Rifle corps (Soviet)

A rifle corps ( _ru. стрелковый корпус, "strelkovyy korpus") was a Soviet military organization of the mid-twentieth century. Rifle corps were made up of a varying number of rifle (infantry) divisions, although the allocation of three rifle divisions to a rifle corps was common during the latter part of World War II.

Unlike corps formed by Germany and the Western Allies, Soviet rifle corps were composed primarily of combat troops and had only a small logistical component. Because the rifle divisions themselves were also primarily made up of combat troops, the rifle corps were numerically smaller than corps of other nations. The Soviets also formed Guards rifle corps during World War II, although these were often assigned control of regular rifle divisions and sometimes controlled no Guards rifle divisions.

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Red Army initially had some 32 rifle corps headquarters as part of their order of battle in action against the Germans. Because Stalin's prewar purge of the Red Army had removed so many experienced leaders, the rifle corps echelon of command in Soviet forces engaged against the Germans dwindled in the face of massive Red Army losses of 1941. The stark shortage of experienced leaders forced the Red Army to have rifle army headquarters directly supervising rifle divisions without the assistance of intervening rifle corps headquarters. ["Stavka" Circular 01 of July 15, 1941 directed several changes to Red Army force structure, the elimination of rifle corps headquarters and subordination of rifle divisions directly to rifle army headquarters among them. Glantz and House, p. 65.] The use of rifle corps headquarters never disappeared entirely from the Red Army during World War II, as rifle armies in areas not fighting the Germans (such as the Far Eastern military region) maintained their use of rifle corps headquarters during the entire war.

By November 1941, the Soviet order of battle showed only one rifle corps headquarters still active among the forces fighting the German invasion. By early 1942, however, the Soviets began to reactivate rifle corps headquarters for use as an intermediate command echelon between the rifle armies and rifle divisions. Doubtlessly, the direct command of divisions by army headquarters resulted in too-large spans of control for army commanders and the Red Army desired to reintroduce the rifle corps headquarters once enough experienced commanders and staff officers were available. By the end of 1942, 21 rifle corps headquarters were in action with Soviet forces engaging the Germans. This grew to over 100 by the end of 1943, and reached a peak of 174 either in action against the Germans or as part of the strategic reserve of the Stavka by the end of the war with Germany in May 1945.

A limited number of Rifle Corps remained as part of the Ground Forces post 1945. They were slowly converted to 'Army Corps' though they still mostly consisted of Rifle and then Motor Rifle Divisions.

