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1st Guards Tank Army

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1st Tank Army (1942 – April 1944)
1st Guards Tank Army (1944–1999), (2014-present)
1-я гвардейская танковая Краснознамённая армия
Great emblem of the 1st Guards Tank Army
Active Soviet Union (1942–1991)
 Russia (1991–1999, 2014–present
Branch Russian Ground Forces
RoleBreakthrough and Exploitation in Deep Operations
Part ofWestern Military District
Garrison/HQBakovka, Odintsovo
Battle honoursGuards unit Guards
Kirill Moskalenko
Mikhail Katukov
The lapel badge given to veterans of the 1st Guards Tank Army

The 1st Guards Tank Army (Russian: 1-я гвардейская танковая Краснознамённая армия, romanized1-ya gvardeyskaya tankovaya Krasnoznamonnaya armiya) is a tank army of the Russian Ground Forces. в/ч 73621.[5]

The army traces its heritage back to the 1st Tank Army, formed twice in July 1942 and in January 1943 and converted into the 1st Guards Tank Army in January 1944. The army fought as part of the Red Army on the Eastern Front during World War II. The army was commanded throughout most of the war by Mikhail Katukov.

It fought on the defensive during Case Blue, ultimately being partially destroyed and disbanded. After its reformation in 1943, it participated in the Battle of Kursk, the Proskurov-Chernovtsy Operation, the Lvov-Sandomierz Operation, the Vistula-Oder Offensive and the Battle of Berlin. After the war, the army was stationed in East Germany as part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany.

After the end of the Cold War and the resultant withdrawal of Soviet units in Germany, the army was relocated to Smolensk, and disbanded in 1999. The army was reformed in 2014 as part of Russia's military expansion. This reformed army fought in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where it was claimed to have suffered heavy casualties following its eventual retreats from the north and later Kharkiv.

First formation

The 1st Tank Army was first formed within the Stalingrad Front from the 38th Army in July 1942, under the command of Major General Kirill Moskalenko. The army was encircled and partially destroyed. It was disbanded as a result in August 1942, its headquarters becoming the Southeastern Front headquarters.[6]

Second formation

The 1st Tank Army was formed a second time on 30 January 1943 (order No.46021) from the headquarters of the 29th Army, under the command of famous armoured troops commander Lieutenant General of Tank Troops Mikhail Katukov, personally appointed by Stalin. The army was transferred to the North-Western Front. The 3rd Mechanised Corps (later to become 8th Guards Mechanised Corps) and 6th Tank Corps (later to become 11th Guards Tank Corps) joined it on formation, and served with the army throughout the war.[7] It was quickly transferred to the Voronezh Front for the defense of the Kursk salient's southern shoulder, adding the newly formed 31st Tank Corps to its subordinate commands.

Its order of battle prior to Operation Citadel was as follows:

1st Tank Army[8]

  • 3rd Mechanized Corps (Major General of Tank Forces Semyon Krivoshein)[9]
    • 1st Mechanized Brigade
    • 3rd Mechanized Brigade
    • 10th Mechanized Brigade
    • 49th Tank Brigade
    • 58th Motorcycle Battalion,
    • 35th Tank Destroyer Regiment
    • 265th Mortar Regiment
    • 405th Guards Mortar Battalion*
  • 6th Tank Corps (Major General of Tank Forces Andrei Getman)[10]
    • 22nd Tank Brigade
    • 112nd Tank Brigade
    • 200th Tank Brigade
    • 6th Motor Rifle Brigade
    • 85th Motorcycle Battalion
    • 1461st Self-Propelled Gun Regiment
    • 538th Tank Destroyer Regiment
    • 270th Mortar Regiment
  • 31st Tank Corps (Major General of Tank Forces D. Kh. Chernienko)[11]
    • 100th Tank Brigade
    • 237th Tank Brigade
    • 242nd Tank Brigade
  • 71st Engineer Battalion
  • 267th Engineer Battalion
  • 316th Guards Mortar Regiment*
  • 8th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division
    • 797th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment
    • 848th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment
    • 978th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment
    • 1063rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment

* Guards Mortar Regiment (or Battalion) (Russian: гвардейский минометный полк (дивизион)) was the overt designation used for Katyusha rocket launcher units.

