Moscow residents build barricades on city streets
The Germans tried to do with Moscow what they did in Warsaw, Oslo, Brussels, Rotterdam and Paris (Psychological warfare. How the Germans stormed the "Holland Fortress"; Nightmare of France. Why did the French surrender so easily to Hitler).
In the summer of 1941, the Nazis had vast experience in inciting panic in big cities, in enemy capitals. The Germans tried to repeat the psychotriller in Moscow, to cause panic in the Soviet capital, to break the will of the Soviet military-political leadership. So that Moscow surrenders, like other Western capitals, or that a split occurs in the Soviet elite over the continuation of the war.
However, the Soviet supreme leadership, apparently, having studied the experience of the countries of Western Europe, and knowing what panic the attacks of the Luftwaffe or their threat caused in large cities, took care of protecting the capital. Therefore, Stalin ordered to cover Moscow in the first month of the war. aviation regiments and a large number of air defense systems.
Already in July 1941, the Moscow air defense zone under the command of Mikhail Gromadin included more than 600 fighters, more than 1 anti-aircraft guns and machine guns, 300 radars, more than 8 anti-aircraft searchlights, more than 600 barrage balloons, etc.
The Moscow air defense was based on the principle of a circular echeloned defense with the strengthening of the western and southern directions, as the most dangerous.
Subsequently, on the personal instructions of Stalin, in order to improve the control system of fighter aircraft, the air defense zone was divided into four sectors, according to a compass card. Each zone had its own commander, deputy commander of the 6th Air Defense Fighter Aviation Corps. Observation posts were moved from the city center to 200-250 km, which allowed our fighters to meet enemy aircraft at distant approaches.
On the night of July 22, 1941, the German Air Force tried to arrange an air pogrom of Moscow: 220 bomber rushed to the city. However, the raid was repulsed, like all subsequent ones.
Soviet fighter aircraft MiG-3 over the Moscow Kremlin
Calculation of the quad anti-aircraft installation of Maxim machine guns on the roof of the Moscow hotel. October 1941
In the most terrible days of October-November 1941, when the Nazis launched a decisive assault on Moscow, the Germans again tried to break the will of the Russians to resist. The military pilot Stanislav Gribanov wrote about this in the book "Hostages of Time".
From October 21 to November 20, 1941, in the most difficult days for Moscow, 54 raids were made on the city. The Germans dropped hundreds of high-explosive and 1 incendiary bombs. Since mid-October, the Nazis carried out air attacks not only at night, but also during the day - 900-4 raids per day.
Hitler's pilots tried to bomb the Kremlin, the General Staff and power plants. Two 100-kilogram bombs fell near the headquarters of the Moscow Military District on Osipenko Street. Then the headquarters was still hooked, several officers were shell-shocked by the blast wave, cut by fragments of glass.
At the end of October, the commander of the troops of the Moscow Military District and the Moscow Air Defense Zone reported to A. Shcherbakov in the building of the Central Committee of the Party. During the report, the Germans attacked the building, a massive fire started. Shcherbakov was wounded.
Thus, the Germans tried to inflict pinpoint strikes on the main centers of the capital, if possible, to decapitate the country. Also, the Nazis hit the centers and monuments of culture and art, historical symbols of the Russian people. They tried to break the consciousness and will of our population.
In the bombing of Moscow, a direct hit of a 500-kilogram bomb destroyed the Yevgeny Vakhtangov Theater. The Book Chamber on Tchaikovsky Street burned down, the conservatory was damaged. Three bombs hit the Tretyakov Gallery, bombed the Museum of Fine Arts. Literally by a miracle, they saved the Leo Tolstoy estate museum, which was bombarded with "lighters". A powerful land mine destroyed and damaged almost two dozen buildings on the Ovchinnikovskaya embankment. Another bomb exploded at the Nikitsky Gate, at the monument to Timiryazev. The monument was demolished by a blast wave and smashed (in the morning it was returned to its place). The surrounding buildings were badly damaged.
