5th Guards Army

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Soviet Guards Order.png

The 5th Guards Army was a Soviet Guards formation which fought in many critical actions during World War II under the command of General Aleksei Semenovich Zhadov.[1]

On 16 April 1943, the 66th Army was renamed the 5th Guards Army. The 5th Guards Army fought under command of the Steppe, Voronezh, and 2nd and 1st Ukrainian Fronts from 1943 until the end of the war. In 1943, the army fought in the Battle of Kursk.

Other notable battles and operations in which the 5th Guards Army participated include:[2]

It was elements of the 5th Guards Army that made contact with the U.S. Army's 69th Infantry Division at Torgau on the Elbe River on 25 April 1945, splitting the Third Reich into two separate parts.[3] The first contact was made between patrols near Strehla, when U.S. First Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue crossed the River Elbe in a boat with three men of an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon. On the east bank, they met forward elements of a Soviet Guards-rifle-regiment of the First Ukrainian Front under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Gardiev.

On April 26, the commanders of the 69th Infantry Division of the First Army and the 58th Guards Rifle Division of the 5th Guards Army met at Torgau, southwest of Berlin.

2nd Lt. William Robertson and Lt. Alexander Silvashko, Red Army, shown in front of sign East Meets West symbolizing the historic meeting of the Soviet and American Armies, near Torgau, Germany, an arranged photo op on "Elbe Day".

The same day, another patrol under Second Lieutenant William Robertson with Frank Huff, James McDonnell and Paul Staub met Soviet Lieutenant Alexander Silvashko with some soldiers on the destroyed Elbe bridge of Torgau.

At the end of the war, the 5th Guards Army commanded the 32nd and 33rd Guards Rifle Corps, as well as the 75th Rifle Corps.

The army was disbanded on 26 December 1946 while with the Central Group of Forces in Austria.[4]

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