Flame-incendiary weapon refers to the conduct of chemical troops. However, one type of it in the years of the Great Patriotic War was used only by infantrymen. These are incendiary bottles.
Cheap and easy to manufacture “glass grenades” first found widespread use against tanks during the Spanish Civil War. The bottles were filled with a gasoline-based mixture and plugged with a cork wrapped in tow, which was set on fire before being thrown at the target. The best option was to hit the engine (engine-transmission) compartment of an armored vehicle on the air intake grill - then burning gasoline penetrated the engine, which led to a fire inside the tank and detonation of the ammunition. In the summer of 1939, Soviet tankers collided with the Japanese "bottle-makers" on Khalkhin Gol, and in the winter of 1939-1940 - with the Finnish on the Karelian Isthmus.
The combat regulations of the infantry of the Red Army 1940 of the year already proposed the creation of groups of tank destroyers with grenades and incendiary bottles to fight against broken tanks in the depths of the defense. This recommendation was very useful at the very beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Marshal I. Kh. Baghramyan recalled the first weeks of the war on the South-Western Front: “There was not enough artillery - we met them (German tanks. - S. F.) with bundles of grenades. Unfortunately, the pomegranate was not always enough. Then they remembered the experience of Spanish Republicans, began to collect bottles, fill them with gasoline ... a simple weapon, but in bold and skillful hands is quite effective. "
The order of the Supreme Command Headquarters from 6 July 1941 of the year demanded: “... in order to intensify the fight against enemy tanks, immediately create in the regiments and battalions of the company and the team for the destruction of enemy tanks. These teams highlight the most courageous, brave and enterprising people. The teams should be armed with anti-tank grenades, bottles with burning liquid, packages with explosives and, in the presence of firing points, with flame-throwers of light tanks. ” And 7 July 1941, the State Defense Committee adopted a decree "On anti-tank incendiary grenades (bottles)", which read:
“1. To oblige the USSR People's Commissariat of Food Industry (t. Zotov) to organize with July 10 Equipment liter bottles of viscous flame thrower mixture (according to the recipe of scientific research institute-6 NCB) in the amount of 120 000 pieces per day, for which you must:
a) Glavneftesbyt (t. Donchenko) to ensure the supply of the USSR's National Commissariat of Food and Petroleum Products for the cracking of gasoline and kerosene by 50 tons of each per day from July 10. g .;
b) Narkomrezinprom (m. Mitrokhin) to ensure the supply of rubber rings to the Narkomishchepromy of the USSR (according to the drawings of the Scientific Research Institute-6 NKB) on 240 000 pcs. per day to July 10 with. g .;
c) USSR Commissariat (t. Saltykov) to ensure the supply of the USSR Commissariat of the USSR ignition devices for 120 000 kits (one grater and two fuses according to the drawings of scientific research institute-6 NKB) per day from July 10. g. "
Beer and vodka bottles with a capacity of 0,5-0,75 or 1 l were filled with flammable mixtures No. 1 and No. 3. For their preparation, they used automobile gasoline, non-aviation kerosene, naphtha, thickened with a special OP-2 powder based on aluminum naphthenate, developed in 1939 by A. P. Ionov in Scientific Research Institute-6 (People's Commissariat of Ammunition). Viscous fire mixtures were intended for jet flamethrowers, but they were also useful for incendiary bottles - when burning they gave the same large flame as uncombusted fuel, they burned for a long time, stably and well adhered to metal surfaces. In this, they were similar to napalm, which appeared in the US 1942 year. The burning time of No. 1 and No. 3 mixtures (usually having a dark brown color) is 40-60 seconds, the temperature developed is 700-800 С, black smoke was formed during combustion, and after burning a hard, opaque film.
3-grade military engineer K. Soldadze, who served in the NKVD Special Motorized Division for Special Purpose, developed a new, viscous BGS mix (according to the initial letters of the mixture components obtained from oil fractions - the benzene head and solvent), which, from 1941, also filled up inject bottles .
The effectiveness of their use depended not only on the content, but also on the type of fuse. Sometimes the bottle was plugged with a cork stopper, before the throw the fighter had to replace it with a rag plug dipped in gasoline, and the last one was set on fire. The operation took a lot of time and made the “glass grenade” less effective and dangerous. Two long matches covered with an incendiary composition along the entire length and secured to the bottle with an elastic band could serve as a fuse. The fighter ignited them before throwing a flop or a regular matchbox.
