Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by clems, Feb 29, 2008.
What do you think about the importance of the actions of the resistance in Eastern front?
Partisans for important on all fronts, breaking communications, blowing bridges, attacking supply convoys, disrupting reinforments and so on. Withour the paritisans they invaded would have an easier time at contiuning an attack. Just look at the Normandy landings in 1944, partisans blew bridges and cut commuications allowing the allies to land more 'freely'(not that the landing was easy). The same would go for the Eastern front just plain being a menace to the invading germans, the germans would have to divert troops to deal with the resistance and station reserve troops all over there rear sectors just to make sure that the reinforcements and supplies get to the front, just look at what the warsaw uprising did to the germans in the rear guard although that was not about disrpution but about liberating themselves before the soviets arrived, but it still casued alot of havoc.
REAR AREA SECURITY IN RUSSIA 1941-44
From June 1941 to July 1944 the German army fought on Russian soil. During the entire period the Germans were faced with the problem of fighting Russian partisans or guerrillas to hold open their lines of communications and vital base area.
German anti-partisan warfare went through three phases: (1) the German offensive of the summer and fall of 1941, (2) the Soviet counteroffensive of the winter 1`941-42 and the following German summer offensive to the Caucasus and Volga, ending in August of 1942, and (3) the German defensive battles from Stalingrad in November 1942 to the Soviet border in June 1944.
Each phase had its counterpart in guerrilla and anti-guerrilla warfare. During the first phase the Soviet partisan movement was born and organized. I consisted of some 30,000 men, most of them hard-core communist functionaries supported by Red Army stragglers left behind the front of the advancing German armies. Although the Germans had hoped to be able to deal with guerrillas and secure their lines of communications by employing a total of 9 so-called security divisions (three divisions in each of three army groups), it soon was evident that regular front-line units had to be assigned for specific anti-partisan operations.
These operations were conducted in all sectors of the front and at varying times. They ranged from small-scale operations (up to company strength) to large-scale operations by special task forces of up to division strength, and mopping-up operations (today termed search and destroy operations) as well as pacification operations (today called clear and hold operations). The largest units the Germans withdrew front he front were regiments and battalions. Frequently, such regular forces were employed to clear certain parts of infested areas during redeployment moves. It took at least an 8 to 1 superiority to destroy a partisan unit by encirclement.
During the second phase, the Soviet partisan movement ran to a strength of about 150,000, organized into brigades and regiments. The partisans now had the capability of threatening rear area security to the extent that the operations of field armies and army groups were affected. The Germans were forced to counter the threat by resorting to large-scale operations, especially in the center and north sectors of the front.
The Germans launched a typical operation of this kind in the Yelnya-Derogobruzh area in January-June 1942. The Russian guerrilla and regular forces in the area numbered about 20,000 men. The German Fourth Army committed two army corps plus elements of a third, totalling [sic] seven divisions, plus security forces. Because of attrition and relatively low effective combat strengths, the German force was about equal in strength to the Soviet partisan forces, but superior in terms of mobility, firepower, and training. The Germans also had the advantage of
initiative. They killed or captured all but about ten percent of this group. The leadership and hard-core elite escaped.
During the third phase, the partisans had about a quarter of a million men. They were organized into brigades, groups, regiments, and battalions and were supported by the local population of large areas under partisan control. The partisan units were equipped with heavy weapons, artillery and even tanks. The Germans streamlined their anti-partisan organization, strengthened their security forces, and adopted aggressive counter-measures. Most effective were large-scale encirclement operations. The Germans employed, depending on the area, forces from one division to a reinforced army corps with up to half a dozen combat divisions. In terms of battalions, the total strength of some operations (e.g., Operation Zigeunerbaron near Bryansk) reached 40 battalions, reinforced by tanks, artillery and aircraft. None of these operations was fully successful because the Germans lacked the strength to throw tight encir[c]lement rings around the partisan areas.
To guard their lines of communications in the spring of 1943, the Germans employed about 250,000 men on security missions (150 German security battalions, 90 collaborator battalions, 30 satellite battalions, and more than 50,000 auxiliary police). In addition 10 training and reserve divisions had to be moved from the zone of the interior to Russia, and combat troops (divisions and corps) had to be withdrawn from the front for periods of weeks and even months. Conservative estimates would place German and Axis manpower employed in anti-partisan and security actions at 400,000 men. German commanders estimated that they would have needed twice the number to eliminate the guerrillas. These figures compare to an average strength of German land forces in the East of about 3.3 million in the summer of 1941 and 2 million in mid-1944.
?Charles V. P. von Luttichau
Soviet Partisan groups had immense capabilities as the war progressed. Part of the reason for the success of 'Bagration' can be laid with the humble partisan. Not too mention the countless airborne operations undertaken by the Soviets to supply them and also drop scouts and other army specialists.
Incidently, the anti-Soviet partisans were just as resourceful and even longer lived... Estonian and Lithuanian partisans fought the Red Army till the '50s, despite the Soviets deploying armoured forces against them. I have one account that talks of an attack by a WW2 Anti-Soviet partisan group as late as 1976...
Er... What about the Balkans?
Tito provided a 'fourth' front for Germany and her Allies to contend with... Yet another drain on their precious manpower.
Its interesting that the western resistance gets so much 'press' and yet little is mentioned of the Soviets or Balkan resistance... Even Italy gets little coverage.
Also a little known fact that the USSR 'culled' the pro-soviet partisans ruthlessly, sending in airborne forces to supply them and remove leaders etc who could be a threat to post war stability.
Maybe it's because they were much more great battles and high intensity combat or maybe the soviet wanted to praise only the role of the red army.
