20th Army (Soviet Union)

The 20th Army was a field army of the Red Army that fought on the Eastern Front during World War II.

20th Army
RIAN archive 76 On the battlefield.jpg
20th Army soldiers fighting south of Dorogobuzh, 1 September 1941
Country Soviet Union
BranchRed Army
TypeCombined arms
SizeField army
EngagementsWorld War II
Pavel Kurochkin

Andrei Vlasov
Nikolai Berzarin
Mikhail Khozin
Max Reyter
Anton Lopatin

Nikolai Gusev

First formationEdit

The Army was first formed in the Orel Military District in June 1941. On 22 June 1941 the Army was part of the Reserve of the Supreme High Command and was located west of Moscow.

On 27 June 1941 it was proposed to Joseph Stalin that the Soviet armies (13th Army, 19th Army, 20th, 21st Army, and 22nd Army) would defend the line going through the Daugava-Polotsk-Vitebsk-Orsha-Mogilev-Mazyr[1] as part of the Reserve Front.[2]

Committed as part of Western Front in defensive battles in Belarus, Smolensk, and Vyazma. By 5 August 1941 the army, in David Glantz's words, had been 'reduced to a skeleton.' The strength of the 289th Rifle Division had fallen to 285 men, 17 machine guns, and one anti-tank gun, the 73rd Rifle Division to 100 men and 4 to 5 machine guns, 144th Rifle Division to 440 men, and 153rd Rifle Division to 750 men.[3] The Army HQ was disbanded having been encircled and destroyed in the Vyazma Pocket.

Order of Battle 22 June 1941Edit

Source: Combat composition of the Soviet Army (BSSA) via tashv.nm.ru and Leo Niehorster


Second formationEdit

Reestablished in November 1941 from Operational Group Liziukov. Reformed November 1941 for the Battle of Moscow, including 331st and 350th Rifle Divisions, and the 28th, 35th, and 64th separate rifle brigades. Fought as part of the Western Front. In 1942-43 it operated on the Rzhev-Sychevka bridgehead (including 42nd Guards Rifle Division from November 1942), and took part in the Rzhev-Vyazma offensive operation. In 1944 it became part of the Stavka Reserve and was then reassigned to Kalinin Front and Leningrad Front. It was disbanded in April 1944 by being dispersed within the formations of 3rd Baltic Front.

The army was in strategic reserve from July 1943 to April 1944. In April 1944 the headquarters was disbanded and used to form the 3rd Baltic Front.



  1. ^ Fugate Bryan , Dvoriecki Lev Blitzkrieg and Dnieperm Warszawa 2001 page 130
  2. ^ Glantz, David M., Companion to Colosus Reborn, 2005
  3. ^ Two reports in SBDVOV, issue 37, pages 271-273, dated 4 August 1941 and 5 August 1941 cited in David Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, University Press of Kansas, 210.