R. Ya. Malinovsky during the Battle of Stalingrad
Article “The most famous Russian“ graduates ”of the French Foreign Legion. Zinovy Peshkov » we talked about the fate of the godfather A. M. Gorky, whose bright and eventful life Louis Aragon called "one of the strangest biographies of this meaningless world." Now let’s talk to Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky, who, having returned home after serving in France, became a marshal, twice Hero of the Soviet Union and Minister of Defense of the USSR.
Rodion Malinovsky at the First World War
Rodion Malinovsky was an illegitimate child born in Odessa on November 22, 1898. Malinovsky himself always wrote in the questionnaire: "I don’t know my father." We believe our hero and will not waste time on all kinds of gossip about the circumstances of his birth.
Monument to R. Ya. Malinovsky in Odessa
In 1914, a 16-year-old teenager fled to the front and, attributing himself to the extra years, ensured that the carrier introduced the cartridges into the machine gun team of the 256th Elisavetgrad Infantry Regiment, and then became the gunner’s gunner and machine gun commander.
R. Malinovsky in his youth
It should be said that machine guns were considered at that time practically a superweapon, machine gun teams were on a special account, and the position of machine gun commander was quite prestigious. And no one was surprised by the lines of the famous poem by Joseph Bellock (which is often attributed to Kipling):
“There is a clear answer to every question:
We have a "maxim", they do not have it. "
We have a "maxim", they do not have it. "
In March 1915, he received the rank of corporal for repelling a cavalry attack (according to eyewitnesses, he destroyed about 50 enemy soldiers) and the St. George Cross IV degree, in October of the same year he was seriously wounded. After recovery, he came to France as part of the I brigade of the Russian Expeditionary Force.
Combat drill of the 1st Russian brigade, military camp near Maya. October 1916
Recall that during World War I four brigades of the Russian Expeditionary Force fought outside of Russia: the First and Third fought on the Western Front in France, the Second and Fourth - on the Thessaloniki Front.
Russian soldiers in France, 1916. Rodion Malinovsky - in the front row on the left
R. Malinovsky (in a helmet) among the soldiers of the Russian Expeditionary Force
In April 1917, during the Nivelles Offensive in the vicinity of Fort Brimon Malinovsky was seriously injured, after which he almost had his arm amputated and had to be treated for a long time.
Fort Brimont, archive photo
In the September uprising of his brigade at La Curtin camp (mentioned in the article “Russian volunteers of the French Foreign Legion”) he did not participate because he was in the hospital at that time. Faced with the dilemma of joining the Foreign Legion or expulsion to North Africa, he chose the legion. But which one?
From January to November 1918, Rodion Malinovsky fought in the so-called "Russian Legion of Honor", which was part of the famous Moroccan division: he began as commander of a machine gun, rose to the rank of sergeant, and was awarded the French Order of Croix de Ger.
The machine gun team of the Foreign Legion with the machine gun Hotchkiss
The question remains debatable: was the Russian Legion of honor a part of the French foreign legion? Or was it a separate combat formation of the Moroccan division (which included units of the Foreign Legion, Zouaves, Tyiraliers and Sahi)? Different authors answer this question in different ways. Some believe that the Russian legion belonged to the Zuava (!) Regiment of the Moroccan division. That is, formally Rodion Malinovsky for several months was a zuav! But where, then, are the Zouave jackets, bloomers and fez in the photo below?
Russian Legion of Honor in Marseille
The fact is that even in 1915, the form of the zouaves underwent significant changes: they were dressed in uniforms of mustard color or khaki.
But in the Marseille photo of the “Legion of Honor” (look at it again), we see the legionnaires in white caps - on the side of the passing Russian soldiers. Who are they? Maybe commanders?
In general, opinions are different, but it should be borne in mind that after Russia left the war, the Allies did not trust the Russians (to put it mildly), they did not consider them to be full partners and therefore it was not clear who the Legion of Honor could not be an independent unit. Moreover, the French did not call this unit either Russian (or Russian), or the "Legion of Honor." For them, it was the “Legion of Russian Volunteers” (Legion Russe des volontaires): you must admit, “Russian” is one thing, and “Russian volunteers” is another, a huge difference. But still, the Russian “volunteers” were the zouaves or legionnaires?
