Southwestern Front (Soviet Union)

Southwestern Front (Soviet Union)

The Southwestern Front was a name given to a Front by the Imperial Russian Army during the First World War, by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic during the Russian Civil War, and by the Red Army during the Second World War. In this use of the term, it is not identical with the more general usage of military front which indicates a geographic area in wartime, although a Soviet Front may operate within designated boundaries.

The Southwestern Front in this article describes several distinct organizations during the Second World War. The Red Army formation was first created on June 22, 1941 from the Special Kiev Military District. The western boundary of the front in June 1941 was 865 km long, from the Pripyat River and the town of Wlodawa to the Prut River and the town of Lipkany at the border with Romania. It connected to the north with the Western Front, which extended to the Lithuanian border, and to the south with the Southern Front, which extended to the city of Odessa on the Black Sea.

Operational History

The Southwestern Front was on the main axis of attack by the German Army Group South during Operation Barbarossa. At the outbreak of war with Germany, the Front contained the Soviet 5th, 6th, 26th, and 12th Armies along the frontier. 16th and 19th Armies were in reserve behind the forward forces. These forces took part in the tank battles in western Ukraine and were surrounded and destroyed at the Battle of Uman and the Battle of Kiev (1941) in August and September 1941.

The Front was immediately re-established with new forces. During the period of the Battle of Moscow it was under the command of Marshal Timoshenko, and included from north to south the 40th, 21st, 38th and 6th Armies. It was formally disbanded on July 12, 1942 and the forces transferred to the Stalingrad Front and Southern Front.

The Front was reformed from reserve armies on October 22, 1942. It was renamed the 3rd Ukrainian Front on October 20, 1943.


outhwestern Front on 22 June 1941

Composition Subordinate Front units directly under Commander of the Front:

*31st Rifle Corps:193th Rifle Division:195th Rifle Division:200th Rifle Division

*36th Rifle Corps::140th Rifle Division:146th Rifle Division:228th Rifle Division

*49th Rifle Corps:190th Rifle Division:197th Rifle Division:199th Rifle Division

*55 Rifle Corps:130th Rifle Division:169th Rifle Division:189th Rifle Division

*1st Airborne Infantry Corps:1st Airborne Infantry Brigade:204th Airborne Infantry Brigade:211st Airborne Infantry Brigade

*Fortified Regions:1st Kiev:3rd Latichov:5th Khorosten:7th Novogrudok-Volynsk:13th Shepetovka:15th Ostropol:17th Izaslav

*Front Artillery:5th Anti-Tank Brigade:205th Corps Artillery Regiment:207th Corps Artillery Regiment:368th Corps Artillery Regiment:457th Corps Artillery Regiment:458th Corps Artillery Regiment:507th Corps Artillery Regiment:543th Corps Artillery Regiment:646th Corps Artillery Regiment:305th Canon Artillery Regiment (RGK):355th Canon Artillery Regiment (RGK):4th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGK):168th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGK):324th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGK):330th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGk):526th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGK):331st Howitzer Regiment (RGK):376th Howitzer Regiment (RGK):529th Howitzer Regiment (RGK):538th Howitzer Regiment (RGK):589th Howitzer Regiment (RGK):34th Independent Special Artillery Division:245th Independent Special Artillery Division:315th Independent Special Artillery Division:316th Independent Special Artillery Division:263th Independent Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division

*Front PVO:3rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division (PVO):4th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division (PVO):11th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade (PVO):PVO Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade Regions:::Stanislavov::Rovno::Zhitomir::Tarnopol::Vinnitsa

*Front Armour Troops:19th Mechanized Corps:::40th Tank Division::43rd Tank Division::213rd Mechanized Division::21st Motorcycle Regiment

:24th Mechanized Corps:::45th Tank Division::49th Tank Division::216th Mechanized Division::17th Motorcycle Regiment

:1st Independent Armoured Car Division

*Front Air Forces:44th Fighter Aviation Division:64th Fighter Aviation Division:19th Bomber Aviation Division:62nd Bomber Aviation Division:14th Mixed Aviation Division:15th Mixed Aviation Division:16th Mixed Aviation Division:17th Mixed Aviation Division:63th Mixed Aviation Division:36th Fighter Aviation Division (PVO):315th Air Reconnaissance Regiment:316th Air Reconnaissance Regiment

*Front Engineer Troops:45th Engineer Regiment:1st Pontoon Bridge Regiment [Boevoi Sostav Sovietskoi Armii czast I juni-dekabr 1941 Moskva 1966 page 9]

3rd Ukrainian Front

The Front's first operations were the Battle of the Dnieper and the Battle of Kiev (1943). The Front included 57th Army from October to December 1944. It was involved in the Battle of Romania (1944). It included the 26th Army, which in mid 1945 was grouped with 37th Army into the postwar Southern Group of Forces.

