1st Baltic Front
The First Baltic Front was a major formation of the Red Army during the Second World War. It was commanded by Army General Andrey Yeryomenko, succeeded by Army General Bagramyan, it was formed by renaming the Kalinin Front in October 12, 1943, took part in several important military operations, most notably Bagration in the summer of 1944. The 1st Baltic Front assisted in lifting the Siege of Leningrad on January 27, 1944, as well as in Operation Samland, at that time known as the Samland Group, captured Königsberg in April 1945; as of June 23, 1944, the First Baltic Front consisted of the following units and their commanders: Baltic Front, led by front commander Army General Hovhannes Bagramyan 4th Shock Army, led by General-Lieutenant P. F. Malyshev 83rd Rifle Corps6th Guards Army, led by General Lieutenant I. M. Chistyakov 2nd Guards Rifle Corps 22nd Guards Rifle Corps 23rd Guards Rifle Corps 103rd Guards Rifle Corps Army artillery43rd Army, led by General Lieutenant A. P. Belaborodov 1st Rifle Corps 60th Rifle Corps 92nd Rifle Corps 1st Tank Corps3rd Air Army, led by General Lieutenant N. F. Papivin 11th Fighter Aviation Corps Army General Andrey Yeremenko Army General Ivan Bagramyan Lieutenant General Dmitry Leonov Lieutenant General Mikhail Rudakov Colonel General Vladimir Kurasov Zaloga, Steven J. Bagration 1944 - The Destruction of Army Group Center.
New York: Osprey Publishing, 1996, p. 24 ISBN 1-85532-478-4
25th Army (Soviet Union)
The 25th Army was a Red Army field army of World War II that served in the Russian Far East. Formed in June 1941, the 25th Army did not see combat until the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in August 1945, when it advanced into northern Korea. After World War II it was responsible for the Soviet Civil Administration in the northern Korean Peninsula, helped establish a Communist state in North Korea under the rule of Kim Il-Sung; the army remained in North Korea until it was withdrawn in 1948, was stationed in Primorsky Krai until its 1957 disbandment. It was formed in the Soviet Far East Front on the basis of the headquarters of the 43rd Rifle Corps on 20 June 1941 in accordance with an order of 8 March. Headquartered at Voroshilov, it was commanded by Lieutenant General Filipp Parusinov; the army comprised 39th Rifle Corps with 32nd Rifle Division, 40th, 92nd Rifle Divisions, as well as the 105th Rifle Division and the 106th, 107th, 108th, 110th, 111th Fortified Areas as Army troops. The army was responsible for defending the border in Primorsky Krai.
On 10 August 1943, the army became part of the Maritime Group of Forces, which on 20 April 1945 became part of the Far Eastern Front, was soon directly subordinated to the Stavka. In June, Colonel General Ivan Chistyakov took command of the army. On 5 August, the army became part of the 1st Far East Front, redesignated from the Maritime Group of Forces in preparation for the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. At the time, the 393rd Rifle Division and the 7th and 113th Fortified Areas were in the army's direct subordination. By the beginning of the invasion on 9 August, the army included the 39th Rifle Corps with the 40th, the 384th, the 386th Rifle Divisions, the 393rd Rifle Division, the 7th, 106th, 107th, 108th, 110th, 111th, the 113th Fortified Areas. During the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, the army fought in the Harbin-Kirin Offensive. By the end of 10 August the army overcame Japanese resistance to capture the Dongning, Dongxin-zhen, the Hunchun fortified areas, cut the Dongning-Tumyntsa-Hunchun road, advanced through Japanese defenses to a depth of 15 kilometres to 20 kilometres.
