14th Guards Army

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14th Guards Army
14-я гвардейская общевойсковая армия
Щербак Григорий Михайлович принимает Парад Победы в Кишинёве, МССР в 1965 году.jpg
A military parade of the 14th Guards Army on Kishinev's Victory Square in 1965.
Country Soviet Union
Branch Soviet Army
 Russian Ground Forces
TypeField army
Part ofOdessa Military District
Moscow Military District
HeadquartersKishinev (1956–1984)
Tiraspol (1984–1995)
DecorationsOrder of the Red Banner Order of the Red Banner
Alexander Lebed

The 14th Guards Army (Russian: 14-я гвардейская армия) was a field army of the Red Army, the Soviet Ground Forces, and the Russian Ground Forces, active from 1956 to 1995. According to sources within the 14th Army, the majority of its troops came from the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, with 51% of officers and 79% of draftees coming from this region.[1]


World War II and postwar period[edit]

The 14th Army was officially formed as a Soviet Army unit on November 25, 1956 from the Odessa Military District's 10th Guards Budapest Rifle Corps in Kishinev.[2][3] The rifle corps took part in the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive as part of the 5th Shock Army and the Budapest Offensive as part of the 46th Army. After the war, units of the army such as the 33rd Guards Motorized Rifle Division were stationed in the Romanian People's Republic until they were withdrawn between 1958–1960. On November 3, 1967 the army was renamed the 14th Guards Combined Arms Army on the orders of Marshal of the Soviet Union Rodion Malinovsky. In August 1968, one of the army's divisions, the 48th Motor Rifle Division, took part in the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia (known as Operation Danube), joining the Central Group of Forces. It was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on October 28, 1974 by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. It began to recruit Transnistrian youths for military service in the early 70s, which would later become the army's main ethnic majority. In the early 1980s, the headquarters was moved to Tiraspol, the capital of Soviet Transnistria.[4] On April 1,1992, the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin ordered that the 14th Guards Combined Arms Army come under the jurisdiction of the Russian Army.[5]

Involvement in the Transnistrian War[edit]

At the start of the Transnistrian War in March 1992, the Russian government adopted an official policy for neutrality. Despite this, many 14th Guards Army personnel were sympathetic to the creation of the PMR and therefore defected join Transnistrian units and participated in the fighting as part of the Armed Forces of Transnistria.[6] Even its own commanding officer, General G. I. Yakovlev, defected to the Transnistrian side, eventually playing a role in the republic's founding and serving as a career politician. Once he accepted the position of Chairman of the Department of Defense PMR on December 3, 1991, Yevgeny Shaposhnikov (Commander-in-Chief of the CIS Armed Forces at the time) immediately and permanently relieved him of his Russian military service.[7] The number of Russian personnel of the army located in the Republic of Moldova totaled about 14,000 soldiers (conscripts and officers), all of which were supported by 9,000 Transnistrian militiamen who were armed and trained by the 14th Guards Army.[8][9] On June 23, Major General Alexander Lebed arrived at the headquarters 14th Army in the Transnistrian capital under the orders from the Russian Ground Forces to inspect the army and evacuate the weapons depot.[citation needed]

On close to two weeks later, in the early hours of July 3, Lebed ordered a massive artillery strike from the left bank of the Dniester onto a Moldovan contingent in Gerbovetskii forest (near Bendery). This was considered to be the conflict's climax which ultimately resulted in the end of the conflict's military phase and the beginning of trilateral negotiations between Russia, Transnistria and Moldova.[10][11]


After the war, the unit's number of personnel were reduced dramatically, with subordinate units were split between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Armed Forces of Russia. The units that remained were reformed into the Western Military District's Operational Group of Russian Forces in Moldova between April-June 1995. This was done at the behest of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. It is generally accepted by the Military of Moldova and the Government of Transnistria that the 14th Army played a critical role in preventing the installation of Moldovan control in the area. Many veterans of the former Russian 14th Army were given local residence in and around Tiraspol.[citation needed]



When the army was four years old in 1960, the following divisions were assigned to the it:[12]

In 1964, the 88th Motor Rifle Division became the 180th Motor Rifle Division, and the 118th Motor Rifle Division was transformed into the 48th Motor Rifle Division.



