Markian Mikhaylovich Popov was a Soviet military commander, Army General, Hero of the Soviet Union. During the German–Soviet War at various times he commanded a number of Armies and a number of Fronts, his career was uneven. In June 1941 he was Commander of the Leningrad Military District Northern Front; the Germans advanced with a terrific speed, but they were halted just before Leningrad. The army group was on 26 August renamed as Leningrad Front, he participated in Zhukov's counteroffensive before Moscow. Zhukov, who co-ordinated several fronts in this Moscow sector, tried to collect able commanders in the area. So for example the 16th Army was headed by General Rokossovsky, the 4th Shock Army’s commander was General Yeryomenko, the 5th Army was under General Govorov. On December 18 Popov was appointed Commander of the 61st Army and fought well during the counteroffensive, he maintained this position until 28 June 1942. He was shifted to the Stalingrad area, he was Assistant Commander of the Stalingrad Front Commander of the 5th Shock Army.
On December 26 this army was switched to Vatutin's Southwestern Front. In 1943 firstly he commanded a larger mechanized group, he was appointed Commander of the Bryansk Front, with which he participated in the Battle of Kursk. During the battle, the Bryansk Front was successful in crushing German opposition, was able to capture Oryol and Bryansk in August, he was promoted to Army General. After the Battle of Kursk he was sent to command the 2nd Baltic Front, he was demoted to Colonel General because of the unsuccessful actions in the Baltic area, commissar at the front. Until the end of the war he was Chief of Staff of the Leningrad Front. After the war he was promoted again to Army General. In 1956–62 he was Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Ground Forces, he died 22 April 1969 in an accidental fire. He was never given the rank Marshal of the Soviet Union, although Marshal of Aviation Golovanov and Marshal Vasilevsky considered him talented. Page from warheroes.ru in Russian Army Gen. M. M. Popov at Generals.dk
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, known as the Fall of Berlin, was one of the last major offensives of the European theatre of World War II. Following the Vistula–Oder Offensive of January–February 1945, the Red Army had temporarily halted on a line 60 km east of Berlin. On 9 March, Germany established its defence plan for the city with Operation Clausewitz; the first defensive preparations at the outskirts of Berlin were made on 20 March, under the newly appointed commander of Army Group Vistula, General Gotthard Heinrici. When the Soviet offensive resumed on 16 April, two Soviet fronts attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third overran German forces positioned north of Berlin. Before the main battle in Berlin commenced, the Red Army encircled the city after successful battles of the Seelow Heights and Halbe. On 20 April 1945, Hitler's birthday, the 1st Belorussian Front led by Marshal Georgy Zhukov, advancing from the east and north, started shelling Berlin's city centre, while Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front broke through Army Group Centre and advanced towards the southern suburbs of Berlin.
On 23 April General Helmuth Weidling assumed command of the forces within Berlin. The garrison consisted of several depleted and disorganised Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS divisions, along with poorly trained Volkssturm and Hitler Youth members. Over the course of the next week, the Red Army took the entire city. Before the battle was over and several of his followers killed themselves; the city's garrison surrendered on 2 May but fighting continued to the north-west and south-west of the city until the end of the war in Europe on 8 May as some German units fought westward so that they could surrender to the Western Allies rather than to the Soviets. Starting on 12 January 1945, the Red Army began the Vistula–Oder Offensive across the Narew River. On the fourth day, the Red Army broke out and started moving west, up to 30 to 40 km per day, taking East Prussia and Poznań, drawing up on a line 60 km east of Berlin along the Oder River; the newly created Army Group Vistula, under the command of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, attempted a counter-attack, but this had failed by 24 February.
The Red Army drove on to Pomerania, clearing the right bank of the Oder River, thereby reaching into Silesia. In the south the Siege of Budapest raged. Three German divisions' attempts to relieve the encircled Hungarian capital city failed, Budapest fell to the Soviets on 13 February. Adolf Hitler insisted on a counter-attack to recapture the Drau-Danube triangle; the goal was to secure the oil region of Nagykanizsa and regain the Danube River for future operations, but the depleted German forces had been given an impossible task. By 16 March, the German Lake Balaton Offensive had failed, a counter-attack by the Red Army took back in 24 hours everything the Germans had taken ten days to gain. On 30 March, the Soviets entered Austria. Between June and September 1944, the Wehrmacht had lost more than a million men, it lacked the fuel and armaments needed to operate effectively. On 12 April 1945, who had earlier decided to remain in the city against the wishes of his advisers, heard the news that the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt had died.
