Military Review

Operation "Bear." As Kostroma security officers for two years led by the nose German intelligence

Operation "Bear" is the most successful operation of Kostroma and Yaroslavl security officers during the Great Patriotic War. For many decades, information about her was classified. Only after 65 years after the start of this operation in the management of the FSB in the Kostroma region, they shared with the "Kostroma People's Newspaper" materials and documents about the amazing events of 1943 of the year. As part of this operation, more than a dozen German agents were arrested, many were seized weapons, a huge amount of misinformation was transferred, and the work of German intelligence in the region was completely paralyzed.

This история begins in 1939, when a 23-year-old teacher of an evening school in the Soligalichsky district, Alexander Vasnetsov (surname has been changed), was drafted into the ranks of the Red Army. In the army, he learned to be a radio operator and received the rank of junior sergeant, hitting the 23rd tank division. On August 9, 1941, in the battles in Ukraine, he was captured by the Germans, the tank in which Alexander was located was knocked out, and everyone who was in it was immediately “knocked out”. So he ended up in German captivity - first in a collection point for Soviet prisoners of war, then in a concentration camp. The conditions of detention in them for Soviet prisoners of war were simply monstrous, while the Nazis were processing captured Red Army soldiers, primarily those who had some kind of military skills and specialties, they were also interested in those who lived in the northeastern territories of Central Russia ...

To the prisoners of war who agreed to cooperate with them, the Hitlerites promised “the golden mountains”, although the latter had enough of the fact that they were better fed and provided a much more free regime of detention. Many prisoners were offered to become saboteurs and spies, sending them to the training for further transfer to the Soviet rear. The ability to handle radio stations, explosives, shooting from various types of weapons, orientation to the terrain - all this was taught to future saboteurs. Preparation was carried out in special schools of the organization "Zeppelin" (Unternehmen Zeppelin). It was in one of the special schools of this organization and the junior sergeant of the Red Army Alexander Vasnetsov.

This organization, which was a reconnaissance and sabotage body of Hitler's Germany, was created in March 1942 in the structure of the VI Administration of the RSHA for work in the Soviet rear. Zeppellin was assigned the tasks of sabotage and terrorist activities, political intelligence and the organization of separatist national movements in the Soviet rear. In the spring of 1942, the organization Zeppelin was created with army groups operating on the Soviet-German front 4 of the zander team, whose functions included: working with Soviet prisoners of war - selecting candidates for future agents, and asking for intelligence gathering about the domestic political situation The Soviet Union; collection of Soviet documents, uniforms and other materials to ensure their agents; sending selected prisoners of war to training camps of the organization, in some cases, on-site training; transfer of trained agents to the Soviet rear through the front line. In the spring of 1943, with the aim of concentrating the forces, instead of four sonder commands, two “main teams” were formed, called Russland Nord (Russia - North) and Russland Süd (Russia - South). Representatives of the Nord team will be led by the nose for two years by the NKVD officers from Soligalich.

Aleksandra Vasnetsov as part of a group of three people (all former Soviet military) were to be thrown into the Yaroslavl region, which at that time included the Soligalichsky district (today Kostroma region). The group received the code name "Bear." In the Soviet rear, the group was supposed to legalize and begin work, informing the Zeppelin organization about people's moods, carrying out sabotage — blowing up bridges and conducting actions of intimidating the population. They were also required to monitor and report on the movement of the Soviet troops, to clarify topographic maps, to involve in cooperation all persons who were dissatisfied with the current Soviet government. Regarding the chances of success for the group, the Germans, most likely, did not flatter themselves - most of these groups failed.

18 March 1943 German aircraft dropped the German reconnaissance and sabotage group Medved in the Soligalichsky district of the Yaroslavl region. The saboteurs had a lot of prepared Soviet documents: military tickets, identification cards, letterheads, stamps, food and clothing, a radio transmitter and about 117 thousand rubles in cash (the list of everything that happened to the saboteurs takes more than a page in small print). The saboteurs' first task was to blow up a bridge over the Chelsma river near the city of Galich.

