Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

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Alex Yeliseenko
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Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 13 Jan 2008 16:57

On this theme I shall tell about national divisions Red army within GPW. In their fighting history was much and shameful and nice pages. They were created during the most complex period of war for the USSR in 1941-1942.

Now my contribution about the divisions generated on Caucasus and in the Transcaucasian region (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan).

So, according to instruction NKO from 11/8/1941 of year, divisions have been generated:

402
408
398
400
406
409
390
392
394
396
386
388

Besides it, separate instructions had been generated divisions:

61
89
151
223
224

The national structure of the Caucasian divisions was a miscellaneous. In them there were Slavs, representatives of the Transcaucasian and Caucasian ethnoses.

According to order NKO 3/2/1942, divisions were reformed and became:

The Transcaucasian front:

392, 406 - Georgian
408 and 409 - Armenian
402 and 223 - Azerbaijani

The Crimean front:

224 - Georgian
388 - Armenian
396 - Azerbaijani

Besides in Transcaucasia divisions were formed:

414 and 418 - Georgian
89 and 419 - Armenian
416 - Azerbaijani

The situation with formation of divisions was complex. There were no officers of the Caucasian nationalities, younger commanders. Training was at a bad level. There were no even products.

To be continued....

Regards.

Alex.

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Re: Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by Art » 14 Jan 2008 12:12

Alex Yeliseenko wrote: 402
408
398
400
406
409
390
392
394
396
386
388
This series was activated in the Trancaucasian Military District according to the plan of formation set up by the GKO decree #459s of 11.08.1941. The plan conteplated to form 85 new rifle divisions of them 15 in the TMD. 2 must be ready for actions till 15th September, 4 till 15th October, 5 till 15th November and 4 till 15th December. In fact the divisions didn't achive combat readiness in contemplated dates and for the most part were committed to actions during the winter counteroffensive. It was also the case for the most part of the whole series of divisions formed according to GOKO-459s.
61
89
151
223
224
61st, 151st and 223rd were activated according to the GKO decree # 795ss of 14th October 1941 on the basis of three replacement regiments. 224th was formed in the North-Caucasian Military district at Grozniy. 89th and not mentioned 75th and 91st in late 1941 according to GKO decree #935ss of 22nd November. It must be mentioned that apart from three transcaucasian republics Trancaucasian Military District also controlled Dagestan, where 91st Rifle division was formed.
414 and 418 - Georgian
89 and 419 - Armenian
416 - Azerbaijani
418th and 419th divisions didn't finish formation and were disbanded.

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Re: Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by Art » 17 Jan 2008 13:33

Art wrote: 224th was formed in the North-Caucasian Military district at Grozniy.
Sorry it was 242nd. 224th was raised in the TCD as the others.

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Post by patrik.possi » 21 Jan 2008 21:36

Intresting subject, have a slight memory from playing GDWs "Fire in the east" and "ural", and remember that in the OOB there where Latvian rifle divisions in the redarmy.

Ill dont know how the poles and the exile former p.o.w. germans/austrians was orginized.

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Post by Art » 22 Jan 2008 15:24

The Polish formations (either the army of general Anders of pro-Soviet Wojsko Polskie) were not the part of the Red Army but rather a foreign military force, though sponsored by the Soviet government. It was the same story as with Polish or French formations sponsored by the Western Allies. German or Austrian POWs were not employed in military formations in any sizeabel numbers. As conserns Latvian divisions I hope they will be described in due time.
Last edited by Art on 23 Jan 2008 12:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 22 Jan 2008 16:36

Sorry. I now have not enough time to continue a theme. Which that we discussed here http://imf.forum24.ru/?1-5-0-00000014-0 ... 1200661346 (In GreatRussian). But I can continue a theme only in February. I have a lot of work now....

Regards.

Alex from Siberia.

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Re:

Post by tyskaorden » 04 Apr 2008 15:16

patrik.possi wrote:Intresting subject, have a slight memory from playing GDWs "Fire in the east" and "ural", and remember that in the OOB there where Latvian rifle divisions in the redarmy.