On 11 August, the 25th Army captured Laoheishan and Hunchun, on the next day captured the ports of Unggi and Rason on the east coast of Korea alongside landing forces of the Pacific Fleet. As a result of its advances, the army received the 5th Army's 17th Rifle Corps and the 88th Rifle Division and 10th Mechanized Corps from front reserve. With the reinforcements, the army received a new task: to advance south and cut the communications between Japanese troops in Korea and those in Manchuria, in cooperation with the Pacific Fleet landing forces, to capture ports on the east coast of Korea. In fulfilling this task, the army defeated parts of the Japanese 3rd and 34th Armies and captured Wangqing on 15 August, Chongjin on 16 August and Yanji on 17 August, among others. Between 18 and 20 August, the army disarmed surrendered Japanese troops, was redeployed to the Pyongyang area at the end of the month; the army's headquarters was established at Pyongyang on 26 August after Chistyakov rejected the option of Hamhung on the previous day after the 25th Army was given the task of occupying what would become North Korea.
The location of the 25th Army's headquarters in Pyongyang determined the location of the future North Korean capital. After the end of the war with Japan it included 39th Rifle Corps and 88th Rifle Corps and 8 fortified regions but they were all reorganised in 1946 into machine-gun artillery divisions. There were the 72nd, 76th, 218th, 259th Tank Brigades. On 1 October, the army became part of the Primorsky Military District; the two corps were disbanded in August 1946 and 65th Rifle Corps was transferred to the 25th Army from the 5th Army. The division of Korea between the United States and the Soviet Union after the defeat of Japan had been agreed to at the Tehran Conference in 1943; the 25th Army served as the occupation force in north of the 38th parallel while the U. S. Army Military Government in Korea was established in the south. Under the Soviet Civil Administration the 25th Army helped place Kim Il-Sung and the Korean Workers' Party into power, they assisted with the purges of former collaborators, businessmen and religious leaders.
These people would either flee to the future South Korea or would be banished or imprisoned in the Hamgyong Province. In late 1948, the army was withdrawn from North Korea and stationed in southern Primorsky Krai on the Korean and Chinese borders, as well as on the Peter the Great Gulf coast, its headquarters was located in Shkotovo. In March 1953 the army included the 9th, 10th, 21st, 24th Machine-Gun Artillery Divisions; the 10th Mechanized Division had become part of the 65th Rifle Corps by this time, the 40th Rifle Division was directly subordinated to the army. In April 1953, the Primorsky Military District was disbanded, the army became part of the Far Eastern Military District; the army's last commander was Lieutenant General Ivan Rubanyuk, who assumed command on 18 May 1953. The 65th Rifle Corps and its divisions were disbanded in the summer of 1956 and the remaining 25th Army rifle divisions became motor rifle divisions in the spring of 1957. On 1 May, the army included the 40th, 84th, 147th, the 148th Motor Rifle Divisions.
In December 1957, the army was disbanded and its remaining divisions transferred to the 5th Army. The 84th, 147th, 148th Divisions were disbanded along with the 25th Ar
8th Army (Soviet Union)
The 8th Army was a field army of the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War. The 8th Army was formed in October 1939 from the Novgorod Army Operational Group of the Leningrad Military District with the task of providing security of the Northwestern borders of the USSR. On 30 November 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland in the Winter War; the strength of the 8th Army, or overall the Red Army, in the north of Lake Ladoga, surprised the Finnish general staff. The Finns deployed only two divisions, they had a support group of three brigades, bringing their total strength to over 30,000 uniforms; the Soviets had a division for all roads leading west to the Finnish border. The Eighth Army was led by Ivan Khabarov; the Vice Commander of the Southern Group was Vladimir Kurdyumov from December 1939, appointed the Vice Commander of the 15th Army. The mission was to destroy the Finnish troops in the area of Ladoga Karelia and advance to the area between Sortavala and Joensuu within ten days; the Soviets had the advantage of a three-to-one ratio in men, five-to-one in artillery and air supremacy.
