Nikolai Fyodorovich Vatutin was a Soviet military commander during World War II. Vatutin was responsible for many Red Army operations in Ukraine as commander of the Southwestern Front, the Voronezh Front during the Battle of Kursk and the 1st Ukrainian Front during the liberation of Kiev, he was mortally wounded in February 1944 by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Vatutin was born in Chepukhino village in Voronezh Governorate, into a peasant family of Russian ethnicity. Commissioned in 1920 to the Red Army, he fought against the Ukrainian peasant partisans of Nestor Makhno; the following year, he became a member of the Communist party, served diligently in junior command positions. Starting in 1926, he spent the next decade alternating service with studies in the elite Frunze Military Academy and the General Staff Academy; the 1937–1938 purge of Red Army commanders opened the road to promotion – in 1938, he received the rank of Komdiv, was appointed Chief of Staff of the important Kiev Special Military District.
Throughout this period, Vatutin combined military service with intensive Party activities. In 1939, Vatutin planned operations for the Soviet invasion of Poland with Germany, served as Chief of Staff of the Red Army Southern Group. In 1940, under the command of Georgy Zhukov, this group seized Bessarabia from Romania; as a reward for these non-combat campaigns, Stalin promoted Vatutin to the rank of Lieutenant General and appointed him to the critical post of Chief of the Operational Directorate of the General Staff. Vatutin was, not up to his new appointment: while innovative and hard-working, he lacked any combat experience and his knowledge of operational art and strategy was too abstract. Still, his peasant roots, relative youthful age, party zeal made him one of Stalin's few favorites in the Soviet military. Vatutin, together with the rest of the Red Army high command, failed to prepare the army for the German attack of 22 June 1941. On 30 June 1941, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the North-Western Front, which enabled him to exercise his better qualities.
In this role Vatutin did not try to claim success for himself in battles, but made a point of identifying and promoting talented subordinates. He was notable for his audacity. At that stage of the war, most of the Soviet generals, shattered by defeats, were reluctant to carry out offensive operations, but Vatutin thrived on attack; the Northwestern Front was defending Leningrad against approaches by the German Army Group North, spearheaded by armored corps led by Erich von Manstein. Vatutin took command of the Soviet forces near Novgorod and rallied them for offense, attempting to encircle a large German force, he surprised Manstein, put him on the defensive, forced the entire German Army Group North to regroup its troops to halt the Soviet offensive. The Wehrmacht lost the precious summer season needed for an effective attack on Leningrad, while the Red Army got additional time to strengthen the fortifications of the city. Due to this, the Germans failed in their best shot to capture Leningrad, one of the key German strategic failures during the early phase of war.
Vatutin's immediate operational results were far less impressive. Vatutin overestimated the capacities of his troops and created overly ambitious objectives, while his coordination of his forces and control over the unfolding of the battle were poor. Additionally, he did not take into account the difficult terrain which benefited German defenses and slowed his attack. Vatutin's casualty figures were staggering, in one army nearly reaching 60%; the ineptitude of his subordinate commanders exacerbated Vatutin's own shortcomings. One striking exception to this pattern of deficiency was the brilliance of Ivan Chernyakhovsky, an obscure young Colonel in command of the 28th tank division; the men had much in common, most prominently their penchant for unorthodox approaches to military art. In January 1942, during the Soviet winter offensive following the Red Army victory in the Battle of Moscow, Vatutin's forces trapped two German corps in Demyansk, achieved the first large Soviet encirclement of German forces.
The German and Soviet armies were equal in size. During the battle, Vatutin employed innovative tactics and actions, while the Germans responded more conventionally; the Red Army was unable to destroy the German defenses due to the weakness of the Soviet air-force. In April 1942, Vatutin breached the German lines, just as a German relief force arrived. However, post-World War II American experts have evaluated the result of this operation as a draw; the German command drew self-congratulatory and misleading lessons from their narrow escape, concluding that they could overcome Soviet encirclements with supplies from the air while mounting a relief operation. This thinking contributed to the Wehrmacht disaster at Stalingrad. From early May to July 1942, Vatutin served as deputy of the Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army until the German Army Group South embarked on its huge strategic offense, "Operation Blau"; the German assault focused on Voronezh. They wanted to breach the Soviet front line at the Battle of Voronezh and attack the Soviet Southern Front and Southwestern Front from the rear.
