Why were Red Army Officers and soldiers not prosecuted for War Crimes in WWII?

Why were Red Army Officers and soldiers not prosecuted for War Crimes in WWII?


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Recently I read Antony Beevor's Berlin The Downfall:1945. The author has described wanton acts of looting, murder, arson and rape in the so-called liberated areas from German Occupation in Eastern-Central Europe - which after WWII was the Communist Bloc.

The behaviour of the Red Army Soldiers, NKVD and SMERSH was not much different from the behaviour of Wehrmacht, SS and Gestapo.

While Nuremberg Trials tried the war crimes of Germany and its allies, why were the war crimes of Allied Forces not tried?

This may be marked as duplicate of the question "What other war crimes trials, besides those of Nazi war criminals, were held after WWII?" or similar questions, but it is specific to Red Army since basically both Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia were birds of the same feather though at opposite ends of the spectrum.

This is my first question on the History site. In case of some discrepancies the question may be properly edited to be acceptable.


There was zero political motivation to try Allied violators of the accepted laws of war:

  1. no one is going to surrender themselves to trial. As the military is basically in charge of reconstruction/de-Nazification/justice, etc., in the enemy states, they are not going to prosecute and try themselves. The same reason why Donald Trump is unwilling to submit himself to FBI investigation (why would he want to?);
  2. there was no demand for such trials in the Allied nations. The people were far more astounded by the Axis crimes of war, and the Allied counterparts were not comparable;
  3. the Allied forces had appealed to justice as their cause against Axis powers. Prosecuting Allied commanders would undermine that;
  4. they had no resources to hold more trials I am actually not sure about this; this has only been my guess by far;
  5. the former enemy states are not going to try them either. Why? Because they just can't.

So it should be quite obvious that there was no motivation to try Allied commanders who were in violation of the accepted laws of war. Many Allied operations and wartime conduct are highly controversial (American, Soviet, British and Chinese alike), but they were on a far smaller scale and much less disturbing than the Axis counterparts.

Also note that, as the other answers mentioned, many soldiers guilty of isolated cases of rape and looting have been tried in courts-martial, just as they usually would be. However, battle operations of questionable legality (such as the American air raids on Dresden and Tokyo), as well as outright war crimes (such as the Soviet massacre in Katyn), were never prosecuted in court. In some cases, the respective governments have issued formal apologies, but no, no one has been jailed for masterminding those incidents.


Some Red Army officers were punished by their own commanders.

In a village close to Magdeburg

The officer began to talk, then a German man from a nearby town entered and told through a translator that a Russian soldier has raped his daughter. The man pointed to a soldier.

Then, for the first and hopefully last time, I saw how a person is being beaten to death. The high officer has trampled his soldier to death, all by himself.

Lieselotte B. remembers the victory celebration of the Redarmists on May 8th, 1945

Source: Mirjam Gebhardt, Als die Soldaten kamen; Dieter Hildebrandt, Felix Kuballa (Hg.), Mein Kriegsende. Erinnerungen an die Stunde Null, Berlin 2012, S. 221.

In chapter 5 of the same book (Mirjam Gebhardt, Als die Soldaten kamen / When the soldiers came) the author quotes memories of Eva Ebner, a German woman who was raped, reported the crime to Soviet authorities, and had to identify the rapists:

Now [the Soviet officer] asked me: "Who did that?"

I looked at all of them, seven or eight, and thought: "Now you have the opportunity to pay back for all that pain, for fear and humiliation." This was my first thought. But my second thought was: "Eva, get real. These are people as well. These are the Russians, for which you waited."

I looked from one to another, recognized them, also the small, plump one. He was particularly mean. I looked all of them into the eyes and in them I saw only one thing: fear.

Then I told to myself: "It doesn't pay off, that because of you and your suffering, another one human life is wasted."

According to the author, these rapists would have faced death penalty, had Eva Ebner confirmed their identities.

That's why they were afraid.


Your question is based on a false premise. I think it is fair to say that the Red Army soldiers were more violent than the western Allies. Absolute statements like "were [… ] not tried" are wrong, however.

And I also think that the Nazis were worse than the Red Army -- as mentioned below, the Soviet leadership wanted to create Communist puppet states, while the German leadership wanted to create Lebensraum.

Two factors regarding the commission and prosecution of war crimes. The first factor explains why crimes might be perpetrated:

  • Soviet soldiers had witnessed bitter fighting and German atrocities.
  • Soviet war propaganda had highlighted German atrocities and the need for 'payback' to motivate Soviet citizens.

That will explain (but not excuse) why Soviet soldiers committed atrocities, and why Soviet authorities might have been reluctant to investigate and punish. There is a proverb that says never give an order if you know it will not be obeyed.

The second factor explains why crimes might be punished:

  • Any army needs to maintain discipline to maintain combat efficiency. A soldier who loots and rapes is not available to fight, and might get into the habit of ignoring orders.
  • The Soviet government planned on systematic looting in the form of war reparations and also on the inclusion of Soviet-occupied areas in a Communist zone of influence. The new government followed on the footsteps of the Red Army.

Some (not all) of Beevor's claims contradict common sense while not showing much in terms of supporting documentation. If you can read Russian, perhaps you should review the following article by N.Mendkovich http://actualhistory.ru/51

I mean, two million raped women in East Germany (Soviet zone of occupation)? Every sixth woman there (including infants and ancient crones) was raped? Anyways, the point is that Beevor bases too much of his writing on anecdotal evdience of the sort "everybody knows that" etc. Of course, everybody knows. Cold war propaganda made sure that everybody in the West knew that USSR was empire of evil that killed and raped evrything in sight. It's kind of tough to try and find reasonable factual basis for all of that now, but who cares? Evrybody knows that's what happened.


1) The Soviet Union had a functional system for trying their own troops. Euromaidan claims the official statistics support 2.5 million Soviet citizens tried (http://euromaidanpress.com/2018/05/15/soviets-executed-three-times-as-many-red-army-soldiers-as-nazis-executed-german-ones/). Not all of these crimes were against the Soviet Union, though many were.

2) Many war crimes were dealt with summarily, such as the reimposition of order on Soviet troops in Berlin after the traditional three days.

3) As part of the constitutive authority for Nuremberg and other European trials the Soviet Union restricted the scope of the trials to their enemies.

4) Many Geneva war crimes were not war crimes under the traditional laws of war and reciprocity that held in the East. As such they could have been acted upon as criminality, or have not been pursued at all.


There is a one word answer to your question: WINNING!

Historically, since the beginning of time, war crimes are for the losers.

And that will never really change.


The Red Army

After the October Revolution it was decided by Vladimir Lenin that the old Russian Army would have to be turned into an instrument of the Communist Party. The old army was demobilized and in January 1918 the Soviet government ordered the formation of the Red Army of Workers and Peasants.

Leon Trotsky, the Commissar of War, was appointed the head of the Red Army on 13th March, 1918. The army had to be established quickly as it was needed to fight the White Army during the Civil War. Trotsky was forced to recruit a large number of officers from the old Russian Army. He was criticized for this but he argued that it would be impossible to fight the war without the employment of experienced army officers.

Initially a volunteer army, losses during the Civil War forced the Soviet government to introduce conscription in June, 1918. Lenin was impressed by Trotsky's achievements and in 1919 remarked to Maxim Gorky: "Show me another man who could have practically created a model army in a year and won respect of the military specialist as well."

At the end of the Civil War there were over 5,000,000 men in the Red Army. They were demobilized with 600,000 men retained to form a regular army.

When Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933 the Soviet government decided to increase the size of the Red Army to combat the dangers of Nazi Germany. By 1935 the Red Army had grown to 1,300,000 men. The Soviet Union also had 10,000 tanks and 5,000 front-line planes.

Joseph Stalin gradually became convinced that the leadership of the Red Army was planning to oust him from power. In June, 1937, Mikhail Tukhachevsky and seven other top Red Army commanders were charged with conspiracy with Germany. All eight were convicted and executed. All told, 30,000 members of the armed forces were executed. This included fifty per cent of all army officers.

When the Red Army was originally established soldiers swore an oath to fight for international socialism. This was changed in January 1939 and recruits had to pledge himself "to protect with all his strength the property of the Army and the People and to cherish unto death his People, the Soviet homeland and the government of Workers and Peasants, also to respond at the first call from the government of Workers and Peasants to defend the homeland, the USSR."

The Red Army also contained political commissars whose role it was to ensure loyalty to Joseph Stalin and his government. Often members of NKVD, the Soviet secret police, the presence of political commissars created an inefficient duality of field command.

On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the Red Army had an estimated 1,800,000 men in its ranks, of whom one fourth were stationed in the Far East.

In November, 1939, the Red Army invaded Finland. Marshall Carl Mannerheim, Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army, was able to block the Soviet advance at Kemijarvi and Karelian. It was not until the spring of 1940 that the 7th and 13th armies led by General Kiril Meretsokov, was able to break through the Finnish defences.

A Red Army officer instructs his men on the Maxim machine-gun

Finland agreed peace terms on 13th March, 1940. The war cost the Soviets 200,000 men, 700 planes and 1,600 tanks. Joseph Stalin now came to the conclusion that the Red Army was not able to fight a major war and helped to confirm his view that it was vitally important to avoid a war with Nazi Germany for as long as possible. The Soviet-Finnish War also convinced Adolf Hitler that the German Army would easily beat the Red Army when the war eventually took place.

After the war with Finland Stalin rapidly increased in size of the Red Army. By 1941 it had grown to 3 million men (300 divisions). Most of the men served in unmechanized rifle divisions. The infantry were supported by horse-drawn artillery and the cavalry. Over half of the soldiers in the Red Army were stationed in the west facing the much smaller German forces.

The Red Army also had two new tank corps. This included the KV and Russia's new "shellproof" tank, the T-34. The tank was provided with sloped armour to deflect shells that was welded instead of riveted. Fitted with a powerful diesel engine, its main armament was a high-velocity 76mm gun.

On 21st June, 1941, a German sergeant deserted to the Soviet forces. He informed them that the German Army would attack at dawn the following morning. Joseph Stalin was reluctant to believe the soldier's story and it was not until the German attack took place that he finally accepted that his attempts to avoid war with Germany until 1942 had failed.

The German forces, made up of three million men and 3,400 tanks, advanced in three groups. The north group headed for Leningrad, the centre group for Moscow and the southern forces into the Ukraine. Within six days, the Germans had captured Minsk. General Demitry Pavlov, the man responsible for defending Minsk, and two of his senior generals were recalled to Moscow and were shot for incompetence.

With the execution of Pavlov and his generals, Joseph Stalin made it clear that he would punish severely any commander whom he believed had let down the Soviet Union. In future, Soviet commanders thought twice about surrendering or retreating. Another factor in this was the way that the German Army massacred the people of Minsk. Terrified of both Stalin and Hitler, the Soviet people had no option but to fight until they were killed.

Joseph Stalin appointed himself Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army on 20th July, 1941. A new Conscription Act was passed on 31st August 1941. The age of military conscription was lowered to eighteen for youths without secondary education and nineteen for those who had been educated above that level.

The first few months of the war was disastrous for the Soviet Union. The German northern forces surrounded Leningrad while the centre group made steady progress towards Moscow. German forces had also made deep inroads into the Ukraine. Kiev was under siege and Stalin's Chief of Staff, Georgi Zhukov, suggested that the troops defending the capital of the Ukraine should be withdrawn, thus enabling them to take up strong defensive positions further east. Stalin insisted that the troops stayed and by the time Kiev was taken, the casualties were extremely high. It was the most comprehensive defeat experienced by the Red Army in its history. However, the determined resistance put up at Kiev, had considerably delayed the attack on Moscow.

It was now September and winter was fast approaching. As German troops moved deeper into the Soviet Union, supply lines became longer. Joseph Stalin gave instructions that when forced to withdraw, the Red Army should destroy anything that could be of use to the enemy. The scorched earth policy and the formation of guerrilla units behind the German front lines, created severe problems for the German war machine which was trying to keep her three million soldiers supplied with the necessary food and ammunition.

By October, 1941, German troops were only fifteen miles outside Moscow. Orders were given for a mass evacuation of the city. In two weeks, two million people left Moscow and headed east. Stalin rallied morale by staying in Moscow. In a bomb-proof air raid shelter positioned under the Kremlin, Stalin, as Supreme Commander-in-Chief, directed the Soviet war effort. All major decisions made by his front-line commanders had to be cleared with Stalin first.

