V.M.Tkachev was born on September 25 1885, in the Kuban stanitsa of Kellermesse. A hereditary Cossack, he could, like most of his fellow villagers, become a dashing hare rider. But the thirst for knowledge led him first to the Nizhny Novgorod name of Count Arakcheev Cadet Corps, and then to the Konstantinovsky Artillery School, because it was the artillerymen who were considered the most educated representatives of the officer corps. In 1906, Tkachev began his service in the 2 of the Kuban horse battery. Then he decided to try himself in pedagogy and became a tutor officer in the Odessa Cadet Corps.
In 1911, Vyacheslav Matveevich first saw an airplane flying over the city, and since then he has “fallen ill” for the rest of his life with aviation. He begged the command to allow him to complete a flight training course at the Odessa Aeroclub. Having received the diploma of a civil pilot, on the recommendation of the then “curator” of the Russian aviation of the Grand Duke Alexei Mikhailovich, he entered the Sevastopol military aviation school, which he graduated with honors a year later. In the 1913, V.M. Tkachev serves in Kiev, in the 11, the mth squadron. His colleague and friend was the famous pilot PNNesterov, who first performed the “dead loop” on the plane (later this aerobatic man was named after him), and in August 1914 was the first air ram in the world.
By the beginning of the First World War, he approached Tkachev, appointed commander of the 20 corps air squadron stationed in the city of Lida. The main and in fact the only combat mission of airplanes in those days was intelligence. The commander of the detachment Tkachev not only sent his subordinates on missions, but he himself often made the most risky reconnaissance flights over enemy rears. In one of these long-range raids, he discovered a large gathering of non-friendly troops, but on the way back, a fragment of an anti-aircraft projectile penetrated the oil tank of his aircraft. Oil began to flow, and this threatened to stop the engine, forced landing behind the front line and captivity. However, Tkachev, without being taken aback, managed to reach the tank with his foot, plug the hole with the toe of his boot and bring the airplane into his territory. He was the first among Russian aviators to be awarded an honorary award, the Order of St. George 24, for the valuable risk-taking intelligence and for the courage and resourcefulness of 1914 on November 4.
Tkachev (second from left) among the participants of the Odessa Aviation School, headed by the commander of the military-active military unit, Adjutant General N. P. Zarubaev, and the president of the flying club A. A. Anatra, 1911
V.M.Tkachev in the cockpit of the scout "Moran-parasol", Russian-German front, winter 1914-1915
Esaul Tkachev with the airmen of the 20 corps air squadron in the hangar near the Moran-Parasol
Later Tkachev continued to participate in combat operations, acting skillfully and selflessly, as evidenced by combat reports:
“From 4 to 7 June 1915 of the year, despite the obvious danger to life from the devastating fire of anti-aircraft batteries, V.M. Tkachev repeatedly made his way to the rear of the enemy, collecting important information. Having met in a German airplane armed with a machine gun, he entered into a duel with him and put him to flight. July 4, making aerial reconnaissance in the area of the Lina and Styry rivers, revealed the concentration of a strong German assault force. ”
During the First World War, Tkkachev showed himself as a brave pilot and skillful organizer, a theoretician of the combat use of aviation. Thanks to the combination of these qualities, he became commander of the air battalion, and in August 1916, already in the rank of lieutenant colonel, headed the first Russian combat air group (abbreviated 1-th BAG), consisting of three fighter squadrons. The purpose of the group was to cover ground troops from enemy air raids, to protect their reconnaissance and bomber aircraft from an air enemy, and most importantly - to destroy German-Austrian aircraft in the air.
And this task Tkachev group coped brilliantly. Since September 1916, the Germans had to stop the bombing of Russian troops in the area of Lutsk, where 1-I BAG was based, and our intelligence officers could solve their tasks without hindrance, without interception. In two months, the air group pilots shot down more than a dozen enemy airplanes, and for the rest they reliably “closed” the sky above the front.
At first, the group included not only fighters, which were still lacking, but also double reconnaissance troops armed with machine guns. On one of these machines, the Moran-Parasol, Tkachev, together with Letnab, Lieutenant Chrysoskoleo 14, August 1916, won an aerial victory, shooting down the Austrian Aviatic airplane V.II. The success of the Russian pilots was confirmed by ground troops, who recorded the fall of the enemy aircraft.
V.M.Tkachev in the cockpit of "Newpor" IV with a high-explosive fragmentation bomb suspended under the fuselage
At the beginning of 1917, the thirty-two-year-old Tkachev became an inspector of aviation on the South-Western Front. At the same time, his book “Material on Air Combat Tactics”, the first Russian training manual for the front-line pilot and the commander of the air unit, was published. In this book, the author, based on the successful combat experience of 1 BAG, formulated the basics of the strategy and tactics of fighter aviation, and also described the most important practical techniques of air combat.
