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The 3rd Volnovaskyi Guards Red Banner Order of Suvorov Motor Rifle Division was a division of the Soviet Army from 1957 to around 1992. It traced its history from the highly decorated 3rd Guards Rifle Division of World War II. 3rd Guards Rifle Division was formed from the 153rd Rifle Division.

Division history

Combat history from June 22 to September 20, 1941

In August 1940, by the Order of the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, the 153rd Rifle Division was created in the city of Sverdlovsk. The division was later renamed the 3rd Guard Rifle Volnovakha Red Banner Suvorov Division. From August 1940 through June 1941 the division was engaged in combat training in the Kamyshlovsky camps of the Ural Military District.

In the first half of June 1941, by the order of the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, the division, as a part of the Second Strategic Echelon, was transferred to Vitebsk. By June 22, 1941—the day of the German attack on the Soviet Union—the first three echelons (troop trains?) had already arrived to Vitebsk. The full complement of the division arrived to Vitebsk only by June 27, 1941. Upon arriving to Vitebsk, the division was manned to peace time standards (6,000 soldiers and officers). Due to the declaration of war, the division was urgently staffed with personnel and supplied with additional weapons and materiel over the period of June 22–27. The mobilized personnel arriving to the division's camps was often under-supplied, but over the course of the week the division became fairly battle-ready.

While the staffing of the division was still in progress, on June 26, 1941 parts of it assumed a defensive position on a broad front along the GnezdilovichiKholmsovkhoz Khodtsy–MoshkanyBurdeli–station of Krynki line. At the same time, the division's advance detachments reached the area of Ulla-2 (435 ch), Beshankovichy (Reconnaissance Battalion), Verkhovye (by OT 666 ch), and Syanno (by JV from 505). On July 5, 1941, the advance units along these lines clashed with large mechanized forces of the enemy which were breaking through to Vitebsk. On July 7, 1941, the battle reached the main division lines in the areas of Gnezdilovichi, Shchikotovshchina, Pavlovichi, and sovkhoz Khodtsy. Large German motorized and tank forces, expanding their offensive, attempted to break through to the city of Vitebsk along the Beshenkovichi-Vitebsk highway, and on July 7, 1941 reached the defense division line. After the day of fierce fighting, the division stopped the enemy's advance to the city along the highway and inflicted heavy losses. The German units, waging battles with the defending divisional forces, launched another offensive towards Vitebsk both along the Polotsk–Vitebsk and the Syanno—Bogushevsk highways, thus bypassing the division from north and south. On July 8, 1941, due to the emerging threat of the entrapment by the enemy, the division partially re-grouped its forces, and took up defensive positions at the Gnezdilovichi–Kholm–sovkhoz Khodtsy–Moshkany–Shchemilovka line.

The battles were extremely fierce. The Germans repeatedly tried to break through the division's defensive line, but after having achieved no success and sustaining heavy losses in men and materiel, ceased their attempts at the head-on attack. After breaking through the defenses on the right and left, a large force of infantry and tanks began to bypass the division from the north and south. Continuing the offensive north and south of the defending division, by the end of July 10, 1941 the German forces broke through the Gorodok–Vitebsk and Polotsk–Vitebsk highways and captured the western part of Vitebsk, thus reaching the western coast of the Zapadnaya Dvina River. The German mechanized troops pushed past the division's flanks and launched an offensive towards Smolensk.

From July 11, 1941, the Division was surrounded near the villages of Popovka, Karpovichi, and Krynki, located respectively 8, 14, and 22 km south-east of Vitebsk. By the morning of July 17, 1941, the Division's main forces reached the area of Sleptsy, Loguny, and Karoli, located respectively 17, 14 and 18 km south-west of a major inhabited locality of Liozno (Vitebsk Oblast). Until the end of August 5, 1941, the 153rd Infantry Division was trying to break out of the encirclement. By August, of its original complement of 6,000 only about 1,000 soldiers and officers remained.

From August 6 to 22, 1941, the division conducted combat operations on the east bank of the Dnieper River, as well as attempted to expand its foothold on the west coast in the area of Ratchino, Lyakhovo, and Golovino. From August 22 to September 6, 1941, the division conducted warfare in the area of Height 249.9 on the east bank of the Dnieper, and then on the west coast. From September 6 to 20, 1941, the division was in the 20th Army reserve and then in the Stavka Supreme Main Command reserve while it was staffed to standard in Kalinin.

On September 18, 1941, by the Order #308 of the People's Commissar of Defense, the 153rd Rifle Division was renamed the 3rd Guards Rifle Division.

Fighting divisions from 20 September 1941 to the summer of 1943

From September 20 to November 9, 1941, the Division led military operations as a part of the 54th Army of the Leningrad Front in the area of Mga and Sinyavino. From November 10 to 14, 1941, the Division relocated to the left flank of the army, south of the city of Volkhov. From November 15 to December 28, 1941, the division conducted combat operations near Volkhov and then pursued the enemy to the station of Pogostye.

In summer 1942, the division added staff, and then was made a part of the Stavka reserve.

At the end of August - September 1942, the division took part in the Sinyavino Offensive of the Volkhov Front.

In early December 1942, the division was withdrawn from the Stavka reserve and transferred under the 2nd Guards Army of the Stalingrad Front. During winter 1942, the division completed a difficult forced march, passing 200 to 280 km from the discharge point to the assembly areas. From December 15 to 31, 1942, the division engaged in active combat operations near Stalingrad.

