Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Art » 05 Dec 2021 10:05

Dann Falk wrote:
02 Dec 2021 17:09
In the Crimea, the NKVD was forcibly deporting thousands of people at gun point, and they found the need to arrest 5,989 persons?
Arrests were mostly made before the start of deportation or even before the order was issued. On 10 May 1944 Beria while requesting an approval of Tatar deportation reported to Stalin that 5,381 men had been already arrested in Crimea for "anti-Soviet" activity by that point:
https://bessmertnybarak.ru/files/2/imag ... 1944_1.jpg
Also, all Tatars were collaborators? and they all were killers?
There were not all arrested either. One should understand simple thing: collective reprisals based on ethnicity contradict to the very modern idea of legal system and contradicted to the legal punishments defined by the Soviet law. On the other hand reprisals based on individual deeds of certain person are fully legit. So arrests of suspected collaborators by the NKVD or SMERSH and further investigation and trials were fully legitimate and don't contradict to the idea of just retribution. It is a common knowledge that there was quite a number of civil and military collaborators in Crimea (not only Tatars), they participated in anti-partizan activity, they participated in genocide etc. You cannot ascribe Soviet reprisals to pure paranoia or saddism. Neither were reprisals against collaborators were limited to Crimea or Crimean Tatars (unilke ethnic deportations).
In the Soviet system that certainly meant swift execution or 30 years as slave labor.
It could mean different things. For a large portion of rank&file collaborators it meant some time spent in a filtration camp or 6 year settlement in Siberia. There were also a fair chance that charges would be dropped and the person arrested would be acquitted and released. The penitentiary term at that moment (1944) was mostly limited to ten years. And then, I understand that "slave" is a methaphore, but it's not a tehnically correct term. Anyway, punishments were mostly assigned after ivestigation and trial rather then by the very fact of arrest.
So NKVD troops never killed anyone? What about Blocking Detachments/Barrier units?
You see, you cannot say that police never killed anyone, but still shooting suspects on the streets is not a normal police function. Normally they are supposed to apprehend cirminals for investigation and trial and shoot them only in extraordinary circumstances. In a similar way blocking troops were to apprehend stragglers/deserters/suspect civilians for further sorting and investigation, while shooting someone was treated as an extraodinary event. And the use of weapons wasn't somehow limited to blocking detachments. Usual military patrol or sentries could use their arms against military personnel or civilians if they didn't follow their orders or warnings. Trial and punishment was a function of military tribunals. During the war OO NKVD recieved extraordinary rights for trial (albeit stipulated by extraordinary circumstances etc), however it was a different structure from NKVD troops. More than 99% cases of what you call "killed by blocking detachments" actually mean "apprehended by blocking detachments and sentenced by tribunals or OO NKVD".

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by gebhk » 05 Dec 2021 11:02

Thanks Art, very helpful inforrmation.
Didn't have by the start of the war (June 1941), rather policing was to be performed by patrols detached from common units.
Presumably similar arrangements were in place when the USSR invaded Poland and Finland? Was there any formal or informal co-ordination with the various armed 'Red Guards' that prowled the rear areas in the East of Poland?
Prevention of marauding or any other illegal activity was one of tasks explicitly given to military commandants.
Did the military commandants have the relevant resources to carry out this task and if so what were they?
I believe they refer to the power granted by the Disciplinary Regulation of the Red Army (1940)
My thoughts were that this refers to the privilege of post (as opposed to provilege of rank) and I freely admit this is an assumption based on Polish pre-war practice. In short, regadless of rank, a divisional commader (for example) had certain powers at his discretion which, yes, tended to be primarily disciplinary but also (as, I think, Art points out in relation to awards) in other areas (field promotions, prizes, honours given to himself etc). These powers/privileges would be taken as implicit in the usual run of things and thus not mentioned. However, commanders of unusual units that did not readily fit into the normal command structure, would have their powers specified. Thus a regimental commader in an isolated post (say on an island) might be given the powers of a divisional commander, becuase there was no divisional commander on hand to provide those powers. Another example might be a commandant of a military scchool. In short, units that lay outside the normal chain of command.

