The Soviet offensive of November 1943, which had pushed across the Dnieper and through Kiev, gradually lost steam and came to a halt around Zhytomyr where the Germans managed to focus reinforcements ready for a counterattack. Troop movements around Brusilov were severely limited due to poor weather and ground conditions. Meanwhile, the penetration of Soviet forces further north on the German left flank posed a threat of encirclement. On 6 December the reinforced Panzer units, which had formed for an attack through Zhytomyr, began their offensive and made encouraging progress towards Radomysl. The Germans destroyed a number of bridgeheads over the river near Malin but underestimated the number of troops the Red Army was amassing further east. They stopped pushing east on 23 December and dug themselves into defensive positions but the attack by the Red Army the next day completely overwhelmed the German defences and set in motion another German retreat.
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