28th Army (Soviet Union)

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28th Army
Active June 1941 – 10 August 1941
September 1942–1993
Country Soviet Union
Branch Red Army
Size several corps
Engagements Battle of Smolensk

Second Battle of Kharkov
Battle of Stalingrad

Prague Offensive
Lieutenant-General Vladimir Kachalov

The 28th Army was a field army of the Red Army and the Soviet Ground Forces, formed three times in 1941–42 and active during the postwar period for many years in the Belorussian Military District.

Initial formation

The army was formed first in June 1941 from the Arkhangelsk Military District. It included the 30th and 33rd Rifle Corps, 69th Motorised Division, artillery and several other units. The Army Commander was Lieutenant General Vladimir Kachalov (previously commander of the Arkhangelsk Military District). Members of the army's Military Council were Brigade Commissioner Vasily T. Kolesnikov, and Army Chief of Staff Major General Pavel G. Egorov.

On 14 July 1941, the order creating the Reserve Front gave the 28th Army's composition as nine divisions, one gun, one howitzer, and four corps artillery regiments, and four anti-tank artillery regiments.[1]

It participated in the Battle of Smolensk. The army was encircled in the Smolensk Pocket and destroyed. Army headquarters was disbanded on 10 August. Subordinate units that broke out were used to form the Reserve Front, along with units from other armies.

General Kachalov was killed by artillery fire on 4 August 1941 during the breakout from the encirclement. He was buried in the village of Stodolische, Pochinkovsky District, Smolensk Oblast.[2] Lacking accurate information regarding his death, Stalin allowed him to be named as a traitor and sentenced to death in absentia in accordance with Order № 270. Only on 23 December 1953, well after the war ended, did the Supreme Court overturn the order.

Second and third formations

The army was subsequently reformed again in November 1941 and September 1942. The third formation began on Sept. 9, from forces assigned to the Stalingrad Military District and Southeastern Front, and was tasked with defending the port city of Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea's northern coast, as well as the lower reaches of the Volga. The army was under the command of Lt. Gen. V.F. Gerasimenko, with Corps Commissar A.N. Melnikov and chief of staff Mjr. Gen. S.M. Rogachevsky making up the rest of the army's Military Council. On its formation it was under the direct command of the STAVKA, but on Sept. 30 it was subordinated to Stalingrad Front. On Nov. 19, just before Operation Uranus began south of Stalingrad, the army was comprised as follows:

  • 34th Guards Rifle Division
  • 248th Rifle Division
  • 52nd, 152nd and 159th Rifle Brigades
  • 78th and 116th Fortified Regions
  • A separate cavalry regiment (or battalion)
  • 6th Guards Tank Brigade
  • 565th Separate Tank Battalion
  • 35th Separate Armored Car Battalion
  • 30th, 33rd and 46th Separate Armored Train Battalions

As of Nov. 19, the army's ration strength was 64,265 men, with 47,891 men assigned to its combat forces. It fielded 1,196 guns and mortars and 80 tanks (10 heavy, 26 medium and 44 light).[3]

On 1 July 1944 the army comprised the 3rd Guards Rifle Corps (50th, 54th and 96th Guards Rifle Divisions), 20th Rifle Corps (48th and 55th Guards Rifle Divisions, 20th Rifle Division), the 128th Rifle Corps (61st, 130th, and 152nd Rifle Divisions) artillery units including the 3rd Corps Artillery Brigade, 157th Cannon Artillery Brigade, 377th Cannon Artillery Regiment, 530th Fighter Anti-Tank Artillery Regiment, 1st Mortar Brigade (from the 5th Breakthrough Artillery Division), 133rd and 316th Guards Mortar Regiments, 12th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division (836th, 977th, 990th, 997th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiments), 607th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment (зенап), tank forces, engineers, and other troops.[4]

Third formation and postwar

In September 1945, the 28th Army established its headquarters in the Baranovichi Military District. From 1945 to 1947, the number of rifle units were reduced, and their qualitative composition increased.

In September 1954, the 12th Guards Mozyrskaya Mechanised Division and the 50th Guards Stalin Rifle Division, part of the troops of the 128th Gumbinnenskogo Rifle Corps, were used to from the test units utilised at Totskoye during the test of a 40-kiloton nuclear bomb.

In 1957, rifle corps headquarters were abolished, rifle divisions reorganized into motor rifle, and mechanized divisions into tank divisions:

In August 1968, the 15th Guards Tank and 30th (up to 1965 – 55th) Guards Motor Rifle Division of the 28th Army were sent to Czechoslovakia to participated in Operation Danube, where they remained as part of the Central Group of Forces. To replace these divisions, the 76th Tank Division was created at Brest and the 84th Motor Rifle Division at Grodno as mobilization divisions. On 15 January 1974, the army was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. The 6th Guards Kiev-Berlin Tank Division transferred to Grodno in March 1980 from East Germany. To make room for the 6th Division, the 84th Motor Rifle Division was moved to the 7th Tank Army. During the 1980s, the army was composed of the 6th Guards, 28th and 76th Tank Divisions and the 50th Guards Motor Rifle Division. During the late 1980s, the 28th was disbanded and became the 6314th Weapons and Equipment Storage Base and the 76th Tank Division reorganized as the 5356th Weapons and Equipment Storage Base.[5]

On the dissolution of the Soviet Union the 28th Army, headquartered at Grodno, included the 6th Guards Tank Division (Grodno), 6314th Weapons and Equipment Storage Base (Slonim), 50th Guards Motor Rifle Division (Brest), and the 5356th Weapons and Equipment Storage Base , also at Brest.[5]

In 1993 the army was disbanded by being redesignated the 28th Army Corps.[6] After the army was taken over by Belarus it survived for a number of years before being redesignated the Western Operational Command in 2001.


  1. STAVKA Order 003334, Collection of Combat Documents of the Great Patriotic War, ('SBDVOV'), Moscow, Voenizdat, 1958(?), Issue 37, p.13, cited in David Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, p.215
  2. Cooperative database «Memorial», via Russian wikipedia, Ruwiki accessed August 2014.
  3. David M. Glantz, Endgame at Stalingrad, Book One, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2014, pp 66, 70-71
  4. Combat composition of the Soviet Army (BSSA), 1 July 1944
  5. 5.0 5.1 Holm, Michael. "28th Combined Arms Army". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 19 February 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Holm 2015, www.ww2.dk/new

External links