216th Motor Rifle Division

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The 216th Motor Rifle Division was a division of the Soviet Ground Forces. It was descended from the 216th Rifle Division, a Soviet infantry division of the Red Army. It was established at Staro Konstantinov in May 1941. It fought at Kharkov and in Karelia, Crimea, and Kurland.

First Formation (216th Motorizied Division)[edit]

The division was formed in March 1941 in the Kiev Special Military District as the 216th Motorised Division, and was with the KSMD's 24th Mechanised Corps, along with the 45th and 49th Tank Divisions, in June 1941.[1]

Second Formation (216th Rifle Division)[edit]

After the defensive fighting on the borders it was reformed in Kharkov as the 216th Rifle Division which became the skeleton of the garrison of the city. The Front staff directed that the defenders of Kharkov should abandon the city on the night of 25 October 1941. However the city garrison staff, under General I.I. Marshalkov, and the efforts of the 38th Army, also present, were not well coordinated. Thus the Division received orders simultaneously from the city defense staff, and from the 38th army staff. As a result of the confusion the Germans managed to seize one of the bridges into the city.

In April and May 1944 the Division fought with the 10th Rifle Corps, 51st Army, in the Battle of the Crimea (1944). 51st Army was subsequently moved to 1st Baltic Front. Later on, on 6 April 1945 the 216th Rifle Division was one of the divisions in the encirclement around Königsberg, located at the northwest sector and part of the 124th Rifle Corps of the 43rd Army. The division to the right was the 208th Rifle Division, and to the left was the 153rd Rifle Division. They attacked German positions and broke through the second defense line. By May 1945 the Division was with the 50th Army of the 3rd Belorussian Front.

The Division was part of the Fourth Army in the Transcaucasian Military District until 1955, and was for a brief period the 104th Mechanised Division. It was renamed the 216th Motor Rifle Division in 1965, and then disbanded 1985.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Orbat.com/Niehorster, Kiev Special Military District, 22 June 1941