79th Guards Rifle Division

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79th Guards Rifle Division (Mar. 1943 – 1945)
20th Guards Mechanized Division (1945–1957)
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
Garrison/HQ Jena (1945–1992)
Engagements Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive
Battle of Berlin

Order of Lenin obverse Turova TB.png Order of Lenin Order of the red Banner OBVERSE.jpgOrder of the Red Banner
Order of suvorov medal 2nd class.jpgOrder of Suvorov 2nd class

Order khmelnitsky1.jpg Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 2nd class
Battle honours Zaporozhe
Leonid Vagin

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 in 1945, 27th Guards Tank Division in 1957, and the 79th Guards Tank Division in 1965. 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.[1]

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.[2]

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 Zaporozhe, Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Order of Bogdan Khmelynitskii Division. (Russian: Запорожье, орденом Ленина, орденом Красного Знамени, орденом Суворова, Орден Богдана Хмельницкого.)[3]

Cold War[edit]

In the fall of 1945 the division became the 20th Guards Mechanized Division. In July 1956 the division became directly subordinated to the army after the 28th Guards Rifle Corps was disbanded. The division was based at Jena. On 17 May 1957 it became the 27th Guards Tank Division. On 11 January 1965 it became the 79th Guards Tank Division, restoring its World War II numbering.[4] The division remained at Jena until July 1992, when it was withdrawn to Samarkand in the Turkestan Military District. It was quickly disbanded after arrival there.[5][6]


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Sharp, p 77
  3. ^ Sharp, p 77
  4. ^ Feskov et al 2013, pp. 201–202
  5. ^ Feskov et al 2013, pp. 401–403
  6. ^ 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
  • Feskov, V.I.; Golikov, V.I.; Kalashnikov, K.A.; Slugin, S.A. (2013). Вооруженные силы СССР после Второй Мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской [The Armed Forces of the USSR after World War II: From the Red Army to the Soviet: Part 1 Land Forces] (in Russian). Tomsk: Scientific and Technical Literature Publishing. ISBN 9785895035306. 
  • 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.