The pinnacle of V.Tkkachev’s service career during World War II was the position of Chief of the Field Administration of Aviation and Aeronautics (PUAiV), which he accepted on June 9 1917 of the year. Such a name was borne by the main headquarters of combat aviation, to which all aviation units concentrated on the Russian-German front, from the Black Sea to the Baltic, obeyed. The head of the PUAiV Vyacheslav Matveyevich became still a lieutenant colonel, but already in August he was promoted to the rank of colonel. The position of Tkachev was also another name - the head of aviation of the active army, in abbreviated form - Aviadarm.
In the period when Tkachev headed the Russian front-line aviation, its highest achievements were noted. Within a few months, Russian pilots shot down more enemy aircraft than in the three previous years of the war. Undoubtedly, this is a considerable merit of their commander.
Like most of the officers, Tkachev hostile to the October coup. Yes, this is not surprising, given that the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks led to the disintegration of the army, a catastrophic fall in discipline and a wave of desertion. Cases of open insubordination to orders and even soldiers' reprisals against their officers became commonplace at the front.
At the same time, it should be noted that aviation has been able to maintain combat capability much longer than other combat arms. Even in November, 1917, when infantrymen massively threw trenches and fled to the rear, the airmen continued to fly on missions and even shoot down enemy aircraft. However, general disorganization inevitably affected the air unit. It was painful for Tkachev to see how what he devoted all his strength, knowledge and experience perishes.
The last straw that overtook the colonel's patience was the arrival at his headquarters of a Bolshevik commissar Krylenko of Baltic sailors who was completely unaware of the aviation, to whom Tkachev was to surrender his authority. Vyacheslav Matveyevich filed a letter of resignation from his post, left the Aviation Administration and left for the Kuban, leaving a note containing the following words:
“The capture of the Headquarters by the Bolsheviks put me in a hopeless situation. I had a problem: to submit to Krylenko and thus take part in the state destruction that the invaders carry with them, or to give yourself to the mercy of the victors, expressing their disobedience to them. However, the solution of this issue in the first way could not take place, since, according to the information available to me, I should have been arrested even regardless of whether I obey the impostor Krylenko or not. ... fleet»
The story of how Tkachev made his way “across the bustling Russia” from the former front to the Kuban could have become a plot for an adventure novel. He had to change into a soldier’s uniform, he was arrested twice, but both times he managed to escape. In March, 1918 Tkachev got to Maikop, occupied by the Reds, and there he was arrested for the third time. Vyacheslav Matveyevich spent more than four months in the city prison, until in August he and other prisoners were released from the units of the Volunteer Army of General Denikin that had entered the city.
V.M.Tkachev before the next sortie
Refueling with petrol of the Moran airplane O. On the right wheel is Vyacheslav Tkachev
Immediately after his release, Tkachev joined the white army without hesitation. In the summer of 1918, the first White Guard aviation squads began to form on the territory occupied by volunteers in the south of Russia. One of such detachments - 1-th Kuban led by former aviadarm. At first, the squad had only a few old worn airplanes found in repair shops, but gradually the number of white aircraft grew due to trophies and supplies of aircraft from England.
By May, the 1919-th in 1-m Kuban was already about a dozen combat-ready machines. This month, the detachment was baptized in battle at the village of Velikoknyazheskaya. Pilots under the leadership of Tkachev attacked the red cavalry of Budyonny and Dumenko with bombs and machine-gun fire, sowing panic and chaos in the ranks of the enemy. This allowed the white cavalrymen of General Ulagai to easily break through the front and launch a swift attack on Tsaritsyn. Tkachev, as it happened before, personally took part in the battles. During the attack, he was wounded by a bullet fired from the ground, but managed to return to his airfield and land the car safely. After a short treatment, Vyacheslav Matveyevich returned to service.
In June, the 1919 of the year, the 1 of the Kuban squadron, was transferred under Tsaritsyn to provide air support to the white army during the storming of the city. 30 June, a heavily fortified city, called the “Red Verdun,” was taken. The Reds moved north to Kamyshin. Airplanes bombed and bombarded the retreating enemy, causing him great losses. Subsequently, the 1 th Kuban detachment was replenished with people and aircraft, which made it possible to convert it into an air division. The new aviation unit was still commanded by Vyacheslav Tkachev.
Victory at Tsaritsyn did not become a turning point in the Civil War. In the fall, the Denikin army, which was advancing on Moscow, was defeated by the superior forces of the Reds. White had to move farther south, until in April 1920 of the year they were trapped on the Crimean peninsula.
