Did Stalin ever see combat?

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T.R.Searle
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Did Stalin ever see combat?

Post by T.R.Searle » 05 Sep 2002 20:15

Did Joseph Stalin ever see combat before? I know he "fought" in the revolution but was he at the front or behind the lines like in WWII.

T.R.Searle :)

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Starinov
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Post by Starinov » 05 Sep 2002 21:23

He was involved in the defenses of Tsaritsin in 1918 and in the attack against Poland in 1920. Now it depends how you consider a commissar's involvement on the front line knowing that he was attached to the staff of the 1st Horse Army...

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Brannik
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Post by Brannik » 07 Sep 2002 22:19

As far as I know,Stalin was never in action.None of his biographers mentions it.So,it is just like his work experience :wink:

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Gott
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Post by Gott » 08 Sep 2002 07:08

Starinov wrote:He was involved in the defenses of Tsaritsin in 1918 and in the attack against Poland in 1920. Now it depends how you consider a commissar's involvement on the front line knowing that he was attached to the staff of the 1st Horse Army...
and Tsaritsin was renamed Stalingrad because of Stalin's sucessful defense over the city. Its now Volgograd, but I heard a lot of people in the city wants the city to be renamed back to Stalingrad.

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Cantankerous
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Re: Stalin during Battle of Tsaritsyn

Post by Cantankerous » 14 Feb 2023 03:17

Starinov wrote:
05 Sep 2002 21:23
He was involved in the defenses of Tsaritsin in 1918 and in the attack against Poland in 1920. Now it depends how you consider a commissar's involvement on the front line knowing that he was attached to the staff of the 1st Horse Army...
Even though this thread is 20 years old, I should emphasize that Stalin's only involvement in the siege of Tsaritsyn was during the second siege of the city from September-October 1918. From Wikipedia:
Towards the end of September, as part of a broader reorganization of the entire Red Army, coordinated by its commander-in-chief Jukums Vācietis and the military commissar Leon Trotsky, the Red forces in Tsaritsyn were officially renamed the 10th Army. It was still commanded by Voroshilov, but the Bolsheviks reorganized the entire Southern Front, putting at its head the former Tsarist general Pavel Sytin.

At this same time, a second Cossack offensive began under the general command of Pyotr Krasnov, and with the participation of a group of 50,000 cavalry under the command of Konstantin Mamontov. By mid-October the city was almost completely surrounded and the only advantage the Reds had was in artillery, which allowed them to keep control over the city. A conflict immediately broke out in Tsaritsyn between Stalin and Voroshilov on the one hand, and Trotsky, Vācietis and Sytin on the other.

Stalin interfered with matters beyond his competence and urged Voroshilov to ignore Sytin's orders. When on 29 September 1918 Sytin arrived in Tsaritsyn from his headquarters in Kozlov, a brawl broke out at a meeting of the North Caucasus Military Council, and two days later, against the will of the high command, Voroshilov was appointed commander of the Front. Trotsky and Vācietis demanded that Stalin be deprived of his post as commissar and that Voroshilov be brought before a military tribunal. In response, Stalin sent telegrams to Vladimir Lenin complaining about Trotsky.

Against the orders of the Red Army command, Dmitry Zhloba's 15,000-strong Steel Division (then part of Ivan Sorokin's 11th Army) marched from the North Caucasus towards Tsaritsyn. On 15 October, Zhloba's division struck Krasnov's forces in a surprise attack, breaking the siege. After these events, Zhloba's division was incorporated into the 10th Army. By the end of the month, the Cossacks were forced to resign.

Over the course of the battle, Stalin had regularly disobeyed Moscow's orders, illegally confiscating supplies sent from Moscow through Tsaritsyn towards the Caucasus. In November 1918, Stalin was recalled from Tsaritsyn due to his insubordination and left the city after the siege was lifted. A little later Sytin lost his own position, and Pēteris Slavens was appointed in his place.
Despite the fact that a painting by Mitrofan Grekov from the 1930s showing Stalin with Voroshilov and Shchadenko in the trenches of Tsaritsyn was used by Stalin for propaganda purposes to cast himself as someone who tirelessly defended Tsaritsyn from the White Army and Cossacks, it is apparent that Stalin's disagreements with Trotsky and Lenin regarding how to secure a Red Army victory at Tsaritsyn, his disobedience of Moscow's orders, and confiscation of supplies sent from Moscow through Tsaritsyn towards the Caucasus, by leading to him being recalled from Tsaritsyn in November 1918 due to his acts of insubordination, are one of the many reasons that many Red Army generals in the Russian Civil War had no deep respect for him due to his mostly passive role in the conflict and hence were accused of treason and crimes against the state during the Great Terror of the late 1930s.

Kotkin, S., 2014. Stalin: Paradoxes of Power. New York: Penguin Press.

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