On 1 July 1942, Stalin sent Vatutin as an all-powerful Stavka representative, to the critical Bryansk Front, which within a few days was renamed as Voronezh Front and placed under Vatutin's command. During the battle, Vatutin again met Ivan Chernyakhovsky, now the newly appointed commander of the 18th Tank Corps of the 60th Army; the German attack was on the verge of breaching the Soviet front line when Cherniakhovsky's corps arrived by train
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established after the 1917 October Revolution; the Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; the Red Army provided the largest land force in the Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II, its invasion of Manchuria assisted the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan. During operations on the Eastern Front, it accounted for 75–80% of casualties the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS suffered during the war and captured the Nazi German capital, Berlin. In September 1917, Vladimir Lenin wrote: "There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police, and, to create a people's militia and to fuse it with the army."
At the time, the Imperial Russian Army had started to collapse. 23% of the male population of the Russian Empire were mobilized. The Tsarist general Nikolay Dukhonin estimated that there had been 2 million deserters, 1.8 million dead, 5 million wounded and 2 million prisoners. He estimated the remaining troops as numbering 10 million. While the Imperial Russian Army was being taken apart, "it became apparent that the rag-tag Red Guard units and elements of the imperial army who had gone over the side of the Bolsheviks were quite inadequate to the task of defending the new government against external foes." Therefore, the Council of People's Commissars decided to form the Red Army on 28 January 1918. They envisioned a body "formed from the class-conscious and best elements of the working classes." All citizens of the Russian republic aged 18 or older were eligible. Its role being the defense "of the Soviet authority, the creation of a basis for the transformation of the standing army into a force deriving its strength from a nation in arms, furthermore, the creation of a basis for the support of the coming Socialist Revolution in Europe."
Enlistment was conditional upon "guarantees being given by a military or civil committee functioning within the territory of the Soviet Power, or by party or trade union committees or, in extreme cases, by two persons belonging to one of the above organizations." In the event of an entire unit wanting to join the Red Army, a "collective guarantee and the affirmative vote of all its members would be necessary." Because the Red Army was composed of peasants, the families of those who served were guaranteed rations and assistance with farm work. Some peasants who remained at home yearned to join the Army. If they were turned away they would prepare care-packages. In some cases the money they earned would go towards tanks for the Army; the Council of People's Commissars appointed itself the supreme head of the Red Army, delegating command and administration of the army to the Commissariat for Military Affairs and the Special All-Russian College within this commissariat. Nikolai Krylenko was the supreme commander-in-chief, with Aleksandr Myasnikyan as deputy.
Nikolai Podvoisky became the commissar for Pavel Dybenko, commissar for the fleet. Proshyan, Steinberg were specified as people's commissars as well as Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich from the Bureau of Commissars. At a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, held on 22 February 1918, Krylenko remarked: "We have no army; the demoralized soldiers are fleeing, panic-stricken, as soon as they see a German helmet appear on the horizon, abandoning their artillery and all war material to the triumphantly advancing enemy. The Red Guard units are brushed aside like flies. We have no power to stay the enemy; the Russian Civil War occurred in three periods: October 1917 – November 1918: From the Bolshevik Revolution to the First World War Armistice, developed from the Bolshevik government's nationalization of traditional Cossack lands in November 1917. This provoked the insurrection of General Alexey Maximovich Kaledin's Volunteer Army in the River Don region; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk aggravated Russian internal politics.
