4th Army (Soviet Union)

4th Army (Soviet Union)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=4th Army


caption=
country=Soviet Union
type=
branch=Red Army, Soviet Army
dates=1939 - circa 1991-2?
command_structure= Transcaucasian Military District (1950s-1990s)
size=two or more Rifle corps
garrison=Baku (c.1945-1991)
battles=Operation Barbarossa, others
notable_commanders=
The 4th Army was a Soviet field army of World War II that served on the Eastern front of World War II and in the Caucasus during the Cold War.It was disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union, with its divisions being withdrawn to Russia and disbanded.

World War II

The Fourth Army was created in August 1939 in the Belorussian Special Military District from the Bobruisk Army Group as an independent army . [BOVO (00 СВЭ, Ô.8, ß.468.)(00 СВЭ, т.8, с.468.) 00; Western Special MD, A.G. Lenskii, Сухопутные силы РККА в предвоенные годы. Справочник. — Санкт-Петербург Б&К, 2000] In September 1939, the Fourth Army took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland commanded by the future Marshal of Soviet Union V.I. Chuykov, the defender of Stalingrad. Its order of battle in that operation is listed here.

When the German invasion of the Soviet Union commenced on 22 June 1941, the Army was part of the Western Front and had the 28th Rifle Corps (6th Rifle Division and 42nd Rifle Division), 14th Mechanised Corps, and 49th and 75th Rifle Divisions, [Niehorster, [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/western/army_04.html Order of Battle, 22 June 1941] ] as well as the 62nd Fortified Region. General Colonel Pavlov, Commander of the Western Front, had decided to redeploy some of 4th Army’s troops early in 1941, and 12th Rifle Division was accordingly moved into Brest, and HQ 14th Mechanised Corps to Kobrin, which in Erickson’s words, ‘deprived 4th Army simultaneously of its reserve and its second echelon.’ [John Erickson, Road to Stalingrad, 2003 Cassel Military Paperbacks edition, p.86-7.] Facing the 4th Army across the River Bug was deployed the German Fourth Army, with twelve infantry divisions and a cavalry division, as well as Panzer Group 2. Some units faced several difficulties; when General Major A.A. Khorobkov, the army commander, saw his officers on 10 June, General Major S.I. Oborin, 14th Mechanised Corps commander, emphasized that more than half his soldiers were untrained recruits, that his artillery had received guns for which there was no ammunition, and that he only had enough lorries to make a quarter of the corps mobile – the rest would have to march. [Erickson, 2003 edition, p.90-1]

On the eve of the attack, 4th Army suffered, as did many Soviet formations, from German communication sabotage. Units lost telephone connections, electrical power, and the Brest Fortress lost its water supply. From about 5 am on 22 June fierce fighting began around the Brest fortress, but the seven battalions around the fortress, from 28th Rifle Corps, were undermanned, disorganized, and slow off the mark to man the defences. Despite these deficiencies the final German reduction of the fortress took some time in the face of determined Soviet resistance. By 1600 hours on 22 June, 4th Army HQ was back at Zapruda, whereupon Front HQ ordered that 14th Mechanised Corps be launched in an attack to clear Brest and reach the frontier line. However the Army staff felt the plan had no chance of success, and so it proved; when the attack was launched the next day, only insignificant progress was made. [Erickson, 2003, p.130-1, 133] Three days later Western Front ordered a general withdrawal to try and keep the frontier armies out of threatened German encirclement; 4th Army was directed to fall back on a line from Bytin to Pinsk. Further instructions came through from Pavlov after a chance meeting later the same day; to cover the concentration of reserve armies on the Dnieper, 4th Army was to hold the Shchara, the Slutsk ‘fortified district,’ and the Sluch river line. However the Slutsk fortified district, as the district commander reminded Khorobkov, had long ago been instructed to dispatch all its weapons to the Brest fortress (which was continuing to hold). The planned defence was thus practically non-existent, and Slutsk fell on 27 June. [Erickson, 2003, p.150-2, 155] The Army took part in the defenses of the area around Propoisk.

