Battle of Porlampi
The Battle of Porlampi known as the Battle of Porlammi, was a military engagement fought between the Finnish Army and Red Army from 30 August to 1 September 1941 on the Karelian Isthmus. The battle was fought near the town of Porlampi during the second month of the Continuation War; the battle was a Finnish victory and ended the reconquest of Karelia. Territorial disputes between the Soviet Union and Finland caused the outbreak of the Winter War in November 1939. Several months of fighting ensued, during which the Red Army was able to push back the Finnish defenders on the Karelian Isthmus. Located on the main road to the vital port of Vyborg, the town of Porlampi was occupied by the Soviets in March 1940 following the Battle of Summa. Following the end of the Winter War in March 1940, Finland was forced to cede the parts of Karelia to the Soviet Union, with Porlampi being one of the territories given over. On 22 June 1941 the German Wehrmacht launched Operation Barbarossa, the planned invasion of the Soviet Union.
Prior to the commencement of Barbarossa and German officers had planned for possible Finnish participation in the war against the Soviet Union. Finland mobilized 16 infantry divisions, one cavalry brigade, two jäger brigades of the Finnish Army to the newly established border with the Soviets on 21 June, on 22 June conducted Operation Kilpapurjehdus, an action that violated the Moscow Peace Treaty; that same day, German naval bombers began mining the waters around Leningrad, with some of the aircraft being deployed from airfields in Finland. On 25 June a flight of Soviet bombers struck at airfields in Finland, Soviet artillery stationed in Hanko fired on Finnish targets. With the border situation growing more volatile, the Finnish Army prepared to enter the widening conflict. On 29 June Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland, formed the Army of Karelia under the command of Erik Heinrichs. Combat operations against the Red Army and Air-force commenced on 1 July, war was declared that same day.
The first Finnish offensive into Ladoga Karelia began on 10 July, a move that split the zones of Soviet occupation in Karelia into separate fronts. Despite Finnish success in other areas, the IV Corps was unable to begin its advance against the Soviets until the II Corps reached the northern shore of Lake Ladoga on 9 August. Once the offensive began, the objective of the IV Corps was the recapture of the town of Vyborg. Plans were made to begin an offensive on 15 August, but movement by Soviet troops changed the situation; the Soviet 23rd Army withdrew some of its divisions from the Finnish border, seeking to use the narrow part of the Karelian Isthmus to better utilize their numerical superiority for defense. The Finns postponed their offensive until the Soviets had abandoned their fortifications striking on 21 August; the Finnish plan had been modified as the situation changed. The main body of the Finnish IV Corps crossed the border to the north of Vyborg on 22 August, continued to advance towards the Vuoksi River in the opening days of the offensive.
On 24 August the Finnish 8th Division crossed Viipuri Bay, landing to the south of Vyborg and cutting the coastal road to the city. Hoping to re-establish the road link to Vyborg, the Soviet 43rd, 115th and 123rd Rifle Divisions launched a counter-offensive directed at the Finnish 8th Division. Though outnumbered, Finnish Light Brigade T stalled the Soviets for a few crucial hours while IV Corp advanced southward on 25 August. For the next few days both armies drew up their forces and prepared for an engagement in the forested terrain around the town of Porlampi, positioned between the coastal and central Karelian highways; the battle commenced when advanced elements of the Soviet 43rd Rifle Division encountered the Finnish 8th Division in the forests around Porlampi on 30 August. Both sides called for reinforcements; the Soviets were unaware that the Finnish soldiers they were fighting had crossed Viipuri Bay, it was incorrectly assumed that the 8th Division was part of the main body of the IV Corps In the several days of fighting that ensued in the Porlampi area, the Finns employed motti skirmishing tactics to counter the superior Soviet numbers.
