SS vs. NKVD

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
Art
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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 19 Aug 2019 20:29

Volyn wrote:
18 Aug 2019 14:50
Most of the time their function would be boring, but the organization did instill fear among everyone (soldier and civilian) as a result of their reputation for what they were capable of, how can that be doubted? The psychology of fear was an instrument that Beria and Stalin used to great affect on their own forces and everyone else.
Well, NKVD troops was a military force assigned the NKVD's control for specific tasks, not to just instill fear etc. These tasks bu June 1941 included
- security of state border, arrest of intruders illegally crossing the borders, intelligence in the border region
- security of railroads
- security of the most important industrial objects (factories, electric stations)
- security of prisons, convoying arrested from prisons to courts, convoying convicts to penitentiary system
- convoying POWs to captivity, security of POWs camps
- security of governmental and administrative objects, signal centers etc
- fighting insurgency, banditism, maintenance of public order in general
Accordingly by the start of the war NKVD troops were organized as several branches:
- border troops
- railroad security troops
- industry security troops
- convoy troops
- operative troops
also military schools, depots and supply system
Details on organization in 1941 can by found here:
viewtopic.php?f=79&t=212335&p=1920831

After the war start the tasks assigned to the NKVD military forces tended to expand which corresponded to their own expansion and formation of additional branches. And again, apart from the regular military force, there were also various militarized and paramilitary organizations subordinated to the NKVD which has tasks of their own.

Volyn
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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Volyn » 20 Aug 2019 19:55

Art wrote:
19 Aug 2019 19:39
Under command of Himmler as Reichsführer SS and top bras dominated by SS leaders but not fully equivalent to SS. A man could serve in the RSHA without being an SS member or having an SS rank.
True, but the point is the SS were in charge and the SS were integrated within the apparatus of state security.
Art wrote:
19 Aug 2019 19:39
That was a pretty bizarre situation of a party militia infiltrating state agencies without fully absorbing them or being fully absorbed into them.
It was bizarre, but their purpose was to have the fingers of the SS in as many security functions as possible.
Art wrote:
19 Aug 2019 19:39
I don't agree with that. Of the most recent examples the Ukrainian National Guard played a prominent role in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine from 2015 and onward. UNG is organizationally a part of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry. Generally speaking most of post-USSR republics had internal forces modeled after Soviet internal troops, which played larger or lesser role in various military conflicts after 1991.
Prior to WW2 were there any examples of organizations operating to such an extent in matters of security and war as the NKVD and SS did?

I am sure that there are other groups post-WW2 that can be identified as well, maybe from the Bosnian, Iraqi or Syrian wars, but it is still rare to have so much power invested into one organization.

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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 20 Aug 2019 20:35

Volyn wrote:
18 Aug 2019 14:50
* in August 1945 out of 916 000 authorized strength of the NKVD troops 59 000 (or less than 7%) belonged to the operational army security troops.
This is still a sizable number, were they concentrated mostly in their own groups or were they spread around to other formations?
The story in nutshell: in June 1941 there were tens of thousands soldiers on NKVD troops on Soviet western borders. Which were left without any job to do after the war started. This portion of border troops was eventually (omitting intermediate stages) transformed into a separate branch of NKVD troops called forces for security of the operational army's rear or OT troops as was a common abbreviation with a characteristic strength about 50 000 men. On the top level they were commanded by the NKVD's directorate for rear security forces. On the level below there was an OT forces headquarter attached to every Soviet front [army group] which was under dual control of the NKVD directorate and respective front command. This HQ typically controlled several NKVD border regiments. The regiment had an authorized strength of about 1500 men and was organized along the line of an infantry unit with light and heavy infantry weapons. Typically the border regiment controlled a zone as wide as tens kilometers or even wider. In this zone it established a security line some distance behind the front with checkpoints on roads and patrols and posts between them. These checkpoints, posts and patrols operated 24/7 with the task to prevent any unauthorized traffic across the line which means that they were supposed to check all military and civilians going to or from the front. If they didn't had requisite documents or looked suspicious for other reasons, they were detained for further check or using parlance of that period "filtration" which could include interrogation, examination of personal documents etc. If soldiers didn't seem to harbor any criminal intentions they were returned to their units or given to a nearest military commander. If civilians didn't look suspicious they were free to go or were convoyed from the front-line zone. Others - those who were suspected deserters, marauders, collaborators, hostile agents, insurgents, hostile military or personnel of hostile state agencies were transferred to investigative organs for further investigations or to POWs and internees camps. In addition to maintenance of security line the area between the line and the front was regularly swept by patrols which were to capture any military deserters or civilians or hostile personnel hiding there. Finally, some part of the forces was kept in reserve both for rest/refreshment and to reinforce other elements or combat any hostile groups in the Soviet rear zone if needed.