In November, 1941, the German Army launched a new offensive on Moscow. The Soviet army held out and the Germans were brought to a halt. Stalin called for a counter-attack. His commanders had doubts about this policy but Stalin insisted and on 4th December the Red Army attacked. The Germans, demoralized by its recent lack of success, was taken by surprise and started to retreat. By January, the Germans had been pushed back 200 miles.

Stalin's military strategy was basically fairly simple. He believed it was vitally important to attack the enemy as often as possible. He was particularly keen to use new, fresh troops for these offensives. Stalin argued that countries in western Europe had been beaten by their own fear of German superiority. His main objective in using new troops in this way was to convince them that the German forces were not invincible. By pushing the German Army back at Moscow, Stalin proved to the Soviet troops that Blizkrieg could be counteracted it also provided an important example to all troops throughout the world fighting the German war-machine.

Helped by aid from the United States and Britain, the Soviet Union was able to build up the Red Army. The large tank corps were replaced by independent tank brigades of about 90 tanks. In late 1942 the Red Army created tank corps that contained one motorized infantry and two tank brigades. These new units were used to exploit gaps created by massed infantry attacks.

In July 1943 a Red Army attack using 3,000 tanks defeated the German Army at Kursk. This was followed by steady Soviet advances along the Eastern Front. The pace of success was increased when the Allies landed in Normandy in June 1944.

In 1945 the Red Army moved into Germany. Afraid of being captured by the Soviets and being paraded around the streets in a cage, Adolf Hitler commits suicide and on 2nd May, the Commander of German troops in Berlin surrendered.

At its peak an estimated 12.5 million men and women fought in the Red Army. It is unknown how many were killed but after the peace was signed the government claimed that over 20 million Soviet citizens died during the Second World War.


How and why Italy fought against the USSR in WWII (PHOTOS)

"When an Italian soldier knows what he is fighting for, he doesn't fight badly, as was the case in the time of Garibaldi. In this war, however, soldiers not only do not know what they are fighting for, but they did not want this war and do not want it. Therefore, they only think of returning home," a bersagliere (elite rifleman) of the Principe Amedeo Duca d'Aosta Division, dispatched by Italian leader Benito Mussolini to the Eastern Front in the summer of 1941, said about Italy's involvement in the military campaign against the USSR.

Parade of Italian troops in Rome.

Despite Italy's declaring war on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 &mdash the day Operation Barbarossa was launched [the German invasion of the Soviet Union] &mdash there were no Italian soldiers in the invading army then. Initially, Adolf Hitler didn&rsquot intend to involve his main ally in the "Crusade against Bolshevism" because he felt that Rome had enough on its plate already. It had substantial occupation forces in Albania, Greece and Yugoslavia, and the Italian possessions in East Africa had been all but lost. In North Africa, the Italians managed to stand their ground only thanks to support of the German forces led by General Erwin Rommel that had been sent there. Despite this, Benito Mussolini persuaded the leader of the Third Reich to give his troops a chance to show what they could do in the war against the Russians.

Benito Mussolini visits Italian troops on the Eastern front.

The first Italian soldiers arrived on the Eastern Front in August 1941. The so-called Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR) numbered over 62,000 men, including 600 Italian "SS-men" &mdash Blackshirts of the Voluntary Militia for National Security (Milizia Volontaria Per La Sicurezza Nationale) who were deeply loyal to the regime. Air support was provided by 51 Macchi C.200 Saetta fighter aircraft of the Italian Royal Air Force.

Bersagliere in Stalino (Donetsk).

The first weeks of the CSIR's operations in the Soviet Union demonstrated that Italy was completely unprepared for the war. The supply of provisions, combat clothing and ammunition was abysmally organized. The situation regarding road transport was even worse &mdash Italian trucks couldn't last long on Russian roads. Soldiers of the Torino Division, forced to march over 1,300 km from the Romanian border eastwards, compared themselves to lowly foot-soldiers of the Middle Ages taken to war by their German masters who travelled comfortably on horseback.

Bersagliere in the USSR in 1942.

The armaments of the corps were a particular problem &mdash their 47 mm anti-tank guns proved helpless against Soviet T-34 tanks. Their rounds only slightly dented &mdash or just ricocheted off &mdash the armor of enemy tanks. As far as the armored force was concerned, the Italians only had L3/33 and L3/35 tankettes, incapable of fighting Red Army tanks on equal terms. When the frosts hit, the fighter aircraft began to let the Italians down: The Macchi C.200s had been built with the Mediterranean theater in mind, not the Russian winter.

Benito Mussolini inspects the four guns he sent with the first division of soldiers to the Russian front.

All the above factors led to the commanders of Army Group South being constantly unhappy with the Italian corps under the group's command. Despite some successful local operations by the Italians (such as the "Christmas Battle" on the River Mius on Dec. 26, 1941), the Germans had a low opinion of the Italians as soldiers. "The Italian divisions are unfortunately so ineffectual that they can be employed for nothing more than passive flank cover in the rear of our positions," Franz Halder, chief of the Army General Staff, wrote in his war diary.

'Sforzesca' division in action.

Things were different with the Italian Royal Navy, which earned high praise from the Germans. One of the most effective special submarine units of World War II, the 10th Assault Craft Flotilla, was on active service in the Black Sea, where its torpedo-armed motorboats, midget submarines and sabotage parties successfully fought Soviet troops and naval forces in the Crimea. Several boats were even deployed to the Baltic, despite the distance from Italy.

MAS 528 torpedo boat on Ladoga lake.

As far as their interaction with the local population and Red Army prisoners of war, the Italians were much more humane than the Germans, Hungarians or Romanians. "Early on the morning of Oct. 21, 1941, Italian troops were already in the town," recalled Yekaterina Mateychuk (Gayduk), a resident of the Ukrainian town of Krasnoarmeysk. "And we, children, ran to see what fine uniforms they had: Berets with brightly-colored feathers, aiguillettes&hellip There was nothing frightening about them, but the Italians departed very quickly and it was only when the Germans arrived in the town and began their atrocities that we could of course see the difference&hellip Despite the fact that the Italians attempted to distance themselves from the brutal methods of their allies, the CSIR's path through Soviet territory was also marked by a number of war crimes: Murders of civilians, rapes, looting and destruction of infrastructure.

Italian soldier in Kharkiv.

By the summer of 1942, the Expeditionary Corps had lost around 15,000 men &mdash a quarter of its strength. Mussolini decided significantly to reinforce his military grouping in the USSR and in July the 8th Army, also known as the Italian Army in Russia (Armata Italiana in Russia, or ARMIR), was deployed on the basis of the Corps. It numbered 235,000 men, but the earlier problems with supplies and weapons had not gone away. A small group of 19 light L6/40 tanks at its disposal was incapable of becoming a strike force of any significance, so German armored formations were periodically brought in to reinforce ARMIR.

The Italian troops' most prized asset on the Eastern Front were the several divisions of elite mountain infantry forming the so-called Alpine Corps. Accustomed to the cold and well armed, equipped and trained, they were regarded as the most reliable units in the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy. They repeatedly had to bail out ARMIR when it faced serious Soviet resistance.

Italian troops in the Soviet Union.

These hard times soon came for the Italians. After the Wermacht's 6th Army was encircled at Stalingrad in November 1942, Soviet troops struck at the Italian 8th Army on the Don. In the course of several offensive operations in December and January, the Italians were completely smashed. Sergei Otroshchenkov, a tank crewman of the 18th Tank Corps, recalled a successful surprise attack on withdrawing ARMIR units near the village of Petrovsky: "When the Italian forward units drew level with us, the order was sent along the (tank) columns: &lsquoAdvance! Crush!&rsquo We gave it to them from both flanks! I've never seen such carnage since. We literally smashed the Italian army into the ground&hellip It was winter and our tanks were whitewashed for winter camouflage. And when we withdrew from battle, our tanks were red below the turrets. It was as if we had been swimming in blood. I examined my tank &mdash in one place there was a hand stuck to the tracks, in another a fragment of a skull.&rdquo

The retreat of the defeated ARMIR from the Don westwards recalled the flight of Napoleon's Grande Armée from Russia in 1812. "Exhausted men fell in the snow never to get up again," recalled Eugenio Corti, an officer of the Pasubio Division. "Some were going mad and did not understand they were dying. The most tenacious of the men continued to drag themselves along the road for a long time, until the strength of these unfortunates finally ran out. The most frequent stories I heard were of mental confusion. I remember being taken aback by the story of someone who all of a sudden had burst out laughing, sat down in a snow drift, taken his boots off and set about burying his bare feet in the snow. After he had finished laughing, he loudly sang something very jolly. There were a great many similar cases.&rdquo Only the Alpine infantry covering their comrades' withdrawal periodically put up any organized resistance.

During the fighting in Russia, the Italian 8th Army lost more than 114,000 men killed, captured or missing. Having achieved nothing, the bloodied and depleted troops were withdrawn home in the spring of 1943. The disaster of the Italian Army in Russia shocked Italian society and was one of the main reasons for the rapid fall of Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime soon afterwards.

Soviet troops with the captured standard of an Italian regiment.

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Contents

The Soviet Union did not recognize Imperial Russia's signing of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 as binding, and as a result, it refused to recognize them until 1955. [8] This created a situation in which war crimes by the Soviet armed forces could eventually be rationalized. The Soviet refusal to recognize the Hague Conventions also gave Nazi Germany the rationale for its inhuman treatment of captured Soviet military personnel. [9]

Red Army and pogroms Edit

The early Soviet leaders publicly denounced anti-Semitism, [10] William Korey wrote: "Anti-Jewish discrimination had become an integral part of Soviet state policy ever since the late thirties." Efforts were made by Soviet authorities to contain anti-Jewish bigotry notably during the Russian civil war, whenever the Red Army units perpetrated pogroms, [11] [12] as well as during the Soviet-Polish War of 1919–1920 at Baranovichi. [13] [14] [15] Only a small number of pogroms were attributed to the Red Army, with the vast majority of the 'collectively violent' acts in the period having been committed by anti-Communist and nationalist forces. [16]

The pogroms were condemned by the Red Army high command and guilty units were disarmed, while individual pogromists were court-martialed. [10] Those found guilty were executed. [17] Although pogroms by Ukrainian units of the Red Army still occurred after this, the Jews regarded the Red Army as the only force which was willing to protect them. [18] It is estimated that 3,450 Jews or 2.3 percent of the Jewish victims killed during the Russian Civil War were murdered by the Bolshevik armies. [19] In comparison, according to the Morgenthau Report, a total of about 300 Jews lost their lives in all incidents involving Polish responsibility. The commission also found that the Polish military and civil authorities did their best to prevent such incidents and their recurrence in the future. The Morgenthau report stated that some forms of discrimination against Jews were of a political rather than an anti-Semitic nature and it specifically avoided using the term "pogrom", noting that the term's use was applied to a wide range of excesses, and it also had no specific definition. [20]

On 6 February 1922 the Cheka was replaced by the State Political Administration or OGPU, a section of the NKVD. The declared function of the NKVD was to protect the state security of the Soviet Union, which was accomplished by the large scale political persecution of "class enemies". The Red Army often gave support to the NKVD in the implementation of political repressions. [21] As an internal security force and a prison guard contingent of the Gulag, the Internal Troops repressed political dissidents and engaged in war crimes during periods of military hostilities throughout Soviet history. They were specifically responsible for maintaining the political regime in the Gulag and conducting mass deportations and forced resettlement. The latter targeted a number of ethnic groups that the Soviet authorities presumed to be hostile to its policies and likely to collaborate with the enemy, including Chechens, Crimean Tatars, and Koreans. [22]

War crimes by Soviet armed forces against civilians and prisoners of war in the territories occupied by the USSR between 1939 and 1941 in regions including Western Ukraine, the Baltic states and Bessarabia in Romania, along with war crimes in 1944–1945, have been ongoing issues within these countries. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a more systematic, locally controlled discussion of these events has taken place. [23]

As the Red Army withdrew after the German attack of 1941 which is known as Operation Barbarossa, numerous reports of war crimes committed by Soviet armed forces against captured German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe soldiers from the very beginning of hostilities were documented in thousands of files of the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau which was established by Nazi Germany in September 1939 to investigate violations of the Hague and Geneva conventions by Germany's enemies. [24] Among the better documented Soviet massacres are those at Broniki (June 1941), Feodosia (December 1941) and Grishino (1943). In the occupied territories, the NKVD carried out mass arrests, deportations and executions [ citation needed ] . The targets included both collaborators with Germany and the members of anti-Communist resistance movements such as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in Ukraine, the Forest Brothers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and the Polish Armia Krajowa. The NKVD also conducted the Katyn massacre, summarily executing over 20,000 Polish military officer prisoners in April and May 1940.

