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1991 Structure of the 42nd Motor Rifle Division

The 42nd Guards Motor Rifle Division was formed originally as the 111th Rifle Division in Vologda in 1940, and became the 24th Guards Rifle Division in March 1942.[1] It was based in the North Caucasus following World War II; it become 42nd Guards MRD on 10 June 1957, while at Grozny.[2] It became 42nd Guards Training Motor Rifle Division on 18 October 1960.

On 14 September 1987 it became 173 Guards District Training Centre (Holm). In 1991 it comprised three motor rifle regiments, one tank regiment, one Guards training artillery regiment and one air defence regiment. These units were the 70th, 71st and 72nd Motor Rifle Regiments; the 392nd Tank Regiment; the 50th Guards Training Artillery Regiment and the 1203rd Anti-aircraft Missile Regiment. In November 1990 it had a total of 219 tanks, 187 being T-55s. It was disbanded on 4 January 1992 (Holm). Later it may have had to hand over half its weapons to the Chechens in order to evacuate the other half unhindered.[3]

The Division did not reform until the late 1990s. Following the beginning of the Second Chechen War it was designated in December 1999 as the permanent garrison force for Chechnya and various military districts started raising its regiments separately in 2000.[4] The division was intended to have a strength of 15,500 men. Its headquarters was established at Khankala outside Groznyy, with the 71st Motor Rifle Regiment also at the same base. 71st MRR was raised in the Volga Military District. 70th Motor Rifle Regiment was formed in the Urals MD and located at Shali. 72nd MRR, raised from the 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division in the Moscow Military District was established at Kalinovskaya, and 291st Motor Rifle Regiment, originating in the Leningrad Military District, was set up at Borzoy.[5]

On 1 July 2000, the Russian military leadership announced that a different place had been selected for stationing one of the regiments of the 42nd Division.[6] Deputy Defence Minister Colonel-General Aleksandr Kosovan said that they had decided on the area of the Borzoy settlement instead of the planned Itum-Kale for its motor rifle regiment. He also said that three of the regiments of the 42nd Division were going to be equipped "to the maximum" by the end of the year. The writer Michael Orr, noted that the 291st MRR had been relocated 'when the tactical vulnerability of the position [originally Itum-Kale] was appreciated.'[7] The division was equipped with T-62 tanks, with at least one regiment having BMP-1 IFVs (infantry fighting vehicles).

The 42nd Division included two Chechen battalions, the Vostok and Zapad units.[8] The two battalions were apparently GRU Spetsnaz units but under the operational command of the 42nd Division.

Following the 2008 Russian military reform, the division was probably disbanded by 2009.[9]


  1. С.Н.Жилин и др. "Под гвардейским знаменем" Архангельск/Вологда. 1980 г.
  2. Michael Holm, 42nd Guards Training Motor Rifle Division, accesed February 2015.
  3. Robinson, Colin (2005). "The Russian Ground Forces: A Structural Status Examination". Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis, Inc.. pp. 198. Digital object identifier:10.1080/13518040590944421. ISSN 1351-8046. 
  4. Michael Orr, "Russia's Chechen War Reaches Crisis Point", Jane's Intelligence Review, October 2000.
  5. Borzoy is at 42°50′19″N 45°37′50″E / 42.83859°N 45.63042°E / 42.83859; 45.63042, in the Shatoy district, on the Itum-Kale - Shatoy road.
  6. Russian Domestic Policy Chronology, July–September 2000, Conflict Studies Research Centre
  7. Orr, 2000, p.17
  8. Sulim Yamadayev commands the Vostok battalion.
  9. See

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