138th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 138th Rifle Division began service as a standard Red Army rifle division, was converted to serve for two years as a mountain rifle division back to a rifle division. The division played a leading role in defending the Barricades ordnance factory in the Battle of Stalingrad, for which it was raised to Guards status as the 70th Guards Rifle Division. A new 138th was raised a few months and fought through Ukraine and the Carpathian Mountains of Czechoslovakia from August 1943 to May 1945; the division was based on a regimental cadre from the 48th Rifle Division and began forming in September, 1939, with the following order of battle: 554th Rifle Regiment 650th Rifle Regiment 768th Rifle Regiment 295th Light Artillery Regiment 198th Antitank Battalion 203rd Signal Battalion 155th Reconnaissance Battalion 179th Sapper Battalion 436th Tank Battalion 135th Medical BattalionThe division was under the command of Col. A. I. Pastarevich. By December the 138th was engaged in the Soviet-Finnish Winter War.
Fighting as a separate rifle division, part of 7th Army on the Karelian Isthmus, the 138th performed better than the stereotypical Red Army formation of that war. When the fighting was over, the division had collectively won the Order of the Red Banner, three officers were awarded the Gold Star Hero of the Soviet Union. Between Mar. 14 and Apr. 15, 1941, the division was converted to a mountain rifle division with a specialized order of battle featuring four rifle regiments made up of oversized companies, with supporting arms, capable of independent operations in difficult terrain and backed by light and mobile mountain artillery: 344th Mountain Rifle Regiment newly formed 554th Mountain Rifle Regiment from 554th Rifle Regiment 650th Mountain Rifle Regiment from 650th Rifle Regiment 768th Mountain Rifle Regiment from 768th Rifle Regiment 295th Mountain Artillery Regiment from 295th Light Artillery Regiment 536th Howitzer Regiment added to division following the Winter War 230th Antitank Battalion from 195th Antitank Battalion 155th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron from 155th Reconnaissance Battalion 179th Sapper Battalion as previous 203rd Signal Battalion as previous 135th Medical Battalion as previous 408th Truck Company newly formedAt the outbreak of war with Germany on June 22, 1941, the 138th was near Leninakan in the 23rd Rifle Corps of Transcaucasian Military District, became part of 45th Army in July.
In October it was shifted to 46th Army, added the 82nd Machine-gun Battalion to its order of battle on the 10th. On Dec. 25 it went into the'active army' in the 47th Army of Crimean Front. On Jan. 15, 1942, 650th Rifle Regiment took part in an amphibious landing near Sudaka on the Kerch peninsula. The balance of the division followed, fought under 51st Army in February and March, suffering heavy losses until being pulled back into reserve near Feodosiya, it began reforming on Mar. 30, on Apr. 8 it was once again the 138th Rifle Division. Its mountain rifle regiments became the 292 Mortar Battalion was added. One month Erich von Manstein's Eleventh Army began its attack into the peninsula; the 138th escaped intact from the Kerch Naval Base, evacuating to Krasnodar on the night of May 19 – 20. On May 28 the division came under the command of Col. Ivan Ilich Lyudnikov. In late June the German forces launched Operation Blue, aiming for, among other objectives, Stalingrad; the 138th was railed north to join the forming 4th Tank Army.
The division fought along the approaches to the city in this Army in the 64th, back to the rebuilding 51st in an Operational Group under command of Lt. Gen. Vasili Ivanovich Chuikov. On the night of October 16 - 17 the 138th crossed the Volga into Stalingrad, coming under Chuikov's orders again, now as part of 62nd Army, defending the Barricades ordnance factory:"1; the enemy has taken the Stalingrad Tractor Plant, is developing an attack from the STP to the south along the railway line in an attempt to seize Barricady. "2. 62 Army continues beating off fierce enemy attacks. 3. 138th Red Banner RD from 04.00 hours 17.10.42 to occupy and stubbornly defend the line: south of the suburb Derevensk, Sculpturnyi. Under no circumstances to allow enemy to approach Leninskii Barricady factory. 650th Rifle Regiment/Major Pechenyuk: 138th Division/to take up positions in Barricady, establish ring of fire-points and not to permit enemy penetration into the factory." The men and women of the division were pushed back so close to the west bank of the Volga that the divisional artillery had to be evacuated to the east bank, but when the Soviet counteroffensive began the 138th was still holding on, at much reduced strength, after the German Sixth Army was encircled the division went on the counterattack over the next two months, under command of Don Front.