The situation encouraged direct Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, in which twelve foreign countries supported anti-Bolshevik militias. A series of engagements resulted, amongst others, the Czechoslovak Legion, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian Riflemen. January 1919 – November 1919: Initially the White armies advanced: from the south, under General Anton Denikin; the Whites defeated the Red Army on each front. Leon Trotsky reformed and counterattacked: the Red Army repelled Admiral Kolchak's army in June, the armies of General Denikin and General Yudenich in October. By mid-Nove
Vitebsk, or Viciebsk, is a city in Belarus. The capital of the Viciebsk Region, it had 342,381 inhabitants in 2004, making it the country's fourth-largest city, it is served by Viciebsk Air Base. Viciebsk developed from a river harbor where the Vićba River flows into the larger Western Dvina, spanned in the city by the Kirov Bridge. Archaeological research indicates. In the 9th century, Slavic settlements of the tribal union of the Krivichs replaced them. According to the Chronicle of Michael Brigandine, Princess Olga of Kiev founded Viciebsk in 974. Other versions give 947 or 914. Academician Boris Rybakov and historian Leonid Alekseyev have come to the conclusion, based on the chronicles, that Princess Olga of Kiev could have established Viciebsk in 947. Leonid Alekseyev suggested that the chroniclers, when transferring the date from the account of the Byzantine era to a new era, obtained the year 947 mistakenly written in copying manuscripts as 974. An important place on trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, Viciebsk became by the end of the 12th century a center of trade and commerce, the center of an independent principality, following Polotsk, at times and Kiev princes.
The official year of the founding of Viciebsk is 974, based on an anachronistic legend of founding by Olga of Kiev, but the first mention in historical records dates from 1021, when Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev gave it to Bryachislav Izyaslavich, Prince of Polotsk. In the 12th and 13th centuries Viciebsk functioned as the capital of the Principality of Viciebsk, an appanage principality which thrived at the crossroads of the river routes between the Baltic and Black seas. In 1320 the city was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as dowry of the Princess Maria, the first wife of Grand Duke of Lithuania Algirdas. By 1351 the city had erected a stone Upper and Lower Castle, the prince's palace. In 1410 Viciebsk participated in the Battle of Grunwald. In 1597 the townsfolk of Viciebsk were privileged with Magdeburg rights. However, the rights were taken away in 1623 after the citizens revolted against the imposed Union of Brest and killed Archbishop Josaphat Kuntsevych of Polotsk; the city was completely destroyed in 1708, during the Great Northern War.
In the First Partition of Poland in 1772, the Russian Empire annexed Viciebsk. Under the Russian Empire the historic centre of Viciebsk was rebuilt in the Neoclassical style. Before World War II Viciebsk had a significant Jewish population: according to Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 65,900, Jews constituted 34,400; the most famous of its Jewish natives was the painter Marc Chagall. In 1919 Viciebsk was proclaimed to be part of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia, but was soon transferred to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and to the short-lived Lithuanian–Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1924 it was returned to the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. During World War II the city came under Nazi German occupation. Much of the old city was destroyed in the ensuing battles between the Germans and Red Army soldiers. Most of the local Jews perished in the Viciebsk Ghetto massacre of October 1941. In the first postwar five-year period the city was rebuilt.
Its industrial complex covered machinery, light industry, machine tools. In 1959 a TV tower was started broadcasting the 1st Central Television program. In the same year, during excavations on Liberation Square, a birch-bark scroll was found dating from the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, it read: From Stpana to Nezhilovi. If hast sold trousers, buy me rye for 6 hryvnia, and if some didst not sold, send to my person. And if thou hast sold, do good to buy rye for me In January 1991 Viciebsk celebrated the first Marc Chagall Festival. In June 1992, a monument to Chagall was erected on his native Pokrovskaja Street and a memorial inscription was placed on the wall of his house. Since 1992 Viciebsk has been hosting the annual Slavianski Bazaar in Viciebsk, an international art festival; the main participants are artists from Russia and Ukraine, with guests from many other countries, both Slavic and non-Slavic. In 1999 a free economic zone "Viciebsk" was established; the city built the Ice Sports Palace, there was a remarkable improvement and expansion in the city.
