensive Operation, the troops of the 3rd Belorussian Front (the 11th Guards, 5th, 31st, 33rd, 39th Armies, the 5th Guards Tank Army and 1st Air Army) were engaged in intense fighting with German forces on the approaches to the Neman river during the second half of July, and were preparing for the continuation of the offensive. They were resisted by formations and units of the Third Panzer and Fourth Armies of the German Army Group Centre, under the command of Field-Marshal Walter Model. Towards the end of July, German units concentrated in the direction of Kaunas, according to Soviet estimates, included elements of 10 infantry and 2 tank divisions, 2 infantry brigades and 30 separate regiments and battalions.
Stavka assigned to the forces of the Front the mission of pressing home the attack on the Kaunas axis not later than 1–2 August, through assaults by the 39th Army together with the 5th Guards Tank Army from the north, and the 5th and 33rd Armies from the south to occupy Kaunas – the most important defensive position on the approaches to East Prussia. The plan called for the Red Army troops to advance to the borders of East Prussia by the 10 August and assume a defensive configuration in preparation for advancing into East Prussia.
Read more about this topic: Kaunas Offensive
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