General Andrei Yeremenko was designated commander of the Front when it first formed in mid-late August 1941, comprising, in Erickson's words, 'on paper two armies, 50th and 13th, with eight rifle divisions each, three cavalry divisions, and one tank division but many of these formations were badly whittled down by battle losses'. Two other armies from Soviet Central Front, 21st and 3rd Army, that had avoided encirclement at the Battle of Smolensk (1941), were promised but also badly worn down.
In late August along with the Western Front and Reserve Fronts it launched a large but failed counteroffensive in the Smolensk, El'nia, and Roslavl regions to halt Army Group Centre's advance on Moscow. Despite some success by Reserve Front at El'nia, the efforts by Bryansk Front were a failure. After the failure of the Smolensk offensives, the seriously weakened front was trapped in an enormous encirclement in the lead up to the Battle of Moscow. Of the 650,000 Red Army soldiers trapped in the pocket, barely 15,000 escaped.
On its second formation in late 1941 under Cherevichenko, it was only active for about six months, being redesignated Voronezh Front on 7 July 1942. By the time of Operation Blau, the German summer offensive of 1942, the Front comprised the 3rd, 13th, 40th, 48th Armies, the 5th Tank Army, and the 2nd Air Army. It was then reformed, then disbanded on 11–12 March 1943 and its headquarters became HQ Kursk Front after a short time expecting to be the headquarters and the basis of the new Reserve Front.
It was later reformed, and by the time of the Battle of Kursk the Front consisted of the 11th, 3rd, 4th Tank, 61st, and 63rd Armies. Colonel General Markian Popov led it to liberate its namesake town in August and September 1943. Reformed from Orel Front 28 March 1943. On 10 October 1943 the STAVKA incorporated most of the Front's forces into the 1st Belorussian Front (former Central) and used Bryansk Front's HQ to form HQ Baltic Front, which then became 2nd Baltic Front.
On 1 October 1944 the 2nd Baltic Front consisted of:
- 3rd Shock Army
- 10th Guards Army
- 22nd Army
- 93RC (219, 379, 391RD), 130RC (43G, 308RD), 37RD, 155FR, 118TB
- 42nd Army
- 110RC (2, 168, 268RD), 124RC (48, 123, 256RD), 118FR, 29GTB
- 15th Air Army
- 14th Fighter Aviation Corps (4, 148, 293 FigAvR), 188th Bomber AvD, 214, 225 Assault AvD, 284, 313 Fighter-Bomber AvD
- Front Reserve
- 5TC (24, 41, 70TB, 5MotRB)
- Lieutenant-General Andrey Ivanovich Yeremenko (with 16.8.41 on 13.10.41 yr.),
- Major-General Georgiy Fedorovich Zakharov (with 14.10.41 on 10.11.41 yr.).
- Colonel-General Yakov Cherevichenko (24.12.1941 to 2.4.1942),
- Lieutenant-General Filipp Golikov (2.4.1942 to 7.7.1942),
- Lieutenant-General Nikandr Yevlampyevich Chibisov (7.7.42 to 13.7.1942), (Чибисов Никанор Евлампиевич)
- Lieutenant-General Konstantin Rokossovsky (14.7.42 to 27.9.1942),
- Colonel-General Max Andreyevich Reyter (28.9.42 to 12.3.1943).
References and sources
- Axis History Forum, Order of Battle Fall Blau, June 28 1942
- John Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad, London, 1975
- David Glantz, Colossus Reborn: The Red Army at War 1941-43, University Press of Kansas, 2005