Zhytomyr is a city in the north of the western half of Ukraine. It is the administrative center of Zhytomyr Oblast, as well as the administrative center of the surrounding Zhytomyr Raion; the city of Zhytomyr is not a part of Zhytomyr Raion: the city itself is designated as its own separate raion within the oblast. Zhytomyr occupies an area of 65 square kilometres, its population is 266,936. Zhytomyr is a major transportation hub; the city lies on a historic route linking the city of Kiev with the west through Brest. Today it links Warsaw with Kiev, Minsk with Izmail, several major cities of Ukraine. Zhytomyr was the location of Ozerne airbase, a key Cold War strategic aircraft base 11 kilometres southeast of the city. Important economic activities of Zhytomyr include lumber milling, food processing, granite quarrying and the manufacture of musical instruments. Zhytomyr Oblast is the main center of the Polish minority in Ukraine, in the city itself there is a Latin Catholic cathedral and large Roman Catholic Polish cemetery, founded in 1800.
It is regarded as the third biggest Polish cemetery outside Poland, after the Lychakivskiy Cemetery in Lviv and Rasos Cemetery in Vilnius. Legend holds that Zhytomyr was established about 884 by Zhytomyr, prince of a Slavic tribe of Drevlians; this date, 884, is cut in the large stone of the ice age times, standing on the hill where Zhytomyr was founded. Zhytomyr was one of the prominent cities of Kievan Rus'; the first records of the town date from 1240. In 1320 Zhytomyr was captured by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and received Magdeburg rights in 1444. After the Union of Lublin the city was incorporated into the Crown of the Polish Kingdom and in 1667, following the Treaty of Andrusovo, it became the capital of the Kiev Voivodeship. In the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 it passed to Imperial Russia and became the capital of the Volhynian Governorate. Following the Union of Lublin, Zhytomyr became an important center of local administration, seat of the starosta, capital of Żytomierz County.
Here, sejmiks of Kiev Voivodeship took place. In 1572, the town had a manor house of the starosta and a castle. Following the privilege of King Sigismund III Vasa, Zhytomyr had the right for two fairs a year; the town, which enjoyed royal protection of Polish kings, prospered until the Khmelnytsky Uprising, when it was captured by Zaporozhian Cossacks and their allies, Crimean Tatars. Its residents were murdered, Zhytomyr was burned to the ground, all government files were destroyed. In 1667, Zhytomyr became capital of Kiev Voivodeship, in 1724, a Jesuit school and monastery were opened here. By 1765, Zhytomyr had five churches, including 3 Roman Catholic and 2 Orthodox, 285 houses. In 1793 Zhytomyr was annexed by the Russian Empire, in 1804 was named capital of the Volhynian Governorate. In 1798, a Roman Catholic Diocese of Zhytomyr was established. During the January Uprising, the town was a stronghold of Polish rebels. During a brief period of Ukrainian independence in 1918 the city was for a few weeks the national capital.
Nicolas Werth claims that armed units of the Ukrainian People's Republic were responsible for rapes and massacres in Zhytomyr, in which 500–700 Jews lost their lives. From 1920 the city was under Soviet rule. Under Soviet rule a German National District was set up in the area for the German minority, according to Soviet minorities policy before World War II. During World War II Zhytomyr and the surrounding territory came for two and a half years under Nazi German occupation and was Heinrich Himmler's Ukrainian headquarters; the Nazi regime in what they called the "Zhytomyr General District" became what historian Wendy Lower describes asa laboratory for… Himmler's resettlement activists… the elimination of the Jews and German colonization of the East—transformed the landscape and devastated the population to an extent, not experienced in other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe besides Poland. … ltimately, the exigencies of the war effort and mounting partisan warfare behind the lines prevented Nazi leaders from developing and realizing their colonial aims in Ukraine… In addition to the immediate destruction of all Jewish communities, Himmler insisted that the Ukrainian civilian population be brought to a'minimum.'
