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The 181st Rifle Division was a division of the Red Army, active from 1940 to at least 1945.

It was formed in August–September 1940, after the accession of Latvia to the USSR, based on the Kurzeme and Vidzeme Divisions of the Latvian Army. Thus the division had non-standard, foreign, models of equipment and weapons not usual for the Red Army. It became part of the 24th Rifle Corps. The personnel of the Division remained in Latvian army uniforms, but with differences showing they were now part of the Red Army. It was stationed in Riga.

It was part of the 'operational army' during World War II from 22 June 1941 to 16 October 1941.

On June 22, 1941 was stationed at summer camps in the Gulbene area in an abbreviated format. Here until July 29, the division was expanded to full wartime strength.[citation needed]

From the beginning of the war desertion of Latvians began, and from June 29, 1941 , according to some sources began their demobilization. More precisely, Latvians were simply released from house to house , previously disarmed - all more than 2,000 people (mostly from old time required). The division was completed with personnel of the interior regions of the USSR.[citation needed] The main body (about 30% of the total force) came the from central and southern areas of the current Pskov Oblast. However, the core personnel were Latvian. The combat training level of the Latvian Riflemen was quite high - many of them received awards and honors from the commanders in the war, including for their period of stay in the 181st Division.

The division was wiped out at Staraya Russa in September 1941.

The division was formally disbanded after defeat during Operation Barbarossa on 16 October 1941.

It was recreated at Stalingrad, wiped out at Kalachdisambiguation needed 8.42.[1] Created again at Chelyabinsk from the 10th NKVD Division 2.43, fought at Demyansk, Korosten, and in Poland and Germany. With 6th Army of the 1st Ukrainian Front in May 1945.


  1. Poirer and Connor


  • Robert G. Poirier and Albert Z. Conner, The Red Army Order of Battle in the Great Patriotic War, Novato: Presidio Press, 1985. ISBN 0-89141-237-9. Poirer and Conner primarily used the wartime files of the German Foreign Armies East ('FHO') intelligence section, of which substantial sections are now held by the U.S. National Archives.

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