On January 27, 1943, Colonel Lyudnikov was promoted to the rank of Major General. The men of Sixth Army laid down their arms on February 2, four days while being moved to the Reserve of the Supreme High Command, the 138th Rifle Division became the 70th Guards Rifle Division. A new 138th Rifle Division began forming at Kalinin in the Moscow Military District in May, 1943 from the 6th Naval Brigade and the 109th Rifle Brigade, under 52nd Army in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command. At this point in the war, the Red Army was trying to amalgamate separate rifle brigades into rifle divisions, which were much more efficient on the battlefield; the division first joined the Voronezh Front during the fighting around Kharkov went to 2nd Ukrainian Front reserves to 4th Guards Army in that Front, where it served in 21st Guards Rifle Corps until March, 1944. In
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet
Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov was a Soviet military officer. He was the commander of the 62nd Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. Following World War II, Chuikov was Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, commander of the Kiev Military District, Chief of the Soviet Armed Forces and Deputy Minister of Defense, head of the Soviet Civil Defense Forces. Chuikov was twice awarded the titles Hero of the Soviet Union and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States for his actions during the Battle of Stalingrad. In 1955, he was named a Marshal of the Soviet Union. Following his death in 1982, he was interred at the Stalingrad Memorial at the base of the Mamayev Hill, the site of heavy fighting. Born into a peasant family in the village of Serebryanye Prudy in the Tula region south of Moscow, Chuikov was the eighth of 12 children and the fifth of eight sons. At the age of 12, he left school and his family home to earn his living in a factory in Saint Petersburg, turning out spurs for cavalry officers.
Chuikov and all his brothers fought in the Russian Civil War. During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Chuikov became unemployed; the same year, an older brother arranged for Chuikov to be recruited into the Red Guards. The year after, in 1918, he joined the Red Army. In October 1918, Chuikov saw active service when he was sent to the Southern Front as a deputy company commander to fight against the White Army. In the spring of 1919, he became commander of the 40th Regiment, part of the 5th Army under Tukhachevsky facing the White Army under Kolchak in Siberia. Chuikov's record of service during the Civil War was distinguished. In the fighting from 1919 to 1920 he received two awards of the Order of the Red Banner for bravery and heroism, he was wounded four times—one, in Poland in 1920, left a fragment in his left arm that could not be operated on. It caused him to lose temporary use of his arm. Chuikov carried this war wound for the rest of his life, it led to septicaemia breaking out in 1981, causing a nine-month illness and his death.
He left his regiment in 1921 to continue his studies at the Frunze Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1925. On account of his excellent academic performance, Chuikov was invited to stay at the Frunze Military Academy for another year to study Chinese language and history in the Orient Studies Department. In the fall of 1926, Chuikov joined a Soviet diplomatic delegation that toured Harbin, Port Arthur, Dalian and Beijing, cities in northeastern and northern China. After completing his studies in the fall of 1927, Chuikov was dispatched to China as a military attaché. Chuikov traveled extensively in southern China and Sichuan, became fluent in Chinese, gained a deeper understanding of Chinese politics and culture. In 1929, during the China Eastern Railway Incident, Chuikov was forced to leave China after the Soviet Union broke diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on July 13. Chuikov was assigned to the newly-formed Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army in Khabarovsk and worked on military intelligence, reporting to Vasily Blyukher, the commander of the Far Eastern Army.
