Battle of Smolensk (1941)
The First Battle of Smolensk was a battle during the second phase of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, in World War II. It was fought around the city of Smolensk between 10 July and 10 September 1941, about 400 km west of Moscow; the Wehrmacht had advanced 500 km into the USSR in the 18 days after the invasion on 22 June 1941. The German army encountered unexpected resistance during the battle, leading to a two-month delay in their advance on Moscow. Three Soviet armies were encircled and destroyed just to the south of Smolensk, though significant numbers from the 19th and 20th armies managed to escape the pocket; some historians have asserted that the losses of men and materiel incurred by the Wehrmacht during this drawn-out battle and the delay in the drive towards Moscow led to the defeat of the Wehrmacht by the Red Army in the Battle of Moscow of December 1941. On 22 June 1941, the Axis nations invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. At first, the campaign met with spectacular success, as the surprised Soviet troops were not able to offer coordinated resistance.
After three weeks of fighting, the Germans had reached the Dvina and Dnieper rivers and planned for a resumption of the offensive. The main attack aimed at Moscow, was carried out by Army Group Centre, its next target on the way to the Soviet capital was the town of Smolensk. The German plan called for the 2nd Panzer Group to cross the Dnieper, closing on Smolensk from the south, while the 3rd Panzer Group was to encircle the town from the north. After their initial defeats, the Red Army began to recover and took measures to ensure a more determined resistance and new defensive line was established around Smolensk. Stalin placed Field Marshal Semyon Timoshenko in command and transferred five armies out of the strategic reserve to Timoshenko; these armies had to conduct counter-offensives to blunt the German drive. The German high command was not aware of the Soviet build-up until they encountered them on the battlefield. Facing the Germans along the Dnieper and Dvina rivers were stretches of the Stalin Line fortifications.
The defenders were the 13th Army of the Western Front and the 20th Army, 21st Army and the 22nd Army of the Soviet Supreme Command Reserve. The 19th Army, was forming up at Vitebsk. In Soviet histories, the battles around Smolensk are divided into phases and operations to halt the German offensive and the pincers Battle of Smolensk Smolensk Defensive Operation Smolensk Offensive Operation Rogechev-Zhlobin Offensive Operation Gomel-Trubchevsk Defensive Operation Dukhovschina Offensive Operation Yelnia Offensive Operation Roslavl-Novozybkov Offensive Operation Prior to the German attack, the Soviets launched a counter-offensive; the result was a disaster, as the offensive ran directly into the anti-tank defenses of the German 7th Panzer Division and the two Soviet mechanized corps were wiped out. On 10 July, Guderian's 2nd Panzer Group began a surprise attack over the Dnieper, his forces overran the weak 13th Army and by 13 July, Guderian had passed Mogilev, trapping several Soviet divisions.
His spearhead unit, the 29th Motorised Division, was within 18 km of Smolensk. The 3rd Panzer Group had attacked, with the 20th Panzer Division establishing a bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Dvina river, threatening Vitebsk; as both German panzer groups drove east, the 16th, 19th and 20th armies faced the prospect of encirclement around Smolensk. From 11 July, the Soviets tried a series of concerted counter-attacks; the Soviet 19th Army and 20th Army struck at Vitebsk, while the 21st and the remnants of the 3rd Army attacked against the southern flank of 2nd Panzer Group near Bobruisk. Several other Soviet armies attempted to counter-attack in the sectors of the German Army Group North and Army Group South; this effort was part of an attempt to implement the Soviet prewar general defense plan. The Soviet attacks managed to slow the Germans but the results were so marginal that the Germans noticed them as a large coordinated defensive effort and the German offensive continued. Hoth's 3rd Panzer Group drove north and east, parallel to Guderian's forces, taking Polotsk and Vitebsk.