This raised false hopes in the Führerbunker that there might yet be a falling out among the Allies and that Berlin would be saved at the last moment, as had happened once before when Berlin was threatened. No plans were made by the Western Allies to seize the city by a ground operation; the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force, General Eisenhower lost interest in the race to Berlin and saw no further need to suffer casualties by attacking a city that would be in the Soviet sphere of influence after the war, envisioning excessive friendly fire if both armies attempted to occupy the city at once. The major Western Allied contribution to the battle was the bombing of Berlin during 1945. During 1945 the United States Army Air Forces launched large daytime raids on Berlin and for 36 nights in succession, scores of RAF Mosquitos bombed the German capital, ending on the night of 20/21 April 1945 just before the Soviets entered the city; the Soviet offensive into central Germany, what became East Germany, had two objectives.
Stalin did not believe the Western Allies would hand over territory occupied by them in the post-war Soviet zone, so he began the offensive on a broad front and moved to meet the Western Allies as far west as possible. But the overriding objective was to capture Berlin; the two goals were complementary because possession of the zone could not be won unless Berlin were taken. Another consideration was that Berlin itself held useful post-war strategic assets, including Adolf Hitler and the German atomic bomb programme. On 6 March, Hitler appointed Lieutenant General Helmuth Reymann commander of the Berlin Defence Area, replacing Lieutenant General Bruno Ritter von Hauenschild. On 20 March, General Gotthard Heinrici was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Vistula replacing Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Heinrici was one of the best defensive tacticians in the German army, he started to lay defensive plans. Heinrici assessed that the main Soviet thrust would be made over the Oder River and along the main east-west Autobahn.
He decided not to try to defend the banks of the Oder with anything more than a light skirmishing screen. Instead, Heinrici arranged for engineers
A field army is a military formation in many armed forces, composed of two or more corps and may be subordinate to an army group. Air armies are equivalent formation within some air forces. A field army is composed of 100,000 to 150,000 troops. Particular field armies are named or numbered to distinguish them from "army" in the sense of an entire national land military force. In English, the typical style for naming field armies is word numbers, such as "First Army". A field army may be given a geographical name in addition to or as an alternative to a numerical name, such as the British Army of the Rhine, Army of the Niemen or Aegean Army; the Roman army was among the first to feature a formal field army, in the sense of a large, combined arms formation, namely the sacer comitatus, which may be translated as "sacred escort". The term is derived from the fact that they were commanded by Roman emperors, when they acted as field commanders. While the Roman comitatensis is sometimes translated as "field army", it may be translated as the more generic "field force" or "mobile force".
In some armed forces, an "army" has been equivalent to a corps-level unit. Prior to 1945, this was the case with a gun within the Imperial Japanese Army, for which the formation equivalent in size to a field army was an "area army". In the Soviet Red Army and the Soviet Air Forces, an army was subordinate in wartime to a front, it contained at least three to five divisions along with artillery, air defense and other supporting units. It could be classified as either tank army. In peacetime, a Soviet army was subordinate to a military district. Modern field armies are large formations which vary between armed forces in size and scope of responsibility. For instance, within NATO a field army is composed of a headquarters, controls at least two corps, beneath which are a variable number of divisions. A battle is influenced at the field army level by transferring divisions and reinforcements from one corps to another to increase the pressure on the enemy at a critical point. NATO armies are commanded by a general or lieutenant general.
Armeeoberkommando Military unit Military history List of numbered armies
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
415th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 415th Rifle Division was formed as a standard Red Army rifle division in the late summer of 1941 in the Far Eastern Front. It was considered to be a "sister" division to the 413th, was one of the divisions of Siberians sent west to help defend Moscow during the winter of 1941-42, it spent much of the next year in the same general area, west of the capital, taking part in the futile battles against the German-held salient at Rzhev. On January 14, 1944, the division shared credit with the 55th Rifle Division for the liberation of the city of Mozyr and was given its name as an honorific; the 415th had a distinguished career as a combat unit. The 415th Rifle Division began forming on Sept. 8, 1941, at Vladivostok, in 25th Army on the Pacific coast. It appears to have begun forming as the "Voroshilov" Rifle Division before being assigned a divisional number, its order of battle was as follows: 1321st Rifle Regiment 1323rd Rifle Regiment 1326th Rifle Regiment 686th Artillery Regiment 292nd Antitank Battalion 687th Sapper Battalion 611th Signal Battalion 208th Reconnaissance CompanyThe division was considered to be ready for combat by the end of October, shipped out to the west to join 49th Army in Western Front in mid-November.
It was one of six divisions transferred from Far Eastern Front to the fighting front from September to November. Contrary to the German understanding at the time, there were no wholesale transfers from the far east to the Moscow front. In December, as the Soviet winter counteroffensive was developing, the 415th was transferred to 43rd Army, where it would remain until July, 1942. While the offensive served to eliminate the immediate threat to Moscow, the cost to the Red Army was high. By January, the character of the division as a Siberian unit had changed. Due to the influx of casualty replacements the division was noted in this month as being 70% Georgian; the 415th was transferred to 20th Army, still in Western Front, in July, along the eastern face of the Rzhev Salient to the adjoining 29th Army in November, but in the last gasps of Operation Mars in December, the division was ordered back to the 20th to help make one last desperate attempt to break the German positions and capture Sychyovka.
