By winter the German forces in eastern Ukraine were severely weakened and depleted in number following the defeat of the 6th Army in Stalingrad. The Soviets enacted a dual attack to push the Germans towards the city of Kharkov whilst they still held momentum. Operation Star, headed by the Voronezh front, aimed a straight push west to take Kharkov. Armed with a significant tank force, the Russians managed to push the Germans back and retook the city by 16 February. To the south Operation Gallop, launched 29 January, was aimed at taking Stalino, however its progress had not been as effective. German units retreating from the Caucasus were redirected to fend off the Russian attack from the north and a protracted battle ensued as the Germans put up heavy resistance. The Russians had out-run their supply lines and exposed their flanks to German attack.
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