“There is some inexplicable harmony between the mysterious Russian soul and a tank. The tank is a huge, heavy, inflexible car. It is difficult to stir it up, but when he budged, then scatter. Very reminiscent of the generally recognized characteristics of a Russian person ... ".
13 on April of this year, in the ninety-first year of his life, the creator of the legendary series of tanks T-54, T-55, T-62, missile tank destroyer IT-1, author of the T-72 project, major general Leonid Nikolaevich Kartsev, died. The last tank designer, as his colleagues and co-workers called him, locked a number of great "K" - Koshkin, Kotin and Kucherenko - creators of the legendary T-34. Kartsev’s tanks can rightly be called counterparts of the Kalashnikov in armored vehicles, they are famous for their reliability, unpretentiousness and manufacturability, without at the same time dropping the bar for combat effectiveness.
Before starting a conversation about the fate of Nikolai Leonidovich, it is worth quoting a short excerpt from a published speech by Colonel Gennady Pasternak, who has worked under him for many years. This speech was written on the eve of the ninetieth anniversary of the successor of the traditions of the great and magnificent Soviet-era tank design school: “July 21, 2012, to the former Chief Designer of Uralvagonzavod L.N. Kartsev is ninety years old, but he is still forgotten by our state. ... Did the Chief of the General Staff N. Makarov, who recently received (in March 2012) the high title of Hero of Russia, did more for the army than Leonid Nikolayevich? ... In our country, practically no living tank designers left! This is our история».
It is symbolic, but the majority of well-known domestic designers and gunsmiths come from the Russian hinterland. This tradition was continued by Leonid Nikolayevich, who was born on July 21 of 1922. The family of hereditary Vladimir peasants of the Kartsevs lived in the village of Skomovo in the Gavrilo-Posad district of the Vladimir region. In 1934, his parents moved to the neighboring Ivanovo region, where his father could finally get a job.
Unfortunately, little is known about Leonid Nikolayevich’s childhood and adolescence. However, it is worth noting one curious feature. According to the memoirs of Kartsev himself, he had never heard a single harsh word from his father in his whole life. This is the question of the "old" Russian tradition of swearing. And Leonid Nikolayevich himself throughout his life was distinguished by the fact that his vocabulary completely lacked "profanity" vocabulary. But he rotated in the military-industrial sphere, where even the highest authorities, including curators from the Central Committee, richly mastered their speech in “auxiliary” Russian, especially in communication with subordinates.
For the majority of rural youth, the last seven years was the last educational step. However, the young Kartsev sought knowledge and in 1939-th year he successfully graduated from high school. In the same year, he passed the entrance examinations at the Ivanovo Energy Institute and was enrolled in the first year. In his memoirs, Leonid Nikolayevich somehow briefly (the great designer was not at all vain), wrote that his father was proud that his son would be an engineer, he began to talk quite differently and respectfully with him. Not only the family, but also the fellow villagers were proud of the fact that the peasant lad would become an educated person. The word “educated!” Was then pronounced with an exclamation mark and did not bear the current shade of contempt or derogation.
Unfortunately, Kartsev belonged to the tragic generation of boys and girls, born in the early twentieth century, more than two-thirds burned in the terrible firebox of World War II. In August, 1941, a second-year student, was drafted into the army and sent to serve in an emergency communications regiment stationed in Kazan. Soon, the command of the unit sent Private Kartsev to the third Saratov Tank School, which he graduated with honors in 1942. The young commander was sent to the Gorky plant "Krasnoye Sormovo", which produced thirty-four. But already in 1943, Lieutenant Kartsev fought in the 45-th Guards Tank Brigade of the First Guards Tank Army of General Katukov. Tankist Kartsev took part in the hardest battles of Proskurov-Chernivtsi, Vistula-Oder and Berlin offensive operations. Captain Kartsev passed the war, fortunately, without serious injuries. He fought well, as evidenced by such awards as the Order of the Red Star, the then rare Order of World War I degree, highly valued by all front-line soldiers the medal “For Courage”. But for the further fate of the designer of tanks, a close acquaintance with the models of domestic and foreign armored vehicles, and the experience of its use in the most extreme conditions, became crucial. It can be assumed with a great deal of confidence that it was then that Leonid Nikolayevich literally absorbed with blood the main principle of his design work - a symbiosis of the effective striking power of armored vehicles with the maximum possible protection of "manpower", which was for him not an abstract concept, not a figure in operational tactical plans, but a specific, living person.
