Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

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RedRight
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Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by RedRight » 04 Feb 2020 14:26

As far as I remember there have been 40 000 sentences. How many death sentences? What was the total number of Soviet officers.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 04 Feb 2020 16:45

RedRight wrote:
04 Feb 2020 14:26
As far as I remember there have been 40 000 sentences.
No way. According to common figures about 28 500 ground forces officers were arrested OR discharged for political reasons. Of them a pretty large part were returned to ranks after 1938. Also several thousand were lost by RKKA air forces and Navy. The number of death sentences was probably several thousand.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 04 Feb 2020 19:59

According to the data compiled by the NKVD from 1 October 1937 to 1 July 1938 they arrested 10 363 officers (presumably all arms) and 8027 NCOs and privates. Of officers:
61 - 1.10.36-31.12.36
5927 - in 1937
4375 - 1.1.-30.6.38
http://istmat.info/node/14956

According to another known document giving a summary of purges in the RKKA ground forces 4474 officers were arrested and 11104 were discharged for political reasons in 1937 out of about 140 000 average strength, 5032 arrested and 7718 discharged for political reasons in 1938 out of about 180 000 average strength. Of all of them 10 582 were returned o service by the start of 1940
http://istmat.info/node/28770

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by RedRight » 04 Feb 2020 20:36

According to Russian wiki https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A0%D0 ... 1%83%D0%B4 8 624 were sentenced.

The only question remaining is the number of killed.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 06 Feb 2020 07:55

Suvenirov (1998) counted by names 729 executed officers of the "general" rank (brigade commanders or equivalent or higher) in the Red Army and Navy. And also by incomplete count 379 colonels or equivalent rank.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 19 Feb 2022 14:31

Some hard numbers derived from a headcount:

Prior to 1937 the marshal rank was given to 5 men, of them 2 (Tukhachevsky and Yegorov) were executed, and one (Blyukher) was arrested and died under investigation, leaving only 2 survivors.

Komandarm (army commanders) 1st rank - to 5 men, of them 1 (Kamenev) died of natural reasons, 1 (Shaposhinkov) was promited to marshal by 1941, and 3 were executed

Komandarm 2nd rank - to 10 men, all were executed

Komkor (corps commander) - to 64 men (including NKVD), of them 50 were executed, 1 committed suicide, 1 died in prison, while under investigation, 4 were sentenced to camp terms, 2 died of natural reasons, leaving only 6 survivors on military service by 1941, of whom one (Antonyuk) was also fired in 1938 but later reinstated. Those 6 survivors in 1941 included 2 marshals, 1 army general, 2 colonel generals and 1 lieutenant general. In addition colonel general Loktiоnov was arrested on 19 June 1941 and executed in October 1941, while marshal Kulik was put under trial and demoted to major general.
Of 4 men sentenced to jail 1 died in captivity, while 3 were realeased and later rehabilitated

Komdiv (division commander) rank was given to 206 men in 1935-36 including NKVD but not counting komdivs of reserve (not on active service). Of them 111 were executed, 1 committed suicide, 6 died in prison during ivestigation, 12 were sentenced to camp terms, 4 died of natural reasons, 1 died on unclear reason, 1 retired, 67 served in the Army or Navy by 1941, 1 served in the NKVD (as deputy chief of the NKVD). Of one men (komdiv Klimovich) I don't have any information, even the year of death is unknown. Another (komdiv Savchenko) apparently survived and became major general in 1943, but where he was exactly by the start of war is unclear.
67 survivors included 2 army generals, 1 colonel generals, 31 lieutenant generals, 27 major generals, 1 komkor, 1 komid and 1 kombrig. The popular idea that purges led to extraordinary fast promotions doesn't seem to be true, at least in regard to this group. 18 of those 67 suffered some sort of reprisals in 1937-38 (arrests, investigations, discharges etc).

Interesting is a high casualties rate during the second wave of purges (1941 and later). I've counted 2 men (Shtern and Talkovsky) who were sentenced and executed in 1941-42, 4 were arrested and died in captivity, 4 were arrested but survived captivity, 1 (Meretskov) was arrested in June 1941 but released and returrned to militaty several months later.

Unsurprusingly, 67 former komdivs played an important role in wartime military elite. I've counted 10 wartime commanders of fronts, and 15 field army commanders among them. 3 became marshals of the Soviet Union until the end of the war (Konev, Meretskov, Rokossovsky) and 1 - marshal of air forces (Astakhov).

