7th Guards Cavalry Corps

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8th Cavalry Corps (1942-3)
7th Guards Cavalry Corps (1943-5)
Active 1942-1945
Country Soviet Union
Branch Cavalry
Role Breakthrough and Exploitation in Deep Operations
Size Corps
Battle honours Brandenburgskaya
Order of Lenin
Order of the Red Banner
Order of Suvorov II Class

The 8th Cavalry Corps of the Soviet Union's Red Army was a cavalry corps active during the Second World War.

The corps was created on 18 January 1942 at Tula.[1] General Lieutenant P.P. Korzun took command.[2]

Initial Composition[edit]

Second World War[edit]

Immediately upon forming the 8th Cavalry Corps was assigned to the Bryansk Front. During the winter fighting in February - March 1942 the Corps controlled the 36th and 37th Ski Battalions. By the end of March 1942 the ski battalions and the 52nd Cavalry Division were gone. In April the corps was rebuilt:

  • 21st Mountain Cavalry Division
  • 55th Cavalry Division
  • 112th Cavalry Division
  • 148th Artillery-Mortar Regiment
  • 263rd Horse Artillery Battalion (76mm guns and mortars)

The Corps completed its reorganization in June 1942. In July it went into battle with Bryansk Front against the northern flank of the German summer offensive. After a month of hard fighting the corps went back into reserve. In October it moved south and was assigned to the 5th Tank Army in November for Operation Uranus.[3] 13th Separate Signals Battalion, and 23rd signals air-flight. The Corps was assigned to the Southwestern Front’s in the area of the 5th Tank Army (2nd formation) (Serafimovich) north of Stalingrad where it cooperated with the 1st Tank Corps (General V. V. Butkov) during Operation Uranus.[4] in which they had the task of cutting the rail road in the region of the stations Bolshaya Osipovka, Surovikino, and Oblivskaya. Attached to the Corps was:

  • 174th Antitank Regiment
  • 179th Antitank Regiment
  • 35th Guards Mortar Regiment (BM-13)
  • 586th Antiaircraft Regiment (37mm guns)
  • 511th Flamethrower Tank Battalion

During 1943, on January 30 from the area of the Seversky Donets river the Corps went over to the offensive in the direction of Voroshilovgrad (now Lugansk) as part of the 3rd Guards Army under the command of lieutenant general Dmitry Lelyushenko, where it was engaged in furious fighting on the approaches to the city. At dawn on February 14 began the assault, as a result of which the first provincial city in central Ukraine was liberated. Although the main role in this operation was played by the 59th, 243rd, 279th Guard rifle divisions, 2nd Guard and 2nd Tank Corps, active assistance in the liberation of Lugansk was rendered by the 8th Cavalry Corps now under the command of General Major M.D. Borisov.

The Corps was assigned by the Soviet Southwestern Front to break through German lines at Debaltsevo near the city and cut German communications.[5] On the night of February 8, 1943, the Corps accomplished this and by February 14 the raid had been so successful that the whole corps was raised to Guards status. The Corps became 7th Guards Cavalry Corps, and its three divisions, the 21, 35, and 112 became the 14th, 15th and 16th Guards Cavalry Divisions. During the raid the corps also included the 148th Mortar Regiment, the 263d Separate Cavalry Artillery Battalion, and the 8th Separate Antitank Artillery Battalion.[6] It completed this most difficult raid on the rear areas of enemy, distracting significant forces of enemy from reinforcing the frontline units.[7] The Corps sustained very heavy losses breaking out of the encirclement, but the enemy also sustained losses in manpower and material which were essential for reinforcement of the forward units.[8]

Order No. 78 of the Commissariat of the Defense of the USSR dated 14 February 1943 the corps was redeisignated the 7th Guards Cavalry Corps.

7th Guards Cavalry Corps[edit]

  • 14th Guards Cavalry Division (former 21st Cavalry Division)
  • 15th Guards Cavalry Division (former 55th Cavalry Division)
  • 16th Guards Cavalry Division (former 112th Cavalry Division)

After receiving its Guards designations the corps withdrew from behind German lines through snowstorms. After a week of dodging German patrols the Corps slipped back through Soviet lines, having disrupted the rear areas and movement of most of a Panzer Corps. After returning to Soviet lines and due to the heavy losses from Stalingrad offensive and the cavalry raid the Corps was sent into the reserves to rebuild.

Between March and May 1943 the corps was reinforced and rebuilt in the Southwestern Front. The corps sent north to join the Steppe Front in the STAVKA Reserves in June consisting of:

  • 14th Guards Cavalry Division
  • 15th Guards Cavalry Division
  • 16th Guards Cavalry Division
  • 145th Guards Antitank Regiment (76mm)
  • 57th Guards Mortar Battalion (rockets)
  • 7th Guards Antitank Battalion
  • 1773rd Antiaircraft Regiment

The Corps was not committed in the first part of the summer offensive after Kursk, remaining in STAVKA reserves until September. Assigned to the 61st Army on 19 September 1943 the corps had added the 1897th SU Regiment (SU-76s) and the 7th Guards Mortar Regiment (120mm mortars).

