Report of Military Council, West Front, to Stavka VKG of 29 November 1941 concerning measures undertaken in fulfillment of Stavka VGK Order No. 0428



The following measures were immediately implemented by the Military Council in fulfillment of Stavka Order No. 0428 of 17 November concerning the burning of populated areas:

1. Divisions and regiments have undertaken to form hunter teams, which in a majority of cases are already conducting active work.

2. Intelligence organs of the special department [an NKVD branch in each unit J.Gebhardt] have sent diversionary groups totaling up to 500 persons into territory occupied by the enemy.

3. Squadrons of R-5 and U-2 aircraft, 45 aircraft in all, have been sent down to the armies.

4. Individual incendiary devices- thermite fuses, incendiary ampules, cylinders, and satchel charges- totalling 4,300 items, have been prepared and distributed to units.

5. More than 100,000 bottles with burning substance and devices for their employment have been issued.

6. 38 commanders have been sent from front reserve to divisions for assistance in creating hunter teams.

7. The locales that should be set afire and destroyed have been confirmed for each army and the missions in connection with this have been confirmed to the branches of forces (aviation, artillery, hunter teams, diversionary and partisan detachments).

Over the course of time 398 populated areas have been burned and destroyed, of these: 105 in 30th Army, 113 in 16th Army, 55 in 5th Army, 17 in 33rd Army, 24 in 43rd Army, 52 in 29th Army, and 32 in 50th Army.

The majority of locales have been set afire and destroyed by hunter teams and diversionary groups. Artillery, because of the lack of incendiary shells, and aviation, because of bad flying weather, have not taken an active role in the execution of this mission.

Active work of front units in the burning of populated areas has inflicted serious losses on the Germans, attested to by the following order of the German command, which we have intercepted:

"In accordance with a report of the headquarters of 57th Corps it has been determined that recently systematic arson of populated areas has been carried out in many places by individual persons and groups penetrating across the front line.

It is necessary to increase control of the movement of the civilian populace and to strengthen the guard force in places where our forces are quartered."

Work for the accomplishment of Stavka Order No. 0428 is continuing in all sectors of the front.



29 November 1941

Translated by:
James F. Gebhardt
TsAMO, collection 208, index 2524, item 1, sheets 257-58. True copy.

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