Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
The Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" was a state military commemorative medal of the Soviet Union established on December 26, 1967 by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to denote the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the Soviet Armed Forces. Its statute was amended on three separate occasions, by decrees of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of February 22, 1968. of December 19, 1969, of July 18, 1980. The Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" was awarded to marshals, admirals and warrant officers, sergeants and sailors in the service on February 23, 1968 as part of the Soviet Army, troops of the Ministry for Public Order of the USSR, the troops of the Committee for Public Safety of the USSR, the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of February 22, 1968 added as recipients: former members of the Red Guards, soldiers who took part in the fighting to protect the Soviet homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, as well as all those who were awarded Orders or medals of the USSR "For Valour", Ushakov, "For Military Merit", "For Distinction in Protection of the State Border of the USSR", Nakhimov, "For Labour Valour" or "For Labour" during active duty.
Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of December 19, 1969 added as recipients: partisans and guerrillas of the Civil War and of the Great Patriotic War of 1941 - 1945. The medal was awarded on behalf of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR by commanders of military units and institutions. For retirees, by republican, regional, district and district military commissariats; each medal came with an attestation of award, this attestation came in the form of a small 8 cm by 11 cm cardboard booklet bearing the award's name, the recipient's particulars and an official stamp and signature on the inside. The Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" was worn on the left side of the chest and when in the presence of other medals of the USSR, it was located after the Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR". If worn in the presence or awards of the Russian Federation, the latter have precedence; the Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" was a 37mm in diameter circular gilded brass medal.
On the obverse in the background, a laurel and oak wreath around the entire circumference of the medal with rays extending outwards from the center. In the center, a red enamelled five pointed star, its points extending to the edge of the medal, at its center, a 19mm in diameter circular relief medallion bearing the left profile busts of two Soviet soldiers, the nearer helmeted, the other wearing a Budenovka. Inscribed in relief along the medallion’s inner circumference, at left the year "1918", at right "1968". On the reverse in the top half, the relief outline of a five-pointed star with at its center, a hammer and a plough; the Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" was secured by a ring through the medal suspension loop to a standard Soviet pentagonal mount covered by a 24mm wide silk moiré turquoise ribbon with a central 2mm white stripe bordered by two 2mm red stripes themselves bordered by 1mm white stripes. All individuals listed below are recipients of the Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR".
Colonel General Boris Vsevolodovich Gromov Army General Ivan Vladimirovich Tyulenev People's Artist of the USSR Nikolay Aleksandrovich Annenkov Army General Yury Nikolayevich Baluyevsky Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Ivanovich Kuroyedov Army General Ivan Ivanovich Fedyuninsky Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Afanasyevich Kasatonov Major Natalya Fyodorovna Meklin Army General Yakov Grigorevich Kreizer Rear Admiral Aksel Ivanovich Berg Lieutenant Colonel Vasily Maximovich Afonin Army General Kuzma Nikitovich Galitsky Red Army Awards and decorations of the Soviet Union Legal Library of the USSR
Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy"
The Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy" was a state military commemorative medal of the Soviet Union established on February 22, 1948 by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to denote the thirtieth anniversary of the creation of the Soviet Armed Forces. Its statute was amended by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of July 18, 1980; the Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy" was awarded to all the generals, officers, warrant officers, petty officers and sailors, who were members of the Armed Forces of the USSR, of the troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or of the Ministry for State Security on 23 February 1948. The medal was awarded on behalf of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR by commanders of military units and institutions; the Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy" was worn on the left side of the chest and when in the presence of other medals of the USSR, it was located after the Jubilee Medal "XX Years of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army".