The central stadium was reconstructed and the Summer Amphitheatre for the international art festival, the Slavic Bazaar, the railway station and other historical sites and facilities were restored, a number of new churches and other public facilities were built, together with the construction of new residential areas. The city has one of the oldest buildings in the country: the Annunciation Church; this magnificent six-pillared building dates back to the period of Kievan Rus since the city at the time was pagan and didn't belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church or the Russian Orthodox Church or the Kievan Rus state. It was constructed in the 1140s as a pagan church, rebuilt in the 14th and 17th centuries as Roman Catholic Church, repaired in 1883 and destroyed by the Communist administration in 1961; the church was in ruins until 1992. Churches from the Polish-Lithuanian period were destroyed, although the Resurrection Church has been rebuilt; the Orthodox cathedral
The Baltic Offensive known as the Baltic Strategic Offensive, denotes the campaign between the northern Fronts of the Red Army and the German Army Group North in the Baltic States during the autumn of 1944. The result of the series of battles was the isolation and encirclement of the Army Group North in the Courland Pocket and Soviet re-occupation of the Baltic States. In 1944, the Wehrmacht was pressed back along its entire frontline in the east. In February 1944, it retreated from the approaches to Leningrad to the prepared section of the Panther Line at the border of Estonia. In June and July, Army Group Centre was thrown back from the Belorussian SSR into Poland by Operation Bagration; this created the opportunity for the Red Army to attack towards the Baltic Sea, thereby severing the land connection between the German Army Groups. By 5 July, the Šiauliai Offensive commenced, as a follow-on from Operation Bagration; the Soviet 43rd, 51st, 2nd Guards Armies attacked towards Riga on the Baltic coast with 3rd Guards Mechanized Corps in the van.
By 31 July, the coast on the Gulf of Riga had been reached. The German reaction was rapid, successful. A counterattack, code-named Operation Doppelkopf, was conducted on 16 August by XXXX and XXXIX Panzer Corps under the command of Third Panzer Army, Army Group Centre. Acting in coordination with armored formations from Army Group North, they cut off the Soviet troops on the coast, re-established a tenuous 30-kilometer-wide corridor connecting Army Groups Centre and North; the main objective of the attack was to retake the key road junction of Šiauliai, but the German tanks ran head-on into an in-depth defense by the 1st Baltic Front, by 20 August the German advance had stalled with heavy losses. A follow-on attack, code-named Operation Cäsar, launched on 16 September, failed in the same manner. After a brief period of respite, STAVKA issued orders for the Baltic Strategic Offensive, which lasted from 14 September-24 November. In common with other Soviet strategic offensives, the Baltic Offensive covers a number of operational level operations and individual Front offensive operations: The Riga Offensive was carried out by the 3rd and 2nd Baltic Fronts and cleared the eastern coast of the Gulf of Riga.
The Tallinn Offensive was carried out by the Leningrad Front to drive German forces from mainland Estonia. The Moonsund Landing Operation was the amphibious landing on the Estonian islands of Hiiumaa and Muhu, which block access to the Gulf of Riga. According to Soviet data Germany lost 700 captured; the Memel Offensive was an attack by the 1st Baltic Front aimed at severing the connection between the German Army Groups Centre and North. From the German defensive perspective, the period included the following operations: Operation Cäsar, aimed at the restoration of contact between Army Groups Centre and North 16–21 September 1944; the Baltic Offensive operation resulted in the expulsion of German forces from Estonia and Lithuania. The Soviet fronts involved in the battle lost a total of ca. 280,000 men to all causes. Communication lines between Army Group North and Army Group Centre were permanently severed, the former was relegated to an occupied Baltic seashore area in Latvia. On 25 January, Adolf Hitler renamed Army Group North to Army Group Courland implicitly recognising that there was no possibility of restoring a new land corridor between Courland and East Prussia.
