42nd Army (Soviet Union)

The 42nd Army was a field army of the Soviet Union's Red Army, created in 1941.

42nd Army
Active4 Aug 1941 – 1945/46
CountrySoviet Union
AllegianceRed Army
BranchCombined Arms
Part ofLeningrad Front
3rd Baltic Front
2nd Baltic Front
EngagementsLeningrad Strategic Defensive
Siege of Leningrad
Leningrad–Novgorod Offensive
Pskov-Ostrov Offensive
Krasnoye Selo–Ropsha Offensive
Riga Offensive
Courland Pocket

Created on 5 August 1941. Formed on the basis of the 50th Rifle Corps under the command of Major General Vladimir Ivanovich Shcherbakov. The army initially consisted of the 291st Rifle Division and the 2nd and 3rd Guards Leningrad Peoples' Militia Divisions. The 51st Corps, 690th Anti-Tank and 740th Artillery Regiments, and the Krasnogvardeisk Fortified Region soon joined the Army. Sources disagree on when the army was disbanded; V.I. Feskov et al. says that it 'ceased to exist in Summer 1945'[1] while David Glantz lists the army on an order of battle for November 1945 in the Baltic Military District with no forces assigned.[2] He also says it was 'disbanded in 1946.'



During August 1941 the army formed a defensive line to the west, northwest and southwest of Krasnogvardeisk. By 19 August 1941, the leading German troops (1st and 8th Panzer Divisions) were fighting the troops of the Krasnogvardeisk Fortified Region. The army's final line of defence was formed on August 21, 1941, when German troops were forced to suspend the offensive in the south-western approaches to Krasnogvardeisk and go on the defensive. The 2nd Guards People's Militia Division especially distinguished itself during the fighting.

The army took part in the Leningrad Strategic Defensive operation from 9–30 September 1941. Conducted combat operations in the approaches to Leningrad from the Gulf of Finland to the city of Pushkin.

The army's intensive fight for the defense of Leningrad began on 9 September 1941. At this time the army occupied a line from Trinty to the southeast to Krasnogvardeisk. From north to south the following units occupied the line; 264th Machine-Gun Artillery Battalion, 3rd Guards Leningrad People's Militia Division, 277th, 4th, 265th, 276th Machine-Gun Artillery Battalion 2nd Guards Leningrad People's Militia Division, 126th and 267th Machine-Gun Artillery Battalions. On the right flank of was the 8th Army defending Oranienbaum and to the east the 55th Army. Against this Army Group North sent the 291st, 58th, 1st Infantry, 30th Motorized, 1st and 6th Panzer Divisions. The SS Police Division and the 269th Infantry Divisions reinforced the attack.

At the start of the German offensive the 42nd Army was composed mostly of militia units and inexperienced soldiers and lacking in weapons, ammunition, transport and communications. The 1st Panzer Division arrived on 10 September 1941 to continue the advance, and forced the 3rd Guards People's Militia Division back. Meanwhile, parts of the 42nd Army continued to defend Krasnogvardeisk stubbornly, despite German troops reaching the rear of the fortified area, threatening to cut off their communications completely, as well as the linkages with the neighboring 55th Army. The 42nd Army only left Krasnogvardeisk on September 13, 1941, after intense street fighting. The remnants of the army were forced to take up new line of defense. During the night of 12–13 September took up positions of the Pulkovski defensive line, extending from Strelna through Konstantinovka, Finskoye Koyrovo, Upper Koyrovo, Upper Kuzmin near the Kuzminka River [ru], and Pulkovo Heights. From 12–15 September the front added a rifle division, a NKVD division, two militia divisions, two antitank brigades and several rifle brigades.