At that moment, the star of Aviadarm Tkachev rose again in the military sky. General Wrangel, who replaced Denikin, who had resigned, on April 14 appointed him commander-in-chief of all white aviation. At the same time, the 34-year-old pilot was given the rank of Major General.
Aircraft Anatra "Anasal" Kuban Aviation Division, winter 1919-1920's
It happened the very next day after the 12 airplanes under the command of Tkachev scattered the Red division, which was trying to break through Perekop. In Crimea, the organizational and military talent of Tkachev revealed in full. Under his leadership, small White Guard pilots became a formidable force.
Tkachev devoted a lot of time to the combat training of pilots, teaching them the ability to fly in order and to co-operate in a group, precisely following the orders of the commander. For better visibility in the air, commander vehicles received special colored symbols (bright colors of hoods and wide stripes around the fuselages). In addition, each squadron received its own, "elements of rapid identification" in the form of individual coloring of the rudders (multi-colored stripes, black and white squares, etc.).
Tkachev among pilots of the 1 Kuban Cossack squadron organized by him, 1919
Fighter Sopwig "Camel" Kuban Division and the English pilot Samuel Kinkade. fought together with the Kuban on the Volga in 1919 year
Tkachev developed a system of interaction between aviation and ground forces using visual signals; at that time there was no radio communication on airplanes. In particular, the method of signaling pilots from the ground using geometric figures, lined with white panels, well distinguishable from a great height was introduced. For example, the letter "T" laid out near the headquarters of a regiment or division meant that the unit commander required an immediate landing from the pilot to transmit an important message. The shape of the figures changed periodically to prevent Red from misleading the pilots by using false signals or luring them into a trap.
The airmen, in their turn, transmitted reports and orders to the ground using dropped pennants or various combinations of colored signal flares. And when local craftsmen installed radio stations on two airplanes in the Simferopol air park, the efficiency and efficiency of aerial reconnaissance increased even more. It should be noted that such a clear and well-established system of interrelations "between heaven and earth", like the one that Tkachev organized, was not found in other white armies, nor in the Reds.
Light bomber "De Havilland" HE. 9, which was in service with one of the units of the Russian Army Aviation, commanded by V.M. Tkachev
Not less attention was paid to the strengthening of military discipline, noticeably shaken after the heavy defeats of the white army in the winter of 1919-20. Thus, according to the order of the Aviadarm, the aviators, who allowed themselves to appear at the airport drunk, were subjected to severe penalties (up to the point of being demoted to the rank and file and transferred to infantry).
Organizational activities and training for white pilots had to be combined with almost continuous participation in battles. For example, in two days, 7 and 8 of June, they carried out more 150 sorties for reconnaissance and bombardment, supporting the offensive of the white army. Taking into account the fact that under the command of Tkachev there were only 35 airplanes, and some of them were out of order, each crew carried out at least three sorties a day. For these successful actions, Tkachev was one of the first to be awarded the Order of St. Nicholas, established by Wrangel in the 1920 year.
The pilots of the Russian army near the "De Havilland" with the original pattern on the hood, Crimea, 1920 year
By the end of June, the intensity of the fighting has increased even more. The Red cavalry under the command of the gangster Goons broke through the front and rushed to Perekop, threatening to cut off the White Guards who fought in Northern Tavria from the Crimea. The Razor had over ten thousand horsemen supported by artillery and armored vehicles. It seemed that it was impossible to stop them, since the White Guards had no reserves on this sector of the front.
In this situation, Wrangel turned to aviation as his last hope. And the aviators did not disappoint. Early in the morning of June 29 13 De Havilland bombers, led by Tkachev himself, appeared above the red cavalrymen stationed for the night. At the very first bomb bombs horses rushed scattered. Maddened by the rumble, they dumped and trampled the riders, knocked over carts and artillery carts. Freed from the bomb load, the pilots watered the enemy with machine-gun fire.
When the planes flew off to replenish their ammunition, the red commanders somehow managed to gather the surviving soldiers into a marching column, but then a new raid followed, followed by another. Here's how Tkachev himself described in the combat report one of the ground attack:
“Under my leadership, a column of the Corps Corps near the village of Waldheim was attacked. After the bombing, the Reds rushed into the field in panic. The pilots, dropping to 50 meters, completely crushed the Red, who fled east and northeast, with machine-gun fire. The whole field was covered with black spots of dead horses and people. Almost all the wagons and machine-gun carriages they had left were red.
30 Junior Corps ceased to exist as an organized fighting force. Small groups of horsemen, hiding from air strikes, scattered through the villages and farms, completely losing contact with the command. No more than two thousand of them were able to escape and go to their own. The rest either died or surrendered to the soldiers of the Wrangel army who arrived in time for the breakthrough site.
