Partisan Movement in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Partisan Movement in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45


the struggle of the Soviet people against the fascist aggressors on temporarily occupied territory of the USSR. The primary form of the struggle was armed actions by partisans and underground fighters. The partisan movement, an important factor in achieving victory over fascist Germany and its allies, developed in all occupied Soviet territory and grew to a historically unprecedented scope and consequence. During the war more than 1 million partisans and an army of thousands of underground fighters operated in the enemy rear, with the active support of tens of millions of Soviet patriots. Workers, peasants, members of the intelligentsia, people of different ages, men and women, and representatives of the various nationalities of the USSR and of some foreign countries took part in the partisan movement. The Soviet partisans and underground fighters killed, wounded, and captured about 1 million fascists and their henchmen, put more than 4,000 tanks and armored vehicles out of commission, destroyed or damaged 1,600 railroad bridges, and wrecked more than 20,000 military trains (see Table 1).

In the Great Patriotic War the Soviet people were fighting not only for the independence of their own country but also for the social gains of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

The partisan movement, which was directed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party, developed under the immediate leadership of local party organizations operating in the enemy rear. On June 29, 1941, the party Central Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR sent a directive to the party and soviet organizations in regions threatened by enemy invasion. In addition to the general tasks of the Soviet people during the war, the directive contained a concrete program for the development of the partisan movement. On July 18, 1941, the Central Committee adopted the special decree On the Organization of the Struggle in the Rear of the German Troops, which supplemented the directive of June 29. These documents gave orders regarding the preparation of a party underground and the organization, build-up, and arming of partisan detachments. In addition, they outlined the missions of the partisan movement. By the autumn of 1941, ten underground oblast committees had been established on occupied territory, as well as more than 260 okrug, city, and raion committees, other party bodies, and many primary party organizations and groups. In the autumn of 1943, 24 oblast committees and more than 370 okrug, city, and raion committees and other party bodies were operating in the enemy rear. The party directed its organizational and mass political work at creating underground organizations and partisan detachments, strengthening the leadership of the partisan movement, improving supplies to the partisans, ensuring the growth of partisan forces, and expanding the antifascist underground network. As a result, the combat ability of the partisan detachments grew, their zones of operations broadened, the struggle in which the masses of the common people were involved became more effective, and close cooperation was established with the army in the field.

Partisan detachments or groups were organized in occupied and unoccupied territory. The personnel of groups formed in unoccupied territory were trained in special partisan schools. These detachments were left in selected regions about to be captured by the enemy, or they were transferred to the enemy rear. In many instances, newly activated units were made up of military servicemen. Antisabotage detachments created in the front regions to combat enemy diversionists and spies often became partisan detachments. During the war, organizational groups left in the enemy rear provided the foundation for the formation of large partisan units, as well as detachments. Organizational groups played a particularly important role in the western regions of the Ukraine and Byelorussia and in the Baltic region, where, with the rapid advance of the fascist German troops, many oblast and raion party committees did not have time to complete preparations for the development of a partisan movement. A significant number of partisan detachments were formed after these regions were captured by the enemy. In the eastern regions of the Ukraine and Byelorussia and in the western oblasts of the RSFSR, preparation for the partisan movement was done in advance. At the suggestion of party bodies, the antisabotage battalions provided the nucleus for the formation of partisan units in Leningrad, Kalinin, Smolensk, Orel, Moscow, and Tula oblasts, as well as in the Crimea.

The deployment of partisan forces was particularly well organized in Leningrad, Kalinin, Smolensk, and Orel oblasts, where party organizations formed partisan detachments and established their base regions and matériel depots in advance. A special feature of the partisan movement in Leningrad Oblast was the active participation of factory workers, students, and office workers from Leningrad, as well as the local population. In Smolensk and Orel oblasts and in the Crimea, the partisan movement was distinguished by the participation of a significant number of Red Army fighting men who had been surrounded or who had escaped from prisoner-of-war camps. Their presence significantly increased the combat ability of the partisan forces.

