28.07.

1942: Stalin Orders the Immediate Execution of those Fleeing from the Germans

1942: Stalin Orders the Immediate Execution of those Fleeing from the Germans
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 28 July 1942
  • Stalin's infamous Order no. 227 is best known for its "Not one step back!" (Russian: Ни шагу назад! / Ni shagu nazad!) line. So-called "blocking detachments" were formed, stationed behind the front lines in order to shoot the soldiers that fled from the battlefield. Disobedient Soviet officers were demoted to the lowest rank of ordinary soldiers and sent straight to Stalingrad to fight the invading Germans. More than two-thirds of them were killed in only three days.

On this day during World War II, Soviet leader Stalin issued the infamous Order no. 227 (Директива Ставки ВГК №227), which forbade any retreat before the enemy.

According to this command, no commander had the right to order a retreat unless he received permission from his superiors. Furthermore, they had to form the so-called “penal battalions” composed of soldiers with disciplinary problems.

These battalions were to be sent to the most dangerous parts of the battlefield as a punishment. The first such battalion was composed of disobedient officers. They were demoted to the lowest rank of ordinary soldiers and sent straight to Stalingrad to fight the invading Germans.

More than two-thirds of them were killed in only three days. It is interesting that Stalin organized “penal battalions” based on the model of the same type of German units (German: Strafbattalion), which the Germans used on the Eastern Front.

Order no. 227 is best known for its “Not one step back!” (Russian: Ни шагу назад!/Ni shagu nazad!) line. To this end, Stalin also formed the so-called “blocking detachments” which were stationed behind the front lines and shot the soldiers that fled from the battlefield.

1This practice proved counterproductive and only lowered the morale of the Soviet troops, so the “blocking detachments” were later abolished.

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