In his memoirs, Kartsev will write that in their brigade "techies", no awards above the Order of the "Red Star" were appropriated. And this is even after the hardest, successful operations. But political workers, on the contrary, did not give orders below the "Red Banner". He painfully wrote: “In the autumn of 1945, I accidentally met one of the vice-engineers of our brigade, M. Chugunov, and seeing only commemorative medals on his chest, asked:“ Misha, didn’t you even reward “For Military Merit” ? You went with a brigade from Kiev to Berlin ... ". Seeing in response a guilty, embarrassed smile, I realized that I had allowed involuntary tactlessness ... ”. Even after decades (for the first time, Kartsev's memoirs were published in 2008, in the magazine “Technique and Armament), he reproaches himself for the words that have broken loose.
In the summer of 1945, the technical support company commander Leonid Kartsev demobilized and returned to Moscow. In August, the former front-line soldier, after passing the entrance exams, was immediately taken to the second course of the engineering department of the Military Academy of Armored and Mechanized Forces. I.V. Stalin. In 1949, he brilliantly graduated from the Academy. Among the fifteen graduates, the gold medalist was assigned to Nizhny Tagil to the famous Uralvagonzavod. Such a powerful landing of design engineers was not sent to this enterprise by any chance. At the same time, exactly for a whole year, by the decision of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, tank production in the country was completely stopped. Such an unprecedented decision was caused by a whole wave of complaints, which reached the highest instances, of the design flaws of the T-54 tank, which had just been put into service with the army. One of the main reasons for the multiple flaws in the new tank was the lack of qualified designers and process engineers at Uralvagonzavod. This problem arose when, after the liberation of Kharkov in the 1943 year, the majority of the plant’s specialists. The Comintern evacuated to the Urals at the beginning of the war returned to their homeland. Without that, the small design bureau Uralvagonzavod has been reduced to a minimum. To remedy the situation, a special decree was issued by the USSR Council of Ministers on the direction of the fifteen best graduates of the Academy to the KB Nizhny Tagil plant, which was then led by one of the founders of the thirty-four Alexander Morozov.
Virtually all graduates were front-line soldiers, "techies", in the best sense of the word. The twenty-seven-year-old captain of the reserve, Leonid Nikolaevich Kartsev, was enrolled in the transmission group, led by one of the main creators of the engine part of the T-54 tank, laureate of the Stalin Prize Abram Spaykhler. Three weeks after the start of work, Kartsev submitted a rationalization proposal, which not only greatly simplified the planetary rotation mechanism (PMP) of the tank, but also reduced the number of its parts and assemblies, which reduced the labor intensity of production and reduced production time.
An interesting detail of that time, which Leonid Nikolaevich recalled more than once with a smile. In addition to work on military products, military designers were often entrusted with the development of mechanisms for the very purpose of peace. The young engineer was always amazed at the enthusiasm and speed with which the bureau worked on such projects. A little later, the “secret” of enthusiasm was revealed to him in a conversation by one of the foremen in which the installation of the next “civil” order was successfully completed. He showed Kartsev the equipment assembly flow chart, in which the consumption of pure alcohol in the amount of twenty-five liters for each unit was recorded. There was no technological need to use alcohol, but it served as a premium incentive. Alcohol after this was distributed among the distinguished. Here is a kind of state prize, along with shoes, cameras and radios issued in post-war times.
Still, the main thing in the work of Kartsev was a tank case. Once he, along with another designer, developed a unique scheme that allowed, without changing the design, to increase the volume of the combustion chamber and ensure the combustion of fuel along the entire length of the boiler. Unfortunately, A.A. Morozov not only rejected this idea, but also banned the manufacture of drawings and prototypes. Young and enthusiastic engineers were not afraid of the project. Secretly from all they took the old unwanted drawings and erased everything on them, except for the stamp and the necessary signatures. They put their scheme on these drawings and carried them to the experimental workshop. Made on illegal drawings boiler heater on the tests showed excellent performance. Only after this two “underground workers” went to surrender to Morozov. Having learned what was the matter, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich only smiled and blessed the continuation of the work, but legally. However, an order was soon issued, strictly forbidding the issuance of old drawings. By the way, Morozov encouraged the "illegal" constructors with a money prize, for which both bought their first Zenit cameras in their lives.
