On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

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On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Art » 27 Jun 2009 14:52

That is a translation of a short article by G.F. Krivosheev. Published in Voyenno-istoricheskiy zhournal (Military history journal) #1, 2005

Dear editorial board,
On pages of your journal the issue of human losses in the World War II was discussed in a number of cases. Meanwhile, it is well known that in all armed forces there always was and there is now a considerable number of civilian personnel, i.e. employees. However in printed sources, including the published recently books edited by a prominent military historian Ph.D colonel general G.F. Krivosheev virtually nothing is said about this contingent and their losses in the years of the Great Patriotic War, although this category was rather numerous, as might be judged by some archival materials. E.g. according to the data on numeric strength and combat composition of the Steppe Military District’s troops (TsAMO RF, f. 2nd Ukr. Front, op. 2795, d. 33, l. 40-60. Form #3/OD) as of 1st July 1943 (Steppe Front after 9th July of the same year) in the 5th Guards, 27th, 47th, 53rd, 5th Guards Tank and 5th Air Army there were 3 499 civilian personnel according to the established strength. Also in district’s units there were 3 499 authorized positions for civilian personnel. In all in the SMD troops – 5 759 men, i.e. 1,2 % of the total number of military personnel – 492 652 men.

Additionally there were so called labor columns (sic in archival document) at the aforementioned armies numbering 8 416 men, which most probably belonged to the Main Directorate of Defensive Works (GUOBR) People’s Commissariat for Defense USSR. In that case the total number of civilians could reach 14 175 men, that is 2,9 % of the total number of military personnel.

Taking into account twelve fronts existing in that period, internal military districts, central units of the People’s Commissariat for Defense and also People’s Commissariat for Naval Fleet, NKVD troops and border troops it can be assumed that in the years of the war there were from 100 to 250 thousands civilian personnel in the USSR Armed Forces. However, in some studies this number is estimated as 1 million men from each belligerent side, i.e. USSR and Nazi Germany.
So how many civilian personnel were there in the RKKA and RKKF in the years of the Great Patriotic War. Are their losses registered? In which category of losses (military or civilian) are they included?
Respectfully,
N.Sh. Shayakhmetov
Retired colonel of police (Ufa)


From the editorial board: Frequently letters from readers are received by us with requests for telling about human losses among women military personnel and civilian employees during the Great Patriotic War. That is why we asked to answer questions from N.Sh.Shayachmetov and other readers on that subject member of the editorial board of the “Military History Journal” consultant of the Military Memorial center of the RF Armed Forces retired colonel general G. F. Krivosheev.

Conscription of women into the Red Army, Navy and NKVD troops was carried out according to the State Defense Committee decisions via district and city military commissariats by agreement with central and local party and komsomol organizations. Women fit for service in the age from 19 to 45 were conscripted and sent to army units, and in the age above 45 – to stationary rear units. Released from conscription to the Army, Navy and NKVD troops were women having families and pregnant and also working on defense industrial enterprises, in the NKVD and NKGB organs, on railroad and water transport, students of colleges and technical schools.

In 1943 women were sent to PVO (Air Defense) units not only for filling positions of auxiliary personnel, but also combat positions (scouts, gun and machinegun crews, searchlight stations, post of barrage balloons etc)
During the Great Patriotic War period in all 490 235 women were conscripted to military service, of them: in 1941 – 5 594 women, in 1942 – 235 025, in 1943 – 194 695, in 1944 – 51 036, in 1945 – 3 615 women.

Of the number of conscripted were sent: to PVO units – 177 065, signal units – 41 886, Air Force units – 40 209, women formations and school – 14 460, automobile units – 18 785, cook courses – 28 500, military sanitary units and establishments – 41 224, Navy units – 20 889, railroad units of the NKPS (People’s Commissariat for Transport Communications) – 7 000, to MPVO (local anti-aircraft defense units of the NKVD – 70 458, miscellaneous (front, district and army) units and establishments of the Red Army – 29 259.

