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A front (Russian: фронт, front) is a type of military formation that originated in the Russian Empire, and has been used by the Polish Army, the Red Army, the Soviet Army, and Turkey. It is roughly equivalent to an army group in the military of most other countries. It varies in size but in general contains three to five armies.[1] It should not be confused with the more general usage of military front, describing a geographic area in wartime.

Contents

1 Russian Empire 2 Soviet fronts in the Russian Civil War 3 Soviet fronts in World War II 4 Soviet fronts after World War II 5 Poland 6 Citations and notes 7 References

Russian Empire[edit] After the outbreak of the First World War, the Russian General Headquarters set up two Fronts: Northwestern Front, uniting forces deployed against German Empire, and Southwestern Front, uniting forces deployed against Austria-Hungary. In August 1915, Northwestern Front was split into Northern Front and Western Front. At the end of 1916 Romanian Front was established, which also included remnants of the Romanian army. In April 1917, Caucasus Front was established by the reorganization of the Caucasus Army. Soviet fronts in the Russian Civil War[edit]

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The Soviet fronts were first raised during the Russian Civil War. They were wartime organizations only, in the peacetime the fronts were normally disbanded and their armies organized back into military districts. Usually a single district formed a single front at the start of the hostilities, or when hostilities were anticipated. Some military districts could not form a front. Fronts were also formed during the Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
of 1920.[citation needed] Soviet fronts in World War II[edit]

This section is too long. Consider splitting it into new pages, adding subheadings, or condensing it. (June 2015)

An interesting and important distinction between army groups and fronts is that a Soviet front typically had its own army-sized tactical fixed-wing air organization.[2] This air army was directly subordinated to the front commander (typically a ground commander). The entire front might report either to the Stavka
Stavka
or to a theatre of military operations (TVD). The degree of change in the structure and performance of individual fronts can only be understood when seen in the context of the strategic operations of the Red Army
Red Army
in World War II. Soviet fronts in the European Theatre during the Second World War from 1941 to 1945:

Baltic Fronts

1st Baltic Front: Formed from Kalinin Front late 1943. 2nd Baltic Front: Formed from Bryansk Front on 10 October 1943. 3rd Baltic Front

Bryansk Front - Created 18 December 1941, to take sector between the Western and Southwestern Fronts. Disbanded 11/12 March 1943. Reformed from Orel Front 28 March 1943. Belorussian Fronts (alternative spellings are Byelorussian Front and Belarusian Front)

1st Belorussian Front 2nd Belorussian Front 3rd Belorussian Front

Caucasus Front Central Front Crimean Front - formed January 1942 to reconquer the Crimea, incorporating 44th, 47th, and 51st Armies Don Front Far East Front

1st Far East Front 2nd Far East Front

Kalinin Front - the Kalinin Front was formally established by Stavka directive on 17 October 1941, and allocated three armies - 22nd, 29th and 30th.[3] Renamed 1st Baltic Front
1st Baltic Front
Oct-Dec 1943.[4] Karelian Front - formed from Northern Front, along with Leningrad Front, on 23 August 1941. Kursk Front Leningrad Front
Leningrad Front
- formed from Northern Front, along with Karelian Front, on 23 August 1941. Moscow Zone of Defense Moscow Reserve Front Mozhaysk Line of Defense North Caucasus Front - redesignated TC Front's Black Sea Group of Forces, 1 September 1942 Northern Front - formed from Leningrad Military District
Leningrad Military District
on 24 June 1941 Northwestern Front - formed from Baltic Special
Special
Military District on 22 June 1941 Orel Front - created 24 March 1943 to defend opposite the tip of the German salient east of Orel. Composed of Western Front's 61st Army, Central Front's 3rd Army, and 15th Air Army. Redesignated Bryansk Front 28 March 1943. Army Group of Primorye Reserve Front - Front of Reserve Armies formed 14 July 1941 Southeastern Front - formed from armies on Stalingrad Front's left wing, 7 August 1942. Redesignated Stalingrad Front 28 September 1942. Southern Front - renamed 4th Ukrainian Front
4th Ukrainian Front
20 October 1943. Southwestern Front - Formed initially on 22 June 1941. Reestablished 22 October 1942 between Don and Voronezh Fronts. Renamed 3rd Ukrainian Front 20 October 1943. Stalingrad Front - Along with Voronezh Front, formed from remnants of Southwestern Front July 1942. Became Don Front 28 September 1942. Steppe Front - renamed 2nd Ukrainian Front 20 October 1943. Transbaikal Front Transcaucasian Front - formed 23 August 1941 Ukrainian Fronts

1st Ukrainian Front 2nd Ukrainian Front 3rd Ukrainian Front 4th Ukrainian Front

Volkhov Front
Volkhov Front
- formed 17 December 1941 Voronezh Front - renamed 1st Ukrainian Front
1st Ukrainian Front
20 October 1943. Western Front - formed from Western Special
Special
Military District on 22 June 1941

For constituent armies see List of Soviet armies. Soviet fronts after World War II[edit]

Soviet Front 1980s

The Soviet Army
Soviet Army
maintained contingencies for establishing fronts in the event of war. During the Cold War, fronts and their staffs became groups of Soviet forces in the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
organization.[citation needed] The front was to be the highest operational command during wartime. Though there was no front ever established during peace time the basic building blocks were maintained the established Military Districts. A front generally comprised 3-4 Combined Arms Armies and 1-2 Tank Armies though there was no set organization.[5] Poland[edit] A number of fronts were created by the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
from 1918 to 1939, among them being the Polish Southern Front. See pl:Kategoria:Fronty polskie. In addition, the creation of a Polish Front was considered to group the First and Second Armies of the Polish Armed Forces in the East
Polish Armed Forces in the East
in 1944, and during the Warsaw Pact period, a Polish Front was created, seemingly as a mobilization-only organization. Citations and notes[edit]

^ FM 100-2-3, The Soviet Army: Troops, Organizations, and Equipment, June 1991 ^ Viktor Suvorov, Inside the Soviet Army: Fronts, Hamish Hamilton, 198x ^ Erickson 1975 ^ Glantz, 2005, p.495 ^ US Army FM 100-2-3 The Soviet Army: Troops, Organization, and Equipment

References[edit]

John Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin's War with Germany, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1975 David Glantz, Colossus Reborn: The Red Army
Red Army
at War 1941-43, University Press of Kansas, 2005

Fronts of the Red Army
Red Army
in World War II

1938–40

Northwestern Belorussian Ukrainian Far Eastern

June 1941

Northern Northwestern Western Southwestern Southern Far Eastern

Mid-war

Karelian Leningrad Volkhov Kalinin Central Bryansk Moscow Defence Zone Moscow Line of Defence Moscow Reserve Front Maritime Group of Forces Reserve Oryol Kursk Voronezh Don Stalingrad Southeastern Steppe North Caucasian Transcaucasian Caucasian Crimean

Late war

1st Baltic 2nd Baltic 3rd Baltic 1st Belorussian 2nd Belorussian 3rd Belorussian 1st Ukrainian 2nd Ukrainian 3rd Ukrainian 4th Ukrainian Transbaikal 1st Far Eastern 2nd