From 1991, the city has been part of the independent Ukraine. Zhytomyr had been a Latin Catholic bishopric since 1321, until the see was suppressed in 1789 in favor of the Diocese of Lutsk and Zytomierz, until, split up again in 1925, when it was restored as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Zhytomyr; the Zhytomyr cemetery was opened in 1800. At first, it served Polish nobility such as the Czeczel and the Woronicz families. Other Catholics were buried here, including Germans and Russians. In 1840, the Chapel of St. Stanislaus was built, the cemetery was divided into nine districts, named after different saints. In the Soviet Union, the complex was devastated, now it is under th
50th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 50th Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army from 1936 to 1946. The division took part in the Soviet invasion of the Winter War. After Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, the 50th fought in the Battle of Moscow, the Battles of Rzhev, the Donbass Strategic Offensive, the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, Vistula–Oder Offensive and the Berlin Offensive. In May 1936, the division was formed from Construction Headquarters No. 27 as the Urovskaya Division of the Polotsk Fortified Region. It took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939. On 17 September, it was part of the 3rd Army's 4th Rifle Corps. On 2 October, it was transferred to the 10th Rifle Corps of the same army; the 50th Rifle Division fought in the Winter War. On 28 December, it was stationed in the region near Lake Sukhodolskoye. On 18 January 1940, it was subordinated to the 13th Army; the division became part of the 30th Rifle Corps on 30 January. On 21 January, the division went to the front lines.
From 1–2 February, it fought in the Pasuri village on the Karelian Isthmus. On 11 February, it again attacked Finnish positions at Pasuri, it broke through the Finnish positions at Salmenkayta due to its artillery support, which affected Finnish troops in the bunkers, according to reports by Finnish officers. On 23 February, it was stationed near the Salmenkayta River. Between 1–7 April, the division was transported by train back to Belarus; the division was based in Lida and was part of the 21st Rifle Corps. In January 1941, it returned to Polotsk. On 22 June, Germany attacked the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. According to the Western Front order of 24 June, the 21st Rifle Corps, including the division, became part of the 13th Army, it defended the line of the Viliya River northwest of Molodechno. The division received orders to advance on Ashmyany. However, divisional intelligence discovered that German armored and motorized forces were present in the town; the division was forced to retreat towards Molodechno under pressure from the German motorized troops.
After the German capture of Minsk on 26 June, 13th Army was split into several groups. Molodechno was captured by German troops the next day; the 50th Rifle Division retreated along the northern flank towards the Berezina River north of Barysaw. On the morning of 30 June, the division was in region of Pleshchenitsy; the remnants of the 64th Rifle Division and the 100th Rifle Division's 331st Rifle Regiment were attached to the division there. On 1 July, the division withdrew from Pleshchenitsy. On 2 July, the division was attacked by German troops of the 20th Motorized Division advancing down the Logoysky road and was forced to retreat from Begoml. However, the division was able to hold the German advance for three days during fighting north of Barysaw. On 5 July, the division was fighting near Vitebsk from 7 July. On 11 July, it was sent to Velizh to reform due to heavy losses. On 14 July, German troops attacked the division had to retreat to the east. On 23 July, remnants of the division were withdrawn from the fighting with the intention of reinforcing positions 12 kilometers east of Vyazma.
The division became part of 19th Army's reserve on 2 August. On 6 August, the division was sent back into combat during the Battle of Smolensk; the division advanced 17 kilometers from Yartsevo and held defensive positions on the line of Ryadnyi and Chistaya. The division was still holding the positions on 3 October, southeast of Dukhovshchina, but on 4 October, it withdrew to the line of the Vop River and defend the east bank at Kurganova and Ozerische, repulsing German attempts at crossing the river. On 5 October, army commander Ivan Konev ordered the division to move to Vyazma. Due to various motor transport delays, the division didn't arrive at Vyazma until 7 October. Upon its arrival, the division was ordered by Rokossovsky to defend the northern approaches to the city. Due to the German advance, the division was forced to retreat to the east, it was able to escape being encircled in the Vyazma Pocket. On 19 October, the division fought in the battle for Vereya but was removed and transferred to the area of Dorokhovo and Shchalikovo, covering the Mozhaysk approaches.
