We are a 2nd World War living history group based in the UK, displaying uniforms and equipment used by the VDV aka Soviet Paratroopers in 1939 – 1945. Our duty is to portray the daily life of the average Soviet paratrooper assigned to the 6th Guards Airborne Division as accurately and safely as possible for the educational benefit of all those that are interested in World War II. We strive to put forward the most realistic impression we can and to keep the memory of World War II alive.
The portrayal of the VDV during the Great Patriotic War has never been seen on such a scale in Western Europe, we do this in order to preserve the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
History of the 6th Guards Airborne Division
The 6th Guards Airborne Division was formed on 8 December 1942 from the 6th Airborne Corps in Noginsk. The division first fought with the 1st Shock Army on 14 March 1943 during Operation Polyarnaya Zvezda. After that, the division was placed in Stavka Strategic Reserve. As part of the 5th Guards Army, the division fought in the Battle of Kursk. After the Battle of the Dnieper, the division captured Kremenchuk and Znamianka, for which it was awarded honorifics. On 8 January 1944, the division helped capture Kirovohrad. In the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive, the division stopped German attempts to relieve the Korsun Pocket. During the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, it operated with the 4th Guards Army. For its performance during the offensive, the division was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
For crossing the Dniester, the 6th Guards Airborne was awarded the Order of Suvorov 2nd class on 8 April. In the second part of April, it crossed the Prut and entered Romanian territory. As part of the 7th Guards Army, it fought in the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive and captured Târgu Frumos. In October, it fought in the Battle of Debrecen. Advancing into Hungary, it fought in the Budapest Offensive. On 5 December, the division broke through the northeastern defensive lines of Budapest. At the end of December it crossed the Hron, but was forced to retreat in the face of German resistance.
On 25 March 1945, the division crossed the Hron in the area of Zhemlyari during the Bratislav-Brnovskoy Operation. After the breaking through the German lines, the division captured Šurany, advanced over the Western Carpathians, and captured oilfields in Zistersdorf. The division fought in the Prague Offensive at the end of the war and captured Příbram on 11 May. On 13 June 1945, it became the 113th Guards Rifle Division.