Also found in: Acronyms.
a strategic formation of ground forces based on tanks. Tank armies have been used independently or in cooperation with other armies to break through the defense, develop an offensive swiftly to the operational depth, capture operationally important areas and lines, pin down major enemy reserves, surround and wipe out groupings of enemy troops, and perform other operational missions.
Tank armies in the Soviet armed forces were first formed in May 1942. Initially they included tank, mechanized, and rifle large units; in 1943 tank armies of homogeneous composition were formed, consisting usually of two tank and one mechanized corps, as well as units and subunits of other combat arms and special troops. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), six tank armies were formed and saw action in combat operations; they received the honorary title of “guards” units.
At the onset of their invasion of the USSR, the armed forces of fascist Germany had four tank groups (Panzergruppen), which were reorganized as tank armies (Panzerarmeen), in 1941–42. In 1944 they had six tank armies, each with two to four corps including tank, motorized, and infantry divisions.