If worn in the presence or Orders or medals of the Russian Federation, the latter have precedence. The Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy" was a 32mm in diameter circular brass medal. On the obverse, the right profile busts of Stalin. On the reverse, the circular relief inscription along the entire medal's circumference "TO COMMEMORATE THE THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY" separated at the bottom by a relief five pointed star; the Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy" was secured by a ring through the medal suspension loop to a standard Soviet pentagonal mount covered by a 24mm wide silk moiré grey ribbon with two 2mm red edge stripes and a central 8mm red stripe. All individuals listed below are recipients of the Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy". Army General Semion Pavlovich Ivanov Lieutenant General Nikolai Pavlovich Simoniak Marshal of Aviation Serhi Gnatovich Rudenko Army General Sergei Matveevich Shtemenko Captain 3rd grade Michael Petrovich Tsiselsky Captain 1st grade Ivan Vasilyevich Travkin Lieutenant General Vasily Mikhaylovich Badanov Army General Kuzma Nikitovich Galitsky Marshal of the Soviet Union Sergey Semyonovich Biryuzov Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily Danilovich Sokolovsky Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Ignatyevich Yakubovsky Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov Marshal of the Soviet Union Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Nikolay Gerasimovich Kuznetsov Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov Captain Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev Marshal of the Soviet Union Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko Colonel Pavel Ivanovich Belyayev Dmitriy Feodorovich Ustinov Marshal of the Soviet Union Marshal of Aviation Alexander Ivanovich Pokryshkin Admiral Vladimir Filippovich Tributs Admiral Filipp Sergeyevich Oktyabrskiy Red Army Awards and decorations of the Soviet Union Legal Library of the USSR
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
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
The Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive or Lvov-Sandomierz Strategic Offensive Operation was a major Red Army operation to force the German troops from Ukraine and Eastern Poland. Launched in mid-July 1944, the Red Army achieved its set objectives by the end of August; the offensive was composed of three smaller operations: Lvov Offensive Operation Stanislav Offensive Operation Sandomierz Offensive Operation The Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive is overshadowed by the overwhelming successes of the concurrently conducted Operation Bagration that led to the destruction of Army Group Centre. However, most of the Red Army and Red Air Force resources were allocated, not to Bagration's Belorussian operations, but the Lviv-Sandomierz operations; the campaign was conducted as Maskirovka. By concentrating in southern Poland and Ukraine, the Soviets drew German mobile reserves southward, leaving Army Group Centre vulnerable to a concentrated assault; when the Soviets launched their Bagration offensive against Army Group Center, it would create a crisis in the eastern German front, which would force the powerful German Panzer forces back to the central front, leaving the Soviets free to pursue their objectives in seizing the western Ukraine, Vistula bridgeheads, gaining a foothold in Romania.
By early June 1944, the forces of Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model's Army Group North Ukraine had been pushed back beyond the Dniepr and were clinging to the north-western corner of Ukraine. Joseph Stalin ordered the total liberation of Ukraine, Stavka set in motion plans that would become the Lviv-Sandomierz Operation. In the early planning stage, the offensive was known as the Lvov-Przemyśl Operation; the objective of the offensive was for Marshal Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front to liberate Lviv and clear the German troops from Ukraine and capture a series of bridgeheads on the Vistula river. Stavka was planning an larger offensive, codenamed Operation Bagration to coincide with Konev's offensive; the objective of Operation Bagration was no less than the complete liberation of Belarus, to force the Wehrmacht out of eastern Poland. The Lvov-Sandomierz Strategic Offensive Operation was to be the means of denying transfer of reserves by the OKH to Army Group Centre, thus earning itself the lesser supporting role in the summer of 1944.
While the Stavka was concluding its offensive plans Generalfeldmarschall Model was removed from command of the Army Group North Ukraine and replaced by Generaloberst Josef Harpe. Harpe's force included two Panzer Armies: the 1st Panzer Army, under Generaloberst Gotthard Heinrici and the 4th Panzer Army under General der Panzertruppen Walther Nehring. Attached to the 1st Panzer Army was the Hungarian First Army. Harpe could muster other assorted armoured vehicles, his Army Group comprised around 900,000 men. However, due to the complicated inter-service chain of command, Harpe could not directly control the Luftwaffe units; the 1st Ukrainian Front forces under Konev outnumbered the Army Group North Ukraine. The 1st Ukrainian Front could muster over 1,002,200 troops, some 2,050 tanks, about 16,000 guns and mortars, over 3,250 aircraft of the 2nd Air Army commanded by General Stepan Krasovsky. In addition the morale of Konev's troops was high following the recent victories in Ukraine, they had been on the offensive for a year, were witnessing the collapse of Army Group Centre to their North.