The balkan resistance is well- known as well as the french or polish resistance bt it was certainly less important than in Belarus, ukraine or russia were they were red army officers and soldiers who became partisans.But, i think the resistance is l porportionnal to the importance of the front. They were much more fierce battles in the east, much more exactions... and more resistance.
I dunno... The fighting in the Balkans was pretty brutal given the ethnic tensions that have existed there for centuries.
But it still occupied lots of German troops that could have been better deployed elsewhere.
Well, they occupied between 12 and 20 divisions but not the best.
Best is a relative term... Quality means little if in defence and 12-20 divisions could have made a big difference to the war in the West. Thats a load more men to man defences on the German border.
Doesn't matter about the quality , the Russians knew that better than anyone !! but 12-20 divisions is still a lot of men who could be used elsewhere , plus the logistic chain involved in keeping them in the field against Partisan groups.
The last of the "Forest Brothers " in Estonia didn't give up until the 1970's !!,
at the same time propaganda was trying to envolve civilians to partizan forces.
i have a pic of Belorussian newspaper with article "How to blow up german train", smth like "Users guide" for young people.
Can give you a scan, but only in original language (Belorussian)
Since one moment govornment became supporting partizans movement all over ussr territory, sending weapons, even giving the flags, later medals...
I was hoping you'd join in this thread and give us your point of view.
That is so very true. Men, supplies,equipment,weapons. All tied down when they could be doing good somewhere else.
Lines-of-communication and other security troops were not really the best the German army or any other could muster in terms of equipment and fighting ability or even personnel quality.
Or bad, depending on point of view
Partisans saw more action and were the biggest pain for the Germans in Belarus.
In early 1943 the Partisans of the Lepel region wiped out the German Polizei forces to create a Partisan Zone. By the end of 1943, the Zone consisted of 250,000
square kilometres. In April 1944 German forces consisting of the 15th, 56th, 82nd 195th and 252nd Infantry Divisions, the 201st Security division, the 6th Luftwaffe Field division, the 2nd, 12th, and the 24th Waffen SS Regimentsand supporting Russian Polizie units, cracked the Zone.
The Partisans, though lacking heavy weapons, put up a stiff resistance, but by the end of the month were cornered in the Ugly-Selische-Kulgai are. On 3 May 1944, most Partisan units broke through in the direction of Novoe Selo, the rest were disperesed or killed. At the end of June 1944 the region was liberated by the Red Army.
This example is important: we can see the partisans get involve in much bigger conventional battle than in the western resistants.
Partisans made a lot for victory, with or with out support of government.
There are a lot of places around Ukraine where you can see a monuments or stmh like that for partizans glory. It was built in communism times off course. So communism leaders understood all partizans contribution to a victory...
The best English translation on the subject I have found was the Leonid I. Grenkevich book (out of print now);
The Soviet Partisan Movement, 1941-1945: Critical Analysis of Historiography by Leonid Grenkevich, Grenkevich Leon, David M Glantz (Editor) (Used, New, Out-of-Print) - Alibris
Then there was the more recent Kenneth Slepyan book focusing on the social aspects;
> > > Kenneth Slepyan: People's Avengers or Enemies of the People? (Zeitgeschichte. Heft 2/1998)
Then there was the Nicolai Obryn'ba personal account (which seems rather embellished);
Barnes*&*Noble.com - Books: Red Partisan, by Nikolai I. Obryn'ba, Hardcover
The RUssian Battlefield Site has some veteran's tales from the Partisan War which have yet to be translated into English;
? ????? -- I Remember - Partisans
Then there is a Partisan Song and slideshow on You TUbe;
YouTube - Partizan
And another Youtube slideshow set to the Al Stewart tune "Road to Moscow"; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg8LLAyguQ0
So of what value was the Partisan movement to the overall Soviet War effort? Most of the files on the subject have remained sealed-at least as of the Grenkevich writing of about 6 years ago. Grenkevich points out several fields where the Partisan warriors made significant contributions-denying the enemy access to resources, attenuating supply, tying down significant enemy forces, guiding friendly conventional forces, killing a still undetermined number of Axis troops, running spy networks, attacking communications, running sabatodge operations, controlling the peoples of the occuppied territories, but the contribution he seems to give the wink to as the most significant was INTELLIGENCE. It does seem that the Germans had almost no operational secrecy while in the Russias and that the USSR had almost total operational secrecy. It would make sense that the thousands of eyes and hundreds of radio sets behind the German lines might have played a part.
During Operation Overlord Eisenhower credited the efforts of the French Guerrillas behind the Axis lines as "being worth fifteen frontline divisions." So how many full time warriors were in the French Resistance? 10,000? It would seem that behind the lines warriors are worth much more militarily than their conventional brothers in arms (though IKE's valuation may have been a bit overstated for political reasons). How many full time guerrilla warriors were in the Red Partisans? The numbers go as high as "300,000 in Belarus alone". So of what value was the Partisan War to the overall Soviet War effort? An open question, and one the Russians themselves seem unwilling to address.
PS. Grenkevich's writings on Partisans; http://books.google.com/books?id=7-...&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result
PSS. Some Partisan Klezmir; http://www.klezmershack.com/bands/waletzky/partisans/waletzky.partisans.html So of what value were the Jewish warriors to the Partisan Movement? Another open question... The Bielksi accounts do detail how escaped Jewish artisans did perform invaluable services in the fields of metalwork, tailoring, soldiering and etc. (the non Jewish artisans in the occupied territories tended to stay in the towns, I would guess) But what was the Jewish contribution to Red Army intell?