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Old 03-28-2015, 01:27 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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8th Guards Rifle Division October 1941- April 1942

Since studying the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War, I have wanted to portray a Kazakh soldier. I chose to portray an infantryman of the 8th Guards Rifle Division (8th GRD). The 8th GRD was unique in the Red Army as the normal practice was NOT to have large numbers of any one ethnic background serving together. The normal practice was to spread the national minorities out to prevent mutiny, nationalistic problems, anti-Soviet agitation and/or the “propagation of counter revolutionary ideas”. I think that due to its circumstances and timing during its formation this rule was overlooked as Moscow was indeed looking at being taken by German forces.

Timur while in the 316th Rifle Division, November 1941- vicinity of Moscow

The 8th GRD started as the 316th Rifle Division (316th RD). It was raised on 12 July, 1941 at Alma Ata, Kazakh SSR. The unit was made up of men from Kazakh SSR and Kyrgyz SSR. Their commander was Major General Ivan Panfilov who served as the Military Commissar of the region. The soldiers were sworn in 1 August, 1941 and soon after were moved by rail westward. They arrived at Borovichi, Russia, approximately 225 miles north-west of Moscow in late August. They were involved in skirmishes in the campaign to defend Leningrad from Germany Army Group North. In early September they were put in reserve.

In October, the 316th RD was moved to the vicinity of Moscow in response to the German drive on the Capitol. Despite determined resistance, the Germans drove the Red Army back and drew closer to Moscow. The 316th RD received a brief respite when the rainy season and the infamous rasputitsa lent a hand to their efforts and helped halt the German advance. The Germans renewed their offensive in mid-November and while the Germans pressed on, the resistance of the 316th RD slowed their advance. During this time the 316th suffered 3,620 killed and another 6,300 wounded.
In a telegram from the commander of the 4th Panzer Group (of Army Group North), Generaloberst Erich Hoepner wrote of the 316th RD “…it is a division of savages, its soldiers fight in violation of all rules of engagement... They are fanatical, never surrender and do not fear death.”

Timur in overwhites during the Moscow counteroffensives- December 1941

On the 17th of November the People’s Commissar of Defense passed a decree to promote the 316th RD to a Guards unit in recognition of their efforts in defending Moscow. On 18 November, 1941 while hearing the news from some visiting reporters, Major General Panfilov was killed in a mortar attack. The decree went into effect immediately and the 316th RD became the 8th GRD- Panfilov Division. On that day they were also awarded the Order of the Red Banner, recognizing “extraordinary heroism, dedication, and courage demonstrated on the battlefield”. Being named after Panfilov made them one of the two units to receive to be named after their commanders.

Having played a role in defending Moscow, the 8th GRD went on in December to play a part in the counter offensives in December, further driving the Germans from the vicinity of Moscow. In late January, 1942 the 8th GRD was part of the 3rd Shock Army and were involved in combat operations of the Kholm Pocket (considered part of the Demyansk Pocket operations).

For the rest of the war the 8th GRD served courageously at the battle of Velikiye Luki in November 1942 (Operation Mars), the Nevel-Gorodok operation in October- December 1943, the Leningrad-Novogord offensive, January 1944 and in the siege of Courland from October 1944 until the end of the war.

At the Kholm Pocket/Demyansk Pocket March 1942

On a final note, The 1073rd Rifle regiment of the 316th rifle division was immortalized by Alexander Bek, along with Major General Panfilov and the regiment’s commander Bauyrzhan Momyshuly in the book “Volokolamsk Highway”. The book was immensely popular not only in the Soviet union but with the Israeli Defense forces, the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces and China’s People’s Revolutionary Army. Its popularity was based both on its realism and advice on tactics on the modern battlefield.

Figure breakdown;
-Headsculpt- Tony Barton’s no# 45
- Body- DML slim body modified (height shortened)
- Overwhites, M35 Tunic, canteen and canteen cover- DML, tailored (as required) and weathered
- Telogreika- Soldier Story, tailored; the buttons are from Battle Gear Toys, repainted “Russian Green”
-Vatni Sharovari (padded winter trousers) DML, tailored weathered
- Knit Trigger finger mitten inserts- Soldier Story
- Kirizoviy Sapogi (Boots)- New Line miniature, re-soled with rubber soles more closely resembling the 1:1 version
- MP40- DiD, the sling is scratch made from veg-tan leather.
- Ushanka- Scratch made, the cap badge is by troitskaya28, resin. Before painting it I made it into a functioning badge by gluing some copper wire to the back
-Equipment belt with rolling buckle- scratch made

Thank you for looking................Jim
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Old 03-28-2015, 02:17 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 235

Re: 8th Guards Rifle Division October 1941- April 1942

Outstanding figure Jim!! As usual you set a standard with your detailing and research. I love how you showed a progression of uniforms with the same soldier...overcoat, winter cammo, and quilted jacket. Very, very nice,

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Old 03-28-2015, 07:57 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Re: 8th Guards Rifle Division October 1941- April 1942

Lovely and well researched figure

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316th rifle division, 8th guards rifle division, battle of moscow, kholm pocket

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