Let's continue the topic of the German documents on the fight against partisans. To the accompaniment of the gnashing teeth of fairy tale lovers from the political instructors comrade Epishev, let's see what German documents from stories partisan movement.
They can give us a lot. Firstly, there are thousands of such documents (without much exaggeration) - various reports, certificates and reports on attacks, on ongoing or conducted operations, on the number of partisans and the deployment of their units, and correspondence on this matter. Secondly, they are often very detailed and contain a lot of valuable information. Thirdly, the archives also contain diagrams and maps related to the fight against partisans.
Control and accounting is about the Germans. They were not too lazy to count and write down, up to the number of rail explosions and defused mines or the number of pants seized from the partisans. So, in chess language, all the moves of the Germans were undoubtedly recorded: both the operations of the partisans and their own actions against them.
In principle, if you take up Soviet and German documents and study them in comparison, then the entire partisan struggle can be restored down to the smallest details. Here the partisans report in their report that on such and such a day they attacked such and such a point. And now the German document reports the same attack and its outcome. Comparison of two opposing points of view on the same military event provides unique information that makes it possible to assess how successful a particular guerrilla attack on the Germans was and what damage was actually done. Because the Germans used to record data about what was destroyed, damaged and destroyed.
This work should have been done long ago. If you thoroughly comb through the archives, then, I think, you can collect an almost complete set of German dispatches and reports. At least in the areas of responsibility of the Reichskommissariat, army groups, army corps, and the command of security forces.
Why hasn't this been done yet? It seems that for the reason that from such a comparison the propaganda brilliance of the partisans will fade somewhat. And many heroic deeds and defeats of garrisons will turn out to be a little unreliable, even to the point of complete fiction. Or just not very much in line with popular legends. Not to tell the pioneers about how the partisans heroically attacked a peat-mining enterprise and destroyed cars there.
Exaggeration of partisan successes is an objective thing, dictated by the conditions of partisan war. For the most part, the guerrillas could not find out about the concrete results of an attack or sabotage, since they had to retreat quickly so as not to fall under a retaliation or pursuit.
On the other hand, partisan commanders could overestimate the enemy's losses and damage in order to increase their effectiveness in the eyes of the headquarters of the partisan movement and get weapon, ammunition and explosives. At the headquarters, they apparently turned a blind eye to the works of the partisans and with some skepticism, but they immediately put it all into propaganda, since the soldiers at the front and the workers, who worked hard in the rear, definitely needed enthusiasm. The enemy is beaten in his rear - it was a powerful propaganda weapon.
Therefore, to get rid of these exaggerations, it is necessary to compare reports from both sides. For now, let's see what can be found in the German documents with a couple of examples.
Railway explosion statistics
Railways were the most important for the Eastern Front. And there statistics of explosions and sabotage were collected carefully. Here, for example, the headquarters of the General of Military Communications "Center" (General des Transportswesens Mitte, from October 1942 he was commanded by Oberst Matthias Peters) on November 5, 1942, compiled a report on sabotage, air strikes and artillery shelling of railways in the area of responsibility of Feldeinsenbahn Kommando 2 ( FEKdo.2) and Haupteisenbahndirektion Minsk (HBD Minsk) from 1 to 31 October 1942 (TsAMO RF, f. 500, op. 12454, d. 395, pp. 215-217).
Zone FEKdo.2 had 52 train bombings, 19 rail and bridge bombings, 3 train attacks, 53 mining operations, 68 air raids and 29 artillery attacks. For a month, two-track tracks were blocked for 164 hours, single-track tracks - for 977 hours. In the table, these data are divided into nine directions. For example, the Smolensk - Vyazma - Gzhatsk line was blocked: both routes for 46 hours, one route for 133 hours.
Table of the number of guerrilla attacks on railways in the FEKdo area of responsibility. 2
In the HBD Minsk area, there were 174 train bombings, 51 rail bombings and 8 bridge bombings, 7 train attacks, 61 mines and 20 air raids. Two-track tracks were blocked for 1115,5 hours, single-track tracks for 2119,5 hours. For example, the line Daugavpils - Indra - Polotsk - Vitebsk - Smolensk was blocked: both routes for 337 hours, one route for 582,5 hours. 35 train explosions (or every day).
The consequences of train explosions and crashes could be very frightening to look at. However, the railway workers were obliged to be able (as they do now) to quickly clean everything and restore the track, since the trains go off the rails and without any partisans. The photo shows one of the methods of restoration work. Failing to move the locomotive to the side, apparently due to the lack of a crane, the railroad workers simply paved a bending track. By the way, partisans mainly created jobs for Russian railway workers. FEKdo.2 employed 36,9 thousand people, of which only 11,3 thousand were Germans.
There were 744 hours in a month, that is, the line was stopped 45% of the time and operated with reduced capacity (one track allows transportation in both directions with special regulation) for 78% of the time. That is, the throughput of this line was cut by at least half of the attacks and sabotage of the partisans. This is exactly the line that started Operation Winter Forest, discussed in the previous article.
