The Bad Ass Files: Russian Soldier Jacob Pavlov


“Pavlov’s small group of men, defending one house, killed more enemy soldiers than the Germans lost in taking Paris.” – Lt. Gen. Vasily Chuikov 

The Battle of Stalingrad is the single bloodiest battle in human history.  Over the course of sixth months of non-stop, ultra over-the-top-in-a-bad-way combat, this unfathomably-violent blood fiesta ended the lives of two million people, almost single-handedly obliterated an entire generation of Russian and German men, and reduced a modern, sprawling industrial city to shrapnel-riddled rubble unfit for .  To put the scale of this carnage in perspective, it’s like taking every article on Wikipedia, turning that into a person, and then shooting them in the head.  It’s a number that’s larger than the combined populations of Monaco, Bermuda, Estonia, Iceland, Lichtenstein, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.  Yet, despite all of this devastation and tragedy, in the middle of this blood-scorched wasteland of miserable ass-sucking awfulness, one man proved himself a hero equal in epicness to the battle that raged around him – a lowly sergeant from some unknown village in Russiawho almost single-handedly tipped the scales in the battle that changed the course of World War II in Europe. Jacob Pavlov of the 42nd Regiment, 13th Guards Division, had been little more than a proud-yet-insignificant peasant farmer at the beginning of the war.  But at Stalingrad his iron-willed ability to kick the crap out of Fascist Nazi Deutschbags with a skill that has never been witnessed by human beings before or since altered the course of the battle, and, with it, the course of World War II itself.

On the afternoon of September 28th, 1942, Sergeant Pavlov was crouch-running his way across a snow-covered, smoke-swept field towards an ordinary-looking four-story apartment building on the edge of Solechnaya Street, part of what used to be downtown Stalingrad before downtown Stalingrad simply became a festering pile of rubble and Nazis.  Facing the burned-out husk of what once was the town square, this sturdy building had somehow withstood the bomb-riddled horribleness that had leveled almost the entire rest of the city, but aside from that (and, you know, the MG42s spewing a steady stream of lead death out of every other window), it was otherwise relatively unremarkable.  7.92mm bullets zipped past his helmet as Pavlov charged across the coverless field, his PPSH submachine gun blaring, while one by one the German machine gun teams methodically cut down his squad as they raced across the open ground.  By the time Pavlov got anywhere near the house, all that remained of his 30-man platoon were himself and two other men.  This didn’t seem to bother the sturdy peasant warrior, and he wasn’t the sort of unstoppable assreaming maniac who would come all the way across a bullet-strewn field just to surrender to the enemy like some total dumbass (plus it’s not like he could have expected mercy from the Germans, either).  Another couple bursts of fire from his submachine gun (and a few close calls) later and he slammed his back up against the brick and mortar exterior and lobbed a pair of expertly-placed grenades right through the windows of the building, dropping them conveniently on the enemy weapons emplacements.  The Germans that weren’t gibbed into bite-sized morsels dropped their rifles and ran for it, and Pavlov, by virtue of the fact that he was the only non-commissioned officer that wasn’t currently either dead or screaming for a medic, was now the senior ranking member of his unit. He ordered his two surviving men to sweep the building while he began administering first aid to the wounded Russian POWs and civilians he found inside.  Within minutes the quick-minded sergeant had organized a defensive position, set his men on watch for counterattacks, and was firmly in control of a tiny, crumbling apartment building 200 meters on the German side of the Volga River.  His orders were simple – do not let the Germans take this structure.  Do not let them reach the river.  Hold until death.  Keep holding after death, if possible.

Read the Remainder at Bad Ass of The Week


Book Review: Rattenkrieg: The Art of ECQ Combat Pistol



Bob Taubert’s latest work, Rattenkrieg: The Art and Science of Close-Quarters Battle Pistol is a book that is right up there with Styer’s Cold Steel or Applegate’s Kill or Get Killed. The book reminds you of the hard fact that necessity is definitely the mother of invention when it comes to relevant and practical combat skills. And even though the skills discussed may have been developed over 60+ years ago, their tactical relevancy and potency are no less diminished.

For those of you not familiar with the author, Bill Taubert (who also writes under the pen name Bob Pilgrim) is a literal GIANT in the tactical training community, not to mention a huge influence and personal hero of mine. I could go on about Taubert and his influence on me personally, but that is for another post;  for the time being read a short bio about him HERE.

Since most of you out there probably don’t speak fluent German, “Rattenkrieg” translated means “War of the Rats”, a term of euphemistic endearment the Germans used to describe the barbaric and brutal combat experienced during the Battle of Stalingrad during World War 2. The Germans found out really fast that the Russians intended to fight to the last man and the last bullet for every square yard of the only city which bore the name of their “Boss”, Joseph Stalin. In the end, The Battle for Stalingrad would cost both sides dearly. The entire German 6th Army would be totally annihilated, a sum of approximately 300,000 men. On the Soviet side, the losses were two-fold and much, much worse. Not only did military casualties have to be calculated, but civilian casualties as well. Antony Beevor, in his Outstanding book: Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942-1943  estimated that between 1.1 and 1.2 Million Soviet Soldiers were lost. And although not precise because of the combined problem of Soviet secrecy during the Cold War and destroyed census and death records, it is estimated that between 100 and 300,000 civilians were killed. All together, the total “Butchers Bill” of the Battle of Stalingrad would be approximately 1.4 Million souls.

As Taubert explains, Stalingrad was the virtual birthplace of modern CQ and ECQ Military Combat doctrine. All of what we have today on the subject (both in the LE and Civilian training world) started here. I am not one to re-hash an entire book, but I will say this book does offer several perks for the CO, mainly the drills near the end. Bear in mind also that these drills come from the realistic GLOBAL perspective of a “Been-There-Done-That” kind of guy. Taubert over the past 2 decades has helped write the accepted, modern manual of combative and ECQ pistol. Striving to reinforce his methods to Tier 1 Assets in the Military, FBI HRT and LE SWAT Teams across America that 360 degree realistic  training that is based on “street proven” methods should replace the generic and impractical square range “Competition Driven” training (and drills) that plague all tiers of the tactical training community currently.

Consequently, there is also a fair amount of information in the book that is sectioned off for LE 2-4 man entry teams, including dynamic riot shield drills. But as some of my friends have criticized that this is not an “applicable skill-set” for the individual civilian, I see it as a great opportunity for the CO to expand his tool box and apply the training to Small Unit Tactics and MOUT exercises. The CO must also never forget that just because a particular skill-set being taught may not readily apply, the CO can always take the information, turn it around and develop counter-techniques to repel and/or neutralize a 2-4 man entry team equipped with riot shields.

In closing, this is an advanced book on shooting tactics and definitely not one for the “tactical golf” crowd. For the serious CO however, this book is a gold mine. It will not only provide relative, realistic drills and tips but be an outstanding reference book for the serious warrior student.

Stay Real, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!