Almost immediately after the fall of the Third Reich in May 1945, rumors about the secrets of the Nazi regime appeared and gained strength. They talked and talked about secret bases on the shores of Antarctica, about the fugitive Nazi villages in the jungles of South America, about the huge bunkers under the major cities of Germany, where the Werewolf militants have been hiding for years ... Surprisingly, a significant amount of these rumors turn out to be, if not true, then at least with some real foundation. In particular, traces of many secret airfields and submarine bases were and are being found in the most remote corners, where, it would seem, the notorious “echo of war” should not have reached.
In the summer of 1989, debris of the Soviet twin-engined Pe-3 fighter with the remains of a crew were accidentally discovered in the shallowed swamp in the Arkhangelsk Region. Searches of local historians in the archives showed that this plane was piloted by Lieutenant Ustimenko, who, together with the crew of his slave, was considered missing since November 1942. Perhaps this would not be surprising - the downed planes were and will still be found in various places for a long time - if not for one strange circumstance: there were several thousand kilometers to the front line from here, and the pawns were riddled cannon shells with a caliber of at least 30 mm.
And a few years later, east of Arkhangelsk, in the area of the Okulov Lake, local residents stumbled upon a large sandy area covered with densely laid metal plates. The purpose of this structure, which was incomprehensible at first, became apparent when the ruins of wooden structures were found on the edge of this clearing, and there were fragments of a radio transmitter, barrels from aviation gasoline and small things of German soldiers of the Second World War. It was a secret Luftwaffe airfield. It is significant that in the late eighties similar secret take-off areas were found in several places in the Arkhangelsk and Vologda regions. Thus, it became possible to conclude that a whole network of secret Luftwaffe airfields operated in deserted areas of the Soviet North. Apparently, these jump sites were intended primarily for sabotage activities. The fact is that it was through the Vologda and Arkhangelsk regions that during the war years the goods delivered by Lend-Lease allies were delivered by rail from the ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk to the front. It is not surprising that in the second half of 1942, the RSHA and the Abwehr began a massive transfer to sabotage and reconnaissance groups in these areas.
Sparsely populated areas, full of dense forests or forest-tundra, impassable swamps and wastelands, created an almost perfect field for sabotage. In general, the specifics of the combat operations of German saboteurs and the few military units and bodies of the NKVD opposing them resembled the plot line of the famous story by Boris Vasiliev "And the dawns here are quiet ...". For example, at the end of June 1942 near Cherepovets and Vologda several Ju-52 planes fired five sabotage groups. These paratroopers included fighters of the notorious Brandenburg training regiment, which since its creation has specialized in sabotage and intelligence activities. True, the subsequent fate of these groups remained unknown.
During the night from 28 to 29 in August of the same year, two more groups of paratroopers from the "Brandenburg" composition landed in the Murmansk railway area. These groups managed to blow up the railway in two places and for more than a day to interrupt the movement of trains.
It must be said that the notorious "German mentality", which did not allow the German command to feel its Russian opponent, was also said here. For example, in early September of the same 1942 of the year, the German sabotage group was parachuted parachute north-west of Syktyvkar in order to destroy the bridge across the Vychegda River: the only railway linking Vorkuta with the central regions of the USSR ran through it. The saboteurs managed to destroy the guard of the bridge, but the explosion did not take place, since the criminal prisoners who worked nearby, unexpectedly for the Germans attacked them and literally tore them apart. Of course, hardly anyone would be able to explain to the German experts on the “Russian question” why the convicts of the Stalinist GULAG, offended by the authorities, not only do not join the “liberators”, but rather kill them with their bare hands.
In general, in the autumn of 1942, a massive outburst of German spies was observed throughout the European part of the Soviet Union: in September and early October, numerous groups of paratroopers were thrown out in the Yaroslavl, Penza, and Saratov regions and in the Bologsky area. The fact is that even 15 February 1942, by order of Reichsführer Himmler, created a special intelligence agency, codenamed "Zeppelin". This structure was supposed to weaken the military-economic potential of the USSR with the help of sabotage, sabotage and terror. General management was carried out by the foreign intelligence chief of SD, Walter Schellenberg, and for planning specific operations, Otto Skorzeny, a specialist in sabotage work in the Third Reich, was attracted.
The project "Zeppelin" received a priority in the plans of the German special services. In all concentration camps, offices and recruiting centers were created, whose employees carefully selected the "contingent". Thousands of volunteers were to be selected from among Soviet prisoners of war, who after special training would have been abandoned in the rear areas of the Soviet Union. Indeed, by the end of 1942, about 15 had been recruited to thousands of people who were then trained in sabotage and intelligence schools. A network of such schools - around 60 - was promptly established under the auspices of Zeppelin. It is known that such special schools were located in Evpatoria, not far from Pskov, near Warsaw and near Breslau.