Table 1
Number of women military personnel in the Red Army (without the Navy) by 1st January of the current year.
Year Total in the Red Army Of them in operational fronts
1943 348309 239954
1944 473040 308109
1945 463503 318980

Included in the list strength of the 1st January 1945 women were distributed by ranks in the following way. Officers numbered 70 647 women, sergeants – 113 990, other ranks – 276 809, cadets – 2 057.
Since in the reporting documents (form #8/OD, NKO order #023 of 4 February 1944) losses among women military personnel were not shown in a separate column, the number of killed, deceased and missing among them by staffs of all levels was shown in fields corresponding to their ranks together with losses of all kinds of personnel. Consequently, unfortunately, we didn’t have an opportunity to determine the precise number of casualties among this category of military personnel.

In the second category one should include those who worked by free hire both women and men of older ages and limitedly fit for military service for physical reasons.

Table 2
Number of civilian personnel (women and men) on 1st January of the respective year.
Year Total in the Red Army Of them in operational fronts
1943 369673 157500
1944 459198 212154
1945 512161 234759

So-called hired personnel were used in troops as auxiliary personnel of military medical, food, clothing&accesories, bath and laundry, repair and other establishments.
In reporting documents losses of civilian personnel were not singled out into a separate column (form #8/OD, NKO order #023 of 4th February 1944), the number of killed, deceased and missing persons was shown in the “other ranks” field. Because of that we didn’t have an opportunity to determine the precise number of casualties among this category of military persons.

According to reports of military districts on the number of death announcements handed to relatives of by military commissariats 94 662 workers and employees of civilian personnel were registered as losses. Of them killed – 42 627; died of wounds – 10 491; died of diseases and in accidents - 5 960; missing in action – 32 083; died in captivity – 3 501.
This data should not be considered complete, for some military districts didn’t show losses of workers and officials separately but included them in ‘other ranks field’.
Data on losses of civilian personnel in special formation of various civilian branches (railroad and water transport, signal communications, healthcare, hydrometeorology service etc) and partisan detachments were not submitted to the General Staff
All losses of these branches are included in the overall losses of the country (26,6 millions people)

Retired colonel general G.F. Krivosheev.

Stiltzkin
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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Stiltzkin » 13 Feb 2017 17:16

Is there absolutely no detailed information on the distribution of female personnel by category?

In S. Zaloga, J. Kinnear, A. Aksenov and A. Koschchavtsev, Stalin’s Heavy Tanks 1941–1945, The KV and IS Heavy Tanks , p. 62, it is stated that women were used as tank drivers since 44, they acquired their skills while working in the tank facilities.
It is obvious that they were were working in the industry, the medical sector/field hospitals, AA units, as support workers, ammo distribution logistics, penal battaltions etc. but are there documents which show to which units they were attached? I am specifically asking because it is stated that after 43 they were utilized on the fronts instead in the rear areas. Does this mean that before that they were not attached to combat formations?

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Art » 13 Feb 2017 21:17

Stiltzkin wrote: but are there documents which show to which units they were attached?
There are, but I don't remember anybody processing them.
Does this mean that before that they were not attached to combat formations?
As doctors/medics - quite in many cases, I guess. For a more exotic cases you can refer:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_wo ... rld_War_II

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Stiltzkin » 13 Feb 2017 21:29

How many of those are propaganda myths and how many are real?

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Art » 14 Feb 2017 09:48

All were real personalities, if I understand your question.

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Stephan » 17 Feb 2017 21:02

Stiltzkin wrote:Is there absolutely no detailed information on the distribution of female personnel by category?

In S. Zaloga, J. Kinnear, A. Aksenov and A. Koschchavtsev, Stalin’s Heavy Tanks 1941–1945, The KV and IS Heavy Tanks , p. 62, it is stated that women were used as tank drivers since 44, they acquired their skills while working in the tank facilities.
It is obvious that they were were working in the industry, the medical sector/field hospitals, AA units, as support workers, ammo distribution logistics, penal battaltions etc. but are there documents which show to which units they were attached? I am specifically asking because it is stated that after 43 they were utilized on the fronts instead in the rear areas. Does this mean that before that they were not attached to combat formations?
Its interesting to get know quite a few women WERE attached to heavy tanks. I had read a proud memoirs of a woman whom was a commander of a heavy tank. She was extra proud as she was the only female commander (and crew?) of heavy tank. There were other crews and commanders, but they were all in the middle heavy tanks - alike the T34, where the crews mixed or even exclusive were fairly common. And thus even female tank commanders.
Here we see there were more heavy tank crews, and thus - possible commanders.