Despite their diversity, the partisan units were very similar in composition and organization (see Figure 2). The basic tactical unit was the detachment, which, at the beginning of the war, usually consisted of several dozen persons but which later increased to 200 or more persons. During the war many detachments were united to form larger units (brigades) of several hundred to several thousand persons. The most common armaments were small arms (submachine guns, light machine guns, rifles, carbines, and grenades), but many detachments and large units had infantry mortars and heavy machine guns, and some had artillery. Everyone who joined partisan units took the partisan oath, and strict military discipline was enforced in the detachments.

The organizational forms of partisan detachments varied, depending on specific conditions. There were small and large units and regional (local) and nonregional ones. The regional detachments and units were permanently based in one region, where they were responsible for defending the population and fighting the occupation forces. Nonregional units and detachments carried out missions in various regions, performing extended raids. Essentially, they constituted a mobile reserve with which the leadership bodies of the partisan movement could maneuver to concentrate forces in the main axes and to deliver powerful blows against the rear of the enemy.

Physical and geographic conditions influenced the forms of organization of partisan forces and their methods of operation. In the country’s vast forests, marshes, and mountains—the main bases of the partisan forces—partisan areas and zones emerged, where various methods of fighting could be used, including open combat with the enemy. In the steppe regions, however, large units operated successfully only in raids. Small, permanently based detachments and groups in these regions usually avoided open clashes with the enemy, on whom they inflicted damage primarily by means of diversionary actions.

In a number of areas in the Baltic region, Moldavia, and the southern part of the Western Ukraine, which had only become part of the USSR in 1939–40, the Hitlerites were able to spread their influence among certain strata of the population through the bourgeois nationalists. As a result, large partisan units were unable to maintain bases in any one region for a long time. Their main type of operation was the raid. Small partisan detachments and underground organizations in these areas engaged primarily in diversionary actions, reconnaissance, and political work. In Karelia, where the overwhelming majority of the population was evacuated to the east or sent to forced labor in Finland, the partisans waged their struggle by means of raids, striking from bases on territory held by Soviet troops.

Overall strategic direction of the armed struggle of the partisan forces was exercised by the General Headquarters of the Supreme Command, which defined the chief missions of the partisans for each phase of the war and for particular strategic operations and organized strategic cooperation between the par-

Table 1. Results of partisan combat action*
Union republics and oblasts of the RSFSRFascists and their henchmen killed, wounded, and capturedTrains wreckedPut out of commissionNumber of steam locomotives/ railroad cars put out of commission
Tanks, armored vehiclesMotor vehiclesLines of communication (km)Bridges
*Table was compiled on the basis of data from partisan staffs, whose reports often included the results of fighting of partisan units from other oblasts and republics, which operated in the given territory during raids, regroupings, and so on. Therefore, the total results of the struggle on all occupied territory are expressed in somewhat lower figures.Kitled only **No precise figures
Karelian-Finnish SSR.............13,407311131423614630/536
Estonian SSR.................3,362119157453411/128
Latvian SSR .................30,000279—**—** 53261/3,875
Lithuanian SSR................10,000364—**—** 300/2,000
Byelorussian SSR ..............500,00011,1281,35518,7007,3005,5297,234/72,195
Ukrainian SSR ................464,6824,9581,56613,535—**2,2065,294/51,981
Moldavian SSR................27,026309133493—**62318/2,484
Leningrad Oblast...............104,2421,1062804,6472,1531,3811,050/18,643
Kalinin Oblast.................91,1307511033,0485461,309552/6,708
Smolensk Oblast...............112,6801,3585373,225210583914/13,428
Moscow Oblast................7,159564883—**35—**
Tula Oblast..................1,600—**1528018—**6/350
Orel Oblast..................154,2758393311,549305260842/12,316
Kursk Oblast.................17,9041473226810062112/2,283
Crimean Oblast ...............30,000—**162,023112—**48/947
Krasnodar Krai................15,5861415206725715/307
Stavropol’ Krai................1,000—**925—**—**—**
Severnaia Osetiia ASSR ..........166—**—**5—**—**—**
Kabarda-Balkar ASSR ...........515—**1528018—**—**