Since August, 1941, a more reliable chemical fuse has been used by A.T. Kuchina, M.A. Scheglov and P.S. Solodovnik: an ampoule with sulfuric acid, bertolet salt and powdered sugar was attached to the bottle with an elastic band - the development of the Kibalchich chemical “fuse” principle is evident ”, Which was installed on their bombs by the People. The mixture ignited as soon as the ampoule was broken together with the bottle, its action did not depend on the weather, the presence of matches, etc. In order to increase the reliability of ignition when it hit the target, four ampoules were attached to one bottle circumferentially. In Tula, G. A. Korobov developed a simple igniting mechanism based on the idle rifle cartridge and spring loaded drummer with a check: the check was held by a rope wrapped around the bottle when it broke, the drummer pierced the cartridge cap just in time for the incendiary spill. Chemical and pyrotechnic fuses increased the reliability of operation and the safety of handling incendiary bottles, but they still had to be prepared in the trenches immediately before use.
The most effective were “glass grenades” with a self-inflammable liquid KS - the pinnacle of the “evolution” of incendiary bottles. It was a yellow-green or dark brown solution containing carbon disulfide, white phosphorus and sulfur, which had a low melting point (according to the composition had the smell of rotten eggs). The burning time of such a liquid is 2-3 minutes, the temperature is 800-1000о C. The abundant white smoke released during the combustion also produced a blinding effect.
The abbreviation of the COP was also interpreted as the “Koshkinskaya mixture” (by the name of the inventor N. V. Koshkin), and as “Kachurin-Solodovnik” (by the names of other developers of incendiary mixtures). However, the director of the Scientific Research Institute of Fertilizers, Insecticides and Fungicides, S. I. Volkovich, wrote in his memoirs: “The work of Kuzmin and Sergeyev, performed in the first period of the war, who proposed the self-igniting phosphorus-sulfur composition (CS), was of great importance. Mass production of bottles with this composition was first organized at the NIIUIF pilot plant N. N. N. Postnikov, K. I. Makar'in, A. S. Solov'ev, E. E. Zusser, N. D. Talanov ... As a result of deep physical chemical study of the properties of various compositions of the NIUIF staff developed activities that eliminated the danger of breaking glass and metal vessels from the CS (works by V. V. Illarionov, R. E. Remen and the author of these lines), for which they were awarded the Marshal of Artillery "(i.e. Chief of Artillery of the Red Army N. N. Voronov. - S. )..
A mixture of the COP was called and "old brandy", and "insidious mixture", and "cocktail of death." But her most famous nickname is the Molotov cocktail, which subsequently extended to all types of incendiary bottles. To protect the self-igniting liquid from contact with air, a layer of water and kerosene was poured from above, the plug was usually lubricated and fixed with tape or wire. Instead of the usual label, a simple application guide was put on the bottle (however, because of the haste of preparation, there were bottles with preserved Vodka or Port Wine labels). A thin-walled ampoule with a liquid KS could also be used as a fuse for a bottle of gasoline or ligroin.
CHECK ON FRONT
2 August 1941, Commissar of Defense Joseph Stalin approved the Instructions for the use of incendiary bottles. According to her, in the regiments and divisions began the formation and training of tank destroyers with incendiary bottles. The throwing range was set to 30 m, but in reality it was equal to 15-20 m.
The initial distrust of the infantry to the "glass" was soon replaced by surprise: "The tanks are burning bottles!". The commander of the 1 Guards Rifle Division, Major General I. N. Russiyanov, recalled how, after the first battle with the use of “manual glass artillery,” a captured German tank-tanker said: “If I knew that Russians have such powerful incendiary weapons, I would turn back. " When we showed him this "powerful incendiary weapon", he was very surprised. "
But "to undermine" the tank with only bottles was very difficult. From the memoirs of D.F. Medvedev, commissioner of the 2 battalion of the 30 regiment of the 13 th Rostokinsky national militia division, who fought in September 1941 on the Smolensk direction: "... We started to collect bottles of fuel, formed a group of 18 people and I was sent with these people to undermine the tanks. Let's go to the right, to the river, where there was a moat. We were supposed to cross tanks there. We had to light them there. When we crawled to the intersection, the Germans noticed, opened a mad fire on us from the tanks ... We still got into the anti-tank gap. At one of our people a bullet caught a bottle of fuel. He fired up. I had to rip off everything and leave him completely naked. There we stayed until dark. One soldier crawled and threw a bottle. The bottle caught fire, but the tank turned to the wind, set in motion, and the wind blew off the fire. It was not possible to damage the tank. ”
In the fall of 1941, tank destroyer groups began to form in all rifle units of the Red Army. Each group consisted of 9-11 people who had, in addition to the 14-16 small arms, anti-tank grenades and 15-20 incendiary bottles. The latter were used not only in defense. Thus, the instructions for organizing an offensive announced by the 29 troops of the 23 September 1941 army of the year said: “During the attack, the infantry attacks the enemy emplacement points, using as much as possible hand grenades, bottles of combustible mixture, and then goes on bayonets.”
