243rd Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 243rd Rifle Division was one of a series of 15 divisions formed from cadres of NKVD border troops as standard Red Army rifle divisions shortly after the German invasion, in the Moscow Military District. It served in the heavy fighting around Smolensk in July later in the defensive operations around Kalinin, it saw extensive service in the severe fighting around Rzhev, before being moved south in the winter of 1942-43. In the following winter the division was recognized for its role in the liberation of Nikopol, receiving that place name as an honorific. After battling through Ukraine, Romania and Austria, the 243rd completed a complex combat path by ending the war in Manchuria and earning a second honorific; the 243rd Rifle Division began forming within days of the start of the German invasion on June 26, 1941, at Yaroslavl, in the Moscow Military District, based on a cadre of 1,500 officers and men of the NKVD Internal Troops. The remaining soldiers and officers came from the reserves. Although the initial order for its formation came from the NKVD, when it left for the front in early July it was under Red Army administration.
Its order of battle was as follows: 906th Rifle Regiment 910th Rifle Regiment 912th Rifle Regiment 775th Artillery Regiment 303rd Antitank Battalion 413th Sapper Battalion 665th Signal Battalion 324th Reconnaissance CompanyOn July 13 the division was assigned to 30th Army in Western Front, but was soon shifted to 29th Army, where it remained through the balance of 1941. The 243rd was immediately committed to heavy fighting along the Western Dvina River north of Smolensk. On Aug. 28 the division was defending, backed by one battery of corps artillery. Two days with German XXXX Motorized Corps rampaging through 22nd Army's positions near Toropets, the division was ordered north to assist the neighboring army. By Sept. 2 it had reached and was digging in to its new positions, 10 – 18 km north of Zapadnaya Dvina. In a general assault by Western Front on Sept. 4-5, the 243rd was able to make some westward gains, including the village of Shatry and three hills, but by the second day, along with its army, the division was no longer capable of attacking due to high losses.
In the wake of the Soviet defeat in Operation Typhoon, Army Group Center was trying to exploit eastwards, but was being held up by lack of supplies, ongoing resistance by the tattered Red Army, the autumn rains. XXXXI Motorized Corps was ordered to capture Kalinin, from Oct. 8 - 14 ground its way forward to take the city. In response, on Oct. 17 Kalinin Front was established under command of Col. Gen. I. S. Konev, with the 243rd, along with its army, reassigned to this front. G. Tsarkov. On that same day, his division was ordered, as part of the Right Group of the front, to cross the Volga at Staritsa and attack the supply lines of the German corps about 27 km south of the city; this did serve to distract German attention from more serious threats. The 29th Army commander, Lt. Gen. I. I. Maslennikov disregarded his orders and moved his forces north on the west bank of the river, attempting to reach the enemy closer to the city. By Oct. 20 Maslennikov's army was entering the battle north of Kalinin, along the Torzhok road, the 243rd helped form the southern prong encircling the 900th"Lehr" Brigade.
By the end of the day, XXXXI Corps conceded that no further advance toward Torzhok was possible, that its forces would have to withdraw to Kalinin. On this date the 243rd was reported as being in "quite satisfactory condition" with a total fighting strength of about 60%. During the winter of 1941-42 the division remained in Kalinin Front, in either the 29th or 30th Army; the 243rd was in 30th Army during the First Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation. In August it liberated the village of Kopytikh, in savage fighting repulsed 14 enemy counterattacks, went on the attack itself eight times; that month it was transferred to Western Front along with the rest of 30th Army. The 243rd was reassigned to 20th Army, still in Western Front, in December, in the last gasps of Operation Mars, to help make one last desperate attempt to break the German positions and capture Sychyovka. On December 11 the relatively-fresh 243rd, backed by the 5th Tank Corps, held in reserve, made an attack en masse alongside several other divisions, but together they made scanty gains of 500 - 1,000 metres at significant cost, failed to capture a single German-held fortified village.
