TIL that during WWII, the Soviets executed 158,000 soldiers for desertion. Each Soviet army had "blocking detachments" (barrier troops) which would shoot "cowards" and fleeing panicked troops at the rear.

TIL that during WWII, the Soviets executed 158,000 soldiers for desertion. Each Soviet army had "...

Over 20,000 American soldiers were tried and sentenced for desertion during World War II. Forty-nine were sentenced to death, though 48 of these death sentences were subsequently commuted. Only one US soldier, Private Eddie Slovik, was executed for desertion in World War II.

That guy must've felt special.

Special idiot. They basically begged him to do things so he'd not get executed.

Edit:

The cook summoned his company commander and an MP, who read the note and urged Slovik to destroy it before he was taken into custody, which Slovik refused. He was brought before Lieutenant Colonel Ross Henbest, who again offered him the opportunity to tear up the note, return to his unit, and face no further charges. After Slovik again refused, Henbest ordered Slovik to write another note on the back of the first one stating that he fully understood the legal consequences of deliberately incriminating himself with the note and that it would be used as evidence against him in a court martial.

Slovik was taken into custody and confined to the division stockade. The divisional judge advocate, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Sommer, offered Slovik a third and final opportunity to rejoin his unit in exchange for the charges against him being suspended. He also offered to transfer Slovik to a different infantry regiment where no one would know of his past and he could start with a "clean slate". Slovik, still convinced that he would face only jail time (which he had already experienced and considered far more tolerable than combat) declined these offers, saying, "I've made up my mind. I'll take my court martial."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Slovik#Desertion

"I've made up my mind. I'll take my court martial."

"Yeah about that Loads Gun... Sorry Ed"

They also punished soldiers that were captured and later returned. Many were sent to gulags and died in prisons worse than the POW camps they came from. The Gulag Archipelago covers this in great detail.

Yet many Russians still glorify the regime. One that had no regard for human life. It's so mind-boggling.

They don't think they would have been part of the group that was killed. That's how people think.

There's a big difference between arresting soldiers for desertion and setting up machine gun nests to shoot friendly soldiers if they're traveling the 'wrong' way.

Or consider Stalingrad. Unlike Leningrad, it was never actually under siege. The civilian population could have simply walked out - if the Soviet Army didn't have orders to shoot any Soviet civilians trying to leave the city.

Sure, when considering the millions of civilians they executed, 158,000 troops executed for desertions does seem as a drop in the bucket.

Yet many university professors and students in the US and Britain still glorify the regime.

They usually just arrested them and put them in penal battalions where they could earn their freedom by being wounded during suicide missions.

Not joking about suicide missions, the vast majority were killed.

Edit:

Temporary personnel were the shtrafniks who were sent to the unit for their crimes or wrongdoings in order to redeem themselves with their own blood.

and

Convicts sentenced to infantry units were eligible for commutation of sentence and assignment to a Red Army line unit if they either suffered a combat injury (the crime was considered to be "cleansed in blood") or had accomplished extremely heroic deeds in combat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shtrafbat

Many Redditors glorify it, just look in subreddits like /sub/politics and /sub/socialism. Hell, people in the latter are constantly denying that the Holodomor (a famine engineered by Stalin to kill millions of Ukrainians because they resisted his Communist regime) happened.

Damn shame the Taliban deserter didn't get this guy's treatment, or even better, just stuck with the Taliban.

Not a small number if you compare it to the U.S army.

Although 20,000 American soldiers were tried and sentenced for desertion during World War II, only one soldier, Private Eddie Slovik, was executed for it.

SOURCE:

That is a myth. There were occasional supply issues with new troops, but it wasn't some kind of official policy. When it did happen, usually the shortage was in ammunition, not rifles.

Its almost like he shouldn't have assumed that pointedly refuting a series of direct orders from several superiors would ensure him the same commutation as other deserters.

Their butt wounds were treated and they were returned to battle no worse for wear.

Also, there's a great book on the subject of desertion;

Deserter: The Last Untold Story Of The Second World War by Charles Glass 

This only happened at the very start of the war in a very small part of the army. And if we count total losses, those numbers are insignificant.

thats an entire army of good soldiers.......wasted for no real reason

Dude was given like 11ty chances.

Edit:

The cook summoned his company commander and an MP, who read the note and urged Slovik to destroy it before he was taken into custody, which Slovik refused. He was brought before Lieutenant Colonel Ross Henbest, who again offered him the opportunity to tear up the note, return to his unit, and face no further charges. After Slovik again refused, Henbest ordered Slovik to write another note on the back of the first one stating that he fully understood the legal consequences of deliberately incriminating himself with the note and that it would be used as evidence against him in a court martial.

Slovik was taken into custody and confined to the division stockade. The divisional judge advocate, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Sommer, offered Slovik a third and final opportunity to rejoin his unit in exchange for the charges against him being suspended. He also offered to transfer Slovik to a different infantry regiment where no one would know of his past and he could start with a "clean slate". Slovik, still convinced that he would face only jail time (which he had already experienced and considered far more tolerable than combat) declined these offers, saying, "I've made up my mind. I'll take my court martial."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Slovik#Desertion