The 120th Guards Mechanised Brigade is a mechanised infantry brigade of the Belarus Ground Forces. It is the heir to the traditions of the Red Army 120th Guards Rifle Division which became the 120th Guards Motor Rifle Division around 1957.
The 120th Guards Rifle Division was formed by redesignation of the Red Army's 308th Rifle Division (Second Formation). The 308th Rifle Division was formed in accordance with Order Number 0044 of the Siberian Military District dated 21 March 1942. It was formed at Omsk in the Siberian Military District, using 20% Red Army men (active duty), 25% returning wounded veterans, 25% reservists from industry, and 30% new recruits from the classes of 1922-23. Most of the recruits and reservists came from the Omsk and Krasnoyarsk oblasts. When the division left for the west it had 12,133 officers and men assigned.
The division remained in the Siberian Military District until May 1942 until it was moved to the west. In late May, the division was assigned to the 8th Reserve Army in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command. On 1 June 1942, the division, still with the 8th Reserve Army, was at Saratov. From August 29 to September 6, 1942, the division covered at least 300 kilometers on foot. On 1 August 1942 the 308th Rifle Division was part of the 24th Army in the area of Kotluban. The division joined the active army on 29 August 1942 when it was assigned to the 24th Army on the Stalingrad Front. The first fight in the division took the 24th Army on the territory of the state farm "Kotluban." The division had to seize the hamlet of Borodkin and Heights 133.4, 143.8 and 154.2. Division troops backed 217th Tank Brigade, 136 mortars, heavy artillery regiment in 1936. The enemy forces unleashed on the division powerful artillery fire, mortars, aircraft and tanks.
By the end of September 1942 the division was assigned to the 62nd Army inside Stalingrad. In the fighting at Stalingrad the division arrived came on the night of October 2, 1942, under Colonel Leontii Gurtev. As part of General V.I. Chuikov's 62nd Army, the division seized positions in the area of the "Barricades" plant. The division was finally pulled out of the city and the 62nd Army in December with only 500 men still assigned to the division. For its actions at Stalingrad September to December 1942 it was awarded the Order of the Red Banner by an order dated 19 June 1943.
Reassigned to the Volga Military District to be rebuilt, the division spent the next several months reconstituting its strength. By 1 March 1943, the division was shipped back to the front and assigned to the Kalinin Front reserves and then to the 11th Army in the STAVKA reserves.
The division went back to the front in the 3rd Army of the Bryansk Front in Operation Kutuzov. Distinguishing itself in combat, the division was awarded Guards status and redesignated the 120th Guards Rifle Division. During the remainder of 1943 the division participated in the Orel, Bryansk, and Gomel - Rechitsa operations.
As the 308th Rifle Division, the unit had two commanders. Colonel Leontii Nikolaevich Gurt'ev took over the division on 1 March 1942, was promoted to Major General on 7 December 1942, and was killed in action at Pamanlovo on 3 August 1943. For his actions in taking that town, he became a Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously on 27 August 1943. His successor as division commander was Colonel Nikolai Kuz'mich Maslennikov, who took over officially on 4 August 1943 and was promoted to Major General on 22 September 1943. Maslennikov was commander until the 308th became the 120th Guards Rifle Division in September 1943 in accordance with NKO Order Number 285.
Subordinate units339th Rifle Regiment
347th Rifle Regiment
351st Rifle Regiment
1011th Artillery Regiment
430th Antitank Battalion
699th Sapper Battalion
899th Signal Battalion
In mid-July 1944 the divisional commander, Major General Ia. Ia. Fogel, was killed in action. The 120th Guards was frequently assigned to the 41st Rifle Corps, 3rd Army, during the war.
In 1944 and 1945 the division participated in the Rogachev - Zhlobin, Belarusian, East Prussian and the Berlin offensive operations. For services in battle the division was awarded the honorary title "Rogachev" (February 1944), was awarded the Order of the Red Banner, Suvorov 2nd Class and Kutuzov 2nd class, over 18 thousand of its soldiers awarded orders and medals, eight were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
It appears that the division was reorganised as the 120th Guards Motor Rifle Division around 1957.
In 1963 the 336th Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment of the division was reorganized as the 336th Separate Guards Bialystok Naval Infantry Regiment in the Baltic Fleet, and relocated to the city Baltiysk, becoming the first regiment of Naval Infantry in the resurgent Soviet Navy. It is now in Baltiysk the 336th Separate Guards Brigade of Naval Infantry.
On 1 June 1982 the division was reorganised as the 5th Guards Independent Army Corps with a 2:2 mix of tank and motor rifle brigades and regiments. Major General Alexsandr Chumakov took command. On 1 June 1989 the corps was disbanded and the division reformed, with three motor rifle regiments and one tank regiment.
The division had its headquarters at Uruchche, and included the 335th Guards Tank Regiment, the 334th Guards and 339th Guards MRRs, the 356th MRR, the 310th Guards Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, and the 1045th Guards Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it became part of the Belarusian Ground Forces. It is now stationed at Uruchcha, one of the microraions of Minsk.One of its regiments was reassigned to the Belarusian Internal Troops.
The 120th Guards Motor Rifle Division was the first unit in Soviet Union to test the new BMP ("objekt 765") infantry fighting vehicle prototypes in January - November 1965 on command of Guards Major Vasiliy Samodelov.
At some point during the 1990s, it appears that the division was reorganised as the 120th Guards Mechanised Brigade.