8th Guards Army (Soviet Union)

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8th Guards Army
Soviet Guards Order.png
Active October 1941-July 1942 7th Reserve Army
July 1942 - Mar. 1943 62nd Army
Mar. 1943 - 1992 8th Guards Army
Country Soviet Union
Branch Red Army, Soviet Army
Part of Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (1945-1990)
Engagements Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Poznań (1945)
Battle of Berlin
Disbanded July 7, 1992
Vasily Chuikov

The Soviet 8th Guards Army was an army of the Soviet Union's Red Army/Soviet Army that was formed during World War II and was disbanded in the early 1990s.

World War II

Activated in October 1941 as the 7th Reserve Army, the Army was re-designated the 62nd Army at Stalingrad in July 1942. It was among the victors of Stalingrad and thus re-designated the 8th Guards Army.

In July 1943, it took part in the Izyum-Barvenkovo Offensive (July 17–27), and in August-September - in the Donbass strategic offensive operation (August 13 - September 22) . Developing the offensive in the direction of the Dnieper, the Army with other troops of the Southwestern Front liberated Zaporozhye (October 14), crossed the Dnieper south of Dnipropetrovsk south and captured a bridgehead on its right bank. By this time 28th, 29th and 4th Guards Rifle Corps were part of the army.

The army was part of the 3rd Ukrainian Front during the Dnieper-Carpathian Offensive. By March 25, 1944, the Prut River had fallen and the 3rd Ukrainian Front was dispatched to secure Odessa.[1] On April 2, Vasili Chuikov's Eighth Guards Army and Forty-Sixth Army attacked through a blizzard[2] and, by April 6, had driven the defenders past the Dniester River and isolated Odessa.[2] Odessa capitulated on April 10, and Soviet troops began entering Romania proper.[2]

In 1945 the army was commanded by Lieutenant General Vasily Chuikov. It was part of Marshal Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front. One of the cities which the Army took in its westward drive was Poznań, which the Army seized in January–February 1945.

In a deliberate symbolic move the 8th Guards Army was then sent northwards to the center of the front, coming under command of 1st Belorussian Front; Stalin was determined that the Army that had defended Stalingrad would take part in the capture of Berlin (Battle of Berlin). On 2 May 1945, Chuikov took the surrender of the German General Weidling, the commander of the Berlin Defensive Area, and the rest of the Berlin garrison. Later the Eighth Guards Army became part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. On the creation of the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany in 1945, the Army consisted of:

Cold War

In 1947, 4th Guards Rifle Corps was relocated to Tallinn in Estonia.[3] It appears that 82nd and 88th Guards Rifle Divisions disbanded between 1946 and 1956.[4]

During the Cold War, 8th Guards Army stood opposed to NATO forces (specifically the US V Corps) along the strategically vital Fulda Gap in West Germany.[5]

In the last years of its existence, in the late 1980s, 8th Guards Army consisted of:[6]

  • Headquarters at Weimar-Nohra
  • 79th Guards Tank Division - Jena, GDR: - disbanded, 1992
    • 17th Guards Tank Regiment (Saalfeld)
    • 65th Guards Tank Regiment (Nohra)
    • 211th Guards Tank Regiment(Jena)
    • 66th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Nohra)
    • 172nd Artillery Regiment (Rudolstadt)
    • 79th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment (Jena)
File:Kostrzyn nad Odrą 6.jpg
Memorial cemetery to Soviet soldiers в боях за Кюстрин. (Battle of Küstrin in 1945)
  • 27th Guards Motor Rifle Division - General-Maerker-Kaserne, Halle, GDR: - to Totskoye, Volga Military District
    • 68. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Halle)
    • 243. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Halle)
    • 244. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Schlotheim)
    • 28th Tank Regiment (Halle)
    • 54th Guards SP Artillery Regiment (Halle)
  • 39th Guards Motor Rifle Division - Ohrdruf, GDR: - disbanded, 1992
    • 117. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Meiningen)
    • 120. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Ohrdruf)
    • 172. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Gotha)
    • 15th Guards Tank Regiment(Ohrdruf)
    • 87th Artillery Regiment (Gotha)
  • 57th Guards Motor Rifle Division - Naumburg, GDR – disbanded, 1992[7]
    • 170. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Naumburg)
    • 174. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Weißenfels)
    • 241. Guards Motor Rifle Regiment (Leipzig)
    • 57. Guards Tank Regiment (Zeitz)
    • 128th Artillery Regiment (Zeitz)
  • 47th Tank Brigade - Plauen, GDR: 156 T-80, 18 2S1, 4 2S6, 4 SA-13

After the Soviet withdrawal from Germany the army was reduced in size to become 8th Guards Army Corps, and withdrawn to Volgograd, the former Stalingrad in 1994. There it appears to have taken the place of the 34th Army Corps. For a while it was commanded by Lev Rokhlin.


  1. Willmott, p. 373
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Pimlott, p. 333
  3. Feskov et al 2004, 46
  4. Feskov et al 2004, 77
  5. Powell
  6. Andy Johnson, Warsaw Pact Order of Battle June 1989, last updated 27 May 2000. More recent Russian sites give different Army-level units - see http://www.genstab.ru/gsvg_8.htm
  7. V.I. Feskov et al 2004, 104.
  • Beevor, Antony; Cooper, Artemis (2002). The Fall of Berlin 1945 (1st ed.). New York: Viking.
  • Powell, Colin L.; Persico, Joseph (1996). My American Journey (1st ed.). New York: Ballantine Books.
  • 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, 2004.

Further reading

  • Vasily Chuikov, The Fall of Berlin, transl/pub 1969
  • Чуйков В.И. "Сражение века".;
  • Чуйков В.И. "Начало пути". — М., 1959 г.;
  • Чуйков В.И. "Гвардейцы Сталинграда идут на Запад".;
  • Чуйков В.И. "Конец третьего рейха". — М.: Советская Россия, 1973 г.(ВОЕННАЯ ЛИТЕРАТУРА -[ Мемуары ]- Чуйков В.И. Конец третьего рейха);
  • Чуйков В.И. "От Сталинграда до Берлина".;
  • Дмитриев С. Н. «Советские войска в Германии 1945—1994». «Молодая гвардия», 1994 г.
  • Ленский А. Г., Цыбин М. М. «Советские сухопутные войска в последний год Союза ССР. Справочник». С.-Пб., 2001 г.