70 years ago, the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence SMERSH was established. On April 19, 1943, the Secret Administration of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR established the Main Counterintelligence Directorate “SMERSH” (short for “Death to Spies!”) On the basis of the Directorate of Special Departments of the USSR and transferred it to the People’s Commissariat of Defense of the USSR. Its head was Viktor Semenovich Abakumov. SMERSH reported directly to Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Joseph Stalin. Simultaneously with the creation of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence, the Counterintelligence Directorate "SMERSH" of the People's Commissariat of the Naval Forces was established fleet - Chief Lieutenant General P. A. Gladkov, the department was subordinate to the narcotics of the fleet N. G. Kuznetsov and the counterintelligence department of SMERSH of the NKVD, the head was S. P. Yukhimovich, and was subordinate to the narcotics L. P. Beria.
During the years of the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet military intelligence officers managed to virtually completely neutralize or destroy the enemy’s agents. Their work was so effective that the Nazis failed to organize large-scale uprisings or acts of sabotage in the rear of the USSR, as well as to organize large-scale subversive, sabotage and partisan activities in Europe and in Germany itself, when the Soviet army began to liberate European countries. The intelligence services of the Third Reich had to admit their defeat, capitulate or flee to the countries of the Western world, where their experience was in demand to fight the Soviet Union. Many years after the end of the Second World War and the disbandment of SMERSH (1946 year), this word terrified the opponents of the Red Empire.
The military counterintelligence officers risked their lives no less than the soldiers and commanders of the Red Army who were at the front line. Together with them, they engaged in battle with the German troops 22 June 1941. In the event of the death of the unit commander, they replaced them, while continuing to perform their tasks - they fought against desertion, alarmism, saboteurs and enemy agents. The functions of military counterintelligence were defined in Directive 35523 No. 27 of June 1941 of the Year “On the work of the bodies of the 3 NKO Directorate in wartime”. Military counterintelligence conducted operational work in the Red Army, in the rear, among civilians; struggled with desertion (employees of special departments were part of the frontier detachments of the Red Army); worked on the territory occupied by the enemy, in contact with the Intelligence Directorate of the People's Commissariat of Defense.
Military counterintelligence officers were at headquarters, providing secrecy, and on the front lines at command posts. Then they received the right to conduct investigative actions against the military personnel of the Red Army and related civilians who were suspected of anti-Soviet activities. At the same time, the counterintelligence officers should have received approval for arrest of middle command personnel from the Military Councils of armies or fronts, and senior and top command personnel from the people's commissar of defense. Counterintelligence departments of districts, fronts and armies had the task of fighting spies, nationalist and anti-Soviet elements and organizations. Military counterintelligence took control of military communications, the delivery of military equipment, weapons, ammunition.
13 July, 1941, the “Provision on military censorship of military mail correspondence” was introduced. The document identified the structure, rights and obligations of military censorship units, spoke about the method of processing letters, and also gave a list of information that was the basis for the confiscation of items. Departments of military censorship were established at the military-mail sorting points, military-mail bases, offices and stations. Similar departments were formed in the 3 system of the Office of the People's Commissariat of the Navy. In August, 1941 was handed over military censorship to the 2-th special department of the NKVD, while the army, front-line and district special departments continued to carry out operational management.
15 July 1941, the 3 departments were formed at the Headquarters of the Northern, North-Western and South-Western directions. 17 July 1941, according to a decree of the State Defense Committee of the USSR, the organs of the 3 NKO Directorate were transformed into the Special Divisions Directorate (DI) and entered the NKVD. The main task of the Special Divisions was the fight against spies and traitors in the units and formations of the Red Army and the elimination of desertion in the front line. On July 19, Deputy Commissar of Internal Affairs Viktor Abakumov was appointed head of the DOE. His first deputy was the former head of the Central Transport Directorate of the NKVD and 3 of the (secret political) Directorate of the NKGB, Commissioner of the 3 rank Solomon Milshtein. The chiefs of the Special Divisions were appointed: Pavel Kuprin - the Northern Front, Viktor Bochkov - the North-Western Front, the Western Front - Lavrenty Tsanava, the South-Western Front - Anatoly Mikheev, the Southern Front - Nikolay Sazykin, the Reserve Front - Alexander Belianov.
