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 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.
|6th Guards Tank Army|
|Size||two or three corps (Second World War)|
three divisions (Cold War)
|Part of||Kiev Military District (Cold War)|
|Engagements||Battle of Debrecen |
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. 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.
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 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, in all, a total of 1,019 tanks and self-propelled guns. 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. 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.
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).
|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|
|75th Guards Tank Division (Chuguev)||Became 5362 VKhVT 1989, disbanded 1990.|
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. 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.
The army was commanded by the following officers during its existence.
The 22nd Guards Tank Division was a tank division of the Soviet Army. The division traced its lineage back to the World War II 7th Guards Airborne Division (First formation), which became the 115th Guards Rifle Division after the end of the war. In 1957, the 115th became the 22nd Guards Tank Division.
During the Cold War, it was based at Cherkaske, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, as part of the 6th Guards Tank Army. It was disbanded in 1990 to make room for the 93rd Guards Motor Rifle Division, which had been withdrawn from Hungary.36th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 36th Rifle Division was a division of the Red Army and then the Soviet Army. The division was formed in 1919 as the 36th Rifle Division and fought in the Russian Civil War and the Sino-Soviet conflict of 1929. In 1937 it became the 36th Motorized Division. The division fought in the Battles of Khalkhin Gol. It was converted into a motor rifle division in 1940 and fought in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in World War II. Postwar, it became a rifle division again before its disbandment in 1956. The division spent almost its entire service in the Soviet Far East.3rd Ukrainian Front
3rd Ukrainian Front (Ukrainian: Третій Український фронт) was a Front of the Red Army during World War II.
It was founded on 20 October 1943, on the basis of a Stavka order of October 16, 1943, by renaming the Southwestern Front. It included 1st Guards Army, 8th Guards Army, 6th, 12th, and 46th Armies and 17th Air Army. Later it included 5th Shock, 4th and 9th Guards Army, 26th, 27th, 28th, 37th, 57th Army, 6th Guards Tank Army, and the Bulgarian First, Second and Fourth Armies. The Danube Flotilla was assigned to the Front's operational control. This included the 83rd Naval Infantry Brigade.42nd Guards Tank Division
The 42nd Guards Priluki Order of Lenin Red Banner Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Tank Division (Military Unit Number 29410) was an armoured division of the Soviet Ground Forces, active from 1957 to 1990.
The division was formed with the Western Front in July 1942 from the 1st Guards Red Banner Rifle Brigade as the 1st Guards Red Banner Rifle Division.
The division in the process of formation was temporarily called the '1st Guards Red Banner Rifle Division' (formed 1942) from July 6, 1942 to September 13, 1942. Units of the division included the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Guards Rifle Regiments.
On 13 September 1942 the division became the 42nd Guards Red Banner Rifle Division. On 1 October 1942 it was part of the Western Front reserves; by 1 November 1942 it had been shifted into 20th Army, seemingly as part of the Battles of Rzhev. It eventually fought at Stalingrad, Kursk, Kiev, Iasi, and Budapest; gained the 'Prilukskaya' honorific 13 February 1944 after the liberation of Pryluky; and it was serving with the 1st Guards Cavalry-Mechanized Group of the 2nd Ukrainian Front at the end of the war in May 1945. The division also served with the 5th; 31st; 5th Guards; 40th Army (September — November 1943 and December 1943 — March 1945); and the 53rd Armies by the end of the war.
The 42nd Gv Tank Division was formed from the 42 GRD on 4 June 1957 at Gvardeyskoye, Dnepropetrovsk Oblast. It was part of the 6th Guards Tank Army throughout its existence.
The division became the 6299th Base for Storage of Weapons and Equipment (VKhVT) on 1 September 1990; probably actually the 6299th Guards VKhVT.4th Guards Motor Rifle Division
The 4th Guards Motor Rifle Division (Russian: 4-я гвардейская мотострелковая дивизия) was a motorized infantry division of the Soviet Army during the Cold War.
The division began its history as the 13th Tank Corps of the Red Army, formed in April 1942 during World War II and fought in the Soviet counterattack against Case Blue, the Battle of Voronezh, and the Battle of Stalingrad. The corps lost so many tanks that it was reorganized with a mechanized corps structure in November, though it retained the 13th Tank Corps designation. For its actions the corps became the 4th Guards Mechanized Corps in early 1943 and received the Stalingrad honorific. It continued to fight in combat for most of the rest of the war, receiving the Order of the Red Banner for its role in the Nikopol–Krivoi Rog Offensive of early 1944, the Order of Suvorov, 2nd class for its actions in the Odessa Offensive, and the Order of Kutuzov, 2nd class for its actions in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive. In the final months of the war the corps advanced into Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and southern Czechoslovakia before being withdrawn into the reserve.