Three days the offensive was shut down for good. In the period from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18 the division lost 748 men killed and 1,954 wounded, 4 missing-in-action, for a total of 2,706 casualties. After the Rzhev battles, the 243rd went into the reserves of Western Front into the Reserve of the Supreme High Command for rebuilding. In a somewhat unusual move, the division was railed southward in January, 1943, to join 3rd Guards Army in Southwestern Front, taking part in the stages of Operation Little Saturn in 18th Rifle Corps, it remained in 3rd Guards until June. When the summer offensive began in July it was in 33rd Rifle Corps and moved with its corps successively to 1st Guards Army, 8th Guards Army, 6th Army, all in Southwestern Front. From October, 1943 to February, 1944 the 243rd was back in 3rd Guards Army, now in 4th Ukrainian Front. On Feb. 8 the men and women of the division played a leading role in the liberation of Nikopol, received the name of that city as an honorific. In late February the 243rd was once again reassigned, back to 6th Army, now in 3rd Ukrainian Front.
It the following months it participated in the liberati
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Western Front (World War II)
The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. World War II military engagements in Southern Europe and elsewhere are considered under separate headings; the Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations. The first phase saw the capitulation of the Netherlands and France during May and June 1940 after their defeat in the Low Countries and the northern half of France, continued into an air war between Germany and Britain that climaxed with the Battle of Britain; the second phase consisted of large-scale ground combat, which began in June 1944 with the Allied landings in Normandy and continued until the defeat of Germany in May 1945. The Phoney War was an early phase of World War II marked by a few military operations in Continental Europe in the months following the German invasion of Poland and preceding the Battle of France. Although the great powers of Europe had declared war on one another, neither side had yet committed to launching a significant attack, there was little fighting on the ground.
This was the period in which the United Kingdom and France did not supply significant aid to Poland, despite their pledged alliance. While most of the German Army was fighting against Poland, a much smaller German force manned the Siegfried Line, their fortified defensive line along the French border. At the Maginot Line on the other side of the border, French troops stood facing them, whilst the British Expeditionary Force and other elements of the French Army created a defensive line along the Belgian border. There were only some minor skirmishes; the British Royal Air Force dropped propaganda leaflets on Germany and the first Canadian troops stepped ashore in Britain, while Western Europe was in a strange calm for seven months. In their hurry to re-arm and France had both begun to buy large numbers of weapons from manufacturers in the United States at the outbreak of hostilities, supplementing their own production; the non-belligerent United States contributed to the Western Allies by discounted sales of military equipment and supplies.
German efforts to interdict the Allies' trans-Atlantic trade at sea ignited the Battle of the Atlantic. While the Western Front remained quiet in April 1940, the fighting between the Allies and the Germans began in earnest with the Norwegian Campaign when the Germans launched Operation Weserübung, the German invasion of Denmark and Norway. In doing so, the Germans beat the Allies to the punch. However, when the Allies made a counter-landing in Norway following the German invasion, the Germans repulsed them and defeated the Norwegian armed forces, driving the latter into exile; the Kriegsmarine, suffered heavy losses during the two-months of fighting required to seize all of mainland Norway. In May 1940, the Germans launched the Battle of France; the Western Allies soon collapsed under the onslaught of the so-called "blitzkrieg" strategy. The majority of the British and elements of the French forces escaped at Dunkirk. With the fighting ended, the Germans began to consider ways of resolving the question of how to deal with Britain.
If the British refused to agree to a peace treaty, one option was to invade. However, Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, had suffered serious losses in Norway, in order to consider an amphibious landing, Germany's Air Force had to first gain air superiority or air supremacy. With the Luftwaffe unable to defeat the RAF in the Battle of Britain, the invasion of Great Britain could no longer be thought of as an option. While the majority of the German army was mustered for the invasion of the Soviet Union, construction began on the Atlantic Wall – a series of defensive fortifications along the French coast of the English Channel; these were built in anticipation of an Allied invasion of France. Because of the massive logistical obstacles a cross-channel invasion would face, Allied high command decided to conduct a practice attack against the French coast. On 19 August 1942, the Allies began an attack on Dieppe, France. Most of the troops were Canadian, with some British contingents and a small American and Free French presence along with British and Polish naval support.