The Soviets deployed mustard gas bombs during the Soviet invasion of Xinjiang. Civilians were killed by conventional bombs during the invasion. [25] [26]

Estonia Edit

In accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union on 6 August 1940 and renamed the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. [27] The Estonian standing army was broken up, its officers executed or deported. [28] In 1941, some 34,000 Estonians were drafted into the Red Army, of whom less than 30% survived the war. No more than half of those men were used for military service. The rest were sent to labour battalions where around 12,000 died, mainly in the early months of the war. [29] After it became clear that the German invasion of Estonia would be successful, political prisoners who could not be evacuated were executed by the NKVD, so that they would not be able to make contact with the Nazi government. [30] More than 300,000 citizens of Estonia, almost a third of the population at the time, were affected by deportations, arrests, execution and other acts of repression. [31] As a result of the Soviet occupation, Estonia permanently lost at least 200,000 people or 20% of its population to repression, exodus and war. [32]

Soviet political repressions in Estonia were met by an armed resistance by the Forest Brothers, composed of former conscripts into the German military, Omakaitse militia and volunteers in the Finnish Infantry Regiment 200 who fought a guerrilla war, which was not completely suppressed until the late 1950s. [33] In addition to the expected human and material losses suffered due to the fighting, until its end this conflict led to the deportation of tens of thousands of people, along with hundreds of political prisoners and thousands of civilians lost their lives.

Stalinism resulted in five times more casualties among the Estonians than Hitler's rule. [34]

Mass deportations Edit

On 14 June 1941, and the following two days, 9,254 to 10,861 people, mostly urban residents, of them over 5,000 women and over 2,500 children under 16, [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] 439 Jews (more than 10% of the Estonian Jewish population) [41] were deported, mostly to Kirov Oblast, Novosibirsk Oblast or prisons. Deportations were predominantly to Siberia and Kazakhstan by means of railroad cattle cars, without prior announcement, while deported were given few night hours at best to pack their belongings and separated from their families, usually also sent to the east. The procedure was established by the Serov Instructions. Estonians residing in Leningrad Oblast had already been subjected to deportation since 1935. [42]

Destruction battalions Edit

In 1941, to implement Stalin's scorched earth policy, destruction battalions were formed in the western regions of the Soviet Union. In Estonia, they killed thousands of people including a large proportion of women and children, while burning down dozens of villages, schools and public buildings. A school boy named Tullio Lindsaar had all of the bones in his hands broken then was bayoneted for hoisting the flag of Estonia. Mauricius Parts, son of the Estonian War of Independence veteran Karl Parts, was doused in acid. In August 1941, all residents of the village of Viru-Kabala were killed including a two-year-old child and a six-day-old infant. A partisan war broke out in response to the atrocities of the destruction battalions, with tens of thousands of men forming the Forest Brothers to protect the local population from these battalions. Occasionally, the battalions burned people alive. [43] The destruction battalions murdered 1,850 people in Estonia. Almost all of them were partisans or unarmed civilians. [44]

Another example of the destruction battalions' actions is the Kautla massacre, where twenty civilians were murdered and tens of farms destroyed. Many of the people were killed after torture. The low toll of human deaths in comparison with the number of burned farms is due to the Erna long-range reconnaissance group breaking the Red Army blockade on the area, allowing many civilians to escape. [45] [46]

Latvia Edit

On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression agreement. Latvia was included in the Soviet sphere of interest. On 17 June 1940, Latvia was occupied by Soviet forces. The Karlis Ulmanis government was removed, and new illegitimate elections were held on 21 June 1940 with only one party listed, "electing" a fake parliament which made resolution to join the Soviet Union, with the resolution having already been drawn up in Moscow prior the election. Latvia became part of the Soviet Union on 5 August, and on 25 August all people in Latvia became citizens of the Soviet Union. The Ministry of Foreign affairs was closed isolating Latvia from the rest of the world. [47]

In accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Soviet troops invaded Latvia on 17 June 1940 and it was subsequently incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.

On 14 June 1941, thousands of people were taken from their homes, loaded onto freight trains and taken to Siberia. Whole families, women, children and old people were sent to labor camps in Siberia. The crime was perpetrated by the Soviet occupation regime on the orders of high authorities in Moscow. Prior the deportation, the Peoples Commissariat established operational groups who performed arrests, search and seizure of the property. Arrests took place in all parts in Latvia including rural areas. [47]

Lithuania Edit

Lithuania, and the other Baltic States, fell victim to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. This agreement was signed between the USSR and Germany in August 1939 leading first to Lithuania being invaded by the Red Army on 15 June 1940, and then to its annexation and incorporation into the Soviet Union on 3 August 1940. [ citation needed ] The Soviet annexation resulted in mass terror, the denial of civil liberties, the destruction of the country's economic system and the suppression of Lithuanian culture. Between 1940 and 1941, thousands of Lithuanians were arrested and hundreds of political prisoners were arbitrarily executed. More than 17,000 people were deported to Siberia in June 1941. After the German attack on the Soviet Union, the incipient Soviet political apparatus was either destroyed or retreated eastward. Lithuania was then occupied by Nazi Germany for a little over three years. In 1944, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. Following World War II and the subsequent suppression of the Lithuanian Forest Brothers, the Soviet authorities executed thousands of resistance fighters and civilians whom they accused of aiding them. Some 300,000 Lithuanians were deported or sentenced to terms in prison camps on political grounds. It is estimated that Lithuania lost almost 780,000 citizens as a result of the Soviet occupation, of these around 440,000 were war refugees. [48]

The estimated death toll in Soviet prisons and camps between 1944 and 1953 was at least 14,000. [49] The estimated death toll among deportees between 1945 and 1958 was 20,000, including 5,000 children. [50]

During the restoration of Lithuanian independence in 1990 and 1991, the Soviet army killed 13 people in Vilnius during the January Events. [51]

Poland Edit

1939–1941 Edit

In September 1939, the Red Army invaded eastern Poland and occupied it in accordance with the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Soviets later forcefully occupied the Baltic States and parts of Romania, including Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.

German historian Thomas Urban [53] writes that the Soviet policy towards the people who fell under their control in occupied areas was harsh, showing strong elements of ethnic cleansing. [54] The NKVD task forces followed the Red Army to remove 'hostile elements' from the conquered territories in what was known as the 'revolution by hanging'. [55] Polish historian, Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, has noted parallels between the Nazi Einsatzgruppen and these Soviet units. [56] Many civilians tried to escape from the Soviet NKVD round-ups those who failed were taken into custody and afterwards they were deported to Siberia and vanished in the Gulags. [55]

Torture was used on a wide scale in various prisons, especially in those prisons that were located in small towns. Prisoners were scalded with boiling water in Bobrka in Przemyslany, people's noses, ears, and fingers were cut off and their eyes were also put out in Czortkow, the breasts of female inmates were cut off and in Drohobycz, victims were bound together with barbed wire. [57] Similar atrocities occurred in Sambor, Stanislawow, Stryj, and Zloczow. [57] According to historian, Prof. Jan T. Gross:

We cannot escape the conclusion: Soviet state security organs tortured their prisoners not only to extract confessions but also to put them to death. Not that the NKVD had sadists in its ranks who had run amok rather, this was a wide and systematic procedure.

According to sociologist, Prof. Tadeusz Piotrowski, during the years from 1939 to 1941, nearly 1.5 million persons (including both local inhabitants and refugees from German-occupied Poland) were deported from the Soviet-controlled areas of former eastern Poland deep into the Soviet Union, of whom 58.0% were Poles, 19.4% Jews and the remainder other ethnic nationalities. [58] Only a small number of these deportees returned to their homes after the war, when their homelands were annexed by the Soviet Union. According to American professor Carroll Quigley, at least one third of the 320,000 Polish prisoners of war captured by the Red Army in 1939 were murdered. [59]

It's estimated that between 10 and 35 thousand prisoners were killed either in prisons or on prison trail to the Soviet Union in the few days after the 22 June 1941 German attack on the Soviets (prisons: Brygidki, Zolochiv, Dubno, Drohobych, and so on). [60] [61] [62] [63]

1944–1945 Edit

In Poland, German Nazi atrocities ended by late 1944, but they were replaced by Soviet oppression with the advance of Red Army forces. Soviet soldiers often engaged in plunder, rape and other crimes against the Poles, causing the population to fear and hate the regime. [64] [65] [66] [67]

Soldiers of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) were persecuted and imprisoned by Russian forces as a matter of course. [68] Most victims were deported to the gulags in the Donetsk region. [69] In 1945 alone, the number of members of the Polish Underground State who were deported to Siberia and various labor camps in the Soviet Union reached 50,000. [70] [71] Units of the Red Army carried out campaigns against Polish partisans and civilians. During the Augustów chase in 1945, more than 2,000 Poles were captured and about 600 of them are presumed to have died in Soviet custody. For more information about postwar resistance in Poland see the Cursed soldiers. [72] It was a common Soviet practice to accuse their victims of being fascists in order to justify their death sentences. All the perversion of this Soviet tactic lay in the fact that practically all of the accused had in reality been fighting against the forces of Nazi Germany since September 1939. At that time the Soviets were still collaborating with Nazi Germany for more than 20 months before Operation Barbarossa started. Precisely therefore these kinds of Poles were judged capable of resisting the Soviets, in the same way that they had resisted the Nazis. After the War, a more elaborate appearance of justice was given under the jurisdiction of the Polish People's Republic orchestrated by the Soviets in the form of mock trials. These were organized after victims had been arrested under false charges by the NKVD or other Soviet controlled security organisations such as the Ministry of Public Security. At least 6,000 political death sentences were issued, and the majority of them were carried out. [73] It is estimated that over 20,000 people died in Communist prisons. Famous examples include Witold Pilecki or Emil August Fieldorf. [74]

The attitude of Soviet servicemen towards ethnic Poles was better than their attitude towards the Germans, but it was not entirely better. The scale of rape of Polish women in 1945 led to a pandemic of sexually transmitted diseases. Although the total number of victims remains a matter of guessing, the Polish state archives and statistics of the Ministry of Health indicate that it might have exceeded 100,000. [75] In Kraków, the Soviet entry into the city was accompanied by mass rapes of Polish women and girls, as well as the plunder of private property by Red Army soldiers. [76] This behavior reached such a scale that even Polish Communists installed by the Soviet Union composed a letter of protest to Joseph Stalin himself, while church Masses were held in expectation of a Soviet withdrawal. [76]

Red Army was also involved in mass-scale looting at liberated territories.