Several weeks after the end of the war, the corps was converted into the 4th Guards Mechanized Division and based at Sofia. In the late 1940s it was withdrawn to Ukraine, and was based at Lugansk by the time it became the 63rd Guards Motor Rifle Division in 1957. It was renumbered as the 4th Guards Motor Rifle Division to preserve its traditions in 1964, and was sent to Termez during the Soviet–Afghan War to replace a division deployed to the latter. When it returned to Lugansk in 1989, the division was reduced to a storage base, which was disbanded in 1991.6th Army Corps (Ukraine)
The 6th Army Corps was one of three army corps of the Ukrainian Ground Forces. The Corps was headquartered in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. Its units were spread across Poltava Oblast, Sumy Oblast, Kharkiv Oblast, and Kirovohrad Oblast. The Corps was formed in 1993 after the collapse of the Soviet Union from a redesignation of the former Soviet 6th Guards Tank Army. It was disbanded in 2013 when the Ukrainian Ground Forces were reorganized, being replaced by Operational Command South.9th Guards Army
The 9th Guards Army was a field army of the Red Army during World War II, which fought in the Vienna Offensive and the Prague Offensive at the end of the war. The army was formed in January 1945 and included airborne divisions converted into infantry. Postwar, the army headquarters became Soviet airborne headquarters.9th Guards Motor Rifle Division
The 9th Guards Motor Rifle Division was a Soviet Army unit initially formed as a tank corps in April 1942. In the same year, it was then formed as a mechanized corps in November 1942. This unit then became a Guards mechanized corps in September 1944. Following World War II, the corps were reorganized as a mechanized division in 1945 and then a motor rifle division in 1957 before being disbanded in 1958.Alland
Alland is a market town in the district of Baden in the Austrian state of Lower Austria.Andrey Kravchenko (general)
Andrey Grigoryevich Kravchenko (Russian: Андре́й Григо́рьевич Кра́вченко; 18 November [O.S. 30 November] 1899 – 18 October 1963) was the commander of multiple tank units of the Red Army throughout World War II who was twice awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.Battle of Debrecen
The Battle of Debrecen, called by the Red Army the Debrecen Offensive Operation, was a battle taking place 6–29 October 1944 on the Eastern Front during World War II.
The offensive was conducted by the 2nd Ukrainian Front under Marshal Rodion Malinovsky. It was opposed by General Maximilian Fretter-Pico's German Sixth Army (II formation) and the allied Hungarian VII Army Corps of Army Group South Ukraine
The Axis units were forced to retreat some 160 kilometers, while opposing the 2nd Ukrainian Front which had Debrecen in Hungary as its strategic objective.Bratislava–Brno Offensive
The Bratislava–Brno Offensive was an offensive conducted by the Red Army in western Slovakia and south Moravia towards the end of World War II. The offensive was held between 25 March and 5 May 1945 using the forces of the 2nd Ukrainian Front to capture the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, and the capital of Moravia, Brno.Kiev Military District
The Kiev Military District (Russian: Киевский вое́нный о́круг (КВО), romanized: Kiyevskiy voyénnyy ókrug (KVO)) was a military district of the Imperial Russian Army and subsequently of the Red Army and Soviet Armed Forces. It was first formed in 1862, and was headquartered in Kiev for most of its existence.List of Soviet Army divisions 1989–91
This article is an (incomplete) listing of Soviet Ground Forces divisions in 1990, and corresponding information about their later status in 2006. The primary source is Table 2.5, pages 104–106, V.I. Feskov, K.A. Kalashnikov, V.I. Golikov, The Soviet Army in the Years of the Cold War 1945–91, Tomsk University Publishing House, Tomsk, 2004. However, it is not totally accurate, as some other information from it has been shown to be incorrect. Alternate information and corrections are welcome.
The Soviets maintained their units at varying degrees of readiness in peacetime, and divided their ground units into two broad readiness categories:
Развернутая - Ready (expanded, filled up) A unit was considered Ready, if it could conduct combat operations with little or no mobilisation.