The Soviet Far Eastern Army defeated the Northeastern Army of Zhang Xueliang, Chuikov participated in negotiations that restored Soviet control of the China Eastern Railway. Chuikov commanded the 4th Army in the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, he commanded the 9th Army in the Russo-Finnish War of 1940. He was sent to China as an adviser to Chiang Kai-shek. In May 1942, the USSR recalled him. According to Chuikov's memoirs, his recall was due to Nationalist China claiming that the USSR was providing military aid as part of an attempt to draw the USSR into the Second Sino-Japanese War. On returning to Moscow, Chuikov was placed in command of the 64th Army, on the west bank of the Don River; the 64th Army took part in the fighting withdrawal to Stalingrad, shortly before the Battle of Stalingrad itself began, Chuikov was made commanding general of the more important weak 62nd Army, to hold Stalingrad itself, with the 64th on its southern flank. It was at Stalingrad that Chuikov developed the important tactic of "hugging the enemy", by which Soviet soldiers kept the German army so close to them as to minimize the airpower enjoyed by the Wehrmacht.
Chuikov had witnessed firsthand the blitzkrieg tactics the Wehrmacht had used to sweep across the Russian steppe, so he used the Germans' carpet-bombing of the city to draw panzer units into the rubble and chaos, where their progress was impeded. Here they could be destroyed with Molotov cocktails, Antitank Rifles, Soviet artillery operating at close range; this tactic rendered the German Luftwaffe ineffective, since Stuka dive-bombers could not attack Red Army positions without endangering their own forces. After the victory at Stalingrad, the 62nd Army was redesignated the Soviet 8th Guards Army. Chuikov commanded the 8th Guards as part of 1st Belorussian Front and led its advance through Poland heading the Soviet offensive which conquered Berlin while the Allied forces were wiping out what was left in Southern and Western Germany in April/May 1945. Chuikov's advance through Poland was characterized by massive advances across difficult terrain. On 1 May 1945, who commanded his army operating in central Berlin, was the first Allied officer to learn about Adolf Hitler's suicide, being informed by General Hans Krebs who had come to Chuikov's headquarters under a white flag.
He accepted the surrender of
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process; the official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire; the Nazi regime ended. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, on 30 January 1933; the NSDAP began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany.
All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen; the return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime; the Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power; the first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, liberals and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, many leaders imprisoned.
Education focused on racial biology, population policy, fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion; the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met, it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. In the Holocaust, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, or shot. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the US into the war meant the Wehrmacht lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, capitulated in May 1945. Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war; the victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.
The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945, while common English terms are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". The latter, adopted by Nazi propaganda as Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; the book counted the Holy Roman Empire as the German Empire as the second. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933, it was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles; the government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, food riots.
When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
39th Guards Motor Rifle Division
The 39th Guards Motor Rifle Division of the Soviet Ground Forces was a mechanised infantry division active from 1965 to 1992. It was formed as the 39th Guards Rifle Division of the Workers and Peasant's Red Army, it was formed during the German-Soviet War as part of the 62nd Army and assigned to the defense of Stalingrad arriving in the theater in August 1942. In September the division fought through German forces which were attempting to encircle the city, was assigned to defend the'Volga Corridor,' the last supply line remaining for Soviet units in the city. From September 30, 1942, the division, which could muster only half its original strength, was assigned to defend the Red October steel works. From that date until February 2, 1943, the division was involved in constant combat with numerically superior German forces. On October 14, 1942, the 39th repulsed a major German counterattack involving three Infantry divisions, two Panzer divisions, 3,000 combat sorties by the Luftwaffe. For five months the 39th Guards maintained their tenuous hold on the Red October factory, holding an area only 3000 yards wide and 1000 yards in depth.
Along with similar pockets at the Dzerzhinsky tractor factory and the Barrikady gun factory, Red October represented one of the last viable defensive positions on the west bank of the Volga River. Soviet troops fought major battles from building to building and room to room, with success measured in mere yards; as the Germans tried to eliminate these pockets they poured more and more troops into the city, weakening their flanks and wasting men and materiel in what was becoming a meat-grinder for the Wehrmacht. These factors contributed directly the successes of the Soviet counter-offensives of November and December, the subsequent encirclement and eventual surrender of Gen. Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army. Following the victory at Stalingrad the remnants of the 62nd Army, including the 39th Guards, was placed in reserve and became the basis for the newly formed 8th Guards Army, receiving the honorific'Guards' in honor of their heroic defense of Stalingrad; the army was placed under the command of Lieutenant General Vasily Chuikov.