For the fight against spies, saboteurs and deserters, the People's Commissar of the NKVD ordered Lavrenty Beria to form separate infantry battalions under the Special Front Departments, separate infantry companies under the Special Army Departments, and infantry platoons under the Special Divisions and Corps departments. On August 15, 1941, the structure of the central office of the UOO was approved. The structure looked like this: a chief and three deputies; Secretariat; Operational department; Division 1 - the central organs of the Red Army (General Staff, Intelligence Directorate and the military prosecutor's office); 2nd Division - Air Force, 3rd Division - Artillery, tank parts; 4th Division - the main branches of the army; 5th department - sanitary service and quartermasters; 6th Division - NKVD troops; 7th department - operational search, statistical accounting, etc .; 8th Division - Encryption Service. In the future, the structure of DOE continued to change and become more complex.
Military counterintelligence secret decision SNK from 19 April 1943, was transferred to the people's commissariat of defense and the Navy. About her name - “SMERSH” is known история that Joseph Stalin, having familiarized himself with the original version of “Smernesh” (Death to German Spies ”), said:“ Doesn't other intelligence services work against us? ”As a result, the famous name“ SMERSH ”was born. 21 April this name was officially recorded.
The list of tasks solved by military counterintelligence included: 1) combating espionage, terrorist, sabotage and other subversive activities of foreign intelligence services in the Red Army; 2) the fight against anti-Soviet elements in the Red Army; 3) taking intelligence, operational and other measures to make the front impenetrable to enemy elements; 4) fighting betrayal and betrayal in the Red Army; 5) fighting deserters and self-harm at the front; 6) verification of military personnel and other persons who were in captivity and environment; 7) special tasks.
SMERSH had the rights: 1) to conduct undercover, informative work; 2) conduct, in accordance with the procedure established by Soviet law, searches, seizures and arrests of military personnel of the Red Army and associated civilians who were suspected of criminal, anti-Soviet activities; 3) to conduct investigations into the cases of arrested persons, then the cases were transferred in coordination with the prosecutor's office to the judicial authorities or the Special Meeting under the NKVD; 4) apply various special measures that are aimed at identifying the criminal activities of enemy agents and anti-Soviet elements; 5) call without prior approval from the command in cases of operational necessity and for interrogation of the private and commanders of the Red Army.
The structure of the Main Counterintelligence Directorate of SMERSH NGO was as follows: the assistants to the chief (in terms of the number of fronts) with the operational groups assigned to them; eleven core divisions. The first department was responsible for agent-operational work in the central army bodies. The second worked among prisoners of war and was engaged in checking, “filtering” the Red Army men who were in captivity or encirclement. The third department was responsible for the fight against enemy agents, who were thrown into the Soviet rear. The fourth led counterintelligence activities, revealed the channels of penetration of enemy agents. The fifth led the work of the departments of military counterintelligence in the districts. The sixth section was investigative; the seventh is statistics, control, accounting; the eighth is technical. The ninth department was responsible for the immediate operational work - surveillance, searches, detention, etc. The tenth department is special (“C”), the eleventh is a coded connection. The structure of "Smersh" also attended: Human Resources; department of financial and material and economic service of the Department; Secretariat. Counterintelligence departments of fronts, counterespionage departments of districts, armies, corps, divisions, brigades, reserve regiments, garrisons, fortifications and institutions of the Red Army were organized on the ground. From the units of the Red Army, the Smersh Front's management was assigned a battalion, to the Army Division - a company, to the Corps Division, Brigade Division - a platoon.
The military counterintelligence agencies were staffed from the operational staff of the former NOO of the NKVD of the USSR and the special selection of the commanding and political staff of the Red Army. In fact, it was a reorientation of the personnel policy of the leadership to the army. The officers of Smersh were assigned military ranks established in the Red Army, they wore uniform, shoulder straps and other insignia established for the corresponding clans of the Red Army. 29 April 1943, by order of the Commissar of Defense Stalin, officers who had ranks from lieutenant to state security colonel received similar general military ranks. 26 May 1943, by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the rank of lieutenant-general was received by the deputies of the Main Department Nikolai Selivanovsky, Isay Babich, Pavel Meshik. The ranks of major generals were received by the heads of departments and counterintelligence departments of fronts, military districts and armies.
The number of the central office of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence SMERSH (GUMSR SMERSH) was 646 people. The front command, which consisted of more than 5 armies, was assigned to 130 officers, no more than 4 armies - 112, army divisions - 57, military divisions - from 102 to 193. The most numerous was the counterintelligence department of the Moscow Military District. Army units were assigned to the departments and divisions, which were supposed to guard the locations of the military counterintelligence agencies, filtration points, and escorted. For these purposes, the front control had a battalion, an army department - a company, divisions of corps, divisions, brigades - platoons.
