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Operation Barbarossa   >   Soviet Forces

   
 

Soviet Forces in Operation Barbarossa


Georgy Zhukov was General Chief of Staff of the Soviet forces at the time of the German invasion. He played a pivotal role in organizing the Soviet defense to the attack, and the subsequent fighting which eventually led to the defeat of Germany on the Eastern Front.

Georgy Zhukov
On June 22nd 1941 at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, Soviet forces in European Russiawere divided into four active Fronts (a Front roughly corresponded to an Army Group in Western armies):
  1. The Northern Front formed from the Leningrad Military District.

  2. The North-Western Front formed from the Baltic Special Military District.

  3. The Western Front formed from the Western Special Military District.

  4. The Soviet Southwestern Front formed from the Kiev Special Military District.
Additionally, a fifth Front, the Southern Front, was created within days from the Odessa Military District.

In July 10th, the Fronts were organized into three Strategic Directions, each roughly corresponding to each of the Axis Army Groups: Army Group North, Army Group Center, and Army Group South.

The three Soviet Strategic Directions were:
  1. The North-Western Strategic Direction commanded by Kliment Voroshilov

    Which consisted of:

    • Northern Front
      • 7th Army
      • 14th Army
      • 23rd Army
      • Other Units

    • North-Western Front
      • 8th Army
      • 11th Army
      • 27th Army
      • Other Units

    • The Northern Fleet (based in the Barents and Norwegian Seas)

    • The Baltic Fleet

  2. The Western Strategic Direction commanded by Timoshenko

    Which consisted of:

    • Western Front
      • 3rd Army
      • 4th Army
      • 10th Army
      • 13th Army Headquarters
      • Other Units

  3. The South-Western Strategic Direction commanded by emyon Budyonny

    Which consisted of:

    • South-Western Front
      • 5th Army
      • 6th Army
      • 12th Army
      • 26th Army
      • Other Units

    • South-Western Front
      • 9th Independent Army
      • 18th Army
      • 2nd Mechanized Corps
      • 18th Mechanized Corps

    • The Black Sea Fleet
In addition to the above, there was a large group of additional forces held in reserve by the central command (and nominally under Stalin's direct command). At the time, this was known as the Stavka Reserve Group of Armies, but was later renamed the Reserve Front. This reserve consisted of:
  • 16th Army
  • 19th Army
  • 20th Army
  • 21st Army
  • 22nd Army
  • 24th Army


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