Figure 1. Number of Soviet partisans in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45

tisans and the Soviet Army. Immediate strategic direction of the combat activity of the partisans was exercised by the Central Staff of the Partisan Movement (TsShPD; chief of staff, P. K. Ponomarenko), a body subordinate to the General Headquarters. Established on May 30, 1942, it was active until early 1944. Subordinate to the Central Staff of the Partisan Movement in an operational sense, the republic and oblast staffs of the partisan movement were headed by secretaries or members of the central committees of the republic Communist parties, as well as by members of the krai and oblast committees. Among the leaders of the partisan movement at the republic and oblast levels were T. A. Strokach (the Ukraine), P. Z. Kalinin (Byelorussia), A. Sniečkus (Lithuania), A. Sprogis (Latvia), N. Karotamm (Estonia), and S. Ia. Vershinin (Karelia). Other heads of the republic and oblast partisan movement staffs were M. N. Nikitin (Leningrad Oblast), A. P. Matveev (Orel Oblast), D. M. Popov (Smolensk Oblast), M. A. Suslov (Stravropol’ Krai), and V. S. Bulatov (the Crimean ASSR). The partisan movement staffs were also subordinate to the war councils of the fronts in the zone in which they operated. In instances where several fronts were operating on the territory of a republic or oblast, the staffs of the partisan movement at the republic or oblast level formed delegations or operational groups to serve with the war councils. These groups, each of which directed the combat activity of the partisans in a zone of a particular front, were subordinate to the staff by which they had been established, and to the war council of the front in the zone in which they operated. Leadership of the partisan movement was strengthened by improving partisan communications with the “Mainland” (Bol’shaia Zemlia), by refining the forms of operational and strategic leadership, and by improving the planning of combat activity. In the summer of 1942, only about 30 percent of the partisan detachments listed at the partisan movement headquarters had radio communications with the “Mainland,” and of these, half maintained communications through adjacent units. By comparison, in November 1943 almost 94 percent of the detachments, about half of which had their own radio sets, maintained radio communications with leadership bodies of the partisan movement. The formation of partisan movement staffs with precise functions, as well as the improvement of communications with the “Mainland,” improved the organization of the partisan movement, ensured a high degree of coordination in partisan operations, and promoted better interaction between the partisans and regular troops.

A great deal of attention was devoted to systematically supplying the partisans with weapons, ammunition, mines and explosives, and medicine, as well as to evacuating the gravely wounded and ill to the “Mainland” by aircraft. In 1943, Long-range Aviation and the Civil Air Fleet alone made more than 12,000 flights into the enemy rear. (Half of these called for landings at partisan airdromes and landing fields.)

The enormous volume of political work among the population of the occupied regions, which was carried out under the guidance of party bodies by partisans and underground fighters, contributed to the growth of a large-scale partisan movement. The population helped the partisans by providing them with food, clothing, and footwear, as well as by hiding them and warning them of danger. Soviet patriots conducted reconnaissance, served as liaisons and guides, and replenished the partisan detachments. The party mobilized the population of the occupied territories to sabotage all the political, economic, and military measures taken by the enemy. The Soviet people thwarted plans to supply German industry with a labor force from the occupied regions and evaded mobilization for defense work. Workers employed at enterprises and in transportation slowed down production and reduced the quality of products, prolonged the time required to assemble trains and repair engines and railroad cars, and disrupted communications. Soviet patriots hid property, vehicles, livestock, and food and sabotaged the harvest and threshing of grain. The partisans and underground fighters made one of their greatest contributions by thwarting fascist plans to use the human and material resources of the occupied regions and turn Soviet territory into a wasteland during the retreat of fascist German forces.

