Operation Bagration was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation, a military campaign fought between 23 June and 19 August 1944 in Soviet Byelorussia in the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of 34 divisions of Army Group Centre and shattered the German front line. On 23 June 1944, the Red Army attacked Army Group Centre in Byelorussia, with the objective of encircling and destroying its main component armies. By 28 June, the German Fourth Army had been destroyed, along with most of the Third Panzer and Ninth Armies; the Red Army exploited the collapse of the German front line to encircle German formations in the vicinity of Minsk in the Minsk Offensive and destroy them, with Minsk liberated on 4 July. With the end of effective German resistance in Byelorussia, the Soviet offensive continued further to Lithuania and Romania over the course of July and August; the Red Army used the Soviet deep battle and maskirovka strategies for the first time to a full extent, albeit with continuing heavy losses.
Operation Bagration diverted German mobile reserves to the central sectors, removing them from the Lublin-Brest and Lvov–Sandomierz areas, enabling the Soviets to undertake the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive and Lublin–Brest Offensive. This allowed the Red Army to reach the Vistula river and Warsaw, which in turn put Soviet forces within striking distance of Berlin, conforming to the concept of Soviet deep operations—striking deep into the enemy's strategic depths. Germany's Army Group Centre had proved tough to counter as the Soviet defeat in Operation Mars had shown, but by June 1944, despite shortening its front line, it had been exposed following the defeats of Army Group South in the battles that followed the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of Kiev, the Crimean Offensive in the late summer and winter of 1943–44. In the north, Army Group North was pushed back, leaving Army Group Center's lines protruding towards the east and at risk of losing contact with neighbouring army groups; the German High Command expected the next Soviet offensive to fall against Army Group North Ukraine, while it lacked intelligence capabilities to divine the Soviet intentions.
The Wehrmacht had redeployed one-third of Army Group Centre's artillery, half of its tank destroyers, 88 per cent of tanks to the south. The entire operational reserve on the Eastern front was deployed to Model's sector. Army Group Centre only had a total of 580 tanks, tank destroyers, assault guns, they were opposed by over self-propelled guns. German lines were thinly held. Operation Bagration, in combination with the neighbouring Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive, launched a few weeks in Ukraine, allowed the Soviet Union to recapture Belorussia and Ukraine within its 1941 borders, advance into German East Prussia, but more the Lvov-Sandomierz operation allowed the Red Army to reach the outskirts of Warsaw after gaining control of Poland east of the Vistula river; the campaign enabled the next operation, the Vistula–Oder Offensive, to come within sight of the German capital. The Soviets were surprised at the success of the Belorussian operation which had nearly reached Warsaw; the Soviet advance encouraged the Warsaw uprising against the German occupation forces.
The battle has been described as the triumph of the Soviet theory of the "operational art" because of the complete coordination of all the strategic front movements and signals traffic to fool the enemy about the target of the offensive. The military tactical operations of the Red Army avoided the mobile reserves of the Wehrmacht and continually "wrong-footed" the German forces. Despite the massive forces involved, Soviet front commanders left their adversaries confused about the main axis of attack until it was too late; the Russian word maskirovka is equivalent to the English word camouflage, but it has broader application in military use. During World War II the term was used by Soviet commanders to describe measures to create deception with the goal of inflicting surprise on the Wehrmacht forces; the Oberkommando des Heeres expected the Soviets to launch a major Eastern Front offensive in the summer of 1944. The Stavka considered a number of options; the timetable of operations between June and August had been decided on by 28 April 1944.
