11th Guards Army (Soviet Union)

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11th Guards Army
Soviet Guards Order.png
Active 1943–1997
Disbanded Redesignated as Ground and Coastal Defence Forces of the Baltic Fleet
Country Soviet Union
Type Field army
Engagements Operation Kutuzov
Operation Bagration
Gumbinnen Operation
East Prussian Offensive
Battle of Königsberg
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia

The 11th Guards Army was a Soviet field army active from 1943 to 1997, which traces its origins to the formation of the Soviet 16th Army in June–July 1940.


World War II[edit]

Before Operation Barbarossa, HQ 16th Army was formed in July, 1940 in the Transbaikal Military District (uniting the forces deployed in Dauriya). Lieutenant General Mikhail Lukin (June - August 1941) took command.[1] In June 1941 it was relocated (with six Trans-Baikalian divisions) to Ukraine and subordinated to the Kiev Special Military District.[2] The Army HQ was disbanded on 8 August 1941 after encirclement (the Battle of Smolensk (1941)) just west of Smolensk as part of the Western Front. For its prowess in battle, the second formation of the 16th Army was redesignated as the 11th Guards Army on 16 April 1943.

On 1 June 1943 the 11th Guards Army consisted of the 8th Guards Rifle Corps (11th, 26th and 83rd Guards Rifle Divisions), 16th Guards Rifle Corps (1st, 16th & 31st Guards, and 169th Rifle Divisions), and the 5th, 18th, and 84th Guards, and the 108th and 217th Rifle Divisions, several artillery divisions, armoured units, and other support units.[3] The Army took part in the Orel Offensive (Operation Kutuzov), Briyansk, Gorodok, Operation Bagration, the Gumbinnen Operation the East Prussian Offensive, and finally the Battle of Königsberg under Bagramyan's command.

The army ended the war in the Kaliningrad region.


In July 1945, the army headquarters was used to form the headquarters of the Special Military District. On 26 February 1946, the headquarters of the district was redesignated the headquarters of the army, part of the Baltic Military District.[4] When reformed, the army consisted of the same corps it ended the war with – the 8th Guards at Chernyakhovsk, the 16th Guards at Kaliningrad, and the 36th Guards at Gusev (later Chernyakhovsk). The 84th Guards Rifle Division of the 36th Corps was disbanded during the year, and in the winter and spring the 31st Guards Rifle Division of the 16th Corps and the 18th Guards Rifle Division of the 36th Corps became the 29th and 30th Guards Mechanized Divisions, respectively. In June 1946, the 8th Guards was transferred to the Soviet airborne and relocated to Polotsk, and its 11th and 83rd Guards Rifle Divisions were disbanded.[5]

From the end of 1946 to 1956, the 11th Guards Army included the 16th Guards Rifle Corps with the 1st and 16th Guards Rifle Divisions, and the 28th Guards Mechanized Division, the 36th Guards Rifle Corps with the 5th and 26th Guards Rifle Divisions, and the 30th Guards Mechanized Division, and the independent 1st Tank Division (the former tank corps of the same number). Colonel General Pavel Batov commanded the army between 1950 and 1954. In the summer of 1956, the 10th Rifle Corps arrived from the Ural Military District; the 26th Guards Rifle Division and 71st Mechanized Division (from Ivanovo) were subordinated to it. In the spring of 1957, all of the army's Guards Rifle Divisions and the 30th Guards and 71st Mechanized Divisions were redesignated as motor rifle divisions, retaining their numbers except for the 71st, which became the 119th. The 28th Guards Mechanized Division became the 40th Guards Tank Division. During the late 1950s the army's corps were disbanded, along with the 5th and 16th Guards Motor Rifle Divisions. In November 1964, the 30th Guards became the 18th Guards, and the 119th became the 265th, although the latter had by then transferred to the Soviet Far East.[5]

For the rest of the Cold War, the army's organization remained mostly unchanged. On 22 February 1968, it was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Armed Forces. In August of that year, the 18th Guards Motor Rifle Division participated in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and upon its conclusion joined the Central Group of Forces in Czechoslovakia. Henceforth, the army included four divisions: the 1st (based at Kaliningrad) and 26th (Gusev) Guards Motor Rifle, and the 40th Guards (Sovetsk) and 1st (Kaliningrad) Tank. The tank divisions were maintained at a higher strength then the motor rifle divisions, and the 1st Guards Motor Rifle was maintained at a reduced strength with virtually no artillery and few armored vehicles. On 28 August 1988, the rocket battalions of the army's divisions were used to form the 463rd Rocket Brigade, directly subordinated to army headquarters. As the size of Soviet forces was reduced towards the end of the Cold War, the 26th Division was downsized into the 5190th Guards Weapons and Equipment Storage Base in September 1989. When Soviet troops withdrew from Eastern Europe in 1991, the 18th Guards Motor Rifle Division returned to Gusev, after which the 5190th Guards Base was disbanded, and the 11th Guards Rocket Brigade arrived in Chernyakhovsk.[5]

By early 1991, the 11th Guards Army included 620 tanks, 753 BMPs and BTRs, 239 guns, mortars, and Multiple rocket launchers, 71 attack helicopters, and 38 transport helicopters. It was disbanded on 1 February 1997 by being redesignated the Ground and Coastal Defence Forces of the Baltic Fleet.[6][5]

Commanders of the Army[edit]

The following generals commanded the army.[7][8][5]


  1. ^ http://samsv.narod.ru/Arm/a16/arm.htm
  2. ^ Lenskii 2001
  3. ^ Combat Composition of the Soviet Army, 1 June 1943
  4. ^ Feskov et al 2013, p. 440.
  5. ^ a b c d e Feskov et al 2013, pp. 446–449.
  6. ^ Morskoi Sbornik, No. 12, 1997, p.26, via Austin and Muraviev, The Armed Forces of Russia in Asia, Tauris, 2001, p.349. See also Morskoi Sbornik, No. 1, 1998, p.25, No. 2, 1998, p.29
  7. ^ "11-я гвардейская армия". gako2006.narod.ru. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  8. ^ Holm, Michael. "11th Guards Combined Arms Army". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 


  • http://www.victory.mil.ru/rkka/units/03/11.html
  • Keith E. Bonn, Slaughterhouse: Handbook of the Eastern Front, Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA, 2005
  • Feskov, V.I.; Golikov, V.I.; Kalashnikov, K.A.; Slugin, S.A. (2013). Вооруженные силы СССР после Второй Мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской [The Armed Forces of the USSR after World War II: From the Red Army to the Soviet: Part 1 Land Forces] (in Russian). Tomsk: Scientific and Technical Literature Publishing. ISBN 9785895035306. 
  • The Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.; Active army. Scientific reference book. - Zhukovsky, M: Kuchkovo field. 2005

External links[edit]