The origin of Soviet Guard troops

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johnny_bi
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The origin of Soviet Guard troops

Post by johnny_bi » 01 Nov 2002 11:11

To me, it seems that these troops suddenly appeared ... where they came from ? They were better than ordinary infantry and conscripts ...

BI

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Daniel L
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Post by Daniel L » 01 Nov 2002 12:58

Veteran units were titled as guard units.

regards

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 03 Nov 2002 13:35

A total of:

11 Combined Armies
6 Tank Armies
1 Cav-Mech Group
40 Rifle Corps
12 Tank Corps
9 Mech Corps
14 Aviation Corps
117 RD's
9 AB
17 Cav
6 Art
6AA
53 Air Divs
and 7 Mortar Divisions were awarded Guards status during WW2

The title Guards was awarded by either having Distinguished themselves in combat or by being formed from Elite troops.

:D Andy from the Shire

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 04 Nov 2002 12:54

I don't know the origin of the Guard title in Soviet Union but it was used also in Imperial Russian Army. Before WW II Finnish Army had units which derived their names from Russian era, for example "Finnish White Guard" and "Karelian Guard's Regiment". Even today the unit at Helsinki is called "Guard's Regiment" and its subunit which is seen during all official state visits in Finland (guard of honour) is called "Guard's Jäger Battalion".

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johnny_bi
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Post by johnny_bi » 04 Nov 2002 13:14

Cheshire Yeomanry said :
"The title Guards was awarded by either having Distinguished themselves in combat or by being formed from Elite troops. "

What Elite troops : paratroops, commandos , ...?

BI

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Starinov
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Post by Starinov » 04 Nov 2002 14:56

johnny_bi wrote:Cheshire Yeomanry said :
"The title Guards was awarded by either having Distinguished themselves in combat or by being formed from Elite troops. "

What Elite troops : paratroops, commandos , ...?

BI


Both

combrig
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Well, there were Guards and then there were Guards

Post by combrig » 05 Nov 2002 03:35

The Russian term we translate as Guards is generally transliterated as Gvardeiskiy or Gvardeiskaya. Typically abbreviated Gv or simply G. Soldiers serving in Guards units were called gvardeytsy (guardsmen); the singular is gvardeyets (guardsman).

More than an honorary appelation, in official Soviet usage, this term -- which harkens back to Czarist traditions -- designated a unit that had distinguished itself in combat and that was therefore accorded a special standing.

Guards units had a different TO&E from other units of the same type and size. They generally had a higher establishment of life-saving artillery and automatic weapons, a greater basic load of ammunition and, for much of the war, a priority on supply allocations. Personnel in Guards units received a higher pay scale (1 1/2 time the normal scale for officers and 2 or 3 times the normal scale for troops at various times during the war) plus other privilages. Promotion for both offiers and NCOs was accelerated in Guards units. Units named to this status added the word Guards to their name and banner, and every soldier added the word Guards before his rank (e.g., Guards Sergeant, Guards Captain, etc.) and got a Guards badge to wear on his tunic pocket.

In short, members of Guards units were better paid and better fed, had greater prospects for advancement, and, in any given battlefield situation, were better equipped to survive than members of non-Guards units. On the other hand, they could also expect to be employed in the most difficult and dangerous operations.

The first official Guards units were created 18 September 1941. Under NKO Order No. 308, the first four Gvardeiskaya Strelkoviy Divizii (Guards Rifle Divisions) were named from among units that distinguished themselves in the Smolensk fighting. The 24th Armiya's 100th SD, 127th SD, 153rd SD and 161st SD were all upgraded to Guards status, becoming, respectively, 1st GvSD, 2nd GvSD, 3rd GvSD and 4th GvSD. By the end of the war, 148 rifle divisions, 20 cavalry divisions, 67 aviation divisions and 6 tank armies were granted the coveted guards designation.

Soviet Guards units can properly be considered elite units. However, note the following exceptions...

1. This term was also sometimes misused, as when Voroshilov named some LANO (Opolcheniya) divisions "guards" units as a morale booster in 1941. There is some evidence that such ad hoc use of the term "Guards" was still going on in 1942, but at least during 1941, you can't just assume that because a unit has "Guards" in its name, it has the charcateristics of an officially created "Guards" unit.

2. By summer 1944, the differences between Guards units and non-Guards units were disappearing. The Soviet Union was already running short of troops at that point in the war and was increasing the allocation of weapons and equipment in most units to keep firepower up. The situation continued to deteriorate during the bitter fighting for the Reich and by spring 1945, there weren't enough replacements to maintain the army's divisions, and a lot of Guards units were mere shadows of their former selves. So an April 1945 GvSD might, in fact, have a far lower combat capability than a run-of-the-mill SD that hadn't been used quite as hard.

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