The Finnish artillery was reported to have been effective during the engagement as it disabled many soviet vehicles, blocking roads and creating bottlenecks. Late in the day on 30 August the 43rd Rifle Division pushed the 8th Division out of Porlampi and into the nearby village of Somme, which lay several miles to the northwest. There the fighting continued throughout the night. On the morning of 31 August the main body of the IV Corps arrived, attacking the 123rd Rifle Division at Porlampi and the 115th Rifle Division at Ylasomme, an action which collapsed the north flank of the Soviet army; the Soviets were forced back, the Finnish forces made ready to encircle them. However, the 8th Division was still engaged in heavy fighting with the 43rd Rifle Division to the northwest of town and was unable to complete the encirclement. Using the forested terrain to their advantage, the 123rd and 115th Rifle Divisions withdrew southwest towards Koivisto. Vyborg fell on 31 August, freeing up more Finnish forces to engage the remaining forces of the 23rd Army.
The 43rd Rifle Division, which had advanced furthest west, was completely destroyed by the Finnish forces on 1 September. Some survivors retreated to the south and were evacuated from the Baltic coast by the Soviet Navy in November; the Red Army suffered 7000 k
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 Courland Pocket was a group of German forces of Reichskommissariat Ostland on the Courland Peninsula, cut off and surrounded by the Red Army from July 1944 through May 1945. The pocket was created during the Red Army's Baltic Offensive, when forces of the 1st Baltic Front reached the Baltic Sea near Memel during its lesser Memel Offensive Operation phases; this action isolated the German Army Group North from the rest of the German forces between Tukums and Libau in Latvia. Renamed Army Group Courland on 25 January, the Army Group remained isolated until the end of the war; when they were ordered to surrender to the Soviet command on 8 May, they were in "blackout" and did not get the official order before 10 May, two days after the capitulation of Germany. It was one of the last German groups to surrender in Europe. Courland, along with the rest of the Baltic eastern coast and islands, was overrun by Army Group North during 1941. Army Group North spent most of the next two years attempting to take Leningrad, without success.
In January 1944, the Soviet Army lifted the siege of Leningrad. On 22 June 1944, the Red Army launched the Belorussian Strategic Offensive, codenamed Operation Bagration; the goal of this offensive was to liberate the Belorussian SSR from the German occupation. Operation Bagration was successful, resulting in the complete destruction of Army Group Centre, ended on 29 August. In its final stages, Operation Bagration saw Soviet forces strike deep towards the Baltic coast, severing communications between the German Army Group North and the remnants of Army Group Centre. After Operation Bagration ended, the Soviet forces continued the clearing of the Baltic coast, despite German attempts to restore the front in Operation Doppelkopf; the Red Army fought the Memel Offensive Operation with the goal of isolating Army Group North by capturing the city of Memel. On 9 October 1944, the Soviet forces reached the Baltic Sea near Memel after over-running the headquarters of the 3rd Panzer Army; as a result, Army Group North was cut off from East Prussia.
Hitler's military advisors—notably Heinz Guderian, the Chief of the German General Staff—urged evacuation and utilisation of the troops to stabilise the front in central Europe. However, Hitler refused, ordered the German forces in Courland and the Estonian islands Hiiumaa and Saaremaa to hold out, believing them necessary to protect German submarine bases along the Baltic coast. Hitler still believed the war could be won, hoped that Dönitz's new Type XXI U-boat technology could bring victory to Germany in the Battle of the Atlantic, forcing the Allies out of Western Europe; this would allow German forces to focus on the Eastern Front, using the Courland Pocket as a springboard for a new offensive. Hitler's refusal to evacuate the Army Group resulted in the entrenchment of more than 200,000 German troops of the 16th Army and 18th Army, in what was to become known to the Germans as the "Courland Bridgehead". Thirty-three divisions of the Army Group North—commanded by Field-Marshall Ferdinand Schörner were cut off from East Prussia and spread out along a front reaching from Riga to Liepāja, retreating to the more defensible Courland position, abandoning Riga.
