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319th Rifle Division (December 19, 1941 – January 19, 1942)
319th Rifle Division (August 4, 1942 – December 12, 1942)
319th Rifle Division (September 30, 1943 – 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 Battle of the Caucasus
Baltic Offensive
Riga Offensive
Vistula-Oder Offensive
Battle of Königsberg
Decorations Order of the red Banner OBVERSEOrder of the Red Banner (Twice, 3rd formation)
Battle honours Dvinsk (3rd formation)
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Col. D.A. Dulov

The 319th Rifle Division was first formed in December, 1941, as a standard Red Army rifle division, in the Moscow Military District, but after a month was redesignated as the 2nd formation of a pre-war division that had been destroyed and disbanded. Another 319th was formed in the summer of 1942 in the North Caucasus Military District while the German offensive was threatening the Soviet oilfields near Baku. This formation had a short and undistinguished career, seeing little combat, and was disbanded in December. A third and final 319th was formed in the autumn of 1943 in the northern part of the front. This unit gave very creditable service for the duration of the war, distinguishing itself in the fighting through the Baltic states, and completing its combat path in East Prussia. It continued to serve briefly into the postwar period.

1st FormationEdit

The division began forming for the first time on December 19, 1941 at Balakhna, just north of Gorkiy, in the Moscow Military District. Its basic order of battle was as follows:

  • 1336th Rifle Regiment
  • 1341st Rifle Regiment
  • 1344th Rifle Regiment
  • 1014th Artillery Regiment[1]

While still forming up the 319th was re-designated as the 2nd formation of the 145th Rifle Division on January 19, 1942.[2]

2nd FormationEdit

A new division began forming from late July to August 4, 1942 at Makhachkala in the North Caucasus Military District. At the time of its formation it was noted that about 70 percent of its personnel were of Caucasian nationalities.[3] Its order of battle remained the same as that of the first formation. The division was formed very fast, because the front lines were approaching Makhachkala on the coast of the Caspian Sea as it was being put together. It was assigned to the reserves of Transcaucasus Front by September 1, and less than a month later was in the 58th Army behind the defensive front along the Terek River.

"There are several indications that this division was even more poorly equipped, trained, and combat-ready than even the beat up divisions that had retreated into the Caucasus from the earlier disasters at Kharkov and Izyum. First, the original division commander was a Kombrig, an obsolete rank replaced by general's rank in 1940. Whenever someone shows up in the active army with one of these obsolete titles it usually means the officer is a reservist who hasn't seen active service since before 1940, or an officer released from the GULAG who is still carrying the rank he had before he was arrested. Neither indicates a division commander with recent positive experience or training!"[4]

On September 29, Lt. Gen. I.I. Maslennikov, commander of the Transcausasus Front's Northern Group of Forces, received orders for defense of the region from the STAVKA, including the following: "[Occupy] a defensive line along the Sulak River with 416th and 319th Rifle Divisions..." In late October, when the German forces had renewed their offensive, the division was still in second echelon, protecting the Makhachkala axis. On October 26, as the offensive gathered steam, the 319th was finally ordered into the front lines. The division helped to bring the German drive to a halt just west of Ordzhonikidze on November 5, and even drive the panzer spearheads back, but at considerable cost. When 3rd Rifle Corps of 9th Army began a counteroffensive on November 13, its 275th and 319th had a combined total of only 8,000 men. On November 20, orders were received from the STAVKA to disband these two divisions, plus the 295th, and use their personnel, weapons and transport to fill out 2nd Guards Rifle Division.[5]

3rd FormationEdit

A third 319th Rifle Division began forming on the last day of September, 1943, near Kholm in the Northwestern Front, based on the men and equipment of the 32nd and 33rd Rifle Brigades. Its order of battle remained the same as the first two formations. The two rifle brigades were from different armies within the Front, but the 319th's divisional headquarters was formed in the 44th Rifle Corps of 22nd Army, before the brigades had been officially disbanded to provide the bulk of the troops for the new division.[6] On October 10, most of the assets of this Front came under the headquarters of the disbanded Bryansk Front to become Baltic Front, renamed 2nd Baltic Front ten days later.[7] The division would remain under these commands until late August, 1944.[8]