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Art » 05 Dec 2021 18:44

Art wrote:
05 Dec 2021 09:13
it had little interest (with notable, if rare, exceptions) in doing anything about the wave of armed robberies, aggravated rapes and murders
Prevention of marauding or any other illegal activity was one of tasks explicitly given to military commandants.
And also to the NKVD OT troops:
"NKVD forces securing the rear of the Operational Army are given the following tasks:
1) Struggle against saboteurs, spies ans bandit element in the rear of the front
2) Struggle against deserters and marauders
3) Liquidation of hostile units and groups penetrating and air landed in the front's rear
4) In special cases ... security of communications in certain areas."
From the regulation on the NKVD forces securing the rear of the operational army, 28 April 1942.
In 1945 about 16,000 robbers and maroduers were reported to be arrested inter alia.
Presumably similar arrangements were in place when the USSR invaded Poland and Finland?
As I understand provisional garrisons commanders or commandants were assigned to important towns or settlements on the theater of operations and were given a garrison force under their command. With this garrison they organized sentires, patrolling, local order and defense against hostile forces, if needed. Probably, the field regulations and regulations on the rear provided some details on this organization. What was different in the directive of February 1945 quoted above is that it ordered organization of commandants and their garrison forces on a more or less permanent basis and with a well-defined establishment.
Did the military commandants have the relevant resources to carry out this task and if so what were they?
The commandant was given a certain garrison force for organization of sentries, patrolling and posts. Either this force was strictly defined as in the 1945's directive or it was assigned based on situation and common sense or it just included units and establishments quartered in his area of responsibility.

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Dann Falk » 05 Dec 2021 19:08

Much thanks to Gebhk and Art for your comments.

Forgive me for writing/speaking in general terms about a complex topic. I was trying to give the reader a general understanding of the interaction between Stalin, the Red Army, NKVD and civilians. My focus is, of course, the operations of the 7th Guards Army during the war, and not policing.

I now understand the topic much more clearly. Your input is appreciated.

I still have a bit of time before publishing, so I will make some updates to my paragraphs/chapters as I can now see they were much too broad in scope.
Book #2, The 7th Guards Army from Kursk to Prague, will now almost certainly be published in January 2022.

Cheers

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Art » 05 Dec 2021 21:41

There was a small discussion on a similar subject in April 1940 after the Finnish War:
GRENDAL. What we did not have in the army was line of communications service, not a single line of communications company. That is a great shortcoming, because the army rear cannot function without lines of communications as we have to transport prisoners of war, feed them, transport replacements etc, there is a mass of army troops moving in both directions and field kitchens are essential for them.
STALIN. A huge omission.
Experience demonstrates that when you occupy hostile territory, you have to detach a garrison, detach a certain group of men from the division so that this division is crippled. Wouldn't it be better to have a certain group at the corps, probably a garrison with a special training instead of crippling the division and detaching elements from it, because the division isn't suited for garrison. You occupy the territory, the garrisone is left there, it knows its business, it knows the city and the division shouldn't be crippled.
GRENDAL. We have line of communications troops.
STALIN. That's different.
GRENDAL. They are stationed as garrisons in certain places.
STALIN. For example, I took Vyborg and advance further, I just cannot leave Vyborg vacated, so I leave a regiment or a battalion for patrols and sentries. Right?
GRENDAL. Correct.
STALIN. In cities you need to leave somebody when the troops move further.
MERETSKOV. We had special detachments at corps called training detachments and we had line of communications troops.
STALIN. When a large city is occupied one needs to have a garrison to fix telephone network, to make the city working.
It doesn't seem to have practical consequences then, but Stalin repeated very similar reasoning in a decree of 4 January 1942:
viewtopic.php?p=2225704#p2225704

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by gebhk » 06 Dec 2021 11:24

Thanks Art

Very illuminating

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Art » 06 Dec 2021 21:07

To the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Front com. Timoshenko

In the process of 2 C[avalry] C[orps] movement to the west a large number of cavalry groups (from a squad to a squadron) have been left in various places for performing garrison service, escort of prisoners of war and defense of various objects.
Total there are up to TWO cavalry regiments in the corps (Zlochuv, Zboruv, Busk, Lvov). Command of these groups is difficult and left without due control many of them commit outrage.
I request your order to relieve elements of the 2 CC and send them to their units.