Soviet forces launched six major offensives against the German and Latvian forces entrenched in the Courland Pocket between 15 October 1944, 4 April 1945. The German two-phase withdrawals during the execution of the second stage of the Soviet Baltic Offensive, subsequent to the pocket being formed in the Baltic Offensive's first stage, the Memel Offensive Operation. From 15 to 22 October 1944 — Soviets launched the Riga Offensive Operation on the 15th at 10:00 after conducting a heavy artillery barrage. Hitler permitted the Army Group Commander, Ferdinand Schoerner, to commence withdrawal from Riga on 11 October, the city was taken by the 3rd Baltic Front on 13 October; the front stabilised with the main remnant of Army Group North isolated in the peninsula. From 27 October to 25 November — Soviets launched an offensive trying to break through the front toward Skrunda and Saldus including, at one point initiating a simultaneous attack by 52 divisions. Soviets attacked southeast of Liepāja in an attempt to capture that port.
80 divisions assaulted the Germans from 1 to 15 November in a front 12 km wide. Despite a 10:1 advantage in manpower at critical sectors, the Soviet breakthrough stalled after 4 kilometers; the 3rd phase of the fighting started on 21 December with a Soviet attack on Germans near Saldus. The Soviet 2nd Baltic and 1st Baltic Fronts commenced a blockade, precipitating the German defence of the Courland perimeter during Soviet attempts to reduce it. In this battle, serving with the 2nd Baltic Front's 22nd Army, the Latvian 130th Rifle Corps faced their opposites in the Latvian 19th SS Division; the battle ended on 31 December and the front was stabilized. On 15 January 1945, Army Group North was renamed Army Group Courland under Colonel-General Lothar Rendulic. In the middle of January Heinz Guderian got Hitler’s permission to withdraw 7 divisions from Courland, Hitler refused to consider a total withdrawal. On 23 January Soviets launched an offensive trying to break through the front toward Liepāja and Saldus.
They managed to take the bridgeheads on Bārta and Vārtāja rivers but were soon driven off by the Germans. The fifth battle started on 12 February with a Soviet attack against the Germans towards Džūkste. Other attacks took place south of Liepāja where the Soviets massed 21 divisions, south of Tukums where 11 divisions tried to break through the German front and take the town. On 16 February the Soviets started an offe
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, ended three and a half months with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940; the League of Nations deemed the attack illegal and expelled the Soviet Union from the organisation. The conflict began after the Soviets sought to obtain some Finnish territory, demanding among other concessions that Finland cede substantial border territories in exchange for land elsewhere, claiming security reasons—primarily the protection of Leningrad, 32 km from the Finnish border. Finland refused, the USSR invaded the country. Many sources conclude that the Soviet Union had intended to conquer all of Finland, use the establishment of the puppet Finnish Communist government and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact's secret protocols as evidence of this, while other sources argue against the idea of the full Soviet conquest. Finland repelled Soviet attacks for more than two months and inflicted substantial losses on the invaders while temperatures ranged as low as −43 °C.
After the Soviet military reorganised and adopted different tactics, they renewed their offensive in February and overcame Finnish defences. Hostilities ceased in March 1940 with the signing of the Moscow Peace Treaty. Finland ceded 11 percent of its territory representing 30 percent of its economy to the Soviet Union. Soviet losses were heavy, the country's international reputation suffered. Soviet gains exceeded their pre-war demands and the USSR received substantial territory along Lake Ladoga and in Northern Finland. Finland enhanced its international reputation; the poor performance of the Red Army encouraged Adolf Hitler to think that an attack on the Soviet Union would be successful and confirmed negative Western opinions of the Soviet military. After 15 months of Interim Peace, in June 1941, Nazi Germany commenced Operation Barbarossa and the Continuation War between Finland and the USSR began; until the beginning of the 19th century, Finland constituted the eastern part of the Kingdom of Sweden.
In 1809, to protect its imperial capital, Saint Petersburg, the Russian Empire conquered Finland and converted it into an autonomous buffer state. The resulting Grand Duchy of Finland enjoyed wide autonomy within the Empire until the end of the 19th century, when Russia began attempts to assimilate Finland as part of a general policy to strengthen the central government and unify the Empire through russification; these attempts were aborted because of Russia's internal strife, but they ruined Russia's relations with the Finns and increased support for Finnish self-determination movements. World War I led to the collapse of the Russian Empire during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War of 1917–1920, giving Finland a window of opportunity; the new Bolshevik Russian Government was fragile, civil war had broken out in Russia in November 1917. Thus, Soviet Russia recognised the new Finnish Government just three weeks after the declaration. Finland achieved full sovereignty in May 1918 after a 4-month civil war, with the conservative Whites winning over the socialist Reds, the expulsion of Bolshevik troops.