The 7th Panzer Division and 20th Panzer Division reached the area east of Smolensk at Yartsevo on July 15. At the same time, the 29th Motorized Division, supported by the 17th Panzer Division broke into Smolensk, captured the city except for the suburbs and began a week of house-to-house fighting against counter-attacks by the 16th Army. Guderian expected that the offensive would continue towards Moscow as its main focus and sent the 10th Panzer Division to the Desna River to establish a bridgehead on the east bank at Yelnya and cleared that as well by the 20th; this advanced bridgehead became the center of the Yelnya Offensive, one of the first big coordinated Soviet counter-offensives of the war. This objective was 50 km south of the Dnepr and well clear of the objective of liquidating the armies trapped at Smolensk. Under Fuhrer Directive 33 issued on July 14, the main effort of the Wehrmacht was re-orientated away from Moscow
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
Ugra River (Oka)
Ugra is a river in Smolensk and Kaluga Oblasts in Russia, left tributary of the Oka River. The east-flowing Ugra joins the north-flowing Oka at Kaluga and the united river, called the Oka, continues east to the Volga. In the 16th century, the Ugra-Oka juncture was the western end of a line of forts protecting Muscovy from Tatar raids; the river is known for the Great stand on the Ugra River. Its length is its basin 15,700 square kilometres, it is frozen from late November until the end of March. 60% of its annual flow is snowmelt in April. A part of the valley of the Ugra located in Kaluga Oblast belongs to Ugra National Park; the Ugra River: photos
279th Rifle Division
The 279th Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II, formed twice. The division was in the Bryansk pocket; the division was served until the end of the war. Postwar, it was converted into a rifle brigade, which became the 473rd District Training Center after several redesignations; the 279th was formed from the 6th Reserve Rifle Brigade in the cities of Vladimir and Gorky beginning on 2 July 1941, part of the Moscow Military District. The division's basic order of battle included the 1001st, 1003rd, the 1005th Rifle Regiments, as well as the 831st Artillery Regiment and the 378th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion. On 5 August, the 279th became part of the Reserve Front's 24th Army, with headquarters at Putykova. On 10 August the division transferred to the 43rd Army, but five days became part of the 50th Army. At the end of September, just before the start of Operation Typhoon, the German attack on Moscow, the 279th had a strength of 7,964 men, 317 machine guns, 89 artillery pieces, 6 anti-aircraft guns, 15 anti-tank guns.
The division was destroyed in the Bryansk pocket, created by the German breakthrough. By 1 November the only remaining unit of the division was the 1005th Rifle Regiment, which became a separate unit directly under the Bryansk Front. On 15 November the division was disbanded, its remnants used to reinforce the 154th Rifle Division; the division began its second formation on 2 June 1942 at Balakhna, formed from troops called up from the Urals and Central Asia and a rifle brigade, commanded by Colonel Gerasim Mukhin. The 279th was assigned to the 9th Reserve Army in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command. In August it became part of the 43rd Army. At the end of the year, the division transferred to the Reserve of the Supreme High Command and moved south, becoming part of the Southwestern Front's 3rd Guards Army by the end of January 1943. In April the 279th became part of the 32nd Rifle Corps; the division transferred back to the Reserve of the Supreme High Command in January 1944 and became part of the 51st Army of the 4th Ukrainian Front.
The division fought in the Crimean Offensive during April and May as part of the 10th and the 1st Guards Rifle Corps, during which it helped recapture Simferopol and on 24 April received the Order of the Red Banner. On 7 May the division and the rest of the army participated in the assault on Sevastopol, captured two days later; the remaining Axis troops soon evacuated from Crimea, enabling the 51st Army's transfer to the Baltic states in May after moving into the RVGK. By 1 July 1944, the army was part of the 1st Baltic Front, in August the division transferred to the 10th Rifle Corps. From late 1944, the 51st Army blockaded German troops trapped in the Courland Pocket, where the 279th ended the war in May 1945. On 17 August 1945, the 279th was transferred to the Elansky military camp in Kamyshlov in the Ural Military District, where it became the 23rd Separate Rifle Brigade in May 1946. On 12 September 1953, the brigade was converted into the 61st Mechanized Division. On 25 April 1957, the 61st became the 44th Tank Division, which became a training unit, the 44th Tank Training Division, in 1960.