The Finnish troops conducted a pre-planned retreat before the overwhelming opposition. On 7 December, in middle of the Ladoga Karelian front, the Finns retreated near the small stream of Kollaa; the waterway itself did not offer any protection, but alongside there were ridges up to ten meters. The battle of Kollaa lasted until the end of war. Up to north the Finns retreated from Ägläjärvi to Tolvajärvi on 5 December, defeated Soviet attacks by the 139th Rifle Division and 75th Rifle Division in the battle of Tolvajärvi on 12 December. In the south, two Soviet divisions were united on the northern side of the coastal road of Lake Ladoga; as before, these divisions were in a trap as the Finns could make counterattacks from a north to columns flank. The Finns made counterattacks in all fronts but were not successful – however the Red Army was now facing a position of defence rather than attack. On 19 December the Finns temporarily ceased their assaults, it was not until the period 6 to 16 January 1940 that the Finns made another major offensive, cut the Soviet division into a smaller group of different sized mottis.
Contrary to Finnish expectation, the encircled Soviets divisions did not try to breakthrough to the east but instead they stayed put and entrenched themselves. The Soviets were expecting auxiliary troops and service shipments support to arrive by the air. However, the Finns repelled all efforts of the Soviet Eighth Army to resupply the encircled troops, they did not get enough supplies from the air; as the Finns lacked the necessary heavy artillery equipment and were short of men, they did not directly attack the mottis they had created, but instead focussed on eliminating the most dangerous threats only and bide their time. In 1940 the Army became a part of the Baltic Special Military District. From the morning of 22 June 1941 as part of the Northwestern Front the army joined the heavy fighting with superior forces of the German Wehrmacht on the Shyaulyay axis. On 23–25 June its 12th Mechanised Corps with the part of the 3rd Mechanised Corps of the 11th Army southwest of Shyaulyaya executed a counterblow on the forces of the enemy’s Panzer Group 4, as a result of which their advance was delayed by several days.
After 30 June the 22nd Motor Rifle Division NKVD started operating as part of 10th Rifle Corps. During July–August the troops of the 8th Army conducted persistent defensive actions in the territory of Estonia. On 14 July, the army was transferred to the Northern Front, on 27 August of the Leningrad Front. In the beginning of September 1941 the army's troops fought on the neighboring approaches to Leningrad, retaining contact with the forces of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet on the Oranienbaum bridgehead which played an important role in the Siege of Leningrad. At the beginning of November, the Army headquarters and some formations and units of the 8th Army were relocated into the eastern sector of the defence of the Leningrad Front and to the bridgehead on the Neva River in Moscow Dubrovki. During November- December, they conducted persistent offensive combat for achieving Leningrad blockade break-through. At the end of January 1942 the administration of the army, crossed on Lake Ladoga ice to the Volkhov direction, combined formations and units for the Sinyavinsk operations group of 54th Army, which occupied defenses from the south coast of Ladoga lake to the Kirov railroad.
On 9 June, the army was subordinated to the Volkhov Front. In August- September, it acted as a part of the Front's assault group for the Sinyavinsk Offensive Operation. During January 1943, the 8th Army participated in the Leningrad blockade break-through, covering the southern flank of the Front’s assault group. During July–August it conducted furious fighting in the Mga Offensive Operation. During January 1944, the army headquarters and its support units were moved between Novgorod and Lake Peipus. After accepting new formations, the Army participated in the Novgorod-Luga Offensive Operation. After regrouping as part of the Leningrad Front, the Army made several attempts to enc
Soviet Armed Forces
The Soviet Armed Forces called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union were the armed forces of the Russian SFSR, the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from their beginnings in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War to its dissolution on 26 December 1991. According to the all-union military service law of September 1925, the Soviet Armed Forces consisted of three components: the Ground Forces, the Air Forces, the Navy, the State Political Directorate, the convoy guards; the OGPU was made independent and amalgamated with the NKVD in 1934, thus its Internal Troops were under the joint management of the Defense and Interior Commisariats. After World War II, the Strategic Missile Troops, Air Defence Forces and troops of the All-Union National Civil Defence Forces were added, standing first and sixth in the official Soviet reckoning of comparative importance; the Council of People's Commissars set up the Red Army by decree on January 15, 1918, basing it on the already-existing Red Guard.
