6th Guards Tank Army
|6th Guards Tank Army|
|Size||three or four corps (Second World War)
three divisions (Cold War)
|Part of||Kiev Military District (Cold War)|
|Engagements||Battle of Debrecen
The 6th Guards Order of Red Banner Tank Army was a tank army of the Soviet Union's Red Army, first formed in January 1944 and disbanded in Ukraine in the 1990s after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Its commander was Lt. Gen. Tank Tr. (later Col. Gen.) A. G. Kravchenko ( Jan 1944- Sept 1945).
Initially commanding the 5th Mechanised Corps and the 5th Guards Tank Corps, the 6th Tank Army's first major operation was the suppression of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket in January–February 1944. It then fought in the Iassy-Kishinev Offensive during August 1944 before gaining a Guards title in September 1944. Under its new title, it was soon engaged in the Battle of Debrecen on the 2nd Ukrainian Front, before fighting against the Germans during Operation Frühlingserwachen in January 1945. Pushing west, the tank army moved south of Vienna, Austria and pivoted to the north in a wide encircling maneuver that cut Vienna off from the rest of the German Reich. At the end of the war, one of its subordinate formations, the 2nd Guards Mechanised Corps, ended operations in the area of Benešov, Czechoslovakia, on 9 May 1945.
The 6th Guards Tank Army was then moved to the Transbaikal Military District in order to take part in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The army, under the command of Colonel General Andrei Kravchenko spearheaded the Transbaikal Front's offensive against the Japanese Kwantung Army on 9 August 1945. The 6th Guards Tank Army consisted of the 5th Guards Tank Corps, and 7th and 9th Guards Mechanised Corps, and many smaller formations, in all, a total of 1,019 tanks and self-propelled guns. For this operation, the tank army was restructured such that the infantry, artillery, and armored components were much more balanced than they had been during the war against the Germans. This was the first example of what proved to be the standard Soviet mechanized army organization during the Cold War. During the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, the Army was operating as part of the Transbaikal Front, and during the "Khingano-Mukden Operation", as it was known to the Soviets, the Army was tasked to advance 800 kilometers.
It was stationed in Mongolia, reporting to the Transbaikal Military District, for 15 years after the war. The friendship with China of those days and the Nikita Khrushchev military reductions changed the fate of the Army, and in 1959 it was relocated to Dnipropetrovsk in the Kiev Military District. Toward the end of the 1980s it retained three Guards Tank Divisions - the 17th, 42nd (the former 42nd Rifle Division) and the 75th (formerly the 75th Guards Rifle Division - though Lenskii disagrees and calls this division the 14th Guards Tank). On 11 November 1990, following the disbandment of the 75th (or 14th) Guards Tank Division, the reorganisation of the 42nd Guards Tank Division as the 5359th Base for Storage of Weapons and Equipment, and the arrival of the 93rd Guards Motor Rifle Division from the Southern Group of Forces, the Army had on hand 462 main battle tanks, all T-64s, 228 BMPs and BTRs, 218 other pieces of equipment of various types, and five helicopters (with the 16th Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron at Podgorodnoe).
|Formation in 1989||Formation in 1991-2 (Ukraine)|
|17th Guards Tank Division (Krivoy Rog)||17th Tank Division|
|42nd Guards Tank Division (Novomoskovsk)||5359th Base for Storage of Weapons and Equipment|
|75th Guards Tank Division (Chuguev)||Became 5362 VKhVT 1989, disbanded 1990.|
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union it became part of the Ukrainian Ground Forces. In March 1992 Major General Volodymyr Shkidchenko returned home to become the army's commander. (Edict No 161 March 18, 1992) He was promoted to Lieutenant General by Edict 642/92 of 31 December 1992. (http://zakon.nau.ua/doc/?uid=1081.1357.0) Shkidchenko was released from command of the 6th Guards Tank Army by Presidential Edict No. 220/93 June 19, 1993, to be appointed to another post. The first reference to the 6th Army Corps, the successor formation, appears in Ukaz N 350/93 of the President of Ukraine on 21 August 1993. Thus it appears the 6th Guards Tank Army was disbanded by redesignation sometime between June and August 1993.
- Glantz (Companion), p. 66.
- БОЕВОЙ СОСТАВ ВОЙСК НА 1 МАЯ 1945 г. and Ustinov, Map 151.
- Orbat.com/Niehorster, 6th Guards Tank Army, 9 August 1945
- Glantz, p.280
- A.G. Lenskii, M.M. Tsybin, The Soviet Ground Forces in the last years of the USSR, St Petersburg, 1991
- Feskov et al 2004, 56, 104-105
- Feskov et al., The Soviet Army in the Period of the Cold War, Tomsk University Press, 2004
- David M. Glantz, Companion to Colussus Reborn, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. ISBN 0-7006-1359-5.
- David M. Glantz, When Titans Clashed, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. ISBN 0-7006-0899-0.