Comment 1: If somebody haven't' understood it yet: what described above are notorious "NKVD blocking detachments" as they looked in real life.
Comment 2: There is much emphasize on civilians in this description. That is for a reason because a usual Soviet practice on stabilized front was to maintain a depopulated zone of some depth (15-25-30 km) along the front-line which was prohibited for civil population. So NKVD OT troops both assisted in removing civilians from villages and towns in this zone, and stopped or caught those who tried to enter it.

What described above was a routine mode of operations. It could be interrupted by other activities: combat against Axis soldiers in Soviet rear ( especially groups or individuals left by massive defeats on the Eastern Front in 1944-45), combat against anti-Soviet insurgents, combat against non-political criminal gangs, operations to capture sabotage and intelligence groups or aircrews bailing out from shot-down planes, general mop-up of the rear zone to catch deserters, civilians evading military service, hostile personnel etc., assistance in arrests of suspected collaborators on previously occupied territories, internment of various foreign civilians who were considered dangerous, usual security of some objects of importance in the rear zone. Last but not least these NKVD units were to assist in collecting and guarding captured equipment and materials and they could also guard and convoy prisoners of war. In addition to troops belonging to the NKVD's directorate for rear security forces, units belonging to other branches (that is belonging to other directorates) could be assigned to operation control of OT HQ of the fronts. Usually these were units of the NKVD internal forces.

Details on organization, OOB and strength of NKVD OT troops posted in old topics:
viewtopic.php?p=2061649#p2061649
viewtopic.php?f=79&t=168153&p=1491249

Art
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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 20 Aug 2019 21:08

Volyn wrote:
20 Aug 2019 19:55
Prior to WW2 were there any examples of organizations operating to such an extent in matters of security and war as the NKVD and SS did?
Depends on what you mean by "extent" and "security". Taking examples from the history of the Imperial Russian army prior to 1914:
- border guard troops (predecessor of the NKVD border troops) were operational under control of the Ministry of Finances.
- convoy guard (predecessor of the NKVD convoy troops) was operationally under control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
- security guard of the Manchurian railroad was formally a civil paramilitary force belonging to the railroad company and played some considerable role in the Boxer Rebellion. Then it was a reorganized as a corps of the Russian border troops (controlled by the Ministry of Finances as said above) and again played some combat role in the Russo-Japanese War.

Volyn
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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Volyn » 21 Aug 2019 02:04

Art wrote:
20 Aug 2019 20:35
in June 1941 there were tens of thousands soldiers on NKVD troops on Soviet western borders.
Do you know which NKVD units were stationed in the region of Sarny, Poland from 1939-1941?

Do you know if NKVD units were used to capture the remaining members from KOP "Sarny" Regiment (led by Lt. Colonel Nikodem Sulik) after the Battles of Szack and Wytyczno, during the occupation of Poland?

When the Soviet Army began forcibly conscripting soldiers from the Sarny region, was it the NKVD that enforced this or was it a different group?
Art wrote:
20 Aug 2019 20:35
Comment 2: There is much emphasize on civilians in this description. That is for a reason because a usual Soviet practice on stabilized front was to maintain a depopulated zone of some depth (15-25-30 km) along the front-line which was prohibited for civil population. So NKVD OT troops both assisted in removing civilians from villages and towns in this zone, and stopped or caught those who tried to enter it.
It makes sense to remove civilians from the immediate area, it would have been one less concern for the soldiers to worry about protecting.
Art wrote:
20 Aug 2019 20:35
What described above was a routine mode of operations. It could be interrupted by other activities: combat against Axis soldiers in Soviet rear (especially groups or individuals left by massive defeats on the Eastern Front in 1944-45), combat against anti-Soviet insurgents, combat against non-political criminal gangs, operations to capture sabotage and intelligence groups or aircrews bailing out from shot-down planes, general mop-up of the rear zone to catch deserters, civilians evading military service, hostile personnel etc., assistance in arrests of suspected collaborators on previously occupied territories, internment of various foreign civilians who were considered dangerous, usual security of some objects of importance in the rear zone.
How did the NKVD deal with captured agents from the Brandenburgers?