At the start of the Baltic Campaign in early July, 1944, the 319th was holding a sector of the Alolya River, facing the German Panther Line defenses about 20km north of Pustoshka.[9] On July 27, the division, while temporarily attached to 6th Guards Army, was recognized for its role in liberating the city of Dvinsk, and was given that name as an honorific:

"DVINSK" [DAUGAVPILS] - ...319th Rifle Division (Colonel Dulov, Dmitrii Arsentevich)... The troops who participated in the liberation of Daugavpils and Rezekne, by the order of the Supreme High Command of 27 July 1944 and a commendation in Moscow are given a salute of 20 artillery salvoes from 224 guns.[10]

By August 1, the division was back with 22nd Army and had advanced north as far as Preiļi.[11] Late that month the 319th, still in 44th Corps, was moved to 3rd Shock Army in 2nd Baltic Front, and in September to 2nd Guards Army in 1st Baltic Front.[12] In early October it was east of Raseiniai in Lithuania at the start of the offensive that would result in the liberation of Riga and the formation of the Courland Pocket.[13] In November the division was reassigned once again, now to 43rd Army, where it would remain for the duration.[14]

Into GermanyEdit

In early January, 43rd Army was on the left flank of 1st Baltic Front, near Memel. On January 19, 1945, 43rd Army became part of 3rd Belorussian Front and the 319th participated in the Vistula-Oder Offensive under these commands. By January 27 the 43rd was advancing along the south shore of the Kurisches Haff and had reached the outer defenses of Konigsberg. From then until April 9 the division would be involved in the siege and eventual reduction of this fortified city.[15] In the last month of the war the division was in 90th Rifle Corps, which formed the right flank of the 43rd Army in the final assault on Konigsberg.[16]

PostwarEdit

By the conclusion of hostilities, the division had been awarded the full title of 319th Rifle, Dvinsk, twice Order of the Red Banner Division (Russian: 319-я стрелковая Двинская дважды Краснознамённая дивизия). The division became part of the Northern Group of Forces along with its corps, and was disbanded during August and September 1946, along with the corps headquarters.[17]

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, Nafziger, 1996, p 74
  2. Walter S. Dunn, Jr., Stalin's Keys to Victory, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2006, p. 101
  3. David M. Glantz, Colossus Reborn, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2005, p. 594
  4. Sharp, "Red Swarm", Soviet Rifle Divisions Formed From 1942 to 1945, Soviet Order of Battle World War II, Vol. X, Nafziger, 1996, pp. 120-21
  5. Glantz, Armageddon in Stalingrad, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2009, pp. 559, 578, 581, 592, 594
  6. Sharp, "Red Swarm," p. 121
  7. Glantz, Battle for Belorussia, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2016, p. 671
  8. Sharp, "Red Swarm," p. 121
  9. Baltic Gap, Multi-Man Publishing, Inc., Millersville, MD, 2009, p. 17
  10. "Освобождение городов". http://www.soldat.ru/spravka/freedom/1-ssr-2.html. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  11. Baltic Gap, p. 22
  12. Sharp, "Red Swarm," p. 121
  13. Baltic Gap, p. 35
  14. Sharp, "Red Swarm," p. 121
  15. Soviet General Staff, Prelude to Berlin, ed. and trans. Richard W. Harrison, Helion & Co., Ltd., Solihull, UK, 2016, pp. 153, 187, 230, 587, 614
  16. Sharp, "Red Swarm," p. 121
  17. Feskov et al 2013, p. 408.
  • Feskov, V.I.; Golikov, V.I.; Kalashnikov, K.A.; Slugin, S.A. (2013) (in Russian). Вооруженные силы СССР после Второй Мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской. Tomsk: Scientific and Technical Literature Publishing. ISBN 9785895035306. 



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