76th Guards Air Assault Division

76th Guards Air Assault Division

76th Guards Airborne Division
6 Jul 1946 – 2006

76th Guards Rifle Division
1 Mar 1943 – 6 Jul 1946

157th Rifle Division
1 Sep 1939 – 1 Mar 1943
Russian: 76-я гвардейская десантно-штурмовая Черниговская Краснознаменная, ордена Суворова дивизия
Great emblem of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division[1]
Active1 September 1939[2] – present
Country Soviet Union
Branch Russian Airborne Troops
TypeAirborne forces
RoleLight Infantry
Airborne Infantry
Airmobile infantry
Part of Russian Armed Forces
Nickname(s)Псковские десантники ("Pskov Paratroopers")
Motto(s)Мы всюду там, где ждут победу! ("We are there, when victory is awaited!")
Anniversaries1 September 2 August (day of the VDV)
EngagementsWorld War II

1990 Black January in Azerbaijan
1991 January Events in Lithuania
First Nagorno-Karabakh War
First Chechen War
Second Chechen war

Russo-Georgian War

Russo–Ukrainian War

DecorationsOrder of the Red Banner Order of the Red Banner
Order of Suvorov (Russia) Order of Suvorov
Battle honoursGuards unit Guards
Guards Colonel Denis Shishov
Gen. Vasily Margelov
Military unit

The 76th Guards Chernogov Red Banner Air Assault Division is a division of the Russian Airborne Troops based in Pskov. The division traces its lineage back to the 76th Guards Rifle Division, formed in March 1943 from the 157th Rifle Division for that division's actions during the Battle of Stalingrad. The division fought in the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of the Dnieper, Operation Bagration, the East Pomeranian Offensive, and the Berlin Offensive. Postwar, it was converted into an airborne division.[7]

The division moved to Pskov, its current base, in 1947. The division was involved in Black January and the January Events in Lithuania. After the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, the division became part of the Russian Airborne Troops. The division fought in the First Chechen War, Second Chechen War, the Russo-Georgian War, and Donbas then 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine,[8] including committing mass murder of civilians in Bucha.[9] The division became an air assault division in 2006.


World War II

The 76th Air Assault Division was originally established in 1939 as the 157th Rifle Division. On 1 March 1943 it became the 76th Guards Rifle Division for its actions in the Battle of Stalingrad. Major General Alexander Kirsanov commanded the division.[10] The division fought in the Battle of Kursk, fighting in the northern part of the Kursk Bulge. Until 3 July the division was part of the Bryansk Front in the area of Belyov. On 12 July the division began the crossing of the Oka. By the end of the day the division had captured bridgeheads. The division received thanks from the Supreme Commander (Stalin) for this action.[11]

On 8 September, the division began to advance from the Oryol area to Chernigov. After three days the division had advanced 70 kilometers and reached the village of Tolstoles on 20 September, three kilometers northeast of Chernigov. The division then helped capture the city and advanced to the west. By an order of the Supreme Commander on 21 September the division was thanked and awarded the honorific "Chernigov".[11]

The division then advanced into Belarus. It became part of the 1st Belorussian Front. On 17 July 1944 it began an attack northwest of Kovel. On 21 July the vanguard of the division moved north towards Brest in heavy fighting. On 26 July, troops advancing from the north and south linked up 20 to 25 kilometers west of Brest. German troops in the area were surrounded. For its actions in the capture of Brest, the division was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. On 25 January 1945, the division, as part of the 2nd Belorussian Front, blocked the route out of Toruń, surrounding German forces. In late February, the division attempted to cut the road out of Konitz. German troops were able to escape in the fighting.[12]

On 23 March the division captured Sopot and advanced to the Baltic Sea. By 25 March it had captured Oliwa and was advancing towards Danzig. The division helped captured Danzig on 30 March. The division was moved from Danzig to Germany and on 24 April was concentrated near Kortenhaten, 20 kilometers south of Stettin. On 26 April the division crossed the Rondov canal and broke through the German line. By the end of the day it had captured Pretslavu.[13]

On 2 May, the division captured Güstrow. On 3 May, after advancing 40 kilometers, it captured Karow and Butzow. The forward detachments of the 76th Guards Rifle Division reached the Baltic and on the outskirts of Wismar met with Allied airborne units[13] of the 6th Airborne Division.[14] The division was part of the 114th Rifle Corps of the 70th Army of the 2nd Belorussian Front in May 1945.[15]

Cold War

On 6 July 1946, it became the 76th Guards Airborne Division in Novgorod, directly subordinated to Airborne headquarters. In April 1947, it moved to Pskov. Future Soviet Airborne Troops commander Vasily Margelov became the division's commander in April 1948.[16] The division became part of the 15th Guards Airborne Corps in October 1948. It was composed of the 234th Guards Air-Landing Regiment, the 237th Guards Airborne Regiment and the 154th Guards Artillery Regiment.[17]

