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31st Army (Soviet Union)

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Covid-19
Country  Soviet Union
Size  Army
Branch  Red Army
Active  July 15, 1941 - September 1945
Part of  Moscow Military District Reserve Front Western Front Kalinin Front 3rd Belorussian Front 1st Ukrainian Front
Engagements  Battle of Moscow Rzhev-Vyazma Strategic Offensive Rzhev-Sychevka Strategic Offensive Smolensk Strategic Offensive Vitebsk Offensive Operation Bagration Gumbinnen Operation East Prussian Offensive Prague Operation

The 31st Army was a field army of the Red Army during the Second World War.

Contents

Formation

The army was formed on July 15, 1941 in the Moscow Military District. The army was ordered to create a line of defense along the line of Ostashkov - Selizharovo - Rzhev. The army was stationed between the 27th Army to the north and the 49th Army to the south.

The army was formed with the following units:

244th Rifle Division 246th Rifle Division 247th Rifle Division 249th Rifle Division

and by 1 August was assigned to the Reserve Front and had added the following units:

119th Rifle Division 110th Tank Division 43rd Corps Artillery Regiment 766th Antitank Artillery Regiment 537th Miner-Sapper Battalion

The army was assigned to the Reserve Front on July 30, 1941, and its defensive sector altered to the line Ostashkov - Yeltsy - Tishina River. The fighting reached the army on October 2, 1941. At that time, the army was composed of:

5th Rifle Division 110th Rifle Division 119th Rifle Division 247th Rifle Division 249th Rifle Division 296th Machine-Gun Artillery Battalion 297th Machine-Gun Artillery Battalion 43rd Corps Artillery Regiment 336th Corps Artillery Regiment 766th Antitank Artillery Regiment 873rd Antitank Artillery Regiment 199th Naval Artillery Battalion 282nd Naval Gun Battery 537th Miner-Sapper Battalion

1941

The army engaged the Germans on October 2, 1941, when the Operation Typhoon kicked off towards Rzhev. On October 6, the army formed a task force under the command of Major General Polenov and assisted by a task force from 19th Army under the command of Lieutenant General I. Boldin, whose mission was to break the enemy advance on Volokolamsk and Rzhev. On October 7 the first snow fell, turning the roads into mud and forcing a halt to the 3rd Panzer Group's advance. The snow allowed the army to set up defensive positions along the Zhuralyovo − Large Yakovtsevo − Ivashkova and create a corridor for retreating Soviet troops. This began the Kalinin Defensive phase of the Moscow Strategic Defensive operations.

On October 10 the 110th Tank Division was detached and ordered to Rzhev.

On October 19 the army was reduced to:

119th Rifle Division 183rd Rifle Division 46th Cavalry Division 54th Cavalry Division 8th Tank Brigade and Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Kalinin Front

From October 19 to 22, the army fought against German forces which had broken into the district of Mednoye and received reinforcements from the 113th and 252nd Rifle Divisions. On October 22, the army was ordered to take the offensive in conjunction with the 29th and 30th Armies to liberate the city of Kalinin. While unable to retake the city, the attack was able to draw off a number of German forces from the attack on Moscow.

On December 5 as part of the Moscow Strategic Offensive the Kalinin Front began the Kalinin Offensive. Encountering stubborn resistance and repeated counterattacks, the 29th and 31st Army had broken the flanks of the forces defending Kalinin by December 15, and on December 16 the 31st Army liberated the city.

On January 7, 1942 troops of the 39th, 29th, 31st and 30th armies were stopped on prepared defensive lines north of Rhzev near Lotoshino.

1942

From January 8 to April 20, the army participated in the Rzhev-Vyazma Strategic Offensive. On April 20, the army moved into defensive positions east of Zubtsov, Russia.

On July 23 the army was assigned to the Western Front and took part in the Rzhev-Sychevka offensive from July 30 to August 23, liberating the city of Zubstov on the 23rd.

From November 25 to December 20, 1942 the army participated in Operation Mars.

1943

On March 20, 1943 the army crossed the Dnieper River, despite the complications of the spring thaw breaking up the river's ice. The army attempted to go on the offensive but was unable to break through the German defenses, and by the end of the month the commander decided to discontinue the general offensive and go over on to the defense.

