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Russian Partizan unit make up??

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  • Russian Partizan unit make up??

    What did the Russian Partizan forces have for men and equipment (say post Kursk and on), from small arms and vehicles to other assets that may have been used? I am also looking for info on small and larger scale battles between these Partizans and the Germans, be they the anti-Partizan specific force or regular German units that just happened to be there while the Partizans ambushed, or just ran into them at times.

    Cheers, general comments, web sites and books on this subject would be very welcome here by me, and others to I hope.

    Thanks in advance.


    I will also be looking for the flip side of this for the German forces unit make up, but I'll post that up on the Panzer forum I think.

  • #2
    sorry have no time to answer


    • #3
      No prob, at least you posted!!LOL

      I'm not asking for every little detail, but the basics, if there is such a thing to be had in Partizan unit equipment and vehicles. I would think at least some captured German items from previous raids might be a guess of mine. Did the regular Russian army supply them with odd bits and pieces as well?

      Cheers Andrey, when you have the time, post up what you can please.




      • #4
        Are you kidding?

        Partisan units... hell, even calling them a unit in any real sense is a mis-nomer. There may have been some Regiment-sized units in remote places, but if anyone had ever tried to organize them along military lines I would have had that man shot for stupidity in the face of the enemy.

        The best weapon, and survival tactic, of any partican unit would have been unpredictability. Once you organise a real TO&E is established, the enemy will soon discover it. This helps them shape their tactics and deal with your movments and attacks.

        If you are a Partisan, you are up to your neck in problems from the word go, why add to it?

        Or, as we used to say in the Cavalry; "How can the enemy know what we are doing if we don't know ourselves?"
        "Why is the Rum gone?"

        -Captain Jack


        • #5

          I'm sure Andreu will provide more detailed and appropriate answer but here is my 5 cents.

          Some of the partizan groups were organised by the Soviet services. These groups were not numerous. This was more or less done in the eareas where the RKKA retreat was some what planned and predicted, f.e. in Odessa, where a 118 men strong group comprising 29 cells was left behind. Some of them were living undercover in the city and some in the catacombs outside. The unit placed in the catacombs was armed with 60 rifles, 40.000 cartridges, 7 machine guns, 200 hand grenades, 1 tonn of explosives, a radio, half a year supply of food and fuel.

          But as the war progressed a different fenomena occured - some groups were formed spontaneously. Especialy in the areas where natural environment predisposed for that, i.e. forested, swamped of mountaneous areas. Belorussia is probably the best eaxample.

          The reasons for forming these groups were different. Some of the groups were formed around the core of dipersed retreating RKKA officers, f.ex. the legendary Berenshtein's unit. Such units were acting practically as real army units with obvious deviations due to sircumstances.

          The other kind of units were the locals and the refugees that left to forest for diferent reasons: patriotic, vengence and so on. They would often form some kind of small group but often lacked in everything both material and knowledge of warfare. Therfore these units were either eradicated by Germans/Local Collaborants or joined into the bigger partizan groups. Some of the groups, especially in Belorussia, had a ethnic core - Jewish refugees. After the wholesale extermination of Jews begun (about Autumn 1941) some of tem managed to escape to forest. Some other goups were forming only out of Belorussian or Polish men. Very often these groups were fighting eachother. As one of the partizan, Leonid Okun, said: "The human life in the forest was not worth a dime." Plus some of these groups were pure bandits that seized opportunity to robe and plunder. These were often deal with by the big more disciplined and organised group.

          Period wise, the time until app. middle 1942 there was a lot of spontanious and caotic things going on in the partizan movement. After that the Soviet HQ made a dedicated effort to organize partizans and form their movement into more controlled by Soviet. This brought much more discipline and structure into that. From the same period the "main land" was trying to regularly supply the partizan units with reenforcements and equipment.
          Last edited by Egorka; 24 Dec 08, 05:26.
          Kind regards

          * My grandfathers WW2 memoirs - Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, 1944-1945.
          * On the question of "2 mil. rapes" by RKKA
          * Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945


          • #6
            You can find very good images of a partisan camp in Byelorrussia in Elem Klimov's film "Come and see". And the partisans of film look very realistic.