Last sentence: Yes, they were before 43 too - but at that time they were almost all voluntary, save perhaps trained medics and engineers. They volunteers had even to insist quite vigorously to be accepted into the army and into fighting positions. Its quite interesting to see, in the rigide structure of Soviet, with the paranoia of spies and saboteurs, there WERE fully possible to get things done, if you were insistient enough....

What the rapport above talks about is the conscription 1943 and later, ie more or less taking them out into service by order from above.

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Art » 09 Mar 2017 15:19

Stiltzkin wrote:but are there documents which show to which units they were attached?
Ok, as a sample exercise with numbers we have a report on personnel and equipment strength of the Soviet 3 Army (1 July 1944):
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=153014214
From this document in all units combined there were 84 776 military personnel, of them 2908 women, and 1235 civilians, of them 906 women. By affiliation:
Rifle units (rifle divisions, rifle corps HQ, blocking detachment and penal) - 56 735 military (incl. 1549 women) and 80 (77) civilians
Armored - 3897 (9) military
Artillery - 3149 (46) military
Anti-aircraft - 2548 (47) military, 3(0) civilians
Flamethrower - 229 (0) military
Chemical - 243 (0) military
Signal - 1382 (128) military
Engineer - 1453 (0) military, 4(0) civilian
Motor transport - 576 (0) military
Road operation - 1115 (73) military
Horse transport - 327 (9) military
Army HQ and HQ units - 1017 (3) military and 34 (0) civilians
Various services of supply elements - 6011 (918) military and 1076 (829) civilian personnel, including:
medical - 2533 (899) military, 985 (829) civilians
Replacement and convalescent - 5510 (126) military, 15 (0) civilians
Reserve of officers - 252(0) military, 3(0) civilians
officer school - 264 (0) military, 20(0) civilians
Liaison air squadron - 68 (0) military

Also attached personnel not belonging to the Red Army - 414 military, 131 civilians (no women)

It is obvious that the largest proportion of women was in hospitals and medical installations (nurses, doctors, and laundresses), signal (telephone operators) and road elements (traffic control signalers). One can expect that most women from rifle units were medical and signal personnel too.

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Stiltzkin » 09 Mar 2017 15:40

It is obvious that the largest proportion of women was in hospitals and medical installations (nurses, doctors, and laundresses), signal (telephone operators) and road elements (traffic control signalers). One can expect that most women from rifle units were medical and signal personnel too.
I assumed no different.

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Dann Falk » 09 Mar 2017 18:28

This section is misleading...
In 1943 women were sent to PVO (Air Defense) units not only for filling positions of auxiliary personnel, but also combat positions (scouts, gun and machinegun crews, searchlight stations, post of barrage balloons etc)
It is very well known that women were assigned to AA gun crews at Stalingrad in 1942. So this could not have been an isolated example.

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Art » 26 Jul 2017 15:16

A bit of sexism and male chauvinism:
A common shortage of personnel which forced Russians to widely employ women as telephone operators had the most adverse effect on telephone listening results since now there are many very lengthy conversations of private character.
From a review of intelligence operations by the 25 Pz-Gr Division staff, the document captured in July 1944.

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Re: On losses of women military servants and civilian personnel.

Post by Art » 27 Aug 2019 07:57

Composition of the South Air Defense (PVO) Front as of 01.06.1944:
Generals - 23
Officers - 14 216, incl. 842 women
Sergeants - 31 550, incl. 6551 women
Privates - 98 521, incl. 44 985 women
Total 144 310, incl. 52 376 women

From a war diary
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=150306019

The Front was a part of Soviet territoral air defense forces which at that time controlled most of Ukraine, North Caucasus and Lower Volga region.

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