Неразвернутая - Not ReadySome divisions are referred to as 'Reserve' (there is a Russian article for reserve unit at ru:Запасная часть). The Russian word for reserve (ru:Запас) literally translates as 'Spare'. The personnel went on the reserve rolls, and for officers and NCOs this means they add 'v zapase' to their rank (e.g. kapitan v zapase). The unit itself changes readiness status from A, to either B (Б), V (В) or G (Г). This means a higher degree of equipment conservation, lower training and operational performance, etc.
The abbreviation VKhVT means Weapons and Equipment Storage Base.Steppe Front
The Steppe Front (Russian: Степной фронт), later the 2nd Ukrainian Front (2-й Украинский фронт), was a front of the Red Army during the Second World War.
On 9 July 1943, Stavka designated a new Reserve Front in the Voronezh region, that had been effective since 30 April. It consisted of the command component of the 2nd Reserve Army (augmented by several officer and NCO courses), the 27th, 52nd, 53rd, 46th, 47th, 4th Guards Tank, 5th Air Army and eight mobile corps (Tank, Guards Tank, and Mechanised). Most of these armies had been reassigned from the Northwestern Front, North Caucasus Front, or the Reserve of the Supreme High Command (Stavka reserve, or the RVGK). On 13 April 1943 the Front was renamed the Steppe Military District, to be effective 15 April.
The Steppe Military District was redesignated the Steppe Front on July 9, 1943. It incorporated forces from the Soviet rear areas to the West of Kursk salient along the line Tula-Yelets-Stary Oskol-Rossosh (Тула-Елец-Старый Оскол-Россошь). It included units pulled out of the battles of Stalingrad and Leningrad and others.
Under the command of Colonel General Ivan Konev from July to October 1943, it took part in the Battle of Kursk.Transbaikal Front
The Transbaikal Front (Russian: Забайкальский фронт) was a front formed on September 15, 1941 on base of the Transbaikal Military District. Initially, it included the 17th and 36th armies, but in August 1942 the 12th Air Army was added to the front, and, finally, in June–July 1945 the 39th and the 53rd armies, the 6th Guards Tank Army, and the Soviet Mongolian Cavalry Mechanized Group under Issa Pliyev.
From September 1941 to January 1945, the Transbaikal Front sent to the Soviet fronts in Europe about 300,000 personnel, 1,440 tanks, and 2,230 guns.
On November 1, 1941 the Front included the 17th Army with the 36th and 57th Motor Rifle Divisions and the 61st Tank Division, and four air divisions (two fighter, one bomber, and the 84th Mixed Aviation Division), the 36th Army with the 94th Rifle Division, the 210th Rifle Division, the 51st Cavalry Division, and the 31st and 32nd Fortified Regions, the 111th Tank Division, two independent tank battalions, and the 89th Assault Aviation Division. Front troops included the 209th Rifle Division.On May 1, 1945 the Front included the 17th Army with the 85th Rifle Corps (36th and 57th Motor Rifle Divisions), the 284th Rifle Division, another rifle unit, significant numbers of artillery units, the 61st Tank Division, the 36th Army with the 86th Rifle Corps (94th and 298th Rifle Divisions), the 209th, 210th, 278th Rifle Divisions, and 31st Fortified Region, and the 2nd Rifle Corps (103rd, 275th, 292nd Rifle Divisions) plus at front level the 293rd Rifle Division, 59th Cavalry Division, and other units.Transbaikal Military District
The Transbaikal Military District (Russian: Забайкальский военный округ) was a military district of first the Soviet Armed Forces and then the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed on May 17, 1935 and included the Buryat Republic, Chita Oblast, and Yakutia. Chita was the headquarters of the district. It was finally disbanded on December 1, 1998 by being amalgamated with the Siberian Military District, though Chita remained the headquarters of the new amalgamated district.Vienna Offensive
The Vienna Offensive was launched by the Soviet 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts in order to capture Vienna, Austria, during World War II. The offensive lasted from 2 April to 13 April 1945.
The Soviets placed the city under siege, facing only a single Panzer corps. After a few days’ street fighting, the defenders had destroyed all but two of the Danube bridges, and the Panzers escaped encirclement. The incoming Soviets devastated the old city, and there was much brutality against civilians. Stalin approved the restoration of Austria as a sovereign country.Vitaliy Radetsky
Vitaliy Hryhorovych Radetsky (Ukrainian: Віталій Григорович Радецький; born January 1, 1944, Khrystynivka, Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukrainian SSR) is a Ukrainian military, General of the Army who served as the Minister of Defence and chief of the National University of Defense of Ukraine. He also was the last commander of the Odessa Military District when it was transformed into the Southern Operational Command.
Armies of the Soviet Army