Soviet Army Level Units

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Jeff Leach
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Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Jeff Leach » 19 Jul 2022 13:29

While reading the war diary of the 66 Rifle (September 1943) I can across some units I was unfamiliar with

Army Machine Gun Battalion
Army PTR Battalion
Army Assault (Engineer) Battalion

where are these integral to all combined-arms armies? Any information would be appreciated. Maybe the machine gun and PTR battalion were stripped from the subordinate rifle divisions and the 5th Assault Engineer Battalion might come from the 11th Assault Engineer Brigade.

about this time the armies were starting to be some (semi-) permanent units attached like the Army Mortar Regiment, Army Antitank Regiment and Army Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment.

The list is in the first column
00000043.jpg
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otlichnik
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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by otlichnik » 20 Jul 2022 01:44

Interesting.

I am slowly working my way through the combat logs/war journals of major units of the 1st Ukrainian Front for the Berlin Operation.

The only one I have really gone through in any detail is the 4th Guards Tank Army and, no surprise, no references to any such units. But I have also looked briefly through the 5th Guards Army and 13th Army and not seen anything like that. Just the Army Mortar Regiments you referred to.

Shawn

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Art » 20 Jul 2022 11:27

Such sources tended to be lax when it comes to units designation and that can lead to confusion.
"55 Army Sapper Battalion" is actually 55 Assault Engineer Sapper Battalion organic to 11 Assault Engineer Sapper Brigade
"269 Army Sapper Battalion" is actually 269 Separate Engineer Battalion aka 269 Army Engineer Battalion from the 12 Army.
The last unit was typical for nondivisional engineer organization, the standard table of organization was introduced in early 1942 and replaced earlier establishments of independent engineer and sapper battalions:
viewtopic.php?p=2359005#p2359005
From 1944 separate battalions were combined into engineer brigades (one per field army).

Army anti-tank rifle battalion = either 110 or 111 or 112 anti-tank rifle battalion. Again one of many similar units formed in 1942-1943, the numbers reached 3-5 per field army, see the complete list:
http://www.teatrskazka.com/Raznoe/Perec ... 33_03.html

Assualt battalion = separate rifle battalion, probation unit for officers

Machine gun battalion - don't know what it was, probably some local improvisation.

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Art » 20 Jul 2022 19:56

Also information on army level anti-aicraft units:
- GKO decree No.1841 of 2 June 1942 ordered formation of 10 army anti-aircraft regiments for the South-West Front )2 regiments per army) from exisitng anti-aicraft units. Each regiment with 12 37-mm anti-aircraft guns, 12 12.7-mm machine guns and 8 Maxim quad machien guns, 310 men.
- GKO decree No.1886 of 6.6.42 - 10 army anti-aicraft regiments for the Bryansk Front (2 per field army) of the same organization
- GKO decree No.1887 of 6.6.42 - 16 army regiments for the West Front (2 regiments per army), the same organization
- GKO decree No.2053 of 16.7.42 - 6 army regiments for the 6, 60, 62, 63, 64 and 4 Reserve Armies (one per army). Each regiment with 12 37-mm guns and 20 DShK machine guns and 312 men, TO/E 05/142
- GKO decree No.2054 of 16.7.42 - 4 army regiments for the North-Cacusus Front, the same organization as above
- GKO decree No.2088 of 24.7.42 - 18 army regiments for 9 tank armies (!) (2 per army), the same TO/E as above
- GKO decree No.2258 of 7.9.42 - 25 army anti-aicraft regiments, each with 12 37-mm guns and 20 DShK machine guns, 326 men, TO/E 08/136
- GKO decree No.2422 of 18.11.42 - 42 army air observation and warning companies (one company per field army) - apparently in addition to some number (18?) of companies whose formation was already ordered. Each company TO/E 050/134 with 162 men (over 50% of personnel composed of women).

By 1 November 1942 the number of anti-aicraft regiments on the front reached about 110 which provided close to 2 regiments per army. 29 additional regiment were being formed in the Moscow Military District. Begining from that moment separate regiment started to be combined into anti-aicraft divisions of 4 regiment which ultimately provided one division per army. The attachment of regiments and divisions was not fully permanent, as far as I can see.

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Jeff Leach » 21 Jul 2022 05:47

Thanks Art, your level of knowledge keeps me humble.

As confirmation, the 66 Rifle Corps (12 Army) does have a mention of three PTR on another date at the end of September 1943.

