6th Army (Soviet Union)

6th Army (Soviet Union)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=6th Army

country=Soviet Union
branch=Red Army, Soviet Army
dates=1939 - 1998
command_structure= Leningrad Military District (1960-1998)
size=several corps or divisions
garrison=Petrozavodsk (c.1960-1998)
battles=Soviet invasion of Poland (1939), Operation Barbarossa, Second Battle of Kharkov, others
The 6th Army was a field army of the Soviet Red Army formed four times during World War II and active with the Russian Ground Forces up until 1998.It was first formed in August, 1939 in the Kiev Special Military District from an existing Army Group (a corps-sized formation). [6th Army- б. Восточная (первоначально - Винницкая, затем - Волочиская армейская группа КОВО (0000 Там же, а также "Другая война. 1939-1945". М., 1996, с.248.) КОВО. Lenskii 2001.]

In September 1939 it participated in the Soviet invasion of Poland. At the beginning of war the Army (6th and 37th Rifle Corps (which included the 80th Rifle Division), 4th and 15th Mechanized Corps, 5th Cavalry Corps, 4th and 6th Fortified Regions, and a number of artillery and other units [Niehorster, [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/kiev/army_06.html, Order of Battle, 22 June 1941] ] ) was deployed on the Lvov direction. It started the Second World War as part of the Soviet Southwestern Front. The army's headquarters was disbanded 10 August 1941 after the Battle of Uman. In this battle, the 6th Army was caught in a huge encirclement south of Kiev along with the 12th Army. It was immediately reformed within the Southern Front on the basis of 48th Rifle Corps and other units, and defended the west bank of the Dnepr River northwest of Dnepropetrovsk. [Bonn/Glantz, Slaughterhouse, Aberjona Press, 2005, p.311] It was then transferred to the Soviet Southwestern Front and took part in defensive actions in the Donbas, the Barvenkovo-Lozovaia operation, and the Second Battle of Kharkov, but along with the 57th Army, was surrounded in the Izyum pocket with the loss of 200,000 plus men in casualties alone, and afterwards formally disbanded.

The Army was reformed in July 1942 for the third time from the 6th Reserve Army, comprising the 45th, 99th, 141st, 160th, 174th, 212th, 219th, and 309th Rifle Divisions plus the 141st Rifle Brigade. It was assigned in sequence to the Voronezh, Southwestern, and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts. In January 1943, the 6th Army smashed through the defensive lines of the Alpini divisions of the Italian 8th Army as part of Operation Little Saturn. In 1944 it took part in the Nikopol-Krivoi Rog, Bereznogova-Snigorovka, and Odessa offensives. However in June 1944 it was broken up again, and only reformed in December 1944 with troops posted in from 3rd Guards and 13th Armies. On 1 January 1945 the Army consisted of the 22nd Rifle Corps (218th and 273rd Rifle Divisions), the 74th Rifle Corps (181st and 309th Rifle Divisions), the 359th Rifle Division, the 77th Fortified Region, and other support units. [ [http://www.tashv.nm.ru/BoevojSostavSA/1945/19450101.html Combat Composition of the Soviet Army] , 1 January 1945]

During 1945 the Army took part in the Sandomir-Silesia, and the Lower Silesia offensives. During the Lower Silesia offensive in February 1945, 6th Army besieged Fortress Breslau ("Festung Breslau") in the Battle of Breslau. It then fought in the Bresla offensive.

After the end of World War II, the 6th Army was withdrawn from Germany and stationed briefly in the Orlovskiy Military District before being disbanded in the Voronezh Military District late in 1945. Its second formation was (re)formed in the Leningrad Military District in 1960 with headquarters at Petrozavodsk. In January 1996 it consisted of the 161st Artillery Brigade, the 182nd MRL Regiment, the 485th Separate Helicopter Regiment, the 54th Motor Rifle Division (Allakurtti), the 111th Motor Rifle Division (Sortavala), and the 131st Motor Rifle Division (Pechenga). [Andrew Duncan, 'Russian forces in decline - Part 2,' Jane's Intelligence Review, October 1996, p.444] . It finally disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1997-98.

References and See Also

*Keith E. Bonn, Slaughterhouse: The Handbook of the Eastern Front, Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA, 2005

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