How many divisions were transferred from Far East in 1941?

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How many divisions were transferred from Far East in 1941?

Postby Art » 23 Nov 2007 16:54

Since the question about the transfer of Soviet troops from Manchurian frontier, its impact on the course of operations on Eastern Front in Autumn 1941 especially on the outcome of the Battle of Moscow, and its consequences for the defensive capabilities of the forces that remained on Far East theatre appears again and again, I decided to open a thread where some information on this subject will be presented.

Later only the units of the land forces of divisional size will be considered. If someone wants to give additional information, it will be greatly appreciated.

So the following number of divisions was present on the Far East theatre (this includes Far East Front and Transbaikal Military District) at the outbreak of the Soviet-German War:
23 rifle divisions (3, 12, 21, 22, 26, 32, 34, 35, 36 motorized, 39, 40, 57 motorized, 59, 65, 66, 78, 79 Mountain, 92, 93, 94, 101 Mountain, 105, 114)
One cavalry – 8th
4 tank (58, 59, 60, 61)
3 motorized (69, 82, 239)
Total 31 divisions.
The BSSA handbook erroneously states that 57th Tank Division was in the Transbaikal Military District on 22th June. In fact the division was allready in the process of detraining in the Ukraine.

The inmformation on the transfer and commitment to actions of the divisons is summarized in the table below. The information on the transfers is based on the published directives of the Soviet Supreme Command Stavka and General Staff. The "date of transfer" stands for the date when the respective directive was issued but not for the actual start of entraining. The difference between these dates was however not big, normally up to several days. The "commitment to actions" columns are compiled using various sources including the Issues 37 and 43 of "The collection of combat documents", operational reports of the Soviet General Staff published in the book "The Battle of Moscow", Olma Press, 2001; "Mechanized Corps of the RKKA" by E. Drig and several others. In many cases the precise day of commitment to actions couldn't be found, so the approximate date is shown.


Image

Some comments on the table:
1. 69th Tank and 69th Motorized Divisions upon arrival to European theatre were reorganized as 108th Tank and 107th Tank (later Motorized) respectively
2. 21st Rifle Division was sent to 7th Army from Ivanovo (Moscow Military District) on 21st September
26th Rifle was dispatched to North-West Front from Yaroslavl (Moscow MD) on 18th September.
3. 32nd RD was initially transferred to Arkhangelsk-Vologda, 114th to Kirov (Ural Military District). On 24th September 32nd which had already begun detraining was diverted to Volkhovstroy (west of Leningrad) and was substituted with 114th which was transferred from Kirov to Vologda. On 2nd October 114th was sent from Vologda to 7th Army. On 5th 32nd which by that time was subordinated to 4th Independent Army (Volkhov river) was sent to Mozhaisk.
4. 78th RD was committed to actions by parts. 4th November was the day when the first units of the division – 258th Rifle Regiment participated in combat.
5. 58th Tank Division arrived to the West Front in early November, but didn’t see active actions till 16th November.
6. On 20th October the order was given to transfer 94th Rifle Division to the West (deestination - Tambov) from Transbaikal Front. Later the division was substituted with 65 Rifle, but I couldn’t find the document with such an order.
7. 239th Rfiel Division was the former 239th Motorized .

So total 17 divisions were transferred, of them 14 existed in pre-war times. 6 divisions were transferred before the start of “Typhoon” operation, 11 after. Of the total number, 2 divisions were committed to actions in the Battle of Smolensk, 1 – on the North-West Front, 2 on the Svir River against Finns, 3 in the Tikhvin area, the remaining 9 in the Battle of Moscow.

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Postby konev » 24 Nov 2007 01:28

Art,

Give me a couple of days to look over the list of Divisions.

I have the dates when each Division was assigned to the Operational Army, which in this case assigned to the Eastern Front. Although I don't have the specific command, at least I can nail down the exact date.

