Order No. 227
Order No. 227 issued on July 28, 1942 was an infamous order issued by Joseph Stalin who as acting as the People's Commissar of Defense. It is famous for its line "Not a step back!" (Russian: Ни шагу назад! / Ni shagu nazad!), which became a slogan of Soviet resistance.
The Order 
No commander had the right to retreat without an order. Anyone who did so was subject to a military tribunal of the corresponding seniority level.
Order No. 227 established that each Front must create 1 to 3 penal battalions (штрафбат, штрафной батальон, shtrafbat, shtrafnoy battalion) of soldiers accused of disciplinary problems, which were sent to the most dangerous sections of the front lines. Each Front had to create penal companies for privates and NCOs. From 1942 to 1945, 427,910 soldiers were assigned to penal battalions.
Both measures were cited in the preamble of the order as having been successfully used by the Germans during their winter retreat.
The requirement for Armies to maintain companies of barrier troops was withdrawn after just three months, on October 29, 1942. Intended to galvanise the morale of the hard-pressed Soviet Army and emphasise patriotism, it had a generally detrimental effect and was not consistently implemented by commanders who viewed diverting troops to create barrier units as a waste of manpower, so by October 1942 the idea of regular blocking units was quietly dropped. By 20 November 1944 the blocking units were officially disbanded.
See also 
- Roberts, Geoffrey. Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953. New Heaven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-300-11204-1), page 132
- G. I. Krivosheev. Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses. Greenhill 1997 ISBN 1-85367-280-7
- Catherine Merridale. Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945. Page 158. Macmillan, 2006. ISBN 0-8050-7455-4
- Sellas, Anthony (1992). The Value of Human Life in Soviet Warfare, New York: Routledge.
- History Channel, Monday 24 Nov 2008 @ 1400hr Eastern Time.
- Wikisource:Order No. 227 by the People's Commissar of Defence of the USSR (in English)
- Wikisource: Original text (in Russian)