Military Wiki
1st Airborne Corps
Active 1941–1942
Country  Soviet Union
Branch Soviet airborne
Type Airborne
Size Corps

World War II

Viktor Zholudev

The 1st Airborne Corps was an airborne corps of the Red Army during World War II. It fought in the Battle of Kiev, the Battle of Moscow and in the Battle of Demyansk.[1]


The 1st Airborne Corps was formed in April 1941 from the 1st, 204th and 211th Airborne Brigades in the Kiev Special Military District,[1] commanded by Major General Matvei Usenko.[2] It was temporarily moved to Odessa Military District in preparation for a possible invasion of Romania but moved back to Kiev within a short period.[3] After Operation Barbarossa, the corps fought to defend Kiev from the advancing Army Group South, along with the 5th Army and the 6th Army. After being reinforced by the 2nd and 3rd Airborne Corps, the corps fought in the Battle of Kiev.[4] It was almost surrounded during the German encirclement of Kiev and was disbanded afterwards on 6 August. The corps was reformed in early September and conducted training around Saratov.[5] On 24 November, it was subordinated to Western Front High Command. On the next day, the corps left Saratov for new bases near Moscow in the vicinity of the Lyubertsy airfield.[6] In December, it participated in airborne operations to disrupt German troops around Moscow.[7] Between 16–17 February 1942, the 204th Airborne Brigade's 4th Battalion was airdropped in the Rzhev operation. During late February and early March, the corps fought around Demyansk.[8][9] During the Demyansk fighting, the corps was sent behind German lines in an unsuccessful operation to capture airfields supplying the Demyansk Pocket, but suffered heavy losses with only 900 out of 8,500 men in the corps returning to Soviet lines.[10] In August, the corps was converted into the 37th Guards Rifle Division and fought at Stalingrad.[11] The corps was reformed in fall 1942. On 8 December, its units were used to form two new guards airborne divisions.[12] Its 1st Airborne Brigade was used to form the 9th Guards Airborne Division.[13] Its headquarters became a part of the 4th Guards Airborne Division.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Glantz, David M. (1994-01-01) (in en). The History of Soviet Airborne Forces. Taylor & Francis. p. 45. ISBN 9780714641201. 
  2. "1-й воздушно-десантный корпус" (in Russian). Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  3. Nenakhov, Yuri (2000) (in Russian). Войска спецназначения во второй мировой войне. Moscow: AST. pp. 342. 
  4. "Воздушно-десантные" (in Russian). Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  5. Glantz 1994, p. 58
  6. Glantz 1994, p. 59
  7. Glantz 1994, p. 76
  8. Glantz 1994, p. 63
  9. Zaloga, Steve (1995-01-01) (in en). Inside the Blue Berets: A Combat History of Soviet and Russian Airborne Forces, 1930-1995. Presidio. ISBN 9780891413998. 
  10. Forczyk, Robert (2012-01-01) (in en). Demyansk 1942-43: The Frozen Fortress. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781849085526. 
  11. Glantz 1994, p. 64
  12. Glantz 1994, p. 65
  13. Pettibone, Charles D. (2009-11-01) (in en). The Organization and Order of Battle of Militaries in World War II: Volume V - Book B Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 9781426922510. 
  14. "Гвардейские воздушно-десантные" (in Russian). Retrieved 2015-12-09. 

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