Steel souls of Leningrad. Museum "Battle for Leningrad"

In the Leningrad region of Russia in the city of Vsevolozhsk there is a museum called "Battle for Leningrad". This building bears the name of Zinoviy Grigorievich Kolobanov, and time seems to have stopped in it. TO historical artifacts and equipment are treated very reverently here, because combat vehicles were also, in a sense, soldiers of the Second World War. It is about them that we will talk in a small cycle of stories "Steel Souls of Leningrad", created by the authors of the famous game World of Tanks.

The only transport highway that connected the besieged Leningrad with the country was the "Road of Life". Getting close to the city in another way was almost impossible. The military forces of the Red Army, incl. aviation and the fleet were in a tight ring. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and two and a half million civilians were surrounded, and it was the route through Lake Ladoga that was their main hope for survival. And along with it, trucks and wheeled vehicles that delivered flour, cereals, meat, canned food and other types of food to people, thereby saving the population from imminent hunger. During the military blockade, simple vehicles played almost the main role in the support and defense of Leningrad. These were real steel soldiers who, although they did not go on the attack, saved and evacuated people, and, of course, died along with their drivers.

In the collection of the museum. Z.G. Kolobanov, you can see the equipment that regularly crossed the "Road of Life". First of all, this is the GAZ-AA, nicknamed the "one and a half", ZIS-5, and an ambulance bus based on the GAZ-AA. Another prominent representative of that period is a fuel truck that delivered high-octane aviation gasoline to the city. Before being in the museum, he spent decades at the bottom of Lake Ladoga. Even now you can see bullet marks on it, which have become eternal evidence of the courage of the man behind the wheel, who, even under fire, continued to do his job, risking death at any moment.

The stories of the drivers of that time are chilling. The war years led to the fact that heroism and courage became something ordinary, and saving someone else's life, risking your own, was the norm and even a duty. In the chronicles, one can often see water under the wheels of trucks on the Road of Life - in the spring, drivers drove on thin ice, realizing all the danger. With the beginning of the evacuation, buses appeared on the route, which took children out of the city. One of these machines was the ZIS-16, which fell through the ice. The driver managed to save almost all the guys, but in an attempt to pull out the smallest, he drowned with them.

Tractors also crossed the road across Lake Ladoga. Home-made sleds with property, and sometimes people, were attached to them. This is another example of how tracked vehicles involuntarily turned into military ones. The most massive models were "Stalinets" and "STZ", which often, together with their drivers, became fighters in the army. The very technology of tractor production was borrowed from the United States. The same "Stalinets" is a version of the American Caterpillar. Initially, car kits were purchased, and after acquiring a license, they began to be produced in the USSR. Gradually, Soviet engineers finalized the engine block and installed a diesel engine.

The list of tracked vehicles also includes the first Soviet tractor "Kommunar" of the Kharkov Locomotive Plant. It was also once created under license (German), but was later remade and brought to mind. Do not forget about the caterpillar tractor "Comintern". Although he had a military appointment, he passed his ordeals on Arctic expeditions. This machine was created exclusively for the armed forces, and it could well transport, for example, a gun crew and the required ammunition.

The collection of the Museum "Battle for Leningrad" has a tractor in which the things of its driver have been preserved. Apparently, he was a very careful man. Like a diligent owner, all the parts and spare parts were lubricated and laid out in their order. The belongings in the duffel bag were also folded very neatly. It is by such details that one can judge a person who at some point left a working tool and picked up a rifle.

Tractor drivers in the Red Army were valued not only for their willingness to defend their homeland. Principles of tractor control and a tank then they were no different. In those years, the motivation to fight among people was very strong, and the drivers themselves were eager to fight. However, before transferring to armored vehicles, it was necessary to leave someone to replace them. As a result, at some point, girls and teenagers could be observed behind the levers of collective farm tractors, who passed the exam and opened the way to the front for their loved ones.

One of the unusual exhibits of the museum is a field kitchen. What is valuable about her is that she really went through a difficult time. In fact, this is also a soldier who did his duty in the war. When the kitchen was discovered, there were several hundred rubber soles next to it. The searchers unsuccessfully tried to find a burial nearby, but later from the memories it turned out that the fighters had specially torn off their soles, and the shoes themselves were finely chopped, boiled and eaten for a long time. It sounds scary, but war is not only about tanks, guns and high-profile victories.

More stories from the Battle for Leningrad museum, as well as details about tanks and combat vehicles of that time, see the following series.

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1 comment
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  1. 0
    April 4 2022 16: 27
    and what kind of truck is in the first picture: before the war, we did not produce all-metal cabs for trucks ...

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