How Czechoslovakia Penza took
The topic of the Civil War in Russia was also very interesting to me, because it also affected my family to a certain extent: my grandfather was a food squad, signed up for the party in 1918, but his sister was “for the whites”, so I tried to explain my whole vision of this problem ... in the novel! Moreover, the novel is purely historical. This is when the adventures of individual heroes can be invented, but actually historical the outline of their adventures - no. And, by the way, this question - about the boundaries of the admissibility of one’s own opinion in the work of the historian and “not a historian” at the HE has also recently been discussed. So to some extent this novel, and I gave it the name “Pareto Law”, turned out to be something like a textbook on history and cultural studies, although it is full of adventures. It is interesting that in the publishing houses in which I represented him, starting from Rosmen to AST, no one said that he was "bad." On the contrary, it was noted that it is interesting, contains a lot of interesting information, and in some ways even resembles an encyclopedia. But ... "very fat." 800 pages, the first volume - no one is reading it now, especially the youth, and it is precisely it that is its target audience. In another publishing house they criticized that there is little brutality and no sex! Well, and the last time here, most recently, that I’ve been 10 years late with him, that now we have both “white” and “red”, but they don’t buy books. In Germany, however, they didn’t ask me anything like that and just took a novel and from a distance. In three books, six volumes. The first book is Iron Horse, the second is Freedom Volunteers and the third is Provincial PR. In terms of content, this is an anagram of “red devils”, since the characters in the novel are not red, but “white devils”. And taking advantage of the interest of VO readers on the topic of the Czechoslovak rebellion, I would like to give, as a material on this topic, firstly, a description of the rebellion from the novel itself before the Czechs seized Penza, and secondly, to tell just about “how Czechoslovakians took Penza ”, but not with the words of a historian, but with a writer, author of a work of art. That's just to recommend it for purchase, alas, I have no moral right: ordering it is not a problem, but it costs a lot in euros. Not at all our salaries! So, here is what is reported there about the reasons that provoked the rebellion of Czechoslovakians loyal to the Soviet regime:
“There was a very real threat of confrontation between the Soviet authorities and a corps of Czechs and Slovaks who had previously fought against the Austrians and Germans as part of the Russian army. It all started with the fact that during the war between the Entente and the Triple Alliance, many of them became masses to surrender to the Russians. Soon in Russia, the Czechoslovak Legion began to form from these captured Czechs and Slovaks, later growing into a whole corps, by October 9 1917, having about 40 thousands of soldiers and officers. Czechoslovakians considered themselves part of the troops of the Entente and fought against the German and Austrian troops in Ukraine. On the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution, this corps was among the few reliable units and formations that saved the front from final collapse.
Armored car "Grozny", a member of the Penza assault. Fig. A. Shepsa.
The beginning of the revolution caught him near Zhytomyr, from where he moved first to Kiev, and then to Bakhmach. And then ... further, the Bolsheviks signed with Germany their notorious Brest Peace, according to which the presence of the Entente troops on its territory was no longer allowed. In addition to Czechs and Slovaks, these were English and Belgian armored divisions, French aviation detachments and a number of other foreign units, which after that urgently needed to leave Russia.
In the end, the corps command signed with the national commissioner for nationalities I.V. Stalin's agreement, under which the Czechoslovak units were able to leave Russia through Vladivostok, from where it planned to transfer it to France, while the Bolsheviks had to surrender most of their weapons. Disarmament was organized in the city of Penza, where Czechoslovakians were loaded into trains and followed the Trans-Siberian railway eastward. Those who did not want to go to war on the Western Front were immediately registered in Penza in the Czechoslovak regiment of the Red Army. Everything was going according to plan, but at the end of April 1918, the departure of trains with Czechoslovakians at the request of the German side was suspended. At the same time, the "green light" received trains with German and Austrian prisoners of war, who were now urgently transferred from the depths of Russia to the west: the armies fighting against the Entente required replenishment.
And on May 14, former Austro-Hungarian prisoners were seriously injured by a Czech soldier at a station in Chelyabinsk. In response, the Czechoslovakians stopped their train, and then they found and shot the culprit. The local council summoned the corps officers to “clarify the circumstances of the incident,” but when they arrived, they were all suddenly arrested there. Then 17 in May 3 and 6 in Czechoslovak regiments seized Chelyabinsk and liberated their own.