The raid was a disaster two-thirds of the attacking force became casualties. However, much was learned as a result of the operation – these lessons would be put to good use in the subsequent invasion. For two years, there was no land-fighting on the Western Front with the exception of commando raids and the guerrilla actions of the resistance aided by the Special Operations Executive and Office of Strategic Services. However, in the meantime, the Allies took the war to Germany, with a strategic bombing campaign the US Eighth Air Force bombing Germany by day and RAF Bomber Command bombing by night; the bulk of the Allied armies were occupied in the Mediterranean, seeking to clear the sea lanes to the Indian Ocean and capture the Foggia Airfield Complex. Two early British raids for which battle honours were awarded were Operation Collar in Boulogne and Operation Ambassador in Guernsey; the raids for which the British awarded the "North-West Europe Campaign of 1942" battle honour were: Operation Biting – Bruneval, St Nazaire, Operation Myrmidon – Bayonne, Operation Abercrombie – Hardelot, Dieppe (19 Augus
5th Combined Arms Army
The 5th Combined Arms Red Banner Army is a Russian Ground Forces formation in the Eastern Military District. It was formed in 1939, served during the Soviet invasion of Poland that year, was deployed in the southern sector of the Soviet defences when Adolf Hitler's Operation Barbarossa began in June 1941 during World War II. In the disastrous first months of Barbarossa, the 5th Army was destroyed around Kiev. Reformed under Lelyushenko and Govorov, it played a part in the last-ditch defence of Moscow, in the string of offensive and defensive campaigns that saw the Soviet armies liberate all of Soviet territory and push west into Poland and beyond into Germany itself; the 5th Army itself only advanced as far as East Prussia before it was moved east to take part in the Soviet attack on Japan. Since 1945 under the Soviet and now Russian flag it has formed part of the Far East Military District keeping watch on the border with the People's Republic of China; as the Russian armed force shrunk it found itself part of the larger Eastern Military District in the twenty-first century.
The 5th Army was created in August 1939 in the Special Kiev Military District from the Northern Army Group. In September 1939 the 5th Army took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland, justified by the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact; the Army was placed under the command of I. G. Sovietnikov. On 22 June 1941, the 5th Army consisted of the 15th Rifle Corps, as well as the 27th Rifle Corps, the 22nd Mechanised Corps, the 2nd Fortified Region, seven artillery regiments, 2 NKVD border regiments, an engineer regiment; the Army's rifle divisions were assigned to cover the Lutsk-Rovno approaches to the Ukraine and were tasked to man the Kovel and Vladimir-Volynsk fortified districts. The Army was stationed in barracks up to forty miles from the frontier, would need three to four days to take up its positions. On 22 June, the 15th Rifle Corps managed to take its place in the line, holding the sector from Vlodava to Vladimir-Volynsk, but that same day, the southern end of the line at Vladimir-Volynsk "began to buckle in," in John Erickson's words.
The main German thrust in the sector came at the junction point between the 5th Army and its neighbour to the south, the 6th Army, both the 5th and 6th Armies committed their mechanised forces to try to stem the gap, but without success. The Commander Southwestern Front, Mikhail Kirponos, decided to halt this with an attack into the flank of Panzer Group 1 using all the available mobile forces – five mechanised corps; this was unsuccessful in the face of the thrusting German advance, lack of coordination from the various Soviet formations, acute shortage of equipment and spares, lack of proper equipment radio sets. Meanwhile General M. I. Potapov, now commanding the 5th Army, was ordered on 29 June to make another attack on Panzer Group 1's flank from the woods of Klevany. Amid these efforts, Kirponos managed to withdraw most of his Front to a new line on the old Soviet/Polish border, prevented the Germans from rupturing the Soviet defensive line; the 11th Panzer Division took Berdichev on 7 July, the juncture between the 5th and 6th Armies was broken.
The gap between the 5th and 6th Armies widened to forty miles. To remedy the situation another counterattack was ordered, Potapov, now commanding the 15th and 31st Rifle, 9th, 19th and 22nd Mechanised Corps, was directed to strike northwards from Berdichev and Lyubar. However, his forces had been badly worn down: the 9th Mechanised Corps had 64 tanks left, the 22nd less than half that number, the rifle regiments of 31st Corps had "no more than three hundred men." Potapov's force cut the Zhitomir highway and kept up the pressure for a week, afterwards remained as a thorn on the German Sixth Army's northern flank. By 7 September the 5th Army was threatened with being split in two by the Second Army coming from the east and the Sixth Army's northern outflanking of Kiev; the Stavka refused permission for the 5th Army to withdraw, as they were still hoping for results from a counterattack by the Bryansk Front. By 9 September Stalin had given authority for the 5th Army to withdraw but by it was trapped, on 20 September Potapov and his command group were taken prisoner.
