Military Wiki
17th Tank Corps (1942 - 1943)
4th Guards Tank Corps (1943 - 1945)
4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner Tank Division named after Yuri Andropov (1945 - Present)
File:Rf 4 gv td-1.jpg
4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division
Active 2009 - 2013 as Brigade,from 2013 Division again
Country Russia Russia
Branch Regular Army
Type Tank
Size Around 12,000 plus Personnel
Part of 20th Guards Army, Western Military District
Garrison/HQ Naro-Fominsk, 70km south-west of Moscow.
Nickname(s) Kantemirovka
Motto(s) Honour and glory
Engagements World War II
First Chechen War
South Ossetia - 1997
Second Chechen War

The 4th Guards "Kantemirovskaya" Tank Brigade, more usually known as the Kantemirovskaya Division (Cyrillic: гвардейская танковая Кантемировская дивизия, Gvardeiskaya Tankovaya Kantemirovskaya Divisiya) or Kantemir Division, is an elite armoured division of the Russian Ground Forces. It is one of the key formations of the Western Military District, subordinated to the 20th Guards Army under Lt. General Andrey Tretyak. It is one of the Russian Army's 'constant readiness' divisions, with at least 80% manpower and 100% equipment holdings at all times. All of its units, as well as headquarters, are based in the town of Naro-Fominsk, 70 km south-west of Moscow.


The direct ascendant of the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division was the 17th Tank Corps, initially formed in 1942, which commenced its combat history on 26 June 1942 just prior to the Battle of Voronezh (1942), deployed to the west of the city. For distinction in combat against fascist aggressors in the Middle Don Operation (17–30 December 1942[1]), the Corps was renumbered as the 4th Guards Tank Corps in January 1943. It received the honorific Kantemirovsky after Kantemirovka, the village which was liberated by tank subunits as their baptism of fire.

In the August 1943 formation endured continuous combat on the Belgorod-Kharkiv direction of The Kursk Bulge. For the courage and heroism shown during the liberation of cities on the right-bank Ukraine: Zbarazh, Ternopil, and Shepetovka in April 1944 the Corps was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, and seventeen regiments and separate battalions were awarded honorifics of: Shepetovsky, Zhitomirsky, Yampolsky, and Tarnopolsky. For clearing Krakow the Corps was awarded the Order of Lenin. The 4th Guards Tank Corps was among the first to reach the river Elbe, and participated in the capture of Dresden; having made a sudden redeployment to Czechoslovakia, the Corps finished the fighting during the Second World War in the suburbs of Prague.

Structure of the 4th Guards Tank Division.

For the courage shown by soldiers and officers of the Corps, during wartime military units were awarded 23 awards, the staff of the Corps was thanked officially by the Supreme commander in chief 18 times, 32 of its members were awarded the Hero of Soviet Union (5 of which are forever enlisted in the unit rolls), more than 20 thousand received awards and medals, five becoming full chevaliers of the Order of Glory. On 14 June 1945 the 4th Guards Tank Corps became the 4th Guards "Kantemirovskaya" Tank Division and on 13 September 1945 it was assigned to the armies of Moscow Military District with a re-deployment to Naro-Fominsk Moscow Region. In the autumn of 1946 it participated in the Day of the Tankmen's parade on the Red Square in Moscow. On 23 February 1984 the division received the honorific name "Yuri Andropov".

The division was one of the two major Ground Forces divisions deployed in Moscow in August 1991 as part of the attempted hardline coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup's failure strengthened Boris Yeltsin's position in the Russian SFSR, and soon afterwards in the Russian Federation, of which he became President. The Kantemirovskaya Division, together with the Tamanskaya Division which had also taken part in the coup, but ended up supporting Yeltsin, was to form the basis of a de facto Praetorian Guard for Yeltsin throughout the 1990s, securing his political power throughout the time he was President. During the most serious crisis of Yeltsin's premiership, the 1993 constitutional crisis, the Kantemir Division was one of several key divisions that had given their reluctant support to Yeltsin by October 4, the decisive point in the crisis. The 1st GTA had relocated from the former East Germany to Smolensk when Soviet troops left Germany at the beginning of the 90s; it was disbanded in 1998, as was the 144th MRD. Thereafter the Kantemirovskaya Division came under the command of the 20th Guards Army. Units of the division took part in the First Chechen War. In the early 1990s, the division came under the command of the famous 1st Guards Tank Army, along with the 144th Motor Rifle Division. Personnel of the subunits took part in peace-keeping operations in South Ossetia during 1997, and in Kosovo in 1998-2002, later participating in a counter-terrorism operation in the Chechen republic. On 9 May 2005, eight T-80BV tanks from the division took part in the parade in Moscow to mark the 60th anniversary of VE-day. On 27 December 2005, the division was visited by Sergei Ivanov, the Russian Defence Minister. Most recently, in early 2006, the division's 13th Tank Regiment participated, along with other 20th Guards Army units, in the joint Russian-Belorussian "Shield of Union" military exercises.

The Kantemirovsky street in Moscow is named in the honour of the division.

According to the NOVOSTI news agency the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya is on the road of being disbanded by the Russian Defense Ministry, according to Russian government the division will be converted into two brigades. The high command of the Russian armed forces has said the newly established brigades would retain their honorary names and banners.[2]

Subordinated units and fighting strength

As of 2006, the Kantemirovskaya Division consisted of the following units:

The 4th Guards Tank Division currently has approximately 12,000 personnel in active service.[3] The division's principal vehicles are the T-80 main battle tank and the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle; it also makes limited use of the BTR-80 and MT-LB armoured personnel carriers, as well as the 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled artillery system and BM-21 Grad MLRS.

Equipment Summary[3]

Equipment Numbers
Main Battle Tanks 310 (T-80)
IFV 300 (BMP-2)
Self-Propelled Artillery 130 (2S3 Akatsiya & 2S19 Msta)
Multiple Rocket Launchers 12 (BM-21)


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