On the 15th of February, Panzers from the 3rd Panzer Corps made one last push from their bridgehead on the Gniloy Tikich, to capture Hill 239, northwest of the river. The area of the hill was held by elements from the 6th Tank and 27th Armies. But by this time the Russians had prepared strong defensive positions and were continually being reinforced. Despite their best efforts the tanks of the 1st and 17th Panzer Divisions were unable to capture the hill, their advance grinding to halt along a line formed by the towns of Lysianka, Oktyabr and Chishintsy, about 12km short of the objective.
This meant that the men trapped in the pocket would have to fight their way out against Russian infantry supported by armour, in well prepared positions. The Russians occupied two sets of positions, the inner ring facing Group Stemmerman and an outer ring that was holding off the 3rd Panzer Corps efforts to break through.
On the same day 8th Army issued new orders to the forces trapped in the pocket, ‘Group Stemmerman must perform a breakthrough as far as Zhurzintsy/Hill 239 by its own effort. There it will link up with the 3rd Panzer Corps.’
However the message did not clarify that Hill 239 was still in Russian hands. Stemmerman concluded from the message that friendly forces held the hill. He immediately began preparations for the breakout. Stemmerman would remain with the rearguard troops and General Lieb would lead the breakout.
Once it began, however, there would be little communication between units. Local commanders retained strong discipline among individual units.