According to French law, foreign volunteers could not serve in the ordinary parts of the army of this country. After Russia emerged from the war, the soldiers and officers of the brigades of the Russian Expeditionary Force turned into citizens of a neutral foreign state who did not have the right to fight at the front as allies. Therefore, these brigades were disbanded, and their troops, who refused to officially enter the Foreign Legion, were sent to the rear work - despite the fact that they were very needed at the front. The legion of Russian volunteers could not be an exception - this is the military unit of one of the units of the French army. But which one?
The Zouaves at that time were the elite formations of the French army, to serve in their regiments was considered an honor that should still be deserved. And therefore, the “legion of Russian volunteers” could not be Zuavian. Logic pushes us to conclude that this detachment was nevertheless the “national combat unit” of the Foreign Legion - like the Circassian squadrons of the Levant, which were described in the article “Russian volunteers of the French Foreign Legion”.
Russian Legionnaires fought with the Moroccan division in Lorraine, Alsace, Saar, after the conclusion of the Compiegne armistice in November 1918, they became part of the allied occupation forces in the city of Worms (southwest Germany).
In 1919, to return to Russia, Malinovsky entered the service of the Russian sanitary detachment, which he left immediately upon arrival in Vladivostok. In Siberia, he was detained by the "Reds", who, having discovered French orders and papers in a foreign language, almost shot him as a spy. But, fortunately, a native of Odessa was in this detachment. After conducting the "exam", he assured everyone that the detainee was not lying, in front of them - a radical Odessa.
Having reached Omsk, Malinovsky entered the 27th Red Army Division, fought against Kolchak’s troops: at first he commanded a platoon, rose to the rank of battalion commander.
Red Armyman R. Malinovsky in the center, 1922, Transbaikalia
After the end of the Civil War, he studied at the junior command staff school, and then at the Frunze Military Academy. In 1926 he joined the CPSU (b). For some time he was the chief of staff of the cavalry corps commanded by Semyon Tymoshenko, the future marshal.
In the years 1937-1938. under the pseudonym Colonel (Colonel) Malino was in Spain, for the fighting against the Francoists he was awarded two orders - Lenin and the Battle Red Banner, which in those days the Soviet government did not scatter.
R. Malinovsky after returning from Spain
Returning from Spain, Malinovsky taught at the Military Academy for some time.
In June 1940 he was awarded the title of Major General. The outbreak of World War II was met by the commander of the 48th Rifle Corps, which is part of the Odessa Military District.
Rodion Malinovsky during the Great Patriotic War
Already in August 1941, Malinovsky was at the head of the 6th Army, and in December, with the rank of lieutenant general (assigned on November 9), he became commander of the Southern Front. His troops, in collaboration with the Southwestern Front (commanded by F. Kostenko) in the winter of 1942 (January 18-31) carried out the Barvenkovo-Lozovsky offensive operation.
According to the Headquarters, the troops of these fronts were supposed to liberate Kharkov, Donbass and go to the Dnieper near Zaporozhye and Dnepropetrovsk.
The task was extremely ambitious, but the forces to solve all the tasks were clearly insufficient.
The situation was better at the Southwestern Front, whose troops had one and a half superiority over the enemy in manpower and tanks (which, however, is clearly not enough for an offensive). But the artillery guns were three times less. The armies of the Southern Front did not have such an insignificant advantage - in any of the indicators. It was not possible to encircle and destroy the German armies, but they were driven back from Kharkov for 100 km. In addition, quite significant trophies were captured. Among them were 658 guns, 40 tanks and armored vehicles, 843 machine guns, 331 mortars, 6013 vehicles, 573 motorcycles, 23 radio stations, 430 wagons with ammunition and military cargo, 8 trains with various economic assets, 24 military depots. Among the trophies were 2800 horses: yes, contrary to popular belief that World War II was a “war of machines,” the German army then used horses more than during World War I — as a draft force, of course.
Soviet tanks in the liberated city of Izyum, January 1942
A new attack on Kharkov, launched by the forces of the South-Western Front (the Southern Front was to provide the right flank of the advancing troops) on May 18, 1942, as is known, ended in disaster.
The year 1942 turned out to be very difficult for the USSR: there was still a defeat in the Crimea, on the Volkhov front the 2nd Shock Army died, there were no successes in the central direction. In the south, the 4th Panzer Army of Hermann Goth reached Voronezh, on the streets of which a peculiar rehearsal of the Battle of Stalingrad unfolded (and the Soviet troops left the left-bank part of the city). From there, the Germans turned south - to Rostov, which was taken at about 5 a.m. on July 25. And the 6th army of Paulus moved to Stalingrad. On July 28, Stalin signed the famous order No. 227 (“Not a Step Back”).
