Partisans in Belarus

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szopen
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Partisans in Belarus

Post by szopen » 09 May 2005 15:32

Hi there!

I havea question which wasn't satisfied by googling nor by searching the forum.axishitory archives. I have found claims that during war, there were 150.000 active partisans in Belarus, while 250.000 were in reserve, that they have killed 500.000 Nazis (!!!!). 2.2 millons of Belarussians died in the process.

On the other hands, all modern documents about soviet partisans in Western Belarus (aka eastern Poland :) ) i found in Polish does not value soviet partisan much, saying that their activity limited to robbing local population, murdering AK soldiers and interrupting communication lines, while escpaing at sight of first German unit. I;ve even read satyrical (fictional) book in which soviet commander organised partisan unit which in official diary had records of blowing up the trains, killing whole German divisions while in reality they beat few gendarmes. The number of 2.2 million killed is also disputed, pointing that many of those could be those killed by soviet partisans, in earlier soviet terror or could be just recruited by Soviet amy and not yet returned to homes.

Those two images are incompatible. I know one is realting specifically to western Belarus, but does anyone have any non-soviet, reliable (that this: non all those http://www.belarusguide.com sites praising great deeds of soviet partisans) which would answer:

a) how big were partisan forces in Belarus,
b) how much were losses inflicted on Nazis forces (including materials etc)
c) how many divisions were directed to fight against it?

Do not point me to thread about anti-partisan activity in Belarus and other threads on forum.axishistory.com. I've checked them already and I have not found answers for my questions

EDIT: e.g. I do not search for sites like this:
http://archives.gov.by/evov/Eborba.htm
since this is Belarussian state and gives even higher numbers (400.000 partisans! wow!) Why? Because I want to establish whether those numbers are reliable, no to see them again and again...

Karri
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Post by Karri » 09 May 2005 16:15

I find it quite hard to believe that partisans in Belarus alone would have killed 500 000 germans.

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 09 May 2005 16:26

Hi szopen,

To answer your question, Christian Gerlach (Kalkulierte Morde. Die deutsche Wirtschafts- and Vernichtungspolitik im Weißrußland 1941 bis 1944) puts the number at 6,000-7,000 Germans killed.

Here's also a link to an article about Belorussian partisan movement:
http://www.axiseuropa.com/articles/guerrillawar.pdf

If you look at different resistence movements in Europe you'll probably notice the big exaggerations of numbers of enemy soldiers killed by the partisans. This was clearly the case in the whole Soviet Union (which claims 1 mio KIAs) and in the same extent also for example in Poland or Yugoslavia.

That said Belorussian partisan movement was probably together with Yugoslav the most active in Europe.

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Post by Larry D. » 09 May 2005 17:25

szopen -

Here are the standard English language works on the Soviet partisan movement. All of them are scholarly studies by university professors and professional historians. I particularly recommend the work by John Armstrong. It will have the correct numbers that you seek. In the late 1940's and early 1950's, Professor Armstrong was one of the key researchers for the Johns Hopkins University HRO project that wrote numerous unpublished monographs on the World War II Soviet Partisan Movement based on the captured German military records, private records in possession of the Reinhard Gehlen organization and Top Secret U.S. military intelligence documents. Prof. Armstrong had an incredible background to bring to bear when he wrote his book.

Brief Description: Mulligan, Timothy.
The politics of illusion and empire : German occupation policy in the Soviet Union, 1942-1943 / Timothy Patrick Mulligan.
New York : Praeger, 1988.
xiv, 206 p. : maps ; 24 cm.

Brief Description: Armstrong, John Alexander, 1922- ed.
Soviet partisans in World War II. With a foreword by Philip E. Mosely.
Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1964.
xviii, 792 p. maps, diagrs., tables. 24 cm.

Brief Description: Cooper, Matthew, 1952-
The phantom war : the German struggle against Soviet partisans, 1941-1944 / [by] Matthew Cooper.
London : Macdonald and Janes, 1979.
ix, 219 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports, ; 24 cm.

Brief Description: Dallin, Alexander.
German rule in Russia, 1941-1945; a study of occupation policies.
London, Macmillan; New York, St. Martin's Press, 1957.
695 p. illus., maps. 23 cm.

Brief Description: Reitlinger, Gerald, 1900-
The house built on sand; the conflicts of German policy in Russia, 1939-1945.
London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson [1960]
459 p. fold. maps. 23 cm.

--Larry

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AAA
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Post by AAA » 09 May 2005 17:45

Szopen,
I believe this one does have much of the answers your looking for, if not set out specifically for Belarus : DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PAMPHLET 20-244 THE SOVIET PARTISAN MOVEMENT 1941-1944 viewtopic.php?t=65387 Derived mostly from German records.