The 1st Ukrainian Front attack was to have two axes of attack. The first, aiming towards Rava-Ruska, was to be led by 1st Guards Tank and 13th Armies; the second pincer was aimed at Lviv itself, was to be led by 60th, 38th, 3rd Guards Tank and 4th Tank Armies. The Red Army achieved massive superiority against the Germans by limiting their attacks to a front of only 26 kilometres. Konev had concentrated some 240 mortars per kilometer of front; the northern attack towards Rava-Ruska began on 13 July 1944. The 1st Ukrainian Front forces broke through near Horokhiv; the weakened Wehrmacht XLII Army Corps managed to withdraw intact using reinforced rearguard detachments. By nightfall, the 1st Ukrainian Front's 13th Army had penetrated the German lines to a depth of 20 kilometers; the 1st Ukrainian Front's breakthrough occurred to the north of the XIII Army Corps. On the 14 July 1944, the assault with the objective of liberating Lviv was begun to the south of the XIII Army Corps, which had positions near the town of Brody, an area of Red Army failure earlier in the war.
Red Army units had punched through the line near Horokhiv to the north and at Nysche in the south, leaving the XIII Corps dangerously exposed in a salient. The northern pincer towards Rava-Ruska now began to split, turning several units of the 13th Army south in an attempt to encircle XIII Army Corps; the northern forces soon encountered weak elements of the 291st and 340th Infantry Divisions, but these were swept aside. On 15 July, Generaloberst Nehring, realising his 4th Panzer Army was in serious jeopardy, ordered his two reserve divisions, the 16th and 17th Panzer Divisions to counterattack near Horokiv and Druzhkopil in an attempt to halt the Soviet northern assault; the two divisions could muster only 43 tanks between them and despite their best efforts, the German counterattack soon bogged down. The massively superior Red Army forces soon forced the two Panzer divisions to join the retreating infantry divisions. Konev ordered Mobile Group Barano
2nd Guards Tank Corps
The 2nd Tatsinskaya Guards Tank Corps was a Red Army tank corps that saw service during World War II on the Eastern Front. After the war it continued to serve with Soviet occupation forces in Central Europe, it was the 24th Tank Corps. The unit had the same size and combat power as a Wehrmacht Panzer Division, less than a British Armoured Division had during World War II; the first of the Guards Tank Corps were formed when 26th Tank Corps was renamed 1st Guards Tank Corps in December 1942. 24th Tank Corps was formed in 1942 during the re-establishment of the tank corps as a formation in the Red Army. It was equipped with a mix of T-34 medium, T-60 light, KV-1 heavy, U. S. Lend Lease M3 Stuart light tanks, it was assigned to 6th Army, participated in the Stalingrad Defensive Operation on the Don River during July 1942, where it lost two-thirds of the tanks. Its 24th Motorized Brigade conducted offensive operations along the Don together with 25th Guards Rifle Division. Following re-building, it was assigned to 3rd Guards Army, under the command of General Dmitri Danilovich Lelyushenko to participate in the encirclement of German Army Group A in Operation Saturn, undertaken during the Battle of Stalingrad.
