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2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motorized Rifle Division

The 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Tamanskaya Order of the October Revolution, Order of the Red Banner and Order of Suvorov Division named after Kalinin was established in the summer of 1940 as the 127th Rifle Division in Kharkov, Ukraine. When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the division fought enemy forces in the first few months of the Great Patriotic War, and was renamed as the 2nd Guards Rifle Division in September 1941 together with several other Red Army units.

The division subsequently took part in many large-scale military operations, was renamed as the Tamanskaya Division for its heroic exploits during the Novorossiisk-Taman operation and finished the war on April 17, 1945 on the Samland Peninsula in East Prussia.

After the war, the division was converted into a motorized rifle division and deployed in the Moscow Region's Naro-Fominsk District. Its elements always took part in military parades on Red Square, helped to overthrow Lavrenty Beria, former chief of the dreaded Soviet secret police, in the summer of 1953 and were also involved in the abortive August 1991 coup against the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the October 1993 clashes between President Boris Yeltsin's supporters and the Russian parliament.

The Ministry of Defence forces included two "parade" divisions, the Taman Motorized Rifle Division (12,000 troops deployed near the city of Naro-Fominsk outside Moscow) and Kantemir Tank Division (8,000 troops, also based in the Moscow suburbs). These two units were frequently used in parades in Red Square -- the first public knowledge of the new Soviet T-72 tank was from a parade in Moscow, where it was driven by the Taman Guards.

These two divisions also functioned as a "Praetorian Guard" for the regime leadership, first serving in this role in the liquidation of Lavrenty Beria, former chief of the dreaded Soviet secret police, in the summer of 1953. The Taman was also employed during the August putsch in 1991, during which a tank unit of Taman division switched sides and backed Boris Yeltsin. When the Taman' Division deployed in Moscow there was fraternization -- the soldiers let children climb onto the tanks. Later, in 1993, troops were deployed in Moscow to suppress the October 1993 revolt -- tanks of the Taman Division opened fire at the parliament.

The 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle division was one of the most famous formations of the Russian army. Military chiefs invited here Russian presidents, foreign delegations or journalists to show “soldiers’ everyday life”, as the division had an exemplary image. But the Tamanskaya was a far cry from the rest of the army. The conditions of life are as well pretty poor in the rest of Russian Army. While the conscription (12 months draft) was mandatory, Russians of conscript age tried to avoid it, mostly because of dedovshchina, literally, rule of the elders, a culturally specific, often very violent, form of bullying.

The 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Tamanskaya Order of the October Revolution, Order of the Red Banner and Order of Suvorov, 2nd Degree Division named after Kalinin was established in the summer of 1940 as the 127th Rifle Division in Kharkov, Ukraine. The Division, also known as the Tamanskaya Division, Taman Division and Taman Guards, was one of the most famous divisions of the Russian Ground Forces.

The Division was formed 08 July 1940 in Kharkov, and when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the division fought enemy forces in the first few months of the Great Patriotic War. The Division took part in the famous Battle of Smolensk, and on 01 July 1941 it received its baptism of fire in the vicinity of Smolensk. From September 12, 1941 until mid-January 1942, the Division in the 13rd and 40th Armies participated in the defense of the city of Kursk and the battle for the city of Yoshkar-ola, Tim Austin and the Bryansk front. On September 18, 1941 by order of the people's Commissariat of Defense 127th Rifle Division was converted to the 2nd Guards Rifle Division. The Guards Banner Division served January 28, 1942 at Goda v gorode Stary Oskol Kursk region. In July 1942, the Division conducted defensive fights in the North Caucasus and Transcaucasian fronts.

From January 1943 onwards the Division participated in the liberation of the Taman peninsula, the Northern Caucasus cities: Cherkessk, Nalchik, Pyatigorsk, Kislovodsk, Yessentuki, etc.; crossed the Strait of Kerch, Crimea, and relieved the city of Sevastopol. During the battles for the liberation of the Taman peninsula, in 1943, the Order of the Red Banner was awarded. The division subsequently took part in many large-scale military operations, was renamed as the Tamanskaya Division for its heroic exploits during the Novorossiisk-Taman operation.