On 15 March [1943] according to German estimate the number of partisans in organized units totaled 77,800, of which 3,000 were east of the Dnepr in the more immediate rear of Army Group South, 57,800 behind Army Group Center, 4,500 in the rear of Army Group North, and 12,500 in that portion of the Pripyat Marshes just south of the Army Group Center boundary.
Given the location of Army Group Center - part of 70,000 would have been in Belarus. The following is October-December 43 :
Despite the presence of an increasing number of bands behind the length of this line, the focus of the partisan effort remained in the rear of Army Group Center. There the areas of heaviest partisan concentration, with the exception of the territory abandoned during the summer withdrawals, remained unchanged from the spring and summer, albeit considerably reinforced by local levies and bands forced westward by the retrogression of the front. In the Rossono area west of Nevel and north of Polotsk were approximately 12,000 irregulars; in the Senno-Lepel-Ushachi area, some 60 miles west of Vitebsk-Orsha, above 30,000; and in the general region bounded Minsk-Orsha-Gomel-Slutsk and centered about Bobruysk, 28,000.
and finally about the central sector in start of 1944
Before the end of January it had become obvious that the start the partisans in the central sector had made toward expanding and consolidating their areas of concentration during the last weeks of 1943 was part of a series of Moscow-directed steps to improve the operational efficiency of the movement and realign its mission more closely with that of the Red Army. Certainly the partisan support of the drive from Orel into White Russia had not been overly impressive. True, with their raids and sabotage the bands had hurt the Germans, but with a strength in excess of 60,000 men, with good support from the Soviet rear, and in terrain which heavily favored them, they had failed in their mission of cutting off the supply of the German units at the front and trapping them in the forward areas by blocking their axes of retreat. And this was against an enemy preoccupied with staving off literal disaster.
The numbers all revolve around 60-70 thousand.

Regarding claims of German casualties : I agree, 500,000 is not just inaccurate but plain ridiculous, of course any executed "local collaborators" (ie just about any civilian and not actual soldier) might be classed as "Nazi" casualties.

There is a general phenomena of partisan effectiveness being romanticised, propagandized and exaggerated, and not just by the USSR. Yugoslavia, Poland (see viewtopic.php?t=62682) and France have exaggerated the effectiveness of their partisans/resistance out of all proportion to historical effectiveness.

Besides, regarding numbers of partisans : what on earth are "partisans in reserve"?

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Post by Molobo » 09 May 2005 18:15

Besides, regarding numbers of partisans : what on earth are "partisans in reserve"?

People trained in military matters and part of resistance movement that aren't mobilized in partisant units engaged in combat operations.

szopen
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Post by szopen » 09 May 2005 18:45

Thanks to all the answers! It seems you are far better google'rs than me. I was able to find only dozen of apologetic sites praising the heroic partisans :)

Karri
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Post by Karri » 09 May 2005 19:41

Regarding the killing of 'collaborators' during Continuation war the soviet partisans(or desants...I'm not quite sure what the difference i supposed to be) destroyed several villages as well as killing the civilian population in those places. These were of course reported onwards as destroying garrisons or some such.

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Post by Andreas » 09 May 2005 19:58

Overclaims happened on both sides - and will continue to happen in asymmetric warfare (which I believe is the modern and more clinical term for partisan warfare or Bandenkrieg). Just watch what happens in Iraq. According to the report by the commission charged with investigating the accuracy of the Wehrmachtexhibition, KoRueck Heeresgruppe Mitte claimed 80,000 partisans and suspected partisans liquidated between June 41 and May 42. Own losses during these operations 1,094.

It is almost certainly safe to assume that many of these partisans were innocent civilians, and a large part of them probably of Jewish faith, and none of these many had ever come close to a gun before they met the one the German 'soldiers' (they hardly deserve that term) shot them with.

As for effectiveness - the GOC Korpsabteilung C credits partisans with effective co-operation with and support of Red Army operations in Northern Ukraine in Spring and Summer 1944, in particular during fluid front-line situations, where they aided Soviet reconnaissance and decreased security in the rear. They did not need to inflict significant casualties to be effective - but it makes better copy to claim they did.

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Post by Larry D. » 09 May 2005 22:49

Some 15 years ago, I read through just about all of the microfilmed German records of the rüchwärtige Heeresgebiete Mitte, rüchwärtige Armeegebiete Pz.AOK 2, AOK 4, Pz.AOK 3, AOK 9, the Sicherungsdivisionen assigned to Heeresgruppe Mitte and several other rear area commands in Belorussia. These are all in the U.S. National Archives Record Group 242, Microcopy T-501 and T-315 series. These records are full of reports from the 6 or 7 Geheime Feldpolizei Gruppen that were located there. Each of those G.F.P. groups shot several hundred partisans, partisan sympathizers, commissars, Jews, suspected Jews and petty criminals every week, so you can see how the number of executed Belorussians got to be very large by the end of 1943. Of special interest are the so-called partisan sympathizers who were arrested, interrogated and then shot. For the most part, these were innocent villagers who had been forced at gun point to provide food and shelter to the partisan bands. They had no choice. So if the partisans didn't shoot them for being uncooperative, then the Germans shot them later.