Finland Edit

Between 1941 and 1944, Soviet partisan units conducted raids deep inside Finnish territory, attacking villages and other civilian targets. In November 2006, photographs showing Soviet atrocities were declassified by the Finnish authorities. These include images of slain women and children. [77] [78] [79] The partisans usually executed their military and civilian prisoners after a minor interrogation. [80]

Around 3,500 Finnish prisoners of war, of whom five were women, were captured by the Red Army. Their mortality rate is estimated to have been about 40 percent. The most common causes of death were hunger, cold and oppressive transportation. [81]

Soviet Union Edit

On 9 August 1937, NKVD order 00485 was adopted to target "subversive activities of Polish intelligence" in the Soviet Union, but was later expanded to also include Latvians, Germans, Estonians, Finns, Greeks, Iranians and Chinese. [82]

Deportation of kulaks Edit

Large numbers of kulaks regardless of their nationality were resettled to Siberia and Central Asia. According to data from Soviet archives, which were published in 1990, 1,803,392 people were sent to labor colonies and camps in 1930 and 1931, and 1,317,022 reached the destination. Deportations on a smaller scale continued after 1931. Data from the Soviet archives indicates 2.4 million Kulaks were deported from 1930 to 1934. [83] The reported number of kulaks and their relatives who had died in labour colonies from 1932 to 1940 was 389,521. [84] [85] Simon Sebag Montefiore estimated that 15 million kulaks and their families were deported by 1937, during the deportation many people died, but the full number is not known. [86]

Retreat by Soviet forces in 1941 Edit

Deportations, summary executions of political prisoners and the burning of foodstocks and villages took place when the Red Army retreated before the advancing Axis forces in 1941. In the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine, and Bessarabia, the NKVD and attached units of the Red Army massacred prisoners and political opponents before fleeing from the advancing Axis forces. [87] [88]

Deportation of Greeks Edit

The prosecution of Greeks in the USSR was gradual: at first the authorities shut down the Greek schools, cultural centres, and publishing houses. Then, in 1942, 1944 and 1949, the NKVD indiscriminately arrested all Greek men 16 years old or older. All Greeks who were wealthy or self-employed professionals were sought for prosecution first. this affected mostly Pontic Greeks and other Minorities in the Krasnodar Krai and along the Black Sea coast. By one estimate, around 50,000 Greeks were deported. [89] [90]

On 25 September 1956, MVD Order N 0402 was adopted and defined the removal of restrictions towards the deported peoples in the special settlements. [91] Afterward, the Soviet Greeks started returning to their homes, or emigrating towards Greece.

Deportation of Kalmyks Edit

During the Kalmyk deportations of 1943, codenamed Operation Ulussy (Операция "Улусы"), the deportation of most people of the Kalmyk nationality in the Soviet Union (USSR), and Russian women married to Kalmyks, but excluding Kalmyk women married to men of other nationalities, around half of all (97-98,000) Kalmyk people deported to Siberia died before being allowed to return home in 1957. [92]

Deportation of Crimean Tatars Edit

After the retreat of the Wehrmacht from Crimea, the NKVD deported around 200,000 Crimean Tatars from the peninsula on 18 May 1944. [93]

Deportation of Ingrian Finns Edit

By 1939 the Ingrian Finnish population had decreased to about 50,000, which was about 43% of 1928 population figures, [94] and the Ingrian Finn national district was abolished., [95] Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the Leningrad Blockade, in early 1942 all 20,000 Ingrian Finns remaining in Soviet-controlled territory were deported to Siberia. Most of the Ingrian Finns together with Votes and Izhorians living in German-occupied territory were evacuated to Finland in 1943–1944. After Finland sued for peace, it was forced to return the evacuees. [94] Soviet authorities did not allow the 55,733 people who had been handed over to settle back in Ingria, and instead deported them to central regions of Russia. [94] [96] The main regions of Ingrian Finns forced settlement were the interior areas of Siberia, Central Russia, and Tajikistan. [97]

Deportation of Chechens and Ingush Edit

In 1943 and 1944, the Soviet government accused several entire ethnic groups of Axis collaboration. As a punishment, several entire ethnic groups were deported, mostly to Central Asia and Siberia into labor camps. The European Parliament described the deportation of Chechens and Ingush, where around a quarter people perished, an act of genocide in 2004: [98]

. Believes that the deportation of the entire Chechen people to Central Asia on 23 February 1944 on the orders of Stalin constitutes an act of genocide within the meaning of the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 and the Convention for the Prevention and Repression of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948. [99]

Germany Edit

According to historian Norman Naimark, statements in Soviet military newspapers and the orders of the Soviet high command were jointly responsible for the excesses of the Red Army. Propaganda proclaimed that the Red Army had entered Germany as an avenger to punish all Germans. [100]

Some historians dispute this, referring to an order issued on 19 January 1945, which required the prevention of mistreatment of civilians. An order of the military council of the 1st Belorussian Front, signed by Marshal Rokossovsky, ordered the shooting of looters and rapists at the scene of the crime. An order issued by Stavka on 20 April 1945 said that there was a need to maintain good relations with German civilians in order to decrease resistance and bring a quicker end to hostilities. [101] [102] [103]

Murders of civilians Edit

On several occasions during World War II, Soviet soldiers set fire to buildings, villages, or parts of cities, and they used deadly force against locals who attempted to put out the fires. Most Red Army atrocities took place only in what was regarded as hostile territory (see Przyszowice massacre). Soldiers of the Red Army, together with members of the NKVD, frequently looted German transport trains in Poland in 1944 and 1945. [104]

For the Germans, the organized evacuation of civilians before the advancing Red Army was delayed by the Nazi government, so as not to demoralize the troops, who were by now fighting in their own country. Nazi propaganda — originally meant to stiffen civil resistance by describing in gory and embellished detail Red Army atrocities such as the Nemmersdorf massacre — often backfired and created panic. Whenever possible, as soon as the Wehrmacht retreated, local civilians began to flee westward on their own initiative. [ citation needed ]

Fleeing before the advancing Red Army, large numbers of the inhabitants of the German provinces of East Prussia, Silesia, and Pomerania died during the evacuations, some from cold and starvation, some during combat operations. A significant percentage of this death toll, however, occurred when evacuation columns encountered units of the Red Army. Civilians were run over by tanks, shot, or otherwise murdered. Women and young girls were raped and left to die. [105] [ pages needed ] [106] [ better source needed ] [107]

In addition, fighter bombers of the Soviet air force flew bombing and strafing missions that targeted columns of refugees. [105] [ pages needed ] [106] [ better source needed ]

Although mass executions of civilians by the Red Army were seldom publicly reported, there is a known incident in Treuenbrietzen, where at least 88 male inhabitants were rounded up and shot on 1 May 1945. The incident took place after a victory celebration in which numerous girls from Treuenbrietzen were raped and a Red Army lieutenant-colonel was shot by an unknown assailant. Some sources claim that as many as 1,000 civilians may have been executed during the incident. [notes 1] [108] [109]

The first mayor of the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Walter Kilian, appointed by the Soviets after the war ended, reported extensive looting by Red Army soldiers in the area: "Individuals, department stores, shops, apartments . all were robbed blind." [110] [ pages needed ]

In the Soviet occupation zone, members of the SED reported to Stalin that looting and rape by Soviet soldiers could result in a negative reaction by the German population towards the Soviet Union and the future of socialism in East Germany. Stalin is said to have angrily reacted: "I shall not tolerate anybody dragging the honour of the Red Army through the mud." [111] [ pages needed ] [112] [ pages needed ]

Accordingly, all evidence — such as reports, photos and other documents of looting, rape, the burning down of farms and villages by the Red Army — was deleted from all archives in the future GDR. [111]

A study published by the German government in 1974 estimated the number of German civilian victims of crimes during expulsion of Germans after World War II between 1945 and 1948 to be over 600,000, with about 400,000 deaths in the areas east of Oder and Neisse (ca. 120,000 in acts of direct violence, mostly by Soviet troops but also by Poles, 60,000 in Polish and 40,000 in Soviet concentration camps or prisons mostly from hunger and disease, and 200,000 deaths among civilian deportees to forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union), 130,000 in Czechoslovakia (thereof 100,000 in camps) and 80,000 in Yugoslavia (thereof 15,000 to 20,000 from violence outside of and in camps and 59,000 deaths from hunger and disease in camps). [113] These figures do not include up to 125,000 civilian deaths in the Battle of Berlin. [114] About 22,000 civilians are estimated to have been killed during the fighting in Berlin only. [115]

Mass rapes Edit

Western estimates of the traceable number of rape victims range from two hundred thousand to two million. [116] Following the Winter Offensive of 1945, mass rape by Soviet males occurred in all major cities taken by the Red Army. Women were gang raped by as many as several dozen soldiers during the liberation of Poland. In some cases victims who did not hide in the basements all day were raped up to 15 times. [75] [117] According to historian Antony Beevor, following the Red Army's capture of Berlin in 1945, Soviet troops raped German women and girls as young as eight years old. [118]

The explanation of "revenge" is disputed by Beevor, at least with regard to the mass rapes. Beevor has written that Red Army soldiers also raped Soviet and Polish women liberated from concentration camps, and he contends that this undermines the revenge explanation, [119] they were often committed by rear echelon units. [120]

According to Norman Naimark, after the summer of 1945, Soviet soldiers caught raping civilians usually received punishments ranging from arrest to execution. [121] However, Naimark contends that the rapes continued until the winter of 1947–48, when Soviet occupation authorities finally confined troops to strictly guarded posts and camps. [122] Naimark concluded that "The social psychology of women and men in the Soviet zone of occupation was marked by the crime of rape from the first days of occupation, through the founding of the GDR in the fall of 1949, until, one could argue, the present." [123]

According to Richard Overy, the Russians refused to acknowledge Soviet war crimes, partly "because they felt that much of it was justified vengeance against an enemy who committed much worse, and partly it was because they were writing the victors' history." [124]

Hungary Edit

According to researcher and author Krisztián Ungváry, some 38,000 civilians were killed during the Siege of Budapest: about 13,000 from military action and 25,000 from starvation, disease and other causes. Included in the latter figure are about 15,000 Jews, largely victims of executions by Nazi SS and Arrow Cross Party death squads. Ungváry writes that when the Soviets finally claimed victory, they initiated an orgy of violence, including the wholesale theft of anything they could lay their hands on, random executions and mass rape. Estimates of the number of rape victims vary from 5,000 to 200,000. [125] [126] [127] According to Norman Naimark, Hungarian girls were kidnapped and taken to Red Army quarters, where they were imprisoned, repeatedly raped and sometimes murdered. [128]

Even embassy staff from neutral countries were captured and raped, as was documented when Soviet soldiers attacked the Swedish legation in Germany. [129]

A report by the Swiss legation in Budapest describes the Red Army's entry into the city:

During the siege of Budapest and also during the following weeks, Russian troops looted the city freely. They entered practically every habitation, the very poorest as well as the richest. They took away everything they wanted, especially food, clothing and valuables. every apartment, shop, bank, etc. was looted several times. Furniture and larger objects of art, etc. that could not be taken away were frequently simply destroyed. In many cases, after looting, the homes were also put on fire, causing a vast total loss. Bank safes were emptied without exception — even the British and American safes — and whatever was found was taken. [130]

According to historian James Mark, memories and opinions of the Red Army in Hungary are mixed. [127]

Romania Edit

The Soviet Union also committed war crimes in Romania or against Romanians. One example was the Fântâna Albă massacre, in which 44–3,000 Romanians were killed by the Soviet Border Troops and the NKVD while attempting to escape to Romania. [131] [132] [133] Such event has been referred to as the "Romanian Katyn". [134] [135] [136]

Yugoslavia Edit

According to Yugoslav politician Milovan Djilas, at least 121 cases of rape were documented, 111 of which also involved murder. A total of 1,204 cases of looting with assault were also documented. Djilas described these figures as, "hardly insignificant if it is borne in mind that the Red Army crossed only the northeastern corner of Yugoslavia". [137] [138] This caused concern to the Yugoslav communist partisans, who feared that stories of crimes committed by their Soviet allies would weaken their standing among the population.

Djilas writes that in response, Yugoslav partisan leader Joseph Broz Tito summoned the chief of the Soviet military mission, General Korneev, and formally protested. Despite having been invited "as a comrade", Korneev exploded at them for offering "such insinuations" against the Red Army. Djilas, who was present at the meeting, spoke up and explained the British Army had never engaged in "such excesses" while liberating the other regions of Yugoslavia. General Korneev responded by screaming, "I protest most sharply at this insult given to the Red Army by comparing it with the armies of capitalist countries." [139]

The meeting with Korneev not only "ended without results", it also caused Stalin to personally attack Djilas during his next visit to the Kremlin. In tears, Stalin denounced "the Yugoslav Army and how it was administered." He then "spoke agitatedly about the sufferings of the Red Army and the horrors that it was forced to endure while it was fighting through thousands of kilometers of devastated country." Stalin climaxed with the words, "And such an Army was insulted by no one else but Djilas! Djilas, of whom I could least have expected such a thing, a man whom I received so well! And an Army which did not spare its blood for you! Does Djilas, who is himself a writer, not know what human suffering and the human heart are? Can't he understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometers through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle?" [140]

According to Djilas, the Soviet refusal to address protests against Red Army war crimes in Yugoslavia enraged Tito's Government and it was a contributing factor in Yugoslavia's subsequent exit from the Soviet Bloc.