On Dec. 11 the relatively-fresh 415th, backed by the re-formed 6th Tank Corps, made an attack en masse alongside several other divisions, but together they made scanty gains of 500 - 1,000 metres at significant cost, failed to capture a single German-held fortified village. Three days the offensive was shut down for good. In the period from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18 the division lost 692 men killed and 1,865 wounded, for a total of 2,557 casualties. As the Soviet forces prepared for the 1943 summer campaign the 415th was shifted south to the 61st Army in Bryansk Front, in 46th Rifle Corps in July, although soon reassigned to 89th Rifle Corps in August, it was at this time that the division came under the command of Col. P. I. Moshchalkov, after having been commanded by no less than ten commanders since its formation. Under 61st Army the 415th fought through the liberation of Oryol, advancing on Bryansk in the late summer. On Oct. 25 it was reassigned to 13th Army in 1st Ukrainian Front, in which it crossed the Dnepr River and took part in the battles that liberated Kiev in November.
As a result of this fighting the division had to be replenished with what the Germans called "booty Ukrainians". In early January, 1944, the 415th returned to 61st Army, now in Belorussian Front; the division would serve in this army for the duration. During this month, advancing through the southern fringes of the Pripet Marshes, the men and women of the division distinguished themselves in the liberation of the Belorussian town of Mozyr, received its name as an honorific:"MOZYR" - 415th Rifle Division... The troops who participated in the liberation of Mozyr and Kalinkovichi, by the order of the Supreme High Command of January 14, 1944, a commendation in Moscow, are given a salute of 20 artillery salvoes from 224 guns. After a brief return to 89th Rifle Corps, the 415th was reassigned to the 9th Guards Rifle Corps, where it would remain for most of the rest of the war, but during Operation Bagration it was an independent division in 1st Belorussian Front, before being moved, with its Army, to the Reserve of the Supreme High Command 3rd Baltic Front and 1st Baltic Front until nearly the end of November.
61st Army was reassigned to 1st Belorussian Front by order of the STAVKA on Nov. 29, 1944. The army would remain in this front for the duration. At the outset of the Vistula-Oder offensive, the 61st was deployed along the Vistula south of Warsaw. Once the breakthrough of the German lines had been accomplished, elements of the 415th, mounted on trucks or riding on the armored vehicles of 88th Guards Heavy Tank Regiment and 312nd Guards SU Regiment, exploited into the enemy's rear as the army's forward detachment; this detachment was credited with the liberation of Sochaczew on Jan. 18, 1945. In this fashion it drove through to the Oder River in West Pomerania by the end of the operation; the 415th took part in the Pomeranian and Berlin operations on the north flank of its front, tying in with 2nd Belorussian Front and so not participating directly in the reduction of the German capital. When the shooting stopped, the men and women of the division had earned the title of 415th Rifle, Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov Division (Russian: 415-я стрелковая Мозырьская Краснознамённая орд
7th Army (Soviet Union)
The Soviet Red Army's 7th Army first saw action in the 1939–40 Winter War against Finland. In November 1939, just before the initial Soviet attack, it consisted of the 19th Rifle Corps, 50th Rifle Corps, 10th Tank Corps, 138th Rifle Division, an independent tank brigade; the Army was first under Commander Yakovlev, but he was removed from command of his army and returned to Leningrad. Command of the war operation Kirill Meretskov was called-off due to extensive failures and heavy casualties, he replaced Yakovlev as the commander of the Seventh Army.7th Army was reformed in Autumn 1940 in the Leningrad Military District. Before the German Operation Barbarossa began it covered the Soviet frontier to the north of Lake Ladoga. Since 24 June 1941 the army included the 54th, 71st, 168th and 237th Rifle Divisions, the 26th Fortified Region, the 55th Composite Aviation Division, some artillery and engineering formations, it became part of the Northern Front the Karelian Front, conducted defensive operations in Karelia, however losing Ladoga Karelia to the Finns in July–August 1941.