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Post by David Thompson » 13 May 2005 18:09

The German Army & anti-partisan warfare in USSR
viewtopic.php?t=62191
Major Anti-Partisan Operations in Belorussia
viewtopic.php?t=2006

szopen
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Post by szopen » 14 May 2005 10:10

David Thompson wrote:The German Army & anti-partisan warfare in USSR
viewtopic.php?t=62191
Major Anti-Partisan Operations in Belorussia
viewtopic.php?t=2006


Mr David, i have found this topic before i posted my question, but they contain info on what were operations and what were losses in that operations (as well as data for killed "partisans" and doubts whether they were partisans or not), not overall established number of partisans, reliability of this data, and damage done by partisans. Of course, it was quite late when i read it, but I do not think I've missed something

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Some offtop

Post by dik » 17 Jul 2005 22:24

This Marder II was used by partizanen brigade under command Kovpak on the territory of Belsrus.

Photo made on parade in honour of liberation Minsk from Germans. July 1944.
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Re: Partisans in Belarus

Post by Karman » 18 Jul 2005 10:48

Sudoplatov recalled that immediately after the beguinning of war he headed the sabotage-guerilla work in NKVD. They organized a special brigade that sent sabotage groups behind the front lines. About the damage NKVD gherillas did to German troops according to Sudoplatov:

Ïîäðàçäåëåíèÿ 4-ãî Óïðàâëåíèÿ è îòäåëüíîé ìîòîñòðåëêîâîé áðèãàäû îñîáîãî íàçíà÷åíèÿ óíè÷òîæèëè 157 òûñÿ÷ íåìåöêèõ ñîëäàò è îôèöåðîâ, ëèêâèäèðîâàëè 87 âûñîêîïîñòàâëåííûõ íåìåöêèõ ÷èíîâíèêîâ, ðàçîáëà÷èëè è îáåçâðåäèëè 2045 àãåíòóðíûõ ãðóïï ïðîòèâíèêà.

Units of the 4th Directorate (NKVD) and separate special action motorized rifle brigade killed 157 thousand German soldiers and officers, killed 87 high rank German officials, exterminated 2045 secret groups of enemy.

NKVD guerila units were of international character/ According to Sudoplatov there were Germans, Hungarians, Americans etc. Medvedev who acted in Western Ukraine recalled that first his unit was about 50% Spanish.

According to famous Igor Starinov:
â 1942 ãîäó
óêðàèíñêèå ïàðòèçàíû ïóñòèëè ïîä îòêîñ 202 ïîåçäà, à çà ïåðâóþ ïîëîâèíó 1943
ãîäà - óæå áîëåå 500; òî çà âòîðóþ ïîëîâèíó 1943 ãîäà, êîãäà áûëà ñîçäàíà
äèâåðñèîííàÿ ñëóæáà, - îêîëî 3 òûñÿ÷.


Trnanslation: Ukrainian partisans exploded 202 trains in 1942, more than 500 trains during the first half of 1943 and 3000 trains during the second half of 1943 when subversive service was formed.

British military writers: Dixon C. A. & Heilbrunn. Communist Guerilla Warfare. — L.: 1954
reviewed the partisan activities in 1941 - 1945. They say that there were no detail German reports on the losses German army troops suffered from guerilla warfare so they had to rely on Russian sources i.e. General Ponomorenko who recited that during two years of guerilla war soviet guerillas exterminated 300,000 German servicemen, of them there were 30 generals, 6336 officers and 1520 pilots, they also exploded not less than 3000 trains, 3263 bridges and 1191 tanks, 476 airplanes and 478 cannons, 895 wharehouses with weaponry and ammo.

Dixon & Heilbrunn siad that they could not congirm the figures from German sources but place Manshtein's words as an inferential evidence of the truth of those words. Manstein said that in 1944 the Group Center registered 7000 guerilla atacks on communication lines within 7 hours perio and that in Krimea those attacks were registered every day. Considering this rate of activities Dixon C. A. & Heilbrunn infer that Ponomorenko's words could be reliable.

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Post by Larry D. » 18 Jul 2005 14:09

General Ponomorenko who recited that during two years of guerilla war soviet guerillas exterminated 300,000 German servicemen, of them there were 30 generals, 6336 officers and 1520 pilots, they also exploded not less than 3000 trains, 3263 bridges and 1191 tanks, 476 airplanes and 478 cannons, 895 wharehouses with weaponry and ammo.


These are claims. As with all claims, no matter who makes them, they are almost always overstated. Since the 1954 book by Dixon and Heilbrunn, there have been a fairly large number of studies done on this subject in a variety of languages, including English and German, so those interested should review the more recent of these before jumping to any conclusions about the extent of the casualties and damage inflicted by the partisans in Russia, 1941-44.

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