Czechoslovakia (1945) Edit

Slovak communist leader Vlado Clementis complained to Marshal Ivan Konev about the behavior of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia. Konev's response was to claim it was done mainly by Red Army deserters. [138]

China Edit

During the invasion of Manchuria, Soviet and Mongolian soldiers attacked and raped Japanese civilians, often encouraged by the local Chinese population who were resentful of Japanese rule. [141] The local Chinese population sometimes even joined in these attacks against the Japanese population with the Soviet soldiers. In one famous example, during the Gegenmiao massacre, Soviet soldiers, encouraged by the local Chinese population, raped and massacred over one thousand Japanese women and children. [142] [141] [143] Property of the Japanese were also looted by the Soviet soldiers and Chinese. [144] Many Japanese women married themselves to local Manchurian men to protect themselves from persecution by Soviet soldiers. These Japanese women mostly married Chinese men and became known as "stranded war wives" (zanryu fujin). [142]

Following the invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (Manchuria), the Soviets laid claim to valuable Japanese materials and industrial equipment in the region. [145] A foreigner witnessed Soviet troops, formerly stationed in Berlin, who were allowed by the Soviet military to go at the city "for three days of rape and pillage." Most of Mukden was gone. Convict soldiers were then used to replace them it was testified that they "stole everything in sight, broke up bathtubs and toilets with hammers, pulled electric-light wiring out of the plaster, built fires on the floor and either burned down the house or at least a big hole in the floor, and in general behaved completely like savages." [146]

According to some British and American sources, the Soviets made it a policy to loot and rape civilians in Manchuria. In Harbin, the Chinese posted slogans such as "Down with Red Imperialism!" Soviet forces faced some protests by Chinese communist party leaders against the looting and rapes committed by troops in Manchuria. [147] [148] [149] There were several incidences, where Chinese police forces in Manchuria arrested or even killed Soviet troops for various crimes, leading to some conflicts between the Soviet and Chinese authorities in Manchuria. [150]

Russian historian Konstantin Asmolov argues that such Western accounts of Soviet violence against civilians in the Far East are exaggerations of isolated incidents and the documents of the time don't support the claims of mass crimes. Asmolov also claims that the Soviets, unlike the Germans and the Japanese, prosecuted their soldiers and officers for such acts. [151] Indeed, the incidence of rape committed in the Far East was far less than the number of incidents committed by Soviet soldiers in Europe. [152]

Japan Edit

The Soviet Army committed crimes against the Japanese civilian populations and surrendered military personnel in the closing stages of World War II during the assaults on Sakhalin and Kuril Islands. [153]

On August 10, 1945, Soviet forces carried out fierce naval bombardment and artillery strikes against civilians awaiting evacuation as well as Japanese installations in Maoka. Nearly 1,000 civilians were killed by the invading forces. [153]

During the evacuation of the Kuriles and Karafuto, civilian convoys were attacked by Soviet submarines in the Aniva Gulf. Soviet Leninets-class submarine L-12 and L-19 sank two Japanese refugee transport ships Ogasawara Maru and Taito Maru while also damaging No.2 Shinko Maru on August 22, 7 days after Hirohito had announced Japan's unconditional surrender. Over 2,400 civilians were killed. [153]

Treatment of prisoners of war Edit

Although the Soviet Union had not formally signed the Hague Convention, it considered itself bound by the convention's provisions. [154] [155]

Throughout the Second World War, the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau collected and investigated reports of crimes against the Axis POWs. According to Cuban-American writer Alfred de Zayas, "For the entire duration of the Russian campaign, reports of torture and murder of German prisoners did not cease. The War Crimes Bureau had five major sources of information: (1) captured enemy papers, especially orders, reports of operations, and propaganda leaflets (2) intercepted radio and wireless messages (3) testimony of Soviet prisoners of war (4) testimony of captured Germans who had escaped and (5) testimony of Germans who saw the corpses or mutilated bodies of executed prisoners of war. From 1941 to 1945 the Bureau compiled several thousand depositions, reports, and captured papers which, if nothing else, indicate that the killing of German prisoners of war upon capture or shortly after their interrogation was not an isolated occurrence. Documents relating to the war in France, Italy, and North Africa contain some reports on the deliberate killing of German prisoners of war, but there can be no comparison with the events on the Eastern Front." [156]

In a November 1941 report, the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau accused the Red Army of employing "a terror policy. against defenseless German soldiers that have fallen into its hands and against members of the German medical corps. At the same time. it has made use of the following means of camouflage: in a Red Army order that bears the approval of the Council of People's Commissars, dated 1 July 1941, the norms of international law are made public, which the Red Army in the spirit of the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare are supposed to follow. This. Russian order probably had very little distribution, and surely it has not been followed at all. Otherwise the unspeakable crimes would not have occurred." [157]

According to the depositions, Soviet massacres of German, Italian, Spanish, and other Axis POWs were often incited by unit Commissars, who claimed to be acting under orders from Stalin and the Politburo. Other evidence cemented the War Crimes Bureau's belief that Stalin had given secret orders about the massacre of POWs. [158]

During the winter of 1941–42, the Red Army captured approximately 10,000 German soldiers each month, but the death rate became so high that the absolute number of prisoners decreased (or was bureaucratically reduced). [159] [ need quotation to verify ]

Soviet sources list the deaths of 474,967 of the 2,652,672 German Armed Forces taken prisoner in the War. [160] [ need quotation to verify ] Dr. Rüdiger Overmans believes that it seems entirely plausible, while not provable, that an additional German military personnel listed as missing actually died in Soviet custody as POWs, putting the estimates of the actual death toll of German POW in the USSR at about 1.0 million. [161]

Massacre of Feodosia Edit

Soviet soldiers rarely bothered to treat wounded German POWs. A particularly infamous example took place after the Crimean city of Feodosia was briefly recaptured by Soviet forces on December 29, 1942. 160 wounded soldiers had been left in military hospitals by the retreating Wehrmacht. After the Germans retook Feodosia, it was learned that every wounded soldier had been massacred by Red Army, Navy, and NKVD personnel. Some had been shot in their hospital beds, others repeatedly bludgeoned to death, still others were found to have been thrown from hospital windows before being repeatedly drenched with freezing water until they died of hypothermia. [162]

Massacre of Grishchino Edit

The Massacre of Grischino was committed by an armoured division of the Red Army in February 1943 in the eastern Ukrainian towns of Krasnoarmeyskoye, Postyschevo and Grischino. The Wehrmacht Untersuchungsstelle also known as WuSt (Wehrmacht criminal investigating authority), announced that among the victims were 406 soldiers of the Wehrmacht, 58 members of the Organisation Todt (including two Danish nationals), 89 Italian soldiers, 9 Romanian soldiers, 4 Hungarian soldiers, 15 German civil officials, 7 German civilian workers and 8 Ukrainian volunteers.

The places were overrun by the Soviet 4th Guards Tank Corps on the night of 10 and 11 February 1943. After the reconquest by the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking with the support of 333 Infantry Division and the 7th Panzer Division on 18 February 1943 the Wehrmacht soldiers discovered numerous deaths. Many of the bodies were horribly mutilated, ears and noses cut off and genital organs amputated and stuffed into their mouths. Breasts of some of the nurses were cut off, the women being brutally raped. A German military judge who was at the scene stated in an interview during the 1970s that he saw a female body with her legs spread-eagled and a broomstick rammed into her genitals. In the cellar of the main train station around 120 Germans were herded into a large storage room and then mowed down with machine guns. [163]

Postwar Edit

Some German prisoners were released soon after the war. Many others, however, remained in the GULAG long after the surrender of Nazi Germany. Among the most famous German POWs to die in Soviet captivity was Captain Wilm Hosenfeld, who died of injuries, sustained possibly under torture, in a concentration camp near Stalingrad in 1952. In 2009, Captain Hosenfeld was posthumously honored by the State of Israel for his role in saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Similar was the fate of Swedish diplomat and OSS operative Raoul Wallenberg

Hungarian Revolution (1956) Edit

According to the United Nations Report of the Special Committee on the problem of Hungary (1957): "Soviet tanks fired indiscriminately at every building from which they believed themselves to be under fire." [164] The UN commission received numerous reports of Soviet mortar and artillery fire into inhabited quarters in the Buda section of the city, despite no return fire, and of "haphazard shooting at defenseless passers-by."

Czechoslovakia 1968 Edit

During the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact, 72 Czechs and Slovaks were killed (19 in Slovakia), 266 seriously wounded and another 436 lightly wounded. [165] [166]

Afghanistan (1979–1989) Edit

Scholars Mohammad Kakar, W. Michael Reisman and Charles Norchi believe that the Soviet Union was guilty of committing a genocide in Afghanistan. [167] [168] The army of the Soviet Union killed large numbers of Afghans to suppress their resistance. [167] Up to 2 million Afghans were killed by the Soviet forces and their proxies. [169] In one notable incident the Soviet Army committed mass killing of civilians in the summer of 1980. [170] One notable war crime was the Laghman massacre in April 1985 in the villages of Kas-Aziz-Khan, Charbagh, Bala Bagh, Sabzabad, Mamdrawer, Haider Khan and Pul-i-Joghi [171] in the Laghman Province. At least 500 civilians were killed. [172] In the Kulchabat, Bala Karz and Mushkizi massacre on 12 October 1983 the Red Army gathered 360 people at the village square and shot them, including 20 girls and over a dozen older people. [173] [174] [175]

In order to separate the mujahideen from the local populations and eliminate their support, the Soviet army killed and drove off civilians, and used scorched earth tactics to prevent their return. They used booby traps, mines, and chemical substances throughout the country. [170] The Soviet army indescriminately killed combatants and noncombatants to ensure submission by the local populations. [170] The provinces of Nangarhar, Ghazni, Lagham, Kunar, Zabul, Qandahar, Badakhshan, Lowgar, Paktia and Paktika witnessed extensive depopulation programmes by the Soviet forces. [168] The Soviet forces abducted Afghan women in helicopters while flying in the country in search of mujahideen. In November 1980 a number of such incidents had taken place in various parts of the country, including Laghman and Kama. Soviet soldiers as well as KhAD agents kidnapped young women from the city of Kabul and the areas of Darul Aman and Khair Khana, near the Soviet garrisons, to rape them. [176] Women who were taken and raped by Russian soldiers were considered 'dishonoured' by their families if they returned home. [177] Deserters from the Soviet Army in 1984 also confirmed the atrocities by the Soviet troops on Afghan women and children, stating that Afghan women were being raped. [178] The rape of Afghan women by Soviet troops was common and 11.8 percent of the Soviet war criminals in Afghanistan were convicted for the offence of rape. [179] There was an outcry against the press in the Soviet Union for depicting the Russian "war heroes" as "murderers", "aggressors", "rapists" and "junkies". [180]

Pressure in Azerbaijan (1988–1991) Edit

Black January (Azerbaijani: Qara Yanvar), also known as Black Saturday or the January Massacre, was a violent crackdown in Baku on 19–20 January 1990, pursuant to a state of emergency during the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In a resolution of 22 January 1990, the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR declared that the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 19 January, used to impose emergency rule in Baku and military deployment, constituted an act of aggression. [181] Black January is associated with the rebirth of the Azerbaijan Republic. It was one of the occasions during the glasnost and perestroika era in which the USSR used force against dissidents.

In 1995, Latvian courts sentenced former KGB officer Alfons Noviks to a life in prison for genocide due to forced deportations in the 1940s. [182]

In 2003, August Kolk (born 1924), an Estonian national, and Petr Kislyiy (born 1921), a Russian national, were convicted of crimes against humanity by Estonian courts and each sentenced to eight years in prison. They were found guilty of deportations of Estonians in 1949. Kolk and Kislyiy lodged a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights, alleging that the Criminal Code of 1946 of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (SFSR) was valid at the time, applicable also in Estonia, and that the said Code had not provided for punishment of crimes against humanity. Their appeal was rejected since the court found that Resolution 95 of the United Nations General Assembly, adopted on 11 December 1946, confirmed deportations of civilians as a crime against humanity under international law. [183]

In 2004, Vassili Kononov, a Soviet partisan during World War II, was convicted by Latvian supreme court as a war criminal for killing three women, one of whom was pregnant. [184] [185] He is the only former Soviet partisan convicted of crimes against humanity. [186]

On 27 March 2019, Lithuania convicted 67 former Soviet military and KGB officials who were given sentences of between four and 14 years for the crackdown against Lithuanian civilians in January 1991. Only two were present—Yuriy Mel, a former Soviet tank officer, and Gennady Ivanov, a former Soviet munitions officer—while the other were sentenced in absentia and are hiding in Russia. [187]


There are moments in history which may be called turning points. On the Ostfront during WW2, the first turning point was when the Red Army threw back the Germans from the suburbs of Moscow in the winter of 1941. The second was when Hitler decided that the Sixth Army was not to withdraw from Stalingrad as the Russians starting entrapping it.



