Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Soviet 192nd Mountain Division

192nd Order of the Red Banner Orshskikh, Minskikh, Mountain Division

By Phil Gardocki

Organizational History 1940
The 192nd Mountain Division was originally formed in November 1940. The nature of mountain fighting is different from fighting in the plains. Units can be in sight but with travel times days apart. Mountain units required an organization where the smaller components were independent of their parent and capable of operating alone. As such, the core of a mountain division was its four mountain regiments, each with its own engineering, scouting, artillery and communications elements to accompany the 5 oversized mountain companies. The artillery regiment consisted down-sized artillery pieces, with 7.6cm replacing the 12.2cm and 12.2cm replacing the 15.2cm guns found in standard infantry divisions. Even these smaller pieces were lighter, with shorter barrels and were designed for easy disassembly and reassembly.

At the start of the Axis invasion, the division had only 65% of its manpower, but was almost fully equipped. The large number of artillery pieces and heavy mortars and the small number of antitank guns must have made this an unusual unit to encounter at the front.

  • 14,163 men
  • 24 x 12.2cm towed howitzers
  • 12 x 7.62cm towed cannons
  • 20 x 7.62cm towed or packed mountain guns
  • 12 x 10.7cm mountain mortars
  • 48 x 8.2cm mortars
  • 50 x 5cm mortars
  • 8 x 4.5cm towed antitank guns
  • 8 x 3.7cm towed antiaircraft guns
  • 12 x 1.27cm antiaircraft machineguns
  • 16 x towed quad 7.82mm antiaircraft machineguns
  • 460 machineguns
  • 220 trucks
  • 600 wagons


The 192nd was totally destroyed in 1941, and none of its specialized mountain equipment was saved. When it was rebuilt in 1942, the division followed the standard 1942 infantry “shtat”, or organization table, but kept the “mountain division” in its title.
  • 10,566 men
  • 12 x 12.2cm towed howitzers
  • 20 x 7.62cm towed cannons
  • 18 x 12cm towed mortars
  • 85 x 8.2cm mortars
  • 85 x 5cm mortars
  • 48 x 4.5cm towed antitank guns
  • 6 x 3.7cm towed antiaircraft guns
  • 9 x 1.27cm antiaircraft machineguns
  • 226 x 1.27cm antitank rifles
  • 712 submachine guns
  • 477 machineguns
  • 5 cars
  • 145 trucks
  • 721 wagons


Sent to the front with insufficient training, equipment, support, and ammunition, the 192nd was assigned to hold a line longer than a properly outfitted division should. It was outflanked, overrun and dismembered in less than 2 weeks, ending the division’s 1942 combat career on another low note. By then, reconstituting shattered units was routine in the Soviet forces. Rebuilt yet again from an independent infantry brigade, the 192nd probably never got near to its operational strength, but then, even the Guards rarely got to 50% full strength.
  • 9,354 men
  • 12 x 12.2cm towed howitzers
  • 12 x 7.62cm towed howitzers
  • 20 x 7.62cm towed cannons
  • 18 x 12cm towed mortars
  • 84 x 8.2cm mortars
  • 56 x 5cm mortars
  • 48 x 4.5cm towed antitank guns
  • 213 x 1.27cm antitank rifles
  • 894 submachine guns
  • 600 machineguns
  • 5 cars
  • 130 trucks
  • 780 wagons


In June, 1944, a new shtat was issued. Since the 192nd was continuously in combat from then until April 1945, it is doubtful that the division converted to the new organization until its transfer to Manchuria later in 1945.
  • 9,425 men
  • 12 x 12.2cm towed howitzers
  • 12 x 7.62cm towed howitzers
  • 24 x 7.62cm towed cannons
  • 21 x 12cm towed mortars
  • 83 x 8.2cm mortars
  • 24 x 4.5cm towed antitank guns
  • 100 x 1.27cm antitank rifles
  • 113 x 1.45cm antitank rifles
  • 2110 submachine guns
  • 605 machineguns
  • 5 cars
  • 120 trucks
  • 395 wagons

Operational History

The 192nd was a prewar division assigned to the Special Kiev Military District, 12th Army, 13th Rifle Corps near the Hungarian border in mid 1941. The division fought a steady series of retreating actions throughout July. Its luck ran out in August, as the division was trapped in the Uman pocket and destroyed. One surviving element was the 676th Regiment, which had been detached to the 15th Mechanized Division. The 15th escaped destruction and was rebuilt, apparently incorporating the survivors from the 676th Regiment, as the 15th Rifle Division. The 15th had an illustrious later career, participating in the Battles of Kursk, Operation Bagration and the conquest of East Germany.
The 192nd was rebuilt in March 1942, and in July, it was sent to the Don River, and attached to the 62nd Army. As was mentioned in the Organizational history, the unit was now a mountain division in name only. The division was over run and destroyed by August.
The 192nd, Model III, was again rebuilt in May, 1943, from the 102nd Rifle Brigade. In August, as part of the 72nd Corps, the 192nd was attached to the 68th Army. By the end of the year, both the corps and division were part of the 5th Army. Both Soviet armies were in the West Front. The 192nd participated in the general offensive operations of that front during 1943.
More organizational shuffling occurred, and, by Operation Bagration (June 1944), the 192nd Mountain Division was attached to the 113th Corps, 39th Army, as part of the 3rd Belorussian Front. It was in this campaign, best known to history as the “Destruction of Army Group Center”, that the division picked up its many honors, with the liberation of Orsha (Orshskikh), Minsk (Minskikh) and the Order of the Red Banner.
Starting in April 1945, the 39th Army, the 192nd included, was transferred to Manchuria, to participate in operations against Japan.


No comments:

Post a Comment