Through 1943 the 8th Guards Army fought across Ukraine, crossing the North Donets River, establishing a bridgehead south of Isyum, in cooperation with adjacent armies, advanced on the Don Basin and liberated it. They fought across the Don, through Dnepropetrovsk, continuing to Zaporozhe, participated in the fighting on the Zaporozhe bridgehead across the Dnepr on October 10–14; the division turned south and fought for the liberation of Nikolayev in March 1944, liberated Odessa in April. Turning north into Moldavia the division liberated Kovel before participating in the Lovov-Sandomir Operation, which began on July 13 and lasted until August 29. On July 20, they crossed into Poland. On July 24, the 39th Guards liberated Lublin and continued to advance on Warsaw, establishing a major bridgehead on the Vistula River, the key for the Soviet advance towards Silesia, central Poland and the German border, they encountered furious counterattacks by German units, with the 8th Army losing 17,000 men in the process.
On January 12, the 39th Guards participated in the Vistula-Oder Offensive, which lasted 23 days and saw the division advance 500 km through Poland. They crushed the German defenders as they liberated the towns of Lodz and Posnan arriving at the Oder River just north of Frankfurt on February 3, they stormed the Kustrin Fortress and established a bridgehead over the Oder, within 60 km of Berlin. They attacked the city from the east, pushing through the area of Karlshorst, across Tempelhof Airport and Landwehr Canal, destroying the 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland and the 17th Panzer Division just south of the Reichstag; the 39th Guards Rifle Division pushed north and fought through the Tiergarten, ending their war along Charlottenburger Chaussee at the Brandenburg Gate, meeting units from the 207th and 150th Rifle Divisions just 250 yards from the Reichstag. The final banner of the division, which had served from the center of Stalingrad to the center of Berlin, read: "39th Barvenkovskikh Guards Order of Lenin, Twice Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov Second Class and Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Second Class Rifle Division."
Along with the rest of the 8th Guards Army, from 1949 the division was stationed in Ohrdruf and Meiningen, East Germany. Following the Second World War, the 39th Guards became a Motor Rifle Division in 1957. At different times, some regiments and separate battalions changed their garrison and placed in other cities of Thuringia - Arnstadt and Saalfeld, it was opposite the strategically vital Fulda Gap, the U. S. VII US Corps in NATO's Central Army Group; the distance from the locations of parts of the division to the state border with Germany was about 5 kilometers. Withdrawal from Germany began about October 28, 1991; the division had the Military Unit Number 38865. By a Resolution of the CPSU Central Committee, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and the USSR Council of Ministers on 30 October 1967, the "For Service to protect the Soviet homeland and achieved high results in combat and political training and 50th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution to award the 39th Guards Motorized Rifle Barvenkovsky Order of Lenin Red Banner Orders of Suvorov twice and Bogdan Khmelnitsky Division the Commemorative Banner of the CPSU Central Committee, leave it for an eternal possession as a symbol of valor.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany
8th Guards Combined Arms Army
The 8th Guards Order of Lenin Combined Arms Army is an army of the Russian Ground Forces, headquartered in Novocherkassk, Rostov Oblast, within Russia′s Southern Military District, reinstated in 2017 as a successor to the 8th Guards Army of the Soviet Union's Red Army, formed during World War II and was disbanded in 1998 after being downsized into a corps. The Soviet 8th Guards Army was formed from the 62nd Army in May 1943 and received Guards status in recognition of its actions in the Battle of Stalingrad, it went on to defend the right bank of the Donets and fight in the Donbass Strategic Offensive in August and September. It fought in the Lower Dnepr Offensive, where it captured helped capture Zaporizhia. During winter and spring 1944 the army fought in the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. After the capture of Odessa, the army was transferred to the Kovel area and fought in the Lublin–Brest Offensive during the summer, capturing Lublin, crossing the Vistula and seizing the Magnuszew bridgehead.
