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305th Rifle Division (2 July 1941 – 7 July 1942)
305th Rifle Division (26 Oct. 1942 – 1945)
Active 1941–1945
Country Flag of the Soviet Union (1924–1955).svg Soviet Union
Branch Red Army flag Red Army
Type Division
Role Infantry
Engagements Siege of Leningrad
Lyuban Offensive Operation
Operation Blue
Belgorod-Khar'kov Offensive Operation
Zhitomir–Berdichev Offensive
Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive
Vistula–Oder Offensive
Prague Offensive
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Col. D. I. Barabanshchikov

The 305th Rifle Division was formed for the first time as a standard Red Army rifle division shortly after the German invasion. It was soon sent north to the Volkhov Front near Novgorod. In the winter of 1942 it participated in an offensive to try to break the Siege of Leningrad which ended with it and most of the rest of the attacking force being cut off and gradually annihilated during the spring. A second 305th was raised a few months later in the southern part of the front, where it distinguished itself in the final liberation of Belgorod. It continued in combat through Ukraine and Poland before ending the war near Prague.

1st FormationEdit

The 305th Rifle Division began forming on July 2, 1941 at Dmitrov in the Moscow Military District. Its order of battle was as follows:

  • 1000th Rifle Regiment
  • 1002nd Rifle Regiment
  • 1004th Rifle Regiment
  • 830th Artillery Regiment
  • 358th Antitank Battalion - added in 1942
  • 573rd Sapper Battalion
  • 726th Signal Battalion
  • 377th Reconnaissance Company[1]

After several weeks forming up as was typical for the divisions being formed from reservists in this period, the 305th was shipped north in early August to the area around Novgorod, where it came under command of the Novgorod Operations Group.[2][3] In December the division was reassigned to 52nd Army in Volkhov Front[4] It took part in the Lyuban Offensive Operation during the winter months of 1942, entering the penetration of the German front across the Volkhov River that was created by 2nd Shock Army in an attempt to drive into the rear of the German forces laying siege to Leningrad.[5] While significant gains were made, the operation depended on maintaining two narrow supply corridors, which forces of German 18th Army succeeded in cutting between Mar. 18 - 20. The 305th Rifle was now trapped in the half-frozen swamps south of Lyuban, and while it made valiant efforts to restore the situation over the coming months,[6] by June 1 it was reporting to 2nd Shock Army that its strength was down to 860 officers, 753 NCOs and 3,208 men. The division was finally destroyed in late June as the Germans "mopped up" the pocket, and it was officially disbanded on July 7.[7]

2nd FormationEdit

The second 305th Rifle Division was formed from the 75th Fortified Region on Oct. 26, 1942 in 60th Army in the Voronezh Front. Its order of battle remained as previous. The division remained in that Army for the remainder of the year, then moved to Front reserves, then to 40th Army, and in February, 1943 to 69th Army.[8] In late July, after the German forces had abandoned their offensive at Kursk, 69th Army, including the 305th, was transferred to Steppe Front. On Aug. 3, Voronezh and Steppe Fronts launched the Belgorod-Bogodukhov Offensive Operation, and on Aug. 5 the 305th Rifle Division distinguished itself in the final liberation of Belgorod, and received the name of that city as an honorific.[9]

In September, the 69th Army was removed to STAVKA reserves, and while in reserves the 305th was assigned to 74th Rifle Corps of 1st Guards Army. This army was moved to 1st Ukrainian Front in November, but in December the entire 74th Rifle Corps was shifted to 38th Army.[10] The division remained in that Army for the duration, but left its corps in May, 1944, to be reassigned at various times to each of the other rifle corps in 38th Army. In November, 1944, the 38th Army was transferred to 4th Ukrainian Front, and the 305th ended hostilities in the vicinity of Prague.[11] At this time, the men and women of the division proudly boasted the distinguished title of 305th Rifle, Belgorod, Order of the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Order of Kutuzov Division. (Russian: 305-я стрелковая Белгородская Краснознамённая орденов Суворова и Кутузова дивизия.)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Charles C. Sharp, "Red Tide", Soviet Rifle Divisions Formed From June to December, 1941, Soviet Order of Battle World War II, Vol. IX, 1996, p 69, and Russian Wikipedia
  2. David M. Glantz, The Battle for Leningrad, 1941 - 1944, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2002, p 95
  3. Sharp, "Red Tide", p 70
  4. Glantz, p 505
  5. Sharp, "Red Tide", p 70
  6. Glantz, pp 176-79
  7. Sharp, "Red Tide", p 70
  8. http://www.cgsc.edu/CARL/nafziger/943RGCC.PDF, p 50
  9. Sharp, "Red Swarm", Soviet Rifle Divisions Formed From 1942 to 1945, Soviet Order of Battle World War II, Vol. X, 1996, p 115
  10. http://www.cgsc.edu/CARL/nafziger/944RLAA.pdf, p 2
  11. Sharp, "Red Swarm", p 115



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