Stalin orders "Not one step back"
28th July 1942: Soviet Order No. 227 creates a ruthless discipline regime within the Red Army, with penal battalions and 'blocking detachments'
The shock of the German invasion of 1941 had often seen the Red Army in complete disarray, falling back uncontrollably in the face of the Nazi onslaught. It was an inevitable consequence of the Army’s complete inability to find a means to halt the German blitzkrieg. Instead some commanders of units that retreated had been summarily shot, whilst ordinary troops trying to escape capture by the Wehrmacht could find themselves in the hands of NKVD.
As the Germans now started to make further alarming advances deep into Russian territory Stalin put military discipline on a new footing. On the 28th July he issued order No. 227 which was given the propaganda gloss of ‘Not a step backwards’.
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