Premium accordion by Andrei Eremenko
On the night of October 16 1941, Stalin went to his country cottage - from the beginning of the war he lived here permanently. The motorcade taxied out of the Kremlin, turned into Arbat, but then instead of habitually rushing to Smolenskaya Square and further to Mozhayku, turned into Silver Alley and stopped at No. 4, which housed the Central Military Hospital of the People's Commissariat of Defense.
It is known that at the request of the guards, who were afraid of ambushes and assassinations, Stalin quite often changed routes. But this time there was another reason. On the eve, the commander of the Bryansk Front, Andrei Yeremenko, was admitted to the hospital. Colonel Mandryka underwent a complicated operation. Stalin got out of the car, shook hands with the confused on-duty doctor and asked to be taken to the wounded general. The Supreme was accompanied by members of the State Defense Committee Vyacheslav Molotov and Lawrence Beria, and his secretary Alexander Poskrebyshev was also present. Tatyana Eremenko, the daughter of a renowned commander and his biographer, told the Military Industrial Courier about what happened next. For some time now she, in her words, looks at the world through the eyes of her father.
- Dad came to his senses after anesthesia and, seeing the Supreme, he thought it was a mirage. Stalin greeted his father, came closer, felt his burning forehead and said: "The temperature is high." Then he walked around the room and began to ask about the circumstances of the injury. But when he saw that it was difficult for his father to talk, changed the subject, began to encourage him, he even said that he looked good. To the father's question: “How are the armies of the Bryansk Front?” - reassured. Everything, they say, is in order, do not worry ... I asked the doctor on duty how the doctors would treat his father. He reported that there was a decision by the head of the hospital, Peter Vasilyevich Mandryki, to transfer the general to Kuibyshev (the evacuation of institutions from Moscow began on that very day). Stalin approved the decision and wished his father to get better soon.
- Have you ever read that your mother was in the ward as a nurse ...
- This is the journalists messed up. Mom really spent a lot of time with dad in hospitals, he was injured several times, but in October they didn’t even meet 1941 on October ...
- And what preceded the meeting of Stalin and Eremenko in the hospital?
- My father met the beginning of the war in the Far East with the commander of the 1 th Special Red Banner Army. There was restlessness, it was supposed to deploy an army to the front in case of Japanese aggression. But three days before the attack of the Germans, 19 June dad was summoned to Moscow. While he urgently handed over the affairs to the chief of staff, Shelakhov, and was preparing to leave, the war began. I traveled to Novosibirsk for several days by train, got transferred to a specially sent aircraft, and on June 28 arrived directly from the airfield to the country's leadership. And immediately he was appointed commander of the Western Front.
When Tymoshenko showed the territory we lost on the map at the General Staff of the People’s Defense, his father did not believe his eyes. On June 29, early in the morning near Mogilev at the front headquarters, he took over the business of General Dmitry Pavlov. For his mistakes, he was removed from his post and soon shot. A few days later, the grouping of Soviet troops, which restrained the aggressor’s progress towards Moscow, was transformed into a Western direction, the command of which was headed by Tymoshenko, but his father, who became his first deputy during this reorganization, actually performed the duties of his previous position. And on July 19, Eremenko was again appointed commander of this front. In the shortest possible time, his father, then lieutenant general, managed to restore control of the units and combat effectiveness of the personnel. This is evidenced by the fact that under the Smolensk troops of the Western Front stood to death for more than a month and did not miss the Nazi units, first of all tank Guderian grouping, to the capital. Without taking into account the results of the Smolensk battle, it is probably impossible to understand why the Wehrmacht command made significant adjustments to the plan of the strategic operation to capture Moscow and, instead of a frontal strike, aimed troops at its surroundings from the north and south. To repel this strike, on August 13, 1941, the Bryansk Front was created, whose father was appointed commander of the troops. In September, he received the rank of colonel general. The headquarters assumed that Guderian would move to Moscow south of the capital. However, he went much further south — towards the Southwestern Front. The Bryansk front, despite a large number of inconsistencies in the directive directives of the Headquarters, carried out its tasks successfully, as much as was possible under those difficult conditions.
- What did father tell about this?