The conflict with the Soviet authorities was initially able to be repaid, but on May 21 the telegram of people's commissar for military affairs, LD D., was intercepted. Trotsky, in which he ordered the immediate disbandment of the Czechoslovak units or turn them into a labor army. Then the corps command decided to go to Vladivostok on their own, without the consent of the Council of People's Commissars. In turn, in response to this 25 of May, Trotsky issued an order: to stop the Czechoslovak echelons by any means, and every Czechoslovakian caught with weapons in the hands on the highway line, immediately shoot. "
Now about the main characters of the novel, acting in the following passage. This is 17-year-old Vladimir Zaslavsky, the son of a naval naval officer who was killed by drunken sailors in Petrograd during a mass beating of officers, and was eager for revenge; 17-year-old Anastasia Snezhko - the daughter of an officer who died in the Mazury marshes, who fled from her family estate to the city, after he was burned by local men; and Boris Ostroumov, a high school student of 16, whose father was taken to the Cheka by denunciations of a cloakroom attendant. Naturally, a love triangle arises between them - how can it be without him ?! But there is no sex! Well, not all, Wednesday was like that! And they get acquainted by chance: Vladimir saves two of them from the Red Guard patrol and hides in the house of his semi-paralyzed grandfather, General Savva Yevgrafovich Zaslavsky, who seems to have good relations with the new government, but in fact runs the White Guard underground in the city of Ensk, where it happens. He prepares children for a fight not for life, but for death, and realizing that they cannot be kept at home, he arms them with machine guns of his own design under the Nagan cartridge. Having learned about the performance of the Czechoslovaks in Penza, he sends them to Penza with important letters, which they must, at any cost, hand over to the corps command personally ... But it is clear that when they get to Penza, young people do not limit themselves to sending letters, but leave to fight the Bolsheviks.
“However, the streets in Penza were not swarming with people. Despite the sunny morning, the city seemed extinct, and some of the counter and passersby looked wary and frightened.
Turning into some spring-like muddy alley leading to the river, they saw an old man standing on the back of his house, taping glass in it with paper and in addition to that, closing them with shutters.
“Why are you doing this, grandfather?” - Boris turned to him, being very curious by nature. - Are you afraid of breaking the glass? So it would be enough for this ...
- How can there be enough staged! - he answered with anger in his voice. “When they start shooting from guns, the shutters will not help here.” Just right you have to run to the cellar to hide. But so, with paper, at least the glass will survive. Glasses know now how much?
“Tell me, grandfather,” Boris continued to ask, since it was obvious that the old man was talkative and could now tell them everything. “Why should you shoot it with guns?” We just arrived, we do not know the situation in the city, but something is not right for you ... No one is on the streets ...
“Of course,” said the old man, dismounting. He was clearly impressed with such respectful attention by these three well-dressed young people, and he immediately hurried to shed on them a balm of his own wisdom and awareness. - The Czechs have revolted, that's what!
- Yes you? - Boris rounded his eyes.
- What will I lie? - offended by the old man. - Truth be told, these are the true holy cross to the church. Yesterday it all started. Three armored cars from Moscow were sent to our Bolsheviks. To gain, means, our Council, and the Czechs took them, and captured! Why, how was it possible not to capture them, when they were so straight to Penza-third station and brought to them, and the whole team was from the Chinese. Well, the Czechs, of course, were frightened at first, and let's fire on them, and those hands lifted and immediately all three armored cars passed to them. Well, and our advisers are ultimatum to them, turn all the armored cars back, and besides, hand over all other weapons, as they should have been. Today, the term is expiring in the morning, but it is unlikely that the Czechs would agree to disarm. Therefore, it means that they will be forced by force to this, from cannons to shoot at them. But only the Czechs have guns, and firing between them straight in the center of the city, and we, the townsfolk, have only one fear, and a complete ruin. Especially if the shell gets into the hut ...
“Let's go soon,” Boris heard Volodya’s voice and, nodding his head to the talkative grandfather, hurried after him and Stasyi.
Having passed quite a bit more, and being near the bridge over the river Sura, they saw Red Army men erecting a fortification out of sandbags in front of him in order to keep him under fire from a machine gun standing right there. Behind the bridge was the island of Sands, and even further could be seen the buildings of the railway station Penza III, where exactly the rebel Czechs were located.
“There’s just no way to go,” said Volodya, peering around the corner of the house.
- Can swim? - Boris offered, but then he himself understood the whole irrelevance of his proposal.
“We’ll have to break through with the fight,” said Volodya, fumbled in a bag and pulled out a Russian bottle grenade. - I will throw, and you, if anything, cover me from your guns, machine guns.
In response, Boris and Stas took weapons at the ready.
- Begin! - followed by a quiet team, and Volodya pulled the ring from the handle, released the safety lever and, counting to himself to three, threw a grenade, aiming at the soldiers fiddling with sacks.
