The Volga is the longest river in Europe with a catchment area of 1,350,000 square kilometres. It is Europe's largest river in terms of discharge and drainage basin; the river flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, is regarded as the national river of Russia. Eleven of the twenty largest cities of Russia, including the capital, are located in the Volga's drainage basin; some of the largest reservoirs in the world are located along the Volga. The river has a symbolic meaning in Russian culture and is referred to as Волга-матушка Volga-Matushka in Russian literature and folklore; the Russian hydronym Volga derives from Proto-Slavic *vòlga "wetness, moisture", preserved in many Slavic languages, including Ukrainian volóha "moisture", Russian vlaga "moisture", Bulgarian vlaga "moisture", Czech vláha "dampness", Serbian vlaga "moisture", Croatian vlaga "moisture" and Slovene vlaga "moisture" among others. The Slavic name is a loan translation of earlier Scythian Rā "Volga" "wetness", cognate with Avestan Raŋhā "mythical stream" and Vedic Sanskrit rasā́ "dew, juice.
The Scythian name survives in modern Mordvin Rav "Volga". The Turkic peoples living along the river referred to it as Itil or Atil "big river". In modern Turkic languages, the Volga is known as İdel in Tatar, Атăл in Chuvash, Idhel in Bashkir, Edil in Kazakh, İdil in Turkish; the Turkic peoples associated the Itil's origin with the Kama. Thus, a left tributary to the Kama was named the Aq Itil "White Itil" which unites with the Kara Itil "Black Itil" at the modern city of Ufa; the name Indyl is used in Adyge language. Among Asians, the river was known by its other Turkic name Sarı-su "yellow water", but the Oirats used their own name, Ijil mörön or "adaptation river". Presently the Mari, another Uralic group, call the river Jul, they called the river Volgydo, a borrowing from Old East Slavic. The Volga is the longest river in Europe, its catchment area is entirely inside Russia, though the longest river in Russia is the Ob–Irtysh river system, it belongs to the closed basin of the Caspian Sea, being the longest river to flow into a closed basin.
Rising in the Valdai Hills 225 meters above sea level northwest of Moscow and about 320 kilometers southeast of Saint Petersburg, the Volga heads east past Lake Sterzh, Dubna, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan. From there it turns south, flows past Ulyanovsk, Samara and Volgograd, discharges into the Caspian Sea below Astrakhan at 28 meters below sea level. At its most strategic point, it bends toward the Don. Volgograd Stalingrad, is located there; the Volga has many tributaries, most the rivers Kama, the Oka, the Vetluga, the Sura. The Volga and its tributaries form the Volga river system, which flows through an area of about 1,350,000 square kilometres in the most populated part of Russia; the Volga Delta has a length of about 160 kilometres and includes as many as 500 channels and smaller rivers. The largest estuary in Europe, it is the only place in Russia where pelicans and lotuses may be found; the Volga freezes for most of its length for three months each year. The Volga drains most of Western Russia.
Its many large reservoirs provide hydroelectric power. The Moscow Canal, the Volga–Don Canal, the Volga–Baltic Waterway form navigable waterways connecting Moscow to the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. High levels of chemical pollution have adversely affected its habitats; the fertile river valley provides large quantities of wheat, has many mineral riches. A substantial petroleum industry centers on the Volga valley. Other resources include natural gas and potash; the Volga Delta and the nearby Caspian Sea offer superb fishing grounds. Astrakhan, at the delta, is the center of the caviar industry. A number of large hydroelectric reservoirs were constructed on the Volga during the Soviet era, they are: Volgograd Reservoir Saratov Reservoir Kuybyshev Reservoir – the largest in Europe by surface Cheboksary Reservoir Gorky Reservoir Rybinsk Reservoir Uglich Reservoir Ivankovo Reservoir Volgograd Nizhny Novgorod Kazan Samara Saratov Tolyatti Yaroslavl Astrakhan Ulyanovsk Cheboksary Tver The area downstream of the Volga believed to have been a cradle of the Proto-Indo-European civilization, was settled by Slavs and other Turkic peoples in the first millennium AD, replacing the Scythians.
