The Central Group of Forces (Russian: Центральная группа войск) was a formation of the Soviet Armed Forces used to incorporate Soviet troops in Central Europe on two occasions: in Austria and Hungary from 1945–55 and troops stationed in Czechoslovakia after the Prague Spring of 1968.
History[edit | edit source]
First formation[edit | edit source]
After the end of the Second World War, the Soviet High Command (Stavka) reorganized its troops on the territories it liberated from the Nazi occupation and now occupied. Stavka Directive Nr 11097 on 10 June 1945 created several new formations, known as Groups of Forces, equivalent to military districts but located outside the Soviet Union. The Central Group of Forces was created around that time from the 1st Ukrainian Front to control troops in Austria and Hungary, and did so from 1945 until 1955, when Soviet troops were withdrawn from Austria after the Austrian State Treaty was agreed.
Its first commander was Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Konev. On its creation it consisted of the 4th, 5th, and 7th and 9th Guards Armies, the 1st Guards Cavalry Corps, the 7th and 10th Breakthrough Artillery Corps, 3rd and 4th Guards Tank Armies, the 2nd Air Army, and the 18th Tank and 7th Guards Mechanized Corps. Headquarters was at Baden bei Wien. During the summer of 1945, 7th and 9th Guards Armies were withdrawn back to the Soviet Union. By the end of the summer, the corps directly subordinated to the group had been withdrawn.
In August 1946, the 4th Guards Army was withdrawn to the Odessa Military District. On 20 March 1947, the 5th Guards Army was disbanded. In May 1947, the 3rd and 4th Guards Mechanized Armies (former 3rd and 4th Guards Tank Armies), now reduced to mobilisation divisions, were transferred to the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany. In February 1949, the 2nd Air Army was renumbered as the 59th.
- Headquarters (1507 military personnel and 308 employees);
- 95th Guards Rifle Poltava Order of Lenin, Red Banner, Orders of Suvorov and Bogdan Khmelnitsky Division - Sankt Pölten
- 13th Guards Mechanized Poltava Order of Lenin, two Red Banner, Orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov Division - Vienna
- 23rd Tarnopol Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division
- Services and rear units (29794 soldiers and 1547 employees) -in the territory of Austria;
- 2nd Guards Mechanized Division - Székesfehérvár
- 17th Guards Mechanized Division - Szombathely
- 152nd Separate Heavy Tank Regiment - Bruck an der Leitha
- Headquarters of the 59th Air Army with its subordinate four air divisions (two fighter divisions in Austria and one bomber/one fighter in Hungary), an independent reconnaissance Air Regiment, a couple of other independent squadrons and flights and several service units (aviation technical battalions, air signal and radar companies, etc) (7502 soldiers only in Austria).
The group was disbanded in September 1955 due to the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Austria. The 2nd and 17th Guards Mechanized Division became part of a newly formed Special Corps on Hungarian territory. The 13th Guards Mechanized Division and 95th Guards Rifle Division were moved to the Carpathian Military District. The remaining units, including the headquarters of the 59th Air Army, were disbanded.
Commanders[edit | edit source]
- Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Konev : 10 June 1945 - 12 June 1946,
- Army General Vladimir Kurasov : 12 June 1946 - 20 April 1949,
- Lieutenant General Vladimir Svirivdov : 20 April 1949 - 14 May 1953,
- Colonel General Sergey Biryuzov : 14 May 1953 - 31 May 1954,
- Colonel General Aleksey Semenovich Zhadov : 31 May 1954 - September 1955.
Second formation[edit | edit source]
The Central Group of Forces was reconstituted as a legacy of the 1968 Prague Spring events. Until that time, no Soviet troops were permanently garrisoned within Czechoslovakian territory. The Central Group of forces had a total strength of about 85,000 and included 28th Army Corps headquarters (Olomouc, Czechoslovakia, 8.1968 - 7.1991), moved forward from Chernovtsy in the Carpathian Military District. Forces included two tank divisions, three mechanised infantry divisions, three missile brigades, an artillery brigade, and an airborne assault brigade. Four of the five Soviet ground divisions in Czechoslovakia were stationed in the Czech lands (15th Guards Tank Division at Milovice, 18th Guards Motor Rifle Division at Mladá Boleslav, 48th Motor Rifle Division at Vysoké Mýto, and 31st Tank Division at Bruntál), while one was headquartered in Slovakia (the 30th Guards Motor Rifle Division at Zvolen). Group headquarters was located in Milovice (38 km northeast of Prague). Also at Milovice was the 131st Mixed Aviation Division, which arrived from Ivano-Frankovsk in the Ukrainian SSR in August 1968. The Group was formally disbanded on 19 June 1991.
Commanders[edit | edit source]
- 1968-72 : Colonel-General Aleksandr Mayorov,
- 1972-76 : Colonel-General Ivan Tenishchev,
- 1976-79 : Colonel-General Dmitri Sukhorukov,
- 1979-80 : Colonel-General Dmitry Yazov,
- 1980-84 : Colonel-General Grigory Borisov,
- 1984-87 : Colonel-General Viktor Yermakov,
- 1987-91 : Colonel-General Eduard Vorobyev.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Stavka Directive No. 11096
- Feskov et al 2013, pp. 414-416
- Georgy Zhukov, Transcript of October (1957) Plenum of the CPSU and other documents. - M .: MF "Democracy", 2001. / Note Zhukov on the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Austria. Str.33-34.
- Holm, Michael. "28th Army Corps". http://www.ww2.dk/new/army/corps/28ak.htm.
- Michael Holm, 131st Mixed Aviation Division, accessed October 2011
- Michael Holm, CEntral Group of Forces
- Gawdiak, Ihor (1989). Czechoslovakia : a country study. Washington DC.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/item/88600487/. "Research completed August 1987." Supersedes the 1982 edition of Czechoslovakia : a country study, edited by Richard F. Nyrop. The sections on the CGF is at pages 232, 233, and 234.
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Pecka, Jindřich 1996a. Odsun sovětských vojsk z Československa 1989–1991: Dokumenty. [Transfer of Soviet Forces from Czechoslovakia 1989–1991: Documents.] Prague: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny Akademie věd ČR.
- Pecka, Jindřich 1996b. Sovětská armáda v Československu 1968–1991: Chronologický přehled. [Soviet Army in Czechoslovakia 1968–1991: Chronological Overview.] Prague: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny Akademie věd ČR.
- V.I. Feskov, V.I. Golikov, K.A. Kalashnikov and S.A. Slugin, "Вооруженные Силы СССР после Второй мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской (часть 1: Сухопутные войска)", Tomsk 2014.
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