Of 12 former komdivs sentenced to jail terms, 7 died in captivity, 4 survived the captivity. An exceptional case was Mikhail Bukshtynovich who was relased from camp and returned to military and met the end of the war as major general and chief of staff of the 3 Shock Army in Berlin.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 03 Jul 2022 16:14

Scale of purges among officers who held top positons in the central apparatus of the People's Commissariate for Defense at the start of 1937:

1. Sentenced to death and executed
- Deputy People's commissar for Defense marshal M.N. Tukhachevsky
- Chief of the General Staff marshal A.I. Yegorov
- deputy COGS, head of the operations directorate komkor S.A. Mezheninov
- deputy COGS komkor V.N. Levichev
- head of the 3rd (transportation) department of the General Staff komkor E.F. Appoga
- head of the 4th (organizations) department of the General Staff kombrig V.N. Batenin
- head of the 7th (survey) department of the General Staff komdiv I.F. Maksimov
- head of the 8th (encoding) department of the General Staff brigade kommissar V.D. Tsibizov
- head of the historical department of the General Staff kombrig I.G. Klochko
- chief of air forces komandarm 2nd rank Ya.I. Alksnis
- chief of naval forces fleet flag-officer 1st rank V.M. Orlov
- inspector of naval forces fleet flag-officer 2nd rank P.I. Smirnov
- chief of armaments komandarm 2nd rank I.A. Khalepskiy
- head of the air defense administration komandarm 2nd rank A.I. Sedyakin
- head of military educational establishments administration army kommissar 2nd rank I.Ye. Slavin
- head of the intelligence administration komkor S.P. Uritskiy
- head of the commanding personnel administration komkor B.M. Feldman
- head of the engineer administration komkor N.N. Petin
- head of the artillery administration komkor N.A. Yefimov
- chief of artillery komdiv N.M. Rogosvksiy
- head of the signals administration komkor R.V. Longva
- head of the administrative and mobilization administraton komdiv A.M. Volpe
- head of the automobile, armor and tanks administration komdiv G.G. Bokis
- head of the technical administration divisional engineer S.V. Bordovskiy
- head of the sanitary administration corps doctor M.I. Baranov
- head of the clothing and train supply administration corps intendant D.I. Kosich
- head of the fuel supply administration colonel N.N. Movchin
- head of the finance department brigade intendant Z.D. Pertsovskiy
- head of the foreign orders department komkor V.M. Gittis

2. Committed suicide
- deputy people's commissar for defense, head of the political administration army kommissar 1st rank Ya.B. Gamarnik

3. Arrested and died during investigation:
- head of the 5th (material planning) department of the General Staff kombrig V.N. Litunovskiy
- head of the combat training administration komkor K.A. Chaikovsky

4. Sentenced to camp term and died in captivity
- head of the ration supply administration corps intendant A.I. Zhiltsov

5. Sentenced to camp term and survived captivity
- head of the higher educational establishments administration komkor A.I. Todorskiy
- head of the chemical administration corps engineer Ya.M. Fishman
- head of the veterinary administration corps veterinary doctor N.M. Nikolskiy

6. Survived purges, in military by 1941
- people's commissar for defense marshal K.Ye. Voroshilov
- inspector of cavalry marshal S.M. Budyonniy
- head of the construction and quartering administration corps kommissar A.I. Khrulyov
- head of the control group at the people's commissar for defense komdiv A.I. Cherepanov
- head of the administration for affairs of the people's commissariat for defense komdiv I.V. Smorodinov
- head of the inventions department at the people's commissariat for defense brigade kommissar I.A. Rusanov
- adjutant of the people's commissar for defense komdiv R.P. Khmelnitskiy

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 08 Jul 2022 11:05

Purges on the level of military districts. By the start of 1937 there were 13 military districts (Moscow, Leningrad, Belorussian, Kiev, Kharkov, North Caucasus, Trasncuacuasus, Volga, Ural, Siberian, Central Asian, Transbaikal, Special Far East Army - de facto a district command).
Of 13 district commander there was only one survivor - komandarm 1st rank B.M. Shaposhnikov, commander of the Leningrad MD. 11 men were sentenced and executed, 1 (marshal V.K. Blyukher) died while under arrest.
Of 13 deputy district commanders 11 were executed, 1 (komkor N.V. Lisovskiy) was sentenced to 10 years in camp, 1 (komkor O.I. Gorodovikov) survived purges and was general inspector of RKKA's cavalry by 1941
Of 13 disctrict's chiefs of staffs 11 were sentenced and executed, 1 (komkor S.N. Bogomyakov) was sentenced to 10 years in camp, 1 (komdiv V.D. Sokolovskiy) remained in military and was deputy chief of the general staff by June 1941.
Other large commands:
Maritime group of the Special Far East Army (de facto an army command) - both commander and chief of staff were executed
3 army inspectors in the Leningrad, Belorussian and Kiev military disctricts (embryo wartime army commands) - all three were executed
2 cavalry inspectors in the Belorussian and Kiev military disctricts (embryo wartime cavalry army command) - komkor S.K. Timoshenko and komkor I.R. Apanasenko) - both survived and remained in the military.
Special Purpose Air Army (command of long-range bomber force) - commander executed.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 10 Jul 2022 14:00

By the start of 1937 the Red Army's ground forces consisted of 25 rifle corps, 7 cavalry corps, 4 mechanized corps and 2 auxiliary corps (Special Construction Corps and Special Railroad Corps). Of 38 men commanding these corps at the start of the year 1937:
- 24 were sentenced and executed
- 1 (komkor J.J. Lacis commanding the Special Railroad Corps) died of natural reasons in February 1937
- 3 were sentenced to camp terms (*)
- 10 remained in military in 1941, of them 5 were went through some kind of reprisals (dismissal, arrests, sentences)