On 25 September 1941 it was renamed the 7th Separate Army, directly subordinate to Stavka, it remained in that status until February 1944. In the middle of October 1941 – June 1944 it defended the Svir River line between Lakes Onega and Ladoga. From June to August 1944 the army, comprising now the 37th Guards, 4th, 94th, 99th Rifle Corps, 150th and 162nd Fortified Regions, a number of artillery, tank and other units, as part of the Karelian Front, participated in the Svir–Petrozavodsk Operation, it was disbanded in the beginning of January 1945. On the basis of its headquarters the 9th Guards Army of the Airborne Forces was created on 18 December 1944; the army's second formation was commanded by the following officers. Lieutenant-General Filip D. Garelenko. White Death: Russia's War on Finland 1939–40. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-84630-7. Http://samsv.narod.ru/Arm/a07/arm.html
Operation Bagration was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation, a military campaign fought between 23 June and 19 August 1944 in Soviet Byelorussia in the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of 34 divisions of Army Group Centre and shattered the German front line. On 23 June 1944, the Red Army attacked Army Group Centre in Byelorussia, with the objective of encircling and destroying its main component armies. By 28 June, the German Fourth Army had been destroyed, along with most of the Third Panzer and Ninth Armies; the Red Army exploited the collapse of the German front line to encircle German formations in the vicinity of Minsk in the Minsk Offensive and destroy them, with Minsk liberated on 4 July. With the end of effective German resistance in Byelorussia, the Soviet offensive continued further to Lithuania and Romania over the course of July and August; the Red Army used the Soviet deep battle and maskirovka strategies for the first time to a full extent, albeit with continuing heavy losses.
Operation Bagration diverted German mobile reserves to the central sectors, removing them from the Lublin-Brest and Lvov–Sandomierz areas, enabling the Soviets to undertake the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive and Lublin–Brest Offensive. This allowed the Red Army to reach the Vistula river and Warsaw, which in turn put Soviet forces within striking distance of Berlin, conforming to the concept of Soviet deep operations—striking deep into the enemy's strategic depths. Germany's Army Group Centre had proved tough to counter as the Soviet defeat in Operation Mars had shown, but by June 1944, despite shortening its front line, it had been exposed following the defeats of Army Group South in the battles that followed the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of Kiev, the Crimean Offensive in the late summer and winter of 1943–44. In the north, Army Group North was pushed back, leaving Army Group Center's lines protruding towards the east and at risk of losing contact with neighbouring army groups; the German High Command expected the next Soviet offensive to fall against Army Group North Ukraine, while it lacked intelligence capabilities to divine the Soviet intentions.
The Wehrmacht had redeployed one-third of Army Group Centre's artillery, half of its tank destroyers, 88 per cent of tanks to the south. The entire operational reserve on the Eastern front was deployed to Model's sector. Army Group Centre only had a total of 580 tanks, tank destroyers, assault guns, they were opposed by over self-propelled guns. German lines were thinly held. Operation Bagration, in combination with the neighbouring Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive, launched a few weeks in Ukraine, allowed the Soviet Union to recapture Belorussia and Ukraine within its 1941 borders, advance into German East Prussia, but more the Lvov-Sandomierz operation allowed the Red Army to reach the outskirts of Warsaw after gaining control of Poland east of the Vistula river; the campaign enabled the next operation, the Vistula–Oder Offensive, to come within sight of the German capital. The Soviets were surprised at the success of the Belorussian operation which had nearly reached Warsaw; the Soviet advance encouraged the Warsaw uprising against the German occupation forces.
The battle has been described as the triumph of the Soviet theory of the "operational art" because of the complete coordination of all the strategic front movements and signals traffic to fool the enemy about the target of the offensive. The military tactical operations of the Red Army avoided the mobile reserves of the Wehrmacht and continually "wrong-footed" the German forces. Despite the massive forces involved, Soviet front commanders left their adversaries confused about the main axis of attack until it was too late; the Russian word maskirovka is equivalent to the English word camouflage, but it has broader application in military use. During World War II the term was used by Soviet commanders to describe measures to create deception with the goal of inflicting surprise on the Wehrmacht forces; the Oberkommando des Heeres expected the Soviets to launch a major Eastern Front offensive in the summer of 1944. The Stavka considered a number of options; the timetable of operations between June and August had been decided on by 28 April 1944.
The Stavka rejected an offensive in either the L'vov sector or the Yassy-Kishinev sectors owing to the presence of powerful enemy mobile forces equal in strength to the Soviet strategic fronts. Instead they suggested four options: an offensive into Romania and through the Carpathian Mountains, an offensive into the western Ukrainian SSR aimed at the Baltic coast, an attack into the Baltic, an offensive in the Belorussian SSR; the first two options were rejected as being too open to flank attack. The third option was rejected on the grounds; the only safe option was an offensive into Belorussia which would enable subsequent offensives from Ukraine into Poland and Romania. The Soviet and German High Commands recognised western Ukraine as a staging area for an offensive into Poland; the Soviets, aware that the enemy would anticipate this, engaged in a maskirovka campaign to catch the German armoured forces off guard by creating a crisis in Belorussia that would force the