The Red Army commenced the encirclement and reduction of the Courland cauldron which retained a possibility of being a major threat, but were able to focus on operations on its northern flank that were now aiming at East Prussia. Operations by the Red Army against the Courland Pocket continued until the surrender of the Army Group Courland on 9 May 1945, when close to 200,000 Germans were taken prisoner there; the German command released thousands of native conscripts from military service. However the Soviet command began conscripting Baltic natives as areas were brought under Soviet control. While some ended up serving on both sides, many partisans hid in the woods to avoid conscription. 112 Hero of the Soviet Union awards were given out during the offensive, of which three were given soldier's second award. Soviet rule of the Baltic states was re-established by force, sovietisation followed, carried out in 1944–1950; the forced collectivisation of agriculture began in 1947, was completed after the mass deportation of civilians in March 1949.
All private farms were confiscated, farmers were made to join the collective farms. An armed resistance movement of'forest brothers' was active until the mass deportations. Tens of thousands supported the movement; the Soviet authorities fighting the forest brothers suffered hundreds of deaths. Among those killed on both sides were innocent civilians. Besides the armed resistance of the forest brothers, a number of underground nationalist schoolchildren groups were active. Most of their members were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment; the punitive actions decreased after Joseph Stalin's death in 1953.
378th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 378th Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army that began forming on August 10, 1941 in Siberia, before being sent to the vicinity of Leningrad, where it spent most of the war. The soldiers of this division fought until early 1944 to break the siege and drive off the besieging German forces, distinguishing themselves in the liberation of Novgorod; the division was redeployed to advance into the Balkan States in 1944 and into East Prussia in the winter of 1945. As the war was ending the 378th was disbanded to provide replacements for other divisions, it had compiled a creditable combat record for any rifle division. The 378th began forming in 1941 at Achinsk in the Siberian Military District. Along with five other divisions formed in that district that month it was destined for the 59th Army in Volkhov Front, its order of battle was as follows: 1254th Rifle Regiment 1256th Rifle Regiment 1258th Rifle Regiment 944th Artillery Regiment 317th Antitank Battalion 661st Sapper BattalionThe division's first commander, Col. Ivan Petrovich Dorofeev, was appointed on November 1.
The division was given about six weeks to form up before it was sent by rail to the front, arriving at Vologda, east of Leningrad, was assigned to 59th Army by November 15. When the 378th arrived at the front it was hampered from the lack of heavy weapons available to outfit reserve units at this time. At this point, the artillery regiment had only two battalions, instead of three; the 1st battalion had nine 76mm guns in three undersized batteries of three guns each, while the 2nd had just four 122mm howitzers and another four 76mm guns. This was less than half the authorized strength; the regimental mortar units were formed with improvised equipment as well, because in 1942, when the division consolidated these weapons into a divisional battalion, it had one battery of 107mm mountain mortars and one of 120mm mortars, indicating that the division had mountain equipment substituted for at least half the regimental pieces authorized. It did not receive its antitank battalion until early 1942. 59th Army entered the Lyuban Offensive Operation on January 6, 1942, but the division was in the second echelon in the early stages.
These attacks collapsed in utter exhaustion and confusion a few days later. Nonplussed by the failures, Stalin dispatched his deputy, Lev Mekhlis, to supervise the Front's preparations to renew the offensive. While Mekhlis' presence was more a hindrance to Soviet operations, in this case he made at least one positive contribution:"For example, when he learned that the attacking armies were without artillery and that the available guns lacked vital parts, including optical instruments and communications equipment, Mekhlis informed Stalin. Soon, Gen. N. Voronov, the chief of the Red Army's Artillery, was sent to Malaia Vishera with several railway cars containing the missing equipment." In this way, some of the 378th's deficiencies were made up. After regrouping the offensive was renewed on January 13, again without much success. In preparation for a further effort to begin on January 27, the division was regrouped to the Dubtsy Station and Sleshchenshoe village sector. While the renewed attack did not achieve all its objectives, over 100,000 men of 2nd Shock Army were able to advance as far as 75 km into the German rear.