* of these three 2 men (komdiv S.N. Nikitin and komdiv Ya.Z. Pokus) died in captivity. As described above komdiv M.F. Bukshtynovich (former commander of the 7 Mechanized Corps) was released from camp during the war and later promoted to general.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 14 Sep 2022 12:06

By the start of 1937 the Red Army included 96 rifle or mountain rifle, 32 cavalry or mountain cavalry and 2 motorized chemical divisions. Total 130 divisions of ground forces. I can't find who commanded:
67 Rifle Division
97 Rifle Division (former commander komdiv Sablin was arrested in September 1936, no info on his replacement)
98 Mountain Rifle Division

Of the remaining 127 division commanders 52 were executed in 1937-1940, 1 commited suicide, 1 died in prison while under arrest. 16 men were sentenced to jail terms, were under arrest or were not reinstated in military after arrest by June 1941. Of them 2 (kombrig Shafransky and kombrig Vogel returned to the military after the war start, both were promoted to generals). 57 former division commanders were in the military prior to the war (not counting the new wave of arrests shortly before 22.6.41). Of them at least 16 were subjected to reprisals of some sort (arrests, trials, sentences, discharges) during the purge years but were reinstated in the army.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 14 Sep 2022 18:55

Heads of military academies at the start of 1937:

1. General Staff Academy - komdiv D.A. Kuchinksiy - executed
2. Frunze Military Academy of the Red Army - komadarm 2nd rank A.I. Kork - executed
3. Military Political Academy - army commissar 2nd rank B.M. Ippo - executed
4. Naval Academy - captain 1st rank A. P. Aleksandrov - arrested by the NKVD in 1938, but released in 1940. By the start of the war commander of the Novorossiysk Naval Base.
5. Air Force Academy - komdiv Z.M. Pomerantsev - by 1941 major general, deputy chief of air forces, Transbaikal Military District
6. Artillery Academy - komdiv D.D. Trizna - executed
7. Military Academy of Mechanization and Motorization - brigade eingineer I. A. Lebedev - discarged in 1938, but later reinstated. At the war start major general of tank troop, deputy head of the Main Auto-Armor and Tank Administration
8. Military Engineer Academy - komkor I.I. Smolin - executed
9. Military Electrotechnical Academy - divisional engineer K.Ye. Polischuk - sentenced to 8 years in camp
10. Military Chemical Academy - corps comissar Ya.I. Avinovitsky - executed
11. Military Transport Academy - komkor S.A. Pugachev - sentenced to 15 years in camp, died in captivity.
12. Military Administration Academy - army commissar 2nd rank A.L. Shifres - executed
13. Military Medical Academy - divisional doctor A.G. Kyuchariantz - by 1941 head of the Voroshilov Military Sanatorium
14. Military Veterinary Institute (Military Veterinary Academy beginning from 1938) - brigade veterinary doctor M.S. Gannushkin - in 1941 head of the Academy's department
15. Military Juridical Department of the All-Union Law Academy (Military Juridical Academy of the Red Army beginning from 1939) - divisional military jurist Ya.P. Dmitriyev - head of the All-Union Extramural Law Academy in 1941.

So 7 of 15 were executed and 2 were sentenced to jail terms.

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Re: Number of Red Army officers shot in the Great Purge (1937-1938))

Post by Art » 21 Sep 2022 19:26

A. Pechenkin ("Military elite of the USSR in 1935-39. Reprisals and renovation.") gives the following number of officers arrested or discharged in 1937-38
Komkor - 52 discharged (including 46 arrested)
political, technical, administrative etc rank equivalent to komkor - 26 discharged (12 arrested)
Komdiv - 123 (96)
equivalent ranks - 106 (29)
Kombrig - 264 (165)
equivalent ranks - 279 (85)
colonel - 897 (493)
equivalent ranks - 974 (339)

These numbers apparently pertain to the Red Army alone and doesn't include officers in NKVD or civil agencies (Osoaviakhim, civil air fleet etc). Then it appears that only those arrests are counted which were simultaneous with dismissal. So the numbers are conservative. Anyway the pattern is clear. The lower was the rank the less deadly were political purges. Technical, administrative, medical and other special officers suffered less than command personnel.

Pechenkin quotes the following number of Red Army's officers by position discharged for all reasons during a year (1 March 1937 - 1 March 1938):
Commanders of military districts - 14
Deputy commanders and assistant commanders of military districts - 16
Corps commanders - 23
Divisional commanders - 50
Brigade commanders - 22
Regimental commanders - 172
Chiefs of staffs of military districts - 6
Deputy COS of military districts - 8
COS of corps - 9
COS of divisions and brigades - 60
COS of regiments - 123
Others - 21,757
Total 22,260 including 4,704 arrested and 14,140 discharged for political reasons.

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