The ancient scholar Ptolemy of Alexandria mentions the lower Volga in his Geography. He calls it the Rha, the Scythian name for the river. Ptolemy believed the Don and the Volga shared the same upper branch, which flowed from the Hyperborean Mountains; the Russian ethnicity in Western Russia and around the Volga river evolved among other tribes, out of the East Slavic tribe of the Buzhans. Several localities in Russia are connected to the Buzhans, like for example Sredniy Buzhan in the Orenburg Oblast and the Buzan river in the Astrakhan Oblast. Buzhan is a village in Nishapur, Iran. Subsequently, the river basin played an important role in the movements of peoples from Asia to Europe. A powerful polity of Volga Bulgaria once flourished where the Kama jo
Russian Ground Forces
The Ground Forces of the Russian Federation are the land forces of the Russian Armed Forces, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, required reforms to professionalize the Ground Forces during the transition. Since 1992, the Ground Forces have withdrawn thousands of troops from former Soviet garrisons abroad, while remaining extensively committed to the Chechen Wars and other operations in the Soviet successor states; the primary responsibilities of the Ground Forces are the protection of the state borders, combat on land, the security of occupied territories, the defeat of enemy troops. The Ground Forces must be able to achieve these goals both in nuclear war and non-nuclear war without the use of weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, they must be capable of protecting the national interests of Russia within the framework of its international obligations; the Main Command of the Ground Forces is tasked with the following objectives: The training of troops for combat, on the basis of tasks determined by the Armed Forces' General Staff.
The improvement of troops' structure and composition, the optimization of their numbers, including for special troops. The development of military theory and practice; the development and introduction of training field manuals and methodology. The improvement of operational and combat training of the Ground Forces; as the Soviet Union dissolved, efforts were made to keep the Soviet Armed Forces as a single military structure for the new Commonwealth of Independent States. The last Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union, Marshal Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, was appointed supreme commander of the CIS Armed Forces in December 1991. Among the numerous treaties signed by the former republics, in order to direct the transition period, was a temporary agreement on general purpose forces, signed in Minsk on 14 February 1992. However, once it became clear that Ukraine was determined to undermine the concept of joint general purpose forces and form their own armed forces, the new Russian government moved to form its own armed forces.
Russian president Boris Yeltsin signed a decree forming the Russian Ministry of Defence on 7 May 1992, establishing the Russian Ground Forces along with the other branches of the military. At the same time, the General Staff was in the process of withdrawing tens of thousands of personnel from the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, the Northern Group of Forces in Poland, the Central Group of Forces in Czechoslovakia, the Southern Group of Forces in Hungary, from Mongolia. Thirty-seven divisions had to be withdrawn from the four groups of forces and the Baltic States, four military districts—totalling 57 divisions—were handed over to Belarus and Ukraine; some idea of the scale of the withdrawal can be gained from the division list. For the dissolving Soviet Ground Forces, the withdrawal from the former Warsaw Pact states and the Baltic states was an demanding and debilitating process; as the military districts that remained in Russia after the collapse of the Union consisted of the mobile cadre formations, the Ground Forces were, to a large extent, created by relocating the full-strength formations from Eastern Europe to under-resourced districts.
However, the facilities in those districts were inadequate to house the flood of personnel and equipment returning from abroad, many units "were unloaded from the rail wagons into empty fields." The need for destruction and transfer of large amounts of weaponry under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe necessitated great adjustments. The Ministry of Defence newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda published a reform plan on 21 July 1992. One commentator said it was "hastily" put together by the General Staff "to satisfy the public demand for radical changes." The General Staff, from that point, became a bastion of conservatism, causing a build-up of troubles that became critical. The reform plan advocated a change from an Army-Division-Regiment structure to a Corps-Brigade arrangement; the new structures were to be more capable in a situation with no front line, more capable of independent action at all levels. Cutting out a level of command, omitting two out of three higher echelons between the theatre headquarters and the fighting battalions, would produce economies, increase flexibility, simplify command-and-control arrangements.
The expected changeover to the new structure proved to be rare and sometimes reversed. The new brigades that appeared were divisions that had broken down until they happened to be at the proposed brigade strengths. New divisions—such as the new 3rd Motor Rifle Division in the Moscow Military District, formed on the basis of disbanding tank formations—were formed, rather than new brigades. Few of the reforms planned in the early 1990s eventuated, for three reasons: Firstly, there was an absence of firm civilian political guidance, with President Yeltsin interested in ensuring that the Armed Forces were controllable and loyal, rather than reformed. Secondly, declining funding worsened the progress. There was no firm consensus within the military about what reforms should be implemented. General Pavel Grachev, the first Russian Minister of Defence, broadly advertised reforms, yet wished to preserve the old Soviet-style Army, with large numbers of low-strength formations and continued mass conscription.