Within weeks the German I Corps had turned the tables, 2nd Shock found itself encircled, with just a narrow corridor under enemy fire linking back to Volkhov Front. The 378th, still outside the pocket in 59th Army, was referenced in orders from Leningrad Front on May 2 to be deployed in the Liubino Pole area in Front reserve and to receive replacements. During subsequent operations to widen the corridor the division fought its way into the pocket, only to be cut off itself. Just prior to Operation Pole Star, the 378th was moved to 54th Army, still in Volkhov Front; that army went into the attack on February 10, 1943, in the sector north of Smerdynia and the Tygoda River, aiming at the rail line south of Tosno. The division was one of four launched against the defenses of 96th Infantry Division, backed by three rifle brigades and the 124th Tank Brigade. Despite its superior forces the shock group penetrated only 3 – 4 km along a 5 km front in three days of fighting; the Germans halted the assault by reinforcing its defense with regimental groups from other sectors.
Following this effort, the 378th was shifted to 8th Army in March, to take part in a pincer attack on Mga with 55th Army which began on March 19. After a 135-minute artillery preparation and three days of intense fighting, 8th Army's first echelon divisions, including the 378th, had penetrated 3 - 4 km on a 7 km front, at the junction of the 1st and 223rd Infantry Divisions. At this point a mobile group consisting of the 191st Guards Rifle Regiment from 64th Guards Rifle Division and a battalion of tanks was committed to advance to Mga Station. In ongoing fighting until April 2 this last objective was not reached. A further effort began on July 22. For six days prior to the assault, 8th Army artillery had pounded the German defenses, the attackers soon took the forward trenches, but stiff resistance and heavy airstrikes held up further progress. 5th Mountain, took heavy losses, in late July had to be reinforced by 132nd Infantry Division to avert disaster. On August 9 the Soviet forward troops believed they had found a weak place in the German line, defended by the battered mountain troops.
On August 11, two rifle divisions and two tank regiments
325th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 325th Rifle Division was formed in September 1941, as a standard Red Army rifle division, made up of older reservists and young men with no prewar training. As with many other divisions in the 320-330 series it was flung into the fighting west of Moscow in the 10th Army to defend the capital and to take part in the winter counteroffensive. After a year on a quiet sector the division rejoined the fighting in the late winter of 1943 distinguishing itself sufficiently to be redesignated as the 90th Guards Rifle Division. After disappearing from the Soviet order of battle for more than a year a new division was formed in the spring of 1944, based on a cadre of two distinguished rifle brigades, gave creditable service for the duration, completing its combat path in East Prussia; the division first formed on September 1941 at Morshansk in the Oryol Military District. Col. Nikolai Boleslavovich Ibianskii was appointed to command on the same day and he would lead the division through its entire 1st formation, being promoted to Major General on July 21, 1942.
Its basic order of battle was as follows: 1092nd Rifle Regiment 1094th Rifle Regiment 1096th Rifle Regiment 893rd Artillery RegimentThe division formed in the eastern part of the Oryol District. It was still short of all sorts of basic equipment when it was assigned to 10th Army in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command in October. Short or not, it went into battle with 10th Army in early December on the southern flank of Western Front. At this time it was still noted as having insufficient weaponry, including antitank guns and machine guns, lacked communications equipment and transport. By December 5, just prior to the start of the Soviet counteroffensive, the 325th was at Spassk-Ryazansky when it received a directive from STAVKA, along with the rest of 10th Army to attack the next day in the direction of Mikhailov and Stalinogorsk. By December 7 the division was fighting along a line from Pecherniki to Berezovo; as the advance unfolded the Army's left-flank divisions, including the 325th, tended to lag, forcing Western Front headquarters to demand that the pace be increased.