Composition as of August 1, 1943:

36th Rifle Corps 45th Rifle Corps 71st Rifle Corps (Headquarters only) 82nd Rifle Division 133rd Rifle Division 251st Rifle Division 392nd Gun Artillery Regiment 542nd Gun Artillery Regiment 644th Gun Artillery Regiment 646th Gun Artillery Regiment 529th Tank Destroyer Regiment 873rd Tank Destroyer Regiment 549th Mortar Regiment 341st Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment 1269th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment 1478th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment 2nd Guard Motorcycle Regiment 72nd Engineer Battalion 291st Engineer Battalion

On August 7, the army went on the offensive as part of Operation Suvorov, part of the Smolensk Strategic Offensive. The army made only limited penetrations of the German lines. After a beating of heavy German counterattacks, the attack was suspended on August 11. After a regrouping of the forces, the attack resumed on August 16. However, the forces were unable to advance even a mile and the attack was again suspended on August 20.

The attack resumed on August 30 with little progress made. That evening the Germans began to withdraw their forces. The Soviet pursuit began on August 31 with the crossing of the Vopets River. After a week of retreating, the Germans managed to establish a defensive line near Yartsevo and on September 7 took up defensive positions.

On September 15 they resumed the attack, crossing the Vop River. In conjunction with the 5th and 68th Armies, they liberated Smolensk on September 25.

1944

In February - March the army participated in operations to liberate Brest.

At the opening of Operation Bagration, the army consisted of:

36th Rifle Corps 71st Rifle Corps 113th Rifle Corps 173rd Rifle Division 140th Gun Artillery Brigade 392nd Corps Gun Artillery Regiment 570th Corps Gun Artillery Regiment 83rd Guards Howitzer Artillery Regiment 43rd Antitank Artillery Brigade 529th Tank Destroyer Regiment 549th Mortar Regiment 74th Guards Mortar Regiment 2nd Separate Artillery Observation Balloon Battalion 66th Antiaircraft Artillery Division 1275th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment 1478th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment 1481st Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment 525th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion 213th Tank Brigade 926th SU Regiment 927th SU Regiment 959th SU Regiment 1445th SU Regiment 52nd Armored Train Battalion 90th Pontoon-Bridge Battalion (8th Pontoon-Bridge Brigade) 14th Flamethrower Battalion 15th Flamethrower Battalion

Assigned to the 3rd Belorussian Front the army Operation Bagration participated in the elimination of German forces in the Minsk Offensive encirclement. In addition to the 31st Army, the 2nd Belorussian Front's 33rd, 49th and 50th Armies were given the task of containing the Germans within the encirclement and destroying German forces in the surrounding area.

The elimination of the German forces escaping from the city took place in three phases:

  • July 5–7 - destruction and suppression of organized attempts to break out. After the surrender of the city, the German forces broke up into several disorganized group and attempted to get out of the encirclement.
  • July 8–9 - destruction of groups which had taken refuge in the forests south-east of Minsk.
  • July 10–13 - Soviet troops combed the woods, catching small enemy groups.
  • By the end of the summer of 1944, the forces of 3rd Belorussian Front and 31st Army had reached the approaches to the border of East Prussia.

    1945

    The army took part in the East Prussian Strategic Offensive under the command of the 3rd Belorussian Front. The army was transferred to the 1st Ukrainian Front in order to participate in the Prague Offensive.

    Composition at the end of World War II:

    36th Rifle Corps 44th Rifle Corps 71st Rifle Corps 140th Gun Artillery Brigade 51st Guards Tank Destroyer Regiment 357th Guards Tank Destroyer Regiment 529th Tank Destroyer Regiment 549th Mortar Regiment 1478th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment 926th SU Regiment 959th SU Regiment 31st Engineer-Sapper Brigade

    The army was disbanded in September 1945.

    Command Staff

    Commanders

  • Major Genersl B.N. Dalmatov - (July 15, 1941 - October 13, 1941)
  • Major General V.A. Yushkevich - (October 17, 1941 - March 19, 1942)
  • Major General V.I. Vostrukhov - (March 19, 1942 - April 14, 1942)
  • Major General V. Polenov - (April 15, 1942 - February 27, 1943)
  • Major General V. Gluzdovsky - (February 27, 1943 - May 27, 1944)
  • Lieutenant General V. Glagolev - (May 27, 1944 - December 15, 1944)
  • Lieutenant General P.G. Shafranov - (December 15, 1944 - May 11, 1945)
  • References

    31st Army (Soviet Union) Wikipedia


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