Rodion Malinovsky in the battle of Stalingrad
After the defeats of spring and summer of 1942, the demoted Malinovsky was at the head of the 66th Army, which in September-October acted against the forces of Paulus north of Stalingrad.
Meanwhile, Stalin, recalling that it was Malinovsky who warned of the threat of encirclement near Rostov (and even withdrew troops from this city without waiting for an official order), in October appointed him deputy commander of the Voronezh Front. Then, Malinovsky was at the head of the 2nd Guards Army, which did not allow the breakthrough of the blockade of the Paulus army surrounded in Stalingrad and played a huge role in the final defeat of this group of German troops.
On December 12, 1942, the army group of Colonel General Goth hit Stalingrad from Kotelnikov. By the 19th, the Germans almost broke through the positions of the Soviet troops - and ran into the 2nd Malinovsky army. Counter-battles continued until December 25 and ended with the departure of the German troops, which suffered heavy losses, to their starting positions. It was then that the Verkhne-Kumsky farm had the events described in the novel “Hot Snow” by Yu. Bondarev.
Shot from the film “Hot Snow” (Mosfilm Film Studio, 1972)
Malinovsky for the leadership of this operation (called Kotelnikovskaya) was awarded the Order of Suvorov I degree.
Way to the West
On February 12, 1943, Rodion Malinovsky, already a colonel general, was again appointed commander of the Southern Front, who launched a series of attacks on the troops of the German Army Group South (his adversary was Field Marshal Manstein) and liberated Rostov-on-Don. In March of that year, Malinovsky was transferred to the South-Western Front (the future 3rd Ukrainian), and in April he received the rank of army general. Subsequently, his troops liberated the Donbass and southern Ukraine.
On October 10-14, 1943, he led the famous night assault on Zaporozhye (in which three armies and two corps took part): the 31 formations of the Soviet Army have since become known as Zaporozhye.
N.V. Ovechkin, Diorama Night assault of Zaporozhye, fragment, 1984
Further, the troops of Malinovsky liberated Odessa and Nikolaev (the beginning of the "Third Stalinist strike", which ended with the liberation of the Crimea). In May 1944, Malinovsky was appointed commander of the 2nd Ukrainian Front, in this position he remained until the end of hostilities in Europe.
Military Council of the 2nd Ukrainian Front. From left to right: Colonel General I. S. Susaykov, Marshal of the Soviet Union R. Ya. Malinovsky, Lieutenant General M. M. Stakhursky. 1944
Seventh Stalin strike
On August 20, 1944, the 2nd Ukrainian Front, commanded by Malinovsky, and the 3rd Ukrainian (commander F. Tolbukhin) launched the Iasi-Chisinau Operation - sometimes called the Seventh Stalinist Blow, as well as the Iasi-Chisinau Cannes.
By August 23, King Mihai I and the most sober-minded politicians in Bucharest had realized the scale of the disaster. The conductor (and the prime minister) Jon Antonescu and the loyal generals were arrested, the new Romanian government announced its withdrawal from the war and demanded that Germany withdraw its troops from the country. The answer came immediately: August 24 German aviation Bucharest attacked, the German army began the occupation of the country.
Having declared war on Germany, the new authorities turned for help to the Soviet Union, which was forced to send to Romania 50 divisions out of 84 participating in the Iasi-Chisinau operation. However, the remaining combat formations were enough to finish off German troops by August 27, who were in the "cauldron" east of the Prut River. Enemy divisions that were west of this river surrendered on the 29th.
Raising the Red Banner over the City Hall in Chisinau, 1944
It should be said that, in spite of the declared "truce" with the USSR, some Romanian divisions continued to fight the Red Army until August 29 and added up weapon simultaneously with the Germans - when they were completely surrounded and the situation became completely hopeless. Subsequently, the 1st and 4th Romanian armies acted as part of the 2nd Ukrainian Malinovsky front, the 3rd Romanian army fought against the Red Army on the side of Germany.
Joint retreat of German and Romanian soldiers to Hungary, August 1944
In total, 208 German and Romanian soldiers and officers were captured. On August 600, Soviet soldiers entered Bucharest.
