The 82nd Guards Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army and the Soviet Army. It was formed after the Battle of Stalingrad from the 321st Rifle Division in recognition of that division's actions during the battle, specifically the encirclement and the siege of the German forces in the city, and later for its pursuit of the defeated Axis forces in Operation Little Saturn. The 82nd Guards continued a record of distinguished service through the rest of the Great Patriotic War, concluding in the Battle of Berlin, and continued to serve postwar in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany.
The 82nd Guards was one of several Guards rifle divisions created in the aftermath of the fighting for Stalingrad, on March 19, 1943. It was formed from a cadre of the 321st Rifle Division, in recognition of that division's steadfast qualities in the encirclement and siege of the German Sixth Army in the Battle of Stalingrad, and in particular its pursuit of the defeated Axis forces from the Caucasus region. When formed, its primary order of battle was as follows:242nd Guards Rifle Regiment from 484th Rifle Regiment
244th Guards Rifle Regiment from 488th Rifle Regiment
246th Guards Rifle Regiment from 493rd Rifle Regiment
Unknown Guards Artillery Regiment from 986th Artillery Regiment
The division formed up in 62nd Army as that army was being reformed as the 8th Guards Army in the spring of 1943. The 82nd was one of the first units assigned to the new 29th Guards Rifle Corps, and, remarkably, remained under these two commands for the duration of the war and into the postwar era. 8th Guards Army was originally assigned to Southwestern Front (after October 20, 3rd Ukrainian Front). The division continued under the command of Mjr. Gen. I.A. Makarenko, a position he would hold until April 1, 1944.
During the Battle of the Dnieper, 8th Guards Army closed on the city of Zaporozhye, famous before the war for its hydro-electric dams. The Front's first attack on Oct. 10 made few gains, but a following night attack on the 13th, supported by a massive artillery bombardment, forced the Germans to abandon the city the next day. In recognition of its role in this success, the men and women of the 82nd Guards were awarded the city's name as an honorific.
As the Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive continued, in early April 1944, 8th Guards Army was advancing through difficult conditions towards the city of Odessa. On Apr. 10, that city was liberated by a three-pronged attack by 8th Guards, 6th and 5th Shock Armies. Following this, 8th Guards advanced to the estuary of the Dniestr River by the 13th. This was a dead end, and in early May, during the First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive, the army was ordered up the east bank of the river to relieve 5th Guards Army in the bridgehead it held at Tashlyk. This relief occurred over the nights of May 5, 6 and 7. The 82nd Guards did not enter the bridgehead immediately, but remained with its corps holding the east bank between Tashlyk and Grigoriopol. All this activity was not missed by the Germans, and very early on May 10 their XXXX Panzer Corps launched a powerful attack to drive in the bridgehead. Over the next three days this assault drove the bridgehead back until it was about 11km wide but only 1 - 3km deep. On the morning of May 14 the division entered the bridgehead and relieved the 39th Guards Rifle Division, helping to stabilize the situation. Due to this setback, among others, the Soviet offensive was halted, and would not resume until August.
The final offensive on the German capital began on April 20. The units of 8th Guards Army were tasked with seizing the Seelow Heights on the west bank of the Oder. When the fighting ended, the men and women of the 82nd Guards had earned the full title: 82nd Guards Rifle, Zaparozhye, Order of the Red Banner, Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, Division. (Russian: 82-я гвардейская стрелковая Запорожская Краснознамённая ордена Богдана Хмельницкого дивизия.)
The division continued to serve postwar in 8th Guards Army in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany with the 29th Guards Rifle Corps. It was disbanded between the summer of 1946 and 1947.