The explosion slammed immediately, as soon as the grenade touched the ground. Over the boys' heads, the windows clinked loudly, the blast wave hit them in the face with dust and rolled down the streets.
- Forward! - shouted Volodya and ran urine to the machine gun, hoping that if someone was in front of him and survived, he would not be able to resist them by surprise. So it happened. Two wounded, one machine gun killed and broken by shrapnel with a shield — that was all that awaited them near the fortification, and the fragments had pierced a lot of sandbags and now he was pouring out of them onto the pavement with cheerful, bright yellow streams.
They immediately picked up a machine gun and quickly drove it across the bridge, and Stasia took two boxes of ribbons and ran after her.
They safely passed the bridge and almost reached the nearest alley leading to the station, as loud cries were heard behind them: “Stop! Stop! ”And at once several Red Army men with rifles at the ready jumped out onto the bridge and rushed after them. Boris, extremely pleased with the opportunity to finally shoot, immediately turned around and gave the pursuers a long line of his machine gun. One of the Red Army soldiers fell, but others, crouching behind the railing, began to fire at the children from rifles.
- Get down! - Volodya shouted to Boris, seeing that he was going to shoot further, and turned his head to Stas. - Ribbon, tape come on!
Then he directed the barrel of the machine gun in the direction of the bridge, pulled the cartridge belt through the receiver, pulled the bolt handle and smoothly, as Savva Evgrafovich taught them, pulled the trigger, trying to drive the barrel without tugging. The line that followed seemed frightening to deafening, but lay down slightly above the target, knocking out only a few chips from the railing.
- Come on below! - Boris Volodya shouted and he lowered the scope and gave one more such turn. Now the splinters flew away from the turned balusters, from which the Red Army soldiers immediately retreated and ran away directly under the shots, not even trying to shoot back.
The guys drove the machine gun further on and suddenly found themselves face to face with two Czechs armed with Manlicher rifles with blades attached to them. One of them, interfering with the Czech and Russian words, asked them about some kilomete, but what they were talking about, they still could not make out. Then Volodya said that they had a letter to their commander and asked them to take him to him.
Page from the Czech magazine about the participation of the armored car "Garford Putilov" Grozny in the storming of Penza.
The soldiers immediately nodded and, picking up the machine gun, quickly headed for the station. They crossed another wooden walkway and were on the right bank of the river, along which here and there the rifle cells opened by the Czechs could be seen. On the cobbled square in front of the one-story railway station building there were two armored cars: one gray, double-headed with the name “Hellish” written in red letters and another, for some reason green, with one tower behind the cabin, but still armed with two machine guns, and the second was located behind armor shield to the left of the driver. The third armored car, huge and also painted green, with a yellow inscription: “Terrible” on the side armor and the base of the rear armored tower, for some reason stood on the train platform at the apron. His casing-reserved gun looked at the city. A small locomotive - a “sheep” was attached to the platform.
The Czechs practically did not use the “Garford” as an armored car, but left it on the platform and turned it into an improvised armored train ...
The guys were immediately led into the building, where a fit and very young officer met them in the station head room.
“Lieutenant Jiri Shvets,” he introduced himself. - And who are you, why and where? - He asked, and in Russian spoke very clean, although with a noticeable accent.
“We have a letter for General Sarov,” said Volodya, stretching himself in front of a Czech officer. - We were sent by General Zaslavsky to Penza and Samara to convey several important letters regarding your speech. We had just arrived and had to defend ourselves against the Reds, who tried to detain us. Two of your soldiers helped us and brought us here. The letter is ...
The lieutenant took Volodya's letter, turned it over in his hands and laid it on the table. - General Sarov is not here. But if you do not mind, then we will give him this letter through our own channels, by our people. You are too far to go. You can consider your task completed.
- But we have a few more letters to Penza and Samara. Therefore, we ask you to allow us to follow with you, because there is no other way to get there now. And before that, allow us to participate in the battle with the Bolsheviks on a par with your soldiers.
- Do you hate them so much that you are ready to go into battle, not paying attention to the flag, that will fly over your head? - asked the lieutenant, carefully looking at all three.
“You also seemed to be going to fight in France,” said Volodya carefully.
- Oh, oh! - Czech laughed, - you have to shoot me on the flight. I hit you like this? in the eyebrow, and you get me in the eye! Of course, of course, soldiers, when they are brave, are always required. But ... you, in my opinion, a girl, - he turned to Stas, - and the girls should not do the work of men.
“If you do not let me in the chain,” Stasia said in an agitated voice, “Let me help your wounded as a nurse.” This is also necessary and also very important. Besides, I can shoot well.