The official Red Army Day of February 23, 1918 marked the day of the first mass draft of the Red Army in Petrograd and Moscow, of the first combat action against the advancing Imperial German Army. February 23 became an important national holiday in the Soviet Union celebrated as "Soviet Army Day", it continues as a day of celebration in present-day Russia as Defenders of the Motherland Day. Credit as the founder of the Red Army goes to Leon Trotsky, the People's Commissar for War from 1918 to 1924. At the beginning of its existence, the Red Army functioned as a voluntary formation, without ranks or insignia. Democratic elections selected the officers. However, a decree of May 29, 1918 imposed obligatory military service for men of ages 18 to 40. To service the massive draft, the Bolsheviks formed regional military commissariats, which as of 2005 still exist in Russia in this function and under this name. Democratic election of officers was abolished by decree, while separate quarters for officers, special forms of address and higher pay were all reinstated.
After General Aleksei Brusilov offered the Bolsheviks his professional services in 1920, they decided to permit the conscription of former officers of the Imperial Russian Army. The Bolshevik authorities set up a special commission under the chair of Lev Glezarov, by August 1920 had drafted about 315,000 ex-officers. Most they held the position of military advisor. A number of prominent Soviet Army commanders had served as Imperial Russian generals. In fact, a number of former Imperial military men, notably a member of the Supreme Military Council, Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich, had joined the Bolsheviks earlier; the Bolshevik authorities assigned to every unit of the Red Army a political commissar, or politruk, who had the authority to override unit commanders' decisions if they ran counter to the principles of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Although this sometimes resulted in inefficient command, the Party leadership considered political control over the military necessary, as the Army relied more and more on experienced officers from the pre-revolutionary Tsarist period.
The Polish–Soviet War represented the first foreign campaign of the Red Army. The Soviet counter-offensive following the 1920 Polish invasion of Ukraine at first met with success, but Polish forces halted it at the disastrous Battle of Warsaw. In 1934, Mongolia and the USSR, recognising the threat from the mounting Japanese military presence in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, agreed to co-operate in the field of defence. On March 12, 1936, the co-operation increased with the ten-year Mongolian-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, which included a mutual defence protocol. In May 1939, a Mongolian cavalry unit clashed with Manchukuoan cavalry in the disputed territory east of the Halha River. There followed a clash with a Japanese detachment; the Soviet troops quartered there in accordance with the mutual defence protocol intervened and obliterated the detachment. Escalation of the conflict appeared imminent, both sides spent June amassing forces. On July 1 the Japanese force numbered 38,000 troops; the combined Soviet-Mongol force had 12,500 troops.
The Japanese crossed the river, but after a three-day battle their opponents threw them back over the river. The Japanese kept probing the Soviet defences throughout July, without success. On August 20 Georgy Zhukov opened a major offensive with heavy air attack and three hours of artillery bombardment, after which three infantry divisions and five armoured brigades, supported by a fighter regiment and masses of artillery, stormed the 75,000 Japanese force entrenched in the area. On August 23 the entire Japanese force found itself encircled, on August 31 destroyed. Artillery and air attacks wiped out those Japanese. Japan requested a cease-fire, the conflict concluded with an agreement between the USSR, Mongolia and Japan signed on September 15 in Moscow. In the conflict, th
4th Army (Soviet Union)
The 4th Army was a Soviet field army of World War II that served on the Eastern front of World War II and in the Caucasus during the Cold War. It was disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union, with its divisions being withdrawn to Russia and disbanded; the Fourth Army was created in August 1939 in the Belorussian Special Military District from the Bobruisk Army Group as an independent army. In September 1939, the Fourth Army took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland commanded by the future Marshal of Soviet Union V. I. Chuykov, the defender of Stalingrad, its order of battle in that operation is listed here. Elements of the army 4th Battalion, 29th Light Tank Brigade, took part in the German–Soviet military parade in Brest-Litovsk on September 22, 1939; when the German invasion of the Soviet Union commenced on 22 June 1941, the Army was part of the Western Front and had the 28th Rifle Corps, 14th Mechanised Corps, 49th and 75th Rifle Divisions, as well as the 62nd Fortified Region. General Colonel Pavlov, Commander of the Western Front, had decided to redeploy some of 4th Army’s troops early in 1941, John Erickson wrote that 12th Rifle Division was accordingly moved into Brest, HQ 14th Mechanised Corps to Kobrin, which in Erickson’s words, ‘deprived 4th Army of its reserve and its second echelon.’It should be understood that John Erickson was writing in the pre-1990 period when formation designations could be unclear, sometimes to the point of deliberate deception.