            • #7
              There was the Supreme Headquarter of the Partisan Movement in Moscow. Marshal Budennyi, a famous hero of the Civil War, was its chief. The headquarter coordinated actions of the partisan detauches with Red Army. It organized the supply of the partisan units by weapon, ammo, medical supplies, medical personnel, radiostations and radio operators. It was done with numerous transport planes which fly to German rears at nights and landed in partisan airfields. Many partisan units had radio communications with Moscow.
              Partisans evacuated by planes their wounded, women and children to the terrirtory controlled by Soviets, partisan leaders flew to Moscow to meet with their commanders and returned back to their units, reporters and medics often flew to partisans to enemy controlled area.

              The scale of the partisan movement was huge - 400,000 partisans operated in Byelorussia.
              It was like Yugoslavian People Army of Tito.

              Partisan units usually were called a detauchment or a brigade. Usually they were less than similar regular units but sometimes their forces were strong enough to operate against regular German units.

              Partisan sometimes even had own artillery.

              There were German punitive operations when the germans were forced to use a few regular divisions with aircraft, artilley and tanks because the partisans could resist against smaller units.

              Partisans were connected with local civilians and tried to protect them. there were a few partisan republics - territories in german rears which were under full partisan control . there were soviet rules in the villages, soviet schools and hospitals operated there. those republics were under protection of partisan units which didn't let for germans to come there.

              there were a few legendary partisan units like Kovpak's huge partisan formation. they moved along german rears making chaos there. i remember that kovpak's partisan formation made raid on the territory of poland operating there together with local partisans.

              partisans used both soviet and german weapon.

              some partisan units were organized in soviet territory and sent to enemy territory to operate there. Famous soviet spy-saboteur Kuznetsov who operated in the region of Rovno, German capital of the Ukraine was based on partisan unit of Medvedev which hided in local forests. Medvedev's unit operated in German rears like a regular Soviet unit - its soldiers and officers were dressed in uniform of regulasr Red Army units and used Soviet weapon.

              but the most of the partisan units were organized by local people without order from soviet side - it was the people's own decision to fight against germans.

              The most famous partisan actions coordinated with Red Army were the "rail" war operation and the actions of partisans during Operation Bagration.

              The rail war began in August 1943 during Kursk Battle. Partisans began to explode railroads simultaneously in many places after the order from moscow. It resulted to chaos in German rears communication lines and helped to Red Army.

              During Operation Bagration partisans often went out of forests and operated together with Red Army units. I remember I had read a story which described how a tank unit operated in German rears. The infantry remained behind. And suddenly the tankmen met partisans. The partisans joined to the tankmen and operated as their supporting infantry. Those tankmen and partisan liberated a town (Minsk?). This scene was shown in the famous epic movie of "Liberation".

              you can watch the documentary of "Unknown War" (serach the forum to find additional info about it) about the war in the Soviet-German Front. One of its parts is called "Partisans" and describes the actions of partisans.


              • #8
                Thanks everyone!!

                But did the Partizans ever have vehicles and more than just small arms in some of their operations, besides the Arty Andrey in that specific instance?
                The RRs were a big target, but bridges would be as well to? And what were some of the more stand up fight they got involved with, besides the hit and run tactics used, maybe in the later part of the war (when there was more land being given up on the Germans retreat so hitting some retreating German columns somewhere as well maybe?

                Cheers, thanks again ACGers and Merry X-Mas to all!!



                • #9
                  1. from


                  Kovpak, Sidor Artemievich

                  He was born on June, 7th of 1887 in the village of Kotelva in the Ukraine in the family of a poor peasant. Ukrainian. Memmber of the Communist Party since 1919. Took part in WWI and in the Civil War, he fought in Chapaev's famous 25th Division and in other units. He was one of the chiefs of Soviet rule in the town of Putivl, Sumy Region of the Ukraine.

                  He fought in the Great Patriotic War since September of 1941. He was one of the organizers of the partusan movements in the Ukraine - the commander of the Putivl Partisan Detachment, later - the commanders of the formation of partisan detachments of the Sumy Region.