As of November 19, 1990, the 14th Guards Army consisted of the units mentioned below:[13]

  • Army Headquarters (Tiraspol)
  • 173rd Missile Brigade (Bender)[14]
  • 189th Guards Missile Brigade (Bălți):[15]
  • 156th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade[16] (Ungheni)
  • 865th Air Defense Command Post
  • 4th Artillery Regiment (Ungheni)
    • 803rd Rocket Artillery Regiment (disbanded, assets to 4th Artillery Reg)
    • 2335th Reconnaissance Artillery Regiment (disbanded, assets to 4th Artillery Reg)
  • 714th Separate Reconnaissance Artillery Battalion (Ungheni)
  • 36th Separate Helicopter Squadron (Tirospol)
  • 321st Separate Squadron of Unmanned Reconnaissance Systems (Tiraspol)
  • 905th Air Assault Battalion (Tiraspol)
  • 194th Pontoon Bridge Regiment, 115th Separate Engineer Sapper Battalion (Parcani)
  • 15th Separate Signal Regiment (Tiraspol)
  • 108th Separate Radio Engineering Regiment (Bender)
  • 130th Chemical Defense Battalion, 785th NBC Reconnaissance Battalion (Bender)
  • 58th Radio Engineering Battalion, 976th and 2242nd Electronic Warfare Battalions (Bender)
  • 5381st Equipment Storage Base (Floreşti):

By 1991, the army was made up of four motor rifle divisions and other smaller units, with the 59th Guards Motor Rifle Division and the 1162nd Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment remaining.


At its peak, the army utilized 229 tanks, 305 various armored vehicles, 328 artillery guns, mortars, and rocket launchers and 74 pieces of aviation transportation.




Commanders of the Army[edit]

Lieutenant General Grigory Yashkin delivering an address to troops of the 14th Army on the occasion of the Moldovan SSR's golden jubilee.

The following generals commanded the 14th Guards Army:

  • Lieutenant General Ivan Afonin (November 1956–May 1960)
  • Major General (promoted to Lieutenant General in May 1961) Grigory Shcherbak (May 1960–May 1969)
  • Lieutenant General Vladimir Meretskov (May 1969–November 1971)
  • Major General (promoted to Lieutenant General in November 1972) Grigory Yashkin (November 1971–December 1975)
  • Major General (promoted to Lieutenant General in October 1979) Vladimir Vostrov (December 1975–July 1980)
  • Major General (promoted to Lieutenant General in October 1981) Viktor Ermakov (July 1980–May 1982)
  • Lieutenant General Boris Tkach (May 1982–September 1984)
  • Lieutenant General Ivan Fuzhenko (September 1984–February 1986)
  • Major General (promoted to Lieutenant General in October 1987) Anatoly Sergeev (February 1986–1987)
  • Major General (promoted to Lieutenant General in February 1990) Gennady Yakovlev (1987–15 January 1992)
  • Major General Yuri Netkachev (January 15, 1992–June 27, 1992)
  • Major General (promoted to Lieutenant General in September 1992) Alexander Lebed (June 27, 1992–June 14, 1995)


  1. ^ Edward Ozhiganov, "The Republic of Moldova: Transdniester and the 14th Army," in "Managing Conflict in the Former Soviet Union: Russian and American Perspectives," Alexei Arbatov, et al. eds. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997), p. 179.
  2. ^ Holm, "14th Guards Red Banner Combined Arms Army"
  3. ^ ""Russian troops in Transnistria – a threat to the security of the Republic of Moldova"". Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  4. ^ https://m.zn.ua/POLITICS/komanduyuschiy_14-y_rossiyskoy_armiey_v_pridnestrovie_aleksandr_lebed_pod_moimi_vorotami_mozhno_vizz.html
  5. ^ Указ Президента России от 01.04.1992 n 320 «О переходе под юрисдикцию Российской Федерации воинских частей Вооруженных Сил бывшего СССР, находящихся на территории Республики Молдова»
  6. ^ Transnistria: relic of a bygone era
  7. ^ "Leader". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  8. ^ "Borderland Europe: Transforming Transnistria?". Archived from the original on 2007-03-25. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  9. ^ Analysis of the Transnistrian Conflict
  10. ^ "U.S. and Russian Policymaking With Respect to the Use of Force", chapter 4, Trans-Dniestria
  11. ^ "Вождь в чужой стае"
  12. ^ Michael Holm. "14th Guards Combined Arms Army". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  13. ^ Dnestriansky, I. The 14th Russian Army in the Transnistria Conflict. "Art of War". 26 April 2011
  14. ^ Holm, Michael. "173rd Missile Brigade". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  15. ^ Holm, Michael. "189th Guards Missile Brigade". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  16. ^ Holm, Michael. "156th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  17. ^ Holm, Michael. "86th Guards Motorised Rifle Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-03-04.