In the year 1944 in offensive battle of the Division contributed to the elimination of 30-thousand strong group of Nazi troops near Königsberg, liberated Latvia, Lithuania and East Prussia. During the battles for the liberation of East Prussia in 1944, the Division was awarded the Order of Suvorov of the 2 Degree. In April 1945, the Division participated in the defeat of the Zemlandskoj grouping of Nazi troops in East Prussia, and finished the war on April 17, 1945 on the Samland Peninsula in East Prussia, where fighting ended April 23, 1945.

During the war years 34 troops became Heroes of the Soviet Union, 5 Knights of the Order of Glory of all three degrees more than 19 thousand soldiers and officers of the Division, for the courage and heroism were awarded with orders and medals. In September 1945, the Division was relocated to Moscow, converted into a motorized rifle division, and deployed in the Moscow Region's Naro-Fominsk District. For achievements in military training, development of new weapons and military equipment in 1985, the Division was awarded the Order of the October Revolution. For courage and military prowess displayed on maneuvers, in 1977, the Division was awarded the Pennant Ministry of Defense of the USSR. In the post-war period, the Division participated in all large-scale military exercises and maneuvers. Its elements always took part in military parades on Red Square.

In the summer of 1953 the division helped to overthrow Lavrenty Beria, former chief of the dreaded Soviet secret police. The Soviet armed forces do not have a history of successful interference in internal political crises as a single, organized element of power. Their heritage includes a tendency toward fragmentation and inaction during internal crisis. Military freedom of ction is restricted by the interlocking networks of political officers and security police operating within the ranks, by a tendency toward conformity among officers and men alike, by a growing officer castesystem, md by the presence in the ranks of a high percentage of Communists subject to party discipline. Unless the existing controls break down under drastic circumstances, the armed forces as a whole must be looked upon as a relatively passive and non-monolithic body with regrad to a Soviet succession crisis.

A shift from a passive toward a more active role of the military in politics occurred beginning with the Beria purge, Representatives of the armed forces participated in the removal and sentencing of Lavrenti Beria, head of Soviet internal security. Stalin's death had, abruptly reversed the decline of Beria, and he shot up to new heights by becoming second only to Malenkov. Beria again took over the direct control of the USSR security forces and attempted to purge the Soviet apparatus of those who had opposed him. Realizing that unquestioned supremacy for any one of their number would soon lead to the liquidation of at bast some of the remainder as patentla1 rivals, the ruliug group apparently determined to prevent the assumption of Stalin's power by any one individual.

Accounts of Beria's fall vary considerably. Unusual military movements were observed in Moscow from 26 through 30 June 1953. By one account, the development which goaded the party presidium to act against Beria may have been his move of two MVD divisions into the Moscow suburbs to back up a projected coup, an action that was reported or rumored by at least four different sources at the time. This move, if it occurred, was undoubtedly too much for Beria's fellow leaders. This action was countered by a similar movement on the part of units of the Army. According to another version, Beria was arrested on or soon after 26 June 1953. Beria was first taken to the Moscow guardhouse and then to the bunker of the Moscow Military District headquarters. Defense Minister Nikolai Bulganin ordered elements of the Kantemirovskaya Tank Division and Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division to move into Moscow to prevent possible attempts by Internal Troops loyal to Beria to rescue him. His arrest was announced on July 10, 1953. Beria was tried and convicted of criminal antiparty and antistate actions, and shot in December 1953.

The Soviet T-72 MBT was first shown to the public on 7 November 1977 during the Red S!uare parade in Moscow. The T-72 was, however, displayed one month prior to the parade to the French Defense Minister during his visit to the Taman Guards Motorize( Rifle Division in October 1977. Since its debut, the T-72 has become one of the most well known and widely deployed tanks in history.

The 1987 training year was a serious lesson for the soldiers of Tamanskaya Division. Many of them were examined in the final check precisely in defensive instructional combat. Not all ofthem were fully up to the task. Unfortunately, the same thing could also be said about the warriors of several other formations and units. But there was nothing surprising here. For some time now, subject matter linked with the preparation of troops for defensive actions had been second-rate. Little attention was paid to it in the planning of combat training. And those studies and training in which the development of the elements of defense was planned were frequently carried out with indulgence.

A problem which had long been unresolved was that of providing natural gas service to quarters housing families of officers and warrant officers stationed at the district training center. It was decided in 1989 to allot 216,000 rubles that year to accelerate construction of a gas conduit. Communists participating in meetings held in the Guards Taman Motorized Infantry Division pointed out the particular need for repairing barracks, classrooms, and the sewer system in buildings housing servicemen's families and in other barracks. The sum of 1.75 million rubles was allocated for these purposes in 1989.