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Postby konev » 24 Nov 2007 01:59

Art,

Took me less time to look them up. Here are the initial dates when those Divisions were assigned to the Operational Army (souce is at bottom):

21st Rifle Division (22 September 1941)
26th Rifle Division (19 September 1941)
32nd Rifle Division (27 September 1941)
65th Rifle Division (14 November 1941)
78th Rifle Division (31 October 1941)[becomes 9th Guards Rifle Division on 26 November 1941]
92nd Rifle Division (30 October 1941)
93rd Rifle Division (23 October 1941)
114th Rifle Division (5 October 1941)
239th Rifle Division 14 November 1941)
413th Rifle Division (31 October 1941)
415th Rifle Division (9 November 1941)

69th Motorized Division (15 July 1941)[becomes 107th Tank Division on 17 July 1941]
82nd Motorized Division (22 October 1941)
107th Motorized Rifle Division (16 September 1941)[becomes 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division 12 January 1942]

58th Tank Division (1 November 1941)[becomes 58th Tank Brigade on 31 December 1941]
59th Tank Division (no)
60thTank Division (1 November 1941)[becomes 60th Tank Brigade on 20 January 1942]
107th Tank Division (17 July 1941)[becomes 107th Motorized Rifle Division 16 September 1941]
108th Tank Division (15 July 1941)[becomes 108th Tank Brigade on 2 December 1941]
112th Tank Division (5 November 1941)[becomes 112th Tank Brigade on 3 January 1942]

Source:
a) For the Rifle and Motorized Divisions:
Appendix No. 3 to General Staff Directive No. D-043 of 18 July 1970 (List No. 5: Rifle, Mountain Rifle, Motorized Rifle and Motorized Divisions, that entered the composition of the Active Army in the Years of the Great Patriotic War 1941 – 1945)
b) For the Tank Divisions:
Appendix to General Staff Directive No. 168780 of 18 June 1956 (List No. 6: Cavalry, Tank, Airborne and Headquarters, Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Mortar, Aviation and Destroyer Divisions, that entered the composition of the Active Army in the Years of the Great Patriotic War 1941 – 1945)

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Postby Art » 27 Nov 2007 16:09

Thank you for your contribution, Konev. I really thought about these lists, the problem is that the real commitment to battle could take place much later than the official assignment to the Operational Army. That is rather clear if loook at 108th Tank Division, for example. Since the matter of my interest was when and where the units transferred from the Far East theatre where committed to actions, I decided to use my own dates list, fully recognizing that it can contain some flaws.

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Postby konev » 28 Nov 2007 03:36

Art,

I was looking at the date of transfer and not the date committed to action.

It appears the date of transfer is the date of the order; the dates I provided where the dates the unit physically shows up and assigned. Then it waits to be committed to combat. My dates I provided were to fill the gap between the two.

Heck, even some of the Military Distrct HQ were committed to the Operational Army.

Lastly, there was a 473rd RIfle Division formed (and assigned to the Operational Army). It showed up in the 1998 directive in the Appendix 2. Although that's the first I heard of it, my best guess was it was assigned to the North Caucasus MD because the NCMD was also in the OA at the same time. AFAIK, it's the only high-numbered (+No. 423) Rifle Division in the OA.

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Postby Art » 01 Dec 2007 16:25

Thanks again, Konev.

Now some material for estimation of the impact the "Siberian" forces had on the course of the Battle of Moscow. The OOB of the West Front 1.12.41. It was 5 days before the start of the Soviet counteroffensive (large units only), the changes the Oder of battle underwent during these days were not substantial. Siberian units are highlighted with bold

OBB West Front 1st December 1941
1st Shock Army: 133rd Rifle Division, 29th, 44th, 47th, 50th, 55th, 56th, 71st, 84th Rifle Brigade, 17th Cavalry Brigade
5th Army: 32nd, 50th, 108th, 144th Rifle, 82nd Motorized Rifle Divisions, 1310th Rifle Regiment of the 18th RD
10th Army 322nd, 323rd, 324th, 325th, 326th, 328th, 330th Rifle Divisions, 57th, 75th Cavalry Divisions
16th Army: 7th, 8th, 9th Guards, 18th, 126th, 354th Rifle Divisions, 36th, 37th, 40th, 49th Rifle Brigades, 282nd Rifle Regiment (19th Rifle Division), 2md Guards Cavalry Corps (3rd, 4th Guards, 20th Cavalry Divisions), 44th Mountain Cavalry Division
20th Army: 331st, 352nd Rifle Divisions, 28th, 35th, 64th Rifle Brigades
30th Army: 185th, 251st, 348th, 365th, 371st, 379th Rifle Divisions, 18th, 24th, 46th, 82nd Cavalry Divisions, 58th Tank Division, 107th Motorized Rifle Division
33rd Army: 110th, 113th, 222nd Rifle Divisions, 1st Guards Motorized Division
43rd Army: 17th, 19th, 53rd, 93rd Rifle Divisions, 5th Airborne Corps
49th Army: 5th Guards, 60th, 194th, 238th, 340th, 415th Rifle, 112th Tank Division.
50th Army: 154th, 217th, 258th, 290th, 299th, 413th Rifle Divisions, 31st, 41st Cavalry Divisions, 108th Tank Divisions.
Front’s reserve:160, 173rd, 239th Rifle Divisions, 18th Rifle Brigade, 1st Guards Cavalry Corps (1st, 2nd Guards Cavalry Divisions)

