One of the forms of armed struggle of the Soviet people against the enemy was the partisan movement. The program of its deployment was contained in the directive of the Council of People's Commissars and the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) of June 29, 1941. Soon, on July 18, the Central Committee adopted a special resolution "On the organization of the struggle in the rear of the German troops." These documents gave instructions on the preparation of the party underground, on the organization, complementing and arming of partisan detachments, and also formulated the tasks of the movement.
The scope of the partisan struggle was largely predetermined by the scale of the occupied territory of the USSR. Despite the measures taken to evacuate the population to the eastern regions of the country, over 60 million people, or about 33% of the pre-war population, were forced to remain in the territory occupied by the enemy.
Initially, the Soviet leadership (L.P. Beria) made a bet on regular partisan formations formed with the participation and under the leadership of the NKVD. The most famous was the detachment "Winners", the commander D. N. Medvedev. He acted in the Smolensk, Oryol and Mogilev regions, and then in Western Ukraine. The detachment consisted of athletes, NKVD employees (including raz-vedchiki), proven local personnel. Scout member N.I. Kuznetsov, fluent in German, with documents addressed to Lieutenant Paul Sieber, conducted intelligence activities in Rovno: extracted valuable intelligence information, destroyed the main judge of Ukraine, Funk, imperial adviser to the Reich Commissariat of Ukraine Gell and his secretary, the vice-governor of Galicia Bauer.
At the head of the partisan movement in the field were, as a rule, the chairmen of the regional, city and district executive committees of the party, as well as the secretaries of the regional committees, city committees and district Komsomol committees. The general strategic leadership of the partisan movement was carried out by the Supreme Command Headquarters. The direct interaction with the detachments in the field is the Central Headquarters of the Partisan Movement (TPRP). It was created by the decision of the State Defense Committee of May 30, 1942, and acted until January 1944.
The head of the Central Security Commission was PK K. Ponomarenko, who from 1938 was the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus. The CSPA was to establish contact with the partisan formations, direct and coordinate their actions, supply them with weapons, ammunition, medicines, train cadres, and carry out the interaction of partisans with units of the regular army.
Of particular importance among the headquarters of the partisan movement belonged to the Ukrainian headquarters, which, since 1943, was directly subordinate to the Supreme Command Headquarters. In Ukraine, even before the Nazis occupied its territory, 883 detachments and over 1,700 sabotage and reconnaissance groups were prepared for the deployment of the partisan movement. The center of concentration of partisan forces in Ukraine was the Spadshchansky forest, where the Putivl detachment was based under the command of S. A. Kovpak. Over the years, howling he went raids over 10 thousand km, defeating the enemy garrisons in 39 settlements. In this case, the Kovpak detachment incorporated a number of other partisan groups, for example, the 2nd Putivl detachment under the command of S. V. Rudnev. In 1941 more than 28 thousand fighters fought in partisan detachments in Ukraine.
On May 1, 1942, the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine had information about 766 partisan formations and 613 sabotage and reconnaissance groups. Created in 1942, the Ukrainian headquarters of the partisan movement was headed by T. A. Strokam, who held the post of Deputy Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Ukrainian SSR from March 1941, and then led the formation of the fighter battalions. By the end of 1943 The total number of partisans in the republic was about 300 thousand people, and by the end of the war, according to official data, the number reached 500 thousand people. Among the leaders of the partisan movement in Ukraine, besides S.A. Kovpak and S.V. Rudnev, A.F. Fedorov (since 1938, First Secretary of the Chernigov Regional Committee of the CP (B) of Ukraine) and P.P. Vershigor stood out . The struggle against the Hitlerites gained a wide scope in Belarus as well, where it was led by V. 3. Korzh, T. P. Bumazhkov, F. I. Pavlovsky, and other well-known party workers.
In total, during the war years, there were more than 6 thousand partisan detachments in the rear of the enemy, in which over 1 million people fought. During the operations, the guerrillas destroyed, captured and wounded 1 million fascists, destroyed 4 thousand tanks and armored vehicles, 65 thousand vehicles, 1,100 aircraft, destroyed and damaged 1600 railway bridges, derailed 20 thousand echelons .
