Contrasts 1941 year give rise to a variety of interpretations of what happened. Some say that Stalin’s repressions deprived the army of normal command personnel. Others - that the Soviet people did not want to defend the social system hated by them. Third - about the irresistible superiority of the Germans in the ability to conduct combat operations. A lot of judgments. And there is a well-known phrase by Marshal Konev, who did not begin to describe the initial period of the war: “I don’t want to lie, but they will not allow to write the truth anyway.”
It is clear that only a few could write something close to the truth. A private soldier, a major, a colonel, and even a drill general do not see much. The picture as a whole is visible only from high headquarters. From the front staffs from Moscow. But we again know that the front headquarters were poorly mastered by the situation, respectively, and Moscow received incomplete information.
Thus, neither Konev, nor Zhukov, nor even Stalin could tell the truth if he could write his memoirs. Even they did not have sufficient completeness of information.
But the truth can be calculated by the inquisitive mind of a researcher who asks the right questions. Unfortunately, few people are trying to ask the right questions, and the majority of them cannot simply put the right questions. Once Sergey Ivanovich Vavilov defined the experiment in the following way: “An experiment is a question clearly posed to nature, which is expected to have a definite answer: yes or no.” A competently posed question always requires an answer in the form of YES or NO. Let's try to deal with the 1941 problem of the year with questions in this form.
Was the German army irresistibly stronger than the Red Army?
The whole logic of general ideas pushes to the answer - it was. The Germans had experience of several successful military campaigns in Europe. The Germans had an impeccably debugged mechanism for the interaction of military branches. In particular, the interaction aviation with the ground forces was specially worked out for 2.5 years in Spain by the Condor legion. Richthofen, who had this experience not yet fully appreciated in the literature for a wide range of readers, commanded German aircraft in the strip of our Southwestern Front in the summer of 1941.
But there is one BUT. It turns out exactly those armies, on which the enemy struck blows with deliberately superior forces, to which all the power of the strike fell, - they were precisely not defeated. Moreover, they successfully fought for a long time, creating problems for the German offensive. This is the answer to the question.
Let's outline the scheme. On the front from the Baltic Sea to the Carpathians, the German offensive was parried by three fronts: the North-Western, the Western and the South-Western. Starting from the Baltic coast, our armies were placed in the following sequence (from north to south): the 8 and 11 army of the North-Western Front. Then 3, 10, 4 of the Western Front, 5, 6, 26 and 12 of the South-Western Front. Behind the armies of the Western Front covering the border, the 13 Army of the Western Front was stationed in the Minsk Fortified Area (UR).
June 22 blow tank the enemy's wedges fell on the 8th and 11th armies, on the 4th army and on the 5th army. Let's see what happened to them.
The 8 Army, which had to retreat through the hostile Baltic States, found itself in the most difficult situation. However, its connections in July 1941 are found in Estonia. They retreat, occupy defenses, retreat again. The Germans beat this army, but they do not crush it in the first few days. Regarding the mass capture of the Red Army in the Baltic direction in the memoirs of the enemy nothing slips. And Liepaja, which the soldiers of the 8 Army and Red Navy men held for several days, could well have claimed the title of the hero-city.
11 Army On the first day of the war, even before all orders about a counterblow, its 11 mechanized corps, almost the weakest in composition in the entire Red Army, armed with weak T-26, attacks the advancing Germans, knocks them abroad. In the attacks of the next two or three days, he loses almost all of his tanks. But it was the counter attacks of the 11 tanks of the mechanized corps of the 11 Army of the North-Western Front that were marked in the history of the war as a battle near Grodno. Subsequently, the 11 Army retreats, trying to engage in the struggle to hold cities. But to keep them this army fails. The retreat continues. The army loses contact with both the front headquarters and Moscow. Moscow has not known for some time whether this very 11 Army exists. But the army exists. And, having more or less understood the operational situation, the army headquarters gropes for the enemy’s weak point - the flanks of the tank wedge moving towards Pskov are weakly covered. He collapses on these flanks, cuts the road, stops the enemy's offensive for some days. Subsequently, the 11 Army is retained as a military unit. Participates in the winter 1941-42, the offensive of the Red Army.
