In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Discussions on all aspects of the USSR, from the Russian Civil War till the end of the Great Patriotic War and the war against Japan. Hosted by Art.
Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6450
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by Art » 12 Aug 2010 10:24

Thanks for the link, it made my day :)
On June 27, 1941, in response to reports of unit disintegration in battle and desertion from the ranks in the Soviet Red Army, the 3rd Department (military counterintelligence of Soviet Army) of the USSR's Narkomat of Defense issued a directive creating mobile barrier forces composed of NKVD personnel to operate on roads, railways, forests, etc. for the purpose of catching 'deserters and suspicious persons'. These forces were given the acronym SMERSH
Why do these guys write about things they nave no idea about?
Of course, there was no SMERSh in 1941, moreover it had nothing to do with NKVD troops. I can give reference to this thread again:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 63&start=0

Panzermahn
Member
Posts: 3639
Joined: 13 Jul 2002 03:51
Location: Malaysia

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by Panzermahn » 14 Aug 2010 16:53

By the way, if the blocking detachments missions and operations objectives is as what per Oleg has posted, what would be the use of Soviet military police units (MPs) when there are NKVD, Smersh and Red Army blocking detachments

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6450
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by Art » 29 Aug 2010 08:42

Rifle units of OO NKVD/SMERSH was the closest thing to military police in the Soviet Army IMO. Other units, for example, traffic control, didn't have such a salient "police" functions.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6450
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by Art » 18 Mar 2021 08:50

A curious detail about relationship between the NKVD and blocking detachments. It's frequently repeated that blocking detachments formed following the Stalin's order of 28 July 1942 didn't actually belong to the NKVD (contrary to a widespread myth). While it is true in general there were exception to the rule. In the area of the Stalingrad Front blocking detachments were formed by the NKVD counterintelligence (so-called NKVD special departments), controlled by the NKVD and commanded by the NKVD officers. Moreover, the head of the NKVD counterintelligence (aka Special Departments Directorate) commissar Abakumov personally went to the Stalingrad Front in early August 1942 to oversee formation of the blocking detachments. So on this sector of the front BDs were actually controlled by the NKVD and this arrangement was retained until the last months of 1942 at least. There are indication that it was personally ordered by Stalin, probably due to especially critical situation near Stalingrad or special importance attached to this part of the front.

Documents for illustration (from "Velikaya Otechestvennaya Voina. 1942 god"):
Memorandum of the NKVD Special Departments Directorate
4 August 1942
Top Secret
According to the order by comrade Stalin by 4 August the [NKVD] Special department of the Stalingrad Front formed blocking detachments in the following armies:
In the 1st Tank Army – 1 detachment, 4 Tank Army – 3 detachments, 21 Army – 3 detachments, 62 Army – 1 detachment, 63 Army – 4 detachment, total 12 detachments formed. The Special department appointed battle-seasoned, proven officers of [NKVD] special departments as their commanders.

[Then follow the names, ranks and other details on commanders]
Telegram of the NKVD’s Special Departments Directorate to the Special Department of the Don Front
[undated, circa 17 November 1942]
Top Secret

Blocking detachments are subordinated to the [NKVD] special department only on the Stalingrad Front. On all other fronts they are subordinated to the [military] command. Commanders of detachments are appointed accordingly.

Deputy Head of the NKVD Special Departments Directorate
Senior major of state security Osetrov
Memorandum of the NKVD Special Departments Directorate
1 December 1942
Top Secret

The NKVD special department of the Don Front reported with the message No.4636 of 28 November 1942:
Before 1 October the Don Front was called the Stalingrad Front. According to the telegram from comrade Stalin and decision of the Military Council commanders of blocking detachments were appointed from [NKVD] special departments officers. At the present time the front has 12 blocking detachments. According to the directive of the Special Departments Directorate [NKVD] officers commanding blocking detachments are recalled. Officers from the People’s Commissar for Defense are appointed in place of them. Blocking detachments are directly subordinated to the armies’ command, at the same time they carry out our instructions.

