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A rifle corps ([стрелковый корпус, strelkovyy korpus] Error: {{Lang-xx}}: text has italic markup (help)) was a Soviet corps-level military formation during the mid-twentieth century. Rifle corps were made up of a varying number of rifle divisions, although the allocation of three rifle divisions to a rifle corps was common during the latter part of World War II.

Unlike army corps formed by Germany and the Western Allies, Soviet rifle corps were composed primarily of combat troops and had only a small logistical component. Because the rifle divisions themselves were also primarily made up of combat troops, the rifle corps were numerically smaller than corps of other nations. The Soviets also formed Guards rifle corps during World War II, although these were often assigned control of regular rifle divisions and sometimes controlled no Guards rifle divisions. The Red Army as a whole had 27 rifle corps headquarters in its order of battle on 1 June 1938; this had been expanded to 62 by June 1941.[1] When Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Red Army initially had some 32 rifle corps headquarters as part of their order of battle in action against the Germans. Because Joseph Stalin's prewar purge of the Red Army had removed so many experienced leaders, the rifle corps echelon of command in Soviet forces engaged against the Germans dwindled in the face of massive Red Army losses of 1941. The stark shortage of experienced leaders forced the Red Army to have rifle army headquarters directly supervising rifle divisions without the assistance of intervening rifle corps headquarters.[2] The use of rifle corps headquarters never disappeared entirely from the Red Army during World War II, as rifle armies in areas not fighting the Germans (such as the Far Eastern military region) maintained their use of rifle corps headquarters during the entire war.

An example of wartime rifle corps organization is that of the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps in 1942:[3]

  • 8th Rifle Corps
    • 7th Rifle Division
    • 249th Rifle Division
    • 85th Corps Artillery Regiment
    • 36th Sapper Battalion
    • 86th Medical Battalion
    • 482nd Reconnaissance Company
    • 162nd Machine Gun Battalion

Of the 8th Rifle Corps' 1942 strength of 26,466 men, only 2,599 (less than 10 per cent) made up the corps headquarters and corps assets, the remainder being assigned to the two rifle divisions.

By November 1941, the Soviet order of battle showed only one rifle corps headquarters still active among the forces fighting the German invasion. By early 1942, however, the Soviets began to reactivate rifle corps headquarters for use as an intermediate command echelon between the rifle armies and rifle divisions. Doubtlessly, the direct command of divisions by army headquarters resulted in too-large spans of control for army commanders and the Red Army desired to reintroduce the rifle corps headquarters once enough experienced commanders and staff officers were available. By the end of 1942, 21 rifle corps headquarters were in action with Soviet forces engaging the Germans. This grew to over 100 by the end of 1943, and reached a peak of 174 either in action against the Germans or as part of the strategic reserve of the Stavka by the end of the war with Germany in May 1945.

A limited number of Rifle Corps remained as part of the Ground Forces post 1945. They were slowly converted to 'Army Corps' though they still mostly consisted of Rifle and then Motor Rifle Divisions.

List of Soviet Rifle Corps 22 June 1941

List of Soviet Rifle Corps formed during World War II

Almost all Soviet Rifle Corps were disbanded in the first several months of the war and reformed as the Soviet High Command gained experience in commanding large numbers of forces.

  • 38th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet Order of Battle (OOB) 1 June 1943, as part of the 50th Army, Western Front. Subordinate divisions at this date were the 17th, 326th, and 413th Rifle Divisions.
  • 43rd Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 June 1943, as part of the 2nd Shock Army, Leningrad Front. Subordinate divisions at this date were the 11th, 128, and 314th Rifle Divisions.
  • 46th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as part of the 61st Army, Bryansk Front. Subordinate divisions at this time were the 356th and 415th Rifle Divisions.
  • 54th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 June 1943, as part of the 51st Army, Southern Front. Subordinate divisions at this time were the 87th, 99th, and 302nd Rifle Divisions.
  • 56th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as part of the 16th Army, Far Eastern Front. Subordinate divisions at this time were the 79th and 101st Rifle Divisions. Apparent assignment of numeric designation to the Special Rifle Corps that disappears from the Soviet OOB on the same date.
  • 57th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 September 1943, as part of the 37th Army, STAVKA Reserve. Subordinate divisions at this time were the 62nd Guards, 92nd Guards, 110th Guards, and 53rd Rifle Divisions.
  • 68th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as part of the 57th Army, Southwestern Front. Subordinate divisions at this time were the 19th, 52nd, and 303rd Rifle Divisions.
  • 70th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Western Front.
  • 71st Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and as part of the 31st Army, Western Front.
  • 72nd Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the 68th Army, Western Front.
  • 73rd Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and as part of the 52nd Army, STAVKA Reserve.
  • 74th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and as part of the Moscow Military District.
  • 75th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and as part of the Moscow Military District.
  • 76th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and as part of the Moscow Military District.
  • 77th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and as part of the Moscow Military District.
  • 78th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Ural Military District.
  • 79th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Ural Military District. This corps commanded units that stormed the Reichstag on 2 May 1945. (150th, 171st, 207th Rifle Divisions on July 9, 1945, on formation of Group of Soviet Forces in Germany)
  • 80th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Trans-Volga Military District.
  • 81st Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 August 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the 68th Army, Western Front.
  • 82nd Rifle Corps
  • 83rd Rifle Corps (119th, 339, 360th Rifle Divisions) as part of 4th Shock Army on 1 December 1944 (BSSA)
  • 84th Rifle Corps
  • 85th Rifle Corps
  • 86th Rifle Corps
  • 87th Rifle Corps - see 33rd Motor Rifle Division#Service in the invasion of Manchuria. On 9 August 1945 comprised 342nd Rifle Division and 345th Rifle Division plus 914th Signals Battalion, 967th Engineer Battalion, plus an artillery regiment.[38]
  • 88th Rifle Corps
  • 89th Rifle Corps
  • 90th Rifle Corps
  • 91st Rifle Corps
  • 92nd Rifle Corps
  • 93rd Rifle Corps
  • 94th Rifle Corps (124th, 221st, 358th Rifle Divisions) and 113th Rifle Corps (192, 262, 338th Rifle Divisions) with 39th Army, RVGK on 1 May 1945),[39]
  • 95th Rifle Corps
  • 96th Rifle Corps
  • 97th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Moscow Military District.
  • 98th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Moscow Military District.
  • 99th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Moscow Military District. Later part of 14th Army, and 19th Army.
  • 100th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Moscow Military District.
  • 101st Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 September 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Trans-Volga Military District.
  • 102nd Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Trans-Volga Military District.
  • 103rd Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the Trans-Volga Military District.
  • 104th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the North Caucasus Military District.
  • 105th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the North Caucasus Military District.
  • 106th Rifle Corps - first appears in Soviet OOB 1 November 1943, as a headquarters with no troops assigned and part of the North Caucasus Military District.
  • 107th Rifle Corps
  • 108th Rifle Corps - 372nd Rifle Division assigned to this corps from 1 September 1944 to 1 May 1945.
  • 109th Rifle Corps
  • 110th Rifle Corps
  • 111th Rifle Corps
  • 112th Rifle Corps
  • 113th Rifle Corps
  • 114th Rifle Corps
  • 115th Rifle Corps
  • 116th Rifle Corps
  • 117th Rifle Corps
  • 118th Rifle Corps
  • 119th Rifle Corps
  • 120th Rifle Corps
  • 121st Rifle Corps
  • 122nd Rifle Corps
  • 123rd Rifle Corps
  • 124th Rifle Corps
  • 125th Rifle Corps
  • 126th Rifle Corps
  • 127th Rifle Corps
  • 128th Rifle Corps
  • 129th Rifle Corps
  • Latvian 130th Rifle Corps of the Order of Suvorov.
  • 132nd Rifle Corps - formed part of 19th Army
  • 133rd Rifle Corps
  • 134th Rifle Corps - formed part of 19th Army
  • 135th Rifle Corps

