6th Guards Tank Army

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6th Guards Tank Army
Soviet Guards Order.png
CountrySoviet Union
Sizetwo or three corps (Second World War)
three divisions (Cold War)
Part ofKiev Military District (Cold War)
EngagementsBattle of Debrecen
Iassy-Kishinev Offensive

The 6th Guards Order of Red Banner Tank Army was a tank army of the Soviet Union's Red Army, first formed in January 1944[1] and disbanded in Ukraine in the 1990s after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. During its service in World War II, the army was commanded by Lieutenant General of Tank Troops (later Colonel General) Andrei Kravchenko.

World War II[edit]

Initially commanding the 5th Mechanised Corps and the 5th Guards Tank Corps, the 6th Tank Army's first major operation was the suppression of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket in January–February 1944, it then fought in the Iassy-Kishinev Offensive during August 1944 before gaining a Guards title in September 1944.[1] Under its new title, it was soon engaged in the Battle of Debrecen on the 2nd Ukrainian Front, before fighting against the Germans during Operation Frühlingserwachen in March 1945. Pushing west, the tank army moved south of Vienna, Austria and pivoted to the north in a wide encircling maneuver that cut Vienna off from the rest of the German Reich. At the end of the war, one of its subordinate formations, the 2nd Guards Mechanised Corps, ended operations in the area of Benešov, Czechoslovakia, on 9 May 1945.[2]

The 6th Guards Tank Army was then moved to the Transbaikal Military District in order to take part in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria; the army, under the command of Colonel General Andrei Kravchenko[3] spearheaded the Transbaikal Front's offensive against the Japanese Kwantung Army on 9 August 1945. The 6th Guards Tank Army consisted of the 5th Guards Tank Corps, and 7th and 9th Guards Mechanised Corps, and many smaller formations,[4] in all, a total of 1,019 tanks and self-propelled guns.[3] For this operation, the tank army was restructured such that the infantry, artillery, and armored components were much more balanced than they had been during the war against the Germans; this was the first example of what proved to be the standard Soviet mechanized army organization during the Cold War.[5] During the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, the Army was operating as part of the Transbaikal Front, and during the "Khingano-Mukden Operation", as it was known to the Soviets, the Army was tasked to advance 800 kilometers.

Cold War[edit]

It was stationed in Mongolia, reporting to the Transbaikal Military District, for 15 years after the war; the friendship with China of those days and the Nikita Khrushchev military reductions changed the fate of the Army, and in 1959 it was relocated to Dnipropetrovsk in the Kiev Military District. 22nd Guards Tank Division joined the army in 1957. Toward the end of the 1980s it appears to have retained four Guards Tank Divisions – the 17th, 42nd (the former 42nd Guards Rifle Division) and the 75th (formerly the 75th Guards Rifle Division, plus the 22nd Guards Tank Division (disbanded September 1990). On 11 November 1990, following the disbandment of the 22nd and the 75th Guards Tank Divisions, the reorganisation of the 42nd Guards Tank Division as the 6299th Base for Storage of Weapons and Equipment, and the arrival of the 93rd Guards Motor Rifle Division from the Southern Group of Forces, the Army had on hand 462 main battle tanks, all T-64s, 228 BMPs and BTRs, 218 other pieces of equipment of various types, including the surface-to-surface missiles of the 107th Rocket Brigade at Kremenchug, and five helicopters (with the 16th Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron at Podgorodnoe).[6]

Formation in 1989 Formation in 1991-2 (Ukraine)
17th Guards Tank Division (Krivoy Rog) 17th Guards Tank Division
42nd Guards Tank Division (Gvardeyskoye) 6299th Base for Storage of Weapons and Equipment[7]
75th Guards Tank Division (Chuguev) Became 5362 VKhVT 1989, disbanded 1990.[8]

Ukrainian service[edit]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union it became part of the Ukrainian Ground Forces. In March 1992 Major General Volodymyr Shkidchenko returned home to become the army's commander. (Edict No 161 March 18, 1992) He was promoted to Lieutenant General by Edict 642/92 of 31 December 1992. (https://archive.is/20130419055249/http://zakon.nau.ua/doc/?uid=1081.1357.0) Shkidchenko was released from command of the 6th Guards Tank Army by Presidential Edict No. 220/93 June 19, 1993, to be appointed to another post.[9] The first reference to the 6th Army Corps, the successor formation, appears in Ukaz N 350/93 of the President of Ukraine on 21 August 1993, thus it appears the 6th Guards Tank Army was disbanded by redesignation sometime between June and August 1993.

Personnel of the Ukrainian 6th Army Corps mark the 65th anniversary of the creation of its predecessor, the 6th Guards Tank Army.

The 6th Army Corps was based at Dnipropetrovsk and consisted of several brigades, including the 17th Armored Brigade and the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, it was disbanded in 2013.


The army was commanded by the following officers during its existence.[10]


  1. ^ a b Glantz (Companion), p. 66.
  2. ^ БОЕВОЙ СОСТАВ ВОЙСК НА 1 МАЯ 1945 г. and Ustinov, Map 151.
  3. ^ a b http://cgsc.leavenworth.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/glantz3/glantz3.asp#ch6 Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Orbat.com/Niehorster, 6th Guards Tank Army, 9 August 1945[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Glantz, p.280
  6. ^ A.G. Lenskii, M.M. Tsybin, The Soviet Ground Forces in the last years of the USSR, St Petersburg, 1991
  7. ^ Holm, Michael. "42nd Guards Prilukskaya order of Lenin Red Banner order of Bogdan Khmelnitskiy Tank Division". Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  8. ^ http://www.ww2.dk/new/army/td/75gvtd.htm
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Holm, Michael. "6th Guards Red Banner Tank Army". Retrieved 4 May 2017.


  • Feskov et al., The Soviet Army in the Period of the Cold War, Tomsk University Press, 2004
  • David M. Glantz, Companion to Colussus Reborn, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5.
  • David M. Glantz, When Titans Clashed, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. ISBN 0-7006-0899-0.