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The ‘Yelnya Offensive’ was a military operation by the Soviet Army during the Battle of Smolensk. It took place from August 30 till September 6, 1941 under the command of General Georgi K. Zhukov Red Army destroyed the German forces at Yelnya. This was the most substantial reverse that the German army had suffered up to that date, and was also the first successful planned Soviet offensive operation in the 'Great Patriotic War'.
The 'Yelnya Offensive Operation' is also associated with the creation of the elite Guards units within the Soviet forces to reflect a high level of combat performance under arduous operational conditions: the 100th and 127th Divisions were renamed as the 1st and 2nd Guards Divisions, and soon after this 153th and 161th Divisions were designated as the 3th and 4th Guards Divisions.
Yelnya was conferred the status of a town of military glory by President Putin on October 8, 2007, for "courage, endurance, and mass heroism, exhibited by defenders of the town in the struggle for the freedom and independence of the Motherland."