The General Staff and the armed services tried to preserve Soviet era doctrines, weapon
5th Guards Tank Division
The 5th Guards Tank Division was an armored division of the Soviet Ground Forces and Russian Ground Forces, active from 1945 to 2009, in two different formations. The 5th Guards Stalingrad-Kiev Red Banner Tank Division was formed in September 1945 at Sherlovaya Gora, Chita Oblast, from the 5th Guards Tank Corps. In mid 1957 it became the 122nd Guards Motor Rifle Division; the second formation drew its heritage from an illustrious Soviet World War II cavalry formation, the 5th Guards Cavalry Corps. After the end of World War II, the corps relocated from Ploiești in Romania, where it was part of the Southern Group of Forces, to Novocherkassk in Rostov Oblast, by the fall of 1945; the corps was reorganised as the 5th Guards Cavalry Division on 6 May 1946, part of the North Caucasus Military District. Its two cavalry divisions, the 11th Guards and 12th Guards, became regiments with the same numbers in the new division. A third regiment, the 7th Guards Cavalry Regiment, was renumbered from the 37th Guards Cavalry Regiment.
On 6 September 1951, the division was awarded the honorific "named for E. A. Shchadenko", in honor of Soviet cavalry commander Yefim Shchadenko. On 18 November 1954 18th Guards Heavy Tank Division was formed from 5th Guards Cavalry Division. With the beginning of the Nikita Khrushchev era, the Strategic Rocket Forces were emphasised at the expense of the Ground Forces, the Ground Forces were reduced and reorganized. On 5 March 1962, the division dropped the designation "Heavy" and became the 18th Guards Tank Division. Between 1 and 2 June 1962, the division was involved in the Novocherkassk massacre, the suppression of a strike caused by food shortages. On 11 January 1965, the division was renumbered the 5th Guards Tank Division to reflect its World War II title. In April 1966, the division was transferred to Kyakhta, on the Mongolian–Russian border, to reinforce the Transbaikal Military District in the light of deteriorating relations with the People's Republic of China. On 22 February 1968, the division was awarded the Order of the Red Star.
By May 1970, the division was part of the 29th Army. The division was expanded into the 48th Separate Guards Army Corps, as an experiment in rapid reaction units along with the Belorussian Military District's 120th Guards Motor Rifle Division, from 1982 to 1989; the three tank regiments and single motor rifle regiment of the division were expanded into two tank brigades and two motor rifle brigades, the 1319th Air Assault Regiment and 373rd Separate Helicopter Regiment, both newly formed, were added to the corps. The 57th Army Corps was upgraded in status to Army level in 2003; the 29th Army was subsequently disbanded. Adam Geibel wrote that 5th "Don" Guards Tank Division, stationed in Buryatia, had received ‘a few’ of the initial group of 150 T-90s produced. On 1 June 2009, the division became the 37th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, as part of the 2008 Russian military reform; the brigade included more than 200 tracked vehicles and more than 100 wheeled vehicles in 2013. Elements of the brigade fought in the War in Donbass and were located in the Northern operational area in February 2015.