A major role in the development of the partisan movement was played by a meeting of the leading officials of the People’s Commissariat of Defense, the Central Security and Defense Commission with representatives of underground party bodies, commanders and commissioners of large partisan formations. The meeting was held on the instructions of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) in late August - early September 1942. Following its results, the order issued by the People's Commissar of Defense Stalin of September 5, 1942 "On the tasks of the partisan movement" was formulated.
The main object of the guerrilla’s combat activity was communications, especially iron roads. For the first time in the history of wars, a number of large-scale operations were conducted centrally to disable enemy communications over a large territory, which were closely connected with the actions of regular army units. From August 3 to September 15, 1943, in the occupied territory of the RSFSR, Belorussia and parts of Ukraine, the operation “Rail War” was carried out to assist the units of the Soviet Army in completing the defeat of the German troops in the Battle of Kursk. On the ground, areas and objects of action were identified for each of the 167 partisan formations planned for this. Partisans were provided with explosives, mine-blasting equipment, experts were sent to them by bombers. The partisans of Belarus derailed 761 enemy echelons, Ukraine - 349, Smolensk region - 102. As a result of the operation of the highway Mogilyov-Krichev, Polotsk-Dvinsk, Mogilyov-Zhlobin did not operate all of August. On other railways, traffic was often delayed by 3–15 days. The actions of the partisans significantly complicated the regrouping and supply of the retreating enemy forces.
The experience of the "Rail War" was used in another operation, codenamed "Concert", carried out from September 19 to the end of October 1943. It involved 193 partisan units of Belarus, the Baltic States, the Leningrad and Kalinin regions. The length of the operation on the front was about 900 km, and to a depth of 400 km. Its conduct was closely linked with the pre-attack of the Soviet troops in the Smolensk and Gomel areas and the battle for the Dnieper.
As a result of the guerrilla operations of 1943, the carrying capacity of the railways decreased by 35-40%, which led to the disruption of the enemy's plans for the accumulation of material resources and the concentration of troops. In addition, the Germans were forced to use large forces to protect the railways, and their length in the occupied territory of the USSR was 37 thousand km. Only in the summer campaign of 1942, the partisan activities were distracted by 24 enemy divisions, 15 of which were constantly engaged in guarding communications.
During the war years, partisan regions and zones were created in the occupied territory of the USSR — territories in the rear of the German troops, where Soviet authorities were restored, and the number of local enterprises, cultural, community, medical, and other institutions were recreated. Such territories and zones existed in Kalinin, Smolensk and other regions of the RSFSR, in Belarus, in north-western Ukraine. In the spring of 1942, there were 11 of them, and later this number was constantly increasing. In the partisan region in Bryansk there were up to 21 thousand partisans.
The guerrillas actively disrupted the dispatch to Germany of forced labor of large groups of the population. In the Leningrad Region alone, attempts to hijack 400,000 Soviet citizens were prevented. It is not by chance that the Hitlerite authorities in the occupied territory, as well as the military command, waged an active struggle against the partisans. Thus, in one of the districts of the Leningrad region for the capture of the "leader of the partisans" Mikhail Romanov, the fascist authorities appointed a reward in "6 cows or 6 hectares of tillage, or half of these both." In addition to this, the local commander promised "30 packs of shag and 10 liters of vodka." For the partisan dead was promised "half of this remuneration."
Villagers who knew the whereabouts of the partisans and did not report it, were threatened with “banditry” and execution. In a number of cases, the nazis tried to create "self-defense detachments" from the peasants, which, armed with axes, knives and clubs, had to "destroy the attacking gangs", that is, the partisans.
Particularly important was the interaction of the partisans with the units of the regular army. In 1941, during the defensive battles of the Red Army, this was expressed mainly in the conduct of intelligence. However, from the spring of 1943 a systematic development of plans using partisan forces began. The most striking example of the effective interaction of partisans and units of the Soviet Army was the Belarusian operation of 1944, code-named "Bagration". In it, a powerful group of White-Russian partisans was essentially one of the fronts, coordinating its actions with four other advancing fronts of the regular army.
The activity of the partisans during the Great Patriotic War was highly appreciated. More than 127 thousand of them were awarded the medal "Partisan of the Patriotic War" 1st and 2nd degree; over 184 thousand. awarded other medals and orders, and 249 people became Heroes of the Soviet Union, and S. A. Kovpak and A. F. Fedorov - twice.