Representatives of Western political and military circles obtained a real opportunity to see the Soviet Armed Forces from inside and to meet soldiers and officers. Guests were invited to the gymnasium, where they saw a demonstration of hand-to-hand combat techniques. An even greater impression was made on the guests by the training technique of rolling tanks over soldiers to get them to overcome their fear of tanks, which the guests saw in a film about the Taman Division that was shown to them.

The Division was also involved in the abortive August 1991 coup against the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The State Committee for the Emergency Situation, or GKChP, dismissed Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on Aug. 19, 1991. Obeying an order from the State Committee for the State of Emergency, the Taman Division, with 700 combat vehicles and more than 2,000 soldiers, entered Moscow on 19 August 1991. They entered the city at the order of the State Committee for the State of Emergency but took no initiative after that. It was clear that even if it became necessary to declare a state of emergency, there was no need to bring in tanks.

On 20 August 1991, the hard-line Communists who ousted Mikhail S. Gorbachev from power moved to claim control of the country, but opposition to the coup rallied around Russia's president, Boris N. Yeltsin, and threatened to split the army. Thousands of people who gathered outside the Russian parliament building cheered and shouted "Yeltsin, Yeltsin," when tanks from the elite Tamanskaya division shifted position just after 10 p.m. Moscow time and pointed their guns outward.

A column of T-72 tanks from the Tamanskaya motor rifle division moved onto the Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya, but before it could pass the White House it was stopped by a crowd of Yeltsin supporters. The tank crews did nothing then nor when Yeltsin himself climbed up on top of a tank and appealed to the crowd to defy the coup. Short of running over the defenders, they could have done little anyway. The tanks had no ammo and even the soldiers' hand guns were not loaded.

A separate unit from the Tamanskaya division had orders to guard the nearby bridge. Yeltsin's men persuaded the officer in charge, Major Sergei Yevdokimov, to move six unarmed tanks close to the White House to form a semblance of a defense. Officers from the defense staff that was forming around the Kobets committee immediately began phoning their military friends, telling them "part of the Tamanskaya division has turned coat," creating panic and disorder in the Defense Ministry ranks.

On 13 September 1991, Major General Valeriy Marchenkov, commander of the Guards Taman Division, was relieved of his command. The fact was made public almost two weeks later. And this occurred because of a group of officers of the Taman Division who undertook a campaign in defense of their commander. On 18 September 1991 the Division celebrated the 50th anniversary of the awarding of the Guards title to the division. Official representatives and representatives of the ASKO firm attended. They rewarded a large group of officers and enlisted men for their heroic defense of the White House. After all, it was due to the division commander that there was not more bloodshed on the night of the 20th.

The Division participated in the October 1993 clashes between President Boris Yeltsin's supporters and the Russian parliament. When President Yeltsin dissolved the parliament on September 17, 1993, both parliament and the president claimed control over the Russian government and thus control of the military. Throughout the struggle between Yeltsin and Khasbulatov in the fall of 1993, General Grachev declared that the army would not commit itself to any political party, but would support the constitution. On 23 September 1993, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev held an emergency meeting of the ministry's collegium to discuss the Armed Force's stand in the event of a sharp deterioration of the situation in the country. Units of the Tamanskaya Mechanized Infantry Division were then involved in exercises in Nizhniy Novgorod Oblast. Between the 2nd and 4th of October, the army re-considered its position, and by early on the 4th, they gave their support to Yeltsin. Tanks from the Tamanskaya Division opened fire on the Parliament building, where the Parliament's supporters were barricaded. This episode was the deadliest street fighting in Moscow since 1917. Even though the military eventually supported President Yeltsin, Grachev argued that the use of force on October 4, 1993, prevented the outbreak of civil war in Russia.

In 1999, the division took part in the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya as a part of the Joint Group of Federal Forces in the North Caucasus. A "tactical group" from the 15th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment deployed to Chechnya in early 2000, serving in the south of the republic and the Argun Gorge after the end of major combat operations to maintain security. The 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade was formed in order to prepare the Russian troops to take part in operations to maintain international peace and security. Its soldiers are part of peacekeeping contingents according to the decision of the President of the Russian Federation and in the interests of the Commonwealth of Independent States, UN, OSCE, NATO-Russia Council and, if necessary, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In the summer of 2005, N.A.T.O. Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and then-U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow suggested operational cooperation between N.A.T.O. forces and Russia's dedicated peacekeeping unit, the 15th Motorized Rifle Brigade. On a visit to the 15th separate motorized rifle brigade in the Central Military District in July 2012, a German military delegation praised the high level of training of Russian peacekeepers.

