79th Guards Rifle Division

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79th Guards Rifle Division (Mar. 1943 - 1955)
20th Guards Mechanized Division (1955 - 1957)
27th Guards Tank Division (1957 - 1965)
79th Guards Tank Division (1965 - 1992)
Active 1943 - 1992
Country  Soviet Union
Branch Red Army flag.svg Red Army
Type Division
Role Infantry, Mechanized Infantry, Tank
Engagements Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive
Battle of Berlin

The 79th Guards Rifle Division was created on Mar. 1, 1943 from the remnants of the 284th Rifle Division, in recognition of that division's stalwart defense against the German Sixth Army in the Battle of Stalingrad, in particular the Mamayev Kurgan hill and parts of the city's center. The 79th Guards continued a record of distinguished service through the rest of the Great Patriotic War, and continued to serve postwar, in several roles, until being finally disbanded in 1992.

It became the 20th Guards Mechanized Division by 1955, 27th Guards Tank Division in 1957, and the 79th Guards Tank Division in 1965.[1] It served with the famous 8th Guards Army from 1943 until it was disbanded.


The 79th Guards was one of several Guards rifle divisions created in the aftermath of the fighting for Stalingrad. When formed, its order of battle was as follows:

  • 216th Guards Rifle Regiment from 1043rd Rifle Regiment
  • 220th Guards Rifle Regiment from 1045th Rifle Regiment
  • 227th Guards Rifle Regiment from 1047th Rifle Regiment
  • 172nd Guards Artillery Regiment from 820th Artillery Regiment.[2]

At the same time the 62nd Army was renamed as the 8th Guards Army, and the 79th Guards remained in that Army, in 28th Guards Rifle Corps, for the duration. During 1943 and early 1944, it fought through the deep south of Ukraine, and was credited with the liberation of the city of Zaporozhe in October, 1943.[3]

On the Path to Berlin[edit]

In a deliberate symbolic move the 8th Guards Army was then sent northwards to the center of the front, coming under command of 1st Belorussian Front; Stalin was determined that the Army that had defended Stalingrad would take part in the capture of Berlin. The 79th Guards ended the war fighting in the eastern suburbs of the German capital in May, 1945. It was then known as the 79th Guards Rifle Tomsk-Zaporozhe, Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Order of Bogdan Khmelynitskii Division. (Russian: Томск-Запорожье, орденом Ленина, орденом Красного Знамени, орденом Суворова, Орден Богдана Хмельницкого.)[4]

Cold War[edit]

After the end of the war, the division became the 20th Guards Mechanized Division.

The 27th Guards Tank Division was activated 17.5.57 in Jena, East Germany, from the 20th Guards Mechanised Division. In 1965 it became the 79th Guards Tank Division, and remained at Jena until 1992, when it was withdrawn to Samarkand in the Turkestan Military District. It was quickly disbanded after arrival there.[5]


  1. ^ Feskov et al. 2004
  2. ^ Charles C. Sharp, "Red Guards", Soviet Guards Rifle and Airborne Units 1941 to 1945, Soviet Order of Battle World War II, Vol. IV, 1995, p 77
  3. ^ Sharp, p 77
  4. ^ Sharp, p 77
  5. ^ Holm, Michael. "79th Guards Tank Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  • Keith E. Bonn, Slaughterhouse: The Handbook of the Eastern Front, Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA., 2005. ISBN 0-9717650-9-X
  • Robert G. Poirier and Albert Z. Conner, The Red Army Order of Battle in the Great Patriotic War, Novato: Presidio Press, 1985. ISBN 0-89141-237-9.