From: Utlima Thule
you are mixing together issues that are completely unconnected in that post. I presume you can't read Russian and doubt you have read much that starts from the Soviet perspective in English?
so lets help you out a little.
The 700,000 'detained'. These weren't deserters/troops panicking on the battlefield. Because the German encirclements in Bielorussia were poorly sealed (the infantry was too far behind) while the Soviet formations collapsed as organised units a lot of men escaped. Some became the core of the partisan groups, many escaped back to Soviet lines. Less escaped from the Ukraine due to the terrain and the near complete collapse of the Soviet Ukrainian armies after Kiev.
There they were automatically 'detained' and interrogated. In part as the Soviets had, a perfectly justified, fear of the Germans trying to infiltrate spies, partly as a punishment. Most were then released and allocated to fresh formations. In effect it was an administrative process that dealt with men who slipped out of encirclement - very different to the fiction of NKVD units lined up behind the front.
Equally you are aware that order 227 contained (deliberate) fictions? For eg, it blames the loss of Rostov on treachery and disobeying orders when in fact the Soviet retreat was ordered by Stavka and covered by NKVD formations who defended the bridges till they were blown behind them so as to delay the Germans.
The punishment battalions it mentions were not systemically created, Stalin wanted the threat to be present but it was rarely used and that element of the order was rescinded a few months later.
SMERSH was small, and used in a counter-espionage role, to catch those spies the Germans inserted and to monitor the partisan groups. It was an elite within the NKVD not a mass formation able to enforce battlefield morale. Ian Fleming's SPECTRE in the James Bond novels is based on the real life SMERSH. As an eg, SMERSH elements were the first into Hitler's bunker after regular Red Army troops had secured the area.
Note I am not saying that the treatment by the Soviet state of its population was anything but reprehensible.
< Message edited by loki100 -- 10/13/2015 10:20:45 PM >