The 24th Tank Corps consisted of the following units:Combat Units 4th Guards Tank Brigade 54th Tank Brigade 130th Tank Brigade 24th Motorized Rifle Brigade Support Units 13th Mining Engineer Company 158th Mobile Repair Base Corps TrainThe Corps undertook the famous raid on Tatsinskaya during Operation Little Saturn. In honour of the successful raid, where a large number of Axis aircraft was destroyed on ground, it was renamed 2nd Guards Tank Corps, given the honorific'Tatsinskaya'. 2nd Guards Tank Corps was based on the same units as 24th Tank Corps. The individual combat units were renamed and renumbered as Guards units. With changing organization and equipment during the war, additional units were added. Depending on the specific tasks allotted to the Corps, units from the Reserve of the Supreme High Command could be added to help it achieve its mission. At the Battle of Kursk, the following OOB applied: Main Combat Units: 25th Guards Tank Brigade 26th Guards Tank Brigade 4th Guards Tank Brigade 4th Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade 47th Guards Breakthrough Tank Regiment 1500th SU-regiment 1695th AA-regiment 273rd Mortar regiment 755th Antitank battalionSupport Units Aviation Liaison Section 51st Sapper Battalion Corps TrainAmong personnel decorated for their fighting actions with the corps was Mariya Oktyabrskaya, awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously in 1945 for her actions in the fighting around Vitebsk in 1944.
Members of the corps committed the notorious Nemmersdorf massacre and killing tens of German civilians in October 1944. On 24 July 1945, it became the 2nd Guards Tank Division in Pskov, part of the Leningrad Military District. In 1947, the division moved to Võru. On 23 May 1953, the 4th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment became the 122nd Guards Mechanized Regiment; the 873rd Artillery Regiment was activated from the 273rd Mortar Regiment and the separate howitzer artillery battalion. The 79th Separate Motorcycle Battalion was converted into a reconnaissance battalion; the 338th Separate Chemical Defence Company was activated on the same day. During 1953, the 1695th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment was downsized into the 14th Separate Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion; the division moved to Luga, Leningrad Oblast during the year. In April 1955, the battalion became the 1108th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment; the division underwent a major reorganization in June 1957. The 25th Guards Tank Regiment was disbanded and the 26th Guards Tank Regiment became the 268th Guards Tank Regiment.
The 90th Guards Heavy Tank Self-Propelled Regiment dropped the designation "Self-Propelled". The 122nd Guards Mechanized Regiment became the 272nd Guards Motor Rifle Regiment. In 1960, the division's tank training battalion was disbanded. In 1962, the 90th Guards Heavy Tank Regiment became a regular tank regiment. On 19 February 1962, the 139th Separate Equipment Maintenance and Recovery Battalion was activated along with the 201st Separate Missile Battalion; the division was transferred to Choibalsan in Mongolia during April 1968 and became part of the 39th Army. Before the move, the 79th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion was replaced by the 86th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion. After the division arrived at Choibalsan, the 272nd Guards Motor Rifle Regiment was replaced by the 456th Motor Rifle Regiment; the 51st Separate Guards Sapper Battalion became an engineer-sapper battalion. In 1980, the motor transport battalion became the 1084th Separate Material Supply Battalion. During the mid-1980s, the division replaced its T-62 tanks with newer T-72 tanks.
In May 1990, the division became part of the 55th Army Corps. It was downsized into the 3742nd Guards Central Tank Reserve Base in March 2001. In 2005, the base was disbanded. Operation Saturn Tatsinskaya Raid Battle of Kharkov Battle of Kursk Battle of Prokhorovka Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev Battle of Smolensk Operation Bagration Minsk Offensive - the 4th Guards Tank Brigade was the first Soviet unit to enter Minsk during this battle. Baltic Operation Vistula-Oder Offensive East Prussian Offensive Gumbinnen Operation Insterburg-Königsberg Offensive Berlin Operation 1st Guards Army 3rd Tank Army 5th Guards Tank Army 11th Guards Army 5th Guards Tank Army Lt. General Vasilii M. Badanov Lt. General Alexei S. Burdeinei O
Battle of Kursk
The Battle of Kursk was a Second World War engagement between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front near Kursk in the Soviet Union, during July and August 1943. The battle began with the launch of the German offensive, Operation Citadel, on 5 July, which had the objective of pinching off the Kursk salient with attacks on the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously. After the German offensive stalled on the northern side of the salient, on 12 July the Soviets commenced their Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Kutuzov against the rear of the German forces in the northern side. On the southern side, the Soviets launched powerful counterattacks the same day, one of which led to a large armoured clash, the Battle of Prokhorovka. On 3 August, the Soviets began the second phase of the Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev against the German forces in the southern side of the Kursk salient; the battle was the final strategic offensive that the Germans were able to launch on the Eastern Front.
