Group of Soviet Forces in Germany: Wikis


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The Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (1949–88) (ГСВГ, Группа советских войск в Германии), also known as the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany (1945–49) and the Western Group of Forces (1988–94) were the troops of the Soviet Army in East Germany.

The Soviet armies permanently stationed in Germany were the predominant land-based military threat to NATO from the late 1940s until 1989, a primary factor in the military situation during the Cold War. The possibility of a Soviet invasion of West Germany and other Western European countries was however kept low due to the dangers of nuclear escalation.



The Group of Soviet Occupation Forces, Germany, was formed after the completion of the Second World War from formations of the First and 2nd Belorussian Fronts. On its creation on 9.7.1945 it included:[1]

  • the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army (HQ Dresden) · 8th Guards Mechanised Corps, the 11th Guards Tank Corps
  • 2nd Guards Tank Army (HQ Fürstenberg) · Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps, 9th Guards Tank Corps, 12th Guard Tank Corps
  • 4th Guards Tank Army (HQ Eberswalde) · 5. guard mech. corps · 6th Guards Mechanised Corps · 10th Guards Tank Corps
  • 2nd Shock Army (HQ Schwerin) · 109th Rifle Corps (46th, 90th, 372nd Rifle Divisions), 116th rifle corps (86., 321., 326. rifle division)
  • 3rd Shock Army (HQ Stendal) · 7th Rifle Corps (146th, 265th, 364th Rifle Divisions) · 12th Guard Rifle Corps (23rd Guards, 52nd Guards, 33rd Rifle Divisions) · 79th Rifle Corps (150th, 171st, 207th Rifle Divisions) 9th Tank Corps
  • 5th Shock Army (HQ Berlin) · 9. rifle corps (248., 301. rifle division) · 26. guard rifle corps (89. guard, 94. guard, 266. rifle division) · 32. rifle corps (60. guard, 295., 416. rifle division) · 230. rifle division · three independent tank brigades
  • Eighth Guards Army (HQ Weimar) 4th Guards Rifle Corps (35th, 47., 57. guard rifle division) · 28. guard rifle corps (39., 79., 88. guard rifle division) · 29. guard rifle corps (27., 74., 82. guard rifle division) · 11th Tank Corps
  • 47th Army (HQ Halle) · 77th Rifle Corps (185., 260., 328. rifle division) · 125. rifle corps (60., 76., 175. rifle division) · 129. rifle corps (82., 132., 143. rifle division) 1st Guards Tank Corps and the 25th Tank Corps.

5th Shock Army and 47th Army left Soviet Zone shortly after. 2n Shock Army was replaced by 4th Guards Mechanized (Tank) Army. 3rd Guards Mechanized (Tank) Army was established, HQ Forst Zinna, later 18th Army.

Withdrawals from East Germany in 1956 and 1957/58 comprised more than 70,000 soviet army personnel, including 18th Army Staff.

GSFG had the task, for the adherence to the regulations to ensure the Potsdam Agreements. Furthermore they represented the politico-military interests of the Soviet Union. In the year 1957 an agreement between the governments of the Soviet Union and the GDR laid out the arrangements over the temporary stay of Soviet armed forces on the territory of the GDR, the numerical strength of the Soviet troops, and their assigned posts and exercise areas. It was specified that the Soviet armed forces were not to interfere into the internal affairs of the GDR, as they had done during the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany.

Following a resolution of the government of the USSR in 1979/80 20,000 army personnel, 1,000 tanks and much equipment was withdrawn from the territory of the GDR, among them 6th Guards Tank Division, HQ Wittenberg. In the course of Perestroika the GSFG was realigned as a more defensive force regarding strength, structure and equipment. This entailed a clear reduction of the tank forces in 1989. The GSFG was renamed the Western Group of Forces on June 1, 1989.[2] The withdrawal of the GSFG was one of the largest peacetime troop transfers in military history. Despite the difficulties, which resulted from the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the same period, the departure was carried out according to plan and punctually until August 1994.

The return of the troops and material took place particularly by the sea route by means of the ports in Rostock and the island of Rügen as well as via Poland. The Russian Ground Forces abandoned Germany on 25 June 1994 with a military parade of the 6th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade in Berlin. The parting celebrations in Wünsdorf on 11 June 1994 and in the Treptower park in Berlin on 31 August 1994 marked the end of Soviet military operational readiness on German soil.

In addition to German territories, Group of Soviet Forces in Germany operational territory also included the region of town of Szczecin, part of the territories transferred from Germany to Poland following the end of the Second World War. The rest of Poland fell under the Northern Group of Forces, while the southern regions (Austria, Czechoslovakia) were under the Central Group of Forces.

Structure and equipment in 1991

Soviet watchpost in Wittenberg, 1991.

The Soviet troops occupied 777 barracks plants at 276 locations on the territory of the GDR. This also included 47 airfields and 116 exercise areas. At the beginning of 1991 there were still about 338,000 soldiers in 24 divisions, distributed among five land armies and an air army in what was by then the WGF. In addition there were still about 208,000 relatives of officers as well as civil employees came, among them were about 90,000 children. Most locations were in the area of today's Brandenburg.

In 1991 there were approximately:

  • 4,200 tanks
  • 8,200 armored vehicles
  • 3,600 artillery pieces
  • 106,000 other motor vehicles
  • 690 airplanes
  • 680 helicopters
  • 180 rocket systems
Abandoned Soviet Army barracks in Stendal, 1991.

At the end of the 1980s, the primary Soviet formations included:

Commanders-in-Chief of the GSFG

The first three Commanders-in-Chief were also Chiefs of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany.

See also


  1. ^ website, Axis History Forum
  2. ^ Chris Lofting & Kieron Pilbeam, 'Sperenburg,' Air Forces Monthly, February 1995, p.42
  • Lutz Freundt, Sovetskiye voyska v Germanii, 1945-1994 (Soviet Troops in Germany 1945-1994), Young Guard (publisher) Publishing House, 1994.
  • Scott and Scott, The Armed Forces of the USSR, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1979
  • Roter Stern über Deutschland, Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk und Stefan Wolle, Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin, 2001, ISBN 3-86153-246-8. This German book, The Red Star over Germany, Soviet troops in the GDR, presents 49 years of the Soviet Army stationed in East Germany.

External links



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