Having made a night march, the division arrived at the Shchalikovo area by the morning of 20 October and fought in combat with advancing German troops. By the evening of 20 October, the division moved across the Protva River near Alexino and Petrischeva, it withdrew to Dorokhov, where it organized a defence. The division was assisted by the remnants of the 103rd Rifle Divisions. On 23 October, the division came under heavy attack along with the 22nd Tank Brigade and was forced to retreat eastwards. On 25 October, more than 800 personnel of the 230th Reserve Training Rifle Regiment, attached to the division, were killed in the village of Gorbovo. By 31 October, the division had stopped its retreat at Tuchkovo. From 16 November to 11 December, it held the line at Polushkino and Agafonov. On 2 December, it was involved in heavy fighting in the villages of Trioitskye and Vlasov. On 11 December, it went on the offensive, crossing the Moskva River on 13 December and capturing several villages; the division continued to advance and by 20 December had captured Krasotinom and the village of Kagonovich on the south bank of the Moskva.
On 21 December, German troops launched a heavy counterattack and the division was forced to withdraw across the river. On 11 January 1942, the division recaptured Tuchkovo. On 12 January, it continued to advance in towards Mozhaisk and surrounded German troops in Beloborodova. On 13 January, it captured Dubrovka. Continuing to pursue the Germ
8th Tank Army
The 8th Tank Army was one of ten Soviet tank armies. It was formed from the 52nd Army after the end of World War II, it was stationed around the city of Zhytomyr, in the western Ukrainian SSR, part of the Carpathian Military District. During the Cold War, the army was involved in the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Operation Whirlwind, the crushing of the Prague Spring, Operation Danube. After the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, 8th Tank Army became the Ukrainian 8th Army Corps; the 8th Mechanised Army was formed on 12 June 1946 with its headquarters at Zhytomyr in the Carpathian Military District, under the command of Nikolay Pukhov. The army was formed from the 52nd Army, it comprised the 18th, 23rd and 31st Tank Divisions and the 11th Guards and 32nd Guards Mechanised Divisions. The army included the 28th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division, 12th Light Artillery Brigade, 45th Separate Tank Training Regiment, 9th Separate Motorcycle Regiment, 329th Separate Guards Mortar Regiment, 4th Separate Pontoon Bridge Regiment, the 60th Separate Communications Regiment.
Several units of the army used the T-44, the successor of the T-34. On 30 April 1947 the 18th Tank Division, 28th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division, 12th Light Artillery Brigade, 329th Separate Guards Mortar Regiment and the 4th Separate Pontoon Bridge Regiment were disbanded; the 45th Tank Training Regiment moved to Turkestan. The 9th Motorcycle Regiment became the 200th Motorcycle Battalion. Hamazasp Babadzhanian became commander of the army on 30 May 1956. During Operation Whirlwind in October and November 1956, the army headquarters was moved to Debrecen, its troops occupied the eastern part of Hungary on the left bank of the Danube; the 70th Guards Rifle Division was attached to the army for the operation. On 1 May 1957 the army became the 8th Tank Army. A month the 32nd Guards Mechanized Division became the 41st Guards Tank Division at Berdychiv. Around this time the 11th Guards Mechanized Division became the 30th Guards Tank Division at Novohrad-Volynskyi; the 23rd Tank Division was stationed at Ovruch, the 31st Tank Division at Ternopil moving to Zhytomyr.
On 1 October 1960 the 41st Guards Tank Division became a training unit and was directly subordinated to the Carpathian Military District. The army and its 31st Tank Division fought in Operation Danube in 1968; the 8th Tank Army was subordinated to the Carpathian Front during the operation and was moved to southern Poland. After the end of the Prague Spring the 31st Tank Division remained in Czechoslovakia with the Central Group of Forces; the division's place was taken by the mobilization 50th Tank Division. From on the army had only the 23rd and 30th Guards Tank Divisions, the mobilization 50th Tank Division. On 15 January 1974 the army received the Order of the Red Banner; the 50th Tank Division was reorganized into the 686th Territorial Training Center on 1 December 1987. On 21 March 1989 the 199th Guards Rocket Brigade became part of the army after arriving from Belarus. On 1 July 1989 the 686th Territorial Training Center became the 5358th Weapons and Equipment Storage Base. On 1 July 1990 the 23rd Tank Division became Equipment Storage Base.