Party political work among the partisans emphasized the moral education and training of personnel, the strengthening of discipline, and mastery of the tactics of partisan warfare. During the war about 30,000 commanders and specialists were trained at partisan schools and training centers in the rear of the country. Thousands of specialists were trained at “forest schools” in the enemy rear.

The high saturation of combat matériel of the fascist German armies and their high level of maneuverability made it difficult for the partisans to wage open battles. This led to the development of means that made it possible to put enemy objects out of commission without entering into clashes with the enemy. Of the various forms and methods of partisan struggle, diversionary actions were particularly important.

In determining the main objective of partisan combat activity, the party took into account the great importance of means of transportation and lines of communication in warfare. The enormous length of the lines of communication and the difficulty of guarding them made it possible for the partisans to disrupt enemy railroad, water, and motor-vehicle transport. Lines of communication, especially railroads, became the chief object of partisan combat activity, which became strategically important by virtue of its scope. For the first time in the history of war, partisans followed a single plan designed to knock out enemy railroad lines over a large territory, by means of a series of major operations closely coordinated in timing and objectives with the action of the Soviet armed forces (Operation Rail War and Operation Concert, both in 1943). The carrying capacity of the railroads was reduced by 35–40 percent, foiling enemy plans to accumulate matériel and concentrate troops and making it much more difficult to carry out regroupings.

The enemy was forced to withdraw considerable forces to guard the railroad lines of communication (37,000 km in occupied Soviet territory). As the experience of the war demonstrated, it takes one battalion per 100 km to establish even a weak guard over a railroad, and to establish a strong guard, a regiment is required. Sometimes, however, vigorous partisan actions, such as the operations in Leningrad Oblast in 1943, forced the Hitlerites to assign as many as two regiments to guard every 100 km of track.

The effectiveness of the partisans in reconnaissance was important. Close contact with the local population and underground organizations enabled the partisans to keep vast areas in the enemy rear under continuous observation and to inform the Soviet command of many important measures taken by the enemy.

Underground fighters engaged in political work, combat, and reconnaissance in the enemy rear. Unlike the partisans, they fought the invaders secretly, engaging in guarded conspiracy. Underground organizations, which usually included a leadership center and a network of subordinate organizations or groups, were divided into small groups whose members did not know of the activity of other groups. Often, special combat, reconnaissance, and diversionary groups, as well as other types of groups, were formed. Successful combat activity was carried out by underground fighters in Briansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Gomel’,

Kaunas, Kerch’, Kharkov, Kiev, Kirovograd, Krasnodar, Krichev, Krivoi Rog, L’vov, Minsk, Mogilev, Nikolaev, Novorossiisk, Odessa, Orsha, Poltava, Pskov, Rechitsa, Riga, Roslavl’, Rostov-on-Don, Sevastopol’, Simferopol’, Smolensk, Taganrog, Vilnius, Vitebsk, Voroshilovgrad, and Zhlobin. Undying glory was won by the Seshcha Underground International Organization in the Briansk region, as well as by the Komsomol organizations in Krasnodon (the Young Guard [Molodaia Gvardiia] underground Komsomol organization); in the town of Krymki in Pervomaisk Raion, Odessa Oblast (the Partizanskaia Iskra [Partisan Spark] organization); and in the railroad station at Obol’, in Vitebsk Oblast.