From late September 1943 to March 1944 the corps operated in the 61ast or 65th Armies of the Belorussian Front, trying to enlarge the penetration south of Gomel. In January 1944 the 1897th SU Regiment was replaced by the 1816th SU Regiment (Su-76s), which remained in the Corps until the end of the war. On 5 March 1944 the Corps was sent to the 2nd Belorussian Front reserves, and in April helped clear the Germans out of the Mozyr and River Turya areas, clearing the south edges of the Pripyet marshes for operations later in the summer. On 17 May 1944 the Corps went to the 1st Belorussian Front in the area of Brest and Kobrin. On 14 July 1944 Opearion Bagrationbegan with the Corps advancing with the 2nd Tank Army,. By the end of the week the corps had advanced 200km, south of Lyulbin to Radom. The front line stabilized and the corps was on the defensive from 8 August 1944 to 7 January 1945.

When the Vistula-Order Offensive started in January 1945 the 1st Belorussian Front formed the Konstantinov Cavalry-Mechanized Group under the 7th Guards Cavalry Commander, Lieutenant General M. P. Konstantinov. The group consisted of:

  • 7th Guards Cavalry Corps
    • 14th Guards Cavalry Division
    • 15th Guards Cavalry Division
    • 16th Guards Cavalry Division
    • 1816th SU Regiment
    • 145th Guards Antitank Regiment (76mm)
    • 1773rd Antiaircraft Regiment
    • 7th Guards Antitank Battalion
    • 57th Guards Mortar Battalion (rockets)
  • 7th Guards Mortar Regiment
  • 9th Tank Corps
    • 23rd Tank Brigade (T-34/85)
    • 95th Tank Brigade (T-34/85)
    • 108th Tank Brigade (T-34/85)
    • 8th Motorized Rifle Brigade
    • 36th Guards Heavy Tanks Regiment (IS-IIs)
    • 1445th SU Regiment
    • 1508th SU Regiment
    • 868th Light Artillery Regiment
    • 216th Antiaircraft Regiment
    • 218th Mortar Regiment (120mm)
    • 286th Guards Mortar Battalion (rockets)
    • 90th Motorcycle Battalion

This group advanced over 400km from the center of the 1st Belorussian front to the Oder River in just 17 days. The group then turned north into Pomerania, where it spent two months clearing the flanks of the Soviet penetration of German lines. In April and May 1945 the Group advanced as part of the Berlin Strategic Operation operating independently weeping north of the city to seize Brandenburg and then continuing on to meet advancing units of the US 9th Army.

Campaign history[edit]

Bryansk Front July 1942
Voronezh area August 1942
Middle Don September 1942
Southwestern Front October 1942
Reserve of VGK November 1942
Stalingrad offensive as a mobile group of the 5th Tank Army November 1942
Seversky Donets December 1942
Raid in Debaltseve area February 1943

In July 1945 14th and 16th Guards Cavalry Divisions were merged to form the 31st Guards Mechanised Division,[9] while the other division of the corps, 15th Guards Cavalry Division, became 12th Guards Mechanised Division and then, finally, 15th Guards Tank Division.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Perechen No.4, p. 121.
  2. ^ Bonn, Keith E. Slaughterhouse: Handbook of the Eastern Front. Bedford, PA: Aberjona Press, 2005, p. 347
  3. ^ Perechen No.6
  4. ^ Glantz, Soviet Military Deception, p. 115
  5. ^ Michael Parrish, Sacrifice of the Generals: Soviet Senior Officer Losses 1939-1953, p.54
  6. ^ A.A. Maslov, The Unknown Pages of a Heroic Raid, Foreign Military Studies Office
  7. ^ [revolution.allbest.ru/history/00014864_0.html Struggle for the liberation of Lugansk during the German-Soviet War(Борьба за освобождение Луганщины в годы Великой Отечественной войны)
  8. ^ Glantz, Companion to Colossus Reborn, p. 81.
  9. ^ Craig Crofoot, Axis History Forum Soviet Cavalry after 1945
  10. ^ Feskov et al. 2004

Sources[edit]

  • Glants, D.M. (1), Soviet Military Deception in the Second World War, Frank Cass, London, 1989
  • Glantz, D.M. (2), Companion to Colossus Reborn: key documents and statistics, University of Kansas2005
  • Perecheni No.4, Command of Corps which were a part of the active Army during the years of the Great Patriotic War 1941-45, Supplement to the direction of the General Staff for year 1956 No.168780, Moscow, 1956
  • Murphy, David E. "'Operation Ring': The Black Berets in Azerbaijan." The Journal of Soviet Military Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1, March 1992.