By the end of 1990, the army was composed of only the 30th Guards Tank Division. Stationed in Ukraine, after dissolution of the Soviet Union the army was reorganized as Ukrainian military formation 8th Army Corps on 1 December 1993, whilst commanded by Lieutenant General Aleksey Mikhaylovich Torshin; the following officers commanded the 8th Tank Army. The 8th Tank Army included the following units at the end of the 1980s. 103rd Separate Protection and Enforcement Company 93rd Separate Communications Regiment 664th Separate Radio Relay-Cable Battalion 347th Communications Center 54th Separate Radio Engineering Battalion PVO 983rd Separate Electronic Warfare Battalion 1803rd Separate Rear Battalion 88th Material Security Brigade 1156th Separate Air Assault Battalion 199th Guards Rocket Brigade 404th Artillery Brigade 1196th Reactive Artillery Regiment 1591st Separate Engineering Road-Building Battalion 144th Separate Chemical Defense Battalion Separate Spetsnaz GRU Company 177th Rocket Brigade 138th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Brigade 441st Separate Helicopter Regiment/Command and Control 513th Separate Combat Helicopter Regiment 532nd Separate Pontoon Bridge Battalion 23rd Tank Division 30th Guards Tank Division 50th Tank Division 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. Kolomiets, Maxim. Т-44 и другие наследники "тридцатьчетверки". Moscow: Eksmo. ISBN 9785457589834
The Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive known in Soviet historical sources as the liberation of right-bank Ukraine, fought from 24 December 1943 – 17 April 1944, was a strategic offensive executed by the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Ukrainian Fronts, along with the 1st Belorussian Front, against the German Army Group South, intended to retake all of the Ukrainian and Moldovian territories occupied by Axis forces. In the course of the operation, 20 Wehrmacht divisions were either destroyed or required major rebuilding, while another 68 divisions were reduced to below 50% of their establishment strength. Huge were equipment losses, with hundreds of precious tanks, assault guns and trucks being lost, principally through their abandonment in the spring mud. According to German General Kurt von Tippelskirch, this was the biggest Wehrmacht defeat since Stalingrad; as a result of this strategic offensive, Wehrmacht's Army Group South was split into two parts- north and south of the Carpathian Mountains. The northern portion was pushed back into Galicia, while the southern portion was pushed back into Romania.
The northern portion was renamed to Army Group North Ukraine, while the southern portion to Army Group South Ukraine, effective from 5 April 1944, although little of Ukraine remained in German hands. In order to save its southern sector from complete collapse, the German high command was forced to transfer 26 German divisions as reinforcements from across France, Denmark, Poland and Army Group Centre to the crumbling front of Army Group South, which amounted to 350,000 men and 853 tanks, assault guns, self-propelled anti-tank guns; as a result, the Soviet Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive played a key role in influencing the future successes of Allied D-Day landings and Soviet Operation Bagration, as German forces stationed in France and belonging to Army Group Centre were critically weakened by those transfers. All told, German forces stationed in France were deprived of a total of 45,827 troops and 363 tanks, assault guns, self-propelled anti-tank guns on 6 June 1944. Meanwhile, Army Group Center was deprived of a total of 125,380 troops and 552 tanks, assault guns, self-propelled anti-tank guns on 22 June 1944.
For the Wehrmacht defeat, the commander of Army Group South Erich von Manstein and the commander of Army Group A Ewald von Kleist were dismissed by Hitler and replaced by Walther Model and Ferdinand Schörner respectively. As part of the Lower Dnieper Offensive in autumn 1943, which secured the Left-bank, or eastern Ukraine and cut off the German 17th Army in the Crimea, several Soviet bridgeheads were established across the Dnieper River, which were expanded throughout November and December to become the platforms from which the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive was launched; this offensive and its follow-ups, which continued into December, left several large German salients along the Dnieper, including one south of Kiev centered on the city of Korsun, between the areas of the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, another to the south, around Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol. Adolf Hitler's "No retreat" policy forced German troops to hold the tenuous positions, despite opposition from Erich von Manstein, commander of Army Group South.