The 37th's troops fought in the Battle of Debaltseve during this time, where their heavy equipment and weaponry was crucial to the defeat of Ukrainian forces in the battle. In September 2016, a conscript from the brigade was run over by a Kamaz truck while sleeping during an exercise; the division's second formation included the following units: 108th Tank Regiment 140th Guards Tank Regiment 160th Guards Tank Regiment 311th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment 861st Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment 940th Anti-aircraft Rocket Regiment Alyohin, Roman. Воздушно-десантные войска: история российского десанта. Moscow: Eksmo. ISBN 9785699332137. Baron, Samuel H.. Bloody Saturday in the Soviet Union: Novocherkassk, 1962. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804740937. Feskov, V. I.. I.. A.. A.. Вооруженные силы СССР после Второй Мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской. Tomsk: Scientific and Technical Literature Publishing. ISBN 9785895035306
Blagoveshchensk is a city and the administrative center of Amur Oblast, located at the confluence of the Amur and Zeya Rivers, opposite to the Chinese city of Heihe. Population: 214,390 ; the Amur has formed Russia's border with China since the 1858 Aigun Treaty and 1860 Treaty of Peking. The area north of the Amur belonged to the Manchu Qing dynasty by the Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689, until it was ceded to Russia by Aigun Treaty in 1858; the early residents of both sides of the Amur in the region of today's Blagoveshchensk were the Daurs and Duchers. An early settlement in the area of today's Blagoveshchensk was the Ducher town whose name was reported by the Russian explorer Yerofey Khabarov as Aytyun in 1652; the Grodekovo site is thought by archaeologists to have been populated since ca. 1000 CE. As the Russians tried to assert their control over the region, the Ducher town was vacated when the Duchers were evacuated by the Qing to the Sungari or Hurka in the mid-1650s. Since 1673, the Chinese re-used the site for their fort, which served in 1683-1685 as a base for the Manchus' campaign against the Russian fort of Albazin further north.
After the capture of Albazin in 1685 or 1686, the Chinese relocated their town, to a new site on the right bank of the Amur, about 3 miles downstream from the original site. The series of conflicts between Russians and China ended with Russia's recognition of the Chinese sovereignty over both sides of the Amur by the Nerchinsk Treaty of 1689; as the balance of power in the region has changed by the mid-19th century, the Russian Empire was able to take over the left shore of the Amur from China. Since the 1858 Aigun Treaty and the 1860 Treaty of Peking, the river has remained the border between the countries, although the Qing subjects were allowed to continue to live in the so-called Sixty-Four Villages east of the Amur and the Zeya. Although Russian settlers had lived in the area as early as 1644 as "Hailanpao", the present-day city began in 1856 as the military outpost of Ust-Zeysky. Tsar Alexander II gave approval for the founding of the city in 1858, to be named Blagoveshchensk means "the city of good news", after the parish Church of the Annunciation and declared to be seat of government for the Amur region.
According to Blagoveshchensk authorities, by 1877 the city had some 8,000 residents, with 15 foreigners among them. The city was an important river port and trade center during the late 19th century, with growth further fueled by a gold rush early in the 20th century and by its position on the Chinese border, just hundreds of meters across from the city of Heihe. Local historian note the preeminence of Blagoveshchensk in the economy of the late 19th century Russian Far East, reflected by a "small detail": When the heir to Russian throne, HIH Nicholas Alexandrovich visited in 1891 during his grand tour of Asia, the locals presented him with bread and salt on a gold tray, rather than on a silver one, as it was done in other cities of the region. In the course of the Boxer Rebellion, the Qing Imperial army and Boxer insurgents shelled the city in July 1900. Chinese Honghuzi forces joined the attack against Blagoveshchensk. According to the Orthodox belief, the city was saved by a miraculous icon of Our Lady of Albazin, prayed to continuously during the shelling which lasted two weeks.
On July 3, a decision was made by the city's Police Chief Batarevich and the Military Governor Gribsky to deport the city's entire ethnic Chinese community, viewed as potential "fifth columnists". As the cross-river shipping was interrupted by the rebellion, a question arose how to get them from the Russian side of the Amur to the Chinese side. Batarevich suggested that the deportees could be first taken east of the Zeya, where they could try to obtain boats from the local Chinese villagers; the plan, was vetoed by the governor, the decision was made instead to take the deportees to the stanitsa of Verkhneblagoveshchenskaya—the place where the Amur is at its narrowest—and made them leave the Russian shore. As the local ataman refused to provide the deportees with boats to take them across the river, few of them made it to the Chinese side; the rest drowned in the Amur, or were shot or axed by the police and local volunteers, when refusing to leave the dry land. According to Chinese sources, about 5,000 people died during these events of July 4–8, 1900.
