Southwestern Front (Soviet Union)

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The Southwestern Front was a name given to a Front (or Army group sized military formation) by the Imperial Russian Army during the First World War, by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic during the Russian Civil War, and by the Red Army during the Second World War.

The Southwestern Front in this article describes several distinct organizations during the Second World War. This Red Army formation was first created on June 22, 1941 from the Kiev Special Military District. The western boundary of the front in June 1941 was 865 km long, from the Pripyat River and the town of Wlodawa to the Prut River and the town of Lipkany at the border with Romania. It connected to the north with the Western Front, which extended to the Lithuanian border, and to the south with the Southern Front, which extended to the city of Odessa on the Black Sea.

Operational history

The Southwestern Front was on the main axis of attack by the German Army Group South during Operation Barbarossa. At the outbreak of war with Germany, the Front contained the Soviet 5th, 6th, 26th, and 12th Armies along the frontier. 16th and 19th Armies were in reserve behind the forward forces. These forces took part in the tank battles in western Ukraine and were surrounded and destroyed at the Battle of Uman and the Battle of Kiev (1941) in August and September 1941.

The Front was immediately re-established with new forces. During the period of the Battle of Moscow it was under the command of Marshal Timoshenko, and included from north to south the 40th, 21st, 38th and 6th Armies. It was formally disbanded on July 12, 1942 and the forces transferred to the Stalingrad Front and Southern Front.

The Front was reformed from reserve armies on October 22, 1942. It was renamed the 3rd Ukrainian Front on October 20, 1943. 3rd Ukrainian Front's first operations were the Battle of the Dnieper and the Battle of Kiev (1943).

Southwestern Front on 22 June 1941

Composition Subordinate Front units directly under Commander of the Front:[1]

  • 31st Rifle Corps
193rd Rifle Division
195th Rifle Division
200th Rifle Division
  • 36th Rifle Corps:
140th Rifle Division
146th Rifle Division
228th Rifle Division
  • 49th Rifle Corps
190th Rifle Division
197th Rifle Division
199th Rifle Division
  • 55th Rifle Corps
130th Rifle Division
169th Rifle Division
189th Rifle Division
1st Airborne Infantry Brigade
204th Airborne Infantry Brigade
211th Airborne Infantry Brigade
  • Fortified Regions
1st Kiev
3rd Latichov
5th Khorosten
7th Novogrudok–Volynsk
13th Shepetovka
15th Ostropol
17th Izaslav
  • Front Artillery
5th Anti-Tank Brigade
205th Corps Artillery Regiment
207th Corps Artillery Regiment
368th Corps Artillery Regiment
457th Corps Artillery Regiment
458th Corps Artillery Regiment
507th Corps Artillery Regiment
543rd Corps Artillery Regiment
646th Corps Artillery Regiment
305th Cannon Artillery Regiment (RGK)
355th Cannon Artillery Regiment (RGK)
4th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
168th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
324th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
330th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGk)
526th High Power Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
331st Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
376th Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
529th Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
538th Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
589th Howitzer Regiment (RGK)
34th Independent Special Artillery Division
245th Independent Special Artillery Division
315th Independent Special Artillery Division
316th Independent Special Artillery Division
263rd Independent Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division
3rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division (PVO)
4th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division (PVO)
11th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade (PVO)
PVO Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade Regions:
  • Front Tank/Mechanized Troops
19th Mechanized Corps:
40th Tank Division
43rd Tank Division
213th Mechanized Division
21st Motorcycle Regiment
24th Mechanized Corps:
45th Tank Division
49th Tank Division
216th Mechanized Division
17th Motorcycle Regiment
1st Independent Armoured Car Division
  • Front Air Forces
44th Fighter Aviation Division
64th Fighter Aviation Division
19th Bomber Aviation Division
62nd Bomber Aviation Division
14th Mixed Aviation Division
15th Mixed Aviation Division
16th Mixed Aviation Division
17th Mixed Aviation Division
63rd Mixed Aviation Division
36th Fighter Aviation Division (PVO)
315th Air Reconnaissance Regiment
316th Air Reconnaissance Regiment
  • Front Engineer Troops
45th Engineer Regiment
1st Pontoon Bridge Regiment


References and notes

  1. Boevoi Sostav Sovietskoi Armii czast I juni-dekabr 1941 Moskva 1966 page 9

Further reading

  • Boevoi Sostav Sovietskoi Armii Czast I 1941 goda juni–dekabr 1941 Moskva 1966 (Combat composition of the Soviet Army)
  • Solonin, Mark, 22 June 1941 Bocka i obruci czili Kogda naczalas Vielikaja Oteczestvennaja vojna 2004
  • Erickson, John, The Road to Stalingrad, Cassell Military Paperback, 2003
  • Fugate, Bryan & Dvoriecki, Lev, Thunder on the Dnepr Presidio Press