General Zeitzler
General Zeitzler, Chief of Staff of the Army, argued with Hitler for the salvation of the Stalingrad army.

The dramatic discussions took place during the nights of 22/23 and 23/24 November 1942 at Fuehrer Headquarters, the Wolfschanze, near Rastenburg. Zeitzler reported on this in an article that contains his memoirs of the battle of Stalingrad and was published in book form in English in 1956 under the title The Fatal Decisions.


'Since the operations proposed for the relief of Sixth Army cannot be successful, it is decisive that orders for a break-out be issued. This must be done at once. The last possible moment has arrived.'

While I was speaking, Hitler was visibly growing more and more angry. He had repeatedly tried to interrupt me but I had not permitted this because I knew this to be my last chance and I could not stay silent. When I was finally finished, he screamed, 'Sixth Army will stay where it is! It is the garrison of a fortress and it is the duty of garrisons to withstand sieges. If necessary they will hold out all winter and I will relieve them by an offensive in the spring.'

This was pure fantasy. I added, 'Stalingrad is not a fortress. There is no way to supply Sixth Army.'

Hitler became even more enraged and shouted louder than ever: 'Reichsmarschall Goring has said that he can supply the army by air.' Now I too shouted 'That is crazy!'

Hitler insisted. I will not leave the Volga!' I said in a loud voice, 'My Fuhrer! It would be a crime to leave Sixth Army in Stalingrad. That would mean the death or capture of a quarter of a million men. Any hope of freeing them would be in vain. The loss of this army would break the back of the eastern front.'

Hitler grew very pale, but did not say anything. He looked at me with an icy expression and pushed the bell button on his desk. When an orderly officer of the SS appeared he ordered, 'Go fetch Field Marshal Keitel and General Jodl.'

Not a word passed between us until they both appeared. They were here in a minute and had doubtlessly been waiting in the next room. If that had been the case, then they must have heard our loud exchange through the thin walls of the map room. And they would not have had any mistaken ideas about the nature of the noise. Keitel and Jodl saluted formally. Hitler remained standing with a serious expression on his face. He was still very pale but outwardly calm. He said, I am faced with a very difficult decision. Before I decide, I would like to hear your opinions. Should I give up Stalingrad or not ? What are your thoughts
on the matter ?'

And then something began to unfold that one could almost call a council of war, an occurrence such as Hitler had never practised before. Keitel, who was standing at attention, said with flashing eyes, 'My Fuehrer! Stay on the Volga!'

Jodl spoke calmly and factually. He weighed his words before saying, 'My Fuehrer, it is indeed a difficult decision you must take. If we withdraw from the Volga, this means giving up a good part of the territories we won at such great sacrifices during the summer offensive. On the other hand, if we do not withdraw Sixth Army the situation may become grave. The operations planned for its relief may be successful, but they may also fail. Until we see the results of these operations, my opinion is that we hold out on the Volga.'

'Now it is your turn,' Hitler said to me. He was obviously hoping that the words of the other two generals had caused me to change my mind. Even though it was Hitler who took the decisions, he was anxious to obtain the agreement, if only pro forma, of his professional advisers. I now came to attention myself and said with all the formality I could muster. 'My Fuhrer! My opinion has not changed. In my view it would be a crime to leave Sixth Army where it is. We can neither relieve it nor supply it. It would simply be sacrificed and that would be senseless.'

Outwardly Hitler remained calm and self-controlled even though he was boiling mad inside. He said to me, 'You see General that I am not alone in my opinion. It is shared by these two officers here, both of whom are senior to you. I will therefore remain with my previousdecision.' He bowed stiffly and we were dismissed.

The second discussion I would like to describe took place the following night.

Despite Hitler's harsh rejection of my reasoning, I did not want to give up my struggle for the salvation of Sixth Army under any circumstances. By experience I knew that I now had to approach the problem from a different direction. Hitler's decision, which appeared to be final and unalterable, was based on strategic considerations. There was no sense in trying to re-open the discussion on these grounds during the next few days. He would simply refuse to listen. But this did not apply to questions of supply. My thought was that where strategic arguments had failed, maybe matters of supply could carry the day. Maybe I would be able to bring him over to my way of thinking if I showed him the details of Sixth Army's supply situation and was able to prove to him on the basis of accurate facts and figures that an air lift for the army was impossible. Hitler always tended to be impressed by statistics.

The facts were put together by my staff in easily readable tables of numbers. As soon as these were ready, I again asked for a private audience with Hitler. He again chose a time late at night. Because of our discussion of yesterday, the reception was very cool. However, I succeeded in awakening his interest in the figures I
showed him and he permitted me to finish the explanations that were required to understand the statistics. I closed with the following words. 'After I have studied the facts in detail there is only one possible conclusion it is not possible to supply Sixth Army by air for a longer period of time.' Hitler's demeanour became icy. He said, 'The Reichsmarschall has assured me that it is possible.' I repeated, that that was not true. Hitler continued, 'Well then, let him tell you himself.'

He had the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe brought in and asked. Goring, 'Can you supply Sixth Army by air?'

Goring raised his right arm and solemnly pronounced, 'My .Fuehrer I assure you that the Luftwaffe can supply Sixth Army.' Hitler threw me a triumphant look, but I simply said, 'The Luftwaffe can do no such thing.' The Reichsmarschall looked black and said, 'You are not in a position to presume an opinion on that.' I turned to Hitler and asked, 'My Fuhrer, may I be permitted to ask the Reichsmarschall a question?' 'Yes, you may.'

'Does the Reichsmarschall know', I asked, 'the tonnage that must be flown in each day? ' Goring grew visibly embarrassed and wrinkled his brow. He answered, I do not, but the officers on my staff will.' On this I continued, if one takes the actual stock of Sixth Army into consideration, the absolute minimum requirement, and all sorts of emergencies, then Sixth Army will need a daily delivery of 300 tonnes. But since not every day is good for flying as I know from my experiences on the front last winter, this means 500 tonnes each actual day of flying, if the average minimum is to be maintained.'

Goring answered, I can do that!' With this, I lost my self-control and cried, 'My Fuhrer, that is a lie!' An icy silence descended on the three of us. Goring was white with rage. Hitler looked from one to the other and was obviously confused and astonished. Finally he said to me, 'The Reichsmarschall has made his report and I have no choice but to believe him. Therefore I will stay with my original decision.' I now said, I would like to make one further request.' Hitler asked, 'And what is that?' I answered, 'May I give you, my Fuhrer, a
daily report that accurately lists the supply tonnage flown in to Sixth Army during the preceding 24 hours?' Goring objected and claimed that this was none of my business. But Hitler rejected him and I was given permission to present this daily report. With that, the discussion was over.

Once again it had been to no avail. The only thing I had achieved was the enmity of the Reichsmarschall. I would like to point out here that many staff officers and commanders of the Luftwaffe shared my opinion from the beginning. A number of them put their doubts down in writing. They were not able to convince their Commander-in-Chief. He simply locked their reports away and made sure they did not reach Hitler's desk. '

Zeitzler's report on the downfall of Sixth Army ends with the following sentences: I had struggled for months to make Hitler see reason and take the right decisions. I had tailed. I therefore drew some conclusions as to my own position as Chief of Staff. I went to Hitler and tendered my resignation. He was angry and brusquely said, 'A general does not have the right to leave his post.'


Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by KDF33 » 02 Dec 2012, 04:36

I'd like to hear some views about the reasons why the Soviets were suffering such an appalling loss rate during WWII. In particular, I'd be very interested if someone could share data about Soviet training. I'd assume that rushed training would account for a substantial part of the relatively low proficiency of the RKKA during the war.

As regards aerial warfare, I already have data indicating that pilot training was pretty dismal during the war, the low point being attained in 1943.

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by igor_verh » 02 Dec 2012, 11:38

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by paspartoo » 02 Dec 2012, 12:13

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by Mr.No one » 02 Dec 2012, 12:32

I think the most intriguing aspect of this question, is why the Red Army CONTINUED to suffer heavy losses even to the end of the war(in Europe). By then the Red Army had had ample time to get experience, build up their industry and produce tanks(good tanks)at an enormous rate, get sound tactics, and sound operational princips.
The Wehrmacht, when compared, assembled more the 1941 Red Army, but still managed to inflict catastrophic losses upon the Red Army.

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by paspartoo » 02 Dec 2012, 13:28

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by Jabberwocky » 06 Dec 2012, 07:49

I think a fundamental part of the difference in the exchange rate was the Soviet operational art and sensitivity to casualties in relation to achievement of objectives.

There are probably hundreds of reasons for the level of Soviet casualties, ranging from the physical to the organisational/operational to the psychological. We've already had listed the differences in both basic and officer training between the two forces, the comparative experience levels of officers and troops, general and specific education levels, technical inferiority of variosu types of Soviet equipment, deficiencies in strategic mobility and communications, disparities in basic firepower.

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by paspartoo » 06 Dec 2012, 09:55

The poor performance of the T-34 was one of the reasons for the high Soviet losses. The main problems (limited internal space, two man turret, no turret basket) could not be fixed without designing a new tank (which the Soviets did, check the T-34M and T-43). They did however add a commander’s cupola in '43, a new gun with a three-man turret in '44 and some/most? got a radio.

Since the T-34 was built in huge numbers and served as the main tank its problems are a serious factor when assessing the difference in losses.

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by RJ55 » 06 Dec 2012, 11:13

A common theme in most communist armies during WW2 and Korea was their rigid attack patterns. This was mainly a function of the lack of two-way radios which ruled out a more flexible way of fighting. "The West" was more a consumer society, and so had large electronics/radio industries so they could manufacture a mass of good radios for their armed forces. For example, the Soviets only had two way radios at the level of battalion and above. Lower levels just had receivers. So a company commander could not inform his boss of a weak spot in the enemy's positions, or be able to ask quickly for reinforcements etc. Bad for the infantry, the situation is even more deadly for armoured warfare, where the situation can change in a heatbeat.

Good radios in every T-34 tank would have helped a lot IMHO, provided the crews were excellently trained, which in most cases they were not. Doing just one job under the pressure and terror is hard enough, but if one has to be tank commander, platton commander, gunner and radio operator and has had little training, one was bound to fail.

The German Panzer III's and IV's, although they had lousy design to defeat tank or anti-tank shells [no sloping armour] could react more quickly with 4 or 5 crew than a soviet or allied crew of only 2 or 3. The Panther addressed the armour shortcomings of the earlier models, but was rushed nad had its own problems in transmission, overheating, and catching fire etc.

The Tiger was the best, all-rounder, but there was not enough of them and they were too slow in some scenarios. I do not know why the Germans simply gave the Mark IV a sloping glacis plate, but I suppose if it were that simple they would have done it.

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by paspartoo » 06 Dec 2012, 12:31

RJ55 wrote:
The German Panzer III's and IV's, although they had lousy design to defeat tank or anti-tank shells [no sloping armour] could react more quickly with 4 or 5 crew than a soviet or allied crew of only 2 or 3. The Panther addressed the armour shortcomings of the earlier models, but was rushed nad had its own problems in transmission, overheating, and catching fire etc.

The Tiger was the best, all-rounder, but there was not enough of them and they were too slow in some scenarios. I do not know why the Germans simply gave the Mark IV a sloping glacis plate, but I suppose if it were that simple they would have done it.

Re: Why did the Soviets suffer so many casualties?

Post by jednastka » 06 Dec 2012, 16:26

I'd like to hear some views about the reasons why the Soviets were suffering such an appalling loss rate during WWII. In particular, I'd be very interested if someone could share data about Soviet training. I'd assume that rushed training would account for a substantial part of the relatively low proficiency of the RKKA during the war.

As regards aerial warfare, I already have data indicating that pilot training was pretty dismal during the war, the low point being attained in 1943.

