The infamous Stalin Order no. 227 is best known for the words: “Not a step back!”. The so-called blocking detachments, which were to stand behind the front and shoot at soldiers who would flee the battlefield and retreat back.
Soviet leader Stalin issued the infamous order no. 227, which forbade any retreat before the enemy, July 28, 1942. Under that order, no field commander was allowed to order a withdrawal unless permission was obtained from a higher position. Furthermore, the so-called punitive battalions composed of undisciplined and disobedient soldiers. Such battalions were to be sent to the most dangerous parts of the battlefield as punishment. The first such battalion was composed of disobedient officers. They were degraded into ordinary soldiers and sent straight to the Stalingrad battlefield in front of the invading Germans. In just three days, more than two-thirds were killed. Stalin organized these punitive battalions on the model of the same Hitler units (German name Strafbattalion), which the Germans used on the Eastern Battlefield.
Order no. 227 is best known for the words: “Not a step back!”. For that purpose, Stalin formed the so-called blocking detachments, which were to stand behind the front and shoot at soldiers who would flee the battlefield and retreat back. Such a practice proved counterproductive and only reduced the morale of Soviet soldiers, so later blocking detachments were abolished.