The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Fight for Petrograd

ORDER No.165

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, to the Seventh Army, November 3, 1919, No.165, Petrograd

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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Our advance, which was halted for a time, has been resumed. We have brought up huge masses of artillery and technical resources. The numbers of our troops considerably exceed those of the enemy. We have everything needed for a complete rout of Yudenich’s bands. It is necessary that the entire apparatus of the Seventh Army should work impeccably.

(1) Those responsible for supplies to the fighting units are to check unremittingly that the soldiers are shod, clothed, fed and provided with ammunition. There must be no interruptions in victualling and supply. Everything needed is available. All that remains is to deliver and distribute it properly. The supply officers of units will bear responsibility that this is done.

(2) Commanders and commissars must conduct their units with a firm hand. Military orders are to obeyed unconditionally and unquestioningly. No exceptions or excuses will be allowed. Commanders and commissars will answer for their units to the Soviet Republic.

(3) The infantry will keep it firmly in mind that artillery and armoured cars do not replace the infantry but merely assist them.

(4) Communists are to be present in the most dangerous posts, setting an example of courage and tirelessness. Communists who show signs of self-seeking are to be punished with twofold severity.

(5) Severe punishment is to be meted out to cowards and self-seekers. Those who retreat without orders, after being warned, are to be shot on the spot. The battle-police detachments are to bring deserters before the tribunal without delay.

The tribunals are to act on the spot, so that punishment may follow immediately upon crime.

(6) Commanders, commissars, Communists and honourable soldiers are to watch unremittingly that traitors do not disrupt our ranks. Provocateurs and panic-mongers are to be shot on the spot. Each and everyone must be at his post, working not from fear but from conscience, making the greatest effort he is capable of, and remembering that by the unanimity of our onslaught we can, this time, secure the complete annihilation of Yudenich’s North-Western Army.

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Last updated on: 23.12.2006