Thus, both armies of the North-Western Front, which had fallen under the crushing power of the first blow of the Germans, were neither crushed nor crushed by this blow. And continued to fight. And not without success. There is no information about any mass surrender of soldiers of these armies. Soldiers do not show their unwillingness to fight for the Soviet homeland. The officers quite competently assess the possibility of warfare. Where to retreat, not to be bypassed, where to take up defense, and where to inflict a dangerous counter-strike.
4 Army of the Western Front. She came under the blow of the enemy through Brest. Two divisions of this army, to which neither the command of the Belarusian Military District, nor their own commander gave an order to leave the city to summer camps, were shot by German artillery directly in the barracks in the city of Brest. The army, nevertheless, entered the fighting, participated in the counterstrike by forces of the mechanized corps which it had, retreated, clinging to the borders. One of the divisions of this army, having gone to the Mozyr region on the old border, held him for a month. To this division, which remained far to the west, scattered detachments of the encirclement made their way. And here the headquarters of the defeated 3 army was made its way. On the basis of this headquarters, numerous detachments of the encirclements and the only organized military unit, the divisions of the 4 Army, the 3 Army was recreated. New, replacing the missing. However, the division itself had already ceased to be a division of the 4 army, and was reassigned to the 21 army. But it is important for us to track her fate. After all, this is a division from among those who joined 22 Jun in the direction of the main attack. Not only did this division survive, but a larger military unit, the army, was revived at its base. Which will have a long military fate.
And what about the rest of the 4 th army. Her story ends on July 24 1941. But not because of the defeat and capture. Before disbanding, she leads offensive battles with the aim of helping out of the entourage of the troops of the 13 Army. Unsuccessfully. At night, the infantry of the 4 Army knocks the enemy out of towns and villages, and during the day they are forced to give the same towns, because the enemy has tanks, artillery and aircraft. The front is not moving. But it is impossible to make a dent for the encirclingists. In the end, the four divisions in the 4 Army are transferred to the 13 Army, in which there is nothing more than the army command and control of one infantry corps. And the headquarters of the 4 army left without troops becomes the headquarters of the new Central Front.
The army, which took upon itself the brunt of the most powerful German strike across Brest, defended on one of the most important highways leading to Moscow - on the Warsaw highway - was not just not defeated and captured, but fought offensively in order to assist the encircled troops. And these troops became organized combat core, around which the two armies were revived. And the army headquarters became the headquarters of a whole new front. Subsequently, the Chief of Staff of the 4 Army, Sandalov will actually lead the Moscow counteroffensive, 20, the most successful 20 Army (Commander Vlasov, who is absent from the army during this period), will participate in the successful Pogorel Gorodishchenskoy operation in August 1942, in operation "Mars" in November-December 1942 of the year and beyond.
The 5 Army of the South-Western Front was hit at the junction with the 6 Army. And in fact had to depart, turning the front to the south. Mekhkorpusa this army participated in a counterblow in the area Novograd-Volynsky. At the front of this army, the Germans were forced to stop on the river Sluch for a week. Subsequently, when the enemy tank wedge breakthrough to Kiev between 5 and 6 armies became a reality, the 5 army, whose front facing south stretched 300 km, struck a series of crushing blows on the flank of the Kiev wedge, intercepted the Kiev highway — and thereby stopped the attack on Kiev. The Germans tank division approached the Kiev fortified area, which was literally no one to defend, and stopped. Primitively left without shells - due to communications intercepted by the troops of the 5-th army.
Against the 5 th army, hooked on Korostensky fortified on the old border, the Germans were forced to deploy 11 divisions. They had 190 divisions on the entire Soviet front. So, each 1 / 17 of the entire Wehrmacht was turned against the only 5 army at the very time when the Soviet armies with the numbers 19, 20, 21, ... 37, 38 arrived at the front ... For 35 days army struck the Germans 150. Army troops secretly and quickly maneuvered in the Pripyat forests, appeared in unexpected places, smashed the enemy, and then escaped themselves from the blows of the Germans. Artillery also operated successfully. She, too, covertly maneuvered and struck unexpected, very sensitive blows at enemy troop congestions, at stations and at convoys of vehicles that supplied the enemy troops. Ammunition was. The stronghold for which the army was hooked is not only pillboxes, which in essence have lost value in the context of a maneuverable war. Stronghold is primarily a warehouse. weapons, ammunition, food, fuel, uniforms, spare parts. Artillery 5 th army had no difficulties with shells. And therefore, the enemy was very tight. Later, already in the 1943-44 years during the offensive operations of the Red Army, it was revealed that the 2 / 3 of the corpses of German soldiers had traces of destruction by artillery fire. So it was the soldiers in the trenches. And the artillery of the 5 Army, operating according to reconnaissance and sabotage groups, dealt blows at troop concentrations.
