Soviet Mechanized/Motorized Divisions 1941.

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5th Horseman
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Soviet Mechanized/Motorized Divisions 1941.

Post by 5th Horseman » 18 Nov 2009 23:21

Hello all,

I'm reseaarching the Soviet Order of Battle in 1941 and have some conflicting information.
I have seen some OOBs which refer to mechanized and some which refer to the same divisions as motorized.
For example; I find some times the 1st is a "Motorized Rifle Division" and the 7th is a "Mechanized Division".
And then, sometimes both are "Motorized Rifle Divisions".

Was there a difference?
Or is it merely the same TOE but different title?

Any help in setting me straight would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Scott

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Re: Soviet Mechanized/Motorized Divisions 1941.

Post by Art » 19 Nov 2009 10:48

I guess "mechanized division" is an artifact of translation. In 1941 the Soviet Army had no divisions named "mekhanizirovannaya" (mechanized). So when this term is used, it most likely means the same as "motorized division", which was a unit consisting of two motorized rifle regiments, a tank and an artillery regiment plus services. All ultimately disappeared during 1941. "Motorized rifle divsion" was essentially a rifle division with motor vehicles instead of horses. As of June 1941 only two such units existed - 36th and 57th Divisions in Mongolia. Information on number and type of divisions by the start of the war can be found here:
viewtopic.php?f=79&t=159099
There are, however, several tricky moments. 1st Moscow Division is sometimes referred as "motorized rifle", while in fact it was organized according to the TO&E of the motorized division. Then, after the start of the war and subsequent reorganizations some confusion in terms appeared, for units having organic tank regiments sometimes were called "motorized rifle", for example, 101st and 107th Motorized Rifle Divisions. It should be added, that even top level Soviet officers used to confuse these terms, calling "motorized rifle" divisions "motorized" and vice versa.
I hope this answers your questions.

mantill
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Re: Soviet Mechanized/Motorized Divisions 1941.

Post by mantill » 21 Nov 2009 20:27

Horseman

the were no mechanised divisions but there mechanised corps, which in 1941 consisted of 2 tank and one motorized division, a motorcycle rgt, a signals bn, an engineering bn and an air squadron.

These mechanised corp performed poorly and were disbanded on the 15 of July, 42, being reformed into tank divisions and the motorised divisions being transformed to regular rifle divisions.

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Re: Soviet Mechanized/Motorized Divisions 1941.

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 01 Dec 2009 18:54

I think most of the disbanding was done by the Germans as these formations were thrown into the fighting in some desperate attempts at stopping the German advance. Something I read about the mech corps was the complexity of control required, and how few commanders were able to master it. Given that so many of the trained experienced commanders had been purged, there was a lot of on the job training going on. It easier to learn if you keep the job simple, so you command infantry or you command tanks, works better and quicker in simplistic terms. The staffing levels of the skilled technician units, ie signals, engineering etc were drastically cut, and given the paucity of replacements, had to be done. I believe Mech Corps came back into fashion later in the war (1943?) as the Soviets improved.

Steve

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Re: Soviet Mechanized/Motorized Divisions 1941.

Post by Art » 02 Dec 2009 16:21

The fate of motorized division can be traced from the following list:

1st Moscow Motorized - became 1st Tank Division (II) on 18.8.1941, from 22.9.1941 1st Guards Motorized Rifle Division;
7th Motorized - became 7th Rifle in September 1941;
15th Motorized - 15th Rifle from August 1941;
29th Motorized - destroyed in Belorussia in summer 1941;
69 Motorized - from 17.7.1941 107th Tank Division, on 16 September 1941 renamed 107 Motorized Rifle, from January 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division
81 Motorized - became 81 Rifle division in July 1941;
82 Motorized - reorganized as 82 Motorized Rifle already in the Transbaikal District in the summer of 1941 (tank regiment was used to form 111 Tank Division), from March 1942 - 3rd Guards Motorized Rifle Division;
84 Motorized - became 84 Rifle Division;
103 Motorized - became 103 Rifle Division in July 1941;
109 Motorized - 304 Rifle Division from July 1941;
131 Motorized - renamed 131 Rifle in July 1941;
163 Motorized - 163 Rifle division from September 1941;
185 Motorized - 185 Rifle Divisiosn from August 1941;
198 Motorized - 198 Rifle Division from September 1941;
202 Motorized - 202 Rifle Division from September 1941;
204 Motorized - defeated in Belorussia in the summer of 1941;
205 Motorized - defeated in Belorussia in the summer of 1941;
208 Motorized - defeated in Belorussia;
209 Motorized - defeated in Belorussia;
210 Motorized - converted into 4 Cavalry Division in July 1941;
212 Motorized - 212 Rifle Division from July 1941;
213 Motorized - disbanded in August 1941;
215 Motorized - disbanded in September 1941;
216 Motorized - destroyed in the Uman pocket, August 1941;
218 Motorized - became 218 Rifle Division in September 1941;
219 Motorized - 219 Rifle Division from September 1941;
220 Motorized - 220 Rifle Division from July 1941;
221 Motorized - renamed 106 Motorized in July 1941, then 106 Rifle Division;
236 Motorized - reorganized as 236 Rifle Division in July 1941 in Transcaucasus;
239 Motorized - converted into 239 Rifle Division in the Far East in summer 1941, tank regiments was used to form 112 Tank Division
240 Motorized - became 240 Rifle Division in August 1941;

So of 31 motorized divisions, 8 were destroyed or disbanded, the rest were converted into other units, namely 2 into tank divisions, 1 into a cavalry division, 20 into rifle (motorized rifle) divisions.

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Re: Soviet Mechanized/Motorized Divisions 1941.

Post by AMVAS » 28 Dec 2009 10:30

IMHO, there were no confusion between Mechanized/Motorized divisions, but there were confusion between Motorized (Моторизованная (мд) ) and Motorized Rifle (Мотострелковая (мсд)) divisions.
For example in some ORIGINAL documents the 1st Motorized Division is often called "Motorized Rifle Division".
I guess the same notation variations could be found for other divisions of that sort.

Regards
Alex

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Jeff Leach
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Re: Soviet Mechanized/Motorized Divisions 1941.

Post by Jeff Leach » 12 Jun 2011 08:15

Does anyone know if the Mechanized Divisions and Tank Divisions were organized according to the 1940 shtats or had new one been issued before the war started?

Related to this thread I tried to check the shtats of the motorized rifle regiment for the different types of division to see if they were different.

Motorized Rifle Regiment Tank Division shtat 010/15 (1940) [Drig 2005 p746]
Motorized Rifle Regiment Motorized Division 05/71 (1940) [Drig 2005 p750]
Motorized Rifle Regiment Motorized Rifle Division ?

Sharp says in "Deadly Beginnings" 1995 p68 the motorized rifle regiments of the motorized divsions had 3 rifle battalions of 5 rifle companies each! (Drig says there were only 3) while the motorized rifle regiments of the motorized rifle divisions had 3 rifle battalions of 3 rifle companies each.

I guess "mechanized division" is an artifact of translation. In 1941 the Soviet Army had no divisions named "mekhanizirovannaya" (mechanized). So when this term is used, it most likely means the same as "motorized division", which was a unit consisting of two motorized rifle regiments, a tank and an artillery regiment plus services. All ultimately disappeared during 1941. "Motorized rifle divsion" was essentially a rifle division with motor vehicles instead of horses.


This is a nice explaination. I hope it makes its way into the english literature. You could add the Soviet Army fielded no Mechanized Divisions during the whole war - corps and brigades but no division. Only problem with the term "motorized division" is that it is a misnomer, what is being referred to is really (according to the TOEs) a very strong panzer division.

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