forces consisting of motorized rifle (mechanized), tank, artillery, and other units and subunits.
The concept of mechanized troops emerged in various armies in the early 1930’s. In 1929 the Central Directorate of Mechanization and Motorization of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (RKKA) was created, and the first experimental mechanized regiment was formed. In 1930 it was expanded into the first mechanized brigade, consisting of three regiments (tank, artillery, and reconnaissance) and support subunits. The brigade had 110 MS-1 tanks and 27 guns and was assigned the task of researching the operational and tactical use and most advantageous organizational forms for large mechanized units. In 1932 the world’s first mechanized corps was formed, based on this brigade; it was an independent operational unit that included two mechanized brigades, one rifle and machine gun brigade, and a detached antiaircraft artillery battalion. It had more than 500 tanks and 200 motor vehicles. In 1932 the name “mechanized troops” was fixed in the temporary regulations for mechanized troops of the RKKA entitled “Management and Combat of Independent Mechanized Units.” By early 1936 there were four mechanized corps, six detached brigades, and 15 regiments in cavalry divisions. In 1937 the Central Directorate of Mechanization and Motorization of the RKKA was renamed the Directorate of Armored and Motor Vehicles of the Red Army, and in December 1942 the Directorate of the Commander of Armored and Mechanized Troops was established.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, armored and mechanized forces became the main striking force of the ground forces. By late 1943 a mechanized corps included three mechanized brigades, one tank brigade, one or two self-propelled artillery regiments, a mortar regiment, an antiaircraft regiment, an artillery regiment, a tank-destroyer artillery regiment, a detached guards mortar battalion of rocket-launching artillery, and support and service units (a total of 16,369 men; 246 tanks and self-propelled artillery units with 176 T-34’s, 21 T-70’s, and 49 SAU’s; 252 guns and mortars; and more than 1,800 vehicles). Large mechanized units were used together with tank units to move into breakthroughs and develop the successful operation to great depth, to encircle and crush the enemy, to pursue, and to perform other missions. In May 1954 the armored tank and mechanized forces were renamed armored tank forces, and in 1959 simply tank forces. In 1957 the rifle and mechanized divisions were re-formed as motorized rifle divisions. In the USA, France, Turkey, and some other countries, mechanized divisions are included in the ground forces (infantry).
L. G. BARKHUDAROV