The division became the 473rd District Training Center. 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. Sharp, Charles C.. The Soviet Order of Battle World War II: An Organizational History of the Major Combat Units of the Soviet Army. 9. West Chester, Ohio: George F. Nafziger. OCLC 258366685. Sharp, Charles C.. The Soviet Order of Battle World War II: An Organizational History of the Major Combat Units of the Soviet Army. 10. West Chester, Ohio: George F. Nafziger. OCLC 39214254
Demidov, Smolensk Oblast
Demidov is a town and the administrative center of Demidovsky District in Smolensk Oblast, located on the Kasplya River at its confluence with the Gobza River. Population: 7,333 , it was known as Porechye. The area was settled in the prehistory, and, as the Western Dvina always has been an important waterway, there are multiple archaeological sites in the district; the fortress of Porechye is first mentioned in 1499, since 1514 it belonged to the Grand Duchy of Moscow, at the border with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1580, after the Livonian War, the area was transferred to Poland, where it was included into Vitebsk Voivodeship. In 1667, according to the Truce of Andrusovo, it was transferred back to Russia. Subsequently Porechye developed as an important trading post since it was located at the intersection of roads connecting Saint Petersburg with Kiev and Moscow with Riga; the Kasplya was navigable until mid-19th century, Porechye sent ships to Riga. It lost its trade important, since the Kasplya became more shallow, the railway between Moscow and Riga went via Velikiye Luki, far from Porechye.
In the course of the administrative reform carried out in 1708 by Peter the Great, the area was included into Smolensk Governorate and remained there until 1929, with the exception of the brief periods between 1713 and 1726, when it belonged to Riga Governorate, between 1775 and 1796, when Smolensk Governorate was transformed into Smolensk Viceroyalty. In 1776, Porechye was granted a town status, Porechsky Uyezd with the center in Porechye was established. On 19 November 1918, Porechye was renamed Demidov, to commemorate the bolshevik Yakov Demidov, the chairman of the Uyezd Communist Party Committee and was killed during the Russian Civil War. Porechsky Uyezd was renamed Demidovsky Uyezd. In 1927, Demidovsky Uyezd was abolished. On 12 July 1929, governorates and uyezds were abolished, Demidovsky District with the administrative center in Demidov was established; the district belonged to Smolensk Okrug of Western Oblast. On August 1, 1930 the okrugs were abolished, the districts were subordinated directly to the oblast.
On 27 September 1937 Western Oblast was split between Oryol and Smolensk Oblasts. Demidovsky District was transferred to Smolensk Oblast. Between 1941 and September 1943, during WWII, the district was occupied by German troops. Within the framework of administrative divisions, Demidov serves as the administrative center of Demidovsky District; as an administrative division, it is, together with four rural localities, incorporated within Demidovsky District as Demidovskoye Urban Settlement. As a municipal division, this administrative unit has urban settlement status and is a part of Demidovsky Municipal District. In Demidov, there are enterprises of construction industries. Paved roads connect Demidov with Smolensk, with Nevel via Velizh, with Rudnya. There are local roads with bus traffic originating from Demidov; the closest railway station is on the railway connecting Smolensk with Vitebsk. Demidov contains eleven objects classified as cultural and historical heritage of local significance. Администрация Смоленской области.
Постановление №261 от 30 апреля 2008 г. «Об утверждении реестра административно-территориальных единиц и территориальных единиц Смоленской области», в ред. Постановления №464 от 27 июня 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в реестр административно-территориальных единиц и территориальных единиц Смоленской области». Опубликован: База данных "Консультант-плюс".. Смоленская областная Дума. Закон №131-з от 28 декабря 2004 г. «О наделении статусом муниципального района муниципального образования "Демидовский район" Смоленской области, об установлении границ муниципальных образований, территории которых входят в его состав, и наделении их соответствующим статусом», в ред. Закона №74-з от 28 мая 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в областной Закон "О наделении статусом муниципального района муниципального образования "Демидовский район" Смоленской области, об установлении границ муниципальных образований, территории которых входят в его состав, и наделении их соответствующим статусом"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования.
Опубликован: "Вестник Смоленской областной Думы и Администрации Смоленской области", №14, часть II, стр. 6, 30 декабря 2004 г.. Mojgorod.ru. Entry on Demidov
Serpukhov is a city in Moscow Oblast, located at the confluence of the Oka and the Nara Rivers, 99 kilometers south from Moscow on the Moscow—Simferopol highway. The Moscow—Tula railway passes through Serpukhov. Population: 127,041 . Serpukhov was established in 1339 to protect the southern approaches to Moscow. Two years it was made a seat of the powerful princedom ruled by a cousin and close associate of Dmitry Donskoy, Vladimir the Bold. Town status was granted to it in 1374; the princedom continued until 1456. The town fell prey to the hordes of Tokhtamysh, Crimean Tatars, other steppe conquerors, it was necessary to protect it with a stone citadel, or kremlin, completed by 1556 as part of the Great Abatis Belt. Within the framework of administrative divisions, Serpukhov serves as the administrative center of Serpukhovsky District though it is not a part of it; as an administrative division, it is incorporated separately as Serpukhov City Under Oblast Jurisdiction—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts.