I read an account from a Soviet soldier that described a battle to defend the two bridges at Piskivka (near Kiev) sometime between late-July and early-August 1941. He had spotted German transport aircraft that were preparing for a night parachute operation when the lead aircraft began dropping flares. He awoke the unit and led the soldiers to the jump zone, they arrived just as the parachutists started their descent. The soldiers began firing at them (no casualty figure was given only that there were many dead) and the survivors quickly surrendered upon landing. There were 40 prisoners taken and they turned out to be Ukrainian collaborators, which I assume must have been a Brandenburger team of saboteurs.

Art
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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 21 Aug 2019 09:03

Volyn wrote:
21 Aug 2019 02:04
Do you know if NKVD units were used to capture the remaining members from KOP "Sarny" Regiment (led by Lt. Colonel Nikodem Sulik) after the Battles of Szack and Wytyczno, during the occupation of Poland?
When, in Sept 39? It could be army units, it could be NKVD units, it could be civilian "assistants".
When the Soviet Army began forcibly conscripting soldiers from the Sarny region, was it the NKVD that enforced this or was it a different group?
I'm not quite sure what it is exactly. The first draft from former Polish regions was only in 1940, as far a I know.

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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 21 Aug 2019 09:18

A randomly picked example to what was described above. A daily situation report of the 12 NKVD Border Regiment (assigned to NKVD OT forces fo the North-West Front) from 16 Ferbuary 1943:
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=135741035
- single hostile airplanes conduct reconnaissance over own territory. On 13.2.43 one case of dropping propaganda leaflets, on 14.2.43 one case of air bombing without casualties
- 12 cases of typhoid in the Vorotavino village, the village is quarantined
- large traffic jams on Ostashkov-Svapuscha road due to snowfalls. Groups of officers from the regiment are sent to assist in liquidation of traffic jams.
- 33 men detained by the regiment during the day: 18 military without proper documents, 4 for violation of the order No.0860 [don't know what it was], 2 stragglers, 6 marauders for stealing hay from a collective farm, 1 as "suspect" 2 civilians without requisite documents.
- 2 sweeps by patrol groups (6 and 10 men) without results.

Volyn
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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Volyn » 21 Aug 2019 13:05

Art wrote:
21 Aug 2019 09:03
I'm not quite sure what it is exactly. The first draft from former Polish regions was only in 1940, as far a I know.
The Soviet 45th Rifle Division received former Polish soldiers that were ethnic Ukrainians, Jews, Lithuanians and other non-Poles from the Sarny region in early-May 1941. Most of them were forcibly coerced into the Army after the soldiers had been pre-screened by the NKVD. They were categorized as non-hostile and suitable to be inducted into the military, do you know what the screening process was?

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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 21 Aug 2019 15:34

Reservists called for training with units. Call-up and assignment to units was performed by district military commissariats, NKVD had hardly anything to do with it.

Volyn
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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Volyn » 21 Aug 2019 16:34

Art wrote:
21 Aug 2019 15:34
Reservists called for training with units. Call-up and assignment to units was performed by district military commissariats, NKVD had hardly anything to do with it.
Interesting. Is there a list of district commissariats for these occupied areas?

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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 21 Aug 2019 18:02

http://www.teatrskazka.com/Raznoe/RVK/P ... 5_cut.html
In particular a partial list of men called up in the Sarny district military commissariat (1941-45)
http://www.teatrskazka.com/Raznoe/RVK/R ... nskij.html

Volyn
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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Volyn » 21 Aug 2019 19:23

Thank you! I realize now that it was Rokitnovsky district (Рокитновский РВК) not Sarnensky that those soldiers came from; unfortunately the list is incomplete for the year 1941.