On 18 February 1949 the 234th became an airborne regiment. On 30 April 1955, the 104th Guards Airborne Regiment moved to the division after the 21st Guards Airborne Division was disbanded. On 6 January 1959, the 242nd Separate Military-Transport Aviation Squadron was activated with the division. It included 10 An-2 Colt transports. On 15 August 1960, the 154th Guards Artillery Regiment became the 819th Separate Guards Artillery Battalion. On 27 April 1962, the battalion was upgraded to the 1140th Guards Artillery Regiment.[17]

In 1967, the division participated in Exercise "Dnieper". In March 1970, the division participated in the combined arms exercise "Dvina". During the exercise, the division used the Antonov An-22 for the first time.[18] The division participated in Exercise "Autumn-88". Between 1988 and 1992 the division participated in the suppression of interethnic conflicts in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Baltic region, Transdnistria, North Ossetia, and South Ossetia. In 1991, the 104th and 234th Guards Airborne Regiments were awarded the Ministry of Defense Pennant "For Courage and Valor". Earlier, the division and its artillery regiment had been awarded the pennant.[11] The division took part in the August Coup of 1991, when it was sent to Estonia by the Coup's leaders to take over the Tallinn TV Tower.[19]

Russian Airborne Troops

The division fought in the First Chechen War during 1994 and 1995. 120 military personnel of the division were killed during the war. For their actions, ten officers of the division received the title Hero of the Russian Federation, two of them posthumously. The division fought in the Second Chechen War between 1999 and 2004.[20]

From 18 August 1999 elements of the division fought in the capture of Karamakhi, Gudermes, Argun, and the blocking of the Vedeno gorge. The 6th Company of the 104th Guards Airborne Regiment blocked the Argun Gorge in March 2000.[20] For their actions, 22 soldiers were awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation, all but one posthumously. 63 received the Order of Courage posthumously.[11]

On 22 June 2001, the 237th Guards Airborne Regiment was disbanded.[21] After an experimental period, the 104th Guards Airborne Regiment of the 76th Airborne Division in 2002 became the first Russian ground forces regiment that was fully composed of professional soldiers (and not of "srochniki" – the conscripted soldiers aged eighteen). [22] The division became the first to move to the contract manning system in 2004. In 2006, the 76th Airborne Division became an Air Assault Division.[13]

In 2008 the 76th Air Assault Division was involved in the 2008 South Ossetia war, being deployed to South Ossetia and fought in the Battle of Tskhinvali.[23]

Since 27 February 2013, the division has been commanded by Major General Alexey Naumets.[24]

Crimea and the war in Donbas

In 2014 division units spearheaded the 2014 Russian military invasion of Ukraine, and were used in the annexation of Crimea.[25][26] On 18 August, the division was awarded the Order of Suvorov by Vladimir Putin for the "successful completion of military missions" and "courage and heroism".[27][28] On 20 August 2014, two BMD-2s of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division were captured by Ukrainian forces near Lutuhino in the Luhansk region.[29] Ukrainian government officials presented Russian soldiers' IDs and other military documents from the vehicles.[27][30][31][32][33] Russia's defence ministry denied the claim.[34][35]

Several members of the division, among whom was the platoon commander Anton Korolenko, died on 19–20 August, under circumstances their families would not reveal.[36] A Pskov newspaper reported that nearly an entire company of paratroopers from the 76th Guards Air Assault Division allegedly was lost during combat as part of the war in Donbas, having 80 dead, though without any conclusive proof.[37][38][27]

In January 2022, elements of the division's 234th Air Assault Regiment and the 124th Tank Battalion were reportedly deployed to Belarus in the context of the Ukraine crisis.[39]

2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine

A command post of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division was attacked during the 2022 Chornobaivka attacks of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine on 5 August 2022.[40]

The 76th Guards Airborne Assault Division participated in assaults on Kyiv, Izyum, and Popasna.[41] They were responsible of running the cleansing operations during the Bucha massacre arresting, torturing and murdering Ukrainian civilians.[9]

In September 2022 reports emerged from Ukrainian sources claiming the 237th Guards Air Assault Regiment "no longer exists due to either death or injury of all soldiers."[42] The division is currently involved in defensive operations around Klishchiivka alongside the 98th Guards Airborne Division, and the Storm-Z penal battalion during the 2023 Ukrainian counteroffensive.[6]

Subordinated units and fighting strength

76th Guards Air Assault Division consists of a division headquarters, three air assault regiments, one tank battalion, an artillery regiment, an anti-aircraft missile regiment, a reconnaissance battalion, and several directly subordinated combat support and combat service support battalions and companies. As of 2021, the 76th Air Assault Division consisted of the following units:[43][44]