List of Soviet Rifle Corps 22 June 1941

*1st Rifle Corps - 10th Army, Western Special MD, under General Major F.D. Rubtsov with 2nd Rifle Division and 8th Rifle Division.
*2nd Rifle Corps - either under HQ Western Special MD or 13th Army, comprised the 100th and 161st Rifle Divisions under General Major A.N. Ermakov
*3rd Rifle Corps- 4th Rifle Division, 20th Mtn Rifle, 47th Mtn Rifle, as part of Transcaucasus Military District [ [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/transcaucasus/_transcausasus.html Transcaucasus Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41 ] ]
*4th Rifle Corps - 27th, 56th, 85th Rifle Divisions, as part of 3rd Army [ [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/western/army_03.html 3rd Army, Western Special Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41 ] ]
*5th Rifle Corps - 13th, 86th, and 113rd Rifle Divisions, part of 10th Army, WSMD
*6th Rifle Corps - 41st, 97th, 159th Rifle Divisions, part of 6th Army, Kiev Special Military District [ [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/kiev/army_06.html 6th Army, Kiev Special Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41 ] ]
*7th Rifle Corps - in the Odessa Military District, under General Major K.L. Dobroserdov included 116th, 196th and 206th Rifle Divisions. [ [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/odessa/_odessa.html Odessa Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41 ] ]
*8th Rifle Corps - 26th Army, Kiev Special Military District, under General Major M.G. Snegov with 99th and 173rd Rifle Divisions
*9th Rifle Corps -in the Odessa Military District
*10th Rifle Corps -in the Baltic Military District (BSMD)
*11th Rifle Corps -in the Baltic Special Military District
*12th Rifle Corps - Far East Front(?)
*13th Rifle Corps, - 12th Army, Kiev Special MD, under General Major N.K. Kirillov, with 44th, 58th, and 192nd Rifle Divisions
*14th Rifle Corps - 9th Army, Odessa Military District, under General Major D.G. Egorov comprising the 25th and 51st Rifle Divisions. By the end of the war, 14th Rifle Corps was a direct-reporting formation of 2nd Belorussian Front, including 90th Guards Rifle Division.
*15th Rifle Corps - Kiev Special Military District
*16th Rifle Corps - Baltic Military District
*17th Rifle Corps - 12th Army, Kiev Special MD, under General Major I.V. Galanin comprising the 60th and 69th Mountain Rifle Divisions and the 164th Rifle Division.
*18th Rifle Corps - 15th Army, Soviet Far East Front, under General Major V.A. Zaitsev with 34th Rifle Division and 202nd Airborne Brigade
*22nd Rifle Corps -180th and 182nd Rifle Divisions, part of 27th Army, BSMD [ [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/baltic/army_27.html 27th Army, Baltic Special Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41 ] ]
*24th Rifle Corps - comprised the 181st and 183rd Rifle Divisions, part of 27th Army, BSMD
*26th Rifle Corps - comprised the 21st, 22nd, and 26th Rifle Divisions, part of Soviet First Army, Soviet Far East Front
*28th Rifle Corps (included 6th Rifle Division and 42nd Rifle Division as part of 4th Army)
*30th Rifle Corps - in the Orel Military District, including the 19th, 149th and 217th Rifle Divisions [ [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/interior/_orel.html Orel Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41 ] ] with 18th Army, 4th Ukrainian Front in 1944 in the Mukachevo - Uzhgorod area during Carpathian-Uzhgorod Offensive Operation (9 September 1944 - 28 September 1944) [http://www.biograph-soldat.ru/OPER/ARTICLES/029-vostkarp.htm Восточно-Карпатская наступательная операция]
*33rd Rifle Corps - in the Orel Military District
*41st Rifle Corps -in the Moscow Military District included 118th and 235th Rifle Divisions [ [http://orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/012_ussr/41_oob/interior/_moscow.html Moscow Military District, Red Army, 22.06.41 ] ]
*42nd Rifle Corps - Leningrad Military District
*44th Rifle Corps - either under HQ Western Special Military District or 13th Army, comprised the 64th and 108th Rifle Divisions under General Major V.A. Yushkevich.
*52nd Rifle Corps, with its HQ in Novosibirsk, Siberian Military District along with the 133rd Rifle Division, additionally had the 166th Rifle Division at Barabinsk and the 178th Rifle Division at Omsk.
*53rd Rifle Corps at Krasnoyarsk, Siberian Military District, where the 119th Rifle Division was stationed, also included the 107th Rifle Division at Barnaul and the 91st Rifle Division at Achinsk.

"this list is incomplete - there were at least sixty Rifle Corps as well as the Special Rifle Corps in the Far East"

List of Soviet Rifle Corps formed during WWII

*1st Guards Special Rifle Corps was formed in late 1941
*4th Guards Rifle Corps (3rd Ukrainian Front) from November 1943 commanded by G.E. Afanas'evich, former commander of the VDV, the Soviet Airborne Forces.
*30th Guards Red Banner Leningrad Rifle Corps [ [http://www.spbumag.nw.ru/2004/01/17.shtml Журнал Санкт-Петербургский университет ISSN 1681-1941 / № 1-2 (3657-3658), 19 января 2004 года ] ]
*68th - 135th Rifle Corps formed after June 22, 1941
*1st - 40th Guards Rifle Corps formed after June 22, 1941

Notes

ources

* БОЕВОЙ СОСТАВ СОВЕТСКОЙ АРМИИ 1941 - 1945 (Official Soviet Army Order of Battle from General Staff Archives).
* V.I. Feskov, et al. The Soviet Army in the Years of the Cold War: 1945-91, Tomsk: Tomsk University Publishing House, 2004.
* David M. Glantz and Jonathan House, When Titans Clashed, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. ISBN 0-7006-0899-0.
* Robert G. Poirier and Albert Z. Conner, The Red Army Order of Battle in the Great Patriotic War, Novato: Presidio Press, 1985. ISBN 0-89141-237-9.


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