The expulsion of local Chinese caused some hardships for Blagoveshchensk consumers. Historians note that during the second half of 1900, it became impossible to buy any green vegetables in town; the massacre angered the Chinese, had ramifications for the future: the Chinese Honghuzi fought a guerilla war against Russian occupation and assisted th
Battles of Rzhev
The Battles of Rzhev were a series of Soviet operations in World War II between January 8, 1942 and March 31, 1943. Due to the high losses suffered by the Red Army, the campaign became known by veterans and historians as the "Rzhev Meat Grinder"; the operations took place in the general area of Rzhev, Sychyovka in Sychyovsky District, Vyazma against German forces. The major operations that were executed in this area of the front were: Rzhev–Vyazma Strategic Offensive Operation of the Kalinin Front, Western Front, Bryansk Front, Northwestern Front Sychyovsky–Vyazma offensive operation of the Kalinin Front Mozhaysk–Vyazma offensive operation of the Western Front Toropets–Kholm Offensive Operation of the Northwestern Front and reassigned to the Kalinin Front from 22 January 1942 Vyazma airborne operation of the Western Front Rzhev operation Operation Seydlitz and the Soviet defensive battles around Bely and Kholm-Zhirkovsky launched by 9th Army of Germany to eliminate the salient in the vicinity between Bely and Kholm–Zhirkovsky and annihilate the 39th Army and 11th Cavalry Corps of the Kalinin Front First Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation by forces of the Kalinin Front and Western Front Second Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation by the forces of the Kalinin Front and Western Front Battle for Velikiye Luki by 3rd Shock Army of the Kalinin Front Third Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation by the forces of the Kalinin Front and Western Front, at the same time, the southern flank offensive operations on the Bryansk Front.
These were operations that occurred during the planned German retreat from the salient known as Operation Büffel During the Soviet winter counter-offensive of 1941, the Rzhev-Vyazma Strategic Offensive Operation, German forces were pushed back from Moscow. As a result, a salient was formed along the front line in the direction of the capital, which became known as the Rzhev-Vyazma Salient, it was strategically important for the German Army Group Centre due to the threat it posed to Moscow, was therefore fortified and defended. Initial Soviet forces committed by the Kalinin and Western Front included the 22nd, 29th, 30th, 31st, 39th of the former, the 1st Shock, 5th, 10th, 16th, 20th, 33rd, 43rd, 49th, 50th armies and three cavalry corps for the latter; the intent was for the 22nd Army, 29th Army and 39th Armies supported by the 11th Cavalry Corps to attack West of Rzhev, penetrate deep into the western flank of Army Group Centre's 9th Army. This was achieved in January, by the end of the month the cavalry corps found itself 110 km in the depth of the German flank.
To eliminate this threat to the rear of the Army Group Centre's 9th Army, the Germans had started Operation Seydlitz by 2 July. However, due to the nature of the terrain the supply route of the troops of the Soviet 22nd Army, 29th Army and 39th Armies which attempted to enlarge the penetration became difficult, they were encircled; the cutting of a major highway to Rzhev by the cavalry signalled the commencement of the Toropets–Kholm Offensive. The offensive was conducted in late 1942; this offensive was conducted across the northern part of the Western Front against the Wehrmacht's 4th Panzer Army and the 4th Army. A Soviet airborne operation, conducted by the 4th Airborne Corps in seven separate landing zones, five of them intended to cut major road and rail line of communication to the Wehrmacht's 9th Army. In the aftermath of the Soviet winter counteroffensive of 1941–42, substantial Soviet forces remained in the rear of the German Ninth Army; these forces maintained a hold on the primitive forested swamp region between Bely.
On July 2, 1942, Ninth Army under General Model launched Operation Seydlitz to clear the Soviet forces out. The Germans first blocked the natural breakout route through the Obsha valley and split the Soviet forces into two isolated pockets; the battle ended with the elimination of the encircled Soviet forces. The next Rzhev-Sychyovka Offensive codenamed Operation Mars; the operation consisted of several incremental offensive phases: Sychyovka Offensive Operation 24 November 1942 – 14 December 1942 Belyi Offensive Operation 25 November 1942 – 16 December 1942 Luchesa Offensive Operation 25 November 1942 – 11 December 1942 Molodoi Tud Offensive Operation 25 November 1942 – 23 December 1942 Velikie-Luki Offensive Operation 24 November 1942 – 20 January 1943This operation was nearly as heavy in losses for the Red Army as the first offensive, failed to reach desired objectives, but the Red Army tied down German forces which may have otherw
Major general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general; the disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the confusing phenomenon whereby a lieutenant general outranks a major general while a major outranks a lieutenant. In the Commonwealth and the United States, it is a division commander's rank subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general. In the Commonwealth, major general is equivalent to the navy rank of rear admiral, in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air vice-marshal. In some countries, including much of Eastern Europe, major general is the lowest of the general officer ranks, with no brigadier-grade rank. In the old Austro-Hungarian Army, the major general was called a Generalmajor. Today's Austrian Federal Army still uses the same term. General de Brigada is the lowest rank of general officers in the Brazilian Army. A General de Brigada wears two-stars as this is the entry level for general officers in the Brazilian Army.