Accordingly, in the directives of the German command, the destruction of the 5 army was set as a task of equal importance to the capture of Leningrad and the occupation of Donbass. It was the 5 Army that took on the 22 battle of June that caused the so-called. Pripyat crisis, which forced the Germans to stop the attack on Moscow and turn the Guderian tank group south - against the Kiev group. This army delivered crushing blows to communications even when the Germans launched a large-scale offensive against it - after 5 in August. With this German offensive itself, there was a joke. It began on August 5 instead of 4 for a curious reason. The 5 Army's reconnaissance and sabotage group intercepted a package with a German directive to launch an offensive. The directive did not reach the troops.
The army was not defeated. She sculpted in battles. Commander-5 General Potapov asked the front of marching reinforcements - and almost did not receive. And the army continued to torment 11 of full-fledged German divisions with unexpected and successful strikes, remaining on the 300-kilometer front with all of the 2400 active bayonets.
Remark. The staff of the German infantry division was 14 thousands of people. 11 divisions are 150 thousands. And they are being held by the army, which, by the number of active bayonets, is inferior to the regular strength of these troops in 20 (!) Times. Digest this figure. In 20, the army is inferior in terms of the number of bayonets to the opposing enemy — it conducts offensive battles that become a headache for the German General Staff.
So. The armies that were hit by the German army were not defeated by this blow. Moreover, they demonstrated the vitality, activity and ability to competently retreat, and then also smash the many times superior enemy. “Not by number, but by skill.”
In addition to the 5-Army of the South-Western Front, the actions of not the whole army, but the right-flank 99 Red Banner Division of the 26 army under Peremyshl should be noted. This division successfully fought with two or even three German divisions advancing in this place. Threw them across the San River. And the Germans could not do anything with it. Despite the power of the strike, despite all the German organization and air superiority, there was no offensive against the other divisions of this army in the first days of the war.
The major military formations responded to the title question of the paragraph: armies and divisions that had taken the brunt of the blow. The answer is NO. He did not have the Wehrmacht quality advantage over the Soviet fighters and commanders.
And after this answer, the paradox of the 1941 disaster of the year becomes much more serious. If the troops, on which the might of the German offensive was brought down, fought successfully, then where did the millions of prisoners come from? Where did the loss of thousands of tanks and aircraft, giant territories?
Was the 12 army fighting?
And what about the other armies? - Those on which the blow was not struck. Either was relatively weak.
Let's start with the most interesting to clarify the situation of the army - 12-oh army of General Ponedelin. This army occupied the front from the Polish border in the south of the Lviv region, with two 13 divisions of the rifle corps covering the Carpathian passes on the border with Hungary, which 22 did not enter the war in June. Further, the corps of this army were located along the border with Romania to Bukovina.
June 22 troops of this army were alerted, received weapons and ammunition - and took up positions. When troops moved to combat positions, they were bombed. Aviation, subordinate to the command of 12 th army 22 June did not take off. She was not given the order to take off into the air, to bomb someone, or vice versa to cover her own troops from the air. Did not give the order to the commander and army headquarters. The commander and headquarters of the 13 rifle corps, parts of which were just exposed to enemy aircraft. However, after entering the positions, the troops were not attacked by anyone. According to the border guards of the three border guards who were guarding the border south of Peremyshl and further along the Carpathians - until June 26 inclusive, the enemy did not attempt to attack on this huge multi-hundred-kilometer front. Neither the 13 rifle corps nor the left-flank divisions of the neighboring 26 army.
On the Internet, letters were posted from the front of the artillery officer Inozemtsev, who on June 22 as part of the 192 artillery battery of the rifle division reached the position, and two days later they were forced to retreat due to the fact that they could be circumvented. So the fighters explained. In a day's 2, it's June's 24. There was no order from the headquarters of the South-Western Front to withdraw 12 army. The order of the corps headquarters was.