Guards Rifle Corps

1st - 40th Guards Rifle Corps formed after June 22, 1941:

Notes

  1. Glantz, Colossus, p. 107
  2. Stavka Circular 01 of July 15, 1941 directed several changes to Red Army force structure, the elimination of rifle corps headquarters and subordination of rifle divisions directly to rifle army headquarters among them. Glantz and House, p. 65.
  3. historycommission.ee
  4. V.I. Feskov et al 2004, 45
  5. Minsk Minsk fortified region - general information
  6. Battle of Minsk
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Leo Niehorster, Transcaucasus Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41
  8. Bonn, 324.
  9. 3rd Army, Western Special Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41
  10. 6th Army, Kiev Special Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41
  11. Feskov et al 2004, 49.
  12. Odessa Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, pg. 265
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, pg. 261
  15. 15.0 15.1 Feskov et al 2004, 46.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, pg. 262
  17. niehorster.orbat.com
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, pg. 264
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 [1]
  20. Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, pg 263.
  21. 27th Army, Baltic Special Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Nigel Thomas, Germany's Eastern Front Allies (2): Baltic Forces, Osprey, 5.
  23. 'Tartu in the 1941 Summer War,' Baltic Defence College.
  24. 24.0 24.1 [2]
  25. Leo Niehorster, Orel Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41
  26. Восточно-Карпатская наступательная операция
  27. [3]
  28. [4]
  29. Moscow Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41
  30. Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, pg 261
  31. p.23, Perechen No.4 Headquarters of Corps, Soviet General Staff, Moscow, 1956
  32. Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, pg. 263
  33. Glatz, Stumbling Colossus, pg. 261
  34. 34.0 34.1 Leo Niehorster
  35. 35.0 35.1 Leo Niehorster
  36. niehorster.orbat.com
  37. 37.0 37.1 Leo Niehorster, 21st Army, 22 June 1941 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Niehorster21" defined multiple times with different content
  38. Niehorster, http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/45-08-08/corps_087-rifle.htm
  39. 39.0 39.1 tashv.nm.ru, Combat composition of the Soviet Army, 1 May 1945, accessed October 2011
  40. 40.0 40.1 Keith E. Bonn, Slaughterhouse: the Handbook of the Eastern Front, Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA, 2005, 345.
  41. http://www.uvao.ru/uvao/ru/pages/print/o_105604
  42. Keith E. Bonn, Slaughterhouse: the Handbook of the Eastern Front, Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA, 2005, 345-6.
  43. Michael Holm, 49th Guards Rocket Division, and Feskov et al 2004, 46, 133.
  44. Журнал Санкт-Петербургский университет ISSN 1681-1941 / № 1-2 (3657-3658), 19 January 2004 года
  45. Andrew Duncan, article in Jane's Intelligence Review, 1998
  46. Clark 2012, p. 230, 399–402.

Sources

  • БОЕВОЙ СОСТАВ СОВЕТСКОЙ АРМИИ 1941 - 1945 (Official Soviet Army Order of Battle from General Staff Archives).
  • V.I. Feskov, et al. The Soviet Army in the Years of the Cold War: 1945-91, Tomsk: Tomsk University Publishing House, 2004.
  • David M. Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998. ISBN 0-7006-0879-6.
  • David M. Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. ISBN 0-7006-0899-0.
  • Robert G. Poirier and Albert Z. Conner, The Red Army Order of Battle in the Great Patriotic War, Novato: Presidio Press, 1985. ISBN 0-89141-237-9.

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