215 216 A Soviet directive was issued on 29 June to combat the mass panic

215 216 a soviet directive was issued on 29 june to

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[215] [216] A Soviet directive was issued on 29 June to combat the mass panic rampant among the civilians and the armed forces personnel. The order stipulated swift, severe measures against anyone inciting panic or displaying cowardice. The NKVD worked with commissars and military commanders to scour possible withdrawal routes of soldiers retreating without military authorization. Field expedient general courts were established to deal with civilians spreading rumours and military deserters. [217] On 30 June, Stalin relieved Pavlov of his command, and on 22 July tried and executed him along with many members of his staff on charges of "cowardice" and "criminal incompetence". [218] [219] On 29 June, Hitler, through the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army Walther von Brauchitsch, instructed the commander of Army Group Center Fedor von Bock to halt the advance of his panzers until the infantry formations liquidating the pockets catch up. [220] But the commander of the 2nd Panzer Group Heinz Guderian , with the tacit support of Fedor von Bock and the chief of OKH Franz Halder , ignored the instruction and attacked on eastward towards Bobruisk, albeit reporting the advance as a reconnaissance-in-force . He also personally conducted an aerial inspection of the Minsk-Białystok pocket on 30 June and concluded that his panzer group was not needed to contain it, since Hermann Hoth 's 3rd Panzer Group was already involved in the Minsk pocket. [221] On the same day, some of the infantry corps of the 9th and 4th Armies, having sufficiently liquidated the Białystok pocket, resumed their march eastward to catch up with the panzer groups. [221] On 1 July, Fedor von Bock ordered the panzer groups to resume their full offensive eastward on the morning of 3 July. But Brauchitsch, upholding Hitler's instruction, and Halder, unwillingly going along with it, opposed Bock's order. However, Bock insisted on the order by stating that it would be irresponsible to reverse orders already issued. The panzer groups, however, resumed their offensive on 2 July before the infantry formations had sufficiently caught up. [221] Northwest Russia Main article: Continuation War During German-Finnish negotiations Finland had demanded to remain neutral unless the Soviet Union attacked them first. Germany therefore sought to provoke the Soviet Union into an attack on Finland. After Germany launched Barbarossa on 22 June, German aircraft used Finnish air bases to attack Soviet positions. The same day the Germans launched Operation Rentier and occupied the Petsamo Province at the Finnish-Soviet border. Simultaneously Finland proceeded to remilitarize the neutral Åland Islands . Despite these actions the Finnish government insisted via diplomatic channels that they remained a neutral party, but the Soviet leadership already viewed Finland as an ally of Germany. Subsequently, the Soviets proceeded to launch a massive bombing attack on 25 June against all major Finnish cities and industrial centers including
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Helsinki, Turku and Lahti. During a night session on the same day the Finnish parliament
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