As a municipal division, Serpukhov City Under Oblast Jurisdiction is incorporated as Serpukhov Urban Okrug. The citadel commands a steep hill. However, during the 19th century, parts of the citadel were demolished by the town's inhabitants, who used its limestone for their private residences. Now the vast majority of basements in nearby houses are built from this material. In the kremlin, the chief monument is the Trinity cathedral, built in 1696 in Moscow Baroque style; the Vysotsky Monastery features a cathedral and refectory dating from the late 16th century, as well as the miracle-working icon Inexhaustible Chalice. Another important cloister is called Vladychny, with the Presentation cathedral and a tent-like St. George's church, both erected during Boris Godunov's reign; the latter monastery is named after the honorary title of Russian bishops, as it was founded by the holy metropolitan Alexis in 1360. In modern times, Serpukhov has become a local industrial center with textile, mechanical engineering and paper-producing industries.
The SeAZ factory produces the Lada Oka microcar since the 1980s. The Prioksko-Terrasny Nature Reserve sprawls within 12 kilometers from the city; the city is linked by trains to Moscow and Tula and is on the M2 highway between Moscow and the Crimea. There are river boat services along the Oka River. Serpukhov is home to the Serpukhov Art Gallery; the city is home to the Serpukhov Military Academy of Missile troops and branches of several Moscow based universities. The city association football team FC Zvezda Serpukhov plays in the Russian second division. Herman of Alaska, missionary to Alaska Viktor Grishin, politician Oleg Menshikov and entertainer Vladimir Shkolnik, politician Serpukhov is twinned with: Московская областная Дума. Закон №11/2013-ОЗ от 31 января 2013 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Московской области», в ред. Закона №72/2015-ОЗ от 5 мая 2015 г. «Об отнесении города Озёры Озёрского района Московской области к категории города областного подчинения Московской области, упразднении Озёрского района Московской области и внесении изменений в Закон Московской области "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Московской области"».
Вступил в силу на следующий день после официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Ежедневные Новости. Подмосковье", №24, 12 февраля 2013 г.. Московская областная Дума. Закон №11/2005-ОЗ от 17 января 2005 г. «О статусе и границе городского округа Серпухов», в ред. Закона №220/2006-ОЗ от 14 декабря 2006 г «О внесении изменений в Закон Московской области "О статусе и границе городского округа Серпухов"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Ежедневные Новости. Подмосковье", №20, 4 февраля 2005 г.. Московская областная Дума. Закон №78/2005-ОЗ от 28 февраля 2005 г. «О статусе и границах Серпуховского муниципального района и вновь образованных в его составе муниципальных образований», в ред. Закона №159/2012-ОЗ от 26 октября 2012 г. «О внесении изменения в Закон Московской области "О статусе и границах Серпуховского муниципального района и вновь образованных в его составе муниципальных образований"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Ежедневные Новости.
Подмосковье", №44, 12 марта 2005 г
3rd Belorussian Front
The 3rd Belorussian Front was a Front of the Red Army during the Second World War. The 3rd Belorussian Front was created on April 24, 1944, from forces assigned to the Western Front. Over 381 days in combat, the 3rd Belorussian Front suffered 166,838 killed, 9,292 missing, 667,297 wounded and frostbitten personnel while advancing from the region some 50 kilometers southeast of Vitebsk in Russia to Königsberg in East Prussia. Operations the 3rd Belorussian Front took part in include the Belorussian Offensive Operation, the Baltic Offensive Operation, the East Prussian Offensive Operation. Although costly, the advance of the 3rd Belorussian Front was in great part victorious, with one of the few defeats occurring during the Gumbinnen Operation in October 1944. 3rd Belorussian Front was formally disbanded on August 15, 1945. Colonel General Ivan Chernyakhovsky Marshal of the Soviet Union Aleksandr Vasilevsky General Hovhannes Bagramyan