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Art » 21 Jul 2022 09:47

Art wrote:
20 Jul 2022 11:27
The last unit was typical for nondivisional engineer organization, the standard table of organization was introduced in early 1942 and replaced earlier establishments of independent engineer and sapper battalions:
viewtopic.php?p=2359005#p2359005
Simultaneously a new TO/E of the motorized army engineer battalion (Shtat 012/103) in lieu of the earlier establishment of the separate motorized engineer battalion from 1941. Organization and strength:

Command (3 men)
Staff (3)
Political section (1)
Administrative section (4)
HQ platoon (17) with two scout and one signal squads
3 engineer companies (120 men), each with a transport section and 3 engineer platoons x 4 squads
Bridging park (33)
Supply elements (30)

Total 451 men (35 officers, 59 NCOs, 357 privates), 1 car, 21 trucks, 33 special purpose trucks, 394 rifles and carbines, 9 light machine guns, 1 NSP (NLP?) bridging park, 1 motor boat

These and other changes in organization of engineer units were apparently introduced by the NKO order No.045 from January 1942 (judging by the index of the NKO orders, I don't have a text) following recommendation of the Shaposhnikov's commission on reduction of GHQ engineer units. At this moment the "army (motorized) engineer battalion" replaced the old designation "separate engineer battalion".

Another change in organization came in the summer of 1943. Following just another commission which reviewed reorganization of the army and reduction of the personnel strength the NKO order introduction of new TO/Es for the engineer units (order No.0099 of 21 June 1943). In particular Shtat 012/101 of the army engineer battalion was replaced with new Shtat 012/36, Shtat 012/103 of the motorized army engineer battalion with Shtat 012/37.

Shtat 012/36
Command (3 men)
Staff (3)
Political section (1)
Administrative section (4)
HQ platoon (9) with scout and signal squads
3 engineer companies (78), each 3 platoons x 3 squads
sawing section (4) with LSR-1 motor sawing bench
Supply elements (29)
Total 287 men (26 officers, 47 NCOs, 214 privates), 14 draft horses, 1 car,. 5 trucks, 2 special purpose trucks, 1 tractor, 209 rifles and carbines, 32 machine pistols, 10 machine guns

Shtat 012/37
Command (3)
Staff (3)
Political section (1)
Administrative section (4)
HQ platoon (11) with scout and signal sections
3 engineer companies (83) each 3 platoons x 3 squads
bridging park (33)
Supply elements (28)
Total 332 personnel (30 officers, 49 NCOs, 253 privates), 1 car, 22 trucks, 33 special purpose trucks, 224 rifles and carbines, 40 machine pistols, 10 machine guns, 1 NLP pontoon park, 1 BMK-1 motor boat

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Jeff Leach » 23 Jul 2022 10:54

Here are visual representations of three of the Shtats you mention. From the diagram, some changes are easier to see - the technical company is removed and all subunits have reduced strength.

Shtat 12/102
Shtat 12-102a.jpg
Shtat 12/36
Shtat 12-36a.jpg
Shtat 12/37
Shtat 12-37a.jpg
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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Art » 23 Jul 2022 18:17

Regarding the 5th Assault Battalion (not strictly on topic but still):
To the commander of the South-West Front
Copies: to heads of main and central administrations of the People's for Defense

9 September 1943

In order to provide opportunity to officers who lived for a long time on the occupied territory and didn't participate in the partisan forces to prove their loyalty to the Motherland with arms in their hands the Deputy People's Commissar for Defense Marshal com. Vasilevsky has ordered to form by 25 September of the abovementioned contingents at the disposal of the South-West Front the 5th Assualt Rifle Battalion (field post 51102).

Formation of the battalion is to be carried out according to the shtat 04/331 (*) (without ampoule-throwing platoon) with the total strength of 929 men. The battalion is to be employed on the most dangerous parts of the front.

The formed assault rifle battalion is to be staffed:
a) positions of the battalion commander, deputy commander, battalion chief of staff, company commanders, commanders of the scout and signals platoons - with best, carefully picked and well trained officers of the front having battle experience.
b) positions of privates, sergeants and other officers - with abovementioned contingents after their careful screening by the counterintelligence organs of the front.
Staffing of officer and sergeant positions is to be made after careful selection of the personnel. Axulilary positions of privates and drivers can be staffed with privates belonging to the aforementioned contingents.

Length of stay of personnel in the separate assault rifle battalion is set as: two months of participation in battles, or until award with an order for valor shown in battle, or until the first wound, after which personnel, in the presence of good account, can be appointed to the field troops to the corresponding officer positions.

Uniforms for all personnel of the battalion is establihsed according their current positions. Salaries are establihsed based on positions in the battalion accoridng to salaries described in the shtat.
Families of the personnel of a separate assault rifle battalion are granted all the rights and benefits defined by law for families of officers of the Red Army.

Weapons, equipment, transport and materiel are to be provided from the resources of the front.

Report execution.

