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WWII Soviet Partisans Poster

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Soviet WWII poster: Soviet partisans

Guerilla Warfare behind Germany's Eastern Front

On June 22, 1941, Nazi-Germany invaded Russia. In a radio speech on July 3, 1941, Stalin asked the Russia people in the enemy occupied areas to organize against the Germans and combat the enemy troops through guerrilla warfare.

The Soviet resistance effort was to include such tactics as blowing up bridges and roads, damaging communication lines, and setting fire to anything that would be useful to the Germans.

By winter of 1941, the German troops had already advanced to the outskirts of Moscow. The population of the western part of Russia which had been overrun or bypassed by the invading German army found themselves many miles behind enemy lines.

The Germans had advanced so quickly that many Soviet soldiers had become separated from the main army and it was now impractical to rejoin their comrades. Stalin had given orders for the Red Army to fight to the death and captured Russian soldiers and deserters to be shot. It therefore became a great motivation for these soldiers to join a partisan group in hopes that in the end, the Russian army would overlook their earlier failures.

The men and women who decided to fight against the Germans behind enemy lines were called partisans, and were made up of Russian soldiers and citizens who formed a resistance movement in the German occupied areas. The resistance groups were loosely organized but “[s]taff officers, specialists, agents, radiomen, and other important key personnel were brought to the partisan units either through gaps in the front line or by air.” Russian Partisans: Airpower and Russian Partisan Warfare, by Karl Drum, 1968 (p3). The Russian partisans became a significant movement who continued to harass the German forces with guerrilla tactics at every opportunity.

As the Germans moved eastward, the Nazi troops relied upon trains to bring supplies, particularly since Russian roads were very poor. The gorilla warfare of the partisans made it necessary for the Germans to build special trains in an effort to discourage partisan attacks upon their supply lines. Train cars and engines were produced which were covered with armor and carried additional weapons. However, the partisans continued to violently oppose their enemy.

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