The main effort, however, was to the south, where the Korsun–Shevchenkovsky Offensive was launched on January 24. After a massive bombardment, 2nd Ukrainian Front's, 4th Guards and 53rd Armies attacked to the south of the Korsun bulge, and were joined the next day by the 5th Guards Tank Army. They broke through and easily repelled a German counter-attack. On January 26, 1st Ukrainian Front dispatched 6th Guards Tank Army from the north, which met up with the forces advancing from the south on January 28, encircling about 60,000 Germans in XI and XXXXII Panzer Corps around Korsun, in a pocket named "Little Stalingrad" due to the ferocity of the fighting in it.
In total, twenty-seven Soviet divisions were assigned to destroy the pocket. Soviet efforts, however, were hindered by the onset of an early thaw, which made the ground muddy. On February 4 Manstein dispatched Hans Hube, commanding the 1st Panzer Army, including XLVII and III Panzer Corps to assist in a breakout attempt. XLVII Panzer Corps attacked from the south-east, while III Panzer Corps attacked the west, but they were both bogged down by the mud. Zhukov issued a surrender demand to the forces trapped in the pocket on February 8, but was turned down.
III Panzer Corps was eventually, after a hard battle of attrition, able to reachLysyanka, close to the trapped forces, and, German forces in the pocket attempted to break out, with the majority escaping, though being forced to abandon their equipment. Running out of supplies and harried by airstrikes and advancing ground forces, Wilhelm Stemmermann, commander of the trapped forces, decided to attempt a final break-out on the night of February 16–17. This allowed more than 2/3 of the German forces to escape, though at the cost of all their heavy equipment due to the difficulty of crossing the flooded Gniloy Tickich.
The Soviets took approximately 15,000 prisoners, and killed at least 10,000 Germans, including their Commander Wilhelm Stemmermann. According to Milovan Djilas, Konev boasted with a smile: "We let the Cosaks cup up as long as they wished. They even hacked off the hands of those who raised them to surrender.