In the disastrous battle, the German forces encircled forces from the 5th, 21st, 26th, 37th Armies, captured Kiev, claimed 665,000 prisoners. The 5th Army was re-raised for the second time in October 1941, under the command of Dmitri Lelyushenko, as part of the Soviet Western Front. Recent sources give the actual re-raising date as 11 October 1941, it included two three tank brigades. At the Battle at Borodino Field, on a former Napoleonic battlefield, the first elements of the reforming Army to arrive at the front—two regiments of the Soviet 32nd Rifle Division and the 18th and 19th Tank Brigades—attempted to halt the German 10th Panzer Division and Das Reich divisions which were striking for Mozhaisk. Lelyuschenko was wounded and General L. A. Govorov took over. What thin reserves there were ran out, Mozhaisk fell on 18 October; that year the Army took part in the Klin-Solnechogorsk offensive operation. On 15 November, another German strike toward Moscow opened, but while
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established after the 1917 October Revolution; the Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; the Red Army provided the largest land force in the Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II, its invasion of Manchuria assisted the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan. During operations on the Eastern Front, it accounted for 75–80% of casualties the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS suffered during the war and captured the Nazi German capital, Berlin. In September 1917, Vladimir Lenin wrote: "There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police, and, to create a people's militia and to fuse it with the army."
At the time, the Imperial Russian Army had started to collapse. 23% of the male population of the Russian Empire were mobilized. The Tsarist general Nikolay Dukhonin estimated that there had been 2 million deserters, 1.8 million dead, 5 million wounded and 2 million prisoners. He estimated the remaining troops as numbering 10 million. While the Imperial Russian Army was being taken apart, "it became apparent that the rag-tag Red Guard units and elements of the imperial army who had gone over the side of the Bolsheviks were quite inadequate to the task of defending the new government against external foes." Therefore, the Council of People's Commissars decided to form the Red Army on 28 January 1918. They envisioned a body "formed from the class-conscious and best elements of the working classes." All citizens of the Russian republic aged 18 or older were eligible. Its role being the defense "of the Soviet authority, the creation of a basis for the transformation of the standing army into a force deriving its strength from a nation in arms, furthermore, the creation of a basis for the support of the coming Socialist Revolution in Europe."
Enlistment was conditional upon "guarantees being given by a military or civil committee functioning within the territory of the Soviet Power, or by party or trade union committees or, in extreme cases, by two persons belonging to one of the above organizations." In the event of an entire unit wanting to join the Red Army, a "collective guarantee and the affirmative vote of all its members would be necessary." Because the Red Army was composed of peasants, the families of those who served were guaranteed rations and assistance with farm work. Some peasants who remained at home yearned to join the Army. If they were turned away they would prepare care-packages. In some cases the money they earned would go towards tanks for the Army; the Council of People's Commissars appointed itself the supreme head of the Red Army, delegating command and administration of the army to the Commissariat for Military Affairs and the Special All-Russian College within this commissariat. Nikolai Krylenko was the supreme commander-in-chief, with Aleksandr Myasnikyan as deputy.
Nikolai Podvoisky became the commissar for Pavel Dybenko, commissar for the fleet. Proshyan, Steinberg were specified as people's commissars as well as Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich from the Bureau of Commissars. At a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, held on 22 February 1918, Krylenko remarked: "We have no army; the demoralized soldiers are fleeing, panic-stricken, as soon as they see a German helmet appear on the horizon, abandoning their artillery and all war material to the triumphantly advancing enemy. The Red Guard units are brushed aside like flies. We have no power to stay the enemy; the Russian Civil War occurred in three periods: October 1917 – November 1918: From the Bolshevik Revolution to the First World War Armistice, developed from the Bolshevik government's nationalization of traditional Cossack lands in November 1917. This provoked the insurrection of General Alexey Maximovich Kaledin's Volunteer Army in the River Don region; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk aggravated Russian internal politics.