Commander of the 2 Cavalry Corps komdiv Kostenko
Military commissar of the 2 Cavalry Corps regimental commissar Krainyukov
Chief of staff of the 2 Cavalry Corps kombrig Kurochkin

26.9.39
Timoshenko's resolution: "To Golikov. Copy to Kostenko. Garrisons posted in the rear are to be detached from rifle units. Evacuation of prisoners will be performed by railway. Immediately gather detached cavalry units. 27.IX.39"

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Art » 06 Dec 2021 22:50

Staff of the South Group No.031 Galich 22.9.39 22.30 Map 200.000

For maintenance of public order and protection against all kind of actions of gangs in the rear region of forces operating on the front - I ORDER:

In settlements specified in the attached list headquarters of commandants are to be formed and detachments of composition according to the Appendix 2 are to be given to their disposal.
Formation is to be completed by 23 September 1939.
Formation and assignment of elements to the detachments should be performed by orders of the corps commanders.
For positions of garrison commandants and commissars the best and checked in all respects commanders and political workers are to be selected.
Appointed garrison commanders are commissars are to be given thorough instructions on performing their service with a special attention given to everyday situation awareness and constant battle readiness of their detachments, for this purpose an instruction is to be developed in all the garrisons.
Corps commanders are to secure continuous liaison of detachments with forces operating on the front.
Detachments are to be supplied with one unit of ammunition. Food and forage are to given to detachments in case if they cannot be purchased in the settlements. They should be secured with cash for purchase of food and forage and administrative expenses, timely delivery of salaries is to be watched.
Detachments are to sent to their settlements on 23 September. Detachment are to be withdrawn only by an established order, in any case only with a permission of the Military Council.
Report execution [of this order] by the end of 23 September 1939.
APPENDIX: List of settlements. Composition of detachments.

Commander-in-chief of the South Group army commander 2nd rank Tyulenev
Member of the military council brigade commissar Pinchuk
Chief of staff colonel Barmin

"APPROVED"
Commander-in-chief of the South Group army commander 2nd rank Tyulenev
Member of the military council brigade commissar Pinchuk

COMPOSITION
of detachments assigned to settlements on the territory occupied by the front's forces

For garrison of the 1st rank:

1. Garrison commandant - 1 - company commander
2. Military commissar - 1 - company political leader
One rifle company of full authorized strength. Six trucks, a field kitchen

For garrisons of the 2nd rank

One rifle platoon of full authorized strength with addition of a platoon political leader and three trucks.
Platoon commander is the garrison commandant.

1. Chortkov - 1st rank
2. Kolomyia - 2nd rank
2. Rogatin - 2nd rank
3. Galich - 2nd rank
5. Stanislavov - 1st tank
6. Stryi - 1st rank

Chief of staff of the group colonel Barmin
Military commissar of the staff battalion commissar Novikov
Chief of the 1st department colonel Shelud'ko

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Art » 07 Dec 2021 07:25

from the after-action report of the 8 Rifle Corps for the period 17.9-8.10.39, section "General conclusions and proposals"
15. A special detachment should be introduced for security and defense of corps and divisional staffs. The detachment should include anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft machine guns and up to an infantry company on trucks.
Detaching elements from combat units for staff security weakens them.
16. Special units are necessary for maintenance of order, organization of garrisons in occupied towns and final mop-up of occupied regions of remaining hostile elements and gangs, and also for escort of prisoners ans trophy materiel. Assigning this task to divisions didn't prove its worth. Divisions were split and not powerful enough.

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by gebhk » 07 Dec 2021 13:24

Hi Art

Many thanks for these - much appreciated. You provide a fascinating insight into these aspects, expecially when compared with arrangements in other armies such as the German and Polish.

Out of curiosity, do you know where the trucks for the garrisons were provided from and did they come with drivers? Or where they requisitioned locally? Though on reflection, good luck with that in Eastern Poland, so the second option seems unlikely! Were the field kitchens mobile? It seems reasonable to assume they were provided to enable the garrison to make more extensive sweeps of the often sparsely populated countryside, independently of their base of operations?

Is there any mention of the various 'Red Guards' that sprang up, particularly in areas with large Ukrainian populations. While they were pro-Soviet, their otherwise nationalist agenda may not have jived too well with Soviet agendas and in any event I can't see any armed force tolerating armed bands that they didn't control, wandering around their rear areas?