From the memories of L.N. Kartseva: “Once the chief tank designers of the country were assembled by Deputy Minister S.N. Makhonin, to work with us again. When we left his office, I.Ya. Trashutin said: “Why does he speak with us in such a tone? We are responsible, serious people. At Ford, every boss carries a memo in his pocket, at the very beginning of which it is written in black and white to ensure that every worker has a good mood ... "I remembered his words and made them law at his work."
The ingenuity, creative approach of the young designer to the matter did not go unpunished. At the end of the year 1951 A.A. Morozov returned to his native Kharkov factory. Instead, the chief designer of "Uralvagonzavod" temporarily appointed A.V. Kolesnikov, who had worked in Kharkiv as deputy to MI before the war. Koshkin. He was also a graduate of the Panzer Academy and was awarded the Stalin Prize. Here are just an order to transfer it from the status of the Acting Director to the status of the approved Chief Designer was not all. This went on for two years. In January, 1953-th Kartsev was unexpectedly called to Moscow to the Main Directorate of Tank-Building of the USSR Ministry of Transport Engineering. Head Glavtanka N.A. Kucherenko, also a graduate of the Panzer Academy, and during the war years, deputy A.A. Morozov, having talked a little with Leonid Nikolayevich about the factory affairs, without explaining anything, announced to the young engineer that now they would go to see Minister Y.Ye. Maksarev. A lot was heard about the Minister Kartsev, because during the war years he was the director of the Ural tank factory in Nizhny Tagil, who organized the T-34 production line. Only at a reception at Maksarev, Leonid Nikolaevich learned about the real purpose of his business trip to Moscow. In that memorable conversation, Kucherenko proposed that Kartsev be appointed first as Deputy Chief Designer, and then, when he gained experience, to make him Chief Designer of the enterprise. The minister did not agree. “In this case, the“ old men ”will die of him. No, we will immediately recommend him to the position of Chief Designer, ”Leonid Nikolaevich described the conversation later.
From the words of Kartsev's colleague, Colonel Gennady Pasternak: “Leonid Nikolayevich understood perfectly well that behind the simple word“ tank ”there is a whole avalanche of military means: these are mobile service workshops, and tank repair shops, and tractor units, and front-line mobile plants. overhaul, and engine overhaul plants. Contrary to the opinion of the leadership, he maintained the evolutionary path of development, while maintaining the combat capability of the troops and the first to realize the challenges of time.
Two or three weeks after returning from Moscow, the plant received an order from the Minister about the appointment of L.N. Kartseva Chief Designer Clapboard. He was then only thirty years old. Inheritance Leonid Nikolaevich received a difficult one. Although there were more than one hundred and twenty employees in the design office, for many of them he was what is called “neither sleep nor spirit”. Someone just played for the factory football team, someone worked in the factory accounting, one lady, listed in the staff and received a salary due to each employee considerable for those times, was the chairman of the factory friendly court (many hardly ever heard of this ugly and the absurd generation of Soviet reality). There was a lack of furniture, premises, the Chief Designer himself was huddled together with his deputies in a room of only ten square meters. The equipment was also outdated, there were no basic things, for example, kulmans. It cannot be said that for Kartsev this was all a surprise.
Unexpectedly, it was he who now had to solve these problems, and, as is customary in our country, “without separation from the main production,” that is, simultaneously with the development and creation of tanks. But A.A. Morozov left the new Chief not only one problem, but also an invaluable gift - talented people. And Kartsev ordered this legacy brilliantly. The first thing Leonid Nikolaevich, despite the desperate resistance, removed from the team of all the "snowdrops". By introducing a new staffing table, he was able to significantly increase the remuneration of his employees. Through the ministry, Leonid Nikolayevich knocked out the newest equipment and fully equipped the design office with them, and a new building for the organization’s personnel and a test shop, built under Morozov, was built at an early pace.
From the memories of L.N. Kartseva: “I did not have special hours or days to receive on personal problems. Anyone could stop by at any time. If I could not fulfill the request, I was not encouraging the person. But if he could do something, he would help. ”
A detailed description of the troubles and problems is well illustrated by the conditions under which Kartsev began to create his tanks. In the 1953 year, Leonid Nikolayevich embarked on the development of a new combat vehicle, in the future known as the T-55 tank. The designer later called the idea of the new model “adventurous”. And this is not in terms of the fictitiousness of some ideas on production, here he just always stood firmly with both feet on the ground, but in the sense that there was no necessary production base and qualified engineering and design personnel, since the backbone of the bureau left the Ural tank. plant together with A.A. Morozov and returned to Kharkov. However, despite these seemingly insurmountable difficulties, the energetic and enthusiastic designer took up the creation of this tank. Having passed a good school in two years, when Kartsev as an ordinary engineer had to participate in the modernization of the T-54, the General Designer already in October of the 1955 year approached the idea of an absolutely new, in the full sense of “his” car. After the necessary approvals and obtaining all the permits, the bureau started the development of the “155 object”, the result of which became the T-55 tank.