                  In 1941-42 Kovpak's formation made raids in enemy rears along the Sumy, Kursk, Orel and Briansk Regions, in 1942-43 - the raid from Briansk forests to the part of the Ukraine which was in the right-bank of the Dnieper along Gomel, Pinsk, Volyn, Rovno, Zhitomir, Kiev Regions, in 1943 - the Carpathian Raid.

                  The Sumy Partisan Formation uner the command of Kovpak went with combats 10,000 km in enemy controlled territory and destroyed German garrisons in 39 settlements of different scale. The raids of Kovpak were very important to the activation of the partisan movement against German occupants.

                  In May, 1942 Kovpak got the rank of Hero of the Soviet Union.

                  In April 1943 Kovpak got the military rank of Major-General.

                  In January 1944 he got the second rank of Hero of the Soviet Union for the successful Carpathian raid.

                  In January 1944 the Sumy Partisan Formation was renamed in the 1st Ukrainian Partisan Division of the name of Kovpak.



                  In 1973-76 a 3-parts Soviet movie about Kovpak's partrisans was done.

                  "Nabat" ("Tocsin") (1973) - about the beginning of the Sumy Partisan Formation. At first it was a partisan group in 12 men.

                  "Buran" ("Blizzard") (1975) - about raids in enemy rears in 1941-43, about the battle nearly of Sarany which is known in history of WWII as "the Sarany Cross"

                  "Oh, the Carpathian Mts, Carpathian Mts" (1976) - about the raid to the Caprpatian Mts in summer of 1943


                  • #10
                    In early 70th Gen, Tsvigun, Deputy of the Chieg of KGB, wrote a documentary book "We'll return" about the actions of partisan. It was based on real facts.

                    1. In 1974 the movie of "Front Bez Flangov" ("Front without flanks") was done. It was based on the Tsvigun's book and described events of summer-autumn of 1941.



                    In summer of 1941 an NKVD officer Major Mlynskii with a small group of soldier found themselves in German rears. They organized a partisan detachment and began to fight.

                    27,6 million spectators saw it in cinemas in 1974.

                    2. in 1977 the continuation "Front Za Liniei Fronta" ("Front behind of frontline") was done. Based on the same book.



                    Actions of winter 1943-44.

                    3. the third part was done in 1981. It was called "Front v tylu vraga" ("Front in enemy rears"). Based on the same book.


                    July 1944 - May 1945. Mlynskii's formation made raid on territory of Poland and Czechoslovakia.


                    • #11
                      Incidentally, I would like to say that some spaniards fought with partisan in various groups of Byelorrusia, Ukraine and the Leningrad area. The main group was a mix russian-spanish formed by Ilya Starinov, former advisor in Spanish Civil War (and one of supposed fathers of soviet operations inside enemy lines,, who recruited his old spanish friends on exile to fight against germans.
                      Francisco Gullón, born in Madrid and died in Moscou in 1944, won the Order of Lenin fighting with partisans.


                      • #12
                        Thanks again Andrey, is there any

                        English translations at all of all or some of these, or a net forum site maybe?
                        Very interesting Sierra, any specific equipment and battles that you could shed some light on with these Partizans?

                        Cheers, hopefully some of the other regulars here will post on this subject after the holidays are done with as well.

                        Have a great 2009 ahead of you guys!!



                        • #13
                          Some partisan memoirs, unfotonalyonly in Russian.

                          I think I saw some book labeled "partisan documents" in my personal library, I will see if it is of any value.

                          Edit:Aha! I saw you Tom odd name in my mind!
                          Last edited by Erkki; 25 Dec 08, 16:39.
                          “For there is nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point of his lunacy.”

                          Max Sterner


                          • #14
                            Some original photos of partisans can help:


                            • #15
                              Sweet pics!!

                              Does any of the text say what the years those pics where taken? There seems to be a lot of SMGs there, so some of those pics must be after the regular Russian Army started their supply for them I think.

                              Some very healthy looking younger (for the most part) lads as well, again suggesting they were maybe well supplied, so later in the war.

                              Cheers, does the book list any vehicles that were given or captured and given to them at some point?

                              Thanks again for the time and effort Sierra for these interesting pics on a very interesting topic!!



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