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The 25th Rifle Division (Russian: 25-я Чапаевская стрелковая дивизия) was a rifle division of the Soviet Union's Red Army during the Second World War. Formed in 1918, it was a Russian, and later Soviet, Red Army formation formed during the Russian Civil War. It was named after its first commander, Vasily Chapayev.

Russian Civil War

The division was formed in 1918 at the beginning of the Russian Civil War under the command of General Vasily Chapayev. Chapayev previously served in the Imperial Russian Army during World War I. The division deployed to the Urals where it fought the Ural Cossacks in the Zavolzhye region. On October 7, 1918 the division fought at Samara, on March 11, 1919 it fought at Uralsk, and on January 2, 1920 the division occupied entered Atyrau (then Guriev) for the Bolsheviks.

In May 1920, the division transferred to the Ukrainian front. It aided the successful defence of Kiev against the Poles, before moving on to capture Kovel and participate in further operations along the Southern Bug. From April 1921 to the end of the war the division was responsible for suppressing Ukrainian independence forces. Another source indicates it was reestablished at Poltava in 1925. The division fought in Finland, probably during the Winter War.

World War II

On June 24, 1941, Stavka Order #20466 attached the 25th Rifle Division to the 14th Rifle Corps, 9th Army, Southern Front. It took part in the Battle of Odessa, and was evacuated by sea in October 1941 prior to the city's fall. The division arrived in Sevastopol in time to prepare for the defence of the port against the oncoming German offensive. The division was destroyed during the following Siege of Sevastopol in July 1942. After the end of World War II, the name 'Chapeyevskaya' was given to the 25th Guards Rifle Division.

The division was subsequently reformed in the Arkhangelsk Military District in 1943. It did not see any further action in the Second World War.[1] While Poirer and Connor list further fighting it took part in, it is believed that this information was incorrect. It was attached to the 4th Rifle Corps of the Belomorsky Military District in May 1945. In 1957, it became the 156th Motor Rifle Division,and in 1965, the 37th Motor Rifle Division.


  1. Avanzini, Crofoot, 'Armies of the Bear,' Vol I, No. 1, ISBN 097202963X.

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