Finland joined the League of Nations in 1920, from which it sought security guarantees, but Finland's primary goal was co-operation with the Scandinavian countries. The Finnish and Swedish militaries engaged in wide-ranging co-operation, but focused on the exchange of information and on defence planning for the Åland Islands rather than on military exercises or on stockpiling and deployment of materiel; the Government of Sweden avoided committing itself to Finnish foreign policy. Finland's military policy included clandestine defence co-operation with Estonia; the period after the Finnish Civil War till the early 1930s proved a politically unstable time in Finland due to the continued rivalry between the conservative and socialist parties. The Communist Party of Finland was declared illegal in 1931, the nationalist Lapua Movement organised anti-communist violence, which culminated in a failed coup attempt in 1932; the successor of the Lapua Movement, the Patriotic People's Movement, only had a minor presence in national politics with at most 14 seats out of 200 in the Finnish parliament.
By the late 1930s, the export-oriented Finnish economy was growing and the nation's extreme political movements had diminished. After Soviet involvement in the Finnish Civil War in 1918, no formal peace treaty was signed. In 1918 and 1919, Finnish volunteers conducted two unsuccessful military incursions across the Soviet border, the Viena and Aunus expeditions, to annex Karelian areas according to the Greater Finland ideology of combining all Finnic peoples into a single state. In 1920, Finnish communists based in the USSR attempted to assassinate the former Finnish White Guard Commander-in-Chief, Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. On 14 October 1920, Finland and Soviet Russia signed the Treaty of Tartu, confirming the old border between the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland and Imperial Russia proper as the new Finnish–Soviet border. Finland received Petsamo, with its ice-free harbour on the Arctic Ocean. Despite the signing of the treaty, relations between the two countries remained strained.
The Finnish Government allowed volunteers to cross the border to support the East Karelian uprising in Russia in 1921, Finnish communists in the Soviet Union continued to prepare for a revanche and staged a cross-border raid into Finland, called the Pork mutiny, in 1922. In 1
Samara, known from 1935 to 1991 as Kuybyshev, is the sixth largest city in Russia and the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Some statistics indicate that it is the eighth or ninth-largest city by population, rather than sixth, it is in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara rivers, on the east bank of the Volga which acts as the city's western boundary. The northern boundary is formed by the steppes in the south and east; the city covers 46,597 hectares, with a population of 1,164,685 . It is about 300 kilometres from Kazan, 410 kilometres from Ufa, 340 kilometres from Saratov and 235 kilometres from Oral, Kazakhstan. A closed city, Samara is now a large and important social, economic and cultural centre in European Russia and hosted the European Union—Russia Summit in May 2007, it has a continental climate characterised by cold winters. The life of Samara's citizens has always been intrinsically linked to the Volga River, which has not only served as the main commercial thoroughfare of Russia throughout several centuries, but has great visual appeal.
Samara's riverfront is considered one of the favourite recreation places both for local citizens and tourists. After the Soviet novelist Vasily Aksyonov visited Samara, he remarked: "I am not sure where in the West one can find such a long and beautiful embankment." Samara is named after the Samara River, which means "summer water" in the Indo-Iranian language, spoken here 2000 years ago. The Samara city gives its name to the Samara culture, a neolithic culture of the 5th millennium BC, the Kurgan hypothesis associates the region with the original homeland of the Proto-Indo-European language. Samara, together with its northern neighbour Kazan, is at the centre of the Idel-Ural historical region. Ahmad ibn Fadlan visited the area, now Samara around 921 while on his journey to the Volga Bulgars who controlled the region from their capital Bolghar. Legend has it that Alexius, Metropolitan of Moscow Patron Saint of Samara, visited the site of the city in 1357 and predicted that a great town would be erected there, that the town would never be ravaged.