Soviet troops in Bucharest, 1944
Another important consequence of the Iasi-Chisinau operation was the evacuation of German troops from Bulgaria, it was now practically impossible to supply and support them.
September 10, 1944 Rodion Malinovsky received the title of Marshal of the Soviet Union.
Heavy fighting in Hungary
Now Soviet troops threatened the most faithful ally of Nazi Germany - Hungary, whose troops continued to fight, despite the obvious outcome of this war for everyone, and machine-building plants and oil enterprises of Nagykanizsa worked for the glory of the Reich.
Currently, there is evidence that Hitler in private conversations expressed the view that Hungary is more important to Germany than Berlin, and that this country should be defended to the last possible opportunity. Of particular importance was Budapest, which housed nearly 80% of Hungary's engineering plants.
On August 29, 1944, Hungarian Prime Minister General Lakotos openly declared the need for negotiations with the United States, Great Britain and the USSR, but the country's regent, Admiral Horthy, was guided only by the Western allies, to whom he proposed surrender on the condition that Soviet troops were not allowed to enter Hungary. Having not achieved success, he was forced to start negotiations with Stalin, and on September 15 announced a truce with the USSR.
As a result, under the leadership of “Hitler’s favorite saboteur” Otto Skorzeny, a coup d'etat was organized on October 15 in Budapest (Operation Panzerfaust). His son, Horti Miklos, Jr., was also abducted, and recently the omnipotent dictator of Hungary “exchanged his signature for the life of his son”. The leader of the nationalist “Crossed Arrows” party F. Salashi came to power in the country, who issued an order to mobilize all men aged 12 to 70 years (!) In the army and remained faithful to Germany until March 28, 1945, when he fled to Austria.
In 1944, aristocrat Paul Nagy-Bocha Sharkozy also fled from Hungary, who later entered into a five-year contract with the Legion and served in Algeria - you probably guessed it was the father of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
At the end of December 1944, the Provisional National Government, which had no power, was created in Debrecen, which on January 20, 1945 concluded an armistice agreement with the USSR, and then even “declared war” on Germany. However, in fact, fighting on Hungarian territory continued from the end of September 1944 to April 4, 1945, about six months. Hungary defended 37 of the best German divisions (about 400 thousand people), including 13 tank (up to 50-60 tanks per kilometer). The Germans could not create such an accumulation of armored vehicles in one place during the entire war.
German tank Pz.Kpfw. VI on the street of Budapest, in the background - the Hungarian self-propelled anti-aircraft mount Nimrod. Photo taken in October 1944
And in the advancing Soviet troops there was only one tank army - the 6th Guards. In addition, two Romanian armies (which were part of the Malinovsky front) and one Bulgarian (at Tolbukhin) did not rush into battle.
The battle for Budapest, which began on December 29, 1944 after the Soviet parliamentarians were killed there, was especially fierce. Only on January 18, 1945 was Pest taken, on February 13 - Buda.
The position of the German troops in Budapest, 1945
Soviet gunners firing from the 152-mm howitzer ML-20, Budapest, Kalwaria Square, January 1945
Street fight in Budapest
And after the fall of Budapest, in March, Soviet troops had to repulse the German offensive at Lake Balaton (the last defensive operation of the Soviet troops during the Great Patriotic War).
German Tiger II destroyed by Lake Balaton
In the battle for Budapest alone, the troops of the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian fronts lost 80 thousand soldiers and officers and 2 thousand tanks and self-propelled guns. In total, more than 200 thousand Soviet soldiers died in Hungary.
The last ruler of Nazi Hungary, F. Salashi, among other "feats", managed to give the order to destroy hundreds of thousands of surviving Hungarian Jews and Gypsies. He was hanged in Budapest on March 12, 1946. But the “victim of the Germans” M. Horthy, despite the protests of Yugoslavia, escaped the court and after the war ended he lived freely in Portugal for another 13 years. In 1993, his remains were reburied in a family crypt in the cemetery of the village of Kenderes (east of Budapest). Hungarian Prime Minister J. Antall then called him "a loyal patriot who never imposed his will on the government, did not resort to dictatorial methods."
Liberation of Czechoslovakia and Austria
Already on March 25, the 2nd Ukrainian Malinovsky Front began the Bratislava-Brnovsk operation, which lasted until May 5, during which his troops advanced 200 km, freeing Slovakia. On April 22, a few days before the end of the war, the commander of the 27th Infantry Corps subordinate to Malinovsky was mortally wounded. Major General E. Alyokhin.
