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310th Rifle Division (15 July 1941 - 1946)
Active 1941 - 1946
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
Novgorod–Luga Offensive
Svir–Petrozavodsk Offensive
Vistula-Oder Offensive
East Pomeranian Offensive
Berlin Strategic Offensive
Decorations

Order of Lenin obverse Turova TB Order of Lenin

Order of the red Banner OBVERSEOrder of the Red Banner
Battle honours Novgorod
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Mjr. Gen. N.M. Zamirovskiy
Col. M.A. Orlov
Col. N.V. Rogov

The 310th Rifle Division was a standard Red Army rifle division formed on July 15, 1941 in Kazakhstan before being sent to the vicinity of Leningrad, where it spent most of the war. The soldiers of this division fought until early 1944 to, first, hold open some sort of lifeline to the besieged city, then to break the siege and drive off the besieging German forces. They then participated in the offensive that drove Germany's Finnish allies out of the war. Finally, the division was redeployed to take the fight to the German heartland in the winter and spring of 1945. It ended the war north of Berlin with a very creditable combat record for any rifle division.

FormationEdit

The 310th began forming in mid-July, 1941 in Kazakhstan in the Akmolinsk region of the Central Asia Military District. The personnel of the division were mostly Kazakhs at this time.[1] Its order of battle was as follows:

  • 1080th Rifle Regiment
  • 1082nd Rifle Regiment
  • 1084th Rifle Regiment
  • 860th Artillery Regiment[2]
  • 376th Antitank Battalion
  • 600th Sapper Battalion
  • 920th Signal Battalion
  • 206th Reconnaissance Company

The division was given about six weeks to form up before it was sent by rail all the way to the Northwestern Front,[3] ending its journey in the Tikhvin area east of Leningrad. It was first assigned to 52nd Army, but was reassigned to 54th Army when that army was first formed on Sept. 2.[4]

Battle of LeningradEdit

German forces cut off and isolated the city on Sept. 8. The 310th took part in the First Sinyavino Offensive beginning on Sept. 10; during the following 16 days of off-and-on heavy fighting 54th Army advanced only 6 - 10km, and even some of these gains were later retaken by the German XXXIX Motorized Corps. The offensive was judged a failure and led to the cashiering and court-martial of Marshal G.I. Kulik, but it benefited the Soviets overall by pulling German reserves away from the Moscow axis and also delaying the transfer of XXXXI Motorized Corps to Army Group Center.[5]

The 310th was earmarked for another offensive on Sinyavino in mid-October but this was preempted by the German offensive on Tikhvin. On Oct. 23 the division was shifted to 4th Army along with 4th Guards Rifle Division. On Nov. 8 Tikhvin fell, while another German thrust towards Volkhov was slowly forcing four rifle divisions back towards that city, driving a wedge between 4th and 54th Armies.[6] It was at this time that the 310th began operating alongside its "sister" 311th Rifle Division, whose combat path it shared for much of the war. A provisional kampfgruppe of 8th Panzer Division tried to outflank the Soviet defenses east of Volkhov on the 8th, but a desperate counterattack by the 310th at Zelenets Station thwarted this. On the following day, the 54th Army commander requested that STAVKA assign the 4th Army's Volkhov Operational Group,[7] including both the 310th and 311th, to him, which was approved. By Nov. 25 the main shock group of 54th Army, 3rd Guards, 310th and 311th Rifle Divisions, began their part of the Tikhvin counteroffensive with an attack on 21st Infantry Division, driving it back several kilometres over the following days. The German 18th Army, vastly overextended, continued to fall back under pressure during December.[8] On Dec. 17 the division was transferred once again to 4th Army, which was shortly afterwards assigned to Volkhov Front; it would remain in that army until February, 1943.[9]

During the Lyuban Offensive Operation, the 310th played relatively minor roles. In January it was in the Kirishi area, tying down German forces in that salient. By May, 1942, 4th Army was temporarily back under Leningrad Front, and the division was earmarked for an offensive towards Chudovo in another attempt to reestablish firm communications with 2nd Shock Army, but this was unsuccessful.[10]

Novgorod OffensiveEdit

In June, 1942, 4th Army returned to Volkhov Front, where the 310th would remain until February, 1944, in 52nd Army in the spring of 1943, then in 59th Army for the duration of this period. In September, 1943, it spent a few weeks rebuilding in front reserves for the coming offensives, and was assigned to 6th Rifle Corps on its return to the lines.[11]