The German forces were disadvantaged because of Hitler's Führer Directive 51, while implying that he would allow his generals in the East to conduct a dynamic defense, in reality hurt them by directing all future reinforcements to the West, to counter the expected Anglo-American Invasion of Northwest Europe. Hitler's insistence that his troops "fight where they stand" was strong in the Ukrainian sector, where he wished to maintain German positions near Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol for the mining operations there, to maintain strong hold on the Crimea due to his fears that it could become a base for attacks on the oil refineries at Ploieşti and that its loss would convince Turkey to join the Allies; the Soviet goal was the destruction of the "East Wall" held by Erich von Manstein's Army Group South with 4th Panzer Army in the Zhitomir region commanded by Erhard Raus, Hans-Valentin Hube's 1st Panzer Army south of it as far as Cherkassy, the newly formed 8th Army commanded by Otto Wöhler in the region of Kirovograd, the 6th Army under Maximilian de Angelis in the Kryvyi Rih-Nikopol salient, the Third Romanian Army rebuilt after Stalingrad, under command of Petre Dumitrescu in the Tavridia area, just north of Crimea.
In reserve, to the north, Manstein had the 1st Hungarian Army in the north-western Ukraine, the 4th Romanian Army hastily assembled under command of Ioan Mihail Racoviţă in the area of Soviet Moldavian Republic. Air support was provided by the Luftwaffe's Luftflotte 4; the Stavka committed four Fronts to the operation, with the Belorussian Front providing a strategic flank security to the north in the Gomel-Mogilev area, but taking little part in the actual operation. It included 65th Armies. Vatutin's 1st Ukrainian Front had only the 60th, 1st Guards, 6th Guards Tank and 40th Armies, but possessed massive armored reserves in the 3rd Guards Army and the 1st and 4th Tank Armies, backed up by the 18th and 38th Armies and the 2nd Air Army. Konev's 2nd Ukrainian Front to the south led with the 27th, 7th Guards and 53rd Armies, with reserves including the 5th Guards Tank and 2nd Guards Tank armies, the 4th Guards Army, all supported by the 5th Air Army. Malinovsky had the 57th, 46th, 8th Guards and 37th armies leading his 3rd Ukrainian Front, with the 6th Army in reserve, the 17th Air Army providing air support.
Fyodor Tolbukhin's 4th Ukrainian Front would have the most difficult job in conducting combined operations of his Separate Coastal Army and th
Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket
The Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive led to the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkasy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February 1944. The offensive was part of the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. In it, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, commanded by Nikolai Vatutin and Ivan Konev, encircled German forces of Army Group South in a pocket near the Dnieper River. During weeks of fighting, the two Red Army Fronts tried to eradicate the pocket; the encircled German units attempted a breakout in coordination with a relief attempt by other German forces, resulting in heavy casualties, estimates of which vary. The Soviet victory in the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive marked the successful implementation of Soviet deep operations. Soviet Deep Battle doctrine envisaged the breaking of the enemy's forward defences to allow fresh operational reserves to exploit the breakthrough by driving into the strategic depth of the enemy front; the arrival of large numbers of American- and British-built trucks and halftracks gave the Soviet forces much greater mobility than they had before.
This, coupled with the Soviet capacity to hold large formations in reserve gave the Red Army the ability to drive deep behind German defenses again and again. Though the Soviet operation at Korsun did not result in the collapse in the German front that the Soviet command had hoped for, it marked a significant deterioration in the strength available to the German army on that front in heavy weaponry, nearly all of, lost during the breakout. Through the rest of the war the Red Army would place large German forces in jeopardy, while the Germans were stretched thin and attempting to extract themselves from one crisis to the next. Mobile Soviet offensives were the hallmark of the Eastern front for the remainder of the war. In the autumn of 1943, the German forces of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein's Army Group South including General Otto Wöhler's 8th Army had fallen back to the Panther–Wotan line, a defensive position that in Ukraine followed the Dnieper river. However, when the German forces arrived, only planning and construction had been started, the defensive positions did not exist.