The border guards, who were removed from the outpost on Veretsky Pass by order of the headquarters of the rifle corps, also confirm: there was a written order.
There is one more memory - an officer of the railway brigade, who interacted with the 13 rifle corps. The book "Steel legs". The brigade served the railways in the south of the Lviv region. Sambir, Stryi, Turka, Drohobych, Borislav. On the morning of June 25, a group of railroad bombers arrived at the location of the headquarters of the 192 rifle division to receive orders to blow it up - and did not find a headquarters. She found rifle units completing withdrawal from their previous positions.
It all fits. Three confirming each other evidence of the remaining 13 rifle corps 12 army positions on the border with Hungary on the evening of June 24 - June 25 in the morning. Without the minimum pressure of the enemy. And without the order of the front headquarters. In the combat report of the 12 army, which are also posted on the Web, -
25 Jun. Commander Ponedelin informs the front headquarters that the position of the 13 troops is unknown. On the utterly untouched by the war flank of the Southwestern Front, the commander doesn’t know what is going on in his right-flank corps - to which the 2-3 army headquarters has an hour’s drive, with which there is connection even to the civilian telephone network that has not yet been affected.
Meanwhile, the frontier guards of the outpost that covered the Veretsky pass receive permission to return to the outpost. And they find the Germans on the road, which descends from the pass. In his memoirs, the border guard describes that their outpost knocked the Germans out of the way and from the pass. But the very fact of the Germans' nomination for the pass, from which the border guards were removed by order of the 13-Comcor, is present. Moreover, the nomination from the territory of Hungary, which by this time had not yet entered the war.
In the memoirs of railway workers, meanwhile, there are interesting details. The orders for demolishing the structures, which they received at the headquarters of the rifle division, were somehow strange. Instead of important objects, they were ordered to destroy dead-end branches and some unimportant communication line. And on June 25, the commissary ran up to them with a request to help destroy the aviation stock of the army. An oral order to destroy the warehouse was given to him, but he simply does not have the means of destruction from him, the quartermaster. And if the warehouse remains the enemy, so he himself will let a bullet in the temple. The railway workers, having received a receipt from the quartermaster, destroyed this warehouse. And how many other military depots were left without noise?
In the following days, when the railroad bombers destroyed everything that reached their hands, the Germans threw leaflets with threats of violence — precisely because they had destroyed everything. The Germans seemed to be counting on the contents of the warehouses, which they were quietly left with com-13 Kirillov and commander-12 Ponedelin.
But the most interesting thing next. The order of the headquarters of the South-Western Front to withdraw 12 and 26 armies entered. It was developed at the front headquarters at 21 an hour on the evening of June 26. And later it was found to be unfounded. Due to the fact that the troops of the left-flank divisions of the 26 Army and the Right-Flank 13 SC of the 12 Army were not subjected to pressure. Hurried front headquarters. But at the same time, he indicated to 13 th rifle corps exactly those frontiers of withdrawal, to which the corpus, in his own mind, retired on June 24-25.
We have a very clear fact of betrayal, which are involved
1) divisional-192, who gave orders to destroy insignificant objects, but left no detonated warehouses;
2) Komkor-13 Kirillov, who signed the order on the withdrawal of troops from the positions and on the removal of the border guards from the Veretsky Pass (while outposts in the mountain wilderness between the passes were not removed);
3) Commander-12 Ponedelin and his headquarters, which 2 of the day "did not know", where the troops 13 corps; 4) the leadership of the Southwestern Front as part of the front commander Kirponos, the chief of staff of Purkaev and a member of the Military Council of the front Nikishev, without the signature of each of which the unjustified order from 26 of June was invalid.
The fate of the 12 army.
At the end of June, she received an order from the front headquarters to retreat to the old state border, gradually turning to the east, starting with the 13 rifle corps. In combat contact with the enemy is not included, except for individual insignificant clashes rearguards with motorcyclists. Aviation of this army is preserved. At least until July 17 - in contrast to the battling armies, which by then had long forgotten what a red star overhead was.
