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Barrier detachments (redux)


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I searched, but failed to find the thread where this was discussed. Wanted to let the troops know, though, that Hero of the Soviet Union Dmitry Loza's second book, FIGHTING FOR THE SOVIET MOTHERLAND, which I absolutely recommend, has the complete text, not just Stalin's approving comments on what the Germans did regarding penal units and their combat employment, of the famous "Not a step back" Order No. 227. It appears as Appendix B (pp.219-223) and details which formations are to have what penal units and what crimes mandate such reassignment.

Also, barrier detachments were NOT confined to use with penal units. Loza himself was a lieutenant in a Matilda unit ordered to fire on broken Soviet troops following a crushing Panzer attack. When simultaneous fire over their heads and in the ground in front of them failed to halt the rout, the guns were lowered and men died, seven deaths that remain burned into his memory fifty years later. See pp.18-20.

In closing, I emphatically disagree that the Maxim MGs listed are for suppressing the enemy. As Cold War GRU defector Viktor Suvorov (real name Vladimir Rezun) makes clear in his book (forget which one), those guns are there specifically to shoot down penal unit members who try to shirk their combat duties while spearheading Soviet assaults. Suvorov himself spent some hard time

in a penal company (luckily, not in wartime) as a young soldier and felt so strongly about the plight of the penal units which would be trapped between NATO defensive fires and barrier detachments that he directly advocated NATO units in such a situation execute a quick backpedal movement in order to give the penal units a chance to quickly advance, then turn their weapons against the barrier detachments.

Regards,

John Kettler

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= = =In closing, I emphatically disagree that the Maxim MGs listed are for suppressing the enemy. As Cold War GRU defector Viktor Suvorov (real name Vladimir Rezun) makes clear in his book (forget which one), those guns are there specifically to shoot down penal unit members who try to shirk their combat duties while spearheading Soviet assaults.= = =

That also has been told several times by a Russian NKVD commander who was involved in these things at Moscow. Saw it on Discovey Channel.

Cheers

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