First Guards Tank Army

After Kursk, 1st Tank Army participated in the Proskurov-Chernovtsy Operation, the Lvov-Sandomierz Operation, the Vistula-Oder Offensive, and the Battle of Berlin. It was awarded a Guards title and became the 1st Guards Tank Army in April 1944, and Katukov was promoted to Colonel General.[6]

On 1 January 1945, the Army's principal combat formations were:[12]

  • 8th Guards Mechanized Corps (Major General Ivan Dremov) (3 January 1944 – 9 May 1945)
    • 19th Guards Mechanized Brigade
    • 20th Guards Mechanized Brigade
    • 21st Guards Mechanized Brigade
    • 1st Guards Tank Brigade
    • 48th Guards Separate Tank Regiment
    • 353rd Guards Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment
    • 400th Guards Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment
    • 265th Guards Mortar Regiment *
    • 405th Guards Mortar Battalion *
    • 358th Guards Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment
    • 8th Guards Motorcycle Battalion
  • 11th Guards Tank Corps (Colonel Hamazasp Babadzhanian) (25 August 1944 – 9 May 1945)
    • 40th Guards Tank Brigade
    • 44th Guards Tank Brigade
    • 45th Guards Tank Brigade
    • 27th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade
    • 399th Guards Heavy Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment
    • 362nd Guards Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment
    • 1454th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment
    • 350th Light Artillery Regiment
    • 270th Guards Mortar Regiment *
    • 53rd Guards Mortar Battalion *
    • 1018th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment
    • 9th Guards Motorcycle Battalion
  • Army Troops
    • 64th Guards Tank Brigade
    • 11th Guards Separate Tank Regiment
    • 19th Light Self-Propelled Artillery Brigade
    • 197th Light Artillery Brigade
    • 79th Guards Mortar Regiment *
    • 17th Motorised Engineer Brigade
    • 191st Guards Liaison Aviation Regiment
    • 6th Motorcycle Regiment
    • 12th Guards Motorcycle Regiment

* Guards Mortar Regiment (or Battalion) (Russian: гвардейский минометный полк (дивизион)) was the overt designation used for Katyusha rocket launcher units.

Cold War

The 1st Guards Tank Army was awarded the Order of the Red Banner postwar. It became part of the Soviet occupation force in Germany, known as Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, with its headquarters in Dresden. In 1968, it, along with the 11th Guards Tank and 20th Guards Motor Rifle Divisions, took part in the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, after which the units returned to their garrisons.[13]

In the late 1980s the Army included the 20th Guards Motor Rifle Division, 9th Tank Division, and 11th Guards Tank Division. The headquarters was withdrawn to Smolensk, in the Moscow Military District in the early 1990s, and lost the 'Tank' from its title in 1995. In its last period within the Russian Army it comprised the 4th Guards 'Kantemir' Tank Division and the 144th Motor Rifle Division (which had been withdrawn from Tallinn in Estonia).

In July 1992 the 336th Independent Helicopter Regiment returned from Germany to Oreshkovo airfield and was placed under the Moscow Military District. The regiment then came under 1st Guards Tank Army from 31 December 1992.[14]

1st Guards Tank Army was disbanded in 1998.

1988 structure

The army's composition in 1988 was (with main equipment), with honorific titles in italics:[15][16]


After a 15-year hiatus, the Army was reconstituted in November 2014,[17] probably on 13 November 2014.[citation needed]

The army was formed as the main ground forces manoeuvre and reserve operational formation of the Western Military District, in addition to the 6th Combined Arms Army (headquartered in Saint Petersburg) and the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army (headquartered in Voronezh). It is considered an elite formation of the Russian Ground Forces. The army carries on the traditions of the chronologically first army of the Soviet Union to reach 'Guards' status.

It commands the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle and the 4th Tank Divisions, which are considered the elite formations of their respective combat arms. The most decorated divisions of the Soviet Army, they were garrisoned the closest to Moscow for the city's defense.[18] Due to their proximity to the capital, extra scrutiny was applied to personnel of these formations, making these postings especially prestigious. These units received the latest hardware and were thus known as the 'household' divisions of the Soviet Army. Their loyalty to the government was demonstrated by their involvement in the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt. The divisions retained their elite status within the Russian Army. The army also included the 27th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade. While the 4th Guards Tank Division uses T-80 tanks, the rest of the Army uses T-72B and T-90 tanks, and Kurganets-25 fighting vehicles.[18]

As of 2017 the Army was composed of:[19]


Units identified in 2023 in 1GTA

  • 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division (в/ч 23626)[22]
    • 1st Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (в/ч 31135)
    • 15th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (в/ч 31134)
    • 1st Tank Regiment (в/ч 58198)
    • 136th Reconnaissance Battalion (в/ч 51387)
    • 147th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment (в/ч 73966)
    • 1174th Anti-Tank Battalion (в/ч 51381)
    • 1117th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (в/ч 51382)
  • 4th Guards Tank Division (в/ч 19612)[22]
    • 12th Guards Tank Regiment (в/ч 31985)
    • 13th Guards Tank Regiment (в/ч 32010)
    • 423rd Motor Rifle Regiment (в/ч 91701)
    • 137th Reconnaissance Battalion (в/ч 54919)
    • 275th Self Propelled Artillery Regiment (в/ч 73941)
    • 49th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (в/ч 21555)
    • 538th Guards Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (в/ч 51383)
  • 47th Guards Tank Division (в/ч 64238)[22]
  • 27th Motorized Rifle Brigade (в/ч 61899)[22]
  • 96th Reconnaissance Brigade (в/ч 52634)[22]
  • 288th Artillery Brigade (в/ч 30683)[22]
  • 112th Missile Brigade (в/ч 03333)[22]