From 13–15 September the army conducted a stubborn defensive battle, interspersed with counterattacks all along its front. On 15 September German forces broke through to Strelna, cutting off part of the 10th and 11th Rifle Divisions on the right flank of the army. From 17–21 September the army attacked Uritsk trying to reconnect with the 8th Army, but with no success. The last attempt to break through the defensive lines was on 23 September on the armies right flank in the Pulkovo Heights area but the attack was repelled. On 30 September the army participated in the operation to take Uritskom, Pine Glade, village Volodarskogo and output to Strelna, where parts of the army were to meet with a sea landing, but the operation was unsuccessful.

The defensive line had stabilized by 23 September with the army occupying a 16.5 kilometers front from the Gulf of Finland to the junction with the 55th Army at Pulkovo. The forward line of troops extended from the eastern edge of Uritsk, eastern outskirts of the old-Panov, New Koyrovo, and the southwestern outskirts of Pulkovo. By 1 November the front expanded by 10.5 kilometers before crossing the Vitebsk Railway line at Kolpino, and then further to the outskirts of Putrolovo finally reaching a total length of 36 kilometers. The army defended this line until January 1944.

During the period September 1941 to January 1944, the army was focused on improving the defense lines. An important mission for the army was Counter-battery fire against enemy long-range artillery firing on Leningrad. In January 1943 the army allocated half of it forces to participate in Operation Spark, an attempt to break the blockade of Leningrad.


The army participated in the Leningrad-Novgorod and Pskov-Ostrov operations, the later while assigned to the 3rd Baltic Front.[9]

In the late hours of January 13, 1944, long-range bombers from the Baltic Fleet attacked the main German command points on the defensive line, presaging the Krasnoye Selo-Ropsha Offensive. On January 14, troops from both the Oranienbaum foothold and Volkhov Front attacked, followed the next day by troops of the 42nd Army under the command of Ivan Maslennikov from the Pulkovo Heights.[10] An artillery barrage was launched all along the front, laying down 220,000 shells onto the German lines.[11] Fog inhibited major progress for the first few days, although the 2nd Shock Army and 42nd Army advanced two miles on a seven-mile front while in combat with the 9th and 10th Luftwaffe Field Divisions.[10]

The 42nd Army was tasked with breaking through the heavily fortified bands of enemy defenses established over the past two years. The 42nd Army first was to strike west to connect with the 2nd Shock Army advancing from the Oranienbaum bridgehead. Before the operation, 42nd Army was significantly reinforced; the main striking force of the army was the 30th Guards Rifle Corps. Soviet troops confronted L Army Corps (126th, 170th, 215th Infantry Divisions). The German artillery group consisted of 43 artillery battalions, 12 divisional artillery battalions ( summarized in the 125th, 240th, 215th and 11th Artillery Regiments) and 31 from OKH reserve. The front line of defense was from the coast of the Gulf of Finland to the river Izhorka Popova in the east. In the main line of defense, there were 13 German centers of resistance: Uritsk, Old Panov, Novo-Panov, Finnish Koyrovo, Kokkolevo rarely Kuzmino - Alexandrovka Big Kuzmino station Children's Village, New, State Farm "Pushkin", settlement Volodarskogo Pushkin and Slutsk. In total, there were 34 centers of resistance strongpoints. The total depth of the enemy defense reached 13–15 kilometers. It took the army two full days to break through the left flank of the German lines. On the right flank was not as successful, with the army taking almost a week to break through the front lines and into the German rear areas.


Conducted a number of attacks against the German Army Group Courland positions. The attacks were conducted on 20–28 February 1945, again on 17 March 1945 but were unsuccessful. The army was still on the front lines for the surrender of the Army Group Courland.

