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3rd Guards Motor Rifle Division

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3rd Guards Volnovakha Red Banner Order of Suvorov Rifle Division
CountrySoviet Union
BranchRed Army (Soviet Army from 1946)
EngagementsWorld War II
Battle honoursVolnovakha

The 3rd Guards Volnovakha Red Banner Order of Suvorov Motor Rifle Division (Military Unit Number 61415) was a division of the Soviet Army from 1957 to around 1992. It traced its history from the highly decorated 3rd Guards Rifle Division of World War II. The 3rd Guards Rifle Division was formed from the 153rd Rifle Division.


September 1941 to mid-1943

From 20 September to 9 November, the division conducted operations as part of the 54th Army of the Leningrad Front in the area of Mga and Sinyavino. From 10 to 14 November, the division relocated to the left flank of the army, south of the city of Volkhov. From 15 November to 28 December, the division conducted combat operations near Volkhov and then pursued the retreating German troops to the station of Pogostye.

In the summer of 1942, the division was brought back up to strength and entered the Stavka reserve.

From the end of August to September 1942, the division took part in the Sinyavino Offensive of the Volkhov Front. The division was tasked with breaking through the German defenses in the area of the Kruglaya grove and taking the station of Sinyavino. The 5th Guards Rifle Regiment advanced towards Gontovaya Lipka on 27 August. The division fought on the hill of Kruglaya grove between 10 September and 15 October.

In early December 1942, the division was withdrawn from the Stavka reserve and transferred under the 2nd Guards Army of the Stalingrad Front. In winter conditions, the division completed a difficult forced march of 200 to 280 kilometers from the railway station to the concentration areas. From 15 to 31 December 1942, the division engaged in active combat operations near Stalingrad.

During the Stalingrad strategic offensive, on the line of the Myshkova River, the division, as a part of the 2nd Guards Army, played a decisive role in the repulse of the counterattack of the German Kotelnikovo group. The division concentrated on a defensive line near the sovkhoz of Krep on the banks of the Myshkova river on 17 December. The division conducted difficult battles in the area of Vasilyevka on 20 December. Elements of the 3rd Guards defended the sector from Ivanovka to Kapkinka, repulsing the main attack in the sector from Vasilyevka to Kapkinka. With the army, the division began its own offensive on 24 December and forced the German troops to retreat to the south. The division reached the area of the sovkhoz imeni Lenina by 15:00 on 29 December (10 km east of Kotelnikovo). At 10:30 on 31 December the division was fighting on the line from hill 107.8 to the northern outskirts of Verkhny Vasilyevsky to the eastern outskirts of Komissarovsky. Continuing the offensive toward Rostov, the division participated in the liberation of Novocherkassk on 13 February 1943, and three days later reached the Mius River, where German resistance forced them to take defensive positions.

The 22nd Guards Artillery Regiment was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on 22 February.

Summer 1943 to the end of the war

In August–September 1943, the 3rd Guards Division took part in the Donbas strategic offensive operation. The division liberated the inhabited localities of Bolshoy Tokmak (on 20 September 1943) and Volnovakha (on 10 September 1943). The 3rd Guards Rifle Division was among the units to receive the Volnovakha honorific in recognitions of its actions.

In late September, during the Melitopol Offensive, the 3rd Guards reached the lower Dnieper and the Black Sea coast, liberating Kakhovka on 2 November 1943. In December, as a part of the 4th Ukrainian Front, the division eliminated the German bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnieper (in the area of Kherson) after a stubborn battle. In February 1944, the army was transferred to the area of the Isthmus of Perekop, and in April–May it took part in the Crimean strategic operation, resulting in the liberation of Yevpatoriya on 13 April 1944, and, together with other forces of the 4th Ukrainian Front and the Black Sea Fleet, Sevastopol on 9 May. In May–June, the 2nd Guards Army was relocated to the area of cities of Dorogobuzh and Yelnya. From 20 May, it was in the Stavka reserve, and on July 8 it was included in the 1st Baltic Front. In July, during the Šiauliai Offensive, the division repulsed German attacks to the west and northwest of Šiauliai. In October, it participated in the Memel Offensive. On 20 December, it was reassigned to the 3rd Belorussian Front. In January–April 1945, during the East Prussian Offensive, it broke the German fortified defenses and eliminated, in conjunction with other troops, encircled German forces southwest of Koenigsberg and the Sambia group.