Russo-Ukrainian War

During the 2021–2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis, elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army were reported to have forward deployed to the Pogonovo training ground south of Voronezh. Main battle tanks, self-propelled and towed artillery, and long-range multiple rocket launchers (MRLs), reportedly drawn from the 4th Guards Tank Division and the 2nd Motorised Rifle Division, were reported to have been positioned in the vicinity of Voronezh.[26] A few months before the invasion, the 47th Guards Tank Division was formed from the 6th Separate Guards Tank Brigade.[27][28]

After the invasion began in February 2022, the Army took a small part in the Northern Ukraine offensive of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the 2nd Guards MRD being reported as taking part in the failed siege of Chernihiv.[citation needed] Ukraine reported in May 2022 that the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate had obtained documents showing that after 3 weeks of fighting the 1st Guards Tank Army had sustained 409 casualties (61 KIA, 209 WIA, 44 missing, 96 surrendered), and 308 units of military equipment had been seized.[29]

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence reported on 19 May 2022 that army commander General-Lieutenant Sergey Kisel had been suspended for his failure to capture Kharkiv.[30] Kisel was transferred to serve as chief of staff of the Russian troops in Syria.[31] On 13 September 2022, UK Defence Intelligence identified 1st Guards Tank Army as the primary force that retreated from Kharkiv Oblast during the Ukrainian Kharkiv counteroffensive. Having suffered "heavy casualties", the Ministry claimed that the army as "severely degraded" and its ability to counter NATO "severely weakened."[32] By December, the UK MoD reported that the Army had been replenished with recruits, and was active in the Battle of Svatove.[33]

Commanders of the Army

  1. Katukov, Mikhail YefimovichGuard[34] ColGen, 1943–1947
  2. Belov, Yeftikhin Emelyanovich – Guard LtGen, 1947–1951
  3. Govorunenkov, Pyotr Dmitrievich – Guard GenLt, 1951–1953
  4. Yakubovsky, Ivan Ignatyevitch – Guard GenLt, 1953–1957
  5. Tolubko, Vladimir Fyodorovich – Guard MajGen, 1957–1958
  6. Ukhov, Vladimir Dmitrievich – Guard MajGen, 1958–1961
  7. Ivanovski, Yevgeny Filippovich – Guard MajGen, 1961–1964
  8. Kotsasnov, Konstantin Grigoryevich – Guard GenLt, 1964–1968
  9. Gerasimov, Ivan Aleksandrovich – Guard GenLt, 1968–1971
  10. Lushev, Pyotr Georgievich – Guard GenLt, 1971–1973
  11. Snetkov, Boris Vasilievich – Guard LtGen, 1973–1975
  12. Popov, Nikolai Ivanovich – Guard LtGen, 1975–1979
  13. Sovotskin, Roman Mikhailovich – Guard LtGen, 1979–1981
  14. Osipov, Vladimir Vasilyevich – Guard LtGen, 1981–1983
  15. Shein, Boris Pertovich – Guard LtGen, 1983–1986
  16. Tchernitsov, Anatoli Kupyanovich – Guard LtGen, 1986–1990
  17. Kolchkin, Gennadi Andreevich – Guard LtGen, 1990–1992
  18. Shevtsov, Leonti Pavlovich – Guard LtGen, 1992–1993
  19. Sosyedov, Vasili Petrovich – Guard LtGen, 1993–1995
  20. Roshchin, Viktor Mikhailovich – Guard LtGen, 1995–1999
  21. Did not exist (1999–2014)
  22. Aleksandr Chaiko – Guard LtGen, 2014–2018
  23. Kisel, Sergei Aleksandrovich - Guard LtGen, 2018–2020[35]