For a correct understanding: blowing up a train and derailing it does not always mean a complete cessation of transportation. In the photo: a train lies on its side on one track, and the other track is free for movement.
Here is another message from the commander of the security forces and rear of Army Group Center to the command of Army Group Center dated October 14, 1942. It says that the enemy, after artillery and machine-gun shelling at 5:50 am, attacked the Daugavpils - Polotsk line in the area between the Borkovichi and Drissa stations. The Borkovichi station was attacked near the company, the station and the Svoln bridge - near the battalion, and the station and the Drissa bridge - also near the battalion. The attack on Borkovichi was repulsed by fire, and on Svolna and Drissa - by counterattacks. The battle ended at about 8 am (TsAMO RF, f. 500, op. 12454, d. 428, l. 15).
I managed to find a description of the same battle in Soviet literature:
“In October 1942, the combined forces of the partisan brigades of Gerasimov, Petrakov and Zakharov carried out a simultaneous raid on eight enemy garrisons on the railway line from Borkovichi station to Drissa station. The simultaneous blow sowed panic among the Nazis, communications were inactive, there was no one to ask for help. The garrisons offered almost no resistance to the partisans. At the Borkovichi station, a water pump was broken, 17 Nazis were killed and 4 were wounded. In Svoln, partisans damaged the premises of the railway station and barracks with artillery fire. In the ensuing battle, 24 Nazis were killed and 9 were wounded. The people's avengers inflicted great damage on the enemy at other stations and garrisons. During this raid, partisans damaged railway tracks in several places, and train traffic was suspended for three days. " (VE Lobanok "In battles for the Motherland." Minsk, "Belarus", 1964, pp. 153−154).
Everything is so obvious here that there is nothing to comment on.
The idea was to break through to the bridges and blow them up, then the line would stand up for a long time, for several weeks. But it didn't work out. However, even without this, the activity of the partisans on the line significantly interfered with transportation along them. The German data show this very clearly. By the way, this was the shortest railway from Riga with its ports to the rear of Army Group Center.
In itself, the idea of the partisan operation was not bad: the railway on this section crosses the Drissa and its tributary twice. And there is also a bridge across a tributary of the Western Dvina to the west of Drissa station (located near the village of Borovka). By blowing up the bridges near Svolna and Drissa, it was possible to create an isolated area, the restoration of which would be very difficult. Only the partisans did not succeed in the attack; the German garrisons were stronger.
Guerrilla warfare in numbers
Here is a report on the actions of the partisans (Bandenlagebericht), compiled at the headquarters of the 9th Army on May 26, 1944, reflecting the situation from April 26 to May 25, 1944. This is a long and detailed document describing the situation in the most detailed way.
Four partisan groups were operating in the rear of the army:
- 1st northern, in the Klichev area, north of the Berezina; about 3500 people;
- 2nd northern, northeast of the Bobruisk-Minsk road, about 5300 people;
- western, in forests and swamps between Slutsk and Maryina Gorka, about 7000 people;
- southern, in the forests of Polesie, about 3500 people.
A total of approximately 19 partisans (TsAMO RF, f. 300, op. 500, d. 12472, l. 623)
The beginning of the report of the headquarters of the 9th Army on the activity of the partisans.
General diagram of the situation in the rear of the 9th Army and an enlarged fragment with the location of the forces of the two northern groups of partisans.
It should be noted that the annex to the report contains a detailed description of the partisan forces. For example, the "Kuznetsov - Red Banner" brigade; commander Andreev, commissar Avorin. Deployed near Novye Lyady (8445 - probably referring to a sheet of a German map 1: 100 000-84). Number - 45 people, has 600 gun, 1 anti-tank guns, 2 mortars, 20 heavy and 2 light machine guns. It is divided into four groups: "Voroshilov" - 30 people, "Molotov" - 250 people, "Gastello" and "Frunze" - the number is not indicated (TsAMO RF, f. 100, op. 500, d. 12472, l. 623) ...
And so on almost all partisan detachments. The connections are marked with an index. For example, the Kuznetsov - Red Banner brigade is designated D 36, the 37th Parkhomenko Partisan Brigade - F 206. It seems that the Germans had a common card index for partisan formations and detachments. If it was not burned, then it must be archived somewhere.
Since many do not want to believe that the partisans could have been poorly armed, some data can be cited on this score. For example, a detachment "Suvorov" from the 1st Minsk brigade, stationed 3 km north of Shkavilovka, had 110 light machine guns, 3 submachine guns and 4 rifles for 40 partisans. Or, the Kirov brigade, stationed in Luzhitsa, had a seemingly good arsenal: one 76,2-mm cannon, two 45-mm anti-tank guns, 3 mortars, 12 anti-tank rifles, 3 heavy and 40 light machine guns, 100 pistols. machine guns and cars. However, out of 800 people in the brigade, 40% (or 320 people) did not have a weapon, about which there is a special note (TsAMO RF, file 500, op. 12472, file 623, l. 61).
