The Russian Ground Forces has completed the reactivation of the 1st Guards Tank Army in Russia’s Western Military District (WMD) and is to form two new armoured divisions, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.
A session of the Defence Ministry Board, chaired by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, discussed the reactivation as part of the development of Russia’s quick reaction force. The session also revealed that Russia will form two new armoured divisions near the cities of Voronezh (in the WMD) and Chelyabinsk (in the Central Military District: CMD) in 2016.
According to the MoD, the 1st Guards was reformed on 1 February and will be equipped with T-72B3 and T-80 main battle tanks (MBTs). A Russian tank army is typically equipped with 500 MBTs.
Meanwhile, Colonel General Vladimir Zarudnitsky, commander of the CMD, said that the mainstay of the new Chelyabinsk-based armoured division will be cutting-edge MBTs. Chelyabinsk is close to Nizhny Tagil, home of Russian tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, and Col Gen Zarudnitsky’s comments could well indicate that this unit will be the first to receive the new T-14 Armata MBT and other new Armata-based vehicles.
As for the armoured division in the Voronezh Region, the 1st Separate Armoured Brigade has been garrisoned there in the town of Boguchar since 2015. It looks like this brigade will be transformed into a division.