See Military ranks of Brazil and Brigadier for more information. In the Canadian Armed Forces, the rank of major-general is both a Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force rank equivalent to the Royal Canadian Navy's rank of rear-admiral. A major-general is the equivalent of a naval flag officer; the major-general rank is senior to the ranks of brigadier-general and commodore, junior to lieutenant-general and vice-admiral. Prior to 1968, the Air Force used the rank of air vice-marshal, instead; the rank insignia for a major-general in the Royal Canadian Air Force is a wide braid under a single narrow braid on the cuff, as well as two silver maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown. In the Canadian Army, the rank insignia is a wide braid on the cuff, as well as two gold maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown, it is worn on the shoulder straps of the service dress tunic, on slip-ons on other uniforms. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves.
Major-generals are addressed as "general" and name, as are all general officers. Major-generals are entitled to staff cars. In the Estonian military, the major general rank is called kindralmajor; the Finnish military equivalent is kenraalimajuri in Finnish, generalmajor in Swedish and Danish. The French equivalent to the rank of major general is général de division. In the French military, major général is not a rank but an appointment conferred on some generals of général de corps d'armée rank, acting as head of staff of one of the armed forces; the major general assists the chief of staff of the French army with matters such as human resources and discipline, his role is analogous with the British Army position of Adjutant-General to the Forces. The position of major général can be considered the equivalent of a deputy chief of staff; the five major generals are: the Major General of the Armed Forces, head of the General Staff, the Major General of the Army, the Major General of the Navy, the Major General of the Gendarmerie, the Major General of the Air Force.
In the French Army, Major General is a position and the major general is of the rank of corps general. The French army had some sergent-majors généraux called sergents de bataille, whose task was to prepare the disposition of the army on the field before a battle; these sergents-majors généraux became a new rank, the maréchal de camp, the equivalent of the rank of major general. However, the term of major général was not forgotten and used to describe the appointment of armies chiefs of staff. One well-known French major général was Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier. In addition,maréchal de camp was renamed général de brigade in 1793; the rank was decided to correspond to brigadier general after WWⅡ. In Georgia, the rank major-general has one star as for security forces; the army, does not follow the traditional soviet model and uses the now more common two-star insignia. The German Army and Luftwaffe referred to the rank as Generalmajor until 1945. Prior to 1945, the rank of Generalleutnant was used to define a division commander, whereas Generalmajor was a brigade commander.
With the remilitarization of Germany in 1955 on West Germany's admission to NATO, the Heer adopted the rank structure of the U. S. with the authority of the three lower ranks being moved up one level, the rank of Brigadegeneral added below them. The rank of Generaloberst was no longer used; the Nationale Volksarmee of the German Democratic Republic continued the use Generalmajor, abbreviated as "GenMaj", as the lowest general officer rank until reunification in 1990. It was equivalent to Konteradmiral. In the Magyar Honvédség, the equivalent rank to major general is vezérőrnagy. In the Iranian army and air force, the ranks above colonel are sartip dovom, sarlashkar and arteshbod.
254th Motor Rifle Division
The 254th Motor Rifle Division was a motorized infantry division of the Soviet Army during the Cold War and the Ukrainian Army. It was formed in June 1941 from NKVD Border Troops and reservists as part of the Northwestern Front and fought against the German invasion of Russia. In 1944 the division was the first Soviet unit to enter Romanian territory and in 1945 fought in the Battle of Bautzen; the division renumbered as the 27th Mechanized Division, was part of the Soviet forces that put down the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and was afterwards stationed in Hungary. The unit participated in the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, after which it returned to Hungary; the unit was withdrawn to Ukraine in 1990 and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union was transferred to Ukraine. The unit was downsized to form the 52nd Separate Mechanized Brigade and was disbanded in October 2004; the division was formed beginning 26 June 1941 in the Moscow Military District in the Tetnitsky camps 25 kilometers north of Tula.