The territories liberated or controlled by the partisans (the partisan areas, zones, and regions), which grew to considerable proportions, were important during the war. For example, in late 1943 partisans controlled 60 percent of the occupied territory of Byelorussia (108,000 sq km), and the occupying forces had been completely driven out of 38,000 sq km. There were major partisan areas and zones in Leningrad, Kalinin, Smolensk, and Orel oblasts, in the Crimea, and in the northwestern Ukraine. In Kalinin Oblast, for example, the partisans held 7,000 sq km, and they controlled almost half of Rovno Oblast (north of the Kovel’ - Sarny railroad). Partisan zones and areas made it difficult for the enemy to carry out regroupings and pinned down a considerable portion of the enemy field forces. For example, between February and June 1944 alone, the fascist German command was forced to bring 380,000 soldiers and officers into Byelorussia to fight the partisans. During offensives by Soviet troops the enemy was often unable to organize strong defenses in the partisan zones (usually, swampy forest areas or forested mountain regions). As a result, the enemy was forced to group forces only along the roads. Partisan areas were frequently used by regular Soviet troops to reach the flanks and rear of enemy groupings rapidly, to drop (land) airbone forces, and to disrupt organized enemy withdrawal.

Partisan raids, which made it possible to accomplish combat missions in the interests of the regular troops, were very important. Many significant raids were carried out during 1941–42,

Figure 2. Organization chart of the Chernigov-Volyn’ partisan unit

including raids by Leningrad Oblast detachments in the area of Pskov, Novgorod, Porkhov, and Staraia Russa (July-September 1941), as well as raids by detachments of Donbas miners under the command of I. F. Borovik in Zhitomir, Kiev, Chernigov, Gomel’, and Orel oblasts (October-December 1941). In March 1942 a group of Byelorussian detachments under the command of V. Z. Korzh carried out a raid in Minsk Oblast, and in September-October 1942 a detachment under A. K. Flegontov conducted a raid from Kalinin Oblast into the area around Osipovichi in Mogilev Oblast. A corps commanded by V. V. Razumov and A. I. Shtrakhov carried out a major raid in the western regions of Kalinin Oblast in September-October 1942. Also of great importance was a raid in Smolensk Oblast in February-April 1942 by the Detachment of the Thirteen, under the command of S. V. Grishin. Moving from the Leningrad partisan area toward the borders of Latvia, partisans from Leningrad and Latvia completed a major raid in June-July 1942. Other significant raids in 1941–42 included one on Pinsk Oblast from Vitebsk Oblast, by G. M. Lin’kov’s detachment (July 1942), as well as raids on the Sumy region from the Khinel’ Forests (December 1941-February 1942) and from the Briansk Forest (May-July 1942) by a unified detachment (later, a large unit) under the command of S. A. Kovpak and S. V. Rudnev.

In late October 1942 two large partisan units commanded by Kovpak and A. N. Saburov began a 700-km raid from the Briansk Forest, reaching the Right-bank Ukraine in mid-November. During the winter of 1942–43 powerful blows were delivered against the rear of the enemy by large raiding units commanded by Kovpak, la. I. Mel’nik, M. I. Naumov, and A. F. Fedorov. The most outstanding of these was the raid by Naumov’s large unit, which covered 2,400 km in 65 days, crossing the territory of Sumy, Poltava, Kirovograd, Odessa, Vinnitsa, and Zhitomir oblasts on sleds (February-April 1943). A number of major raids were carried out in the summer and autumn of 1943. Mel’nik’s large unit conducted a raid from the Poles’e into the Vinnitsa area (June-August); Fedorov’s large unit, from Zhitomir Oblast into Volyn’ Oblast (June-July); and Kovpak’s large unit, from the Ukrainian Poles’e into the Carpathians to the Hungarian border (June-September). Units under the command of F. F. Taranenko, V. E. Samutin, and F. F. Kapusta carried out raids from Minsk Oblast into Belostock and Brest oblasts (September-December).