Throwing bottles turned out to be successful from the trenches and crevices - especially into the stern of the tank or assault gun after their passage over the shelter. Getting a bottle in the front of the tank usually only "blinded" the crew. Throws outside the shelters or from shallow trenches led to large losses among the fighters. The bottle accidentally crashed in the hands during careless movement or from a bullet hit immediately ignited.
The best results were given by the use of bottles and grenades, along with other anti-tank weapons. Already in the autumn of 1941, near Moscow, a group of tank destroyers tried to attach 1-2 to the calculation of anti-tank guns. Such measures allowed the small units "during the period of the tank attack not only to cut off enemy infantry, but also to take an active part in the fight against the tanks themselves." “Anti-tank units” were practiced - armored soldiers and shooters with automatic weapons and incendiary bottles were placed near the anti-tank gun.
Directive of General of the Army G.K. Zhukov, Commander of the Western Front, from 19 of October, 1941 ordered “to put anti-tank detachments consisting of 1-2 PTO guns, platoon of fighters with grenades and KS bottles, platoon of sappers with mines, company” on rear borders and rear roads. shooters. " Two days later, the front's military council ordered the formation of “in each rifle regiment one fighter anti-tank unit consisting of one middle commander and 15 fighters, including a squadron unit ... 150 anti-tank grenades, 75 bottles of KS, PPSH-3, anti-tank mines , semi-automatic rifles ... In each rifle division there are two fighter squads ... three army mobile detachments. " At the same time, anti-tank strongholds on advanced and anti-tank areas began to appear in the depths of the defense. The order stated to all army commanders, division commanders and regiments of the Western Front: “Tank destroyers with anti-tank grenades, bundles of ordinary grenades and bottles of flammable liquid are an effective means of close combat against tanks. Tank fighter groups must be trained at each stronghold. "
During the Battle of Stalingrad, each rifle company created 2-3 tank fighter groups, usually as part of the 3-6 Red Army under the command of a sergeant, sometimes with the 1-2 PTR calculations. Each fighter had a rifle, a carbine or a submachine gun, two anti-tank grenades, 2-3 incendiary bottles. Experienced fighters spent an average 2-3 "glass" to defeat one tank. Usually a rifle division maintained a constant supply of incendiary bottles (2000-2500 units per division, no less than 700 — per rifle regiment).
The 1942 infantry combat regulations of the year demanded that each fighter "be able to hit tanks. If tanks are attacked without infantry, it is necessary to hit them with anti-tank grenades, bottles of combustible mixture, fire at observation slots, throw up gangs of grenades and anti-tank mines under the tracks, destroy tankmen with fire ... If tanks are attacked with infantry, they must fight with tanks only specially appointed fighters, and all others are obliged to strike infantry with fire and grenades. ” The tank destroyers used such a method — throwing an anti-tank grenade or bundles of grenades into the tank's chassis, and after stopping it — throwing the bottle to the stern. Thus, for example, 18 July, 1943, near the village of Novaya Zhizn, the corporal of the 3 machine-gun company of the 290 rifle regiment PF Khramtsov set fire to two enemy tanks, and the 4 of the 1944 th regiment of the 2 th regiment of the 50 rifle division R.S. Smishchuk destroyed 6 tanks in a battle near Mount Roglui near Iasi.
The combination of hand-held anti-tank grenades and incendiary bottles lasted until the end of the war. Thus, 17-25 February 1945 of the year, when the enemy’s counter-attack by the enemy’s 7 troops reflected the counter-attack fighters destroyed by incendiary bottles on the bridgehead on the western bank of the river Hron (Czechoslovakia), 40 tanks, 6 armored vehicles, 3 masses, and the masses, 10 tanks, 1945 armored vehicles, 155 masses, and the masses, 57 tanks, XNUMX armored troop-carriers, XNUMX masses, and the masses. In Budapest, only on the day of January XNUMX battles of XNUMX, the assault groups and tank destroyers of the XNUMX Rifle Division used XNUMX incendiary bottles.
