(2) Treating the peoples of the occupied territories and POWs extremely harshly.
Recycling age old commie fairy tales doesn't make them true.
The RLA was nothing but propaganda. It was only formed for real at the very end of the war when the Germans were critically short of manpower.
<by late 1943 they contained 427,000 personnel, a force equivalent to 30 German divisions.
There were many Soviet soldiers who deserted to join this army, only to find out it was made up, and subsequently were sent to work camps.
It was real in my mind
Imagine how the Red Army's morale and manpower would've been if men kept deserting to join the RLA,
Red Army desertion was unprecedent:
With the continued deterioration of the military situation in the face of the German offensive of 1941, SMERSH and other NKVD punitive detachments acquired a new mission: to prevent the unauthorized withdrawal of Red Army forces from the battle line. The first troops of this kind were formed in the Bryansk Front on September 5, 1941.
On September 12, 1941, Joseph Stalin issued the Stavka Directive No. 1919 (Директива Ставки ВГК №001919) concerning the creation of barrier troops in rifle divisions of the Southwestern Front, to suppress panic retreats. Each Red Army division was to have an anti-retreat detachment equipped with transport totalling one company for each regiment. Their primary goal was to maintain strict military discipline and to prevent disintegration of the front line by any means, including the use of machine guns to indiscriminately shoot any personnel retreating without authorization.
An unparalleled number of Red Army soldiers deserted across the front line to give themselves up to Hitler’s Wehrmacht. No other Allied army in the Second World War had such a large share of defectors among its prisoners of war (POWs).
POWs and defectors 1942–5
POWs Defectors Share of defectors (%)
1942 1,653,000 79,319 4.80
1943 565,000 26,108 4.62
1944 147,493 9,207 6.24
1945 33,110 2,015 6.09
Total 2,398,603 116,649 4.86
The evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that in 1941 a large proportion of soldiers went over voluntarily. And even in later stages of the war the share of defectors among POWs was significantly higher than in other cases, hovering between 5 and 6 per cent throughout (Table2.1).
More often than not, defectors were counted as captives and treated accordingly. 11
The German numbers on defectors are thus skewed. However, they are skewed in one direction: there was no incentive to over-report the number of defectors.
Thus, we can assume that the German numbers on Überläufer are lower limits: there were many more who either contemplated or actively sought to cross the front line, but who either never succeeded or were not recognized as such by their captors.
A witness interviewed in 1992 remembered how shortly after the occupation of a village in Poltava region, a unit of Red Army soldiers several hundred strong, led by a colonel, gave themselves up to the Germans, noting that if they had known that the Germans fought ‘against the kikes and Russkis’(protiv zhidov I moskalei) they would have stayed at home in the first place. 49 There is, thus, every indication that the number of defectors was higher in 1941 than in later years.
Among American, British, and French POWs, only 0.02 per cent were classified as deserters.
The now famous Order No. 270 of 16 August 1941 therefore punished the families of captured officers to make the threat real. They were to be arrested ‘as families of deserters, who have betrayed their Motherland’. Those of rank and file soldiers were deprived of welfare payments. 19
The family members of defectors are exiled to Siberia, or shot’,16 as the intelligence officer of XVII Army Corps summarized what he had learned from POWs in June 1941. 21
After 16 August, the threat of shooting (rather than arrest) of relatives became a refrain in reports. In September, 18 Motorized Infantry Division reported that ‘officers and commissars threaten to shoot the relatives of defectors and captured soldiers’. 23 Soviet archival materials confirm the German evidence. In late September 1941, the Political Directorate of the Baltic Fleet ordered the explanation that ‘family members of those who went over to the side of the Germans and surrendered to the Germans would be immediately executed as family members of traitors of the Motherland’. 24 In April 1942, ‘many were keen to come across the line’, claimed prisoners during interrogation, ‘but they are worried because they are constantly threatened with the execution of their relatives’. 25
Stalin’s Defectors How Red Army Soldiers became Hitler’s Collaborators, 1941–1945
MARK EDELE Oxford University Press 2017