20th Army (Soviet Union)

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The 20th Army was a field army of the Red Army that fought during the Great Patriotic War.

First formation[edit]

The Army was first formed in the Orel Military District in June 1941. On 22 June 1941 the Army was part of the STAVKA reserves and was located west of Moscow.

On 27 June 1941 it was proposed to Joseph Stalin that the Soviet armies (13th Army, 19th Army, 20th, 21st Army, and 22nd Army) would defend the line going through the Daugava-Polotsk-Vitebsk-Orsha-Mogilev-Mazyr[1] as part of the Reserve Front.[2]

Committed as part of Western Front in defensive battles in Belarussia, Smolensk, and Vyazma. By 5 August 1941 the army, in David Glantz's words, had been 'reduced to a skeleton.' The strength of the 289th Rifle Division had fallen to 285 men, 17 machine guns, and one anti-tank gun, the 73rd Rifle Division to 100 men and 4 to 5 machine guns, 144th Rifle Division to 440 men, and 153rd Rifle Division to 750 men.[3] The Army HQ was disbanded having been encircled and destroyed in the Vyazma Pocket.

Order of Battle 22 June 1941[edit]

Source: BSSA via tashv and Leo Niehorster

Commanders[edit]

  • Lieutenant General F.N. Remezov (Jun 1941 - Jul 1941)
  • Lieutenant General Pavel Kurochkin (Jul 1941 - Aug 1941)
  • Lieutenant General M.F. Lukin (Aug 1941 - Sep 1941)
  • Lieutenant General F.A. Ershakov (Sep 1941 - Oct 1941) (POW)

Second formation[edit]

Reestablished in November 1941 from Operational Group Liziukov. Reformed November 1941 for the Battle of Moscow, comprising 331st and 350th Rifle Divisions, and three separate brigades. Fought as part of the Western Front. In 1942-43 it operated on the Rzhev-Sychevka bridgehead, and took part in the Rzhev-Vyazma offensive operation. In 1944 it became part of the Stavka Reserve and was then reassigned to Kalinin Front and Leningrad Front. It was disbanded in April 1944 by being dispersed within the formations of 3rd Baltic Front.

The army was in strategic reserve from July 1943 to April 1944. In April 1944 the headquarters was disbanded and used to form the 3rd Baltic Front.

Commanders[edit]

  • Lieutenant General Andrey Vlasov (Nov 1941 - Mar 1942)
  • Lieutenant General Max Reyter (Mar 1942 - Sep 1942)
  • Major General N.I. Kiriukhin (Oct 1942 - Dec 1942)
  • Lieutenant General M.S. Khizin (Dec 1942 - Jan 1943)
  • Lieutenant General Nikolai Berzarin (Jan 1943 - Mar 1943)
  • Major General A.N. Ermakov (Mar 1943 - Aug 1943)
  • Lieutenant General Nikolai Berzarin (Aug 1943 - Sepr 1943)
  • Major General A.N. Ermakov (Sep 1943 - Sep 1943)
  • Lieutenant General Anton Lopatin (Sep 1943 - Oct 1943)
  • Lieutenant General Nikolai Gusev (Nov 1943 - Apr 1944)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fugate Bryan , Dvoriecki Lev Blitzkrieg and Dnieperm Warszawa 2001 page 130
  2. ^ Glantz, David M., Companion to Colosus Reborn, 2005
  3. ^ Two reports in SBDVOV, issue 37, pages 271-273, dated 4 August 1941 and 5 August 1941 cited in David Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, University Press of Kansas, 210.