85th Motor Rifle Division
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The 85th Leningrad-Pavlovsk Red Banner Motor Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Soviet Red Army originally active from 1931 and converted to a motorised formation in 1957. It was part of the Russian Ground Forces until it was reorganised as two .
The division was originally formed in 1931 in the Ural MD, seemingly at Chelyabinsk. It seems to have been sent to Belorussian Special Military District, soon to be the Western Special Military District, 1940. Assigned to 4th Rifle Corps, 3rd Army, Soviet Western Front on outbreak of war. Narod.ru seems to indicate that the division was formed twice, in 1931 and 1941.
After the division's first formation was disbanded or destroyed, the division was reformed. In late 1941 it was reformed during the Leningrad Strategic Defensive from the 2nd Guard People's Militia Division.
In early 1945 the division was operating as part of 122nd Rifle Corps, 2nd Baltic Front. On 10 March 1945 the division marched into the area Balozi, Kreyli and 22 March 1945, stepping into the junction between the 43rd Rifle Division and 46th Rifle Division seized the servants, Meira, where it met strong enemy counterattacks, held on defence until 30 April 1945. On 30 April 1945 the division, passing occupied Rebezha 43rd Rifle Division and the 56th Rifle Division, took a new line of defense Mengravil, Yatsy, replacing part of the 11th Rifle Division.
By the end of the day on 7 May 1945, the German troops began to retreat in a north-west direction. Units of the division pursued the retreating enemy in the direction of Lubenko, Rumbiniska, Zeri and at 17:00 on 8 May 1945 went to the line of Grange Gaito, Yurdi, Cowes, where at 18:00 on 8 May 1945 the division accepted the surrender of enemy units.
After fighting on the Eastern Front, the division's second formation was relocated to Siberia in 1945. In September 1945, the division, part of the 122nd Rifle Corps arrived in the city of Novosibirsk (Siberian Military District), and was given barracks in a military town in the street Bogatkova. In 1946, the division was reorganized as the 24th Rifle Brigade. In 1953, the brigade was upgraded and redesignated the 85th Pavlovsky Rifle Red Banner Division once again. From 1957 the division became the 85th Motorised Rifle Division. Furthermore, the division exchanged regiments with the 74th Motor Rifle Division – the 103rd MRR was disbanded and replaced by the 228th Sevastopol Order of Alexander Nevsky Motor Rifle Regiment.
On 27 March 1967, the division was given the honorary name of Leningrad and it became known as the 85th Motor Rifle Leningrad-Pavlovskaya Red Banner Division. At the end of the 1980s the division consisted of the 387th Tank Regiment, 141st, 59th(?), 228th MRRs, 167th Artillery Regt, and the 1133rd Anti-aircraft Rocket Regiment. In 1992, the division received the 74th Guards Tank Valginsky Order of Lenin Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Kutuzov and Bogdan Khmelnitsky regiment which had returned from Schwerin in Germany. The 74th GTR had previously been assigned to the 94th Motor Rifle Division, which, reduced in status to the 74th Motor Rifle Brigade, had been relocated nearby to Yurga.
From December 1994 to 27 April 1995 the division sent personnel to the First Chechen War: 82 officers, 43 corporals, 373 soldiers and sergeants. The division's troops, part of the Northern Group of Russian Forces, operated with the 74th Brigade. The division's troops cleared Chechen fighters from the administrative and residential buildings in Grozny; defended a strategically important bridge over the river Sunzha on the outskirts of the village of Peter; and defended the approaches to the village Ilinskoe from an invasion of Chechen rebels from Gudermes.
In 2003 Gen Maj Vladimir Ashitok was named as the divisional commander. Previous commanders have included (late 1990s-e2000s) Lunev, Vasiliy Gen Maj; M akushkin, Anatoliy Gen Maj; commanded by Gen. Igor Puzanov 1983–1986.
Since September 2000, the division has been involved in the Second Chechen War. The 228th 'Sevastopol' Motor Rifle Regiment, 85 MRD, the only Russian regiment to be fully equipped with the BMP-3, was reequipped with MT-LB armoured personnel carriers in 2000 because a six-month tour in Chechniya had reduced the service life of the vehicles by half. In other words, maintenance problems were much greater when the vehicles were conscript-crewed.
Around 2007-2009 the composition of the division was reported as:
- 59th Motor-Rifle Regiment;
- 141st Motor-Rifle Regiment;
- 228th Motor-Rifle Regiment;
- 74th Guards Валгинский Order of Lenin, Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Кутузова и Богдана Хмельницкого Tank Regiment;(Shilovo, Novosibirsk Oblast, Т-72B)
- 167th Artillery Regiment;(Shilovo)
- 1131st Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment;
- 121st Separate Reconnaissance Battalion;
- 581st Separate Battalion;
- 279th Separate Engineer Battalion
The division appears to have been reorganised as the 32nd Separate Motor Rifle Brigade, formed from the 228th Motor Rifle Regiment (possibly at Shilov) as part of the Russian Ground Forces' reorganisation in early 2009.
- For First Formation, see ru:85-я стрелковая дивизия (1-го формирования)
- "85th Motorised Rifle Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- V. I. Feskov et al, 'The Soviet Army during the Period of the Cold War, Tomsk University Press, 2004
- Krasnaya Zvezda 2003-0423, via Scott and Scott, Russian Military Directory 2004
- AVN Military News Agency report, 31 July 2000, in Orr June 2000, p.98, 101
- 85th MRD history in Russian