3rd Ukrainian Front in October 1943 during Zaporozhe-Dniepropetrovsk Operation

Front Commander: General of Army Rodion Malinovsky

Rifle Troops (Infantry):

1st Guards Army:

"6th Guards Rifle Corps"

20th Guards Rifle Division

152nd Rifle Division

"34th Rifle Corps"

6th Rifle Division

24th Rifle Division

228th Rifle Division

195th Rifle Division

3rd Guards Army:

"34th Guards Rifle Corps"

59th Guards Rifle Division

61st Guards Rifle Division

279th Rifle Division

"32nd Rifle Corps"

259th Rifle Division

266th Rifle Division

279th Rifle Division

8th Guards Army:

"28th Guards Rifle Corps"

39th Guard Rifle Division

79th Guards Rifle Division

88th Guard Rifle Division

"29th Guards Rifle Corps"

27th Guards Rifle Division

74th Guards Rifle Division

82nd Guards Rifle Division

"33rd Rifle Corps"

50th Rifle Division

78th Rifle Division

"6th Army:"

4th Guards Rifle Corps

47th Guards Rifle Division

57th Guards Rifle Division

"26th Guards Rifle Corps"

25th Guards Rifle Division

35th Guards Rifle Division

12th Army:

"66th Rifle Corps"

203rd Rifle Division

333rd Rifle Division

60th Guards Rifle Division

244th Rifle Division

Front Armour Troops:

"1st Guards Mechanized Corps"

1st Guards Mechanized Brigade

2nd Guards Mechanized Brigade

3rd Guards Mechanized Brigade

9th Guards Tank Brigade

"23rd Tank Corps"

3rd Tank Brigade

39th Tank Brigade

135th Tank Brigade

56th Motorised Rifle Brigade

Front Air Forces:

"17th Air Army"

1st Guards Mixed Aviation Corps

1st Mixed Aviation Corps

9th Mixed Aviation Corps [Boevoi Sostav Sovietskoi Armii czast III januar-dekabr 1943 page 253 in the BSSA Front is listed under South Western Front name but it changed name in October to 3rd Ukrainian Front from November 1943 it is listed under name of 3rd Ukrainian Front]

Zaporozhe and Dnepropetrovsk Offensive Operations

In the first half of October Southwestern Front (3rd Ukrainian Front from 20 October) commanded by General of Army Malinovsky was tasked with attacking the German Panther-Wotan line, and later securing the bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Dnieper on the Izyum - Dnepropetrovsk axis during the Lower Dnieper strategic offensive operation, but the first attempt to establish bridgeheads failed. Three infantry armies: 8th Guards, 3rd Guards and the 12th Army, and two corps, 1st Guards Mechanized and 23rd Tank with 17th Air Army providing air support were assembled for the new assault.

On 10 October 1943 Chuikov's 8th Guards launched the attack, with the tank corps being inserted on the 13 October; the 12th Army attacked from the north, and 3rd Guards from the south of Zaporizhia. Germans retreated from Zaporizhia, destroying the railway bridge over Dnieper behind themselves. [Erickson, John, "The Road To Berlin", Cassell Military Paperbacks, 2003 p.138]

On the 23 October Malinovsky, who wanted to take Dnepropetrovsk, and trap the First Panzer Army in the eastern reaches of the Dnieper bend, inserted the newly arrived 46th Army into combat. Together with 8th Guards it was trying to trap German forces against the western bank of Dnieper between Dnepropetrovsk and Dniprodzerzhynsk, the site of the huge Dnieper Hydroelectric Station. The 46th Army units tried to get to the station in time to prevent the destruction of the dam by retreating German troops. On 25th October Dnepropetrovsk was taken, but the installations and the Dam were partly destroyed. [Erickson, p.139]

At the same time the Koniev's 2nd Ukrainian Front was attacking towards the Krivoi Rog from the north with the 7th Guards Army, but the 1st Panzer Army was saved for the moment as Koniev's assault on Krivoi Rog stalled at Ingulets river north of Kherson [Atlas Mira Moskva 1988 Ukrainska SSr Moldavskaja SSR page 46] . However, Vatutin commanding the 1st Ukrainian Front located north of Poltava sent the 5th Guards Tank Army which penetrated north of Krivoi Rog, and was only halted by the stubborn German defence and length of its own logistic tail. On conclusion, both operations allowed the two Fronts to create a single Krementchug-Dnepropetrovsk bridgehead expanded to Zaporozhia due to the breaching of the Wotan Line by the Southern Front.

Nikolayev-Odessa Offensive Operation

Before the offensive 3rd Ukrainian received substantial reinforcements. It now fielded seven Armies: 5th Shock Army, 6th Army, 8th Guards Army, 28th Army, 37th Army, 46th Army and 57th Army.Malinowsky also formed a cavalry-mechanized group consisting of 4th Guards Cavalry Corps and 4th Mechanized Corps under Lt. Gen. Pliev. The target was port Nikolayev and large Black Sea port Odessa.Attack opened on 6 March 1944 when Soviet troops forced the Ingulets, the Visun and the Ingul rivers


* Colonel General Mikhail P. Kirponos (June 1941-September 1941: killed in action)
* Marshal Semyon K. Timoshenko (September 1941-December 1941; April-July 1942)
* Lieutenant General F. Ia. Kostenko (December 1941-April 1942)
* Lieutenant General Nikolai F. Vatutin [promoted to Colonel General in December 1942] (October 1942-March 1943)
* Colonel General Rodion Ia. Malinovsky (March 1943-October 1943)

ee also

References and notes

Further reading

* "Boevoi Sostav Sovietskoi Armii Czast I 1941 goda juni-dekabr 1941" Moskva 1966 []
* Solonin, Mark, "22nd June 1941 Bocka i obruci czili Kogda naczalas Vielikaja Oteczestvennaja vojna" 2004
* Erickson, John, "The Road to Stalingrad", Cassell Military Paperback, 2003
* Fugate, Bryan & Dvoriecki, Lev, "Thunder on the Dnepr" Presidio Press


* Schematische Kriegsgliederung der Roten Armee am 22. Juni 1941 []

External links

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