At the end of July 1941, the Fourth Army began to dissolve. The Fourth Army's staff members were absorbed into the general staff of the Central Front, and the troops were absorbed into other armies.

At the end of September 1941, the Fourth Army was formed for the second time, retaining its Independent status until December while remaining in the STAVKA Reserve. The field staffs of the 52nd and 54th Armies were used to fill the command contingent of the Army. The new formation was made up of the 285th, 292nd, and 311th Rifle Divisions along with the 27th Cavalry Division, a Tank brigade, the 2nd Reserve aviation group, and other artillery and support units.

The Fourth Army participated in the defense and attack of Tikhvin from October to December 1941. On December 17, 1941, the Fourth Army was allocated to the Volkhov Front. From January 1942 to November 1943, the Fourth Army fought on the front in Volkhov and Leningrad while also doing many rear-area duties. Unlike in other parts of the Eastern Front, the Red Army was not making significant gains in the north by 1943.

The 4th Army was disbanded in November 1943 and set up again in January 1944 as part of the Transcaucasus Front. The staff of the Fourth Army was composed of the staff of the 34th Army. The Fourth Army was stationed in Iran until August 1945 in accordance with the Soviet-Iranian treaty of 1921.

In February 1944, the 4th Army consisted of: [Combat Composition of the Soviet Army ('BSSA'), 1 February 1944, via Axis History Forum]
*HQ, 58th Rifle Corps (68th Mountain Rifle Division, 75th Rifle Division, 89th Rifle Brigade, 90th Rifle Brigade)
*HQ, 15th Cavalry Corps (1st, 23rd and 39th Cavalry Divisions, 1595th AT Regiment, 15th Indepedent AT Battalion, 17th Mortar Battalion)
*28th Anti-Aircraft Battery
*492nd Assault Aviation Regiment
*167th Fighter Aviation Regiment

Commanders During World War II

*A.A. Korobkov 4th Army (1st formation)
*L.M. Sandalov 4th Army (2nd formation)
*V.F. Yakovlev 4th Army (2nd formation)
*Kirill Meretskov 4th Army (2nd formation)
*P.A. Ivanov 4th Army (2nd formation)
*P.I. Lyapin 4th Army (2nd formation)
*N.I. Gusev 4th Army (2nd formation)
*I.G. Sovietnikov

Postwar service

In the years after World War II the Fourth Army was stationed in the Azerbaijan SSR within the Transcaucasus Military District until the fall of the Soviet Union. It was headquartered at Baku, and after it arrived from Iran in 1946 the Baku Military District was abolished. Most of the divisions listed below joined the Army's forces in the Baku region toward the end of the 1940s. From its wartime divisions, toward the end of the 1980s only the 60th Motor Rifle Division 'named for Marshal of the Soviet Union F.I. Tolbukhin' (the former 296th, then 6th Rifle Division) remained.

Cold War Order of Battle

In the late 1980s the 4th Combined Arms Army was composed of:
*23rd Motor Rifle Division, Gyandzha(Ganja) (though Feskov et al say Shamkhor, now Shamkir). (originally 14th and 16th Guards Cavalry Divisions, 7th Guards Cavalry Corps)
*60th Motor Rifle Division, Lenkoran
*216th Motor Rifle Division (disbanded mid 1980s)
*295th Motor Rifle Division, Baku (former 295th, then 49th Rifle Division).
*Other smaller formations and units

ources

*V.I. Feskov, K.A. Kalashnikov, V.I. Golikov, The Soviet Army in the Years of the Cold War 1945-91, Tomsk University Publishing House, Tomsk, 1994
* [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/4._Rote_Armee German Wikipedia]
*see also http://samsv.narod.ru/Arm/a04/arm.html


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