In 1944 many Soviet partisan units made raids outside the USSR. Crossing the border into Poland in the winter and spring of that year, a number of Soviet partisan units and detachments developed the struggle in the enemy rear, cooperating closely with the Polish People’s Army. Among the units involved in this operation were those led by P. P. Vershigora, A. E. Andreev, I. A. Artiukhov, V. P. Chepiga, N. N. Iakovlev, V. M. Iaremchuk, V. A. Karasev, G. V. Kovalev, M. Ia. Nadelin, N. A. Prokopiuk, S. A. Sankov, and B. G. Shangin. In July-September, raids were carried out in Czechoslovak territory by a number of Soviet partisan detachments and units, including those under the command of L. E. Berenshtein, A. I. Kurov, V. A. Kvitinskii, A. P. Sharov, M. I. Shukaev, V. A. Karasev, and N. A. Prokopiuk. Among the organizational groups dropped on Czechoslovak territory were those led by P. A. Velichko, I. D. Dibrova, V. P. Logvinenko, A. A. Martynov, and D. M. Rezuto.

During the defensive battles of 1941, the partisans cooperated with Red Army troops, primarily within a tactical framework, conducting reconnaissance in the interests of Soviet troops and carrying out minor diversionary actions in the enemy rear. During the Red Army winter offensive of 1941–42, the partisans expanded their cooperation with the regular troops. In addition to attacking lines of communication, enemy headquarters, and depots, the partisans helped liberate populated areas, directed Soviet aircraft to enemy installations, and assisted airbone landing forces. For example, the Smolensk partisans liberated 40 towns and villages near Znamenka in January 1942 and assisted the IV Airbone Landing Corps in landing and engaging in combat operations. On Feb. 15, 1942, the Smolensk partisans liberated Dorogobuzh, making the region more accessible to the I Guards Cavalry Corps. Cooperating with units of the Thirty-third Army, the I Guards Cavalry Corps, and the XI Cavalry Corps in the Viaz’ma Operation of 1942, the Smolensk partisans provided them with food, weapons, ammunition, and replacements.

In the summer campaign of 1942 the partisans completed many missions in the interests of the Red Army’s defensive operations, hindering regroupings of enemy forces, annihilating enemy personnel and combat matériel, disrupting supplies, diverting enemy forces to defend the rear, carrying out reconnaissance, directing Soviet airplanes to targets, and freeing Soviet prisoners of war. During the summer of 1942 partisan operations drew off 24 enemy divisions, including 15–16 that were assigned permanently to guard lines of communication. In August, the partisans wrecked 148 trains; in September, 152; in October, 210; and in November, 238. In general, however, partisan cooperation with regular troops remained sporadic and limited in scope. The turning point came in 1943, owing to improved partisan leadership, communications, and supplies.

Beginning in the spring of 1943, plans for the operational use of partisan forces were systematically elaborated. The partisans stepped up their operations to assist Soviet troops during the winter offensive of 1942–43, the battle of Kursk (1943), the battle for the Dnieper, and operations to liberate the eastern regions of Byelorussia. The Red Army offensive of 1944 was carried out in close cooperation with the partisans, who took part in almost all the strategic operations during that year. During the operations at Leningrad and Novgorod and in the Right-bank Ukraine, the Crimea, Karelia, Byelorussia, the Western Ukraine, and the Baltic region, the partisans struck powerful blows against the enemy rear. Tactical cooperation became more significant, because the advance of Soviet troops was passing through regions where geographic conditions favored the establishment of a strong defense by the enemy (the swampy, forested terrain of Leningrad and Kalinin oblasts, Byelorussia, the Baltic region, and the northwestern Ukraine). Large partisan groups were active in these regions, cooperating with the troops and giving them considerable assistance in overcoming enemy resistance.

From the beginning of the Soviet Army offensive, the partisan groups disrupted the movements, organized withdrawal, and command of enemy troops. As Soviet troops approached, the partisans delivered blows from the rear and facilitated breakthroughs in the enemy defense, repulsion of enemy counterblows, encirclement of enemy groupings, and the capture of populated areas. In addition, they protected the open flanks of the advancing troops. One of the most brilliant examples of effective cooperation between partisans and regular troops was the Byelorussian Operation of 1944, in which the powerful grouping of Byelorussian partisans was essentially a fifth front cooperating with the four advancing fronts.

