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Rear Area Security in Russia
2nd Front Behind German Lines
60 pages; 7 chapters
In World War II the Soviet partisan war behind German lines caused the German
Army rear area security some discomfort. However, soviet partisans were never
really able to exert an operational or strategic level impact. Soviet partisans
attacked German Army rear area security, including: communications, supply
depots, and other vulnerable or weak targets. The German Army combated soviet
partisans almost exclusively with thousands of Russian volunteers, foreign security
troops from Hungary, Rumania, and Slovakia, along with German second-string
security and training divisions. While it is true that the German Army sometimes had
to use its best troops against soviet partisans, that was the exception. Threats to
rear area security in World War II made the Germans more miserable, but it never
really defeated them.
“When the leading truck rounded a curve, a large Russian cavalry force suddenly came into sight at a distance of about
1,200 yards—apparently in process of crossing the road from south to north. At the same time the truck column drew fire
from the front; what appeared to be an antitank shell went through the windshield of the leading vehicle and into the
cargo without injuring anyone.
The truck stopped at once; its crew, with the exception of the driver, jumped off and took up positions about 25 yards
ahead. An antitank gun was spotted in a ditch about 300 yards down the road. The company commander, who because
of the breakdown of his own vehicle, had been riding on the leading truck, ordered his men to open fire on the Russian
gun crew. Meanwhile the assistant drivers of the other vehicles had been brought up and placed in position. A motorcycle
messenger was dispatched to notify the military commander of Slutsk and request assistance.
By now the enemy was also using machine guns and his volume of fire increased steadily. On the German side two
machine guns and 30 rifles had been brought into action. Soon the very accurate fire of the Russian antitank gun caused
the first casualties.”
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Excerpt from Rear Area Security in Russia