The Volga port of Samara appears on Italian maps of the 14th century. Before 1586, the Samara Bend was a pirate nest. Lookouts would spot an oncoming boat and cross to the other side of the peninsula whenever the pirates organized an attack. Samara started with a fortress built in 1586 at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers; this fortress was a frontier post protecting the easternmost boundaries of Russia from forays of nomads. A local customs office was established in 1600; as more and more ships pulled into Samara's port, the town turned into a centre for diplomatic and economic links between Russia and the East. Samara opened its gates to peasant war rebels headed by Stepan Razin and Yemelyan Pugachyov, welcoming them with traditional bread and salt; the town was visited by Peter the Great and Tsars. In 1780, Samara was turned into an uyezd town of Simbirsk Governorate overseen by the local Governor-General, Uyezd and Zemstvo Courts of Justice and a Board of Treasury were established.
On January 1, 1851, Samara became the centre of Samara Governorate with an estimated population of 20,000. This gave a stimulus to the development of the economic and cultural life of the community. Samara was outside of the Pale of Settlement and as such did not have any significant Jewish population until the late 19th century. In 1877, during the Russian-Turkish War, a mission from the Samara city government Duma led by Pyotr V. Alabin, as a symbol of spiritual solidarity, brought a banner tailored in Samara pierced with bullets and saturated with the blood of both Russians and Bulgarians, to Bulgaria, which has become a symbol of Russian-Bulgarian friendship; the quick growth of Samara's economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was determined by the scope of the bread trade and flour milling business. The Samara Brewery came into being in the 1880s, as well as the Kenitser Macaroni Factory, an ironworks, a confectionery factory, a factory producing matches; the town acquired a number of administrative buildings.
The Trading Houses of the Subbotins, Kurlins and Smirnovs—founders of the flour milling industry, who contributed a lot to the development of the city—were known not only across Russia, but internationally wherever Samara's wheat was exported. In its rapid growth Samara resembled many young North American cities, contemporaries coined the names "Russian New Orleans" and "Russian Chicago" for the city. By the start of the 20th century, the population exceeded 100,000, the city was the major trading and industrial centre of the Volga region. During the October Revolution of 1917, Samara was seized by the Bolsheviks. However, on June 8, 1918, with the armed support of the Czechoslovak Legions, the city was taken by the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly, or Komuch, who organised a "democratic counter-revolution", which at its height encompassed twelve million people, they fought under the Red flag against the Bolsheviks. On October 7, 1918, Samara fell to the Fourth Army of the Red Army.
In 1935, Samara was renamed Kuybyshev in honour of the Bolshevik leader Valerian Kuybyshev. During World War II, Kuybyshev w
Belorussian Military District
The Byelorussian Military District was a military district of the Soviet Armed Forces. Formed just before the World War I as the Minsk Military District out of the remnants of the Vilno Military District and the Warsaw Military District, it was headed by the Russian General Eugen Alexander Ernst Rausch von Traubenberg. With the outbreak of the Russian Civil War it was reorganized into the Western Front and in April 1924 it was renamed to the Western Military District. In October 1926 it was redesignated the Belorussian Military District, with its staff in Smolensk, and in July 1940 it was renamed the Western Special Military District. It covered the territory of the Byelorussian SSR and the western part of the RSFSR. In 1928, the first maneuvers of troops of the district were held, attended by 6th Cavalry Division and 7th Cavalry Division, 5th, 8th and 27th Rifle Divisions, 33rd territorial division, a tank brigade of the Moscow Military District, aviation and engineering units; the exercises showed growth in the combat skills of troops, which attended the People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, Kliment Voroshilov.
In 1932 it deployed from within the country the 4th Leningrad Cavalry Order of the Red Banner Voroshilov Division commanded by Georgy Zhukov. In 1932-1933, in connection with the development of armored vehicles, it formed seven separate tank brigades, armed with Soviet-made tanks: light T-24, T-26, medium T-28, fast BT-2, BT-5, floating T-37, heavy T-35, T-27 tankettes. In 1937 the district deployed 15 infantry divisions, grouped into five infantry corps and five cavalry divisions. On 26 July 1938, the district was renamed the Belarussian Special Military District. After the Soviet/German invasion of Poland in September 1939, it took in most of the former Polish area and was redesignated the Belorussian Special Military District. In July 1940, it was redesignated the Western Special Military District; when the German invasion, Operation Barbarossa, began on 22 June 1941 the district was again redesignated the Western Front. The district was reformed in October 1943 from the staff of the Moscow Zone of Defense.