On the morning of December 14 the division had concentrated in the area of Yepifan. The advance continued that day, by December 26 the division was moving tho the line Kurakovo - Temryan behind the 322nd Rifle Division, beginning the fight for Belyov, one of the Army's key objectives. On December 28 the 325th and 326th were in 10th Army's second echelon in the Boloto - Gorodnya - Kalinovka area; the following day the division was ordered to begin advancing to reach the Kozelsk area and concentrated there by the 30th. As the advance continued the new objective became Mosalsk. 1st Guards Cavalry Corps was directed there on January 8, 1942, overnight liberated the town with the help of the 325th, subordinated to that Corps. The intention was to continue to advance on Vyasma after regrouping. By the end of January 11 the division had reached Aleksino - Rodnya, 4 km north of Mosalsk. On January 14 the cavalry cut the Minsk - Warsaw highway in the Lyudkovo - Solovevka area, while the 325th covered the Corps operations by defending the line Aleksino - Vysokoe - Khotibino - Pyshkino, but by now German Army Group Center was receiving reinforcements from the west and its air support was growing stronger.
The fighting for the highway went on until January 29, although the cavalry continued to advance, the 325th did not, Vyasma remained in enemy hands. In February 1942, the division was transferred to 50th Army, still in Western Front, just to the north, it remained on this quiet sector until February 1943. Meanwhile, Col.-Gen. K. K. Rokossovsky's Don Front, having crushed the German 6th Army at Stalingrad in Operation Koltso, was moving north. On February 15 these forces, with additions, were re-designated as Central Front. One of the additions was the 325th, transferred to 21st Army within that Front; this redeployment ran into many difficulties with regard to transportation in mid-winter, it wasn't until mid-March that this Army was in a position to begin to advance. The intention of the STAVKA was that 21st Army would take part in an offensive to destroy the German forces in the salient around Oryol, liberate Bryansk, advance into the rear of Army Group Center. In the event this operation failed to reach these ambitious objectives, but the 325th scored some successful tactical actions in its course, so when the 21st Army became the 6th Guards Army in April, the 325th was re-designated as the 90th Guards Rifle Division on April 18.
After an absence of over a year from the Red Army order of battle, a new 325th Rifle Division was formed on May 7, 1944, in the 22nd Army of 2nd Baltic Front, based on cadres from the 23rd Rifle Brigade and the 54th Rifle Brigade. This brigade, based on training and reserve units in the Kharkov Military District, began forming in October 1941. Uniquely among Red Army rifle brigades the rifle battalions kept their pre-war reserve battalion numbers. In November the brigade was evacuated to the Stalingrad area ahead of the German advance. After completing its training and equipment it was railed far to the north, where it was assigned to the 2nd Shock Army in Volkhov Front in December; the 23rd took part in the Lyuban Offensive Operation in January 1942. As of January 27 it was part of Operational Group Zhiltsov with two other rifle brigades with orders "to liquidate the enemy in the Zemtitsy and Liubtsy region and sever the Leningrad - Novgorod rail line..." By March it was trapped in the Volkhov Pocket, took various units
20th Guards Motor Rifle Division
The 20th Motor Rifle Division was a formation of the Russian Ground Forces formed within the Soviet Red Army as the 3rd Mechanised Corps. The formation of the corps began in the Western Special Military District in June 1940 on the basis of headquarters and the relevant parts of the 24th Rifle Corps, 7th Cavalry Division, 21st Heavy Tank Brigade, 2nd Light Tank Brigade, 84th Rifle Division, tank battalions of the 113th, 121st and 143rd rifle divisions; the 3rd Mechanised Corps was first formed in July 1940, on 22 June 1941, was stationed at Vilnius in the Baltic Military District under MG A. V. Kurkin, it consisted of 2nd Tank Division, 5th Tank Division, 84th Motorised Division, 15th Motorcycle Regiment, an artillery regiment, engineer and signals battalions. On 22 June, the 2nd Tank Division was located in the forest in Gajzhuny, in the Ionava area, the 5th Tank Division was positioned to defend the Neman bridge near Alitus, the 84th Motorised Division - was in forest in the Kajshadoris area.