The armored car T-55 absorbed everything fundamentally new that was created at that time by the Soviet tank building, including the development of Kartsev himself. The designer approached the creation of the tank, as an integrated and multi-functional combat unit, he managed to create the perfect combination “chassis - power transmission - engine”. This had a tremendous impact on the further development of domestic tank forces. In addition, the T-55 was the first tank in the world created to operate in a nuclear war.
Following the T-55, the Kartsev Design Bureau proposed to the government a plan for an even more advanced tank, the future of the T-62. By November 1958, three prototypes of the “165 object” were manufactured. After the tests and necessary improvements, the “165 object” turned first into the “166 object” and then into the 167. Together, they will be embodied in the summer of the 1961 year in a specific tank "T-62". 62 July 1 th year went into mass production of the T-1962.
When developing new cars, Kartsev closely followed the dictates of the times and threats from possible opponents. His tanks were the first to install night-vision equipment, a two-plane gun stabilizer for firing on the move, equipment to protect against damaging factors in a nuclear war. Leonid Nikolayevich initiated the development of the 115-mm smooth-bore tank gun, as well as the use of a gas turbine engine in the world's first tank (“167T object”) with a propulsion system. Later this direction was developed into the tank T-80. And this is not all that came up, designed and implemented Kartsev.
October 22 1962-th year during the next show on the armored range Khrushchev suddenly said: "The tank must, like a mole, be able to dig in the ground." There was a pause. No one was prepared to respond to the head of state, including R.Ya. Malinovsky and P.A. Rotmistrov. Seeing their confusion, Kartsev stepped forward and said: “Nikita Sergeevich! A tank buried in the ground is no longer a tank, but something else. Tank is offensive weapon, with high requirements for maneuverability ... ".
In 1966, he was awarded the Order of Lenin, and in 1968 he was awarded the last rank: Major General-engineer. In addition to outstanding talent and amazing performance, Leonid Nikolayevich amazed those around him with another of his abilities. The ability to simultaneously work successfully on several complex projects. For example, the incredibly difficult work on the development, testing and introduction into mass production of the T-55 and T-62 did not prevent Kartsev from pursuing the idea of creating a tank destroyer. In 1965, the IT-1 tank destroyer armed with the installation of the Dragon radio-controlled missiles was put into service. The magnificent machine could fire both from a place, and in movement on any district, the active zone of defeat of tanks of the opponent made from three hundred to three thousand meters. Potential opponents in the West have just begun their own development of IT-1 analogues. For the creation of this fundamentally new in operational and tactical terms of weapons, ahead of the world tank building for twenty years, L.N. Kartsev was awarded the USSR State Prize. Unfortunately, this car was soon removed from service, as explained by Leonid Nikolayevich himself, because of the negative attitude towards her by the GBTU and the Main Directorate (Main Armored Directorate and the Main Rocket and Artillery Directorate). IT 1 required the creation of separate, independent units at the level of battalions and regiments, which did not fit into the well-established, more familiar military forms of using armored vehicles. For this, it would be necessary to break the combat regulations, introduce a new regulation of interaction with traditional combat units, retrain the command personnel. For the sake of a quiet life, the military bureaucracy successfully "drowned" the firstborn of the new branch of the world tank construction.
From the memories of L.N. Kartseva: “When discovering the causes of unit and mechanism failures, I often became convinced that they occur due to the designers' inattention to“ abnormal ”situations. This experience taught me to make it so that the design takes into account any situations, especially those that the designers themselves call "fool -king."
By the beginning of the seventies, advanced models of the T-62A and T-62K had arrived in the army. At the same time, Leonid Nikolayevich worked on the main parameters of the future T-72, recognized as the best tank in the world in the second half of the 20th century and launched in our country in the amount of more than thirty thousand units, some of which are still in service in a number of countries . According to the criterion of "cost-effectiveness" this tank has no competitors. After passing the factory and field tests of samples of the future T-72, at the beginning of 1972 year began military tests. But...