From December 1944 until July 1945, the district was designated Byelorussian-Lithuanian Military District, from 9 July until 26 January 1946 it was divided in two districts - Minsk District, Baranovichi District. The district covered the territory of the Byelorussian SSR. From mid February 1949, in accordance with a directive issued 10 January 1949, the 1st Air Army, present within the district, was redesignated the 26th Air Army; the 26th Air Army was subordinate to the BVO. In 1962 the 26th Air Army comprised the 95th Fighter Aviation Division, the 1st Guards Fighter-Bomber Aviation Division, three separate smaller units: the 10th independent Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment, the 248th independent Mixed Aviation Squadron, the 95th independent Mixed Aviation Squadron. In April 1980 the 26th Air Army was renamed the VVS Belorussian Military District. In May 1988 it was renamed again as the 26th Air Army; the 95th Fighter Aviation Division was disbanded in 1988. The 26th Air Army included in 1990: 1st Guards Bomber Aviation Division 50th independent Mixed Aviation Regiment 151st independent Aviation Regiment for Electronic Warfare 927th Fighter Aviation Regiment 206th independent Assault Aviation Regiment 378th independent Assault Aviation Regiment 397th independent Assault Aviation Regiment 10th independent Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment 302nd independent Helicopter Squadron for Electronic Warfare 56th independent Communications Regiment From the beginning of the 1950s three armies were subordinated to the district: 28th Army, 5th Guards Tank Army and 7th Tank Army – numbering 9 tank and 2 motor-rifle divisions, including training formations.
5th Guards Tank Army in 1988 had 8th Guards, 29th, 193rd Tank Divisions while 7th'Red Star' Tank Army had 3rd Guards, 34th, 37th Guards Tank Divisions. From the late 1970s the district was subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the Western Strategic Direction. On the dissolution of the Soviet Union the 28th Army, headquartered at Grodno, included the 6th Guards Tank Division, 28th Tank Division, 50th Guards Motor Rifle Division, the 76th Tank Division at Brest; the 120th'Rogachev' Guards Motorised Rifle Division, subordinated directly to district control, was the district's most prestigious division. Present was the 51st Guards Artillery Division. Air defence was provided in the 1980s by the 2nd Air Defence Army of the Soviet Air Defence Forces which included 11th and 28th PVO Corps; the forces of the district became the basis of the Armed Forces of Belarus after the district was disbanded in May 1992 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. "The Byelorusian Military District is no more.
Under a resolution of the Council of Ministers of Belarus all its units, as well as non-strategic formations, have been placed under the Defence Ministry of Belarus." Moscow RI
7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division
The 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division is an elite guards division of the Russian Airborne Troops. The 7th Guards Airborne Division was formed in September 1948 based on 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment which fought in Eastern Europe in World War II. In October 1948 the division was relocated to Lithuania. During the Cold War period, the division served in the suppression of the Hungarian and Czech revolutions. On August 1993, the division was relocated to Russia, it took part in various counter-insurgency operations in the Caucasus region. On 1 December 2006 it was renamed as 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division. In 2014 the division's 247th Guards Air Assault Regiment took part in the War in Donbass in Ukraine. There were two separately formed 7th Guards Airborne Divisions in the Red Army and Soviet Ground Forces/Soviet Airborne Troops; the first division was formed during the Second World War at Ramenskoye in December 1942. It fought at Demyansk, Korsun, on the Dnieper River, at Targul Frumos and Budapest.
