Transbaikal Military District
|Transbaikal Military District|
|Active||May 17, 1935 - December 1, 1998|
|Engagements||World War II|
The Transbaikal Military District (Russian: Забайкальский военный округ) was a military district of first the Soviet Armed Forces and then the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed on May 17, 1935 and included the Buryat Republic, Chita Oblast, and Yakutia. Chita was the headquarters of the district. It was finally disbanded on December 1, 1998 by being amalgamated with the Siberian Military District, though Chita remained the headquarters of the new amalgamated district.
The district was formed in response to the Japanese invasion of China and military escalation in the region. The armies and corps of the district took part in the battle of Khalkhin Gol under General Georgy Zhukov. In June 1940 the 16th Army was formed in the District before being transferred to the west. On June 22, 1941, the District comprised the 17th Army, Air and Air Defence commands, 12th Rifle Corps (65th and 94th Rifle Divisions), 93rd Rifle Division, the Transbaikal Fortified Region, two gun artillery regiments, a howitzer artillery regiment, and smaller units. The Transbaikal Military District became home to the Transbaikal Front; a front formed on September 15, 1941 in order to prevent a possible attack by the Japanese Kwantung Army. Against the general trend of Soviet tank divisions being disbanded in the first few months of the German invasion during the Second World War, due to heavy losses, the 57th and 61st Tank Divisions were active in the District in 1941 and remained active there for most of the war.
In October 1945 the Transbaikal Front was disbanded and its military units were reorganized, following the success of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. In 1955 the 61st Tank Division became the 13th TD, then two years later the 13th MRD (Ulan Ude), but was then disbanded in 1957.
The 6th Guards Tank Army was stationed in Mongolia for fifteen years after the end of the war, reporting to the Transbaikal Military District. The then friendship with China and the Kruschev reductions in the Soviet Ground Forces' strength meant the 6th Guards Tank Army was relocated to the Kiev Military District. Perhaps as a consequence, the 9th Guards Motor Rifle Division was disestablished.
In the late 1960s the situation on the Sino-Soviet border was dangerous and many new units were sent to Siberia, or formed there, such as the 29th Army. Among these formations was the 11th Guards Motor Rifle Division, which was transferred from Smolensk to Bezrechnaya in May 1968. Thanks to this buildup, Chita became one of the developed cities in Eastern Siberia. In 1988 the District included the 29th Army at Ulan-Ude (5th Guards Tank Division, 52nd, 91st and 245th Motor Rifle Divisions), the 36th Army at Borzya (11th Guards, 38th Guards, and 122nd Guards Motor Rifle Divisions), the 212th Guards District Training Centre at Chita (just renamed from the 49th Tank Training Division), and the 39th Army, controlling Soviet troops in Mongolia, which had its headquarters at Ulan-Bator and included the 2nd Guards Tank Division, 51st Tank Division, and 12th, 41st, and 149th Motor Rifle Divisions. The Soviet troops in Mongolia were finally withdrawn between 1989 and 1992. Air support to the troops in Mongolia was provided for a time by the 44th Mixed Aviation Corps headquartered at Choybalsan, from 1982 until 1988.
The 150th Motor Rifle Division at Borzya went through a number of changes before being disbanded. In March 1972 it was placed in cadre status. It was converted on 1 December 1976 to a training division. It was reorganised on 1 December 1987 as the 213th District Training Center. On 10 September 1994 it became the 168th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade. On 1 September 1997 it became 272nd Motor Rifle Regiment, 2nd Tank Division, and was later shifted into the 122nd and 131st Motor Rifle Divisions.
In 1998, the Trans-Baikal Military District was merged with the Siberian Military District, in accordance with Presidential Decree № 900 of 27.07.1998, and the order of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation № 048 of August 11, 1998. The new composition of the Siberian Military District actually began operations on December 1, 1998.
Air Force support to the district in the immediate post Great Patriotic War years may have been drawn from 12th Air Army. In 1949 12th Air Army was redesignated 45th Air Army. In 1957 the 45th Air Army became the Air Forces of the ZabVO. On 29 July 1967 the Air Forces of the ZabVO became 23rd Air Army. According to the directive of the USSR Ministry of Defense on July 22, 1967 in ZabVO were collected two dozen air regiments, grouped within the 23rd Air Army. The predominance of these shock bomber and fighter-bombers in a fair extent permitted offset the numerical superiority of the opposing factions, the blessing of the "wild steppes of Transbaikalia" became those for aviation comparatively easy prey.
In 1980 the 23rd Air Army became Air Forces of the ZabVO. In 1990 the 23rd Air Army was reformed from the Air Forces of the Transbaikal Military District. Commander of the 23rd Air Army, General Lieutenant Dimitri Kutsekon, was killed in a helicopter crash in August 1996. A late 1980s(?) order of battle for the 23rd Air Army is at . In 1998 the 23rd Air Army was merged with the 14th Army of the Air Defense Forces and the 50th Independent Corps of the Air Defence Forces to become the new 14th Army of Air Force and Air Defence.
313th independent Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment joined 23rd Air Army in December 1993-January 1994, arriving from Georgia to Chindant-2 in the Chita Oblast. Already in place was the 30th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Division at Step, but the division was disbanded in 1990. Another reconnaissance aviation regiment in the area was the 101st at Borzya-2.
- General Andrey Yeryomenko ( - July 1941)
- Colonel-General Mikhail Kovalyov (July 1941 - 1945)
- Marshal of the Soviet Union Rodion Malinovsky (1945–1947)
- Colonel-General Konstantin Koroteev (1947–1951)
- Colonel-General D.N. Gusev (1951–1952)
- Lieutenant-General (Colonel-General since 1954) Yefim Trotsenko (1952–1956)
- Colonel-General D.D. Lelyushenko (1956–1958)
- Colonel-General Yakov Kreizer (1958–1960)
- Colonel-General D.F. Alekseev (1960–1966)
- General P. A. Velik (1966–1978)
- General G. I. Salmanov (1978–1984)
- General S.I. Postnikov (1984–1987)
- Colonel-General Anatoliy Betekhtin (1987–1988)
- General Lieutenant Vladimir Magomedovich Semenov (1988–1991)
- General Lieutenant V.S. Tretyakov (1991–1996)
Sources and references
- Orbat.com/Niehorster, Transbaikal Military District June 22, 1941
- See http://www.ww2.dk/new/army/msd/13msd%281%29.htm for 61 TD but also note entry at FEMD WP page which says div went to the West.
- Michael Holm, 
- http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/corps/44sak.htm. See also http://www.militar.org.ua/foro/otan-vs-pacto-de-varsovia-t693-270.html: with the 246th IAD in Choyr and the 29th ADIB in Ulan Bator. The 246th IAD controlled 2 unknown IAP's at Choyr (MiG-23) and Monitu (MiG-21), while the 29th ADIB controlled the 43rd "Sevastopol" APIB at Choybalsan (Su-17M3) and the 266th APIB at Naylakh (MiG-27M/D)
- See also http://www.ww2.dk/new/army/msd/150msd.htm, though dates may differ slightly. ru:Список дивизий Вооружённых сил СССР 1991 год, accessed 28 September 2009.
- http://yasnay.ru/news/2009-06-05-19 - History of Transbaikal Military District
- ПОСЛЕДНИЕ БРОНЕПОЕЗДА СОВЕТСКОЙ АРМИИ, verified October 2011
- ZabKrai.ru, Jet Aviation, accessed 3 May 2010
- Persons - NUPI
- V.I. Feskov, The Soviet Army in the Period of the Cold War, Tomsk 2004