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40th Army
Afgan1986Kabul 40АrmyShtab.jpg
Staff headquarters building of the 40th Army, Kabul, 1986
Active 1941 - 1945, 1979 - c. 1990
Country  Soviet Union
Branch Red Army flag.svg Red Army
Type Infantry
Size varied in size; usually several divisions
Engagements World War II

The 40th Army of the Soviet Union's Red Army was an army-level command active from 1941 to 1945 and then again from 1979 to circa 1990.

It was first formed, after Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, had commenced, from elements of the 26th and 37th Armies under the command of Major General Kuzma Petrovich Podlas in August 1941 at the boundary of the Bryansk Front and the Soviet Southwestern Front. By 25 August 1941 the 135th and 293rd Rifle Divisions, 2nd Parachute Corps, 10th Tank Division, and 5th Anti-Tank Brigade had been assembled to form the force.[1] It then took part in the Battle of Kiev (1941), where the Army was badly shattered, and General-Major Semenchenko's 10th Tank Division was reduced to twenty tanks.[2] The remnants of the Army joined Soviet Southwestern Front under Marshal Timoshenko. In June 1942, Operation Blau saw Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army thrust in full force against 40th Army, which had its headquarters overrun by 24th Panzer Division on 29-30 June. The 40th Army fell back from the Kastornoye area back to Voronezh, alongside the 4th, 17th, and 24th Tank Corps.[3] In response, the STAVKA hastened to establish the new Voronezh Front.

During the Battle of Kursk, where the Army fought as part of Voronezh Front, it transferred a number of reinforcements to 6th Guards Army to help 6th Guards hold back the 48th Panzer Corps, including the 29th Tank Destroyer Brigade and the 1244th and 869th Tank Destroyer Regiments, a total of over 100 antitank guns.[4] 40th Army also transferred a tank brigade to 38th Army at the same time. After the battle, it was involved in the crossing of the Dnepr in September 1943 in conjunction with airborne operations.[5] The Army was later involved in the Battle of Kiev (1943) and in 1944, as part of 2nd Ukrainian Front, actions around the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket, Kamenets-Podolsky Pocket, and the Uman-Botoshany, Iassy-Kishinev, Bratislava-Brno, and Prague offensives.[6] It also fought in the Battle of Debrecen, at which, due to its low priority, it only had five divisions assigned. 40th Army was disbanded in July 1945.

The Army was re-created during May 1979 in the Turkestan Military District to cover the boundary with unstable Afghanistan with three motor rifle divisions (the 5th Guards, 108th and 68th), and entered Afghanistan (as part of the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War) in December 1979 without the last division, but had the 201st MRD added to its composition during January 1980. Also with the force that entered Afghanistan were the 103rd Guards Airborne Division, 860th Separate Motor Rifle Regiment, the 56th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade, and the 36th Mixed Air Corps. Later on the 201st and 58th Motor Rifle Divisions also entered the country, along with other smaller units.[7] The Limited Contingent of Soviet Troops in Afghanistan was formed on the basis of the Army HQ. General Igor Rodionov, later Russian Minister of Defence, commanded the Army in 1985-6.

After the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989,[8] 40th Army was reduced to 59th Army Corps, but again reformed on June 4, 1991, at Semipalatinsk from HQ 32nd Army. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Army became part of the Military of Kazakhstan and was redesignated the 1st Army Corps.

Commanders of 40th Army 1980-1989

  • General-Lieutenant Yuri Tukharinov (Тухаринов Юрий Владимирович) Ввод ОКСВ в ДРА — 23.9.1980 г.
  • General Lieutenant Boris Tkach (Ткач Борис Иванович) 23.9.1980 - 7.5.1982
  • General-Lieutenant Viktor Ermakov (Ермаков Виктор Федорович) 7.5.1982 - 4.11.1983
  • Генерал-лейтенант Генералов Леонид Евстафьевич 4.11.1983 г.-19.4.1985 г.
  • General-Lieutenant Igor Rodionov 19.4.1985 г.-30.4.1986
  • General Lieutenant Dubnin Viktor Petrovich Дубынин Виктор Петрович 30.4.1986-1.6.1987
  • General Lieutenant Boris Gromov 1.6.1987 -15.2.1989

References, Sources, Further Reading

  1. ^ John Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1975, p.202
  2. ^ Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad, 2003 paperback edition, p.207, 210
  3. ^ Erickson, 2003, p.356-8
  4. ^ Walter S. Dunn Jr, Kursk: Hitler's Gamble 1943, Praeger Publishers, 1997 (Chapter 9: Cracking the Second Defensive Line)
  5. ^ Nikolai Viktorovich Staskov, 1943 Dnepr airborne operation: lessons and conclusions Military Thought, July 2003
  6. ^ Aberjona Press, Slaughterhouse, 2005
  7. ^ Ye. I. Malashenko, Movement to contact and commitment to combat of reserve fronts, Military Thought (military-theoretical journal of the Russian Ministry of Defense), April-June 2004
  8. ^ A fine study of the Soviet withdrawal, based on Soviet official documentation, has been written by the Foreign Military Studies Office and is available at


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