And this 12 army, rather exhausted by a quick march from Western Ukraine, which lost its materiel attached to it, turned into a foot one, takes up positions on the old border. And only here on July 16-17 the opponent starts to put pressure on her. And the infantry. The German infantry breaks through the Letychivsky fortified area, about which Podelelin reports to insufficient authorities about the lack of armament to their superiors just before the breakthrough. Although he stood this SD without the impact of the enemy is already a full week.
The very young artillery officer of the Foreigners from the 192 division, in a letter to relatives from the front, reports that he finally 9 July reached the positions on the old state border, where they would definitely give the Germans a fight.
So here. The Germans break through Letichevsky, and moreover, who is responsible for the defense in the breakthrough area? Who would you think? - the commander of 13 of the rifle corps Zakharov noted by us. Commander Ponedelin on a breakthrough responds with a formidable military order to strike at an enemy that has broken through. The next day, the order repeats. Assigns an offensive to the 7 in the morning after the enemy is bombarded by the enemy, and allocates such and such formations for the offensive. And the very connection that was supposed to be in offensive battles near the border tens of kilometers from the army headquarters with 7 in the morning - at 17 hours of the day offensive, Podedelin sees alongside his headquarters in Vinnitsa. This is noted in the 12 Army documents. Those. the order was written for the report, and no one was going to move the troops anywhere.
After that, the 12 armies of the army begin very successfully to fight for the retention of the bridge over the Southern Bug, according to which the army of Ponedelin and the neighboring 6 army of Muzychenko leave from the threat of encirclement from fortified areas on the old state border. With a cut, filled with wooded beams of the Podolsk Upland, from the area of warehouses of property, food, ammunition, fuel, weapons, which can be fought for at least a month (in the image and likeness of the 5 army), into a bare steppe. After Muzychenko was wounded, the two armies find themselves under the overall command of Ponedelin. And marching columns on the bare steppe come to Umansky cauldron. Where is 7 of August and are captured. Led by Weekly and with a comic strip, Kirillov.
However, not all were in captivity. Our acquaintance artilleryman Inozemtsev at this time finds himself on the left bank of the Dnieper. And letters from him go native right up to the 1943 year. The 12 Army Chief of Staff and the 12 Army Chief of Aviation are not captured. Tens of thousands of soldiers who were not allowed to make war, but literally led into captivity, ie, driven into conditions in which to fight was hopeless.
12 army actually did not fight. And she didn’t fight, not because the soldiers or officers didn’t want, but because she wasn’t allowed to fight her own command, which committed treason. Irrefutable evidence of which I was lucky to unearth and combine into a coherent picture.
Did the mechanized corps fight?
Before we deal with the fate of other armies, let us ask ourselves what was going on with the tanks of numerous mechanized corps.
What did they do? In principle, we know from history about the giant tank battle in Western Ukraine, in which the tanks were actually lost. But still, since we have identified the oddities in the behavior of the whole army, the oddities in the orders of the headquarters of the Southwestern Front, we will see, and suddenly everything is not going smoothly. As we know, the 5 Army showed itself extremely brilliantly. It consisted of two mechanized corps 9 and 19. One of these corps was commanded by the future Marshal Rokossovsky, who, with all his front-line way, proved both loyalty to the Motherland and the ability to competently fight. Rokossovsky is marked by the fact that he did not bring anything from a defeated Germany, except for his own briefcase. To the looting is not involved. Therefore, we will not look closely at what is happening in the corps of the 5 army. Apparently, they honestly fulfilled their duty, despite the difficulties and confusion.
But with the corps belonging to the 6 and 26 armies would have to deal. What we had in the Lviv region? There were 15 th and 4 of the mechanized corps of the 6 th army and there was a 8 mk, subordinate to the 26 army. 4 Mechanic Corps.
The first oddity of the events connected with the use of the said corps is that already in the middle of the day 22 June, the 26 microns are taken from the 8 army leading to serious battles in the Przemysl area, reassigned to its front headquarters and sent away both from the front and its own supply bases and spare parts warehouses located in Drohobych and in Stry. First, the corps comes to Lviv under its own power, then it is redirected to the town of Brody in the east of the Lviv region. With a daily delay against the orders of the front headquarters, he concentrates in the Brody area for an offensive in the direction of Berestechko. Finally, June 27 in the morning begins to advance towards the Soviet territory. As noted in the combat report of the headquarters of the South-Western Front from 12 hours of the day 27 June, the upcoming 8 MK by this time did not meet the enemy. In the same direction in conjunction with it comes 15 microns. On the Soviet territory away from the border. And there is no opponent in front of them.