It was one of fifteen divisions in the 240-250 series formed on cadres of 1,500 officers and men from the NKVD Border Troops. The order of battle of the 254th was as follows: 929th Rifle Regiment 933rd Rifle Regiment 936th Rifle Regiment 791st Artillery Regiment 130th Antitank Battalion 421st Sapper Battalion 673rd Signal Battalion 333rd Reconnaissance CompanyIt was commanded by Major General Pyotr Pokhaznikov from its formation until 15 October; the division was formed by 12 July and on that day was loaded into trains despite not yet being armed and sent to the Staraya Russa area, assigned to the 11th Army in the Northwestern Front. On 15 July the unloading had been completed. On 16 July, the division received orders to reach the line of Evanovo, Zabolote, Vnuchkovo and Nogatkino; the line was 8 to 10 kilometers to the west and south of Staraya Russa. The division was to fortify the line to prevent a German breakthrough to the east. On the left flank of the line there were forests and swamps.
The division began building fortifications, creating strongpoints in the area of settlements. The 15 kilometer length of the line did not allow for a second echelon of the division. On 22 July, the division became part of the 11th Army, ordered to cover the army's retreat and stop the German attack. By 28 July, the 180th Rifle Division had advanced to the northwest of Staraya Russa and was defending on the right of the 254th; the German 290th Infantry Division advanced along the highway towards Tuleblya, on the 254th's right flank. At this time the 254th still did not have guns for the regimental artillery and half of its assigned machine guns; the division's fire system was not ready to repel the advance of the 290th Infantry Division. As a result, the 202nd Motorized Division marched 70 kilometers to the Tuleblya area, a position from which it could counterattack the 290th. On 28 July the 202nd Division held the German advance for two days; this was enough time to arm the 254th and enable it to repel the German attacks.
On 30 July, the forward units of the division's defenses were attacked by the 290th, which although it had suffered losses, was still twice the size of the 254th. For five days the 254th resisted the advance of the German forces; the 290th and the reserve 30th Infantry Division shifted their attacks to the 180th Rifle Division on 4 August. Suffering heavy losses, the 30th Infantry Division broke through and captured the southern part of Staraya Russa; the 30th attacked southwards, towards the rear of the 254th, cutting off its supply and evacuation routes. The 254th now had to fight on two fronts at once: the 290th still attacking from the west, parts of the 30th from the northeast; the situation threatened the division with encirclement, on 6 August it was ordered to pull back to the eastern bank of the Lovat River. The division retreated 13 to 17 kilometers and finished on a seven kilometer long line near Pleshakovo and Prismorzhye. On 6 August it was reassigned to 34th Army in the same front, but this was temporary, it was soon back in 11th Army.
The 11th and 34th Armies counterattacked south of Lake Ilmen on 12 August. Advancing more than twenty kilometers, the division captured the southern outskirts of Staraya Russa and reached the line of the Polist River by 18 August. However, German counterattacks drove the two armies back to the Lovat, the 254th reoccupied its former positions there. To its north was the 22nd Rifle Corps, in the south there was a gap of twelve kilometers between the nearest Soviet unit. On 24 August the German 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf attacked through the gap towards the 254th's left flank and rear; the 254th withdrew northeast of the Pola River, where by 31 August it hurriedly took up defensive positions at Zaostrovye and Vystova, on a twelve kilometer front. At this time, German troops broke through the defenses of the divisions on the flanks of the 254th and it was forced to retreat five to eight kilometers southeast; the division took west of Nora and Pustynya. The 202nd Rifle Division defended on the right of the division, the 163rd Rifle Division on its left.
In April, 1944, the 254th was the first Red Army unit to cross the Prut River and enter Romanian territory. Despite the accumulated losses of the past month's campaigning and the difficulties of supply during winter, the Front's obvious next objectives were the cities of Jassy and Kishinev. On 13 April, Gen. I. S. Konev ordered Lt. Gen. K. A. Koroteev to probe the defenses of German IV Corps north of Jassy. He, in turn, ordered Mjr. Gen