104th Guards Airborne Division

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  • 11th Guards Airborne Division
  • 104th Guards Rifle Division
  • 104th Guards Airborne Division
104th Guards Airborne Sleeve Insignia.gif
Sleeve insignia, approved 1993
Active1943–1998
Country
Branch
TypeAirborne, Infantry
EngagementsWorld War II First Chechen War
DecorationsOrder of Kutuzov 2nd Class Order of Kutuzov 2nd class

The 104th Guards Airborne Division (Russian: 104-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная дивизия) was a division of the Soviet Airborne Troops during the Cold War that briefly became part of the Russian Airborne Forces after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It was originally formed as the 11th Guards Airborne Division during World War II. In December 1944, the 11th Guards Airborne Division became the 104th Guards Rifle Division. On 7 June 1946, the division was renamed the 104th Guards Airborne Division. It was reduced to the 31st Guards Airborne Brigade in May 1998.

History[edit]

The 11th Guards Airborne Division was formed on 23 December 1943 from three Guards Airborne Brigades in the Moscow Military District. It was part of the 38th Guards Airborne Corps.[1] On 8 December 1944, it became the 104th Guards Rifle Division, part of the 9th Guards Army. In March 1945, the division was deployed to the Budapest area. In fighting from 16 to 22 March, the division inflicted heavy losses on German troops. During the final stage of the Vienna Offensive, the division captured Sankt Pölten, thus closing off routes into Vienna. On 26 April, the division was awarded the Order of Kutuzov 2nd class.[2] On 12 May, the division reached the Vltava, meeting American troops.[2]

On 7 June 1946, the division became the 104th Guards Airborne Division in Narva.[3] It relocated to Ostrov in Pskov Oblast, becoming part of the 15th Guards Airborne Corps. In 1960, the division was relocated to the Transcaucasian Military District and was based in Kirovabad (now Gyandzha), in the Azerbaijani SSR.[4] Elements were also based in Shamkhor, Baku, and Kutaisi.[5]

Bases:[4]

  • Narva, Estonian SSR, June 1946 – April 1947
  • Ostrov, Pskov Oblast, April 1947 – June 1960
  • Gyandzha (Kirovabad),[6] Azerbaijan SSR, June 1960 – August 1992 [40 43 09N, 46 23 07E]
  • Ulyanovsk, Ulyanovsk Oblast, August 1992 – May 1998. [54 21 16N, 48 34 50E]

Most of the division's personnel fought in the Soviet–Afghan War.[2][7] The division was located in Kirovabad during the events of the Kirovabad pogrom, in which Soviet Army forces were used to restore order. According to CFE Treaty data, on 11 November 1990, the division was equipped with 219 BMD-1 and 93 BMD-2 airborne infantry fighting vehicles, 107 BTR-D armoured personnel carriers, 72 2S9 Nona self-propelled guns, 36 BTR-RD anti-tank missile carriers, 42 BTR-ZD self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, and 6 D-30 howitzers.[8] In 1993, the division was relocated to Ulyanovsk. From 1994 to 1996, the 104th Guards Airborne fought in the First Chechen War.[2]

Due to a reorganization of the Russian Airborne Forces spurred by reductions in personnel strength, the division was reduced to the 31st Guards Airborne Brigade, which inherited its colors, awards, and lineage, on 1 May 1998.[9]

In June 2015, it was announced that the 31st Guards Airborne Brigade would be upgraded to the 104th Guards Airborne Division. The new division would include three regiments at Ulyanovsk, Orenburg and Engels.[10] Reactivation of the division from the brigade was previously announced earlier, but did not eventuate.[11] At the June 2019 Army-2019 forum, Chairman of the Defence Committee of the State Duma Vladimir Shamanov reiterated that the division would eventually be reformed, but stated that no final decision had been made on the timing.[12]

Composition[edit]

104th Guards Rifle Division[edit]

The 104th Guards Rifle Division included the following units.[13][14]

  • 328th Guards Rifle Regiment
  • 332nd Guards Rifle Regiment
  • 346th Guards Rifle Regiment

104th Guards Airborne Division[edit]

The 104th Guards Airborne Division included the following units in 1947.[4]

  • 328th Guards Airborne Regiment
  • 346th Guards Air-landing Regiment
  • 82nd Guards Artillery Regiment

On 1 October 1948, the 346th Guards Air-landing Regiment was used to create the 21st Guards Airborne Division, and was replaced by the 337th Guards Air-landing Regiment.[4]

Commanders[edit]

The following officers commanded the 11th Guards Airborne Division, 104th Guards Rifle Division, and 104th Guards Airborne Division:[15]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Glantz, David M. (1994-01-01). The History of Soviet Airborne Forces. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780714641201.
  2. ^ a b c d "31-я отдельная гвардейская десантно-штурмовая Ордена Кутузова 2-й степени бригада : Министерство обороны Российской Федерации". structure.mil.ru. Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  3. ^ Feskov, Vitaly (2004). Советская Армия в годы 'холодной войны' (1945–1991)[The Red Army in the Years of the Cold War] (PDF). Tomsk: Tomsk University Press. p. 101.
  4. ^ a b c d Michael Holm, 104th Guards Airborne Division
  5. ^ Shpak, Kazantsev & Kruglov 2000, p. 165.
  6. ^ Rodrigues, Luís Nuno; Glebov, Sergiy (2009-01-01). Military Bases: Historical Perspectives, Contemporary Challenges. IOS Press. ISBN 9781586039677.
  7. ^ Amstutz, J. Bruce (1994-07-01). Afghanistan: The First Five Years of Soviet Occupation. DIANE Publishing. ISBN 9780788111112.
  8. ^ Lensky & Tsybin 2001, p. 227.
  9. ^ Shpak, Kazantsev & Kruglov 2000, pp. 166–167.
  10. ^ "Источник в Генштабе: Ульяновскую бригаду ВДВ преобразуют в дивизию [Source in General Staff: Ulyanovsk Airborne Brigade converted to division]". TASS. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
  11. ^ Colin Robinson, The Russian Ground Forces: A Structural Status Examination, Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 2005.
  12. ^ "В составе ВДВ России будет создана пятая дивизия" [Russian Airborne Troops to add fifth division]. TASS (in Russian). 25 June 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  13. ^ "104 ГВАРДЕЙСКАЯ СТРЕЛКОВАЯ ДИВИЗИЯ". bdsa.ru. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
  14. ^ "Гвардейские стрелковые 91–115". myfront.in.ua. Archived from the original on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
  15. ^ Shpak, Kazantsev & Kruglov 2000, p. 164.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Lensky, Andrey; Tsybin, Mikhail (2001). Советские сухопутные войска в последний год Союза ССР [The Soviet Ground Forces in the Last Years of the USSR]. St Petersburg: B&K Publishers. ISBN 5-93414-063-9.
  • Shpak, Georgy; Kazantsev, Vladimir; Kruglov, Vladimir (2000). Воздушно-десантные войска России [Russian Airborne Forces] (in Russian). Moscow: Local Government Development Fund. ISBN 5-901329-02-3.