Combat history of the 2ndGuards Tank Army commenced with the Directive of the Red Army Supreme Commander Joseph Stalin of September 1st1942 № 787391 to form the 3rdReserve Army at the staff location in KALININ. According to the war diary of the Army on 5.9.1943 an operational group of the staff arrived in the city and began to set up an army, work on organization of military training and exercises in the army units. General-Major Bondarev, Deputy Army Commander and Colonel –Lieutenant Chizh, Head of Army Operational Division arrived amongst the first officers. Initially the Army comprised from 15th, 20th, 23rdand 33rdSeparate Rifle Brigades, 43rdGuards Latvian Rifle Division, 183rd, 374thRifle Divisions and some other formations. Arrived units started combat studies since 1.10.1942 alone with the army field management. By December 1st1942 formation of the army field staff and management was completed. On January 10th1943 at 18.00 a directive to set up 2ndTank Army on the basis of the 3rdReserve Army of the Bryansk Front was signed.
STAVKA OF THE SUPREME COMMAND DIRECTIVE № 46002 TO THE COMMANDER OF THE BRYANSK FRONT ABOUT FORMATION OF THE 2ndTANK ARMY
STAVKA of the Supreme Command orders to set up by February 1st1943 2ndTank Army in the area of Efremov, Rossoshnaya, and Yelets. General-Lieutenant Roma-nenko to be assigned as the Chief Commander of the 2ndTank Army. The field mana-gement of the 3rdReserve Army with support, maintenance and army rear units to be included to the 2ndTank Army. 3rdReserve Army to be renamed into 2ndTank Army. Army to be located at Ploskoye (20 km to the north of Elets). The following formations to be integrated into Army: 11thTank Corps (to be armed with the Soviet tanks), 16thTank Corps, 11thGuards Tank Brigade, 29thand 30thGuards Heavy Tank Regiments, two armor vehicles battalions and one motorized rifle battalion, 60th, 112thand 194thRifle Divisions, three ski rifle brigades, two anti-tank artillery regiments, two engineering battalions, three truck battalions. Joseph Stalin
General Nikolay Biryukov, deputy commander of the Red Army armor troops made a following record in his diary on this matter: “8thJanuary 1943. Directions of the Comrade Stalin:”Board Member for the 2ndTank Army with the understanding of the tank warfare to be found. Formation of the 2ndTank Army to be started in the area of Efremov. A directive draft on this subject to be presented. The Army should comprise of two tank corps’ (11thand 16th), three rifle divisions (60th, 112thand 194th), one tank brigade (11thGuards); two truck battalions with 200 machines, one Self-Propelled Artillery and mortar Regiment. Tank brigades to be taken from the Bryansk Front. Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment should have sixteen 76-mm and eight 120-mm field guns. Mortar Regiment should have 36 mortars. An order on assignment of General Romanenko as the Army Chief Commander and assignment of the Army Staff Commander and Board Member to be signed.”
On January 13th1943 an order about army location change and transportation of the 3rdReserve Army units by railroad to a new area was received. On January 14th1943 the Army Staff embarked on the trains at the Kalinin station and at 18.00 was dispatched on the route Kalinin-Moscow-Elets- Lozovaya.
January 15th1943 is celebrated as the Birtday of the 2ndTank Army. This was a day when field command of the Army, which was in train headed from Kalinin to the area of the Bryansk Front received the STAVKA order about transformation of the 3-rd Reserve Army into 2-nd Tank Army.
These were days of the victorious Red Army winter offensive on the immense space of the Soviet-German Front. Tank and mechanized formations played a great role in a decisive offensive of the Red Army. The first train with army personnel arrived in Lozovaya station on January 19th1943 and commenced dismemberment. According to the STAVKA directive trains with the personnel, armored vehicles, fuels, munitions, rations were arriving daily to the army build-up area. Transferred artillery, engineering and support units were moving at night along the roads. According to the army war diary General-Lieutenant Prokofiy Romanenko, the Army Chief Commander arrived on January 21st1943. Army Staff departments were completing tasks on the units and formations reception arriving at the army build up area. 11thTank Corps of the General-major of armored troops Ivan Lazarenko comprising of 53rd, 59th, 160thtank brigades and 12thmotorized rifle division was arriving on the same day. 16thLithuanian Rifle Division arrived on January 23rd1943 and on the same day was engaged alone with 11thTank Corps in an exercises aimed at marching on the eve of the opposite combat.
11thGuards Tank Brigade of the Colonel Nikolay Bubnov, which had significant com-bat experience, was integrated in 2ndTank Army on January 20th1943. 563rd, 567thAnti-Tank Artillery Regiments, 37thGuards Mortar Regiment and 29thGuards Heavy Tank Regiment were included into army between 25thJanuary and 1stFebruary 1943. 16thTank Corps of the General-Major Alexei Maslov arrived by that time. This Corps was formed in June 1942 and participated in Stalingrad Battle. It comprised from 107th, 109th, 164thTank Brigades and 15thMotorized Rifle Brigade. Other units and formations were also arriving to the army build-up area. Along with the combat-expe-rienced formations army got a fresh inexperienced replenishments. From the very first days of the army formation political indoctrination played an important role. Comman-ders, politruks, units’ veterans’ talked with their men about situations on the front. They were talking with the young soldiers about combat traditions of army’s units and formations. New men who came as a replenishment studied arrived KV, T-34 and T-70 tanks as well as other vehicles and weaponry. Management led works on organization of tank crews, armor, artillery and rifle formations. Goal oriented careful revising for offensive carried out in all army units accounted for enhancing personnel combat skills. Army was ready for an offensive operation on Orel-Bryansk direction in a winter conditions.
Shortly after defeat of the enemy at Stalingrad and conducted successful assault of the Voronezh Front troops- STAVKA decided to inflict a blow in the area of Kromy, Orel to defeat a strong German grouping there. 2ndTank Army was supposed to play an important role in this offensive. It was shifted from Bryansk Front and was placed under the command of the Central Front. Army was composed of 11thand 16thTank Corps’; 11thGuards Tank Brigade, 29thGuards Tank Regiment, 37thGuards Mortar Regiment, 60thand 112thRifle Divisions, 563rdand 567thAT Artillery Regiments and 115thRifle Brigade. As of 1stFebruary 1943 2ndTank Army was situated with its main forces in the area of Lyubovsha, Verkhovje, Solovievka, Prostor, Srevo-Petrovskoye (all locations 30-50 km to the north and north-east of Livny). Having completed two-side military exercises Army was ready to execute its combat mission.
Guards General-Lieutenant Alexei Rodin, a Hero of the Soviet Union appointed as the new Army Chief Commander and successor of General-Lieutenant Prokofiy Roma-nenko arrived on 12thFebruary 1943. At the same day Army was placed under command of the Central Front and in the night of 13thFebruary 1943 began its 200 km marsh to the designated area.
Prokofiy Romanenko , the first commander of 2 TA Alexei Rodin, the second commander of 2 TA