The army defended the bridgehead until January 1945, when it helped launch the Vistula–Oder Offensive. The army helped capture Łódź, Poznań and Kostrzyn nad Odrą; the army fought in the Battle of Berlin. During the war it was led by its commander during the Battle of Vasily Chuikov. After the war the army was stationed at Nohra. In 1993 the army was withdrawn from Germany to Volgograd and there downsized to a corps, before being disbanded in 1998. Activated in October 1941 as the 7th Reserve Army, the Army was re-designated the 62nd Army at Stalingrad in July 1942, it was among the victors of Stalingrad and thus re-designated the 8th Guards Army on 5 May 1943, in accordance with a Stavka directive dated 16 April 1943. In July 1943, it took part in the Izyum-Barvenkovo Offensive, in August-September - in the Donbass strategic offensive operation. Developing the offensive in the direction of the Dnieper, the Army with other troops of the Southwestern Front liberated Zaporozhye, crossed the Dnieper south of Dnipropetrovsk south and captured a bridgehead on its right bank.
By this time 28th, 29th and 4th Guards Rifle Corps were part of the army. The army was part of the 3rd Ukrainian Front during the Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive. By March 25, 1944, the Prut River had fallen and the 3rd Ukrainian Front was dispatched to secure Odessa. On April 2, Vasili Chuikov's Eighth Guards Army and Forty-Sixth Army attacked through a blizzard and, by April 6, had driven the defenders past the Dniester River and isolated Odessa. Odessa capitulated on April 10, Soviet troops began entering Romania proper. In June, 1944 the army was transferred to the 1st Belorussian Front and took part in the Lublin–Brest Offensive and defending a bridgehead over the Vistula river at Magnuszew. In 1945 the army was commanded by Lieutenant General Vasily Chuikov, it was part of Marshal Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front. One of the cities which the Army took in its westward drive was Poznań, which the Army seized in January–February 1945. In a deliberate symbolic move the 8th Guards Army was sent northwards to the center of the front, coming under command of 1st Belorussian Front.
On 2 May 1945, Chuikov took the surrender of the German General Weidling, the commander of the Berlin Defensive Area, the rest of the Berlin garrison. The Eighth Guards Army became part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. On the creation of the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany in 1945, the Army consisted of: Headquarters at Weimar 4th Guards Rifle Corps 28th Guards Rifle Corps 29th Guards Rifle Corps 11th Tank Corps In the summer of 1946, the 4th Guards Rifle Corps was disbanded along with the 35th, 74th, 82nd and 88th Guards Rifle Divisions. In July 1956, the 28th and 29th Guards Rifle Corps were disbanded. During the Cold War, 8th Guards Army stood opposed to NATO forces along the strategically vital Fulda Gap in West Germany. In June 1964, the 21st Guards Motor Rifle Division transferred to the 1st Guards Tank Army and was replaced by the 20th Guards Motor Rifle Division. On 22 February 1968, it was awarded the Order of Lenin for success in combat training. In May 1983, the 20th Guards Motor Rifle Division transferred to the 1st Guards Tank Army and was replaced by the 27th Guards Motor Rifle Division.
In 1988, 8th Guards Army consisted of: Headquarters at Weimar-Nohra 227th Separate Protection and Enforcement Battalion - Weimar-Nohra 794th Separate Spetsnaz Company - Weimar-Nohra 747th Communications Center - Weimar-Nohra 11th Missile Brigade - Jena-Forst 449th Missile Brigade - Arnstadt 79th Guards Tank Division - Jena, GDR: - disbanded, 199217th Guards Tank Regiment 45th Guards Tank Regiment 211th Guards Tank Regiment 247th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment 172nd Guards Artillery Regiment 1075th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment 27th Guards Motor Rifle Division - General-Maerker-Kaserne, Halle, GDR: - to Totskoye, Volga Military District68th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment 243rd Guards Motor Rifle Regiment 244th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment 28th Tank Regiment 54th Guards Artillery Regiment 286th Guards Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment 39th Guards Motor Rifle Division - Ohrdruf, GDR: - disbanded, 1992117th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment 120th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment 172nd