Senior plenipotentiary
Of the 3rd section, 4th department, NKVD Special Departments Directorate
Senior lieutenant of state security Sidorov

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6450
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by Art » 19 Mar 2021 16:29

Another curious document from the same book:
No.1818/b
24 October 1942
Top Secret
To the Chairman of the USSR’s State Defense Committee
I.V. Stalin

The following report was received from the NKVD Special department of the Don Front:

“Commander-in-chief of the Front lieutenant general Rokossovksy has ordered to position blocking detachments of the 66 Army immediately behind battle lines of attacking infantry.
He explains this order by the fact that the infantry doesn’t go to attack despite all orders.
Blocking detachments are ordered to drive infantry to attack by force of arms.
I ask to give your instructions immediately, because with such number of weapons on hostile positions and the need to walk on the battlefield under hostile fire in order to raise infantry to attack, the blocking detachments are going to be wiped out in one day or two.

USSR’ People’s Commissar for Internal Affair
Beria
For comparison the NKVD officers reported the following in regard of the same local operation of the Don Front in late October 1942:
On 26.10.42 chief of staff of the Front major general Malinin, deputy commander-in-chief of the front major general Trubnikov in presence of our officer shared their opinion about the offensive of our forces.
When the officer asked them if the artillery preparation was effective, how our air force is operating, if it neutralized hostile weapons, Trubnikov just made a gesture and answered “The thing is not about the air force, our infantry doesn’t cost a dime, infantry doesn’t fight, and that is the whole problem…”
Malinin, while supporting Trubnikov, said: “…Infantry doesn’t go to attack, artillery preparation was sufficient, we have so much artillery that it is beyond any doubt, 74 gun per a kilometer. And, besides, we have 12 mortar regiments.
The Germans here don’t have anything; they must suffer heavy losses due to our artillery fire. In this sector we have a definitive large superiority in anything and superiority in aviation.
Hostile air forces don’t bother us, and we have a quite a number of tanks…But our infantry is worthless…
If we had a well-trained regiment of resolute men, this regiment would just walk to Stalingrad…The reason is not artillery, you cannot knock out all the weapons anyway. Artillery is doing its business, pressing the enemy to the ground, but the infantry doesn’t raise and doesn’t go to attack…”
Commander-in-chief of the Front Rokossovsky, under impression that the failure was caused by poor performance of infantry soldiers, tried to use blocking detachments to exert pressure on infantry.
Rokossovsky insisted that blocking detachment should advance behind infantry and drive soldiers to attack by force of arms.
Curiously, in this case the NKVD happened to be more sober-minded than Army's generals.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6450
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by Art » 07 Dec 2021 08:02

Joint order of the People's Commissar for Defense and People's Commissar for Internal Affairs No. 003/093 of 24 January 1940
In order to prevent cases of desertion and to cleanse the rear of the operational armies from hostile elements WE ORDER:

1. Control-blocking detachments are to formed of the NKVD operative regiments securing communications of the operational armies and to be subordinated to the [NKVD] special departments.
Control-blocking detachments are given a task to organize blocks along the principle directions, mop-up the rear of the operational units, check document of all single military personnel and civilians going to the rear, and detain deserters.
Detained personnel are sent to the special departments.
Control-blocking detachments operate along the line of divisional staffs or divisional field dumps and carry out their operations in the sector of 5-10 km on both sides of the main road and up to the regimental staffs toward the front.
Formation of control-blocking detachments is assigned to assistant army commanders for rear security. At the 14 and 9 Army - to kombrig Apollonov, at the 8 Army - to kombrig Nikolskiy, at the 13 and 7 Army - to kombrig Stepanov.
2. Control-blocking detachments are formed based on the following allocation:
1) in the sector of the 14 Army - two detachments (including one at the Special department of the army) from the 8 replacement (Petrozavodsk) NKVD regiment;
2) in the sector of the 9 Army - 5 detachments (including one at the Special department of the army) from the 2, 3, and 5 NKVD regiments;
3) in the sector of the 8 Army - 8 detachments (including one at the Special department of the army) from the 1, 4, and 7 NKVD regiments;
4) in the sector of the 13 Army - 5 detachments (including one at the Special department of the army) from the 6 NKVD regiment;
5) in the sector of the 7 Army - 7 detachments (including one at the Special department of the army) from the 6 NKVD regiment. 6 NKVD regiment is disbanded.
3. Control-blocking detachments are formed composed of 100 men in 3 rifle platoons and operative groups of the Special departments consisting of 3-5 men.
...
6. We demand to take the most resolute and stringent measures against deserters - traitors of the Mortherland. Deserters should be immediately tried by the military tribunal and trial should be completed in one day.
Sentences of the tribunals are to be made known to the personnel of units.
7. Further on arrest of privates and junior commanders in operational units is to be made with approval of the armies' military councils.
...
USSR People's Commissar for Defense
Marshal of the Soviet Union
K. Voroshilov