Both my parents fought with the AK in Poland. In 1942, my father moved to the AK partisans foghting in eastern Poland. He told me of coming upon numerous battle sites in 1944 where there were a number of German machine gun nests that had been overrun by Soviet troops. He said the carnage was staggering. Hundreds of dead Soviet troops piled up in front of a machine gun nest with a half-dozen dead Germans. The machine gun was either jammed, or out of ammo. He said it appeared the Soviets just used the force of manpower to advance. He passed on in 1971.

This concept is shown well in the opening scenes of "Enemy At The Gates", a movie my mother watched, and told me it was the most realisitic depiction of the Soviet tactics she had ever seen.


Sniper Rewards

Josef Allerberger with his awords

Iron crosses 1 classes (March 18, 1945)

Iron crosses 2 classes (September 1944)

Wound Badge : Silver (17 November 1944)

Wound Badge : Silver. Photo from reibert.info/

Gold Sniper’s Badge (March 2, 1945)

Gold Sniper’s Badge. Photo from Wikipedia

Infantry Assault Badge

Infantry Assault Badge. Photo from Wikipedia

There is information that on April 20, 1945, Allerberger was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross by order of Ferdinand Schörner, but there are no documents about this award.


Shyster Shiner

Having watched the programme, there isn’t a single allegation of soldiers under fire making a wrong decision in the heat of battle. No allegations of mistakes or pressure decisions that went wrong. No prosecutions being called for in those circumstances.

People allegedly being beaten to death in unofficial holding centres within metres of Battalion officers. Families being told that they are still alive when they died 2 days earlier. Photos of bodies covered in bruises and boot marks, where it is being stated that they died of natural causes/heart attacks.

Company Commanders writing off a shooting as lawful with the decision being backed up by witness testimony, where the witness has subsequently provided a statement to say that they didn’t witness any such thing.

Investigators being refused access to senior officers, and recommendations to prosecute soldiers being refused by The MOD.

Many references to statements made by other soldiers implicating other soldiers.

Either you believe that soldiers could never do such things and are innocent or that even if they did do such things, they shouldn’t be prosecuted.

My 24 years in The RMP and subsequently, tells me that soldiers are convicted of murder, rape and other heinous offences when not on active service, many batter their wives and others and are addicted to alcohol and other substances. I think realistically we have to accept that they also commit horrendous crimes when on ops.

Ignoring these types of crimes does us no good and could lead us down the road of soldiers being indicted in The ICC because our government looks to be overlooking matters. It blemishes the 99.9% of soldiers who abide by the laws of armed conflict.

All of which sounds* like it should be investigated and if there is enough evidence to prosecute then those prosecutions should be taken forward.

What I take issue to is the fact that these investigations are carried out, don’t go anywhere then are regurgitated again and again. Now as I understand it this can happen in normal cases here in the UK but it’s not normal for cases to roll around and around like this.

Personally I’m not someone who takes the view that all soldiers are innocent or that they should be exempt from morality and the rule of law, but I do think that prosecutors/investigators need to shit or get off the pot.


Just on a separate note I did wonder if the shooting of the Iraqi cop was a
Semi-understandable **** up but the coy commander then compounded the issue by falsifying the write up


*ive not watched it but read the articles on the bbc

Draft Dodger

Wetsmonkey

My experience tells me that in the aftermath, units close ranks and very rarely will you obtain any evidence of wrong doing at the time of the incident

This is often down to pressure from higher up, or a feeling of loyalty to the cap badge.

However this doesn’t last for too long and most of the subsequent evidence down the line comes from soldiers who give testimony to the wrong doing.

Nobody wants to admit or accept that sometimes bad things are done by soldiers. The Army don’t want to have to admit it, the public don’t want to hear it and politicians definitely don’t want to hear it. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Just because Shiner was a deceitful twat, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Just like the fact that corrupt cops exist, we have to accept that soldiers do bad things to people. We need to grip the nettle, accept it and see justice done. Where vexatious or untrue allegations are made, we deal with that also.

Spec-op1989

Having watched the programme, there isn’t a single allegation of soldiers under fire making a wrong decision in the heat of battle. No allegations of mistakes or pressure decisions that went wrong. No prosecutions being called for in those circumstances.

People allegedly being beaten to death in unofficial holding centres within metres of Battalion officers. Families being told that they are still alive when they died 2 days earlier. Photos of bodies covered in bruises and boot marks, where it is being stated that they died of natural causes/heart attacks.

Company Commanders writing off a shooting as lawful with the decision being backed up by witness testimony, where the witness has subsequently provided a statement to say that they didn’t witness any such thing.

Investigators being refused access to senior officers, and recommendations to prosecute soldiers being refused by The MOD.

Many references to statements made by other soldiers implicating other soldiers.

Either you believe that soldiers could never do such things and are innocent or that even if they did do such things, they shouldn’t be prosecuted.

My 24 years in The RMP and subsequently, tells me that soldiers are convicted of murder, rape and other heinous offences when not on active service, many batter their wives and others and are addicted to alcohol and other substances. I think realistically we have to accept that they also commit horrendous crimes when on ops.

Ignoring these types of crimes does us no good and could lead us down the road of soldiers being indicted in The ICC because our government looks to be overlooking matters. It blemishes the 99.9% of soldiers who abide by the laws of armed conflict.

Much as we all despise Monkeys, good post.

Wetsmonkey

All of which sounds* like it should be investigated and if there is enough evidence to prosecute then those prosecutions should be taken forward.

What I take issue to is the fact that these investigations are carried out, don’t go anywhere then are regurgitated again and again. Now as I understand it this can happen in normal cases here in the UK but it’s not normal for cases to roll around and around like this.

Personally I’m not someone who takes the view that all soldiers are innocent or that they should be exempt from morality and the rule of law, but I do think that prosecutors/investigators need to shit or get off the pot.


Just on a separate note I did wonder if the shooting of the Iraqi cop was a
Semi-understandable **** up but the coy commander then compounded the issue by falsifying the write up


*ive not watched it but read the articles on the bbc

I agree that investigations must not be continually regurgitated.

However what I gathered from the programme was that recommendations to prosecute a number of soldiers for war crimes have been made and The MOD/SPA have refused to progress them. In addition, the disgraceful behaviour of Shiner was used as an excuse to close down IHAT/ Op Northmoor, when the 2 things are not necessarily linked.

No innocent soldier should be harassed or vexatiously prosecuted. However those accused of the most serious offences must not avoid investigation because as a nation we are squeamish about admitting the possibility that it’s true.

Spec-op1989

Mr. Trump has recently played the "vote for me, reactionary rednecks, look! I released some soldiers!" card.

Trump Clears Three Service Members in War Crimes Cases (Published 2019)

One possible outcome is a perception amongst groups hostile to the West that basically Western soldiers kill at will.

Spec-op1989

Truck_trasher

Bearing in mind I am 'abroad' so have missed a lot of the media about this latest instalment, may I suggest that IF soldiers are found to have made some sort of cover-up (of real crimes) at the behest of seniors or officers, then those seniors or officers get a massively disproportionately higher penalty than the toms? I would expect decades in prison as a standard level of penalty, possibly with permanent disbandment of units. Soldiers have to know that 'Yeah, XYZ Battalion fucked up and will never exist again, and did you hear what happened to the headshed?'.

Mistakes happen and that must be recognised, but to ignore the rule of law in order to try to save ones career when one has demonstrably utterly failed in management and control is intolerable. Anyone would think they are politicians.

Smallbrownprivates

Portree Kid

People allegedly being beaten to death in unofficial holding centres within metres of Battalion officers. Families being told that they are still alive when they died 2 days earlier. Photos of bodies covered in bruises and boot marks, where it is being stated that they died of natural causes/heart attacks.

Bring all these Alleged cases to Court, every last one of them, with one single caveat.

For every Allegedcase that fails - The ambulance chasing fcukwits go straight to jail for a minimum of 10 years.

Let's see how many of these Alleged cases make it to Court. After all IHAT had 1000's of cases, ALLEGEDLY.

BarcelonaAnalPark

Dogmeat

Having watched the programme, there isn’t a single allegation of soldiers under fire making a wrong decision in the heat of battle. No allegations of mistakes or pressure decisions that went wrong. No prosecutions being called for in those circumstances.

People allegedly being beaten to death in unofficial holding centres within metres of Battalion officers. Families being told that they are still alive when they died 2 days earlier. Photos of bodies covered in bruises and boot marks, where it is being stated that they died of natural causes/heart attacks.

Company Commanders writing off a shooting as lawful with the decision being backed up by witness testimony, where the witness has subsequently provided a statement to say that they didn’t witness any such thing.

Investigators being refused access to senior officers, and recommendations to prosecute soldiers being refused by The MOD.

Many references to statements made by other soldiers implicating other soldiers.

Either you believe that soldiers could never do such things and are innocent or that even if they did do such things, they shouldn’t be prosecuted.

My 24 years in The RMP and subsequently, tells me that soldiers are convicted of murder, rape and other heinous offences when not on active service, many batter their wives and others and are addicted to alcohol and other substances. I think realistically we have to accept that they also commit horrendous crimes when on ops.

Ignoring these types of crimes does us no good and could lead us down the road of soldiers being indicted in The ICC because our government looks to be overlooking matters. It blemishes the 99.9% of soldiers who abide by the laws of armed conflict.

Emcon Ecomcon

Kant suggests that for an action to have moral worth it must be done for the right reason - essentially doing the right thing for the right reason. If the soldier, or anybody, opens fire to resolve the categorical imperative of protecting his or his comrades' lives then the action in itself is moral.

War crimes the clue is in the name, things like the Malmedy massacre, or other such executions of large bodies of unarmed people already in custody. The infamous Bloody Sunday itself, the dispute was whether armed PIRA Members were active on the day (which they were) and none of those killed were in custody, so technically not a war crime.

The problem as ever is the legal bods never stop at simple descriptions and have so twisted the meaning, that a mortar shell drops short, could be an example of corporate manslaughter. A stray bomb hits the house next door to a target, or is the target through poor intelligence are all now technical breaches and that legal chicanary will get people killed.

Look at the recent police tasering to see the world gone mad. I wouldn't shed a tear if our rule of law and the lawyers and judges, were not all sentenced to life without parole and we have a criminal justice system which operates at the discretion of the majority.

Draft Dodger

I agree that investigations must not be continually regurgitated.

However what I gathered from the programme was that recommendations to prosecute a number of soldiers for war crimes have been made and The MOD/SPA have refused to progress them. In addition, the disgraceful behaviour of Shiner was used as an excuse to close down IHAT/ Op Northmoor, when the 2 things are not necessarily linked.

No innocent soldier should be harassed or vexatiously prosecuted. However those accused of the most serious offences must not avoid investigation because as a nation we are squeamish about admitting the possibility that it’s true.

personally i was glad IHAT was shut down as it seemed to be in the business of rolling these cases around and around despite several instances of those under investigation being told they had no case to answer. However i'd be lying if i didnt feel conflicted about it, as i said earlier i dont believe in immunity from prosecution for soldiers so the idea that everything was just shut down (as well as the investigations into the deaths in Afghanistan) didnt sit well with me but given the issues we saw fall out of Shiner/Danny Boy i figured that on the whole closing IHAT was for the best.

Out of curiosity is there a difference between the SPA refusing to progress the cases and refusing to prosecute? if it was the CPA i'd assume that there was not enough evidence and they turned it down, is the same thing happening here with the SPA or is something else going on?

because if it's just the prosecution authority stating that they dont think there is enough of a case* then i dont see what the problem is.


*could they be arguing that it is not in the public interest?** or would that not stand up?
**i wouldnt agree with this

Bring all these Alleged cases to Court, every last one of them, with one single caveat.

For every Allegedcase that fails - The ambulance chasing fcukwits go straight to jail for a minimum of 10 years.

Let's see how many of these Alleged cases make it to Court. After all IHAT had 1000's of cases, ALLEGEDLY.

I was going to post pretty much the same. I also agree with Wets. Where there is a case to answer whether historic through new evidence that would have benefited any original trial or investigation then have at it.

