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Sabotage

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"Commanders of the Fronts
August 10th, 1942
19:50

Our tank units and formations take heavy losses, and losses in tanks for technical reasons outweigh losses in battle. On the Stalingrad Front, over 6 days of fighting, despite having superiority in tanks and artillery, in 12 of our tank brigades out of 400 tanks 326 were lost, out of those 200 were lost for technical reasons, and the majority were left on the battlefield. Similar examples can also be found on other Fronts. Considering this kind of rates of breakdown inconceivable, the Stavka considers this the be caused by covert sabotage and destruction on behalf of tankers, who either seek out small faults with their tanks or create them themselves in order to keep away from the battle, abandoning their tanks on the battlefield. At the same time, poorly established control over materiel and tracking of whether or not tanks perform their duties in battle in tank units allows this criminal and unacceptable behaviour to continue.

The Stavka of the Supreme Command orders that:
  1. Each tank unit must have small control brigades composed of unquestionably honest technicians, headed by a responsible engineer, to examine each broken down tank in order to ascertain the true nature of the breakdown and necessary measures for repair. These technical brigades must immediately report to the commander of the tank unit on the result of their inspections, along with the names of any personnel guilty of sabotage or destruction. 
  2. Commanders of tank corps, brigades, and independent battalions must assign personnel guilty of sabotage and destruction to tank penalty companies, using them under careful supervision in the most dangerous direction in order to allow them to pay for their crimes.
  3. Hopeless irredeemable cases are to be excluded from the tank unit and stripped of their rank, sent to infantry penalty companies in order to fight in the toughest sectors on foot.
  4. Report on execution and measures taken.
Stavka of the Supreme Command
I. Stalin
A. Vasilevskiy"


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