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Art » 08 Dec 2021 09:40

gebhk wrote:
07 Dec 2021 13:24
Out of curiosity, do you know where the trucks for the garrisons were provided from and did they come with drivers?
The implicit idea in the order is that trucks with military drivers should be detached from the same military formations that detach personnel.
Were the field kitchens mobile?
Either horse drawn kitchens or kitchen trailers for trucks.

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by gebhk » 08 Dec 2021 19:34

Thanks Art. you're a star!

I can feel a miniature wargame brewing!

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Re: Imposition of order in areas behind the front lines

Post by Art » 12 Dec 2021 17:59

From a report by lieutenant general Telegin on activity of military commandants on the Polish territory (October 1944)

According to the agreement between the Polish and Soviet governments within the area of the 1st Belorussian Front 17 district military commandants controlling 283 city and parish military commandants were created.
Parish and city commandants were created at parish councils and city magistrates and are subordinated to the district commandants. District commandants are directly subordinated to the front and within armies' rear areas they are also operationally subordinated to the armies.
Military commandants were mostly selected from political officers with political and administrative experience.

http://docs.historyrussia.org/ru/nodes/ ... e/2/zoom/5

Instruction for military commandants on the Polish territory approved by the deputy chief of the General Staff army general Antonov on 10 October 1944:
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=450789851

According to the instruction military commandants of districts and large cities were appointed by the front command and subordinated to the front and also in operational respects, if they were situated within army rear areas - to the respective army command. Military commandants of Lublin, Siedlce, Chelm and Bialystok were subordinated to the front only. Front controlled commandants via commandant department of the front's staff. Parish and town commandants were appointed by the army commands and subordinated to the district commandants. Commandants at rail stations and waterways were appointed by the Red Army's chief of military transportation and subordinated to respective sections of the front's HQ.

Responsibilities of military commandants in regard to military personnel:
- oversee order, discipline and established military uniform. In particular measures are to be taken to detain drunk, prevent personnel from visiting markets, cabarets, restaurants and other places serving liquors.
- detain suspected in pillage and speculation
- prevent marauding, confiscations and other violent actions in regard to civil property
- organize quartering and catering of military elements and single military personnel. Stragglers and personnel without documents should be apprehended, collected at the transfer point and a report should be made for their further transfer. Quartering without permission of military commandants should be prevented.

To ensure order within his area commandant detaches posts and patrols from military elements at his disposal. Orders of their commanders are obligatory for both military and civil personnel.

Responsibilities in regard to civilians:
- liaison with civil authorities. All measures concerning civil population (labor employment, transportation of wounded and cargoes) should be carried out via local authorities
- no other authorities other than the Polish Committee for National Liberation (PCNL) should be recognized
- when no representatives of the PCNL are present should be temporarily appointed
- registration of all newcomers, organization of local militia, confiscation of arms and duplicating equipment, registration of abandoned material and cattle. No civilians should be allowed to stay without permission of local authorities, and no military personnel - without permission of the military commandant.
- collection of abandoned weapons, equipment and ammunition. Polish property confiscated by the Germans should be given to the Polish authorities, Soviet property - catalogued and secured.
- registration of arms belonging to militia and and other legal owners (other than the Polish Army)
- prevention of military mobilization other than ordered by the PCNL
- mobilization of Soviet men born in 1894-1926 and their transfer to collecting points. Registration of other displaced Soviet citizens.
- assistance in procurement of food
- systematic study of political, economical and cultural situation of his area.

Special responsibilities:
- quell any disturbance threatening normal operation of military units, communications and PCNL authorities using military force, and when necessary - using weapons. All instigators should be arrested and given to the [Polish] State Security organs.
- AK or Ukrainian nationalist forces should be immediately disarmed whenever present using local militia or, when necessary, Red Army troops
- detainment of Polish military personnel committing criminal actions
- in regard to Red Army military personnel the district military commandant has the disciplinary power of regimental commander, and parish military commandant - of battalion commander, military commandant of Lublin - of divisional commander.
- when necessary commandant can use communication facilities belonging to any Red Army unit for communicating with the front or army.

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