Pay No Attention to Us
Soviet Partisans played a major part in the soviet victory against the Germans in the Great Patriotic War. As Germans moved deeper into Russia, it became apparent an extra edge was going to be needed to defeat the advancing German lines. From the start of the war, partisan forces began using guerrilla warfare tactics to slow down German lines, with little support or organization. However, in 1943 the Supreme Military Court in Moscow ordered all the partisan units to begin organized attacks on German controlled railways. After the summer of 1943 Partisan forces began receiving more and more support and supplies. They started off as guerrilla soldiers in the woods with simple rifles, but after 43′ they began to receive more firepower, such as mortars and artillery. They also received much needed food and clothing. These men remained undetected from the Germans in the deep forests of Russia, however they couldn’t hide from the frigid temperatures or starvation.
Partisan forces did have a big part in the Soviet victory, by destroying railways, cutting German communications, and putting a nagging fear in the minds of every German commander. However, like in most cases to do with WWII, propaganda lifted their pedestal even higher. Many stories were written about the successes of the Partisans, one of the most popular stories, about a girl named Tanya, became a legend. According to soviet sources from the time, partisans killed over half a million Germans, in their well organized, robin hood like attacks. In reality however, in the beginning of the war Partisan forces were very disorganized, with little to no communication with Moscow. They also faced many obstacles other than the German enemy. For example many of the soviet peasants refused to support these Partisans because they still remembered collectivization.
Soviet Partisans continued to fight right up until German surrender in 1945. For most of the war, Partisan forces actually grew until they weren’t only found in Russia, but also the Ukraine and possibly Poland. After German surrender in fact, Partisans in the Ukraine turned against Soviet forces and demanded independence for their homeland. They fought the soviets for several years after the end of WWII.
I enjoyed this post on a unique aspect of the war. I would like to know a little bit more of the history of the partisans though.
I agree with the comment above– definitely something I did not know about during World War 2 in Russia. It would be interesting, however, to learn why the Partisans came to be. Good link to the Tanya story, too!
Thanks for highlighting the legend of Zoya Kosmodemianskaia (Tanya) as a major part of founding ethos of the partisan movement. The move for independence by the Ukrainian partisans is, of course, really relevant to today’s conflict in the region: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/17/why-are-swastikas-hot-in-west-ukraine.html