6th Army (Soviet Union)

6th Army
Active 1939–1945
Country Soviet Union
Branch Red Army, Soviet Army, Russian Ground Forces
Size several corps or divisions
Part of Leningrad Military District (1960-1998) Western Military District (2010 - )
Garrison/HQ Petrozavodsk (c.1960-1998)
Engagements 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 until 1998. It appears to have been reformed in 2010.

It was first formed in August, 1939 in the Kiev Special Military District from the Volochiskaya Army Group (a corps-sized formation).[1]

First Formation

In September 1939 it participated in the Soviet invasion of Poland. At the beginning of war the Army (6th Rifle Corps, 37th Rifle Corps (which included the 80th, 139th, and 141st Rifle Divisions), 4th and 15th Mechanized Corps, 5th Cavalry Corps, 4th Fortified Region, and 6th Fortified Region (Rava-Ruska), and a number of artillery and other units[2]) was deployed on the Lviv 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.

Second Formation

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 Dnipropetrovsk.[3] On 1 September 1941 it consisted of 169th, 226th, 230th, 255th, 273rd, and 275th Rifle Divisions, 26th and 28th Cavalry Divisions, 47 сп (15th NKVD Rifle Division), 269th, 274th, and 394th Corps Artillery Regiments, 522 гап б/м, 671st Artillery Regiment of the Reserve of the Supreme High Command (ап РВГК), 14, 27 озад, and 8th Tank Division.[4] 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 Izium pocket with the loss of 200,000 plus men in casualties alone, and afterwards formally disbanded.

Third Formation

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 September 1943 it consisted of the 4th Guards Rifle Corps (38th Guards, 263rd, 267th Rifle Divisions), 26th Guards Rifle Corps (25th Guards, 35th and 47th Guards Rifle Divisions), and the 33rd Rifle Corps (50th, 78th, 243rd Rifle Divisions).[5]

In 1944 it took part in the Nikopol-Kryvyi Rih, Bereznogova-Snigorovka, and Odessa offensives. Disbanded in June 1944.

Fourth Formation

Reformed in December 1944 with troops 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.[6]

During 1945 the Army took part in the Sandomierz-Silesia, and the Lower Silesia offensives. During the Lower Silesia offensive in February 1945, 6th Army, commanded by Marshal Ivan Koniev, besieged Fortress Breslau (Festung Breslau) in the Battle of Breslau. The army besieged the city as part of the Lower Silesian Offensive Operation on February 13, 1945, and the encirclement of Breslau was completed the following day. The 1st Ukrainian Front forces besieged the city with the 22nd and 74th Rifle Corps, and the 77th Fortified Region, as well as other smaller units. Even approximate estimates vary greatly concerning the number of German troops trapped in Breslau. Some sources claim that there were as many as 150,000 defenders, some 80,000 and some 50,000. The Siege of Breslau consisted of destructive house-to-house street fighting. The city was bombarded to ruin by artillery of the 6th Army, as well as the 2nd Air Army and the 18th Air Army. During the siege, both sides resorted to setting entire districts of the city on fire.

6th Army then fought in the Breslau offensive.

After the end of the Second World War, 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.

Fifth Formation

Its fifth formation was (re)formed from 31st Rifle Corps on 2 April 1952 in Murmansk, Murmansk Oblast.[7] That year it comprised the 45th Rifle Division (Pechenga, Murmansk Oblast); the 67th Rifle Division (Murmansk, Murmansk Oblast); the 341st Rifle Division (Alakurtti, Murmansk Oblast); and the 367th Rifle Division (Sortavala, Karelian ASSR). The army was disbanded at Murmansk in early 1960.[7]

The army was reformed again from Headquarters Northern Military District in May–June 1960 with headquarters at Petrozavodsk.[8] On 15 January 1974, it was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.[7]

In 1988 it consisted of:

One of the other listed brigades was the 6th Rocket Brigade at Pinozero in Murmansk Oblast. Up until 1991 it had been equipped with the Scud. From 1991 it was reequipped with the Tochka. It was disbanded in 1998.[14]

In 1989 the 16th Motor Rifle Division (mobilisation) became the 5186th Base for Storage of Weapons and Equipment (БХВТ) (30th мотострелковая бригада), and the 37th similarly became a weapons and equipment storage base (VKhVT). In 1994-95 the 111th Motor Rifle Division (Sortavala) became the 20th Independent Motor Rifle Brigade and shifted into the 30th Guards Army Corps.

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), and the 131st Motor Rifle Division (Pechenga).[15] It finally disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1997-98.

Sixth Formation

In 2010, as part of the creation of the Western Military District / Western Operational-Strategic Command with headquarters at St. Petersburg, the army was reformed. The new 6th Army may include:[16]


  1. 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.
  2. Leo Niehorster, Order of Battle, 22 June 1941
  3. Bonn/Glantz, Slaughterhouse, Aberjona Press, 2005, p.311
  4. tashv.nm.ru, [Combat composition of the Soviet Army, 1 September 1941], accessed October 2011
  5. BSSA via tashv.nm.ru
  6. Combat Composition of the Soviet Army, 1 January 1945
  7. 1 2 3 Holm, Michael. "6th Combined Arms Army". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  8. Valentin Varennikov "Unique," Book 2, page 73.
  9. Holm, Michael. "16th Motorised Rifle Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  10. Holm, Michael. "109th Motorised Rifle Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  11. "116th Motorised Rifle Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  12. "54th Motorised Rifle Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  13. Holm, Michael. "88th independent Helicopter Squadron". ww2.dk. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  14. 1 2 Holm, Michael. "6th Missile Brigade". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  15. Andrew Duncan, 'Russian forces in decline - Part 2,' Jane's Intelligence Review, October 1996, p.444
  16. В Ленинградском Военном округе переформируются действующие части. Радио Финам ФМ. See also ru:6-я общевойсковая армия (Россия)


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