The Southwestern Front was a name given to a Front (or Army group sized military formation) by the Imperial Russian Army during the First World War, by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic during the Russian Civil War, and by the Red Army during the Second World War. The Southwestern Front in this article describes several distinct organizations during the Second World War. This Red Army formation was first created on June 22, 1941 from the Special Kiev Military District. The western boundary of the front in June 1941 was 865 km long, from the Pripyat River and the town of Wlodawa to the Prut River and the town of Lipkany at the border with Romania. It connected to the north with the Western Front, which extended to the Lithuanian border, and to the south with the Southern Front, which extended to the city of Odessa on the Black Sea.
The Southwestern Front was on the main axis of attack by the German Army Group South during Operation Barbarossa. At the outbreak of war with Germany, the Front contained the Soviet 5th, 6th, 26th, and 12th Armies along the frontier. 16th and 19th Armies were in reserve behind the forward forces. These forces took part in the tank battles in western Ukraine and were surrounded and destroyed at the Battle of Uman and the Battle of Kiev (1941) in August and September 1941. The Front was immediately re-established with new forces. During the period of the Battle of Moscow it was under the command of Marshal Timoshenko, and included from north to south the 40th, 21st, 38th and 6th Armies. It was formally disbanded on July 12, 1942 and the forces transferred to the Stalingrad Front and Southern Front.
The Front was reformed from reserve armies on October 22, 1942. It was renamed the 3rd Ukrainian Front on October 20, 1943. 3rd Ukrainian Front's first operations were the Battle of the Dnieper and the Battle of Kiev (1943).
Southwestern Front on 22 June 1941
Composition Subordinate Front units directly under Commander of the Front:
- Colonel General Mikhail P. Kirponos (June 1941 – September 1941: killed in action)
- Marshal Semyon K. Timoshenko (September 1941 – December 1941; April–July 1942)
- Lieutenant General F. Ia. Kostenko (December 1941 – April 1942)
- Lieutenant General Nikolai F. Vatutin [promoted to Colonel General in December 1942] (October 1942 – March 1943)
- Colonel General Rodion Ia. Malinovsky (March 1943 – October 1943)
References and notes
- Boevoi Sostav Sovietskoi Armii czast I juni-dekabr 1941 Moskva 1966 page 9
- Solonin, Mark, 22 June 1941 Bocka i obruci czili Kogda naczalas Vielikaja Oteczestvennaja vojna 2004
- Erickson, John, The Road to Stalingrad, Cassell Military Paperback, 2003
- Fugate, Bryan & Dvoriecki, Lev, Thunder on the Dnepr Presidio Press
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