The defeat of the Redneck cavalry was the highest achievement of white aviation for all its history. Even Soviet military science recognized this fact, and by its example, the cadets of the flight schools of the Red Army studied the tactics of aircraft operations against cavalry. In fact, for the first time, the airmen had a decisive influence on the whole course of the war, because if the Goon managed to break through to the practically unprotected Crimea, the Reds would have won in July 1920 of the year.
But thanks to the pilots, Crimea resisted, and the war continued. In early August, the Reds forced the Dnieper in the Kakhovka region and, without losing a single minute, began to build powerful defensive lines on the captured bridgehead. When the whites, pulling up the reserves, tried to counterattack, it was already too late - Kakhovka was covered with a network of trenches and wire obstacles, bristling with artillery batteries and machine-gun nests. The counterattack failed, the White Guards had to retreat with heavy losses.
Wrangel again threw airplanes into battle, but for the first time Tkkachev suffered a failure. Machine guns and small bombs that were in service with white aircraft were powerless against deep trenches, dugouts and well-defended artillery positions. Air raids yielded no results. Then the white pilots began to bomb the crossings along which the Kakhovka grouping was supplied, but in response the Reds began delivering ammunition and reinforcements to the bridgehead at night.
In the meantime, the number of White Guard air forces gradually melted away, and not so much because of the losses, but rather from accidents and breakdowns of extremely worn out continuous combat work of the machines. If by early September Tkachev had about 30 airplanes, then in a month - less than 20. With such forces it was unrealistic to oppose the Red Army, and replenishment was not foreseen, since the Western Allies stopped deliveries in the summer.
Further known: October Reds 28 struck a powerful blow from the Kakhovsky bridgehead in the direction of Perekop. There was nothing to parry him. White had to hastily retreat to the Crimea. At the same time, they destroyed almost all of their airplanes on the front-line airfields, which, because of disrepair, could no longer rise into the air.
On November 11 fell the fortifications of the Turkish rampart, and in the morning of the 15, the last steamer with soldiers of the white army and refugees set off from the Sevastopol wharf.
The civil war ended, and for Vyacheslav Tkachev a long period of life in a foreign land began. He and his associates evacuated first into Galipoli, and then moved to Yugoslavia. There Tkachev, like many other emigrants, could not find work in their specialty. He changed several professions: served as a consultant at the headquarters of the Yugoslav Army, worked in private Danube shipping company, until he finally found his new vocation in pedagogy, becoming the head of extracurricular education of the Russian gymnasium in Belgrade.
A plaque on the house in which the last years of the life of V. M. Tkachev were spent
In the 1933 year V.M. Tkachev, together with engineer N. E. Kadesnikov, founded in the city of Novi Sad a society of “Russian falcons” - a youth military-patriotic organization. The society was engaged in spiritual and physical education of the younger generation, taught to remember and love the abandoned homeland. In the same year Tkachev's book “Memorandum of the Russian Falcon,” addressed to the members of this organization.
When German fascist troops occupied Yugoslavia's 1941 in May, many Russian émigrés, such as atamans Krasnov and Shkuro, began to cooperate with the Nazis. However, Vyacheslav Matveevich flatly refused to wear a German uniform. However, in December of 1944, shortly after the liberation of Belgrade by the Red Army, he was arrested by the SMERSH of the 3 of the Ukrainian Front and deported to the USSR, separating his wife, who remained in Yugoslavia.
As a former White Guard and an implacable enemy of Soviet power, he was sentenced to 10 years of camps. General Tkachev served his sentence “from bell to bell” and was released in 1955. After 35-summer wanderings, he returned to his native Kuban and settled in Krasnodar, settling as a bookbinder at a gang of disabled people.
His wife, who had moved to Paris by that time, wrote him a letter with a proposal to emigrate again, promising to obtain permission to leave through the Soviet embassy. However, Vyacheslav Matveevich answered:
“I was too hard to return home, and I do not want to lose it again”
The last years of his life Tkachev dedicated to perpetuating the memory of battle friends - pilots of the First World War. He managed to write and publish a book “Russian Falcon” about PNNesterov, but the main work of his life - the book “Wings of Russia: memories of the past of the Russian military aviation 1910-1917” did not have time to be published during the life of the author .
V.M.Tkachev died on March 25 1965, and was buried in the Slavic cemetery of Krasnodar. In 1994, a memorial plaque was installed on the house where the life path of the celebrated pilot ended. The commander-in-chief of aviation of Russia General P. Deinekin arrived at its opening, and during the solemn ceremony pilots of the aerobatic team “Russian Knights” flew in the skies over the city in a clear parade.