Almost immediately after landing, the saboteurs buried the weapons and equipment issued to them and skidded over deep snow in 40 kilometers to the city of Soligalich, showing up at the local RSND in all its glory. A few hours later, the security officers had already examined the stocks of the group dropped to them: a double-barreled hunting rifle, 6 revolvers, two hand grenades, bread, chocolate, saccharin, sweets, 200 order of various documents, bundles of money - a rich catch.

Back in the German special school, all the group members agreed among themselves that after landing they would surrender to the Soviet internal affairs agencies, telling them everything. They understood what the attitude towards them might be, but they consciously took risks, counting on leniency in the voluntary surrender and disclosure of all the information known to them. All three members of the "Bear" group were prosecuted, they were interrogated for 8 hours. In the end, after consulting with Moscow colleagues (saboteurs were even taken to Moscow for a while, they were kept in Butyrka), it was decided to use them for a radio game with German intelligence and transmitting disinformation.

Some time after landing, the Zeppelin-Nord management received the first radiogram from the Bear - the landing was successful, the information received was carefully analyzed, it was determined that the radiogram was sent by the group. In the future, messages from the "Bear" began to go regularly. The group reported to the Germans that it allegedly managed to disperse among the various localities of the district, successfully recruiting elements dissatisfied with the Soviet power, and also liaising with local gangs and sabotage groups that were hiding in the woods, recruiting the manager of one of the local forest sites. The incoming information was so diverse and extensive that the Nazis decided to send another group of saboteurs to the aid of the Bear.

Operation "Bear." As Kostroma security officers for two years led by the nose German intelligence

All radiograms, of course, carefully prepared by the NKVD. The Chekists thought through the smallest details, and also conducted interrogations of the detained group members in order to find out the maximum amount of details and all the useful information. At the same time, they transmitted information that was reliable, but did not represent any value and, moreover, was not secret. Accidental fires (for example, a burnt stable) were issued for arson, an accident (an old wooden bridge collapsed) for sabotage that was successfully carried out, and state security officers who died in clashes with bandits and deserters.

In the same 1943 year, all members of the group were sentenced by the military tribune for 5 years of imprisonment, a rather humane punishment by the standards of that period and wartime. To carry out the operations, the participants of the “Medved” were taken out under full control, after which they were again returned under arrest. So they were often taken to the frontline zone to participate in activities aimed at identifying abandoned Abwehr agents. A new group of saboteurs, which was dropped in the Soligalichsky district in the summer of 1943, was arrested as a result of a successful radio game from opponents. At the same time, the SS navigator headed by Russland Nord, Kraus, received completely different information - the meeting with the Medved was successful, both groups were able to set up a core network in the cities and set up a base in the forest. At the same time, the security officers tried to play the game with the enemy with extreme caution, not letting them feel the falsehood and deception. They were also afraid of obsessions. To give more naturalness, the radio sometimes “went out of order”, the group had some unforeseen situations, the connection with it was lost for a while.

The work of the Medved group in the Soviet rear was considered successful, and its activities were reported personally to the SS chief Gimler. In this case, the SS navigator Kraus received from the command awards and congratulations. In Germany, the group and agents had high hopes during the future German offensive, which all was not and was not. In 1944, the German armies were retreating on all fronts. Despite this, by the end of the summer of 1944, Zeppelin-Nord had dropped two more groups of its agents to the rear, all of them immediately fell into the hands of Soviet security officers. At the same time, Kraus still had some doubts, but not with regard to the “Bear” group. It turned out that two agents from the second group dropped, while still in the intelligence school, agreed that they would try to surrender upon landing. As a result, the center “Medvedy” was instructed to eliminate the “traitors”. In response, the Bears radiogram reported on the execution of the order from the center. In early February 1945, the Germans dropped another group to help the Bears. In Berlin, they made a huge stake on the activities of saboteurs, even on the verge of the death of the entire Third Reich. This group due to poor visibility landed on the territory of the Gorky region, the plane lost its course.