The Stavka rejected an offensive in either the L'vov sector or the Yassy-Kishinev sectors owing to the presence of powerful enemy mobile forces equal in strength to the Soviet strategic fronts. Instead they suggested four options: an offensive into Romania and through the Carpathian Mountains, an offensive into the western Ukrainian SSR aimed at the Baltic coast, an attack into the Baltic, an offensive in the Belorussian SSR; the first two options were rejected as being too open to flank attack. The third option was rejected on the grounds; the only safe option was an offensive into Belorussia which would enable subsequent offensives from Ukraine into Poland and Romania. The Soviet and German High Commands recognised western Ukraine as a staging area for an offensive into Poland; the Soviets, aware that the enemy would anticipate this, engaged in a maskirovka campaign to catch the German armoured forces off guard by creating a crisis in Belorussia that would force the
Battle of Lenino
The Battle of Lenino was a tactical World War II engagement that took place between October 12 and October 13, 1943, north of the village of Lenino in the Mogilev region of Byelorussia. The battle itself was a part of a larger Soviet Spas-Demensk offensive operation with the aims of clearing the eastern bank of the Dnieper River of German forces and piercing the Panther-Wotan line of defences. While the Polish and Soviet forces managed to break through the German defences and inflict heavy casualties on the Germans, they were unable to keep the advance. There was a failure in cooperation from other Red Army units, a lack of artillery support or close air cover caused by the ongoing Wehrmacht panzer counter-attack against the 10th Guards Army to the north of the 33rd Army; the division was forced to assume defensive positions, was ordered to hold its ground due to the expected arrival in its sector of the 6th Guards Cavalry Corps, tasked with breaking through the German defensive position. The relief never arrived.
The battle is prominent in Polish military history, as it was one of the first major engagements of Polish Armed Forces in the East. On the Soviet side of the front line, the main assault was to be carried out by the Polish 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division, aided by tanks of the 1st Polish Tank Regiment, light artillery regiments from the Soviet 144th and 164th Infantry Divisions, as well as the 538th Mortar Regiment and the 67th Howitzer Brigade from the Army's reserves. Both flanks of the Polish division were to be secured by the Soviet 290th Rifle Divisions. However, the Polish division was under-equipped and inadequately trained, having been formed only four months prior to the battle. In addition, the Soviet divisions had been reduced to 4,000 men each by the start of the operation and their combat value was limited. In addition to that, the morale of the Polish division was undermined by the fact that most of its soldiers were former prisoners of the Soviet Gulag concentration camp system and joining the army for them was a way to escape the prisons rather than to fight for their homeland.
The German side of the front was manned by elements of the 113th and 337th Infantry Divisions. The German units were battle-hardened and, more entrenched; as the Germans were aware of the Polish and Soviet plans, they reinforced their lines in the area with elements of the 36th Infantry division under Gottfried Fröhlich just a day before the launch of the offensive. The main German line of defences was stretched between hills 217.6 near Sukhino to the north and hill 215.5 north of the town of Lenino. The swampy valley of the Mereya River, lay in front of the German positions. While not much of an obstacle for infantry, it was uncrossable for Soviet tanks; the main task of the Polish 1st Infantry Division was to break through the German defences on a two kilometre front in the vicinity of the village of Polzukhi and Hill 215.5. The gap was to be further widened by the Soviet 42nd and 290th Rifle Divisions. In the second stage of the operation, Polish forces were to reach the line of the Pnevka river and continue the assault towards Losiev and Churilov.
Soviet forces were to assist the Poles in reaching the Dnieper River line. Three days prior to the actual battle, on October 9, General Zygmunt Berling, the commanding officer of the Polish 1st Division, ordered a force recon assault on the German lines; the assault failed due to a heavy German artillery barrage, yet alarmed the German HQ of possible offensive actions in this sector of the front. In addition, the Germans reported no less than 1,000 Polish and Soviet soldiers who crossed the lines prior to the battle for fear of being sent back to the Gulag when the war was over; the German forces were as a result aware of the Soviet preparations and plans. By October 11 the plans for a joint Polish-Soviet assault were ready and dispatched to various sub-units operating in the area; the main force of the assault was to be constituted by the Polish 1st and 2nd Infantry Regiments, with the 3rd Regiment following the 2nd in the northern sector. The enemy lines were to be paralysed by a creeping barrage lasting 100 minutes.
The assault was to start at 9 a.m. on October 12. Although the plans were ready, in the evening of October 11, the Soviet command ordered the Poles to start the assault earlier than planned, with yet another attempt at a reconnaissance in force of the German lines at 6 a.m. the following day. The orders reached 1st Infantry Regiment only two hours prior to their assault. At 5:50 a.m. the 1st battalion left its positions and started to push towards the Mereya River and the German trenches located 200 metres further westwards. Supported by only a token force of divisional artillery, the battalion's forces were met with fierce German resistance from well-prepared positions; the unit managed to reach the first line of trenches, but was counter-attacked and suppressed in front of the German lines. The battalion suffered over 50% casualties, but held out in its improvised defensive positions for three hours, until the main assault started, it failed to reconnoitre the enemy lines however, only discovered that the German units were much stronger than expected.