Because the Allied invasion of Sicily had begun, Adolf Hitler was forced to have troops training in France diverted to meet the Allied threat in the Mediterranean, rather than use them as a strategic reserve for the Eastern Front. Hitler canceled the offensive at Kursk in part to divert forces to Italy. Germany's extensive losses of men and tanks ensured that the victorious Soviet Red Army enjoyed the strategic initiative for the remainder of the war; the Germans hoped to weaken the Soviet offensive potential for the summer of 1943 by cutting off the forces that they anticipated would be in the Kursk salient. The Kursk salient or bulge was 250 kilometres long from north to south and 160 kilometres from east to west; the plan envisioned an envelopment by a pair of pincers breaking through the northern and southern flanks of the salient. Hitler believed that a victory here would reassert German strength and improve his prestige with his allies, who were considering withdrawing from the war, it was hoped that large numbers of Soviet prisoners would be captured to be used as slave labour in the German armaments industry.
The Soviet government had foreknowledge of the German intentions, provided in part by the British intelligence service and Tunny intercepts. Aware months in advance that the attack would fall on the neck of the Kursk salient, the Soviets built a defence in depth designed to wear down the German armoured spearhead; the Germans delayed the offensive while they tried to build up their forces and waited for new weapons the new Panther tank but larger numbers of the Tiger heavy tank. This gave the Red Army time to construct a series of deep defensive belts; the defensive preparations included minefields, artillery fire zones and anti-tank strong points, which extended 300 km in depth. Soviet mobile formations were moved out of the salient and a large reserve force was formed for strategic counter-offensives; the Battle of Kursk was the first time in the Second World War that a German strategic offensive was halted before it could break through enemy defences and penetrate to its strategic depths.
The maximum depth of the German advance was 8–12 kilometres in the north and 35 kilometres in the south. Though the Red Army had succeeded in winter offensives their counter-offensives following the German attack at Kursk were their first successful strategic summer offensives of the war; as the Battle of Stalingrad ground to its conclusion, the Red Army moved to a general offensive in the south, in Operation Little Saturn. By January 1943, a 160 to 300 km wide gap had opened between Army Group B and Army Group Don, the advancing Soviet armies threatened to cut off all German forces south of the Don River, including Army Group A operating in the Caucasus. Army Group Center came under significant pressure as well. Kursk fell to the Soviets on 8 February 1943, Rostov fell on 14 February; the Soviet Bryansk and newly created Central Fronts prepared for an offensive which envisioned the encirclement of Army Group Center between Bryansk and Smolensk. By February 1943 the southern sector of the German front was in strategic crisis.
Since December 1942 Field Marshal Erich von Manstein had been requesting "unrestricted operational freedom" to allow him to use his forces in a fluid manner. On 6 February 1943, Manstein met with Hitler at the headquarters in Rastenburg to discuss the proposals he had sent, he received an approval from Hitler for a counteroffensive against the Soviet forces advancing in the Donbass region. On 12 February 1943, the remaining German forces were reorganised. To the south, Army Group Don was placed under Manstein's command. Directly to the north, Army Group B was dissolved, with its forces and areas of responsibility divided between Army Group South and Army Group Center. Manstein inherited responsibility for the massive breach in the German lines. On 18 February, Hitler arrived at Army Group South headquarters at Zaporizhia just hours before the Soviets liberated Kharkov, had to be hastily evacuated on the 19th. Once given freedom of action, Manstein intended to utilise his forces to make a series of counterstrokes into the flanks of the Soviet armoured formations, with the goal of destroying them while retaking Kharkov and Kursk.
The II SS Panzer Corps had arrived from France in January 1943, refitted and up to near full strength. Armoured units from the 1st Panzer Army of Army Group A had pulled out of the Caucasus and further strengthen