Source is the BSSA as usual. 9th Guads was the former 78th Rifle Divisions
Total: 50 Rifle, 16 Cavalry, 3 Tank, 1 Motorized Division, 1 Airborne Corps, 16th Rifle Brigades. Of them 11 “Siberian” divisions: 7 Rifle, 1 Motorized, 3 Tank (the source allocates 82nd MRD and 1st GMRD to rifle units and 107th MRD to mechanized) . As we remember 9 of them were committed to actions after the start of "Typhoon". It should be added that 15 rifle, 1 cavalry division and 1 rifle brigade were in the Kalinin Front ( no signs of "siberian" units) and 12 rifle, 6 cavalry divisions and one rifle brigade (no "Far East" units again) in the left wing of the South-West front which also participated in the Battle of Moscow. So one should estimate the role of the "Far East" units as not of primary importance. Then what is evident if we look at the OOB is the large number of divisions with 3** numbers (15) and a large number of rifle brigades. There is a simple expalanation to this. The rifle divisions with the numbers beginning from 322 were activated in August 1941 in accordance with the GKO decree # 459ss of 11th August. Of the divisions operating on the West Front 5 (322, 324, 326, 328, 330) were raised in the Moscow military district, 3 (323, 325, 331) in the Orel MD, 4 - the Volga MD, 3 (365, 371, 379) - the Ural Military District. All the rilfe brigades were activated in October after the GKO decrees #796 (14th October) and #810 (18th October). All these units were assigned to the Front from strategical reserve or from military districts in late November. Apart from this 3 cavalry divisions (57, 75, 82) were raised simultaneously with rilfe ones and assigned to the Front from the Reserve Armies too. It should be added that the process of commitment of the fresh forces to action was still beginning and Stavka still had 44 rifle and 14 cavalry dvisions and 7 rifle brigades in its strategic reserve, also a large number of units were held in military districts. Part of this forces had to participate in the Moscow offensive as well. So the conclusion is that it was the commitment of the fresh forces from the thoroughly collected reserve rather then transfer of a dozen of divisions from other theatre that served as a turning point of the campaign and had a primary impact on the Battle of Moscow.
Last edited by Art on 03 Dec 2007 10:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby konev » 01 Dec 2007 17:39

Art,

It will have to wait until late this afternoon or evening.

Army-Navy Game is on in about 30 minutes (GO ARMY!!) so I won't be able to touch it until its over.

In addition, don't forget all of the 400-series Rifle Divisions forming also (very few show up in BSSA, but I acquired a list from a Russian who researched them). Even though the vast majority were re-numbered to previously destroyed Divisions, this re-numbering didn't start until early January 1942.

Duh, I just realized this was just a statement and not a query.

I'll post the 400-series Rifle Divisions in a separate message later today. It's pretty impressive.

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Postby Kunikov » 03 Dec 2007 05:08

Thanks Art and Konev, that's a lot of useful information! By the way, was the 316th Rifle Division more or less 'destroyed' by this time? I believe this was "Panfilov's" division. Were there any other Siberian divisions that were also destroyed before the Moscow counter-offensive started?

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Postby Yuri » 03 Dec 2007 18:18

Kunikov wrote:Thanks Art and Konev, that's a lot of useful information! By the way, was the 316th Rifle Division more or less 'destroyed' by this time? I believe this was "Panfilov's" division. Were there any other Siberian divisions that were also destroyed before the Moscow counter-offensive started?