In late 1943, the Leningrad, Volkhov and 2nd Baltic Fronts began planning the operations that would finally drive the besiegers away from Leningrad and, if all went well, destroy one or both of the armies of German Army Group North. The assault began on Jan. 14, 1944. 6th Rifle Corps was in a bridgehead west of the Volkhov river on the front's right flank. The 310th, now under command of Col. N.V. Rogov, was in the corps' first echelon along with the 239th Rifle Division, with 65th Rifle Division in reserve, 2nd Rifle Division of 112th Rifle Corps in flank support, and 16th Tank Brigade awaiting orders. In total the army fired 133,000 artillery rounds in preparation, and the ground assault went in at 1050 hours. However, 6th Corps stalled after just 1km, in large part due to poor use of the infantry support tanks. The following day, the corps attack was reinforced with 16th and 29th Tank Brigades, 65th Rifle, and a self-propelled artillery regiment. This was sufficient to secure an advance of 7km against heavy resistance, encircling and defeating elements of the German 28th Light Infantry Division. By late on Jan. 16, the division had helped to tear a 20km wide hole in main German defense belt.[12]

The following day, despite bad weather, difficult terrain and lack of transport, 59th Army was clearly threatening to encircle the German XXXVIII Army Corps at Novgorod. On the night of Jan. 19 these forces got the order to break out along the last remaining route. The city was liberated on the morning of the 20th, and on the next day most of the survivors of the German corps were surrounded and soon destroyed by the 6th Rifle Corps and the 372nd Rifle Division. In recognition of this feat, the 310th Rifle Division was awarded the honorific title "Novgorod".[13]

As the offensive continued, Volkhov Front was dissolved on Feb. 13, and the division was reassigned to Leningrad Front, first in 67th Army and then in 54th Army once again. In April it joined 99th Rifle Corps in 3rd Baltic Front until June.[14][15]

Svir–Petrozavodsk OffensiveEdit

Along with 99th Rifle Corps, the 310th was transferred in June to 7th Army of Karelian Front for the final offensive against Finland, which began on this sector on June 20. The division played an undistinguished role in this secondary operation, and after the Finnish surrender was reassigned to the 4th Rifle Corps, which in November went into 32nd Army in the Reserve of the Supreme High Command. In December the division was reassigned to 134th Rifle Corps while still in reserve, while it was moved to Poland to become part of 19th Army in 2nd Belorussian Front in January, 1945, ready for the assault on Germany. It remained in that corps, army and front for the duration.[16]

AdvanceEdit

During the advance into Germany, 19th Army mostly played a secondary role in the fighting through East Prussia and Pomerania, and by Victory Day was in the vicinity of Swinemunde.[17] At the end of the war, the official title of the division was 310th Rifle, Novgorod, Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner Division. (Russian: 310-я стрелковая Новгородская ордена Ленина Краснознамённая дивизия.)

ReferencesEdit

  1. David M. Glantz, Colossus Reborn, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2005, p 594
  2. Charles C. Sharp, "Red Tide", Soviet Rifle Divisions Formed From June to December 1941, Soviet Order of Battle World War II, Vol. IX, Nafziger, 1996, p 71
  3. Walter S. Dunn, Stalin's Keys To Victory, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2006, p 77
  4. Glantz, The Battle for Leningrad 1941 - 1944, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2002, p 83
  5. Glantz, Leningrad, p 83
  6. Haupt, Werner (1997-01-01) (in en). Army Group North: The Wehrmacht in Russia, 1941-1945. Schiffer Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 9780764301827. https://books.google.com/books?id=2z3zAAAAMAAJ. 
  7. Erickson, John (2013-07-04) (in en). The Soviet High Command: a Military-political History, 1918-1941: A Military Political History, 1918-1941. Routledge. p. 634. ISBN 9781136339523. https://books.google.com/books?id=dvXdi7jZy5YC. 
  8. Glantz, Leningrad, pp 92, 97-109
  9. Sharp, p 71
  10. Glantz, Leningrad, pp 164, 194
  11. Russian Wikipedia
  12. Glantz, Leningrad, pp 345-47, 521
  13. Glantz, Leningrad, pp 347-49
  14. Glantz, Leningrad, pp 388
  15. Sharp, p 71
  16. Sharp, p 71
  17. Sharp, p 71
  • Lyashchenko, Nikolai Ivanovich. Война от звонка до звонка. Записки окопного офицера (The war from start to finish: notes of a trench officer). Moscow: Eksmo, 2005 (Russian)



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