... all this was already happening without Kartsev. The fate of the people, and the designers of weapons in particular, largely depend on the political leadership of the country. At all times and in all modes. In 1964, the year N.S. Khrushchev and LI became the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU. Brezhnev. By the 1968 year, Leonid Ilyich was already well-digged in his place, replacing many of the leaders of the Khrushchev era with his people. Those, in turn, were seated everywhere, where they could reach, the members of personal "teams". The changes affected the Ministry of Defense together with the Ministry of Transport Engineering.
At the beginning of 1968, Kartsev, along with a group of designers working on the “172 object,” was summoned to Moscow. The then chairman of the Scientific and Technical Commission (Scientific-Technological Scientific Standard of the State Technical University) General Radus-Zenkovich led Kartsev to Marshal P.P. Poluboyarov, commander of tank forces. In a conversation with him, Kartsev found out about the true purpose of an urgent business trip. The old director of Uralvagonzavod, who did not get along with the new ministerial leadership, filed a letter of resignation, and Leonid Nikolayevich was asked to express his opinion on several candidates for such a high position. Kartsev, in which the infinitely charming naivety of a peasant lad and who saw only good things in any person, remained in his life, spoke in favor of a certain Krutyakov Ivan Fedorovich, who worked as deputy director of “Wagon” for commercial activities. The new director, having not worked at his post for several months, spoke out against the implementation of the “172 object”, calling it a strategic mistake. Kartsev, naturally, did not agree with him. The conflict became so rampant that the Chief Designer was forced to send a letter to the CPSU Central Committee with a request to release him from his post. In August 1969, Kartsev’s request was granted. The system spat out uncomfortable and naughty detail.
At an organized party, Leonid Nikolayevich said goodbye to his team. Engineers of the design bureau, funny guys, knowing that Kartsev was never a hunter, in addition to other gifts, solemnly handed over to his beloved leader a whole hunting set that included a gun and models of decoy ducks. And the workers of the experienced workshop presented the t-72 model of the future with a talented developer.
Leonid Nikolaevich left Nizhny Tagil forever. In Moscow, he was given the post of deputy chairman of the scientific-tank committee of the GBTU, where he worked for the next ten years. In 1973, he participated in a trip to Egypt, to the Sinai Peninsula. In the new place, restless Kartsev continued the fight for the T-72 and got his way - the tank was put into service in the 1973 year. However, many high-ranking officials from the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Ministry of Defense could not forgive him for this. At fifty-five, in the prime of his life, he was fired from the army and retired. Then, petty revenge had already begun: “in civilian life” he was not allowed to work in the main specialty, “round dates” were not noted at the highest level, although tankers and tank builders insisted on this and deleted “honored” from the lists. For many years, until the early nineties, Leonid Nikolaevich Kartsev worked at the Moscow Research Institute of Engines. 13 April 2013 of the last of the great "K" is gone.
In the 1974 year, for the development of the T-72, a group of people who practically did not participate in its creation, including Krutyakova, whom Leonid Nikolayevich naively helped to sit in the chair of the director of the Ural Tank Plant, received the title of USSR State Prize. And the authors of the unique units and mechanisms of the tank LA Weisburg, Yu.A. Kovaleva, S.P. Petrakova was not on this list. As well as Kartsev himself, who is not mentioned in any official document. Although everyone related to domestic armored vehicles, having heard his name, are pulled to attention, thereby expressing infinite respect. It is worth noting that Krutyakov did not have long to enjoy the awards and power, soon, after numerous failures and a drop in the level of production, he was removed from his post.
Chief Designer Leonid Nikolayevich worked for only sixteen years. During this not so long period, twenty-six samples of armored vehicles were developed under the leadership of Kartsev, ten of which were put into service and put into mass production. A tank "T-55" and "T-62" and a half dozen years were the backbone of the Soviet Army, as well as the armies of the Warsaw Pact and dozens of other foreign countries. These machines proved their excellent fighting qualities in the conditions of deserts and jungles, high in the mountains and in the plain. On the tanks Kartseva said that they are not only in the Antarctic.
Nevertheless, the ingenious designer did not receive any high titles from the government, his awards are modest, as is the character of this amazing man. Promotions in our country very often do not correspond to the perfect deeds. Today you can watch the stars of show business hand over the Order of Merit for the Fatherland. And people, whose deeds in front of the country are truly enormous, state recognition, on the contrary, bypasses. Only thanks to the efforts of former colleagues Kartsev a couple of years ago in the village of Skomovo, Ivanovo region, where the great designer was born, he was erected a monument in his lifetime - the T-62 tank.