Ill dont know how the poles and the exile former p.o.w. germans/austrians was orginized.
Yes the Soviets reorganized the former Latvian Army into the 24th Rifle Corps with the 181st and 183rd Rifle Divisions. Due to mass desertions this Corps was later transferred deep into the Soviet Union and disbanded late 1941, the same fate befell the Estonian 22nd Rifle Corps (180th & 182nd Rifle Divisions) and the Lithuanian 29th Rifle Corps (179th & 184th Divisions).

Source Germany's Eastern Front Allies (2) Baltic Forces by C Caballero Jurado & N Thomas (Osprey Men-at-Arms 363).

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Re: Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by IrregularMedic » 07 Apr 2008 08:43

I want to thank you for this thread, the information is much appreciated.
When time allows if anyone can add anything to this that would be great.

I have a question for anyone who may have the knowledge: what about the divisions stationed along the USSR's southern border (caucausia and opposite Persia), were these units primarily slav or made up more of people indigenous to the region?

Many thanks!

- Karl J.

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Re: Re:

Post by Art » 11 Apr 2008 08:43

tyskaorden wrote: Yes the Soviets reorganized the former Latvian Army into the 24th Rifle Corps with the 181st and 183rd Rifle Divisions. Due to mass desertions this Corps was later transferred deep into the Soviet Union and disbanded late 1941, the same fate befell the Estonian 22nd Rifle Corps (180th & 182nd Rifle Divisions) and the Lithuanian 29th Rifle Corps (179th & 184th Divisions).
To be more precise, The Estonian and Latvian corps were withdrawn to Russsian territory, not due to mass desertion but due to doubts in their loyalry and combat value ("the 5 territorial divisions are of little combat value and the most important unreliable (I beware of betrayal)" - Kuznetzov to the People's Commissar fro Defence on 22.06.41). The Lithuanian Corps was closer to the border, at least one division (184th) was wiped out by the Hoth's panzer group. See an approximate disposition as of 22nd June here:
http://www.rkka.ru/maps/pribovo.jpg
Only two (181st and 184th) of six divisions were disbanded in 1941, the remaining four survived the war but lost their national status. In brief each division recieved 6 thousands reservist from the Moscow Military District during the training call-up in June 1941 in addition to allready present 6 thousands soldiers of local origin, after the war started the core of local nationalities was further diluted with reservist from Russian territories. But at least the remaining "local" presonnel of the Lithuanin Corps was used for formation of the Lithuanian Division (16th) in late 1941. It should be added that the special status of the pre-war Baltic formations was from the very start regarded as a temporary measure. It was planned that after a year in this intermadiate state, they will be fully incorparated in the RKKA and reorganized on exterritorial basis, however the war started before these plans were carried out.

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Re: Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by Art » 11 Apr 2008 17:16

IrregularMedic wrote:I have a question for anyone who may have the knowledge: what about the divisions stationed along the USSR's southern border (caucausia and opposite Persia), were these units primarily slav or made up more of people indigenous to the region?
Depends on time period. National formations of the inter-war period ceased to exist in 1938 together with territorial army, since that time the Soviet Army was organized according to exterritorial principle. That means that as general rule regular personnel of any unit was a mixture of men from different regions. For example, a man drafted in Georgia could serve in Ukriane. The Baltic corps were an exception and as I've allready said a temporary one. Situation was quite different after mobilization, for the most part a unit recieved reservist from the same region where it was situated. So units situated in Caucasian region had a large proportion of personnel of local nationalities, the same story with Ukraine etc. However, in the first months of the war there was no practice of giving an official national status to RKKA units. Furthemore, if to take situation in Caucasian region, men of different nationalities were dispersed among many divisions rather than concentrated in one ethnically uniform, I've mentioned in another thread that such practice was recommended by Moscow in the instructions of mobilizational plan development sent to Trancaucasus military district in March 1941. Situation changed in late 1941, when the mass wave of national units formation took place. Then, as Alex have written, according to the order given on 3 February 1942 allready existing divisions in Trancaucasus were reorganized along national lines, see the list in the first post. A very thorough research on the topic is the recently published book by Alexei Bezugolny ("Peoples of Caucasus and the Red Army"), I have less information on Asian formations.