Where we are with this BBC lark though is something different imo, we're being asked to take as read that these detectives. wait hang on. There aren't any POLICE detectives tasked onto IHAT stuff anymore, so in actual fact, BBC what you should be saying is, a bunch of ex-coppers had a look at some evidence that we (the BBC) provided them with & decided that this was wrong, that was wrong & he should be charged.
To me this is fundamental - as the headlines stand it implies to the great unwashed that the cops have found evidence & the MOD is saying no sod off. Its fundamental, but its small potatoes in the grand scheme of some poor tom being hauled over the coals for killing an IP - to zero in on the case being highlighted by the BBC.
IME having worked over there on CP jobs, I never saw IPs in uniform strolling around the place off duty, they would be dead in minutes. They always got into uniform at their stations, if they had uniforms or even bothered to wear them. many would pop on the baseball type caps the CPA supplied them or the original IP stuff Saddam gave them. They would wear an armband too, many times in civvies with those small identifiers singling them out.
According to his family this bloke was on his way to work, every IP is/was armed many with AK's that they'd take home with them. Bloke comes out of gate, in civvies with gatt, seen by tom & dropped. Sorry but thats the way it goes.

Mr Tweedy

Old-Salt

Having watched the programme, there isn’t a single allegation of soldiers under fire making a wrong decision in the heat of battle. No allegations of mistakes or pressure decisions that went wrong. No prosecutions being called for in those circumstances.

People allegedly being beaten to death in unofficial holding centres within metres of Battalion officers. Families being told that they are still alive when they died 2 days earlier. Photos of bodies covered in bruises and boot marks, where it is being stated that they died of natural causes/heart attacks.

Company Commanders writing off a shooting as lawful with the decision being backed up by witness testimony, where the witness has subsequently provided a statement to say that they didn’t witness any such thing.

Investigators being refused access to senior officers, and recommendations to prosecute soldiers being refused by The MOD.

Many references to statements made by other soldiers implicating other soldiers.

Either you believe that soldiers could never do such things and are innocent or that even if they did do such things, they shouldn’t be prosecuted.

My 24 years in The RMP and subsequently, tells me that soldiers are convicted of murder, rape and other heinous offences when not on active service, many batter their wives and others and are addicted to alcohol and other substances. I think realistically we have to accept that they also commit horrendous crimes when on ops.

Ignoring these types of crimes does us no good and could lead us down the road of soldiers being indicted in The ICC because our government looks to be overlooking matters. It blemishes the 99.9% of soldiers who abide by the laws of armed conflict.

You are right, of course, Soldiers, like any group of young men, are no angels, are capable of, and do engage in many thinks both immoral and illegal in peacetime and it is highly probable that those character traits do not disappear on operations.

However. all of the words in the previous programme, and what you saw echo almost to the punctuation, claims made by Shiner and his cronies (and their Iraqi "witnesses"), some of which lead to the Al Sweady Public Inquiry. I was involved in and under investigation for, the incidents alleged in this for 10 years, and gave evidence as a principle witness before it all collapsed*. I have had numerous contact with IHAT investigators, who in many cases struck me as people with a need to prove their own existence.

I feel very strongly that where there is good evidence that an offence has been committed, it should be fully investigated and where required, prosecuted.

BUT. these allegations have been investigated, and an independent organisation made a decision, based on the same test that the CPS uses, that a prosecution should not proceed. What will be shown in a 1 hr TV programme, aimed at jump starting the outrage bus, is unlikely to be a fair and balanced view of the evidence, or include anything that contradicts the "message" that the investigative journalist wants to push.

It would hardly be a Panorama scoop to run a programme based on "we looked at the stuff one embittered, now unemployed, retired ex-detective told us and found it to be untrue, and the decision of the prosecuting authority not to prosecute, was right"

*which the concluding report of the Inquiry found that: "beyond doubt that all the most serious allegations, made against the British soldiers involved in the Battle of Danny Boy and its aftermath and which have been hanging over those soldiers for the last 10 years, have been found to be wholly without foundation and entirely the
product of deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility."


Why were Red Army Officers and soldiers not prosecuted for War Crimes in WWII? - History

RBTH
03 Dec 2020, 16:54 GMT+10

Italians were completely unprepared for war with the Soviet Union. And, apart from their leaders, they didn't have much desire to fight against the Russians.

"When an Italian soldier knows what he is fighting for, he doesn't fight badly, as was the case in the time of Garibaldi. In this war, however, soldiers not only do not know what they are fighting for, but they did not want this war and do not want it. Therefore, they only think of returning home," a bersagliere (elite rifleman) of the Principe Amedeo Duca d'Aosta Division, dispatched by Italian leader Benito Mussolini to the Eastern Front in the summer of 1941, said about Italy's involvement in the military campaign against the USSR.

Parade of Italian troops in Rome.

Despite Italy's declaring war on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 - the day Operation Barbarossa was launched [the German invasion of the Soviet Union] - there were no Italian soldiers in the invading army then. Initially, Adolf Hitler didn't intend to involve his main ally in the "Crusade against Bolshevism" because he felt that Rome had enough on its plate already. It had substantial occupation forces in Albania, Greece and Yugoslavia, and the Italian possessions in East Africa had been all but lost. In North Africa, the Italians managed to stand their ground only thanks to support of the German forces led by General Erwin Rommel that had been sent there. Despite this, Benito Mussolini persuaded the leader of the Third Reich to give his troops a chance to show what they could do in the war against the Russians.

Benito Mussolini visits Italian troops on the Eastern front.

The first Italian soldiers arrived on the Eastern Front in August 1941. The so-called Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR) numbered over 62,000 men, including 600 Italian "SS-men" - Blackshirts of the Voluntary Militia for National Security (Milizia Volontaria Per La Sicurezza Nationale) who were deeply loyal to the regime. Air support was provided by 51 Macchi C.200 Saetta fighter aircraft of the Italian Royal Air Force.

Bersagliere in Stalino (Donetsk).

The first weeks of the CSIR's operations in the Soviet Union demonstrated that Italy was completely unprepared for the war. The supply of provisions, combat clothing and ammunition was abysmally organized. The situation regarding road transport was even worse - Italian trucks couldn't last long on Russian roads. Soldiers of the Torino Division, forced to march over 1,300 km from the Romanian border eastwards, compared themselves to lowly foot-soldiers of the Middle Ages taken to war by their German masters who travelled comfortably on horseback.

Bersagliere in the USSR in 1942.

The armaments of the corps were a particular problem - their 47 mm anti-tank guns proved helpless against Soviet T-34 tanks. Their rounds only slightly dented - or just ricocheted off - the armor of enemy tanks. As far as the armored force was concerned, the Italians only had L3/33 and L3/35 tankettes, incapable of fighting Red Army tanks on equal terms. When the frosts hit, the fighter aircraft began to let the Italians down: The Macchi C.200s had been built with the Mediterranean theater in mind, not the Russian winter.

Benito Mussolini inspects the four guns he sent with the first division of soldiers to the Russian front.

All the above factors led to the commanders of Army Group South being constantly unhappy with the Italian corps under the group's command. Despite some successful local operations by the Italians (such as the "Christmas Battle" on the River Mius on Dec. 26, 1941), the Germans had a low opinion of the Italians as soldiers. "The Italian divisions are unfortunately so ineffectual that they can be employed for nothing more than passive flank cover in the rear of our positions," Franz Halder, chief of the Army General Staff, wrote in his war diary.

'Sforzesca' division in action.

Things were different with the Italian Royal Navy, which earned high praise from the Germans. One of the most effective special submarine units of World War II, the 10th Assault Craft Flotilla, was on active service in the Black Sea, where its torpedo-armed motorboats, midget submarines and sabotage parties successfully fought Soviet troops and naval forces in the Crimea. Several boats were even deployed to the Baltic, despite the distance from Italy.

MAS 528 torpedo boat on Ladoga lake.

As far as their interaction with the local population and Red Army prisoners of war, the Italians were much more humane than the Germans, Hungarians or Romanians. "Early on the morning of Oct. 21, 1941, Italian troops were already in the town," recalled Yekaterina Mateychuk (Gayduk), a resident of the Ukrainian town of Krasnoarmeysk. "And we, children, ran to see what fine uniforms they had: Berets with brightly-colored feathers, aiguillettes. There was nothing frightening about them, but the Italians departed very quickly and it was only when the Germans arrived in the town and began their atrocities that we could of course see the difference. Despite the fact that the Italians attempted to distance themselves from the brutal methods of their allies, the CSIR's path through Soviet territory was also marked by a number of war crimes: Murders of civilians, rapes, looting and destruction of infrastructure.

Italian soldier in Kharkiv.

By the summer of 1942, the Expeditionary Corps had lost around 15,000 men - a quarter of its strength. Mussolini decided significantly to reinforce his military grouping in the USSR and in July the 8th Army, also known as the Italian Army in Russia (Armata Italiana in Russia, or ARMIR), was deployed on the basis of the Corps. It numbered 235,000 men, but the earlier problems with supplies and weapons had not gone away. A small group of 19 light L6/40 tanks at its disposal was incapable of becoming a strike force of any significance, so German armored formations were periodically brought in to reinforce ARMIR.

The Italian troops' most prized asset on the Eastern Front were the several divisions of elite mountain infantry forming the so-called Alpine Corps. Accustomed to the cold and well armed, equipped and trained, they were regarded as the most reliable units in the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy. They repeatedly had to bail out ARMIR when it faced serious Soviet resistance.

Italian troops in the Soviet Union.

These hard times soon came for the Italians. After the Wermacht's 6th Army was encircled at Stalingrad in November 1942, Soviet troops struck at the Italian 8th Army on the Don. In the course of several offensive operations in December and January, the Italians were completely smashed. Sergei Otroshchenkov, a tank crewman of the 18th Tank Corps, recalled a successful surprise attack on withdrawing ARMIR units near the village of Petrovsky: "When the Italian forward units drew level with us, the order was sent along the (tank) columns: 'Advance! Crush!' We gave it to them from both flanks! I've never seen such carnage since. We literally smashed the Italian army into the ground. It was winter and our tanks were whitewashed for winter camouflage. And when we withdrew from battle, our tanks were red below the turrets. It was as if we had been swimming in blood. I examined my tank - in one place there was a hand stuck to the tracks, in another a fragment of a skull."

The retreat of the defeated ARMIR from the Don westwards recalled the flight of Napoleon's Grande Armee from Russia in 1812. "Exhausted men fell in the snow never to get up again," recalled Eugenio Corti, an officer of the Pasubio Division. "Some were going mad and did not understand they were dying. The most tenacious of the men continued to drag themselves along the road for a long time, until the strength of these unfortunates finally ran out. The most frequent stories I heard were of mental confusion. I remember being taken aback by the story of someone who all of a sudden had burst out laughing, sat down in a snow drift, taken his boots off and set about burying his bare feet in the snow. After he had finished laughing, he loudly sang something very jolly. There were a great many similar cases." Only the Alpine infantry covering their comrades' withdrawal periodically put up any organized resistance.

During the fighting in Russia, the Italian 8th Army lost more than 114,000 men killed, captured or missing. Having achieved nothing, the bloodied and depleted troops were withdrawn home in the spring of 1943. The disaster of the Italian Army in Russia shocked Italian society and was one of the main reasons for the rapid fall of Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime soon afterwards.


Assessment [ edit | edit source ]

German soldiers halted before a partisan-occupied zone

The partisans' activities included disrupting the railroad communications, intelligence gathering and, typically, small hit and run operations. With the German supply lines already over extended, the partisan operations in the rear of the front lines were able to severely disrupt the flow of supplies to the army that acted deep into the Soviet territory.

In the second half of the war, major partisan operations were coordinated with Soviet offensives. Upon liberation of parts of the Soviet territory the corresponding partisan detachments usually joined the regular Army.

The partisans were an important and numerous force of the war. According to Soviet sources, from 90,000 partisans (including underground) by the end of 1941 it grew to 220,000 in 1942, and to more than 550,000 in 1943. ⎰] Soviet partisans inflicted thousands of casualties on Axis forces. In Belarus alone the partisans claimed to have killed, injured and taken prisoner some 500,000 German soldiers. ⏃] Based on German sources, historians consider these claims to be far exaggerated. According to German historian Christian Gerlach, 6,000-7,000 German troops were killed by partisans in Belarus, not including local auxiliaries. ⏄]


Watch the video: Why The Soviet Unions Overshadowed Atrocities of WW2 Must not be Forgotten