ANTONOV
* Establishment of the separate rifle battalion of the rifle brigade.

http://docs.historyrussia.org/ru/nodes/ ... e/1/zoom/5

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Palg » 11 Aug 2022 14:34

Regarding the Army Machinegun Battalions, I have researched the Karelian Front and these battalions were present in all the Front´s armies (except possibly the 7th Army). The full designation seems to have been Separate Army Machinegun Battalion (отдельный армейский пулеметный батальон, ОАПБ), but they were not numbered.
The combat characteristics of 14th Army´s OAPB can be found here: https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=262181680
The battalions had around 260 men and 36 HMGs according to the Karelian Front strength reports from 1944.
I have also done some research on the 1st Baltic Front during Bagration, there is no mention of these battalions in any of the Armies of that Front.

regards,

Pål

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Palg » 11 Aug 2022 14:53

Some additional info: I found the combat characteristics of 19th Army´s OAPB, it was actually numbered (60th Army Machinegun Battalion): https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=262181707
It also lists the strength as 27 officers, 93 sergeants, 145 privates = 265 total. 192 rifles, 13 SMG, 37 HMG, 4 trucks and 9 horses.

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by otlichnik » 12 Aug 2022 22:49

Based on a quick scan of those documents it appears that they were sometimes broken up and distributed to provide defensive (?) support for other units - sometimes as individual platoons.

Was that a widespread phenomenon?

Shawn

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Art » 13 Aug 2022 10:58

From the war diary of the Karelian Front:
An encoded telegram No. 0654 of 23.5.42 was sent to the People's Commissar for Defense comrade Stalin which said that in conditions of the Karelian Front heavy machine guns can find only limited employment in defense and offensive. At the same time availability of rivers and lakes creates conditions for covering large areas with machine guns, thus saving personnel.
Accordingly the Military Council of the front requested permission to form a machine gun battalion with 36 heavy machine guns in every army using own resources. On 26.5.42 an encoded telegram No. 7510 from the People's Commissar for Defense gave permission to form machine gun battalions in the armies from own resources.
The list No.33 of the units of the operational army has separate machine gun battalions (unnumbered) of the 14, 19, 26 and 32 Armies active from late May - early June 1942.

According to a report on OOB and numerical strength of the 32 Army as of 1.7.42 the army machine gun battalion was organized accoridng to the TO/E 04/780 - authorized strength 36 officers, 96 NCOs, 146 privates (total 278 men) and 8 horses.
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=262163681
A limited number of horses made this unit essentially static, which, however, corresponded to its purpose. From what was said above it appears that these battalions were endemic to the Karelian Front. At least I don't see mentions of similar battalions formed elsehwere around the same time.

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by otlichnik » 13 Aug 2022 14:53

What I am curious about is whether they were treated as a single unit and assigned to defend a certain area - like a miniature version of a defensive region - or were they broken up and distributed amongst other units of the army to bolster defences in various areas.

The document that Palg linked to above, from the 14th Army’s OAPB says:

"A separate army machine-gun battalion was formed in June 1942 during the Murmansk operation of the Karelian Front.

From July 1942 until now [31 December 1943] the separate machine battalion is carrying out military service at the forefront of defense as part of the 14th Army. The tasks assigned to it were successfully performed. On the 13th of March 1943 one platoon of the battalion, in collaboration with units of the 14th Rifle Division, successfully repelled the enemy's advance on the hill in sector 0476; on the 13th of July 1943 two platoons of the battalion, together with units of the 1/95th Rifle Regiment, repulsed four enemy attacks on height 314.9; on the 15th December 1943 a platoon, together with units of the 3/95th Rifle regiment, repulsed the attack of an enemy company approaching the stronghold in sector 9674. At the same time, significant losses were inflicted on the enemy.

......

In December 1943 the battalion was at 94.8% of personnel, 73.1% of horses and 100% of heavy machine guns."


The 95th RR was part of the 14th RD. So perhaps the [60th] battalion was simply assigned to the 14th RD the whole time, though it looks like, at minimum, its platoons could be parceled out to the various Rifle Battalions of the RD.

Shawn

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Palg » 13 Aug 2022 20:42

Art, thank you very much for finding the formation order and the Shtat number, impressive work!

Since I mainly have read about the Petsamo-Kirkenes Offensive in October 1944 I don´t have much information on how these battalions were used in defense.

During the Petsamo-Kirkenes Offensive the battalion was subordinated to the 2nd Fortified Region, which had the task of putting pressure on 6.Gebirgsjägerdivision while the main attack was made on the 2.Gebirgsjägerdivision. The 6.GJD was forced to retreat when the only road was cut by Soviet forces and the 2 UR and the OAPB together with 45th Rifle Division moved forward, attacking the rearguard to keep up the pressure. The combat report for the OAPB can be read here: https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=135558188 . My russian is not very good, but it seems it operated as a unit, but with support from a submachinegun-platoon of 3/253 Rifle Regiment, 45 Rifle Division as well as a mortar battery from 206 OPAB (Machinegun-Artillery battalion) of the 2nd Fortified Region and a 120 mm Mortar Battery from the Mortar Battalion of the 72nd Naval Rifle Brigade.

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Re: Soviet Army Level Units

Post by Palg » 13 Aug 2022 20:45

And here is the strength report for 2 UR a week before the offensive, the OAPB is number 8: https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=263305965

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