Meanwhile, reconnaissance of the front still 25 June discovered the accumulation of enemy mechanized forces north of Przemysl, i.e. north of the beautifully fighting 99 Red Banner Division, which beat the superior enemy forces. 26 June these mechanized forces break through the front of the left-flank division of the 6 Army, then cut the Stryi-Lviv railway and find themselves on the outskirts of Lviv - at the Sknilov station.
What is not normal here?
It is abnormal that from the main location of the 8 MK in Drohobych to the German strike line south-west of Lviv - less than 50 km. If he were in his place, he could easily parry the German blow. And thereby secure the opening flank of the 26 army. Those. prevent the capture of Lviv, while acting in the interests of their own army. After the occurrence of a breakthrough to the commander-26, Kostenko had to compete in speed with infantry forces of the Germans, who bypassed his army from the north. He 8 MK tanks were desperately needed to cover their own flank.
But the corps had already been taken a couple of hundred kilometers to the east of the Lviv region, and they even gave the order to advance towards the Rivne region. More east. Moreover, the reaction of the headquarters of the South-Western Front to the information of its own intelligence about the concentration of the enemy’s mechanized forces as such.
And Lviv, which as a result was abandoned, is a place where giant warehouses of all kinds of military equipment, the same spare parts, are concentrated. There were two base warehouse points Lviv and Stry in the territory of Lviv region. And in Lviv itself, which is an old city, it is inconvenient to place warehouses. In Lviv 1970-80's, the main warehouse center of the city was the Sknilov station, which I have already mentioned. It was here that the Germans broke 26 June. They did not need Lviv, but Sknilov with huge reserves of everything and everything for the whole 6 army and for its two tank corps: the 4 and 15.
And where are our 4 th mechanized corps of the future hero of the defense of Kiev, the future creator of ROA Vlasov? You will not believe. In the direction of the impact of the Germans from the area north of Przemysl on Sknilov. In the forests southwest of Lviv. The Germans walk past the Vlasov corps as if it does not exist. And Vlasov himself on the evening of June 26 receives an order from the front headquarters for retreat towards the Ternopil region. One of the two most powerful corps in the Red Army with a thousand tanks, with the best in the Red Army security corps of motor vehicles - does not react to the German breakthrough to Sknilov, but not only he does not react! The headquarters of the South-Western Front, which actually appointed Vlasov to concentrate in the forests south-west of Lviv, does not recall the fact that God himself ordered him to crush the advancing German mechanized units. This is according to the own documents of the front staff! Instead of a combat order to crush the enemy corps, which in the first days of the war already uselessly wound tanks over 300 km on tanks (spending the service life of equipment), an order is given to a new long march in isolation from the base of spare parts in the very Lviv that he should have to protect. Neither the front headquarters nor Vlasov himself has any thoughts that this is wrong.
There is, however, one person who sounds the alarm. Major-General Morgunov, chief of the armored-vehicle forces of the South-Western Front, writes reports on the inadmissibility of continuous marches of mechanized corps. 29 writes June about the loss of an already 30% vehicle abandoned due to breakdowns and the lack of time and spare parts for tankmen. Morgunov demands to stop the corps, at least give them a chance to inspect and adjust the equipment. But the mechanized corps do not give up. And already 8 July, they are withdrawn to the reserve - as having lost their combat capability due to the loss of materiel. As we remember, by the time they reached the old border, the mechanized corps of the 12 army was on foot - without any fights at all.
There are no complaints about the commanders of 8 and 15 mechanized corps. They eventually reached the enemy, the battle of the Soviet mechanized corps with the advancing Germans under Dubno was. 8 th mechanized corps was marked in it with their actions. The problem is with the incomparably more powerful 4 Mechanism Corps of Vlasov, the problem with the command of the 6 Army, the problem with the command of the front.
In the end, we have to state. Mekhkorpusa mostly not fought. They were deprived of the opportunity to act where they could change the course of events, and were driven by marches along the roads before the vehicle lifespan. Moreover, contrary to the documented protests of the commander of the armored forces of the front.