By 1 December 1943, the line had been broken and the Soviet Army had crossed the Dnieper in force. Only two corps, the XI under General Wilhelm Stemmermann, the XLII Army Corps under Lieutenant General Theobald Lieb and the attached Corps Detachment B from the 8th Army were holding a salient in the new Soviet line; the salient to the west of Cherkasy extended some 100 kilometers to the Dnieper river settlement of Kanev, with the town of Korsun in the center of the salient, with the 1st Ukrainian Front to its left and the 2nd Ukrainian Front to its right. Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov realized the potential for destroying Wöhler's 8th Army, using tactics similar to those used to encircle and destroy Paulus's 6th Army in the Battle of Stalingrad. Zhukov recommended to the Soviet Supreme Command deploying the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts to form two armored rings of encirclement: an inner ring around the pocket, followed by the destruction of the forces it contained, an external ring to prevent relief formations from reaching the surrounded units.
Despite repeated warnings from Manstein and others, Hitler refused to allow the exposed units to be pulled back. General Konev held a conference at his headquarters at Boltushki on 15 January with his commanders and their political commissars to pass on the orders received from Stavka; the initial attack was to be conducted by Konev's own 2nd Ukrainian Front from the southeast by the 53rd Army and 4th Guards Army, with the 5th Guards Tank Army to exploit penetrations, supported by the 5th Air Army, to be joined in progress by the 52nd Army, 5th Guards Cavalry Corps and 2nd Tank Army. Additionally, from Vatutin's 1st Ukrainian Front, the 27th and 40th Armies were to be deployed from the northwest, with the 6th Tank Army to exploit penetrations, supported by the 2nd Air Army. Many of these formations had received an inflow of new personnel. Red Army planning further included extensive deception operations that the Soviets claimed were successful; the Soviet attack started on 24 January when Konev's 2nd Ukrainian Front attacked the salient from the southeast.
A breakthrough was achieved, the penetration was exploited by the 5th Guards Tank Army and the 5th Guards Cavalry Corps the following day. Despite the awareness of the German 8th Army's staff that an attack was imminent, they were surprised by the appearance of the 1st Ukrainian Front's newly formed 6th Tank Army; the 6th Tank Army, with 160 tanks and 50 self-propelled guns, was inexperienced and took longer than expected to penetrate the western flank of the salient. A "mobile group" from the 5th Mechanized Corps' 233rd Tank Brigade, under the command of General Savelev, with 50 tanks and 200 sub-machine gun armed infantrymen, occupied Lysyanka and moved into the outskirts of Zvenyhorodka by 28 January. Here, these troops of the 6th Tank Army met the 2nd Ukrainian Front's 20th Tank Corps. Over the next three days, the two tank armies formed a thinly manned outer ring around what was now the Korsun Pocket while another, ring was formed by the Soviet 27th, 52nd, 4th Guard Armies; the Soviet commanders were optimistic about the progress of the operation.
Stalin was promised a second Stalingrad, he expected it. Konev wired: "There is no need to worry, Comrade Stalin; the encircled enemy will not escape." Inside the pocket were nearly 60,000 men from six German divisions, at about 55% of their authorized strength, along with a number of smaller combat units. Among the trapped German forces were the 5th SS Panzer Division
254th Motor Rifle Division
The 254th Motor Rifle Division was a motorized infantry division of the Soviet Army during the Cold War and the Ukrainian Army. It was formed in June 1941 from NKVD Border Troops and reservists as part of the Northwestern Front and fought against the German invasion of Russia. In 1944 the division was the first Soviet unit to enter Romanian territory and in 1945 fought in the Battle of Bautzen; the division renumbered as the 27th Mechanized Division, was part of the Soviet forces that put down the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and was afterwards stationed in Hungary. The unit participated in the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, after which it returned to Hungary; the unit was withdrawn to Ukraine in 1990 and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union was transferred to Ukraine. The unit was downsized to form the 52nd Separate Mechanized Brigade and was disbanded in October 2004; the division was formed beginning 26 June 1941 in the Moscow Military District in the Tetnitsky camps 25 kilometers north of Tula.