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Re: Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by Art » 12 Apr 2008 12:06

Some additional information on national formations of the eve of the war:

1. On 7th May 1940 the People's Commisar for Defence issued a directive ordering to form a Special Karelo-Finnish division (71st rifle) in the Leningrad Military District. The division was formed on the basis of the notorious Kuussinen's government's Army (the predecessor was the RKKA's 106th Rifle Division wich began formation on 11th November 1939 on the eve of the Soviet-Finnish war). The text of the directive in Russian:
http://www.rkka.ru/handbook/doc/dnko-070540-lvo.htm
As far as I understand the unit preserved its national status till June 1941, I don't have information what happened then.

2. On 4th June 1941 the Politburo and the People's Commisars' Council (Soviet government) ordered to create a division from Poles and men with knowledge of the Polish language in the Central-Asian Military district using allready existing 238th Rifle division, at the same time the authorized strength of the division was increased from 6 thousands to more then 10 thousands men. The formation of this unit which was to some extent a predcessor of both Anders' and Berling's armies wasn't completed due to the war. The division participated in the occupation of Iran and latr was transferred to the West and took part in the Battle of Moscow, but having normal status.

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Re: Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by henryk » 12 Apr 2008 19:35

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infantry_d ... %80%931957
The territorial principle of manning the Red Army was introduced in the mid 1920s. In each region able-bodied men were called up for a limited period of active duty in territorial unit, which comprised about half the Army's strength, each year, for five years.[1] The first call-up period was for three months, with one month a year thereafter. A regular cadre provided a stable nucleus. By 1925 this system provided 46 of the 77 infantry divisions and one of the eleven cavalry divisions. The remainder consisted of regular officers and enlisted personnel serving two-year stints. The territorial system was finally abolished, with all remaining formations converted to the other 'cadre' divisions, in 1937 and 1938.[2]
Zaloga notes that the Red Army formed at least 42 'national' divisions during the Second World War, including four Azeri, five Armenian, and eight Georgian rifle divisions and a large number of cavalry divisions in Central Asia, including (five?) Uzbek cavalry divisions.
238th Rifle Division — established in Kazakhstan (Turkestan Military District) in early June 1941. Formed from Poles and people of Polish ancestry. Fought near Moscow and became 30th Guards Rifle Division May 1942. Recreated Arzamas Jun 1942. Fought at Stalingrad, Karachev, and in Belorussia, Poland, and East Prussia. With 49th Army of the 2nd Belorussian Front May 1945.
I presume "Poles" means ethnic Poles, as non-ethnic Polish citizens were not considered Polish by the USSR. What was the reason for setting up a military formation of Poles?

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Re: Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by Art » 15 Apr 2008 16:17

henryk wrote: I presume "Poles" means ethnic Poles, as non-ethnic Polish citizens were not considered Polish by the USSR.
Yes.
What was the reason for setting up a military formation of Poles?
Some articles I've read see some connection between this formation and plans to create a unit consiting of Polish POWs, these plans were discussed by the NKVD officials in late 1940. However, as far as I can see the 238th division was to consist of the men drafted in a normal way, so probably there were no connection at all. Quite plausible that they just wanted to gather Polish conscripts in a quiet district, far from the former Polish territories.

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Re: Non-slavic division Red Army in GPW

Post by henryk » 15 Apr 2008 19:52

Thank you, Art. It is curious that the Poles were conscripted into one unit, rather than being spread amonst many. I pesume that Poles, who were Soviet citizens, were conscripted in the 1930's into many units, without recognition of ethnic origin.

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