“Yes, I already noticed a carbine hanging behind your shoulders and have no doubt that you know how to use it perfectly,” said the lieutenant and quickly spoke in Czech about two other officers who had listened attentively to their conversation.
“We have three regiments here - the first rifle named after Jan Hus, the fourth rifle of Prokop Naked, the first Hussite and some other batteries of the artillery brigade of Jan ижižka from Trotsnov. Yesterday, May 28, the Bolsheviks presented us with an ultimatum demanding to disarm, but of course we will not listen to them. Most likely, we now have to storm the city, because there are rich warehouses with weapons and, especially with ammunition, in which we have a great need. It is clear that since we don’t know the streets, our fighters will have a hard time, but if there are those of you who could help us by showing the way, it would be very useful. The map is one thing, and on the ground it is quite another.
“I have been to Penza many times,” said Boris. - Almost every summer came here to relatives.
- And I, too, - Stasia nodded her head. - We stayed here at the estate with dad's friends and walked many times in the city park.
“True, I have never been to Penza,” Volodya said, “but I drive a motor, I can shoot a machine gun — in one word, you can use it not only as a conductor.”
“That's just fine,” the lieutenant remarked, “or else our corps is armed with our own weapons and some do not know your weapons as well as they know their own.
“Yes, I noticed that you have all the soldiers with Maliherovka,” Volodya nodded his head.
- This is the result of the policy of your government. After all, when our corps began to be created on Russian soil, many of our men surrendered to you directly with their weapons, plus the numerous trophies of your army. So it turned out that our own weapons was enough for everyone. There were enough cartridges and shells, besides, we could have achieved their completion in battle. But ... the commissioners signed an agreement with the Germans and now everyone is trying to disarm us for the same reason: our weapons are necessary for the Austrian prisoners of war, whom they pledged to return to them from the depths of Siberia. And since we may have to retreat across the whole of Russia with battles, it will be very important to have your weapons and many cartridges at hand so that these damned commissars could not disarm us, and ...
He did not have time to finish, when something deafeningly banged over the very roof of the station, and in the windows wide open the windows rang loudly. It was as if someone had scattered peas on the roof. There were screams in the square. Then Babahnul again and again, but at some distance.
Immediately, several Czechs rushed into the room and, having saluted the officer, began to report one by one. Jiri Švec nodded his head, gave several orders and immediately turned to the guys.
“I am in command here, even though I am a lieutenant,” he said. - So to speak, I enter the role of Napoleon. The sovdep's artillery had just begun shelling our positions with shrapnel on high gaps. Yes, you see it yourself ... So we are now attacking them a little. You, - and he pointed at Boris and Stas, - go with our first and fourth regiments and listen to their commanders. And you, ”he turned to Volodya,“ go out to that “Austin” and take the place of the machine-gunner next to the driver. He knows Russian and he just does not have enough shooter. “Brother, lieutenant,” he turned to another Czech, who was listening attentively to their conversation, “I will ask you to take these young warriors to you.” They know the city and are ready to help us, but ... so that they can do it without special madness, otherwise they have a whole life ahead of them.
Armored car "Hellish", in which Vladimir Zaslavsky is fighting in the novel. Fig. A. Shepsa.
The officer immediately saluted and beckoned the guys behind him, while Volodya ran across the square to get into an armored vehicle. He only had time to wave his hand to Stas and Boris, as the projectile exploded again nearby on the square, and he slipped like a mouse behind her body.
- I'm a machine gunner to you! - He shouted and with all his might pounded the door of a green armored car. She opened and he, without hesitating, climbed into its dimly dark depths that smelled of engine oil and gasoline. “Well, sit down, otherwise we just stand up now,” he heard a voice to his right, immediately began to get comfortable and almost broke his nose on the trigger of the machine gun when they started off.
“Well, my military life began,” he thought with some strange alienation in his soul, as if everything that had happened had nothing to do with him. - If only Stas was not killed or wounded. And Boris ... ”- after which he no longer thought about anything like that, but focused solely on the road, because the view through the embrasure of his machine gun in the direction of movement was simply disgusting.
Then he barely recalled the whole 29 day of May 1918 of the year, which went down in the history of the Civil War in Russia, as the day of the beginning of the “White Czech Rebellion”, but he remembered well the rhythmic hum of the motor of their armored car. Then, looking closer at the twilight, he also saw the Czech driver turn the steering wheel and switch the clutch.
But at the shooter in the tower, he looked back, looked only at his feet, and so it was until the end of the battle, until he leaned into his cabin and tapped his shoulder - they say, he shot well, well done!