Soon, the Nazis were not at all up to the Soviet rear, in March 1945, the Zeppelin-Nord stopped responding to the calls of the Bear. Now it was possible to take stock of a successful operation that lasted for 740 days. During this time, the NKVD alone in the Kostroma region arrested 12 German agents, confiscated a mortar, three machine guns, 30 carbines and machine pistols, 42 pistols, 28 thousands of cartridges, hundreds of mines, 1,5 tons of explosives, and about 1,5 million rubles in cash . German intelligence activities in this region of Russia were completely paralyzed.

After serving a prison sentence, Alexander Vasnetsov lived and worked in a small, quiet forest station located in the Kostroma outback. At the same time, from time to time, the KGB involved him in old work, when it was necessary to uncover enemy agents or confirm the involvement of certain people in cooperation with the Nazis. As noted in the “Kostroma People’s Newspaper”, at the beginning of the 1990s, Alexander and his “colleagues” in the group were rehabilitated on the basis of the decision of the prosecutor’s office.

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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 15 November 2017 07: 22
    Thanks to the author, for the interesting material ...
    1. Mikado
      Mikado 15 November 2017 11: 18
      join the "thank you" hi a very interesting operation was also after the detention of Shilo-Tavrin. Maybe the author will write about it? soldier
      1. parusnik
        parusnik 15 November 2017 12: 08
        A story about Taurine was published in the journal Rural Youth in the early 80s, almost a documentary ...
        1. Mikado
          Mikado 15 November 2017 12: 16
          much has been written. And filmed a lot! But another good article will not hurt. After all, there were nuances - Mama Do not Cry, I'm not talking about the intricacies of the equipment (using the huge Ar-232 "one way" to transport saboteurs and a motorcycle, a "panzer sign" to kill Stalin, a uniform with a Hero Star on a saboteur, etc.) . hi in one documentary they even showed an interview with the employee who took it. EMNIP, just took out a gun and said "You are arrested." There was no resistance.
  2. Serge72
    Serge72 15 November 2017 10: 21
    Well done Kostroma security officers
  3. polpot
    polpot 15 November 2017 12: 27
    Classic funktspiel thanks for the article
  4. A. Privalov
    A. Privalov 15 November 2017 12: 32
    In 60-70-s of the last century, it was very much accepted "in order to educate the younger generation" to talk about smart, kind and brave Soviet counterintelligence, about the cunning but stupid and cowardly German spies. Thousands of books and hundreds of movies appeared on this topic. Yay tales of this kind, I read and watched in huge quantities. So 42 (forty-two!) Got acquainted with this operation a year ago.
    Operation Bear - a collection of essays and stories built on a documentary basis. They tell about the difficult and honorable activities of Yaroslavl security officers from the first years of Soviet power to the present: the fight against counterrevolutionary conspirators and gangsters, the exposure of fascist spies during the Great Patriotic War, the courage of the security officers in partisan detachments, today's work of state security officials to curb insidious acts imperialist intelligence services, their ideological sabotage.

