The 5th Guards Army was formed on 16 April 1943 from the 66th Army. The 5th Guards Army fought under command of the Steppe, Voronezh, and 2nd and 1st Ukrainian Fronts from 1943 until the end of the war. In 1943, the army fought in the Battle of Kursk.
Other notable battles and operations in which the 5th Guards Army participated include:
- Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive
- Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive
- Vistula–Oder Offensive
- Berlin Offensive Operation
- Prague Offensive
It was elements of the 5th Guards Army that made contact with the U.S. Army's 69th Infantry Division at Torgau on the Elbe River on 25 April 1945, splitting the Third Reich into two separate parts. The first contact was made between patrols near Strehla, when U.S. First Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue crossed the River Elbe in a boat with three men of an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon. On the east bank, they met forward elements of a Soviet Guards-rifle-regiment of the First Ukrainian Front under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Gardiev.
The same day, another patrol under Second Lieutenant William Robertson with Frank Huff, James McDonnell and Paul Staub met Soviet Lieutenant Alexander Silvashko with some soldiers on the destroyed Elbe bridge of Torgau.
At the end of the war, the 5th Guards Army commanded the 32nd and 33rd Guards Rifle Corps, as well as the 75th Rifle Corps.
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