- According to Hitler’s plan, the Moscow operation, codenamed “Typhoon”, began on September 31, 1941 with a strike against the troops of the Bryansk Front two days earlier than the general offensive of the Nazis. All used aviation "Center" forces, a huge superiority in manpower and equipment, in tanks - tenfold. All this for the defeat of the troops of the Bryansk Front, in order to open the way for himself through Oryol and Tula to Moscow. The plan is insidious, to be sure. But not those attacked, said dad. True, our troops were surrounded and in a difficult situation, but thanks to heroism, the right decisions of the commanders, strong-willed and prudent leadership, having inflicted a counterattack, broke through the ring and left the German "cauldron". This operation delayed the enemy for 17 days. Losses on both sides are considerable, but the Hitler plan was foiled, and our 50th army moved to Tula and played a decisive role in protecting Moscow in the southwest.
Only one episode from the father’s combat life. “Tanks of the enemy, being in a large forest, could not understand the situation and, apparently, because of poor observation in the gap, without noticing the headquarters, they quickly entered the highway. But the motorized infantry in the vehicles following the tanks noticed a deployed headquarters. I personally watched the movement of the enemy and realized that the infantry understands the situation. Immediately began the battle, firing from a machine gun at the first car on which the 35 – 40 man was sitting, and destroyed almost all of them. At the same time, another 10 – 15 man of chauffeurs and guards opened fire with me. ” It turns out that the front commander, with a machine gun in his hands, stood in the same rank as the rank and file. The attack was repelled ...
- Tatyana Andreevna, it reminds an episode from the life of Eremenko, when he, the commander of the 1 Cavalry Army, under the village of Chizhovka alone, acting with a saber and gun, attacked the machine-gun platoon of the Makhnovists and captured the 14 tachanok.
- Thanks for reminding me. And even earlier, on the First World War, as a corporal, in a bayonet battle, destroyed several German grenadiers. Dad was a Suvorov type commander - in a difficult moment he commanded “Do as I do!” And rushed forward.
After Smolensk, the Germans began to hunt for his father. Their reconnaissance worked well, all movements of the commander were reported where necessary, literally half an hour later the dive bombers flew and splintered the places where the father and officers sat down to rest after a trip to the troops. In the end, the father got on his way. October 13 severe wound in the right leg and shoulder scattered fragments of aerial bomb. The dive-bomber walked right on him and put the bomb in three steps. My father stood near the pine and watched through binoculars for the fight. The mighty tree trunk took the brunt of the brunt ...
At night, on a fragile Po-2, together with the pilot, Senior Lieutenant Pavel Kashuba, they took off and headed for Moscow. But after two hours of flight, the engine died out and they, as the father said, flopped to the ground. It happened in the village of Ivankovo, in 100 kilometers from Moscow. The fall turned out to be extremely successful - both survived and were soon taken to Moscow. By the way, Kashuba was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union for the salvation of the commander of the Bryansk Front.
This is what preceded that meeting with the Supreme Commander.
- There were others ...
- Of course, my father often had to visit both the Kremlin and the Headquarters, to report to the Supreme on the state of affairs in the front sectors.
But you, apparently, are asking about informal meetings? Yes they were. One of them occurred during Stalin's trip to the army in the summer of 1943. He first visited the command of the Western Front, and then went by train to Kalininsky to General Eremenko. The meeting lasted for three hours, they talked about many things. It seemed to my father: Comrade Stalin even apologized for Stalingrad, which did not give an opportunity to finish the battle victoriously. Joseph Vissarionovich said that he shouldn’t be offended, everyone already knows that his father played a major role there, and it’s not very important who finishes Paulus. But this was not an excuse. Words meant completely different. Stalin made it clear to his father that he was protecting him with this suspension. Probably, something very important was also said for understanding the essence of what is happening. “This meeting with Stalin remained in my memory as a vivid, indelible impression,” the father wrote in his diary. Later he called Stalin the Great.
They discussed personnel issues, a detailed plan for the Dukhovshchino-Smolensk operation, and Stalin called Moscow and gave instructions on rendering assistance to the Kalinin front in the upcoming offensive. Good news came: our troops took the Eagle and Belgorod! Stalin expressed the idea of this victory noted artillery fireworks and asked the opinion of his father. Pope warmly supported the proposal, so that in the birth of the famous tradition is its contribution. After the meeting, the Supreme invited the father to his car. Not every military leader, Stalin tasted dinner in a comfortable atmosphere, but here he joked a lot, let him inform the troops about his arrival. At parting, he presented two bottles of Tsinandali.