After the end of the war, the division was reduced to the 13th Separate Guards Rifle Brigade on 31 July 1946. It was reorganized as the 3rd Guards Rifle Division again in October 1953. The division was reorganized as the 3rd Guards Motor Rifle Division at Klaipėda on 25 June 1957.[1][2]

The 3rd Guards Rifle Division was in the Voronezh Military District with the 11th Guards Rifle Corps in 1945–6, and later in 1955 and 1957. In the 1980s, the division became the 3rd Guards Motor Rifle Division for Coastal Defence on 12 October 1989 and transferred to the Baltic Fleet. Before that time it had been subordinated to the Baltic Military District. On 1 September 1993, the division was disbanded.


Division units

On 5 July 1941

  • 435th Rifle Regiment
  • 505th Rifle Regiment
  • 666th Rifle Regiment
  • 122nd Separate Artillery Battalion
  • 565th Light Artillery Regiment
  • 581st Howitzer Artillery Regiment
  • 150th Separate Anti-Tank Battalion
  • 460th Separate Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion
  • 238th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion
  • 208th Separate Sapper Battalion
  • 297th Separate Communications Battalion
  • 362nd Separate Medical-Sanitary Battalion
  • 7th Separate Chemical Defense Company
  • 193rd Auto Transport Company
  • Field bakery and the divisional veterinary hospital.

In December 1942


The following officers commanded the first formation of the 153rd Rifle Division and the 3rd Guards Rifle Division:[1]

  • Colonel Nikolai Gagen (16 July 1940 – 18 December 1941; promoted to major general on 9 November 1941)
  • Colonel Anatoly Krasnov (19 December 1941 – 8 March 1942)
  • Major General Nikolay Martynchuk (9 March – 17 October 1942)
  • Colonel Kantemir Tsalikov (18 October 1942 – 20 May 1944; promoted to major general on 27 November 1942)
  • Colonel Leonty Karida (21 May – 28 June 1944)
  • Colonel Grigory Polishchuk (29 June 1944 – 18 October 1946; promoted to major general on 5 May 1945)
  • Colonel Aleksandr Glebovich Maykov (December 1946 – 5 May 1947)
  • Lieutenant General Mark Timofeyevich Karakoz (March 1947 – 19 March 1949)
  • Major General Yemelyan Vasilievich Kozik (19 March 1949 – 15 December 1951)
  • Colonel Sergey Yepifanovich Shelkovy (25 December 1951 – 25 December 1953, major general 3 August 1953)
  • Major General Grigory Polishchuk (25 November 1953 – 10 November 1956)
  • Colonel Nikolay Ivanovich Gordychuk (10 November 1956 – 10 December 1960, major general 25 May 1959)
  • Colonel Pyotr Fyodorovich Rodionov (10 December 1960 – 18 June 1962, major general 27 April 1962)
  • Colonel Roman Markovich Koletvintsev (18 June 1962 – 20 March 1965)
  • Colonel Ivan Yakovlevich Kulikov (20 March 1965 – November 1966)
  • Colonel Ivan Andreyevich Kibal (Unknown – 6 December 1973, major general 19 February 1968)
  • Colonel Vitaly Andreyevich Tsapko (6 December 1973 – Unknown, major general 25 April 1975)


  • 18 September 1941 - the 153rd Rifle Division received the name:'3rd Guards Rifle Division '.
  • 10 September 1943 - The division was given the name 'Volnovakha'.
  • 24 April 1944 - the division was awarded the Order of the Red Banner
  • 5 April 1945 - the division was awarded the Order of Suvorov


  1. ^ a b Kalashnikov & Dodonov 2019, pp. 86–88.
  2. ^ Feskov et al. 2013, p.150, and Michael Holm, 3rd Guards Motorised Rifle Division, 2015.


  • General Staff. Military-scientific management. Collection of military documents of the German-Soviet War. Issue 32. - Moscow: Military Publishing House of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR, 1957.
  • Kalashnikov, K. A.; Dodonov, I. Yu. (2019). Высший командный состав Вооруженных сил СССР в послевоенный период: Справочные материалы (1945-1975) (in Russian). Vol. 4: Командный состав Сухопутных войск (армейское и дивизионное звенья). Часть первая. Ust-Kamenogorsk: Media-Alyans. ISBN 9786017887315.
  • Station, Benedict Timofeevich, "Divo-Division". - Ekaterinburg, Argo, 1995. 126 p.
  • Stadnyuk, Ivan Fotievich, War: Roman. - Moscow: Military Publishing, 1987. - "Library Series"
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3rd Guards Motor Rifle Division
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