Moreover, the premature assault notified the German HQ of the planned strike in this area and gave them time to prepare. During the eventual assault little went according to plan; the artillery barrage was due to start at 8:20 a.m. but was po
383rd Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 383rd'Miners' Rifle Division was a formation of the Red Army, created during the Second World War. The division was created on 18 August 1941, it was given the name Shakhterskaya, as it was composed of miners from the Donets Basin, Ukrainian SSR. During the course of the war, its losses were continually replaced, thus it began to consist not only of miners from Donbass; the formation of the division began at mine # 6 in Stalino. The division included six special anti-tank detachments, created by the city committee of Komsomol in Stalino. For this division, the production of mines and other anti-tank weapons in the city was drastically increased. Colonel Konstantin Provalov, graduate of the Frunze Military Academy and Hero of the Soviet Union, was appointed commander of the division, he was promoted to Major General and commanded the Southern Group of Forces during the 1960s."The right to command the newly created divisions went to people who knew and the theory and practice of military art - the graduates of the M.
V. Frunze Military Academy; the Heroes of the Soviet Union Colonels KI Provalov, ID Zinoviev and AI Petrakovsky were appointed to command the 383rd, 393rd and 395th Rifle Divisions, respectively). So on, the 20th August 1941 they were summoned the offices of the People's Commissariat for Defence." - The defense of Donbass and Stalino in 1941. 383 RD, Donetsk. History. Developments. Data; the formation and training of the division ended in September 1941. On 30 September 1941, the 383rd division was incorporated into the 18th Army of the Southern Front; the division took up defensive positions on the "Krasnoarmiisk-Selydove" line. From 15 October until 22 October, the division participated in the defense of Stalino. By that time, they had destroyed 30 tanks, four mortar batteries, two artillery batteries and had killed more than 5,000 German soldiers. By 23 October, the German Army had taken Stalino, the 383rd killed another 1,500 German soldiers during its retreat. Following this defeat, the division was transferred to the Transcaucasian Front, to stop the Germans from penetrating to the oil fields of Azerbaijan.
There, the division held defensive positions, refusing to give up ground. In the beginning of 1943 the division fought near Novorossisk. On 7 November 1943 the division crossed the Kerch strait and landed its troops near Kerch, as part of the Kerch-Eltigen Operation. On 1 January 1944, the Division was part of the Separate Coastal Army's 16th Rifle Corps, along with the 89th, 227th, 339th Rifle Divisions. In April 1944 the division liberated Feodosiya, helped liberate Sevastopol. By the end of May 1944 the Transcaucasian Front had freed Crimea from German occupation. In January 1945, the 383rd Division was assigned to the 33rd Army of the 1st Belorussian Front where it served for the rest of the war, advancing through Poland and into Germany. From 16 April to 2 May, the division participated in the Battle of Berlin; the division was disbanded in the summer of 1945 in Germany in accordance with a Stavka directive of 29 May 1945. List of Soviet Union divisions 1917-1945 Ukrainian Army Specific 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. General И в Радости и в Горе… ВОЕННАЯ ЛИТЕРАТУРА — Мемуары — Калашник М. X. Испытание огнем
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
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
89th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 89th Infantry Rifle Division, or the Tamanyan Division, was a distinguished division in the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War. The division was remembered for its second formation, composed of ethnic Armenians and fought in numerous battles during the war; the division was established at Kursk prior to June 1941. On 22 June 1941 it was part of 33rd Rifle Corps in the interior Orel Military District. Fighting as part of the 19th Army, it was wiped out at Vyazma in October 1941; the division was re-formed in December 1941 in the capital of the Armenian SSR, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union. It was a redesignation of the 474th Rifle Division, formed on 14 December 1941 and renumbered the 89th Rifle Division on 26 December 1941. Over the course of the war period, the division had a number of commanders, including Colonel Simeon G. Zakyan, Lieutenant-Colonel Andranik Sargsyan, Colonel Artashes Vasilyan, Colonel Nver G. Safaryan, who took over command in February 1943 and would attain the rank of Major General.