Order of Battle as of 1 April 45:[14]

23rd Guards Rifle Corps
51st Guards Rifle Division
67th Guards Rifle Division
8th Estonian Rifle Corps
7th Estonian Rifle Division
249th Estonian Rifle Division
122nd Rifle Corps
56th Rifle Division
85th Rifle Division
332nd Rifle Division
130th Latvian Rifle Corps
43rd Guards Rifle Division
308th Latvian Rifle Division
118th Fortified Region
27th Artillery Division
78th Light Artillery Brigade‡
74th Howitzer Artillery Brigade‡
76th Gun Artillery Brigade‡
783rd Artillery Reconnaissance Battalion‡
69th Light Artillery Brigade (6th Guards Artillery Penetration Division)‡†
141st Gun Artillery Brigade
87th Heavy howitzer Artillery Brigade (6th Guards Artillery Penetration Division)‡†
395th Howitzer Regiment‡
304th Tank Destroy Regiment
4th Mortar Brigade (6th Guards Artillery Penetration Division)‡†
122nd Mortar Regiment
14th Guards Mortar Brigade‡
72nd Guards Mortar Regiment
93rd Guards Mortar Regiment‡
310th Guards Mortar Regiment
42nd Antiaircraft Artillery Division
620th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment
709th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment
714th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment
729th Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment
631st Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment
32nd Guards Tank Regiment‡
1052nd SU Regiment
1503rd SU Regiment‡
24th Engineer-Sapper Brigade
54th Motorized Pontoon-Bridge Battalion‡
45th Flamethrower Battalion

† Located in the Far East by November 1945[2][15] ‡ Removed from the army by 1 May 1945[15]

Before the war ended the Army was already drawing down forces. A few of the forces headed east for the attack on Japan. More were to be demobilized.



  1. ^ V.I. Feskov et al 2004
  2. ^ a b Glantz, David (2009). Order of Battle 1945-48.
  3. ^ Marchand, Jean-Luc (2010). Order of Battle Soviet Army World War 2 1941 June to September Vol 1. West Chester, OH: The Nafziger Collection. p. 81. ISBN 1-58545-269-6.
  4. ^ Marchand, Jean-Luc (2010). Order of Battle Soviet Army World War 2 1941 October to December Operation Typhoon Vol II. West Chester, OH: The Nafziger Collection. p. 2. ISBN 1-58545-270-X.
  5. ^ Marchand, Vol. III, pg. 2
  6. ^ Marchand, Vol. VI, pg. 3
  7. ^ Marchand, Vol. IX, pp. 2-3
  8. ^ Marchand, Vol. XII, pg. 3
  9. ^ Bonn, Slaughterhouse, 323.
  10. ^ a b Salisbury, p. 562
  11. ^ Salisbury, p. 564
  12. ^ Marchand, Vol. XV, pp. 3–4
  13. ^ Marchand, Vol. XIX, pp.11-2
  14. ^ Marchand, Jean-Luc (2011). Order of Battle Soviet Army World War 2 1945 March and April Berlin: The Final Battle. West Chester, OH: The Nafziger Collection. pp. 85–86. ISBN 1-58545-331-5.
  15. ^ a b Marchand. OOB Vol 24.


  • Keith Bonn, Slaughterhouse: The Handbook of the Eastern Front, Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA, 2005 (especially for army HQ raising/disbandment dates)
  • V.I. Feskov et al., The Soviet Army in the Period of the Cold War, Tomsk University Press, 2004
  • Glantz, David, Order of Battle USSR 1945-48 Handout, History 391 (Spr 2009), The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Marchand, Jean-Luc, Order of Battle Soviet Army World War 2, 24 volumes, The Nafziger Collection

Further readingEdit

  • (in Russian) 42-я армия в боях за Ленинград, «Исторический архив». // — Москва, 1959, № 2.
  • (in Russian) Боевые приказы и распоряжения штаба 42 Армии. 1941 г. // Оперативный отдел штаба Ленинградского фронта. 1941. 48 с. ЦАМО фонд 217 опись 1221 дело 70.
  • (in Russian) А. М. Андреев. От первого мгновения — до последнего. Изд. Voenizdat, серия Военные мемуары. 1984., 220 с., тираж 65000 экз., твёрдый переплёт
  • (in Russian) Жаркой Ф. М. Танковый марш. Изд. 4-е: МВАА. — Saint-Petersburg, 2012.

External linksEdit