According to Sharp the 12th Rifle Division was identified by the Germans on the Western Front, but the unit was assigned to the Far East for the entire war. The formation that appears to have been moved into Brest Fortress was 42nd Rifle Division. Facing the 4th Army across the Bug River was deployed the German Fourth Army, with twelve infantry divisions and a cavalry division, as well as Panzer Group 2; some units faced several difficulties. A. Khorobkov, the army commander, saw his officers on 10 June, General Major Stepan Oborin, 14th Mechanised Corps commander, emphasized that more than half his soldiers were untrained recruits, that his artillery had received guns for which there was no ammunition, that he only had enough lorries to make a quarter of the corps mobile – the rest would have to march. On the eve of the attack, 4th Army suffered, as did many Soviet formations, from German communication sabotage. Units lost telephone connections, electrical power, the Brest Fortress lost its water supply.
From about 5 am on 22 June fierce fighting began around the Brest fortress, but the seven battalions around the fortress, from 28th Rifle Corps, were undermanned and slow off the mark to man the defences. Despite these deficiencies the final German reduction of the fortress took some time in the face of determined Soviet resistance. By 1600 hours on 22 June, 4th Army HQ was back at Zapruda, whereupon Front HQ ordered that 14th Mechanised Corps be launched in an attack to clear Brest and reach the frontier line; however the Army staff felt the plan had no chance of success, so it proved. Three days Western Front ordered a general withdrawal to try to keep the frontier armies out of threatened German encirclement. Further instructions came through from Pavlov after a chance meeting the same day; however the Slutsk fortified district, as the district commander reminded Khorobkov, had long ago been instructed to dispatch all its weapons to the Brest fortress. The planned defence was thus non-existent, Slutsk fell on 27 June.
The Army took part in the defenses of the area around Babruysk. At the end of July 1941, the Fourth Army began to dissolve; the Fourth Army's staff members were absorbed into the general staff of the Central Front, the troops were absorbed into other armies. Source:Commander Lieutenant General Alexander A. Korobkov 28th Rifle Corps - Major General V. S. Popov 6th Rifle Division - Col. M. A. Popsiu-Shapko 42nd Rifle Division - Maj. Gen. I. S. Lazarenko 49th Rifle Division - Col. C. F. Vasil’ev 75th Rifle Division - Col. Nedwigin 14th Mechanized Corps - Major General S. I. Oborin 22nd Tank Division - Mj. Gen. V. P. Puganov 30th Tank Division - Col. Semen Bogdanov 205th Motor Rifle Division - Col. F. F. KudjurovOrder of Battle for Operation Barbarossa At the end of September 1941, the Fourth Army was formed for the second time, retaining its Independent status until December while remaining in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command; the field staffs of the 52nd and 54th Armies were used to fill the command contingent of the Army.
The new formation was made up of the 285th, 292nd, 311th Rifle Divisions along with the 27th Cavalry Division, a Tank brigade, the 2nd Reserve aviation group, other artillery and support units. The Fourth Army participated in the defense and attack of Tikhvin from October to December 1941. On December 17, 1941, the Fourth Army was allocated to the Volkhov Front. From January 1942 to November 1943, the Fourth Army fought on the front in Volkhov and Leningrad while doing many rear-area duties. Unlike in other parts of the Eastern Front, the Red Army was not making significant gains in
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
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