It ended the war with 4th Guards Army of the 3rd Ukrainian Front in May 1945. As part of a postwar military reorganization, this division was retitled the 115th Guards Rifle Division in June 1945; the second formation of the 7th Guards Airborne Division was started in September 1948 based on 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment. The first formation of the division was formed during the Second World War at Ramenskoye in December 1942, it fought at Demyansk, Korsun, on the Dnieper River, at Targul Frumos and Budapest. On May 8, 1945, the divisional commander, Major General Dmitrii Aristarkhovich Drichkin, set up his headquarters in the village of Erlauf, some 60 miles west of Vienna and 50 miles east of Linz. Anxious to meet the Allies, he sent out scouts. At midnight, he met Major General Stanley Eric Reinhart, commander of the U. S. 65th Infantry Division. For the duration of their presence on the Danube river, both commanders continued to cooperate in an unusually effective manner. Twenty years public affairs officer Captain John J. Pullen described their first cordial encounter for the National Observer.
For the 50th anniversary, Erlauf erected a Soviet-sponsored memorial. It features a local girl, linking arms with a GI on her right, a Soviet soldier on her left. To this day, an enlarged photo and a small exhibit mark the spot where this historic encounter took place: A life-size Major General Reinhart, smiling at General Drichkin, as they compare their watches one minute past midnight, on 9 May 1945, the moment the unconditional surrender of Germany became effective; as part of a postwar military reorganization at the end of June 1945, the first formation of the 7th Guards Airborne Division was retitled as the 115th Guards Rifle Division. The 22nd Guards Tank Division was activated on 4 June 1957 in Novomoskovsk, Dnepropetrovsk Oblast, from the 115th Guards Rifle Division; the baptism of fire of the second formation division's predecessor regiment took place in 1945, fighting around Lake Balaton under the 37th Guards Rifle Corps, 9th Guards Army, 3rd Ukrainian Front. On 26 April 1945, the 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment of the 103rd Guards Rifle Division was awarded the Order of Kutuzov, second class, for exemplary performance.
In commemoration, the division's official day is 26 April, by an order of the Defense Minister of the USSR. At the end of the war, the 322nd Guards Rifle Regiment was in the city of Czechoslovakia. During the war, the regiment was thanked on six occasions by the Supreme Commander. In all 2,065 of its soldiers and officers were decorated for valor and heroism by the Soviet Union; the 7th Guards Airborne Division was established on 15 October 1948 on the basis of the 322nd Guards Air Landing Regiment of the 103rd Guards Airborne Division at Polotsk in the Belorussian Military District, becoming part of the 8th Guards Airborne Corps. The division was relocated to the cities of Kaunas and Marijampole, Lithuanian SSR. Personnel from these bases took part in actions against Lithuanian partisans. Units in this premier division of airborne troops have mastered the landing of Antonov An-8, An-12, An-22, Il-76 aircraft, tested a number of new parachute systems, all generations of BMD, 2S9 Nona artillery systems.
In 1956, the division was involved in "Operation Whirlwind", the suppression of the Hungarian revolution. On 3 November 1956, the 108th Parachute Regiment landed at the Tököl airbase in Il-12 and Li-2 aircraft and disabling six antiaircraft batteries positioning themselves to defend the base. On 4 November 1956 the regimental staff, together with fighters from the 119th Parachute Regiment, entered the city of Budapest and took part in street fighting until the city was secured on 7 November. In 1968, the division participated in Operation Danube to suppress the Prague Spring uprising; the 108th Regiment distinguished itself in the most dangerous and difficult missions, for which about two hundred of its personnel received high government awards. On 23 June 1969, troops of the 108th Airborne Regiment were tasked to fly from Kaunas to Ryazan, where they were to demonstrate their vehicle assault landing skills to the Minister of Defence of the USSR, Andrei Grechko; the group of three An-12 aircraft took off early in the morning, reaching a cruising altitude of 3,000 metres.
Approaching the city of Kaluga, a plane carrying the staff of a company and battalion command collided with an Ilyushin Il-14 passenger plane, at 3000 meters without clearance, with the loss of all aboard. The division was involved in many major exercises and maneuvers, such as "Shield-76", "Neman", "West-81", "West-84" and "Watch-86", in the latter three exerc