The first airborne forces parachute jump is dated to 2 August 1930, taking place in the Moscow Military District. After this the airborne forces were created as a force during the mid 1930s, but only expanded on a significant scale during world War II. They then formed up to ten Airborne Corps with numerous Independent Airborne Brigades, with most or all achieving ''Guards'' status. The Soviet airborne forces were mostly used as 'leg' infantry during the war. Only a few small airborne drops were carried out in the first desperate days of Operation Barbarossa, in the vicinity of Kiev, Odessa, and the Kerch peninsula. The two significant airborne operations of the war were the Vyazma operation of February–March 1942, involving 4th Airborne Corps, and the Dnepr/Kiev operation of September 1943, involving a temporary corps formation consisting of 1st, 3rd, and 5th Airborne Brigades.
9th Guards Army was eventually formed with three Guards Rifle Corps (37th, 38th, and 39th) being composed of airborne divisions. At the end of the war the airborne divisions were reconstituted as Guards Rifle Divisions.
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