Meanwhile, along the road, wooden houses of various sizes quickly slid, only some of which were on a stone foundation, closed benches and shops, with tightly closed windows and doors, bollards for announcements, with torn leaflets of appeals and orders. Then the bullets clicked on the armor of their car, and the figures of the Red Army men — city defenders and yellowish flashes of gunfire — flashed in front of here and there.
He heard a machine gun stitched from the top of the armored tower, and the sleeves flying out of the sleeve hit the armor over his head, and he also began to shoot. Then stone two- and even three-story houses appeared ahead, and he realized that they had finally reached the center of the city.
Then the street along which they were supposed to go, suddenly somehow went very sharply on the rise and was so steep that they immediately stalled the engine and the armored car began to slide down. Volodya even thought that they were about to turn over now. But then the Czech infantrymen grabbed him outside and began to push the car to the mountain. Then, finally, the engine started, and they, watering the street from both machine guns, more or less safely managed to call up. Here the armored car tower got tangled in the telegraph wires hanging between the poles all the way to the ground, but jerking back and forth a couple of times, the driver overcame this barrier and drove into the square in front of the large and high cathedral.
Then the bullets on the armor began to knock so often that Volodya realized that several machine guns were firing at them at once and, noticing one of them on the cathedral bell tower, fired at him until he was silent. In the meantime, the turret gunner was hitting the building of the Bolshevik Soviet, from which they also fired machine guns and which were absolutely necessary to suppress.
The water in both casings was already boiling with might and main, but Volodya did not have time to think about changing it, when loud voices were heard outside, and he saw Czech soldiers waving their arms and shouting “Victory!”. They carried out prisoners of the Red Guard and the “Red Czechs” from the “Czechoslovak Communist Regiment”, numbering about two hundred people, from which someone was caught, and someone threw down their weapons and ran away. The council was crushed and paper flew out of its windows, and the corpses of killed machine-gunners were thrown from the bell tower. Even before noon, the entire city was already in the hands of the Czechs, but the friends managed to meet only towards evening, when the winners finished searching for the Communists and their sympathizers, and all those who could have been were detained and shot.
Volodya saw Stas and Boris, marching along with the soldiers of the Czech regiment, and he immediately relieved from his heart.
- Do you know where we were ?! - Boris immediately shouted from afar, and Stasya quite smiled.
- So where? - not listening to his exclamations and looking only at Stas, asked Volodya. - Come on, the whole fight lay in a ditch, firing in the white light, like a pretty penny ?!
- Well, how are you not ashamed to say that? - offended Boris. “You don't believe me, so ask Stacy.” After all, we, along with the ninth company, went right behind your armored car and saw how you shoot from it, and then your unit went up in Moscow, and we turned around and went to the rear of the Bolsheviks near the city park itself. Exit something out, and there is a machine gun on the mountain - that way! - Well, we lay down, do not raise their heads. And after all, they figured out how we should go upstairs and walk around them. We climb uphill, and it's hot, the sweat is flowing, I feel like drinking - just awful. Well, really, how they got, they gave it in red. Both machine-gunners were shot dead and then went through the park, and then it was all over, and we asked for the “brother commander” to take the letters. And now you have been found.
“Yes, Borik shot very well,” said Stasya. - One of the machine-gunners ran for the cartridges, and he cut it right on the run, so you’re not talking about the ditch and the white light. Boris we have done well!
“You are also a good fellow, cavalry-maid,” said Boris, flattered by her praise. “I took the bag from their assistant and let the wounded bandage along with him one by one, but so cleverly. And when we ran into this machine gun at the mountain, she also shot at him, so well done, not only me.
- Yes, your friends today distinguished themselves! - said Volodya Czech non-commissioned officer, who was next to them. - Boldly went in the front rows, showed us the way and helped to go to the rear of the Bolsheviks. And so from such a gun, which they have, I would not have refused. He looks like he is so-so, and shoots a cleaner of your “Maxim”. I heard about something similar among the Italians. But now I see that you already have it, right?
“Yes, only this is our local, from Ensk,” Volodya smiled back at him and led his friends to his armored car. “I think we’ll all get together with the crew of this armored car.” So it will be safer. It is said after all - “under the formidable armor you don’t know the wound,” so you see, under the armor, indeed, we will be more whole. And, of course, now the most important thing. Congratulations to both of you on your baptism of fire and, as they say, God help us! ”
P.S. This form of presentation, for all its literature, is, however, all based on known facts from the archive of the Prague diffrological society, as well as articles published in the magazines “Tankomaster” and “White Guard”.
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