By mid-June 1944, a partisan grouping of 150 brigades and 49 detachments was operating on Byelorussian territory, with a total of more than 143,000 persons (excluding a reserve of 250,000, about 123,000 of whom were armed). Most of the reserves of the fascist German Army Group Center were immobilized by the struggle against the partisans. During the period of preparation for the operation (May 31 to June 22), the partisans came up with and confirmed information on 287 enemy units of various sizes, 33 headquarters, 900 garrisons, 985 km of defense lines, 130 antiaircraft batteries, and 70 major depots located in the rear. They also determined the composition and organization of 108 enemy troop units and discovered 319 field postal stations, 30 airdromes, and 11 landing fields. In addition, they recorded the time of passage and the composition of 1,642 military trains and captured 105 field documents.

On the eve of June 20, 1944, the partisans carried out a mass attack on all the key lines of rail communication, blowing up more than 40,000 rails. As a result, traffic was completely stopped in many sectors, including the Orsha-Borisov, Orsha-Mogilev, Molodechno-Polotsk, Molodechno-Lida, Baranovichi-Osipovichi, Baranovichi-Minsk, and Baranovichi-Luninets sectors. The enemy was never able to restore some of these sectors. During the offensive the partisans continued to strike at lines of communication. In three days alone (June 26–28) they blew up 147 military trains. The partisans rendered great assistance to Soviet troops in crossing the Berezina, Sluch’, Ptich’, Drut’, Lekhva, Neman, and Shchara rivers. In some cases they captured bridges, such as the one over the Shchara River on the Slutsk-Brest highway, and held them until the approach of the forward army units. The partisans prevented the enemy from making an organized withdrawal by holding important lines and roads, thereby forcing enemy units to leave the roads, abandon combat matériel, and withdraw through the woods in small groups, suffering heavy losses. Byelorussian partisans liberated and held a number of populated areas, including Vidzy, Ostrovets, Svir’, Iliia, Starobin, Uzda, Kopyl’, and Korelichi. With the approach of tank units, they operated as tank-borne parties and took part in the liberation of Minsk, Slutsk, Borisov, Cherven’, Dokshitsy, Mogilev, Osipovichi, Klichev, Pinsk, Luninets, and other cities. The partisans helped Soviet troops to eliminate encircled enemy groupings, cover the flanks and rear of the units, and mop up remnants of defeated enemy units in the liberated regions. During the Byelorussian Operation the partisans killed more than 15,000 enemy soldiers and officers and captured more than 17,000.

Successful operations were conducted in the enemy rear by many partisan units, including those operating in Byelorussia under the command of I. N. Banov, A. P. Brinskii, T. P. Bumazkhov, V. E. Chernyshev, I. P. Dediulia, A. K. Flegontov, F. F. Kapusta, V. Z. Korzh, I. P. Kozhar, V. I. Kozlov, G. M. Lin’kov, V. I. Liventsov, V. E. Lobanok, P. G. Lopatin, R. N. Machul’skii, P. M. Masherov, K. P. Orlovskii, F. F. Ozmitel’, F. I. Pavlovskii, M. S. Prudnikov, I. F. Sadchikov, V. E. Samutin, M. F. Shmyrev, V. F. Tarunov, S. A. Vaupshasov, I. D. Vetrov, A. I. Volynets, and K. S. Zaslonov.

In the Ukraine, successful operations were carried out in the enemy rear by many partisan units, including those led by V. A. Andreev, V. A. Begma, I. F. Borovik, P. E. Braiko, V. P. Chepiga, A. F. Fedorov, I. F. Fedorov, A. M. Grabchak, L. E. Kizia, S. A. Kovpak, S. F. Malikov, D. N. Medvedev, la. I. Mel’nik, V. A. Molodtsov, M. I. Naumov, A. Z. Odukha, M. G. Salai, M. I. Shukaev, F. F. Taranenko, and P. P. Vershigora.