During the Stalingrad strategic offensive, on the threshold of the Myshkova River, the division, as a part of the 2nd Guards Army, played a decisive role in repelling the enemy's Kotelnikovo group attack, and on December 24 it started the offensive itself and forced the enemy to withdraw to the south. Continuing the offensive toward Rostov, the troops of the 2nd Guards Army liberated Novocherkassk on February 13, 1943, and three days later reached the Mius River, where the enemy's resistance forced them to take defensive positions.

Fighting from the summer of 1943 to May 1945

In August–September 1943, the 3rd Guards Division took part in the Donbass strategic offensive operation. The division liberated the inhabited localities of Bolshoy Tokmak (on September 20, 1943) and Volnovakha (on September 10, 1943). By the order of VGK, the 3rd Guards Rifle Division (as well as 11th Guards Cavalry Division, 5th Motor Rifle Division, and 12th Motor Rifle Division, 5th and 12th Guards Motorized Brigades, 5th and 6th Guards Motorized Brigades, and 65th Tank Brigade) was named "Volnovakha".

In late September, during the Melitopol operations, the divisional forces reached the lower course of the Dnieper and liberated Kakhovka on the coast of the Black Sea (on November 2, 1943). In December, as a part of the 4th Ukrainian Front, the divisional forces eliminated the enemy's foothold on the left bank of the Dnieper (in the area of Kherson) after a stubborn battle. In February 1944, the army was transferred to the area of Perekop isthmus, and in April–May it took part in the Crimean strategic operation, resulting in the liberation of Yevpatoriya on April 13, 1944, and, together with other forces of the 4th Ukrainian Front and the Black Sea Fleet, Sevastopol on May 9. In May–June, the 2nd Guards Army was relocated to the area of cities of Dorogobuzh and Yelnya. From May 20, it was in the Stavka reserve, and on July 8 it was included in the 1st Baltic Front. In July, during the Šiauliai Offensive, the division countered the enemy's strikes to the west and northwest of Šiauliai. In October, it participated in the Memel Offensive. On December 20, it was re-assigned to the 3rd Belorussian Front. In January–April 1945, during the East Prussian Offensive, it broke the long-term defenses and eliminated, in conjunction with other troops, the enemy's pent-up forces southwest of Koenigsberg and the Sambia group.


3rd Guards Rifle Division was in the Voronezh Military District with 11th Guards Rifle Corps in 1945-6, and later in 1955 and 1957. A later formation of 3 Guards MRD was listed by Feskov et al. in the Baltic Military District in 1979, and in 1988 - at Klaipėda.


Division units

On July 5, 1941

  • 435-j Infantry Regiment
  • 505th Infantry Regiment,
  • 666th Infantry Regiment,
  • 122nd independent artillery division (дивизион)
  • 565th Light Artillery Regiment,
  • 581-j howitzer artillery regiment
  • 150 of a separate division antitank defense
  • 460th individual Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion
  • 238th individual Reconnaissance Battalion
  • 208th individual Battalion
  • 297th individual Battalion
  • 362nd individual medical-sanitary battalion
  • 7-I single company of chemical protection
  • 193rd trucking company
  • Field bakery and the divisional veterinary hospital.

In December 1942

  • 5 Guards Rifle Regiment
  • 9 Guards Rifle Regiment
  • 13 Guards Rifle Regiment (see ru:13-й гвардейский стрелковый полк)
  • 22 Guards Artillery Regiment
  • 11 Guards Mortar Battalion
  • 15 anti-tank battalion of the Guards
  • 10 of the Guards Battalion
  • 3 Guards Battalion


  • Nikolai Hagen (July 16, 1940 - September 18, 1941), Colonel

and after conversion to the 3rd Guards:

  • Nikolai Hagen (September 18, 1941 - December 18, 1941), a colonel from November 9, 1941 Major General;
  • Anatoly A. Krasnov (December 19, 1941 - March 8, 1942), Colonel, Hero of the Soviet Union, from 1942 - Major General;
  • Nikolay Moiseevich Martynchuk (March 9, 1942 - October 17, 1942), Major-General;
  • Cantemir A. Tsalikov (October 18, 1942 - May 20, 1944), a colonel, with 27 November 1942, Major-General;
  • Leonti D. corridors (May 21, 1944 - June 28, 1944), Colonel;
  • Gregory Fedoseevich Polishchuk (June 29, 1944 - May 9, 1945), a colonel on May 5, 1945, Major-General.


  • September 18, 1941 - the 153rd Infantry Division received the name:'3rd Guards Rifle Division '.
  • September 10, 1943 - The divisions given the name 'Volnovaskyi'.
  • ? ? 194? year - the division was awarded Order of the Red Banner
  • ? ? 194? year - the division was awarded Order of Suvorov



  • General Staff. Military-scientific management. Collection of military documents of the German-Soviet War. Issue 32. - Moscow: Military Publishing House of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR, 1957.
  • Station, Benedict Timofeevich, "Divo-Division". - Ekaterinburg, Argo, 1995. 126 p.
  • Stadnyuk, Ivan Fotievich, War: Roman. - Moscow: Military Publishing, 1987. - "Library Series"

External links

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