316th rifle division was formed not in Siberia. This formation has been created from inhabitants of Russian settlements of Kirghizia and Kazakhstan. Thus, soldiers in a division were, mainly, Russian on a nationality. These Russian settlements place along a line connecting capitals of Uzbekistan, Kirghizia and Kazakhstan: the city of Tashkent - the city of Beshkek (the former name the city of Peshpek)-Alma-Ata (the former name city Verny). These Russian settlements were formed from the middle of 19 centuries.

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Postby Kunikov » 03 Dec 2007 18:21

Yuri wrote:
Kunikov wrote:Thanks Art and Konev, that's a lot of useful information! By the way, was the 316th Rifle Division more or less 'destroyed' by this time? I believe this was "Panfilov's" division. Were there any other Siberian divisions that were also destroyed before the Moscow counter-offensive started?


316th rifle division was formed not in Siberia. This formation has been created from inhabitants of Russian settlements of Kirghizia and Kazakhstan. Thus, soldiers in a division were, mainly, Russian on a nationality. These Russian settlements place along a line connecting capitals of Uzbekistan, Kirghizia and Kazakhstan: the city of Tashkent - the city of Beshkek (the former name the city of Peshpek)-Alma-Ata (the former name city Verny). These Russian settlements were formed from the middle of 19 centuries.


Thank you Yuri, too often I have heard and read that this division was from the Far East even in the movie "BItva Za Mosckvu" the character playing Panfilov says they've just come from Siberia, so were they just stationed there or is this simply a mistake and they came from Central Asia and were stationed there as well?

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Postby Yuri » 03 Dec 2007 20:43

Kunikov wrote:Thank you Yuri, too often I have heard and read that this division was from the Far East even in the movie "BItva Za Mosckvu" the character playing Panfilov says they've just come from Siberia, so were they just stationed there or is this simply a mistake and they came from Central Asia and were stationed there as well?


It, apparently, an error. According to the instruction Stavka echelons of 316th division went on Northwest front. However after the beginning the opponent of operation the Typhoon, a the general Panfilov's division has obtained the order to turn to Moscow.

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Postby Kunikov » 03 Dec 2007 21:56

Yuri wrote:
Kunikov wrote:Thank you Yuri, too often I have heard and read that this division was from the Far East even in the movie "BItva Za Mosckvu" the character playing Panfilov says they've just come from Siberia, so were they just stationed there or is this simply a mistake and they came from Central Asia and were stationed there as well?


It, apparently, an error. According to the instruction Stavka echelons of 316th division went on Northwest front. However after the beginning the opponent of operation the Typhoon, a the general Panfilov's division has obtained the order to turn to Moscow.


Thank you Yuri, I appreciate your help!

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Postby Art » 05 Dec 2007 15:32

Kunikov wrote: By the way, was the 316th Rifle Division more or less 'destroyed' by this time? I believe this was "Panfilov's" division. Were there any other Siberian divisions that were also destroyed before the Moscow counter-offensive started?

None of these divisions were fully destroyed, though they may suffer heavy losses. The same is applied to the 8th Guards/ 316th Rifle Division, it suffered heavily but remained intact. It should be mentioned, however, that 108th and 112nd tank divisions were "disranked" when they were reorganized as the tank brigades.

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Postby Art » 05 Dec 2007 15:34

konev wrote:I'll post the 400-series Rifle Divisions in a separate message

Surely it will be interesting, but probably better in a separate thread. And I think it's possible that the general discussion on the large waves of new formations could be of interest too.

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Postby Kunikov » 05 Dec 2007 15:36

Art wrote:
Kunikov wrote: By the way, was the 316th Rifle Division more or less 'destroyed' by this time? I believe this was "Panfilov's" division. Were there any other Siberian divisions that were also destroyed before the Moscow counter-offensive started?

None of these divisions were fully destroyed, though they may suffer heavy losses. The same is applied to the 8th Guards/ 316th Rifle Division, it suffered heavily but remained intact. It should be mentioned, however, that 108th and 112nd tank divisions were "disranked" when they were reorganized as the tank brigades.


Yes, this is why I put "destroyed" in quotes as it carriers a different definition for different people. Thank you for the information Art, always appreciated.


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