Among the leaders of partisan units that conducted successful operations in the enemy rear in Karelia were K. V. Bondiuk, I. A. Grigor’ev, B. Lakhti, F. I. Tukachev, and F. F. Zhurikh; in Estonia, E. Aartee, A. F. Filippov, I. Jürisson, and P. I. Kuragin; in Latvia, E. Āboliņš, I. K. Bogadistyi, V. Laiviņš,

A. Macpāns, O. Oškalns, A. Počs, P. Ratiņš, V. Samsons, and I. Sudmalis; and in Lithuania, T. Mončiunskas, K. Rodionov, P. Simënas, and B. Urbanavičius.

In Moldavia, successful partisan operations were carried out by units led by N. M. Frolov, I. A. Mukhin, and la. P. Shkriabach.

In Leningrad Oblast, A. N. Brednikov, A. V. German, K. D. Karitskii, V. P. Ob”edkov, I. I. Sergunin, and N. G. Vasil’ev were among the leaders of partisan units conducting successful operations in the enemy rear; in Kalinin Oblast, V. I. Margo, V. V. Razumov, A. F. Shorokhov, A. I. Shtrakhov, and N. M. Varaksov; and in Smolensk Oblast, T. G. Davydkin, S. V. Grishin, V. I. Voronchenko, A. I. Voropaev, and V. V. Zhabo.

In Orel Oblast, successful operations were conducted by partisan units under the command of A. D. Bondarenko, M. I. Duka, D. V. Emliutin, I. A. Gudzenko, D. E. Kravtsov, M. P. Roma-shin, and F. E. Strelets; in Moscow and Tula oblasts, by units under the command of I. I. Evteev, P. I. Fomin, M. A. Gur’ianov, P. S. Makeev, and S. I. Solntsev; and in Rostov Oblast, by units led by S. G. Morozov and M. M. Trifanov.

In the Northern Caucasus, successful operations were carried on in the enemy rear by many partisan units, including those led by A. A. Egorov, P. K. Ignatov, T. A. Karabak, V. I. Khomiakov, P. E. Krivonosov, A. G. Odnokozov, and I. I. Pozdniak.

Among the leaders of the partisan units operating successfully in the Crimea were D. I. Averkin, F. I. Fedorenko, I. G. Genov, B. B. Gorodovikov, V. S. Kuznetsov, M. A. Makedonskii, A. V. Mokrousov, M. F. Paramonov, and G. L. Severskii.

Orders and medals of the USSR were awarded to 185,000 partisans, and the title Hero of the Soviet Union was conferred on more than 230, including S. A. Kovpak and A. S. Fedorov, who were awarded the honor twice.

The struggle of the Soviet people in the enemy rear was a brilliant manifestation of Soviet patriotism and loyalty to the ideas of the Communist Party. The partisan movement in the Great Patriotic War was important because it rendered a great deal of assistance to the regular troops in gaining victory over the enemy. During the Great Patriotic War the concept of the partisan movement as the spontaneous and independent actions of individual groups and detachments disappeared. The direction of the partisan movement was centralized to a strategic level. The theory and practice of partisan warfare as a form of armed struggle were significantly enriched by many characteristics of the partisan movement in the Great Patriotic War, including uniform direction of partisan combat operations by means of stable communications between partisan headquarters and partisan units; cooperation between partisans and the Soviet Army at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels; the conduct of major operations by partisan groups; widespread use of modern mines and explosives; and the systematic training of personnel. In addition, the theory and practice of partisan warfare were enriched by the practice of supplying the partisans from the rear of the country and evacuating the sick and wounded from the enemy rear to the “Mainland.” Operations by Soviet partisans outside the USSR also made a major contribution to the theory and practice of partisan warfare.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.