    Apparently, the current younger generation is not very impressed with this kind of products.
    1. parusnik
      parusnik 15 November 2017 13: 33
      Thank you, reminded, I remember a book with such a cover .. But I didn’t read it, there was a third in the queue, but somehow with that boy, we did not dock to go to the library together ... Then I was in my arms .. And so missed ...
    2. ihappy
      ihappy 15 November 2017 22: 34
      I remember reading this book.
      I could not even think that I would read the book in such a gulp.
      Literally in two evenings.
    3. Kim Tsaplin
      Kim Tsaplin 19 November 2017 13: 47
      So after all, the author of this article did not use any other materials except this book! And in it the story, for the sake of secrecy, was presented not quite like that, or even not at all like in reality. The operation itself was called "Foresters", as well as the group of A. Dobretsov (the real name is "Vasnetsov", which was declassified by the KGB major Karamyshev in the Kostroma newspaper "In the Name of the Law" back in 1990. In general, the author took a book that I read in early childhood , and passed off as the latest discoveries on the basis of certain “documents and materials” that they allegedly shared with him in the FSB department in the Kostroma region. But, since the operation was carried out by the Yaroslavl UNKVD (Kostroma was the district center of the Yaroslavl region until August 1944), the main some of the materials are in the archive of the Yaroslavl UFSB, and therefore the heading "How Kostroma For two years the KGB officers drove German intelligence by the nose “looks more than strange. Kostroma KGB officers, of course, also took part in the operation, but exercised direct leadership: the head of the counterintelligence department of the Yaroslavl UNKVD, major of state security A.G. Ilyichev, the head of the KRO department, senior lieutenant of state security V. I. Burakov, deputy head of the KRO branch, senior lieutenant of state security K.M. Derbenev, head of the Soligalichsky District NKVD senior lieutenant of state security S.I. Samoylychev.
      The author of the article is not aware that back in 2000 the colonel of the Yaroslavl UFSB told the collection Faith and Truth, and in 2002 he published the book The Secret War on the Volga (1941-1945), which tells about the fight against German agents in the Upper Volga region (monograph to his candidate dissertation). Then in the press there appeared new details about the operation "Forester", and for the first time its real name was revealed.
      1. A. Privalov
        A. Privalov 19 November 2017 14: 07
        Thanks for the clear and detailed comment.
        1. Kim Tsaplin
          Kim Tsaplin 19 November 2017 14: 19
          There is one more nuance. Dobretsov was not a junior sergeant but ... a junior political instructor and, at the same time, a radio operator gunner. That is, he managed to hide that he was a communist and also a political worker. And no one betrayed. In general, the wrong one was recruited.
          Yes, and the name of the author of the books did not indicate: Colonel Sergei Styazhkin.
          1. Kim Tsaplin
            Kim Tsaplin 19 November 2017 14: 55
            Although, probably, I spoke too sharply about the author. He honestly indicated the links where he got it from. I went down on them, and I see that the author corrected the most obvious errors of the "sources". And that “Zeppelin-Nord” has nothing to do with Abwehr, he knows, and the NKVD-NKGB is different from Smersh.
  5. Homer_J_Simpson
    Homer_J_Simpson 15 November 2017 13: 29
    And what did the Germans forget in Soligalich? Hole hole. And you won’t get a stick to the Yaroslavl railway bridge!
    1. A. Privalov
      A. Privalov 15 November 2017 17: 47
      There was no question of legalization in those parts, there are people with Gulkin's nose, everyone knows each other. Suddenly appearing would be in full view. There is really nothing for saboteurs to do there - neither industry nor military facilities ...
      I searched this river (length 48 km) and the bridge over it:

      Now there is a new, concrete, good bridge.
      1. Kim Tsaplin
        Kim Tsaplin 19 November 2017 14: 08
        According to the assignment, after landing, the paratroopers were supposed to create a base in the village of Maklakovo, where Dobretsov’s father lived (he assured that his father was anti-Soviet), or to hide in the forests, which Dobretsov, a teacher who knew well before the war, knew.
        As I understand it, their task was not so much independent actions as organizational and coordination work, including the reception of new groups and cargoes. According to legend, they attracted 12 locals to their side, created strongholds in the cities of Yaroslavl, Galich, Kostroma and a reliable base in the Chukhloma forests, organized jointly with deserters. Then they began to intensively send goods and reinforcements.
        And, by the way, the time that they spent in the UNKVD internal prison during the operation came in the prison term to which the members of the Lesniki group were sentenced. Thus, Dobretsov was released already in 1948, having served his term as an accountant in Kolyma gold mines.
    2. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 15 November 2017 19: 03
      Quote: Homer_J_Simpson
      And what did the Germans forget in Soligalich? Hole hole. And you won’t get a stick to the Yaroslavl railway bridge!

      So besides Yaroslavl there is Vologda - about 120-130 km. And strategically important railway to Arkhangelsk.
  6. Some kind of compote
    Some kind of compote 15 November 2017 18: 14
    in the management of the FSB in the Kostroma region shared with Kostroma People’s Newspaper materials and documents

    An Amazing Business
    And the article is interesting
  7. 32363
    32363 15 November 2017 22: 03
    unearthed a cache of saboteurs