The Russian news agency Interfax reported on 22 January 2007 comments from Col. General Vladimir Bakin, the commander of the Moscow Military District. according to Bakin, Tamanskaya Division's 1st Guards Motor Rifle Regiment had been re-equipped with a battalion of T-90 tanks, replacing its old T-80s, a battalion of BTR-80A armored personnel carriers, and a battalion of new self-propelled howitzers and 'C2' command and control systems. Bakin also said that the regiment's 3rd Battalion had begun re-equipping with the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle, of which the regiment as a whole was due to receive 129 by the end of the year. Bakin stated that the First Guards Regiment had already undergone training for operating new materiel. The regiment was the first in the Russian army to successfully master new arms and materiel. In 2006, the regimental personnel were graded highly on their performance. This represented the second publicly-known deployment of the T-90, the first having been the 5th Guards 'Don' Tank Division, based at Kyakhta in the Siberian Military District, which has been entirely equipped with such tanks.

The Russian Defense Ministry moved in November 2008 to disband the Moscow Military District's 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motorized Rifle Division and 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, and to convert them into four brigades. Both divisions now have 12,000 to 14,000 officers and men. The four brigades will have 50% more personnel, or between 18,000 and 20,000 officers and men. This makes up for 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers per brigade. Other army divisions would also be converted into brigades.

In 2009 Tamanskaya division was disbanded and converted into two motorised-rifle brigades. In the course of the military reform in May 2009, the division was reorganised into the 5th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Moscow Military District. Location remained the same - a village Alabino Naro-Fominsk, and the 8th Separate Mountain Motor Rifle Brigade in Chechniya. One of the Brigades had BMP-3 fighting vehicles, the second - on the basis of infantry units, which are armed with armored personnel carriers BTR-80 and BTR-90.

In May 2013 Russias’ Defence Minister issued an order to recreate earlier disbanded Taman and Kantemyrovskaya tank divisions. The bases for their formation were, respectively, the 5th Separate Motorized and the 4th Tank Brigade, which will include a number of other military units. The divisions received back their historical names, and they took part in the upcoming Victory Day Parade on Red Square, where they will carry their new military banners. The Defence Ministry said that, as part of the orders from the Russian president, contained in his annual address to the Federal Assembly, the defence authority revived the names and the other most famous regiments, military units of the previous eras.

An inspection team from the Austrian Armed Forces visited the training facilities of the Kantemirovskaya tank division of the Western Military District, which is stationed in the Moscow region, the Western Military District's press service reported 02 February 2016. "The foreign military inspectors were shown elements of the formation's range and a combat practice," Western Military District spokesman Igor Muginov told Interfax.

The Austrian inspectors were briefed by the First Tank Army commander and the commanders of the Kantemirovskaya and Tamanskaya formations of the Western Military District, and an artillery regiment of an airborne formation about the formations and military units and the military activity ongoing within the limits of the aforesaid territory, he said. The inspection was made in fulfillment of the 2011 Vienna document on confidence and security-building measures.

Order of Battle, 2009
1174-th separate anti-tank artillery battalion
136th Separate Guards Reconnaissance Battalion
1586 separate battalion electronic warfare
211th Separate Guards Engineering Battalion
614 separate battalion NBC
47th Separate Guards battalion
886-I FBS station
190th separate battalion repair and refurbishment
1063rd separate battalion of material security
370-th separate medical battalion
1st Guards Motorized Rifle Sevastopol Red Banner Order of Alexander Nevsky Regiment
15th Guards Motor Rifle Shavlinskoe Order of Lenin Red Banner Regiment
283rd Guards Motorized Rifle Berlin Red Banner Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Regiment
1 Guards Chertkovsky two Orders of Lenin, the Red Banner, Order of Suvorov, Kutuzov, Bogdan Khmelnitsky tank regiment of the Marshal of Armored Forces Katukov
147th Guards Self-propelled artillery Simferopol Red Banner Order of Suvorov, Kutuzov and Alexander Nevsky Regiment
1117-th Air Defence Regiment

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Page last modified: 21-02-2016 20:06:06 ZULU