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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 22 Aug 2019 09:14

Continuing with random documents - report of the 37 Border Regiment (2 Ukrainian Front), 10 February 1945:
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=132313500

In accordance with an order of the commander of NKVD forces 2 Ukrainian Front from 1 to 7 February the regiments carried out a mop-up of the 7 Guards Army's rear area. Total 354 men detained in the process, including:
- 118 Red Army personnel
- 3 Romanian soldier
- 204 Hungarian soldiers
- 29 civilians
which were assorted as follows:
- 33 Red Army's deserters
- 58 stragglers
- 27 military personnel without requisite documents
- 3 Romanian deserters
- 29 civilians without requisite documents
- 204 soldiers of the Hungarian Army
After filtration they were:
- sent to a POWs reception point - 204
- to SMERSH - 33
- to formation points - 50
- to their units - 35
- Romanian soldiers sent to their units - 3
- released after identification - 29
Employed in the mop-up were elements of the 27 Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, 67 Howitzer Artillery Brigade, and 110 Replacement Rifle Regiment. Armed hostile groups or gangs were not found, not combat engagements in the process.

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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 22 Aug 2019 09:49

A reports on operations of the 91 Border Regiment in February 1943 gives more curious examples of NKVD troops activity.
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=132359072
The regiment was a part of the abortive operation "Gallop", so it was to cope with a chaotic retreat of the Soviet units. Also it operated in the area of Eastern Ukraine which was under German occupation only weeks or even days before. The regiment with the total strength of 1206 men (158 officers, 232 NCOs, 816 privates) was deployed in the rear of 1 Guards and 6 Armies. In February it detained and processed 8119 military personnel (5008 soldiers in disorganized retreat, 1115 stragglers, 67 - encircled in pockets, 1885 liberated POWs, 174 without requisite documents) and 1774 civilians (86 evading conscription, 247 violates of military regime, 100 without documents, 168 suspects, 873 collaborators and supporters). 676 were detained using information obtained from secret informers or civilian assistant groups. "Exposed" (i.e. arrested) were:
- 51 spies
- 69 traitors
- 27 deserters
- 956 collaborators and assistants
- 54 "anti-Soviet element"

The bulk of retreating soldiers were stopped on 25-28.2.43 and belonged to 44 (Guards), 58 (Guards), 195, 244 Rifle Divisions, 5, 7, and 10 Ski Brigades, and elements of 38 and 60 Guards Rifle Divisions. Characteristically about 2/3 retreated with their personal arms. A large number of retreating military personnel evaded posts of the regiment moving on secondary roads and infiltrated the rear zone. A group detached from the regiment detained 441 Soviet POWs at Kharkov which were after filtration transferred to assembly point at Chuguyev. The regiment captured 7 POWs and convoyed 32 POWs to captivity. Elements of the regiment were employed to defend bridges on Donets River. The regiment lost 2 men killed and 7 wounded, all due to German aerial bombing. 6 non-combat injuries were suffered as a result of accidents involving firearms.
2 civil assistance groups (total 154 men) were organized by the regiment which detained 87 men during February.
Proposals:
- place the blocking line 20-25 km from battle lines, that is behind service and rear elements to prevent disorganized retreat
- mop up the rear zone infiltrated by retreating soldiers using specially organized groups
- many civilian refugees of military age retreated to the army rear. Instructions are asked to organize their conscription.

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Re: SS vs. NKVD

Post by Art » 23 Aug 2019 07:50

It can be seen that OT troops had not only purely military but also detective&investigative functions which included a search for collaborators, agents etc, preliminary investigation of detained personnel, obtaining and processing information from civilians and informers. For that purpose they included "intelligence" (de-facto investigative) elements - intelligence sections in HQ of NKVD OT forces of the front, HQ of border regiments and battalions of border regiments, and intelligence officers (deputy commanders) in companies. On part of their activity was described in instruction of filtration from March 1942:
1. The main purpose of filtration is to reveal among detained personnel spies, saboteurs, other hostile agents, deserters, enemy collaborators and assistants and other hostile and criminal element.
2.Filtration is organized by intelligence sections with participation of those NKVD troops commanders and political officers which possess corresponding experience and qualification in detective work. Preliminary filtration is performed immediately after a detained person arrives to a filtration point. Here his identity should be established. If he raises any suspicions the unit commander transfers him to the disposal of the chief of battalion intelligence sections. Each detainment should be recorded in protocol.
Responsible for operations of the filtration point are the battalion commander and his deputy for intelligence.
Filtration activity is directly leaded by the deputy battalion commander for intelligence and it is performed by detective workers of the intelligence section and also commanders of units which were granted access to filtration activity.
Spies, saboteurs, enemy collaborators ans assistants revealed in the process of filtration are sent for final filtration to the intelligence section of the regiment.

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