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REPORT OF THE COMMANDER, INDEPENDENT MOTORIZED RIFLE BRIGADE, TO COMMANDER IN CHIEF, WEST FRONT, CONCERNING THE ACTIONS OF DETACHMENTS IN THE ENEMY'S REAR AREA

Moscow

12 May 1942

I report that, in accordance with your tasking, on 20.3.42 the Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of NKVD Troops of the USSR sent 7 detachments of 37 men each, a total of 259 personnel, into the enemy's rear area with the mission to destroy railroad and surface road main routes in the sectors Dorogobuzh-Smolensk-Vitebsk and Smolensk-Orsha.

During the period of actions from 28.3 through 10.5.42, by incomplete data, the detachment accomplished the following tasks:

1. Placement of MZD [mina zamedlennogo deystviya- delayed action mine - V.Potapov] with various delay settings in the sectors

a) Smolensk-Vitebsk -15 mines;
b) Smolensk-Orsha -14 mines;
c) Smolensk-Dorogobuzh -29 mines;

for a total of 58 mines.

2. Placement of rail booby traps [Valera-konfetka?] and [loosened?] joint plates [klyuch]-6 each.

3. Placement of British mines-14 each.

4. Destruction of railroad bed in sectors:

a) Smolensk-Orsha -6 places;
b) Smolensk-Vitebsk -2 places;
c) Smolensk-Dorogobuzh -10 places;

for a total of 18 places.

5. Destroyed railroad bridges-3

6. Destroyed bridges on highways between the localese Tupishino, Milyutino, and Aleksandrovka-2.

7. Mining of the road in the sector Zhevlaki, Tupishino-1 location.

8. Trains carrying troops, artillery, and ammunition were derailed, with great numbers of dead and wounded German soldiers and officers in the following sectors:

a) Smolensk-Dorogobuzh -4 trains;
b) Smolensk-Orsha -2 trains;
c) Smolensk-Rudnya -5 trains;

Altogether, 11 trains, of which 6 were transporting troops and 5 were carrying artillery, spare parts for tanks, and munitions.

9. As a result of the destruction of these trains, mine detonations, and destruction of railroad bed, the movement of trains was completely halted in various sectors from 28.3 through 10.5.42 for a combined total of more than 20 days.

10. In addition, during the same period 8 reports of intelligence data were collected concerning the location of enemy units and equipment.

11. During the period of the detachment's combat actions, there were three engagements with enemy punitive detachments and regular German units. These engagements resulted in the following:

a) destruction of German soldiers -9 men;
b) destruction of German officers -2 men;
c) detention and execution by shooting of spies and traitors -4 men;
d) destruction of tanks -1 tank;
e) destruction of handcar -1, further resulting in 8 killed and 30 wounded Germans.

Our losses:

a) dead -9 men;
b) lightly wounded -4 men;
c) missing in action -2 men.

12. One of 7 operating detachments under the command of Lieutenant Kaminskiy returned to the unit because of lack of radio communications (technical deficiencies of the radio set), without having fully accomplished its assigned mission. It only managed to a) place 9 mzd in the railroad bed; b) 4 British mines under 50-ton tank cars carrying fuel, which resulted in an explosion at Katyn station on 10.4.42 that caused fires to break out in the troop trains there.

CONCLUSION:

1. Detachments with assigned missions accomplished them successfully, operating with daring and resolve despite the fact that:

a) they were surrounded by punitive detachments and relentlessly pursued;
b) the guard forces on railroads and highways was strengthened, with patrols of up to 15 men per kilometer;
c) our detachments were short of provisions and explosives;
d) the spring thaw and overflowing rivers complicated the movement of detachments to their objectives.

2. The detachments of Captains Bazhanov and Artamonov and Senior Lieutenant Balashov and Lieutenant Shevchenko were particularly active.

3. The populace of areas in which the detachments operated were hostile toward the German occupiers and provided all possible assistance and information and frequently provisions.

4. At the present time, the detachments have exhausted the demolition supplies, provisions they carried with them and are in need of immediate resupply.

I would suggest that it be necessary along with the arriving detachment of Lieutenant Kaminskiy to form a new detachment and send it through Kalinin Front into the enemy rear area, to the sector Smolensk-Orsha, between Gusino and Vonlyarovo railstations.

For future successful accomplishment of missions assigned to the detachments, I request your instructions:

1. Regarding subsequent missions of the operating detachments.

2. Regarding the designation of a transport aircraft for delivery of demolition explosives and provisions to the detachments.

BRIGADE COMMANDER, COLONEL
ORLOV

BRIGADE MILITARY COMMISSAR, SENIOR BATTALION COMMISSAR
MAYSURADZE

BRIGADE CHIEF OF STAFF, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL
SEDLOVSKIY


On the document Zhukov wrote:

"Comrade Orlov. Next immediate mission:
1. Destroy railroad in sectors Smolensk-Orsha, Smolensk-Vyazma, Smolensk-Roslavl, Krichev-Roslavl.
2. Conduct reconnaissance and accurate survey of the approaches along these lines toward West Front.
3. Uncover the concentration of [enemy] forces in the area: Minsk, Bobruysk, Vitebsk, Gomel."

/Zhukov's signature/



Translated by:
James F. Gebhardt
Sources:
TsAMO, collection 208, index 2511, item 25, sheets 201, 202.

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