Southern Group of Forces

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The Southern Group of Forces (YUGV) was a Soviet Armed Forces formation formed twice following the Second World War, most notably around the time of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

First Formation

Following the Iassy-Kishinev Operation, on June 15, 1945, the 26th and 37th Armies (from 3rd Ukrainian Front) in Romania and Bulgaria, plus a division which had reached Yugoslavia, were grouped into the Southern Group of Forces. A year later, the 37th Army became the 10th Mechanised Army. 57th Army, briefly to become 9th Mechanised Army, was also part of the Group.[1] After the signing of the Paris Peace Treaties in 1947, the SGF disbanded, along with HQ 26th Army, and passed on its functions to the 10th Mechanised Army, which had now been redesignated the Special Mechanized Army.

Second Formation

The Group was re-created for a second time with its staff in Budapest seemingly during September 1955 (though former Soviet sources disagree; Feskov et al. say it was created on November 24, 1956). Lenskii says that it was re-created in 1955 to control the Soviet troops in Hungary following the disbandment of the former Central Group of Forces which had controlled troops in Austria and Hungary from 1945 to 1955, and the Soviet withdrawal from Austria. Under its command were the 2nd Guards 'Nikolayevsk-Budapest' Mechanised Division, the 17th Guards 'Yenakievskiy-Danube' Mechanised Division, two air divisions, and other troops. Lenskii says their function was 'to cover the boundary with neutral Austria and to guarantee communications in the case of the advancement of troops from the USSR'.

Hungarian Revolution

On October 24, 1956 the 33rd Guard Kherson Mechanized Division, previously stationed in Romania near the Romanian-Hungarian border, and two divisions from the Carpathian Military District, the 11th Guards 'Rovenskaya' Mechanized and 128th Guards Rifle Division, entered Hungary under the control of a Rifle Corps. The forces already in Hungary and those entering totalled 31,500 men. The 33rd Guards Mechanised Division took the lead role in suppressing the Hungarian Revolution in Budapest, and lost, according to Soviet sources, 14 tanks and assault guns as well as 9 armoured personnel carriers. Seven months afterward, on May 28, 1957, an agreement on the status of Soviet troops, comprising the Southern Group of Forces, was made between the USSR and Hungary.

The 11th Guards Mechanised and 128th Guards Rifle Divisions returned to the Carpathian Military District and were replaced by the 21st Guards 'Poltava' Tank Division and the 27th 'Cherkass' Motor Rifle Division, both under the command of the Carpathian Military District's 38th Army. 2nd Guards Mechanised Division was re-formed into the 19th Guards Tank Division, and the 17th Guards Mechanised Division was re-formed into the 17th Guard Motor Rifle Division and withdrawn to the USSR. The 33rd Guards Mechanised Division was then replaced by the 35th Guards 'Kharkov' Mechanised Division.

Later, either in 1957 or 1965, three of the four divisions in the Group were redesignated, and toward the end of the 1980s the Group comprised:

Smaller units included the 327th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (327 ZRP), headquartered at Szolnok and tasked with airfield defence.[2]

The removal of Soviet troops from Hungary began during May 1989, with the withdrawal and disbandment of 13th Guards Tank Division. Later the 19th Guards Tank Division was withdrawn to the Belorussian Military District and the 254th Motor Rifle Division to the Kiev Military District. The 93rd Guards Motor Rifle Division was withdrawn in early 1991 to the Kiev Military District and the Group finally disbanded on 16 June 1991.

Air Forces of the Southern Group of Forces

11th Guards Fighter Aviation Division (IAD Guards 14) (Tokol)
5th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (Sármellék)
14th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (Kiskunlacháza)
515th Fighter Aviation Regiment (Tokol)
1 gvibap (Kunmadaras)
328 ograp (Kunmadaras)
727 gvbap (Debrecen)
396 gvovp (Kalocsa)
294 EIA Reb (Debrecen)
8 obazom (Sármellék, Kunmadaras, Debrecen)
201 osae (Tokol)

and other helicopter squadrons and detachments on the ground Veszprém, Esztergom-Kadafalva, Kecskemét and Szeged.

The 11th Guards Fighter Aviation Division (11 GvIAD) moved from Parndorf in Austria to Veszprém-Jutas in Hungary in November 1945.[3] It was stationed there until September 1949. It came under command of the 78th Guards Fighter Aviation Corps in January 1949. On 10 January 1949 it was renamed the 195th Guards Fighter Aviation Division. In 1950 it comprised the 1st, 5th, and 106th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiments at Tokol and Papa flying MiG-15s. The 106th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment was disbanded in mid-1961, and was replaced by the 14th 'Leningradskiy' Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment. The 1st Guards Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment became independent of the division, reporting directly to 36th Air Army, in mid 1963, and from July 1960 to 22 April 1991 with two short breaks was stationed at Kunmadaras.

The division was returned to its previous title of 11th as the 11th Guards Fighter Aviation Division in April 1968. Structure 1970:

  • 5th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (Sármellék, Hungary) with MiG-21
  • 14th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (Kiskunlacháza, Hungary) with MiG-21
  • 515th Fighter Aviation Regiment (Tököl, Hungary) with MiG-21

The 14th GvIAP was based in 1981 at Kiskunlachaza air base in Hungary. The 14th acquired MiG-23Ms in 1975 and in 1979 also received MLs. The MiG-23s were replaced by MiG-29s in 1986. Elements of the regiment took part in the Warsaw Pact Exercise Zapad-81 in East Germany in late 1981.

The 515th Fighter Aviation Regiment was disbanded at Tokol in August 1989. The 5th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment was disbanded in October 1990, with aircraft and crews being withdrawn to Biaroza, Brest Oblast, in the Byelorussian SSR.[4]

Following these disbandments, the structure of the 36th Air Army on 1 January 1991 was:[5]

  • HQ 36th Air Army, Budapest (Southern Group of Forces)
  • 18th Independent Communications Regiment (Piliscsaba)
  • 201st OSAE (Tököl) with 10 Mi-8 and a few transport aircraft
  • 190th APIB (Kunmadaras) with 32 MiG-27 and 10 MiG-23
  • 328th Guards ORAP (Kunmadaras) with 12 Su-24 and 15 Su-17 - withdrawn to Ukraine and disbanded, April 1991
  • 11th Guards "Dnepropetrovsk" IAD (Tököl)
    • 14th Guards "Leningrad" IAP (Kiskunlacháza) with 34 MiG-29 and 9 MiG-23

Two regiments of the 36th Air Army were returned to the Soviet Union in April 1991. On 21 April the 14th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment moved back to Zherdevka, Tambov Oblast, in the Moscow Military District. The next day (22 April 1991) the 1st Guards Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment was transferred back to the Soviet Union, being moved back to Lebyazhye in Volgograd Oblast.

The 11th Guards Fighter Aviation Division was disbanded in June 1991.

See also


  • A.G. Lenskii, M.M. Tsybin, The Soviet Ground Forces in the last years of the USSR, St Petersburg, 1991
  • Feskov et al., The Soviet Army in the years of the Cold War 1945-1991, Tomsk University Press, 2004


  1. Feskov et al 2013.
  2. See Michael Holm, 327th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment, accessed August 2012
  3. Michael Holm, 11th Guards Fighter Aviation Division, accessed October 2011
  4. Holm,
  5. See Spanish forum reference at Air Army (Soviet Union) article

External links