On 22 June 1941, the 3rd Mechanised Corps had 31,975 men & 651 tanks, of which 110 were new T-34 and KV-1 types. The Corps was engaged in the first battles of Operation Barbarossa during the Baltic Operation and at the Battle of Raseiniai. On 24 June 1941, a single KV-2 heavy tank of 2nd Tank Division, at a crossroads in front of Raseiniai, managed to cut off elements of the 6th Panzer Division which had established bridgeheads on the Dubysa, it stalled the Division's advance for a full day while being attacked by a variety of antitank weapons, until it ran out of ammunition. General Erhard Raus, the Officer commanding 6th Panzer Division's Kampfgruppe Raus, the unit held up by the lone vehicle, described the incident. Raus said that the vehicle was damaged by several shots from a 88mm anti-aircraft gun firing at the vehicle from behind whilst it was distracted by Panzer 35 tanks from Panzer Battalion 65; the crew were killed by grenades thrown by a Pioneer Engineer unit. The grenades were pushed through two holes made by the gun whilst the turret had started moving again, the other five or six shots having not penetrated completely.
The crew had remarkably only been stunned by the shots which had entered the turret. Afterwards they were buried nearby with honours by the German soldiers of the unit held up. However, by early July the Corps had ceased to exist as a formation, though remnants rejoined Soviet lines later. For example, the 5th Tank Division was at Yelnya by 4 July 1941, consisted of 2,552 men and a total of 2 BT-7 tanks and four armoured cars; the 2nd Tank Division was encircled and destroyed at Raseiniai and the 5th Tank Division was encircled and destroyed at the Battle of Białystok–Minskb and was disbanded shortly after. On 11 July 1941 Col P Poluboiarov, Northwestern Front armoured directorate reported that the 3rd Mechanised Corps had'completely perished' having only 400 men remaining who escaped encirclement with 2nd Tank Division & only 1 BT-7 tank; the Corps was formed for the second time on 18 September 1942 at Kalinin in the Moscow Military District. General Lieutenant M. E. Katukov took command, it was assigned to the 22nd Army of the Kalinin Front.
It took part in Operation Mars alongside the 22nd Army. At the beginning of Operation Mars 3rd Mechanised Corps consisted of 232 tanks. Hamazasp Babadzhanian, who commanded the 3rd Mechanised Brigade of the corps, mentioned this operation in his memoirs, quoting a conversation with 22nd Army commander, V. A. Iushkevich, who said, “We will conduct a rather serious offensive together with Western Front forces—we must liquidate the enemy Rzhev grouping.”The Corps fought in the Battle of Kursk fought across the Ukraine with the Central, 1st Belorussian Fronts. On 23 October 1943, it was awarded ‘Guards’ status and re-designated the 8th Guards Mechanised Corps. In 1944, it took part in the Zhitomir-Berdichev, Korsun-Shevchenkovsky, Proskurov-Chernovits, Lvov-Sandomir battles, gaining the'Carpathian' honorific in April 1944, it ended the war in Berlin after participating in the East Pomeranian offensives. In June 1945, recognising its role in capturing Berlin, it was awarded the honorific'Berlin'.
As part of the occupation forces, it was assigned to the 1st Guards Tank Army. In the immediate post-war period, the Corps was reorganised as the 8th Guards Mechanised Division. In May 1957, it was reorganised as the 20th Guards Motor Rifle Division bearing honorifics: Carpathia-Berlin, Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, it was stationed at Grimma in eastern Germany. In 1964, the division was transferred to the 8th Guards Army, it took part in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia as part of the 1st Guards Tank Army, although when it returned to East Germany, it reverted to the control of the 8th Guards Army. Became part of 1st Guards Tank Army in 1983, until 1993; the division was withdrawn from Germany in June 1993, moved to Volgograd in the North Caucasus Military District. There it was under the command of the reduced 8th Guards Army Corps the 8th Guards Army; the division remained garrisoned in Volgograd, with parts of the division having taken part in the First and Second Chechen Wars. The division was engaged from December 1994 to February 1995 in the First Chechen War.
On December 31, 1994, units of the division, together with the 131st Motor Rifle Brigade and the 81st Guards Motor Rifle Regiment entered Grozny. On January 13, 1995, elements of the division began storming the Council of Ministers building. On January 16, the building of the Council of Ministers was taken. On Ja