USSR People's Commissar for Internal Affairs
State Security Commissar 1st rank
L. Beria
https://www.prlib.ru/item/1322415

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6450
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by Art » 08 Dec 2021 20:06

As reported by the NKVD chief L.Beria to Stalin, Molotov and Voroshilov on 13 March 1940, during 1.5 months (25.01-13.03.40) the NKVD special departments, transport and territorial organs detained 6724 suspected deserters and stragglers. 790 of them where put under trial. 5934 were returned to their units after preliminary investigation. The main reasons contributing to desertion were called unsatisfactory organization of personnel accounting especially in units formed of reservists, lack of discipline during transportation and marches, lack of control on rail stations and transfer points.
http://docs.historyrussia.org/ru/nodes/ ... e/1/zoom/6

AriX
Member
Posts: 156
Joined: 29 Jun 2015 08:07
Location: Ukraine

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by AriX » 10 Dec 2021 12:05

There was no military police in the Red Army, but there were blocking deatachments.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6450
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: In regards to Soviet Blocking Deatachements

Post by Art » 11 Dec 2021 13:16

On 25 August 1944 chief of the political administration of the 3 Baltic Front major general A. Lobachov reported to the chief of the Red Army Main Political Administration colonel general Scherbakov:
By my instructions personnel of the front's political administration examined activities of 6 blocking detachments (out of 8). As a result of this work the following was established:

1. Blocking detachments do not carry out their direct functions, determined by the order of the People's Commissar for Defense. Most part of personnel of the blocking detachments is employed for security of staffs, signal lines, roads, mop-up of forests etc. Typical in this respect is the activity of the 7th Blocking Detachment of the 54 Army. According to the personnel roster the detachment has 124 men. They are employed as follows: 1st submachine gun platoon secures the 2nd echelon of the Army's staf; 2nd submachine gun platoon is attached to the 111th Rifle Corps with the task to secure signal lines from the corps to the army; the rifle platoon is attached to the 7th Rifle Corps with the same task; the machine gun platoon is held in the reserve of the detachment commander; 9 men work in the army's staff, including platoon commander senior lieutenant GONCHAR who is employed as a commandant of the rear department; the remaining 37 men are employed at the headquarter of the blocking detachment. Thus the 7th Blocking Detachment doesn't carry out its service at all. The situation in other blocking detachments is the same (5, 6, 153, 21, 50).
In the 5th Blocking Detachment of the 54 Army of 189 men only 90 secure the Army's command post or carry out blocking service, the other 99 are employed at various works: 41 - for servicing administrative section of the army's staff as cooks, cobblers, tailors, storekeepers, clerks etc.; 12 men - in the departments of the army's staff as messengers and orderlies; 5 men are at the disposal of the staff commandant and 41 men service the detachment's headquarter.
In the 6th Blocking Detachment 90 privates and sergeants are employed for security of the command posts and signal lines, the other are at various works.

2. In a number of blocking detachments headquarters are extremely inflated. Instead of authorized 15 officers, sergeants and privates the headquarter of the 5th Blocking Detachment numbers 41 men; 7th Blocking Detachment - 37 men, 6th Blocking Detachment - 30 men, 153 Blocking Detachment - 30 men etc.

3. Army staffs do not execute control on activity of the blocking detachments leaving them to themselves and thus reduced the role of the blocking detachments to usual headquarter companies. Meanwhile blocking detachments personnel is selected from the best and proven soldiers and sergeants, veterans of many battles, awarded with orders of medal of the Soviet Union. In the 21st Blocking Detachment of the 67th Army of 199 men 75% participated in battles, many of them awarded. In the 50th Blocking Detachments 52 men were awarded for battle merits.

4. Lack of control from the part of the staffs led to low level of discipline in most blocking detachments, men got out of hand. In the last 3 months in the 6th Blocking Detachment 30 penalties were imposed on soldiers and sergeants for aggravated violation of military discipline. Situation in other detachments is not better.
...
Conclusion: blocking detachments mostly do not carry out their functions defined by the People's Commissar's Order No.227. Security of staffs, roads, signal lines, various service functions, servicing of officers, control of internal order in the armies rear are no way included in the functions of the front's blocking detachments.

I find it necessary to raise the question before the People's Commissar for Defense regarding reorganization or disbandment of blocking detachments as loosing their purpose in the present situation.
http://www.specnaz.ru/article/?518

Return to “The Soviet Union at War 1917-1945”