- Riddle: on the one hand, the Supreme highly valued General Eremenko. The same trip to the hospital is the only visit by Stalin to a wounded warlord. And let's remember that this happened on October 15 on 1941 of the year, on the most difficult day for the defense of Moscow, at that moment there were many other important matters. Eremenko speaks eloquently about the fact that during the war years Stalin appointed him to command a total of ten fronts ... But at the same time, he did not let Paul squeeze and enjoy the results of the Stalingrad "boiler". Andrei Ivanovich was circumvented by the Order of Victory, received a Marshal's title only in 1955 year ...
- I was always worried: why some - ceremonial generals, received orders, stars, glory, and others - military leaders, war workers who really made the victory, turned out to be overboard. Why was papa not a person "close to the emperor"? Years passed, and as I, fulfilling the spiritual precepts of my father, became acquainted with his literary heritage (read all his books, articles, diaries, letters, etc.), I spoke with many people - veterans, historians, journalists, representatives of science, wives and widows of military leaders, came to the conclusion: General Eremenko played a war in the war, I think, a key role, therefore he was immediately rejected by envious.
He thought about what and how to do, and not where the wind is blowing, he was not a courtier, like some others. Could loudly and publicly say what he thinks of a man, criticize. No one was allowed to intervene through the head in the affairs of their fronts. Therefore, many were not pleased by any actions or assessments. According to the majority of thoughtful researchers, as well as the mother, starting from Stalingrad, the former is always near on all fronts, General Eremenko provided a break in the main battle of the Great Patriotic War.
Dad was needed as a war worker — an intelligent, deeply penetrating professional who can be trusted. And Stalin, I believe, was well aware that it was dangerous for him to single out his father with awards first of all for Eremenko himself. Dislike could turn into hatred, but the war was not over.
- Let's turn to some details: General Eremenko, for example, is criticized that, he says, he promised Stalin “to catch the scoundrel Guderian,” and he himself almost fell into captivity.
- In 1941, when these words were spoken, Guderian literally terrorized our army, a certain aura of invincibility formed around this major theorist and the practice of using tanks. And the father said out loud what all the commanders of the Red Army dreamed of - to curb this scoundrel. Unfortunately, in 1941, it was not possible to do this for a number of reasons. But by and large, Guderian got his. 10 May 1945-he was captured by American troops, was put in jail and only in 1948-m was he released. Only the intercession of our allies saved him from the trial at the Nuremberg trial (he acted as a witness there).
- One commander reproaches your father that at Stalingrad he reluctantly shipped to the right bank of the Volga - where the battles were fought. Say, preferred to stay in the rear ...
- This is a falsification. He and Nikita Khrushchev, a member of the military council of the front, could go to the right bank only by order of Stalin (the Germans continued to hunt for Yeremenko). In addition, because of constant overloads, the wounds on the leg were inflamed, they were terribly sick, and without a stick my father could not take a step. Despite this, he was transported to the right bank on armored boats, which easily penetrated through any bullet, in lead rain, had difficulty moving several kilometers along the embankment rafted by craters, met with the commanders, the division commanders who defended Stalingrad, tuned for confidence in victory not only with words but also in deed - the powerful support of the front artillery fists he created from the opposite shore.
After the death of Stalin, Field Marshal Paulus, who had been in captivity for ten years, appealed to our authorities to organize his meeting with the former commander of the Stalingrad front, General Eremenko. It took place in the summer of 1953, at a dacha outside Moscow (the village of Lakes). For three hours they talked in private. Saying goodbye, Paulus said that he understood why it was just such a Soviet commander and such a man who defeated him, and now he is not ashamed of defeat.
By the way, my father has a “reward” for this battle, which no one else has: some of Paulus’s personal belongings, which were handed over by the commander of the 64 army, General Mikhail Shumilov, namely: a pistol, a camera and an accordion to Field Marshal General. Subsequently, my mother handed the gun to the Central Museum of the Armed Forces, and the camera and accordion were in that room. Would you like to see?
- Vladimir Galayko