It published. In August 1942, the 89th Division was dispatched toward the North Caucasus Front, where it took up defensive positions to block the German drive toward Grozny. From November to December 1942, the unit took part in several fierce battles in the area around the cities of Elekhotvo and Voznesenskaya and helped bring the German penetration into the Caucasus to a halt; as the Soviet armies shifted to the offensive during the winter of 1942-43, the 89th Division began its gradual advance toward the Crimea. On January 21, 1943, along with other Soviet forces from the Transcaucasian Front, it participated in the capture of Malgobek, Khamedan and a number of other settlements held by the Germans; the unit's advance picked up pace in the following month, averaging about 30-40 kilometers a day as it approached the Sea of Azov. The Germans put up a stiff resistance in the Crimea, in the fighting around the settlement of Novo Jerilka division commander Colonel Vasilyan was killed; the 89th itself suffered heavy casualties but in the following months fresh recruits from Armenia brought it back to full strength, Vasilyan's successor and the division commander was the able Colonel Nver Safaryan.
In September 1943, the division was redeployed and ordered to attack the Axis defensive fortifications on the Taman Peninsula. On September 6, it moved in a northeasterly direction from Novorossiysk and engaged in heavy fighting for several days until the Axis defenses were overwhelmed and the villages of Verkhnebakansk and Taman were liberated on September 18 and October 3, respectively; the 89th distinguished itself in these two battles and was given the honorary title of "Tamanskaya"." Two soldiers from the division in particular, Senior Sergeants Hunan M. Avetisyan and Suren S. Arakelyan, were noted for the courage they displayed during the fighting and were both posthumously awarded with the medal of the Hero of the Soviet Union. On November 21, the 89th Division participated in the Kerch–Eltigen Operation, an ambitious Soviet military operation involving the landing of amphibious troops onto the Kerch Peninsula; the unit landed near the settlements of Baksi and Adzhimushkay, not far from the Strait of Kerch, held its position for five months despite withering Axis fire.
Beginning in January 1944, it made headway toward Kerch and dislodged the defending Axis troops from one portion of the city. Members of the division distinguished themselves once more, the most prominent of them being field-engineer Jahan S. Karakhanyan, killed in December 1943 while trying to establish a new observation post and posthumously awarded with the medal of the Hero of the Soviet Union. In recognition of its efforts, on 24 April 1944 the division was awarded with the Order of the Red Star. In May 1944, the Soviet army began its offensive to retake Sevastopol; the 89th Division was given the objective of capturing the Gornaya Height, which would open the way to Sevastopol. This was accomplished and the unit subsequently took part in Sevastopol's and the promontory of Kherson's recapture. For the liberation of the Sevastopol the division was bestowed with the Order of the Red Banner. Senior Lieutenants Simeon K. Baghdasaryan and Khoren A. Khachaturyan, Senior Sergeants Aydin Gh. Harutyunyan, Harutyun R. Mkrtchyan and Vardges A. Rostomyan were awarded with the Order of the Hero of Soviet Union.
In October–September 1944, the division was transferred first to Brest and deployed along the defensive line near Lublin. With the commencement of the Vistula–Oder Offensive on January 12, 1945, the 89th Division took part in the general advance into Poland and aided in the liberation of dozens of Polish settlements and towns. By February, it had crossed the Oder River and had taken control of the approach leading to Frankfurt an der Oder and prevented the Germans from breaking through to endanger the Soviet forces now converging onto Berlin. By now, the unit was formally referred to as the "Little Armenian Land". With these routes secure, the Soviets now prepared for the capture of Berlin; the 89th Division entered Frankfurt an der Oder on April 16 and was integrated into the command of the 3rd Shock Army. Unit veteran Arshavir Hakobyan writes that many of the Armenians of the division expressed a particular eagerness to take part in Berlin's capture on account of the role the German Empire as an ally of the Ottoman Empire during the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
The 89th ar
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