There is an interesting note in the document about guerrilla morale. The core of the detachments was made up of communists, specialists with higher education and the Red Army, and about the rest of the partisans, the report says so (TsAMO RF, f. 500, op. 12472, d. 623, l. 46):
"Der Großteil der Banditen ist mehr oder weniger unter Zwang rekrutiert worden und hat wenig Sympathie für die Bandenbewegung".
That is, most of the partisans are recruited under duress and have little sympathy for the partisan movement. This conclusion was formed as a result of interrogations of the partisans who were captured, as well as defectors from partisan detachments. The latter were few. Since the report notes that the command of the detachments intimidates with the imminent execution of the Germans, and that German propaganda only rarely reaches the partisans.
This is an interesting factor in the struggle: the partisans used their propaganda to get the population of the occupied regions, various allies of the Germans and auxiliary troops. But the Germans could not get the partisans with their propaganda. Purely technical difficulties played an important role in this.
Despite the state of morale on both sides, the war was very tense. The appendix to the report provides information about the battles that took place and the losses incurred in them. From April 26 to May 25, 1944, the Germans carried out four operations, 129 actions with a fight, 112 actions without a fight, and had 53 clashes with partisans.
The partisans carried out 13 attacks repulsed by the Germans, 66 attacks, 24 undermining rails and 5 partially triggered explosions (25 mines were neutralized by the Germans), 61 mining roads (61 mines were neutralized by the Germans), 8 bridges were destroyed, 10 gusts of communication lines, 93 robberies ...
Losses of partisans: 1510 people killed, 641 taken prisoner, 24 fled to the Germans, 873 were arrested as partisans' accomplices or suspects, 2570 civilians were registered (or registered; it is not very clear what this means).
German trophies were: 75,2-mm howitzer, 3 mortars, 5 anti-tank rifles, 4 heavy and 19 light machine guns, 39 submachine guns, 277 rifles, 18 pistols. Also captured: a movie camera, 100 leather coats, 3000 pants, 284 horses, 253 cows, 440 centners (German centner - 50 kg; 22 tons) of potatoes, 97 carts. 243 partisan camps, 1885 dugouts, 8 villages and a distillery were destroyed.
German losses during operations against partisans: killed - 5 officers, 83 non-commissioned officers and soldiers, 31 "eastern assistants" (Ostfreiwillige, Soviet citizens who helped the Germans); wounded - 2 officers, 169 non-commissioned officers and soldiers, 44 assistants; missing - 2 officers, 27 non-commissioned officers and soldiers, 12 assistants. Defectors from the Germans to the partisans are also mentioned: 3 assistants and 5 hivis (Hilfswillige, Soviet citizens who entered service in the Wehrmacht unit).
The Germans lost weapons: one anti-tank gun, two mortars, two heavy and 14 light machine guns, 3 submachine guns, 10 pistols, 2 rocket launchers and 25 rifles (TsAMO RF, f. 500, op. 12472, d. 623, l. 53 −54).
So, from this report it is clear that the Germans won in most battles and inflicted very significant losses on the partisans. During the month, killed, taken prisoner (and escaped), the partisans lost 2175 people, or 11% of the number of detachments. German losses were almost ten times less: killed, wounded and missing - 288 people (without assistants and hivi).
However, the Germans were losing the war against the partisans in general. The maps show that all their activity was reduced only to pushing the partisans away from the most important roads. Major operations yielded trophies, but were militarily almost unsuccessful. The core of partisan detachments and brigades (represented by the communists and the military) could lose almost everything in defeat. But it went to another area, and after a few weeks it was overgrown with those who wanted to fight against the Germans, by persuasion or force they mobilized into detachments, acquired weapons and were ready to fight again. Therefore, the defeat of the partisan detachments and the thousands of killed partisans gave little to the Germans. In fact, it was only a grind of the local population.
So the German documents have a lot to tell, especially when viewed in a broad context. For example, the report of the 9th Army headquarters on the fight against partisans paints a picture on the eve of Operation Bagration, about a month before the offensive on Bobruisk.
From this diagram, attached to the report of the headquarters of the 9th Army on May 26, 1944, with the marked zones controlled by the partisans, it is clear how bad the situation of the 9th Army was on the eve of the battle for Bobruisk. In fact, even before the start of the battle, the army's forces were in a kind of "bottle" and had no freedom of maneuver at all.
Then the 65th Army passed through a swamp, which was considered impassable, and led the 1st Guards tank corps, which was introduced into the breakthrough of the German defense. The commander of the 65th Army I.P. Batov describes it as if the Germans believed in the designation of an impassable swamp on the map. However, I do not think that everything was as simple as Batov says.
There were also other reasons for the successful breakthrough, one of which was the participation of partisans.