It was one of fifteen divisions in the 240-250 series formed on cadres of 1,500 officers and men from the NKVD Border Troops. The order of battle of the 254th was as follows: 929th Rifle Regiment 933rd Rifle Regiment 936th Rifle Regiment 791st Artillery Regiment 130th Antitank Battalion 421st Sapper Battalion 673rd Signal Battalion 333rd Reconnaissance CompanyIt was commanded by Major General Pyotr Pokhaznikov from its formation until 15 October; the division was formed by 12 July and on that day was loaded into trains despite not yet being armed and sent to the Staraya Russa area, assigned to the 11th Army in the Northwestern Front. On 15 July the unloading had been completed. On 16 July, the division received orders to reach the line of Evanovo, Zabolote, Vnuchkovo and Nogatkino; the line was 8 to 10 kilometers to the west and south of Staraya Russa. The division was to fortify the line to prevent a German breakthrough to the east. On the left flank of the line there were forests and swamps.
The division began building fortifications, creating strongpoints in the area of settlements. The 15 kilometer length of the line did not allow for a second echelon of the division. On 22 July, the division became part of the 11th Army, ordered to cover the army's retreat and stop the German attack. By 28 July, the 180th Rifle Division had advanced to the northwest of Staraya Russa and was defending on the right of the 254th; the German 290th Infantry Division advanced along the highway towards Tuleblya, on the 254th's right flank. At this time the 254th still did not have guns for the regimental artillery and half of its assigned machine guns; the division's fire system was not ready to repel the advance of the 290th Infantry Division. As a result, the 202nd Motorized Division marched 70 kilometers to the Tuleblya area, a position from which it could counterattack the 290th. On 28 July the 202nd Division held the German advance for two days; this was enough time to arm the 254th and enable it to repel the German attacks.
On 30 July, the forward units of the division's defenses were attacked by the 290th, which although it had suffered losses, was still twice the size of the 254th. For five days the 254th resisted the advance of the German forces; the 290th and the reserve 30th Infantry Division shifted their attacks to the 180th Rifle Division on 4 August. Suffering heavy losses, the 30th Infantry Division broke through and captured the southern part of Staraya Russa; the 30th attacked southwards, towards the rear of the 254th, cutting off its supply and evacuation routes. The 254th now had to fight on two fronts at once: the 290th still attacking from the west, parts of the 30th from the northeast; the situation threatened the division with encirclement, on 6 August it was ordered to pull back to the eastern bank of the Lovat River. The division retreated 13 to 17 kilometers and finished on a seven kilometer long line near Pleshakovo and Prismorzhye. On 6 August it was reassigned to 34th Army in the same front, but this was temporary, it was soon back in 11th Army.
The 11th and 34th Armies counterattacked south of Lake Ilmen on 12 August. Advancing more than twenty kilometers, the division captured the southern outskirts of Staraya Russa and reached the line of the Polist River by 18 August. However, German counterattacks drove the two armies back to the Lovat, the 254th reoccupied its former positions there. To its north was the 22nd Rifle Corps, in the south there was a gap of twelve kilometers between the nearest Soviet unit. On 24 August the German 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf attacked through the gap towards the 254th's left flank and rear; the 254th withdrew northeast of the Pola River, where by 31 August it hurriedly took up defensive positions at Zaostrovye and Vystova, on a twelve kilometer front. At this time, German troops broke through the defenses of the divisions on the flanks of the 254th and it was forced to retreat five to eight kilometers southeast; the division took west of Nora and Pustynya. The 202nd Rifle Division defended on the right of the division, the 163rd Rifle Division on its left.
