Order No. 227,more commonly known as 'Not One Step Backwards'. Stalin made many changes, then signed it. The order was to be read to all troops in the Red Army. 'Panic-mongers and cowards must be destroyed on the spot. The retreat mentality must be decisively eliminated. Army commanders who have allowed the voluntary abandonment of positions must be removed and sent for immediate trial by military tribunal.' Anyone who surrendered was 'a traitor to the Motherland'. Each army had to organize 'three to five well-armed detachments (up to 200 men each)' to form a second line to shoot down any soldier who tried to run away. Zhukov implemented this order on the Western Front within ten days, using tanks manned by specially selected officers. They followed the first wave of an attack, ready 'to combat cowardice', by opening fire on any soldiers who wavered.
Russians move forward under covering fire
A battle-hardened Russian snatches a smoke
Death lay everywhere. Human life was cheap
Mean while the Germans dig holes for defence
A shattered Berlin
Russian soldiers hit
Another department of the NKVD, set up by Beria in the autumn of 1939, dealt with enemy prisoners of war. Its first major task had been the liquidation of over 4,000 Polish officers in the forest at Katyn.In the summer of 1942, however, its officers were underemployed because so few Germans were captured during the Axis advance.
Every member of a small detachment from the 29th Motorized Division of Fourth Panzer Army was interrogated by Lieutenant Lepinskaya from the political department of South-Western Front headquarters. Her questions to gauge their morale provided little encouraging material. 'Most of the soldiers want to fight to the end,'she had to report. 'No cases of desertion or self-inflicted wounds.Officers strict but fair.'
Stalingrad: A Fateful Siege by ANTONY BEEVOR
Fresh German troops ready for war
Russians fire as some of them move forward. Fighting in the Russian winter
Russian soldiers crouch in their positions awaiting the dreaded sound of approaching German panzers in a Russian city
The Germans move in the trench
The German motor cycle messenger is in a tearing hurry as a tank burns
German soldiers ogle and grin at captured Russian partisans. One shivers to think of what must have happened to the women
Stalin July 1941
The Partisan organization grew from humble beginnings, with small, disorganised groups of poorly trained and equipped fighters, to emerge in early 1944 as a highly motivated, well organised, well trained and equipped force totalling some 700,000 men and women. Partisan forces constantly disrupted the German rear areas, destroying lines of communication and supply and exacting a heavy toll on moral and resources. The extent of the Partisan threat resulted in the Germans deploying 25 dedicated security Divisions, 30 separate security Regiments and more than 100 police Battalions to help safeguard the rear areas.
In the troubled times the Russian child has found a new toy
Germans cross a river
Not a pretty sight. This Stuka ended in a ditch
Germans watch nonchalantly the mangled remains of man and machine
A German watches the corpses of Russian soldiers
Watching his fallen comrades-in-arm
Spark of humanity in an age of madness and hatred. A German soldier gives a wounded Russian some water
The fighting is over for these Russians