When the enemy realized that he could not bring about the complete isolation of the Orel salient by air attacks alone, he tried to disrupt the German lines by ground tactics.
In a series of demolitions, the partisans cut the main railroad line as far back as Gomel. In this situation again the close cooperation between the partisans behind and the enemy forces in front of the German lines, with all its detrimental effects upon the German supply situation, became clearly noticeable.
In March 1943, the main supply line into the Orel salient was completely interrupted for some time. The break occurred about 15 miles southwest of Bryansk where a double-span railroad bridge crossed the Desna river. The paramount importance of this bridge had been impressed upon the commander of the rear area, and he had been repeatedly warned that the structure was to be protected and kept intact at all costs. The commander had therefore assigned a security platoon with antitank weapons to the task of guarding the bridge. One of the German reliefs which failed to take the proper precautions and was observed by the enemy from the neighboring woods, fell victim to a partisan night attack. The leader of the covering force had neglected to assign his men before nightfall to their individual defensive positions. At the crack of dawn the partisans first made a feint assault from the west. Once they had succeeded in distracting the attention of the security unit, a group of 200 to 300 men attacked the bridge from the east; the guards were overrun and the bridge blown up. The main line was now blocked to all traffic.