The situation encouraged direct Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, in which twelve foreign countries supported anti-Bolshevik militias. A series of engagements resulted, amongst others, the Czechoslovak Legion, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian Riflemen. January 1919 – November 1919: Initially the White armies advanced: from the south, under General Anton Denikin; the Whites defeated the Red Army on each front. Leon Trotsky reformed and counterattacked: the Red Army repelled Admiral Kolchak's army in June, the armies of General Denikin and General Yudenich in October. By mid-Nove
8th Army (Soviet Union)
The 8th Army was a field army of the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War. The 8th Army was formed in October 1939 from the Novgorod Army Operational Group of the Leningrad Military District with the task of providing security of the Northwestern borders of the USSR. On 30 November 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland in the Winter War; the strength of the 8th Army, or overall the Red Army, in the north of Lake Ladoga, surprised the Finnish general staff. The Finns deployed only two divisions, they had a support group of three brigades, bringing their total strength to over 30,000 uniforms; the Soviets had a division for all roads leading west to the Finnish border. The Eighth Army was led by Ivan Khabarov; the Vice Commander of the Southern Group was Vladimir Kurdyumov from December 1939, appointed the Vice Commander of the 15th Army. The mission was to destroy the Finnish troops in the area of Ladoga Karelia and advance to the area between Sortavala and Joensuu within ten days; the Soviets had the advantage of a three-to-one ratio in men, five-to-one in artillery and air supremacy.
The Finnish troops conducted a pre-planned retreat before the overwhelming opposition. On 7 December, in middle of the Ladoga Karelian front, the Finns retreated near the small stream of Kollaa; the waterway itself did not offer any protection, but alongside there were ridges up to ten meters. The battle of Kollaa lasted until the end of war. Up to north the Finns retreated from Ägläjärvi to Tolvajärvi on 5 December, defeated Soviet attacks by the 139th Rifle Division and 75th Rifle Division in the battle of Tolvajärvi on 12 December. In the south, two Soviet divisions were united on the northern side of the coastal road of Lake Ladoga; as before, these divisions were in a trap as the Finns could make counterattacks from a north to columns flank. The Finns made counterattacks in all fronts but were not successful – however the Red Army was now facing a position of defence rather than attack. On 19 December the Finns temporarily ceased their assaults, it was not until the period 6 to 16 January 1940 that the Finns made another major offensive, cut the Soviet division into a smaller group of different sized mottis.
Contrary to Finnish expectation, the encircled Soviets divisions did not try to breakthrough to the east but instead they stayed put and entrenched themselves. The Soviets were expecting auxiliary troops and service shipments support to arrive by the air. However, the Finns repelled all efforts of the Soviet Eighth Army to resupply the encircled troops, they did not get enough supplies from the air; as the Finns lacked the necessary heavy artillery equipment and were short of men, they did not directly attack the mottis they had created, but instead focussed on eliminating the most dangerous threats only and bide their time. In 1940 the Army became a part of the Baltic Special Military District. From the morning of 22 June 1941 as part of the Northwestern Front the army joined the heavy fighting with superior forces of the German Wehrmacht on the Shyaulyay axis. On 23–25 June its 12th Mechanised Corps with the part of the 3rd Mechanised Corps of the 11th Army southwest of Shyaulyaya executed a counterblow on the forces of the enemy’s Panzer Group 4, as a result of which their advance was delayed by several days.
After 30 June the 22nd Motor Rifle Division NKVD started operating as part of 10th Rifle Corps. During July–August the troops of the 8th Army conducted persistent defensive actions in the territory of Estonia. On 14 July, the army was transferred to the Northern Front, on 27 August of the Leningrad Front. In the beginning of September 1941 the army's troops fought on the neighboring approaches to Leningrad, retaining contact with the forces of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet on the Oranienbaum bridgehead which played an important role in the Siege of Leningrad. At the beginning of November, the Army headquarters and some formations and units of the 8th Army were relocated into the eastern sector of the defence of the Leningrad Front and to the bridgehead on the Neva River in Moscow Dubrovki. During November- December, they conducted persistent offensive combat for achieving Leningrad blockade break-through. At the end of January 1942 the administration of the army, crossed on Lake Ladoga ice to the Volkhov direction, combined formations and units for the Sinyavinsk operations group of 54th Army, which occupied defenses from the south coast of Ladoga lake to the Kirov railroad.
On 9 June, the army was subordinated to the Volkhov Front. In August- September, it acted as a part of the Front's assault group for the Sinyavinsk Offensive Operation. During January 1943, the 8th Army participated in the Leningrad blockade break-through, covering the southern flank of the Front’s assault group. During July–August it conducted furious fighting in the Mga Offensive Operation. During January 1944, the army headquarters and its support units were moved between Novgorod and Lake Peipus. After accepting new formations, the Army participated in the Novgorod-Luga Offensive Operation. After regrouping as part of the Leningrad Front, the Army made several attempts to enc