The “battle score” of the bottles is impressive: according to official data, during the period of the Great Patriotic War, with their help, the Soviet fighters destroyed 2429 tanks, self-propelled artillery systems and armored vehicles, 1189 pillboxes and bunkers, 2547 other fortifications, 738 vehicles and 65 military warehouses.
HOOPS AND SHOTS
Incendiary bottles were also used to destroy transport vehicles, pillboxes, bunkers, warehouses, airplanes at airfields, manpower, buildings, fire and combined barriers. Already in the defensive battles near Moscow and Leningrad, ramparts and fields appeared. Incendiary bottles were staggered in bottlefields, sometimes in combination with anti-tank mines. The calculation was made on the fact that a tank or an armored vehicle would crush the bottle, burning liquid would be spread along the undercarriage, forcing the crew to stop or turn around in order to bring down the fire and hit a mine.
The order for Western Front troops from 8 December 1941 of the year contains such examples: “The firing shaft put into 3.12.41 at the front of the 5 army burned for 4 hours, the height of the flame reached 2-3 meters, and in places 4-5 meters. Tanks of the enemy were forced to change the combat course and move along the front of defense, substituting the most vulnerable (side) part under fire of PTO, as a result of which artillery and anti-tank guns, bottles and flamethrowers in front of the shaft were destroyed to 20 enemy tanks. Obstacles made from bottles of flammable liquid, stopped the movement of enemy tanks, and some of them in these fields caught fire. Total bottlefields at the front of the 5 army were arranged 15 with a total consumption of bottles up to 70 000 pieces. "
In the middle of the war, the practice of creating “fire mine bombs” was spread - around the anti-tank mine there were about 20 COP bottles radially. The bombing of a mine was accompanied by the formation of a pillar of fire that hit the tank. Another example of the ingenuity of our compatriots was “tank rocking”: curved arches were attached to a frame made from metal pipes and buried in a structure so that when a tank hit, the rocking chair would overturn and threw bottles of CS onto the tank. It was not by chance that in September, in the 1942 Army's defense zone on the west bank of the Terek and the southern bank of the Baksan, in addition to 37 26 anti-tank mines, 250 anti-tank firefighters installed 250 tank tanks.
Throughout the four war years, various methods were developed to increase the range of the incendiary bottle. Already at the beginning of the war, the Red Army soldiers received a rifle mortar for shooting bottles, the creator of which is considered to be V. A. Tsukerman (later a famous physicist, Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of Lenin and State Prizes). Mortirka was attached to the barrel with a bayonent connection. A bottle of KS inserted into it through a wooden wad rested on a perforated membrane, the shot was made by a blank (throwing) cartridge. Shooting was carried out with the emphasis of the butt into the ground. The target shooting range of the bottle was indicated in 80 m, the maximum - 180 m.
Near Moscow, the rifle squad had to have two such mortars, the rifle platoon — 6-8. They were used near Leningrad. Bottles for them were selected with thicker and durable glass and still often fought, shooting accuracy was low, which is why mortars were not popular. At the same time, they were used on the fronts for throwing termite slugs of delayed action or smoke bombs - in the shelling of pillboxes or bunkers.
Bottle wastes were a forced improvised remedy. It is characteristic that in 1941 on the NIABT test site in Kubinka mortars were tested for throwing incendiary bottles to small-caliber rifles and hunting rifles, which then armed the people's militia. Various "mechanical" bottles were also used.
Incendiary bottles were used not only by the Red Army, but also by other armies. During the war years, the US military spent more than 9 million incendiary grenades and bottles. Incendiary means of the British infantry passed their evolution. She also had bottles of gasoline or a more effective phosphorus-containing mixture. The use of incendiary bottles by the Wehrmacht can be judged by the instructions for conducting street fighting given by the commander of the 1 Guards Tank Brigade, Major General M. E. Katukov December 6 1941 of the year: "The enemy ... often skips the forward parts and then fires from the rear according to our troops, dumping bottles of fuel on our tanks. " In the German instructions mentioned bottles filled with gasoline, thickened oil and fitted with a fuse in the form of a wick or matches.
And yet the name “Molotov cocktail” remains common to the incendiary bottles - it is clear that a unique Russian recipe left a strong impression of itself.