3rd Army (Soviet Union)

3rd Army
Active 1939 - 1945
Country Soviet Union
Branch Red Army, Soviet Army
Size two or more Rifle corps
Part of Western Front, others
Engagements Battle of Kursk
East Prussian Offensive
Battle of Berlin

The 3rd Army was a Soviet Red Army field army during World War II.

The 3rd Army was formed in 1939 in the Belorussian Special Military District from the Vitebsk Army Group.[1]

Polish Campaign

The Third Army saw its first action in September 1939, taking part in the operation in Belarus and Poland. In the operation, the Red Army seized eastern Poland as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Order of Battle 2 October 1939[2]

Eastern Front

After the start of Operation Barbarossa, it included three corps, including the 4th Rifle Corps, with the 27th, 56th, and 85th Rifle Divisions, as well as the 21st Rifle Corps (including the 24th Rifle Division) and 11th Mechanised Corps (21st and 33rd Tank Division and 204th Mechanised Division).[3]

The 3rd Army saw lots of action in important sectors. The 3rd Army took part in the operations of the Western, Central, Bryansk, as well as the First, Second, and Third Belorussian Fronts during the defenses of Grodno, Lida, and Novogrudok.

The 3rd Army also took part in very important battles such as the Battle of Smolensk, where German troops captured the city in a difficult two-month campaign, and the Battle of Moscow, in which the Red Army's winter counter-attack led by Marshal Georgy Zhukov drove back Army Group Center over 70 miles (110 km) away from Moscow. During the second half of the Eastern Front, the 3rd Army took part in the Battle of Kursk, where numerically superior Soviet forces, using good anti-tank defenses, defeated the German forces, thus stopping Operation Zitadelle and robbing the German Army of all hopes of victory on the Eastern Front. The 3rd Army took part in the operations in Bryansk, Gomel - Rechitsa, and Rogachev - Zhlobin. During the final phases of the war, the 3rd Army took part in the attacks on Belarus, East Prussia, and eastern Germany, where it participated in the Battle of Berlin.

On 1 May 1945 the 3rd Army consisted of the 35th Rifle Corps (250th, 290th, and 348th Rifle Divisions), 40th Rifle Corps (5th, 129th, and 169th Rifle Divisions), 41st Rifle Corps (120th Guards Rifle Division, 269th, and 283rd Rifle Divisions), 4th Corps Artillery Brigade, 44th Gun Artillery Brigade, 584 иптап, and other formations and units.[4]

After the war ended, the Army headquarters was withdrawn to the Belarussian SSR, where it was reorganised in August 1945 as the short-lived Headquarters Belorussian-Lithuanian Military District. The Belorussian-Lithuanian Military District, according to a Czech internet source (valka), existed 31 Dec 44 - 9 July 1945, whereupon it was succeeded by the Minsk Military District. By this time the army consisted of three Rifle Corps with nine rifle divisions. Later, all of them except the 120th Guards 'Rogachev' Rifle Division were disbanded.



  1. 'Vitebsk army group BOVO (СВЭ, Ô.8, ß.106.)(СВЭ, т.8, с.106.); ЗапОВО (А. Г. Ленский, Сухопутные силы РККА в предвоенные годы. Справочник. — Санкт-Петербург Б&К, 2000)
  2. Nafziger Collection file 939RJAA
  3. Leo Niehorster, 3rd Army, 22 June 1941
  4. Combat composition of the Soviet Army, 1 May 1945

External links

Nafziger Collection, Combined Arms Research Library, Fort Leavenworth, KS.
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