As the Soviet offensive to secure the right flank of the drive on Berlin, a 50 kilometer gap still existed between two of the German divisions defending Pomerania. The Soviet 70th Army, which included the 1st Guards Tank Corps and the 96th Rifle Corps, was ordered to attack northward into the gap to exploit the situation. German 2. Armee commander Weiss was well aware of the gap but had only one mobile reserve available, Panzer-Division 7. SS-Grenadier-Division 15, a unit made up mainly of Latvians, was nearing the end of its strength and Weiss considered reinforcing it, but he decided instead to send Panzer-Division 7 to Konitz, behind the SS division to seal the gap. By opting to do so, he also sealed the fate of the Latvians. The spearhead of the Soviet attack into the Konitz gap, a strike force consisting of three assault guns with infantry support. The advanced through a thick woods toward the stream that lay across their line of advance and had a single bridge still intact. It was vital to take the bridge before it could be destroyed.