Originally Posted by motoreiter
I think you're confusing Zhukov with someone else, probably Rokossovsky. Rokossovsky was arrested in 1937 after being accused of being a Polish spy. During his interrogations, he had a bunch of teeth knocked out, all of his fingernails removed, and underwent 2-3 mock executions. He was released in 1940 without explanation and in the fall of 1941 was put in command of the 16th Army defending Moscow. Supposedly the 16th Army was made up entirely of former convicts, and Stalin hand-picked Rokossovsky as being perfect for the job.
I'll check that out.
I read it in Anthony Beever's history of the Second World War...it'll give me another excuse to look through that great book whilst we're in Morocco. Thanks for your steer. I'll get back to yez.