  • Division Headquarters (Pskov, Western Military District)
    • 175th Reconnaissance Battalion
    • 124th Tank Battalion (T-72B3)
    • 7th Maintenance Battalion
    • 656th Engineering Battalion
    • 728th Communications Battalion
    • 1682nd Material Support Battalion
    • 3996th Military Hospital (Airmobile)
    • 201st Postal Station
    • Airborne Support Company
    • NBC Defense Company
    • Commandant's Company
  • 104th Guards Air Assault Regiment
  • 234th Guards Air Assault Regiment
  • 237th Guards Air Assault Regiment (reinstated 2018)[45]
  • 1140th Guards Artillery Regiment
  • 4th Guards Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment

Commanders (since 2005)

  • 2005–2009 Guards Major General Aleksandr Kolpachenko
  • 2009–2013 Guards Colonel Igor Vinogradskiy
  • 27 February 2013 – February 2018 Guards Major General Aleksey Naumets
  • February 2018 – July 2020 Guards Major General Igor Kapliy
  • 19 July 2020 – 2022 Guards Major General Sergey Chubarykin
  • April 2022 – Guards Colonel Denis Shishov[46]



  1. ^ a b "ведомственные эмблемы Российской Федерации". www.heraldicum.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  2. ^ "1 сентября свою 69 годовщину отметит 76-я десантно-штурмовая дивизия" [1st September will mark the 69th anniversary of the 76th Airborne Assault Division]. pskovgorod.ru (in Russian). 29 August 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Пекло для рашистів на півдні України: вражаюча кількість знищених об'єктів та техніки армії РФ за одну добу | Defense Express".
  4. ^ a b "How Russian soldiers ran a 'cleansing' operation in Bucha". Associated Press. 3 November 2022.
  5. ^ "Institute for the Study of War". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 6 August 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Institute for the Study of War".
  7. ^ "76-я гвардейская десантно-штурмовая Черниговская Краснознамённая дивизия". structure.mil.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 27 July 2023.
  8. ^ Stepanenko, Kateryna; Hird, Karolina; Clark, Mason; Barros, George (8 June 2022). "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 8". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  9. ^ a b "How Russian soldiers ran a 'cleansing' operation in Bucha". Associated Press. 3 November 2022. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  10. ^ "Alexander Kirsanov". Герои страны ("Heroes of the Country") (in Russian).
  11. ^ a b c d "ИСТОРИЯ БОЕВОГО ПУТИ 76-й гвардейской Черниговской Краснознаменной воздушно-десантной дивизии" [History of the Combat Path of the 76th Guards Chernigov Red Banner Airborne Division]. 76th Guards Airborne Division (in Russian). Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Archived from the original on 23 December 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  12. ^ Buttar 2012, p. 254.
  13. ^ a b c "76-я гвардейская десантно-штурмовая Черниговская Краснознамённая дивизия" [76th Guards Air Assault Chernigov Red Banner Division] (in Russian). Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Wismar or Bust". The Pegasus Archive. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  15. ^ Combat composition of the Soviet Army, 1 May 1945, p. 154
  16. ^ "Vasily Margelov". Герои страны ("Heroes of the Country") (in Russian).
  17. ^ a b Holm, Michael. "76th Guards Airborne Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  18. ^ Feskov et al 2013, p. 36.
  19. ^ Kaario, Ahti (17 August 2016). "Kolme elokuun päivää – näin Viro itsenäistyi uudelleen 25 vuotta sitten" [Three days of August - When Estonia regained its independence 25 years ago] (in Finnish). Yle. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Airborne Troops: 76th Chernigov Airborne Division". Federation of American Scientists. 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  21. ^ "В Пскове пройдут торжественные мероприятия, посвященные 65-ой годовщине образования 237 Торуньского полка" [237th Torun Regiment 65th anniversary celebrations in Pskov] (in Russian). Pskov News Feed. 27 February 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  22. ^ Thornton 2011, p. 11.
  23. ^ Chang, Felix K. (August 2008). "Russia Resurgent: An Initial Look at Russian Military Performance in Georgia". Foreign Policy Research Institute. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Командиром 76-й десантно-штурмовой дивизии назначен полковник Алексей Наумец" [Colonel Alexey Naumets appointed commander of 76th Air Assault Division]. Pskov News Feed (in Russian). 1 March 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Депутат: Псковские десантники переброшены на Украину" [Deputy: Pskov paratroopers deployed to Ukraine]. pln-pskov.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  26. ^ "Псковские десантники, побывавшие в Крыму во время недавних событий, получили госнаграды и благодарности от президента" [Pskov paratroopers who were in the Crimea during the recent events that have received state awards and commendations from the President]. pln-pskov.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  27. ^ a b c Sanderson, Bill (21 September 2014). "Leaked transcripts reveal Putin's secret Ukraine attack". New York Post. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  28. ^ "Ukase 571: From the Russian president to the 76th Airborne Division" (PDF). Kremlin News (in Russian). 18 August 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  29. ^ "Обнародованы фотографии захваченного БМД Псковской десантной дивизии". focus.ua (in Russian). 21 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  30. ^ "Evidence of Russia's 76th Guards Air Assault Division in Southeast Ukraine". The Interpreter. Institute of Modern Russia. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  31. ^ "Сили АТО активно наступають. Терористи-найманці несуть чималі втрати". Ukrainian Ministry of Defence (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  32. ^ "Оперативна інформація Інформаційно-аналітичного центру РНБОУ за 21 серпня + Карта – Рада національної безпеки і оборони України". www.rnbo.gov.ua (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  33. ^ "В СНБО подтвердили захват силами АТО 2 БМД Псковской дивизии" (in Russian). Interfax-Ukraine. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  34. ^ "Ukraine media reports about 'seizure' of Russian airborne combat vehicle false". ITAR TASS. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  35. ^ "Photos from the Pskov Airborne". slon.ru (in Russian). 25 August 2014.
  36. ^ "В Воронежской области похоронили комвзвода "Псковской" дивизии" [Platoon leader of Pskov Division buried in Voronezh]. RIA Voronezh (in Russian). 26 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  37. ^ ""Псковская губерния" сообщила о гибели роты десантников в Украине" ["Pskov Province" reported the death of a company of paratroopers in Ukraine]. tvrain.ru (in Russian). 2 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  38. ^ Shaun Walker; Oksana Grytsenko; Leonid Ragozin (4 September 2014). "Russian soldier: 'You're better clueless because the truth is horrible'". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  39. ^ "Rondeli Russian Military Digest: Issue 118, 24 January - 30 January 2022".
  40. ^ "Пекло для рашистів на півдні України: вражаюча кількість знищених об'єктів та техніки армії РФ за одну добу" (in Ukrainian). Defense Express. 6 August 2022.
  41. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JUNE 8". Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  42. ^ Ukrainska Pravda (9 September 2022). "Russias 237th Guards Airborne Assault Regiment no longer exists: soldiers either dead or wounded Ukrainian Intelligence".
  43. ^ "Airborne Forces" (PDF). Russian Forces in the Western Military District. June 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  44. ^ "Structure of Russian Airborne Troops". Russian Military Reform. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  45. ^ "Airborne Forces" (PDF). Russian Forces in the Western Military District. June 2021. p. 31. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  46. ^ "Герой России Денис Шишов назначен командиром 76-й десантно-штурмовой дивизии". Archived from the original on 20 April 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2022.