Also, the "Dynamo", "Hammer and Sickle" factories, the "Parizhskaya Kommuna" factory, the All-Union Construction Exhibition, the publishing houses of the newspapers "Pravda", "Izvestia", the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow State University, etc. were also among the lesions. Bombs fell on the Kremlin, and died about 100 soldiers of the Kremlin garrison.
View of the destroyed building of the Vakhtangov Theater after the raid of German planes on the night of 23-24 July 1941. During the raid, several employees of the theater administration, a firefighter and two artists on duty on the roof were killed.
Defense preparation. Balchug street, Moscow. October 1941
The Soviet press was in no hurry to report this, or did so sparingly. In a big war, this was reasonable.
Photos of victims and destruction, interviews with people distraught with grief, news of "paratroopers and spies" and the like - all this caused a powerful wave of panic and horror in Holland, Belgium and France. Hitler's victims were losing the will to resist, the maddened crowds led to the demoralization of the army. The leaders of the countries-victims of aggression fled or capitulated.
Therefore, the Soviet media were tightly controlled, the reports were short, dry, the press remained calm during the worst moments of the war. The radios were seized, making the country invulnerable to enemy propaganda.
This made it possible to avoid large-scale panic in the fall of 1941. The Nazis could not repeat the psychotriller, create a wave of fear and panic, as in the West.
The Stalinist government noted an important feature of psychological warfare: the disruption of the usual order of things. Most of all people are demoralized by breaking their usual way of life (a good example: 2020–2021 - Operation Pandemic). Paralyzed street traffic, closed bakeries, canteens, shops, hospitals, etc. Therefore, the authorities tried to restore everything as quickly as possible after the bombing.
During the outbreak of panic on October 16, 1941, Stalin, as the People's Commissar of the Aviation Industry Alexei Shakhurin recalled, immediately ordered
“To organize the work of the tram and metro. Open bakeries, shops, canteens, as well as medical institutions with the same composition of doctors who remained in the city. You and Pronin need to speak on the radio today, call for calmness, steadfastness, say that the normal operation of transport, canteens and other consumer services will be ensured. "
Militia girls prepare to leave to defend Moscow
Soldiers of one of the workers' battalions on the Leningradskoye Highway (now Leningradsky Prospekt) in Moscow. In the foreground are the motley armament of the militia: the Lebel rifle model 1886/93, the Polish wz light machine gun. 28, and a German heavy machine gun MG 08. In the background houses 10 and 12 along the Leningradskoe highway. October 1941
A battery of 76,2 mm 3-K anti-aircraft guns in front of the Central Theater of the Red Army in Moscow. October 1941
By mid-October 1941, there was a threat of large-scale panic in the capital.
Stubborn battles were fought on the outskirts of the city. The Nazis rushed forward, captured Tver-Kalinin, Mozhaisk and Maloyaroslavets. Evacuation measures began: factories and equipment were transported further east, important facilities were prepared for destruction.
Kuibyshev (Samara) became a reserve capital, part of the government, the administrative apparatus, foreign diplomats, and prominent artists were evacuated there. Dozens of defense factories were also evacuated there; this city became one of the largest industrial centers in the country.
Chekists and intelligence officers prepared an underground network, saboteurs, caches with weapons, explosives and ammunition. Special charges were placed under the most important buildings.
At this time there were rumors that the front had been broken, Stalin and the government had fled from Moscow. The bosses at some enterprises and officials began to load families and goods into vehicles and left the capital. Black paper ash flew everywhere: important documents were burned. In places, panic and cases of looting began. Stores and warehouses were destroyed. The finest hour has come for the "bottom", a criminal element. Kazansky and Kursky railway stations and the entire area around were packed with frightened people. Thousands of people left and went on foot along the roads to Murom and Vladimir.
True, on October 16, 1941, the authorities woke up.
Stalin ordered the normal operation of enterprises, transport and shops. On the radio, the chairman of the Moscow City Council Vasily Pronin spoke with an explanation of the situation. Reinforced police patrols appeared in the streets. Marauders and bandits were arrested and shot.