In April, 1944, the 254th was the first Red Army unit to cross the Prut River and enter Romanian territory. Despite the accumulated losses of the past month's campaigning and the difficulties of supply during winter, the Front's obvious next objectives were the cities of Jassy and Kishinev. On 13 April, Gen. I. S. Konev ordered Lt. Gen. K. A. Koroteev to probe the defenses of German IV Corps north of Jassy. He, in turn, ordered Mjr. Gen
Veliky Novgorod known as Novgorod the Great, or Novgorod Veliky, or just Novgorod, is one of the oldest and most important historic cities in Russia, which serves as the administrative center of Novgorod Oblast. It is situated on the M10 federal highway connecting Saint Petersburg; the city lies along the Volkhov River just downstream from its outflow from Lake Ilmen. UNESCO recognized Novgorod as a World Heritage Site in 1992. Population: 218,717 . At its peak during the 14th century, the city was the capital of the Novgorod Republic and one of Europe's largest cities; the Sofia First Chronicle makes initial mention of it in 859, while the Novgorod First Chronicle first mentions it in 862, when it was purportedly a major Baltics-to-Byzantium station on the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The Charter of Veliky Novgorod recognizes 859 as the year. Novgorod is traditionally considered to be the cradle of Russian statehood. Archaeological excavations in the middle to late 20th century, have found cultural layers dating back only to the late 10th century, the time of the Christianization of Rus' and a century after it was founded, suggesting that the chronicle entries mentioning Novgorod in the 850s or 860s are interpolations.
Archaeological dating is easy and accurate to within 15–25 years, as the streets were paved with wood, most of the houses made of wood, allowing tree ring dating. The Varangian name of the city Holmgård or Holmgard is mentioned in Norse Sagas as existing at a yet earlier stage, but the correlation of this reference with the actual city is uncertain. Holmgård referred to the stronghold, now only 2 km to the south of the center of the present-day city, Rurikovo Gorodische. Archaeological data suggests that the Gorodishche, the residence of the Knyaz, dates from the mid-9th century, whereas the town itself dates only from the end of the 10th century. First mention of this Nordic or Germanic etymology to the name of the city of Novgorod occurs in the 10th-century policy manual De Administrando Imperio by Byzantine emperor Constantine VII. Predating the chronology of the legend of Rurik, an earlier record for the Scandinavian settlement of the region is found in the Annales Bertiniani where a Rus' delegation is mentioned as having visited Constantinople in 838 and, intending to return to the Rus' Khaganate via the Baltic Sea, were questioned by Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious at Ingelheim am Rhein, where they said that although their origin was Swedish, they had settled in Northern Rus' under a leader whom they designated as chacanus.
In 882, Rurik's successor, Oleg of Novgorod, conquered Kiev and founded the state of Kievan Rus'. Novgorod's size as well as its political and cultural influence made it the second most important city in Kievan Rus'. According to a custom, the elder son and heir of the ruling Kievan monarch was sent to rule Novgorod as a minor; when the ruling monarch had no such son, Novgorod was governed by posadniks, such as the legendary Gostomysl, Dobrynya and Ostromir. Of all their princes, Novgorodians most cherished the memory of Yaroslav the Wise, who sat as Prince of Novgorod from 1010 to 1019, while his father, Vladimir the Great, was a prince in Kiev. Yaroslav promulgated the first written code of laws among the Eastern Slavs and is said to have granted the city a number of freedoms or privileges, which they referred to in centuries as precedents in their relations with other princes, his son, sponsored construction of the great St. Sophia Cathedral, more translated as the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom, which stands to this day.
In Norse sagas the city is mentioned as the capital of Gardariki. Four Viking kings—Olaf I of Norway, Olaf II of Norway, Magnus I of Norway, Harald Hardrada—sought refuge in Novgorod from enemies at home. No more than a few decades after the 1030 death and subsequent canonization of Olaf II of Norway, the city's community had erected in his memory Saint Olaf's Church in Novgorod; the Gotland town of Visby functioned as the leading trading center in the Baltic before the Hansa League. At Novgorod in 1080, Visby merchants established a trading post. In the first half of the 13th century, merchants from northern Germany established their own trading station in Novgorod, known as Peterhof. At about the same time, in 1229, German merchants at Novgorod were granted certain privileges, which made their position more secure. In 1136, the Novgorodians dismissed their prince Vsevolod Mstislavich; the year is seen as the traditional beginning of the Novgorod Republic. The city was able to invite and dismiss a number of princes over the next two centuries, but the princely office was never abolished and powerful princes, such as Alexander Nevsky, could assert their will in the city regardless of what Novgorodians said.
The city state controlled most of Europe's northeast, from lands east of today's Est