The "Iron Rule" in the Soviet Army. Never heard of it. Sounds a bit gruesome.

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by A-58, Aug 5, 2022.

  1. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I lifted this from Quora. Never heard or read about this Iron Rule thing in the Roosky Army before. Not sure of the veracity of the contents of the article but if there's a shred of truth to it then that's a new item for the examples in the "War is Hell" definition. Dang.


    The man who really raised the victory banner that day was Guard Sergeant Alexei Kovalev - a Razvedchik (scout) attached to the 83rd Guards Reconnaissance Company, 82nd Guards Rifle Division, 8th Guards Army. He had fought bravely during the assault on the Reichstag the previous days and when Marshal Zhukov arrived, he insisted that Kovalev be shown raising the banner. He was the Red Army’s choice for the honour.

    But I guess many of you know this already.

    What most people don’t know is the heart-breaking, tear-inducing story that Kovalev himself told author Michael Jones. 'I have killed more people than I have hairs on my head,' Kovalev said in a matter-of-fact manner. But then his voice began to choke.

    ‘As a reconnaissance scout, I was always ahead of our army, and I needed to gather intelligence. I would use local people, I would take them and question them about the whereabouts of the Germans. They were Russian people, good people, and they wanted to help me. They told me all they knew.' Kovalev struggled to carry on. It was hard to say this, particularly to a Westerner. But Kovalev looked me straight in the eye and continued:

    Imagine this. I seize a young Russian woman, washing clothes by the river, a kid, playing in a village, or an old man sitting outside his house. I question them. They help me all they can. And then, the 'iron rule of our army': I have to kill my sources, without exception. I cannot take the risk that the Germans will take them, interrogate them and find out our troops are near by. I cannot endanger our army for the sake of an individual life.

    Kovalev made a sudden gesture with his hand. There were tears in his eyes. 'I cut their throats with a knife. I murdered hundreds of my own people, decent, kind, honest people. I murdered them - so that we could defeat Nazi Germany. This is the price I paid. I have to live with it every day of my life.'

    Sure was tough to be in the Red Army.

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