  1. ^ "Intelligence confirms large-scale losses of Russia's 1st Tank Army in Ukraine". 16 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Who was Russian Colonel Nikolay Ovcharenko Killed in Ukraine?". 23 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Institute for the Study of War".
  4. ^ Chao-Fong, Léonie; Taylor, Harry; Lock, Samantha (8 December 2022). "Russia-Ukraine war: Kyiv 'working with UN to demilitarise Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant' – as it happened". The Guardian.
  6. ^ a b Glantz, David M. (2005). Companion to Colossus Reborn: Key Document and Statistics. Lawrence: University press of Kansas. p. 65. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5.
  7. ^ Bonn, 2005, p.351, 354
  8. ^ Glantz, David M. (2005). Companion to Colossus Reborn: Key Document and Statistics. Lawrence: University press of Kansas. p. 247. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5.
  9. ^ Glantz, David M. (2005). Companion to Colossus Reborn: Key Document and Statistics. Lawrence: University press of Kansas. p. 93. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5.
  10. ^ Glantz, David M. (2005). Companion to Colossus Reborn: Key Document and Statistics. Lawrence: University press of Kansas. p. 85. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5.
  11. ^ Glantz, David M. (2005). Companion to Colossus Reborn: Key Document and Statistics. Lawrence: University press of Kansas. p. 90. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5.
  12. ^ "1-я гвардейская Краснознаменная танковая армия". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  13. ^ Crofoot, Craig R. (17 February 2007). Central Group of Forces [Czechoslovakia] (II Formation) (PDF) (Report). 3.0.0. Micro Armor Mayhem.
  14. ^ "336th independent Helicopter Regiment". The Luftwaffe, 1933-45. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  15. ^ "1st Guards Tank Army". Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  16. ^ "Western Military District History". 2011-09-28. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  17. ^ "ВЗГЛЯД / Россия закрывает "черную дыру" на границе с Украиной".
  18. ^ a b c "Russian Forces in the Western Military District" (PDF). Center for Naval Analyses (CNA). June 2021. pp. 6, 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 October 2022.
  19. ^ Benya (12 February 2017) [First posted 17 July 2016]. "Russian Army: Military districts, units (Locations, equipment and re-armaments)". Russia Defence Forum.
  20. ^ "2-я гвардейская Таманская мотострелковая дивизия (в/ч 23626)". Войсковые Части России (in Russian). Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  21. ^ "4-я гвардейская Кантемировская танковая дивизия (в/ч 19612)". Войсковые Части России (in Russian). Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "RUSSIAN REGULAR GROUND FORCES ORDER OF BATTLE" (PDF). October 2023.
  23. ^ "Conflict Intelligence Team Sitrep for Oct. 13-16, 2023 (as of 8:30 a.m.)". 17 October 2023.
  24. ^ Крецул, Роман (26 April 2023). "Минобороны вновь сформирует 245-й гвардейский мотострелковый полк". Известия (in Russian). Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  25. ^ "Замполит спрятался от войны в Беларуси и готовит чмобиков к верной смерти в Украине". Опричники (in Russian). 14 June 2023. Retrieved 2023-07-23.
  26. ^ "Russia builds up forces on Ukrainian border". Politico. 9 December 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  27. ^ Baklanova, Tatyana (10 December 2021). "Военные тоже учатся". Znamya (in Russian). Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  28. ^ "bmpd". Telegram. Retrieved 2022-05-17.
  29. ^ "Intelligence confirms large-scale losses of Russia's 1st Tank Army in Ukraine". Ukrinform. 16 May 2022.
  30. ^ Nicholson 2022.
  31. ^ "Генерала Сергея Киселя допросили по делу о незаконной свалке в Сормово". Коммерсантъ (in Russian). 2023-04-27. Retrieved 2023-07-14.
  32. ^ U.K. Ministry of Defence [@DefenceHQ] (September 13, 2022). "(4/4) With 1 GTA and other WEMD formations severely degraded, Russia's conventional force designed to counter NATO is severely weakened. It will likely take years for Russia to rebuild this capability" (Tweet). Retrieved September 13, 2022 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ "Russia-Ukraine war: Kyiv 'working with UN to demilitarise Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant' – as it happened". the Guardian. 8 December 2022.
  34. ^ Military personnel of the Soviet Armed Forces, assigned to service in a guards units or formations, added to the particular rank designation the wording Guard …, e.g. Guard Lieutenant General. This tradition is continued in the Russian Federation.
  35. ^ Myroniuk, Anna (19 May 2022). "First Russian soldier standing trial for war crime in Ukraine asks for forgiveness, faces life imprisonment". The Kyiv Independent.
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  • Duncan, Andrew 'Russian Forces in Decline – Part 3', Jane's Intelligence Review, November 1996.
  • V.I. Feskov, Golikov V.I., K.A. Kalashnikov, and S.A. Slugin, The Armed Forces of the USSR after World War II, from the Red Army to the Soviet (Part 1: Land Forces). (В.И. Слугин С.А. Вооруженные силы СССР после Второй Мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской (часть 1: Сухопутные войска)) Tomsk, 2013.
  • Glantz, David M. 'Companion to Colossus Reborn' University Press of Kansas, 2005.
  • Nicholson, Kate (2022-05-19). "Russia Is Firing Its Senior Commanders. What Does That Mean For The Ukraine War?". Huffington Post.
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1st Guards Tank Army
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