The formation of volunteer divisions began in the capital. Tens, hundreds of thousands of residents rose to defend the city. Some went to the divisions of the people's militia, extermination battalions, others dug trenches, erected barricades, others made shells and mines, and the fourth extinguished fires. That is, in general, the people were healthy. As soon as the authorities show a firm will and show strength, the healthy forces of society prevailed.
Units of the NKVD took up defense on the inner defensive lines of the city, helping to restore order. The troops of the NKVD covered the Leningradskoe highway, the cadets of the NKVD schools occupied the area of the Rzhevsky railway station. Parts of the Dzerzhinsky division were stationed at the Dynamo stadium and at the Vagankovsky cemetery. In the area of the Mayakovsky and Pushkin squares, a reserve is located - the Separate motorized rifle brigade for special purposes of the NKVD of the USSR (OMSBON).
Girls-sandwiches of one of the communist workers' battalions that became part of the 1st regiment of the Moscow workers division of the Moscow workers (1st rifle regiment of the 3rd Moscow communist rifle division) (from right to left): Ekaterina Kashirkina, Zinaida Frolkina, Maria Medvedeva, Taisiya (Yuzefa) Ivshina. E. Kashirkina and T. Ivshina went through the entire war. Z. Frolkina died in a bombing raid in December 1941. The platoon commander of the communications company M. Medvedev died in January 1945 in Hungary.
Soviet women at the production of hand grenades RGD-33 in Moscow. In the foreground: the stakhanovites of V. Elizarov (left) and V. Kuvshinov, which fulfill the norms by 130-145 percent
Women in the ranks during military training in Moscow. The girls are armed with Mauser G 98 rifles, apparently captured by the Red Army from Poland.
Construction of barricades on the streets of Moscow
Stalin himself decided to stay in Moscow.
He refused to leave Moscow by plane. In contrast to the Polish and French leaders who fled from their capitals in 1939 and 1940. The Soviet leader understood that if he left Moscow, the morale of the defenders would be undermined and the capital would fall.
When there were rumors that the German Tanks already in Odintsovo, Stalin went to the nearest dacha in Kuntsevo. That is, he would have been in the path of the Germans if they had really broken through to Odintsovo. Stalin ordered to clear the house and light the stove.
There is a historical anecdote that when Zhukov proposed to move the front headquarters from Moscow to Arzamas, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief suggested that Zhukov take shovels and dig his own graves. The headquarters remained in Moscow.
As a result, the iron will and mind of Stalin and his people's commissars defeated Hitler's strategy of psychological warfare. Will conquered "controlled chaos" and terror. The blitzkrieg fell through - Germany was dragged into a protracted war, a war of attrition. The Russians fought - fiercely and to the end. They extinguished the wave of despair and fear with rage in battle and frenzied activity in the rear.
Russia was lucky that in these terrible moments of history a real leader was at the head.
Whatever was in his soul, whatever oppressive thoughts did not enter his head, outwardly Stalin remained calm and unshakable. Without losing his will and clear mind, he made the entire political, party and military elite of the country work.
The Nazis rushed forward, overthrowing and crushing one of our army after another. They blocked Leningrad, which almost fell, took Kiev, broke through to the Crimea and went to storm Moscow. And the Supreme Commander made plans for the development of the military-industrial complex, the fuel and energy complex, and, together with the British, sent troops to Iran to secure the southern border. At the same time, Stalin was negotiating with the Americans on the supply of equipment, who expected the Soviet Union to collapse within a few weeks.
On the eve of the holiday (November 7), on November 6, Stalin's famous speech at the Ploschad Mayakovsky metro station took place, dedicated to the 24th anniversary of the revolution.
Pavel Sudoplatov, the "main militant" of the NKVD, recalled that although Stalin had surrendered, he still radiated calm confidence and power. His speech about the inevitability of victory ended with a long standing ovation. They did not want to let Stalin go, and he could only show the storming meeting for hours. His energy and will allowed Moscow to withstand, as well as the whole country. He was a real people's leader.
Portrait of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin in the Kremlin. July 1941