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The Soviet Airborne Troops formed a number of Airborne Corps before and during the Great Patriotic War/Second World War.

Airborne corps 22 June 1941

Source forums.[1]

  • 1st Airborne Corps:
    • Major General Usenko Matvei Alekseyevich (on 23 June – October 1941
    • Colonel, 19 January 1942 Major General Zholudev Victor Grigorevich (on 15 December 1941 – July 1942)
    • Major General Alexander Peter Alekseyevich (September – December 1942).
  • 2nd Airborne Corps:
    • Major General Kharitonov Fedor Mikhaylovich (23 June – 9 September 1941)
    • Colonel Gubarevich Joseph Ivanovich (May – October 1941)
    • Colonel, since 1942 Major General Mikhail Fedorovich Tikhonov (September 1941 – May 1942).
  • 3rd Airborne Corps: (ru:3-й воздушно-десантный корпус (СССР))
    • Major General Glazunov Vasiliy Afanasevich ( 23–29 June August 1941)
    • Colonel Travnikov Nikolai Grigorevich (September 1941 – March 1942)
    • Colonel Afanasev Fedor Alexandrovich (February – July 1942).
  • 4th Airborne Corps
  • 5th Airborne Corps: (ru:5-й воздушно-десантный корпус (СССР))
    • Major General Bezuglyy Ivan Semenovich (June – October 1941)
    • Colonel Stepan Savelevich Gur'yev (3 October 1941 – August 1942)
    • Colonel Afanasev Fedor Alexandrovich (August – November 1942)
    • Major General of Shore Duty Terenty Mikhaylovich Parafilo (25 November – December 1942)

Airborne corps formed after 22 June 1941

  • 6th Airborne Corps:
    • Major General Alexander Pastrevich (October 1941 – August 1942)
    • Major General Kirzimov Alexander Ilyich (August – December 1942)
  • 7th Airborne Corps:
    • Colonel, since 1942 Major General Joseph Gubarevich (October 1941 – August 1942)
    • Major General Peter Lyapin (August – December 1942).
    • The corps was formed on 5 December 1941 in the Volga Military District with the 14th, 15th, and 16th Airborne Brigades. The corps remained in the Moscow district training until 29 August 1942, when it was reformed and redesignated as the 34th Guards Rifle Division. The second formation of the 7th Airborne Corps started forming in August 1942 in the Moscow Military District with the 14th, 15th, 16th Airborne Brigade. The new 7th Airborne Corps was still forming near Moscow on 8 December 1942 when it was redesignated as the 2nd Guards Airborne Division.
  • 8th Airborne Corps:
    • Colonel, 1942 Major General Vasiliy Glazkov (October 1941 – August 1942)
    • Colonel Konev Ivan Nikitin (29 August – December 1942).
  • 9th Airborne Corps:
    • Major General Bezuglyy Ivan Semenovich (October 1941 – 30 March 1942. "[F]or the use of combat aircraft for personal purposes, the non-fulfillment within the required period of the orders of the VDV Military Council about the transfer of aircraft to other formations" removed from the held post, and is from June lowered in the service rank to Colonel.)
    • Colonel, since 1942 Major General Denisenko Mikhail Ivanovich (March – August 1942)
    • Colonel Mamontov Aleksey Georgievich (18 August – 29 October 1942)
    • Major General Travnikov Nikolai Grigorevich (29 October – December 1942).
  • 10th Airborne Corps:
    • Colonel, 1942 Major General Ivanov Nikolai Petrovich (November 1941 – August 1942)
    • Major General Kapitokhin Alexander Grigorevich (29 August – December 1942).

From Summer 1942

In Summer 1942 the Stavka converted all ten airborne corps into guards rifle divisions to bolster Soviet forces in the south. Among them was the 6th Airborne Corps, which became the 40th Guards Rifle Division.


'..[T]he Stavka still foresaw the necessity of conducting actual airborne operations later during the war. To have [such a force] the Stavka created eight new airborne corps (1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th) in the fall of 1942. Beginning in December 1942, these corps became ten guards airborne divisions (two formed from the 1st Airborne Corps and the three existing separate maneuver airborne brigades).'

These divisions were numbered 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, formed from 9th Airborne Corps (2nd formation), 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Guards Airborne Division.

'After the defeat of German forces at Kursk, the bulk of the airborne divisions joined in the pursuit of German forces to the Dnepr River. Even as ten guards airborne divisions fought at the front, new airborne brigades formed in the rear areas. In April and May 1943, twenty brigades formed and trained for future airborne operations. Most of these brigades had become six new guards airborne divisions (11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th) by September 1943.[3] The Stavka however, earmarked three of these airborne brigades use in an airborne operation to cross the Dnepr River.'

However, by January 1944, some of these formations (the 15th and 16th at least) were becoming Guards Rifle Divisions (the 15th became the 100th Guards in January 1944).

Guards Airborne Corps from 1944

David Glantz wrote in 1984:[4]

In August [1944], the Stavka formed the 37th, 38th, and 39th Guards Airborne corps. By October, the newly formed corps had combined into a separate airborne army under Maj. Gen. I. I. Zatevakhin. However, because of the growing need for well-trained ground units, the new army did not endure long as an airborne unit. In December, separate airborne army the Stavka reorganized the separate airborne army into the 9th Guards Army of Col. Gen. V. V. Glagolev, and all divisions were renumbered as guards rifle divisions. As testimony to the elite nature of airborne-trained units, the Stavka held the 9th Guards Army out of defensive actions, using it only for exploitation during offensives.

From December 1944, the original VDV divisions were reconstituted as Guards Rifle formations.

There were significant reorganisations after the end of the war, and two new airborne corps (the 8th and 15th) were established. At the end of 1955 and the beginning of 1956 the 11th, 21st, 100th and 114th Airborne Divisions were disbanded as well as all the airborne corps headquarters.[8]


  1. Zhukov, A.E., Forum at
  2. Glantz, 1984
  3. D. Sukhorukov, "Vozdushno-desantnye voiska" [Airlanding forces], Voyenno-istorichesky zhurnal (VIZh, the Military-Historical Journal), January 1982:40, cited in Glantz, 1984, 32.
  4. Glantz, The Soviet Airborne Experience, 1984, 33, 167, citing Sukhorukov, Sovetskie vozdushno, 238–239.
  5. See also ru:37-й гвардейский стрелковый корпус
  6. See also Michael Holm, 99th Guards Airborne Division, accessed December 2013.
  7. Michael Holm, 114th Guards Airborne Division, accessed December 2103.
  8. Vad777's Soviet Armed Forces site

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