Soviets Split Nazis' North-South Armies; Zhitomir's Fall Cuts Important Rail Line; Red Drive Continues; Russians Advancing Toward Other Key Routes:
Red Army columns smashed ahead both north and south from newly captured Zhitomir last night after an 85-mile advance in the week following the storming of Kiev had resulted in seizure of the town, cut the vital Leningrad-Odessa railway there and virtually split the German armies of Russia in two. Cutting of the rail line meant that the Germans now would have to shuttle men and supplies from the north into Poland and thence back again into southern Russia below Zhitomir, which is within 70 miles of the Polish border.
Last night Gen. Vatutin's armies were driving northward from Zhitomir toward Korosten, junction of five railways south of the Pripet marshes. One column was within 25 miles of the town. Another thrust from Zhitomir was aimed at Berdichev, 21 miles south. From Berdichev it is only 60 miles to the Odessa-Lwow rail line over which supplies are moving to Hitler's hard-pressed armies in the south.
Big Drive in Gomel Sector:
To the north of the Kiev salient another Russian drive was being made toward Ryechitsa, south of the great Nazi base at Gomel, anchor of the enemy's line in White Russia. Cossacks and tanks were striking for the important Gomel-Pinsk railway in an attempt to sever one of the last two remaining escape routes from Gomel.