At the forefront
The pro-Western and liberal public likes to criticize various pages of the Great Patriotic War. The military counterintelligence was hit. So indicate a weak legal and operational training of counterintelligence, which allegedly led to a huge increase in the number of “innocent victims” of the Stalinist regime. However, such authors forget or consciously close their eyes to the fact that most of the personnel counterintelligence officers who had a lot of experience and graduated from specialized educational institutions before the start of the war simply simply died in the battles in the first months of the Great Patriotic War. As a result, a big hole appeared in the frames. On the other hand, hastily formed new military units, there was an increase in the number of armed forces. Experienced staff was not enough. Mobilized to the army in the state security officers did not have enough to close all the vacancies. Therefore, military counterintelligence began to recruit and those who did not serve in law enforcement and did not have a legal education. Sometimes the course of training for new security officers was only two weeks. Then a short internship on the front line under the supervision of experienced staff and independent work. It was only in 1943 that the situation with staffing was more or less stabilized.
From June 22 to 1941 March 1, military counterintelligence officers lost 1943 people (10337 killed, 3725 missing and 3092 injured) from the period of June 3520. Among the dead was the former head of the 3-th Directorate Anatoly Mikheev. On July 17 he was appointed head of the Special Division of the Southwestern Front. On September 21, while they were leaving the entourage, Mikheyev and a group of counterintelligence and border guards fought the Nazis and died a brave man’s death.
The solution of personnel issues
26 July 1941 at the NKVD High School created training courses for operational staff for Special Departments. They planned to recruit 650 people and teach them for a month. The head of the course was appointed the head of the High School Nikanor Davydov. During the training, the cadets participated in the construction of fortifications and the search for German paratroopers near Moscow. August 11 these courses were transferred to the 3-month training program. In September, 300 graduates were sent to the front. At the end of October, 238 graduates were sent to the Moscow Military District. In December, the NKVD handed over another issue. Then the school was disbanded, then recreated. In March, 1942 created a branch of the Higher School of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs in the capital. There they planned to train 400 people during the 4 month term. In total, during the war, these courses were completed by 2417 people (according to other sources, about 2 thousand), which were sent to the Red Army and the fleet.
Personnel for military counterintelligence were trained not only in the capital, but also in the regions. In the first weeks of the war, departments of military districts based on the inter-kray schools of the NKGB created short-term courses for training the operational staff. In particular, 1 July 1941, on the basis of the Novosibirsk Inter-Regional School, created Short-term courses at the Special Department of the NKVD of the Siberian Military District. They scored 306 people, commanders and political workers of the Red Army. Already at the end of the month there was a release, and scored a new group (500 people). The second group was dominated by young people - 18-20 years. At this time, the period of study was increased to two months. After graduation, all were sent to the front. In September - October, 1941 produced the third set (478 people). In the third group, the majority of the cadets were responsible party workers (workers of district committees and regional committees) and political workers of the Red Army. Since March 1942, the course has increased to three months. The courses taught from 350 to 500 people. During this period, the majority of students were junior commanders of the Red Army, sent from the front by the Departments of Military Counterintelligence.
Another source for replenishing the ranks of military counterintelligence became veterans. In September, the NKVD directive was issued on the 1941 of the year on the procedure for the reinstatement of former employees and sending them to serve in the army. In October, the NKVD directive was issued on 1941 of the year regarding the organization of registration of workers in special departments treated and their further use. Cured and successfully passed the medical commission "special person" sent to the front.
15 June 1943 of the year issued an order of the State Defense Committee signed by Stalin on the organization of schools and courses of the General Directorate of Counterintelligence. We planned to form four schools with a 6-9 monthly course of study, with a total number of students more than 1300 people. Also opened courses with 4-month study in Novosibirsk and Sverdlovsk (for 200 students). In November 1943, the Novosibirsk courses were transformed into the General Administration school with a 6-month and then one-year course of study (for 400 people). Sverdlovsk courses in June 1944 were also converted into a school with a term of 6-9 months and 350 cadets.
During the years of the Great Patriotic War, the military counterintelligence defused more than 30 thousand enemy spies, about 3,5 thousand saboteurs and more than 6 thousand terrorists. “Smersh” adequately fulfilled all the tasks assigned to it by the Motherland.