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The 7th Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Soviet Union's Red Army, formed five separate times from 1918 to 1955. The division was first formed in September 1918 at Vladimir in the Moscow Military District.

After reorganisation, probably as part of forming new divisions, the division was re-formed for the second time in August 1939 at Poltava in the Kiev Special Military District. In September–October, 1939 the division took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland (1939) as part of the 6th Rifle Corps, 6th Army, Ukrainian Front. From the Kiev Special MD it was sent to Finland around the middle of January 1940. The division arrived in Perk-yarvi (Перк-ярви) around the end of January or the start of February and moved to lake Mikkelin-yarvi. From 3 February 1940 it joined the 50th Rifle Corps, and advanced with the Corps from 13.02.1940 as part of the 7th Army. It was then shifted to the 10th Rifle Corps about 20 February 1940, on the Hotinen (Хотинен) direction. It was then shifted again, to the 34th Rifle Corps in February–March and awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

Returned to the Kiev Special Military District in April 1940, it participated in the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina in June–July 1940. In August 1940 it was reformed as the 7th Mechanized Division. During the Soviet-Finnish campaign the division consisted of the 27th, 257th, and 300th Rifle Regiments, the 23rd Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 405th Separate Tank Battalion. Fighting as part of the 8th Motorized Corps, 26th Army, Southwestern Front,[1] from June 1941, the division was decimated in attempting to halt the German advance. It was engaged in the Lutsk-Rovno area soon after the German invasion began.[2]

The division was reformed 27.12.1941 for the third time from remnants[citation needed] of the 7th Mechanized Division at Sverdlovsk in the Ural Military District. Fourth formation began at Sverdlovsk in the Ural MD in 1942, as an Estonian national formation, which later joined the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps of the Red Army. It took part in operations from 7 November 1942 as part of the 3rd, 1st Shock, 8th and 42nd Armies. Its first combat was the Battle of Velikiye Luki. On 1 December 1942 it was part of the 8th Rifle Corps, subordinated directly to the Kalinin Front alongside other Estonian formations.[3] The 7th Estonian Rifle Division was with 1st Shock Army of the Kurland Group (Leningrad Front) in May 1945. On 28.06.1945 it became the 118th Guards Rifle Division by NKO Order № 0126.

The division was apparently formed five times in total, last in 1955 by renumbering 407th Rifle Division.

Honorifics and awards

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References and external links

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