After that, the 2nd Ukrainian Front moved to Prague (the troops of the 1st and 4th Ukrainian Fronts also participated in the operation). In these last battles, Soviet troops lost 11 dead, and Czech rebels - 2654.
Soviet tank T-34-85 with Prague insurgents on armor on Wenceslas Square, May 1945
Rodion Malinowski on the stamp of socialist Czechoslovakia
Other units of the 2nd Ukrainian Front from March 16 to April 15, 1945 took part in the Vienna offensive. Breakthrough of the Danube military boats flotilla (part of the 2nd Ukrainian Front) to the Imperial Bridge in the center of Vienna and the landing of troops landing on this bridge (April 11, 1945) impressed even the stiff English. Later, King George VI awarded Rear Fleet Commander Rear Admiral G.N. Kholostyakov the Trafalgar Cross (the first foreigner to receive this award).
Rear Admiral G. Kholostyakov at the Tsemess Bay, photo of 1943
The armored boat of the Danube military flotilla BK-162 "Yeisk patriot" landing, May 1945
This armored boat after decommissioning was discovered in a parking lot in Ryazan, repaired and installed on the Yeisk Spit on May 8, 1975:
The inscription on the plaque reads:
"Guards armored boat" Yeisk patriot ". Built with funds raised by residents of the city and district. The battle path began on 20.XII.1944 in the Red Banner Danube Flotilla. Under the command of the guard Lieutenant Balev B.F. participated in the liberation of years. Budapest, Komarno and ended the fighting in the city of Vienna. "
At the head of the Transbaikal Front
But World War II was still ongoing. In August 1945, the Transbaikal Front under the command of Malinowski passed through the Gobi desert and the Bolshoi Khingan mountain pass, after 5 days advancing 250-400 km into the enemy’s territory and making the position of the Kwantung Army completely hopeless.
Operation against Japan, map
The Transbaikal Front, which included the Soviet-Mongolian horse-mechanized group, began its offensive from the territory of Mongolia in the direction of Mukden and Changchun. The 36th Army advancing on the left flank met the greatest resistance on its way, which from August 9 to 18 attacked the Japanese fortified area near the city of Hailar.
The troops of the 39th army, breaking the Bolshoi Khingan pass, stormed the Halun-Arshansky fortified area (about 40 kilometers along the front and was up to 6 kilometers in depth).
Fighters of the Transbaikal Front pull stuck Studebakers from the mud, August 1945
Tanks of the Transbaikal Front at the Bolshoi Khingan Pass, August 1945
On August 13, formations of this army broke into Central Manchuria.
On August 14, the Emperor of Japan decided to surrender, but the order to end the resistance of the Kwantung Army was not given, and she continued to fight with Soviet troops until August 19. And in Central Manchuria, some parts of the Japanese resisted until the end of August 1945.
Marshals K. A. Meretskov (4th from the right), R. Ya. Malinovsky (3rd from the right), A. M. Vasilevsky (2nd from the right) and the generals accompanying them at the Russian cemetery in Port Arthur
In March 1956, Malinovsky became the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the USSR, from October 25, 1957 until the end of his life, he served as Minister of Defense.
R. Ya. Malinovsky and S. M. Budyonny at the XXI Congress of the CPSU. January 1959
Rodion and Raisa Malinowski
The list of awards of R. Ya. Malinovsky is more than impressive.
In 1958, he was twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, holder of 12 Soviet orders (in addition to the Order of Victory No. 8, awarded on April 26, 1945, he has five Orders of Lenin, three Orders of the Red Banner, two Orders of Suvorov of the 9st degree, the Order of Kutuzov of the XNUMXst degree) and XNUMX medals.
In addition, he had the title of People's Hero of Yugoslavia and was awarded orders (21) and medals (9) of twelve foreign states: France, the USA, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Indonesia, Morocco and Mexico. Among them - the title of the great officer of the Order of the Legion of Honor of France and the Order of the Legion of Honor of the degree of Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
R. Ya. Malinovsky
Awards of Marshal R. Y. Malinovsky, his gymnast and weapons in the Central Museum of the Russian Army
After the death of R. Ya. Malinovsky (March 31, 1967), his ashes were buried near the Kremlin wall.
In the following articles, we continue the story of the French Foreign Legion: talk about it stories from World War I to the present day.