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One of the first cavalry divisions in the Red Army was the 1st Cavalry Division (Soviet Union) formed in 1922. In 1938 this formation became the 32nd Cavalry Division.

Organisation 1941

Regular Red Army cavalry divisions in 1941 had four cavalry regiments, a horse artillery battalion (eight 76mm guns and eight 122mm howitzers), a tank regiment (64 BT-series tanks), an anti-aircraft battalion (eight 76mm anti-aircraft guns and two batteries of AA machine guns), a signals squadron, a field engineer squadron and other rear echelon support units and sections.[1]

A cavalry regiment, in turn, consisted of four sabre squadrons, a machine-gun squadron (16 heavy machine guns and four 82mm mortars), a regimental artillery battery (four 76mm and four 45mm of instrument), an anti-aircraft battery (three 37mm guns and three quadrupled Maxim machine guns).[2]

The total authorized strength of a cavalry division included 8,968 personnel and 7,625 horses, the cavalry regiment respectively had 1,428 personnel and 1,506 horses.[3] By 1943, a cavalry division was authorized 6,000 men and often organized into corps of three divisions that were reinforced by artillery, tank, and assault gun elements.[4]

The cavalry corps were of two-divisional composition and approximately corresponded to a motorised division, possessing somewhat less mobility and lesser weight of artillery volley.[5]

At the commencement of the Second World War there were thirteen cavalry divisions (nine regular and four mountain) in the Red Army, mostly concentrated in four cavalry corps.[6] Their dispositions in June 1941 were:

3rd Bessarabian cavalry division named for Kotovsky Russian: 3-й Бессарабская им. Г.И. Котовского кавалерийская дивизия
14th cavalry division named for Parkhomenko Russian: 14-й им. Пархоменко кавалерийская дивизия
5th cavalry division named for M.F.Blinov Russian: 5-й им. М.Ф. Блинова кавалерийсккая дивизия
9th Crimean cavalry division Russian: 9-й Крымсккая кавалерийсккая дивизия
  • Formed in July 1941 at Urup from Kuban Cossacks, and at Stavropol from the Terek Cossacks population were respectively the 50th and 53rd Cavalry divisions.[7]

The rapid destruction of Soviet mechanized forces in the summer and autumn of 1941 resulted in a rapid expansion of cavalry units to provide the Red Army a mobile, if not armored, force.[8] This expansion produced some 87 new cavalry divisions by early 1942, many of which were later disbanded as the Red Army rebuilt its tank and mechanized formations. 17 of the cavalry divisions were granted Guards status and renumbered accordingly.

See also


  1. [1], Isaev
  2. [2], Isaev
  3. [3], Isaev
  4. p.115, Zaloga, Ness
  5. [4], Isaev
  6. [5], Isaev
  7. [6], Isaev
  8. p.107, Zaloga, Ness


  • Isaev, A., Anti-Suvorov: Ten myths of the Second World [War], Moscow, Eksmo, Yauza, 2004 [7]
  • Zaloga, Steven J. & Ness, Leland S., Red Army Handbook 1939-1945, Sutton Publishing, Thrupp, 2003

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