“NOT A SINGLE STEP BACK” Stalin’s Order No. 227
“You have to be brave to be a coward in the Red Army.” ~ Joseph Stalin
Approximately 8.7 million Red Army soldiers died during WW2. A great majority of these soldiers were not willing, patriotic Russians, but rather Ukrainian, Belorussian and many members of other nationalities which came (usually by force) from all over the Soviet occupied empire and the Gulag Death Camp system.
Soviet Russia defeated Germany because it had many more men and absolutely no scruples in regard to how many would die, in order to defeat the Third Reich.
Stalin declared in the Preamble of the August 1942 Order No. 227 – that the ‘Iron Law’ of discipline for every officer, soldier, political officer should be; “Not a Single Step Back” without order from higher command.
Company, battalion, regiment and division Commanders, as well as the Commissars and political Officers of corresponding ranks who retreat without order from above, are Traitors of the Motherland. They should be treated as Traitors of the Motherland.
Although Penal Battalions (shtrafbats) were used prior to this August 1942 order, it introduced severe disciplinary punishments, including summary execution and forcing disgraced Officers to the Front-lines with other prisoners, all being unarmed.
Under Stalins Order No. 227, the idea for fighting Germans was, to throw as many men at the German defenses, until the Germans, literally, ran out of bullets. Among the armed soldiers, were hundreds of ‘Unarmed Penal Battalions’ (initially consisting of 800 Soviet Prisoners per Battalion) sent to charge the German lines.
Section 1 (c) of the Supreme Command Order 227;
“These battalions should be put on the more difficult sections of a Front, thus giving them an opportunity to redeem their crimes against the Motherland by blood.”
Stalin’s blindness to Hitler’s pre-invasion manoeuvres, which allowed the Germans to occupy Russia’s industrial heartland… it was only then, with reluctance, did Stalin shift his attention from killing Russian citizens to killing more Germans. These military tactics, if they can be dignified with such a term, in effect was, “Killing two birds with one stone.”
All Red Army soldiers (unarmed or not) who showed any sign of resistance to these inhumane tactics, was shot on the spot. In fact, trailing the Red Army was the NKVD army, which numbered several hundreds of thousands, and its sole purpose was to keep the Red army advancing forward, at any cost… the ultimate cost, was death by purportedly, fellow countrymen.
Sections 2, (a) and (b)
2. “The Military Councils of armies and first of all army commanders should:
a) In all circumstances remove from offices corps and army commanders and commissars, who have allowed their troops to retreat at will without authorisation by the army command, and send them to the Military Councils of the Fronts for court-martial;
b) Form 3 to 5 well-armed guard (barrage) units (zagradotryads), deploy them in the rear of unstable divisions and oblige them to execute panic-mongers and cowards at site in case of panic and chaotic retreat…”
Section 3 (b);
b) “Provide all possible help and support to the guards (barrage) units (zagradotryads) of the army in their work of strengthening discipline and order in the units.
This order is to be read aloud in all companies, troops, batteries, squadrons, teams and staffs.”
The People’s Commissar for Defense
Between the years 1941-1942 alone, up to 200,000 Red Army soldiers were executed by the NKVD. However, since Order No. 227, the Battalions were increased in number and men in each. Estimates on how many Red Army prisoner/soldiers and “Panic-mongers” were executed throughout the war, are estimated between hundreds of thousands to a million… but one cannot truly know the true loss of life under this Order.