  • Buttar, Prit (2012). Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944–45. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 9781780964645.
  • Feskov, V.I.; Golikov, V.I.; Kalashnikov, K.A.; Slugin, S.A. (2013). Вооруженные силы СССР после Второй Мировой войны: от Красной Армии к Советской [The Armed Forces of the USSR after World War II: From the Red Army to the Soviet: Part 1 Land Forces] (in Russian). Tomsk: Scientific and Technical Literature Publishing. ISBN 9785895035306.
  • Thornton, Rod (2011). Organizational Change in the Russian Airborne Forces: The Lessons of the Georgian Conflict (PDF). Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute. ISBN 978-1584875192.

Further reading

  • Thornton, Rod (2004). "Military Organizations and Change: The 'Professionalization' of the 76th Airborne Division". The Journal of Slavic Military Studies. 17 (3): 449–474. doi:10.1080/13518040490486151. S2CID 143360165.
  • Ворог не... - 80 окрема десантно-штурмова бригада ДШВ ЗСУ - 104th Regiment engaged in Ukraine, 2022
  • v
  • t
  • e
Divisions of the Soviet Union 1957–1989
  • 2
  • 15
  • 20 Training
  • 26
  • 34
  • 51
  • 55
  • 81
  • 110
  • 149
1st – 18th
20th – 39th
42nd – 66th
70th – 97th
109th – 144th
4th – 27th
32nd – 49th
52nd – 69th
71st – 99th
100th – 119th
121st – 135th
145th – 199th
201st – 295th
Guards units marked in bold unless they are in a Guards section.
  • v
  • t
  • e
Active divisions of the Russian Federation
Machine gun artillery
  • 4
  • 47
  • 90
Motor rifle
Air defense
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 25
  • 26
  • 31
  • 32
  • 41
  • 44
  • 51
  • 76
  • 93
Missile defense
Operational purpose
  • 7
  • 8
  • 10
  • 11
  • 24
  • 25
  • 31
  • 42
  • 45
  • 30
  • 36
  • 43
Naval aviation
  • 2
  • Guards units marked in bold.