... In early September, a group of Estonian saboteurs was thrown near the Konosh station. They were all soldiers of the Finnish army. Separated, the saboteurs for nearly a month blew up a railway line and each time went unnoticed. To capture the elusive paratroopers in the area Konosha pulled together several army units: together with the fighters of the local fighter units, they combed the area, but the results did not work. At the same time, the NKVD radio service was able to intercept the cipher sent by the saboteurs to its center. The decipherment showed that the Germans decided to evacuate the group, and the export was to carry out a seaplane from Lake Lacha, located north-west of Konosha.
On the shores of the lake, an ambush was immediately organized from among the troops of the NKVD and the cadets of the local military school. Early in the morning of October 22, a flying boat He-115 appeared from the mist, which safely splashed down onto the lake. Soon, elusive Estonians appeared on the shore. Immediately after that, they were fired from rifles and light machine guns. However, even under fire, five saboteurs managed to jump into the plane, which immediately took off. The rest, shooting, went into the woods.
The Heinkel managed to take off, but the pilot was seriously injured and a fuel tank shot through, so after thirty kilometers the Germans had to make an emergency landing on a nearby lake. After leaving the damaged aircraft, the Estonians, together with a German flight engineer, tried to escape into the forest, but were soon surrounded by the troops of the NKVD. The German shot himself while the saboteurs surrendered. After some time, several more members of this sabotage group were identified and eliminated, trying to break through to the front line. Nevertheless, the group was not completely destroyed, several of its fighters still managed to escape to their own.
In general, sabotage and intelligence activities in the northern regions of the Soviet Union seemed so attractive to the leadership of German intelligence services that at the beginning of 1943, in the city of Rovaniemi (Finland), a special intelligence school was organized, where spies and saboteurs were trained to work in polar conditions. Since July of the same year, the Abvergroup-204, located in Pskov, was engaged in a similar activity.
After special training, agents from a nearby airfield in Pskov were thrown into the Soviet rear. Their tasks were most often sabotage on railway transport, the destruction of logistic bases and warehouses, and also the conduct of anti-Soviet propaganda. In some cases, the transfer was carried out at a distance of up to two thousand kilometers, and sometimes further. It was then that the most secret airfields were used for refueling and recreation, traces of which are still found in the Arkhangelsk and Vologda regions.
During 1943, the number of saboteurs abandoned to the Soviet rear almost doubled, and almost half of them were driven to a depth from 300 to 2000 kilometers from the front line. True, many prisoners of war went on recruitment with only one goal: to escape from the concentration camp, therefore, according to statistics from the NKVD, a third of all agents went to surrender immediately after landing. Although a certain percentage of Zeppelin agents did not give up, they also didn’t contact the German leadership anymore - they simply dissolved in the vast expanses of the country. An example of such unproductive work is the activity of the abvercommand-104, which, as part of the Zeppelin program, from October 1942 to September 1943 scored about the 150 groups of agents to the Soviet rear. Only two of them returned.
It must be said that the management of the Zeppelin constantly developed various projects for the transfer of large-scale air assault forces to the Soviet rear. So, in the summer of 1943, a plan was developed for the landing of four special groups of up to 400 people. At the same time, one group was to be landed in the Northern Urals, the second - in the Volga basin, the third - on the Kama and the fourth - in the Astrakhan region. For some reason, the Germans abandoned this idea. But the most ambitious project, matured and partially carried out at the RSHA, was a landing with the aim of organizing an uprising of GULAG prisoners. On this project it is necessary to stop in more detail
Grab the Urals
At the very beginning of the war, the commander of the 102 Infantry Division Ivan Bessonov was captured by the Germans. At the first interrogation, he stated that he considered himself unjustly offended by the Soviet authorities and therefore offered his services to the enemy. It turns out that from 1930 to 1940 the year he served in the border troops of the NKVD, but then during the Soviet-Finnish war he angered his superiors with something, and he was transferred to the army. This bending career did not suit Bessonov, so he decided, being captured, to open betrayal. Moreover, while in the camp for captive officers, he decided to create his own political organization, the “Political Center for Combating Bolshevism.” The German SD service took Bessonov under her care and soon transferred to the Buchenwald sonder camp, where he was able to do organizational work. By July 1942, a headquarters with several departments had been formed.
It was then, in order to prove his loyalty, Bessonov offered the Germans a large-scale plan to capture the Urals. The plan provided for the landing of an airborne assault force of six thousand people from among Soviet prisoners of war. The release was to be made in a large space from the Northern Dvina and Ob to Perm and Izhevsk. Immediately after the landing, the paratrooper assault detachments were supposed to seize the numerous gulag camps located in the area, arm the prisoners and organize a mass uprising against Soviet power. The main objective of the operation was the complete seizure of the Urals and the cessation of the railway communication of the European part of the Soviet Union with Siberia and the Far East.
With all its outward idiocy, such a plan, with the prosperity of all circumstances, could have worked. Bessonov, thanks to his past service in the NKVD, knew the location and security system of the camps. It should be borne in mind that only in the Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic at that time no less than 250 of thousands of prisoners were “in prison”; even if it were possible to arm and sagit against at least half of them, a pro-German army would appear in the Soviet rear, equal to about ten divisions. Especially since the situation in the gulag was really quite tense, the riots of prisoners occurred during the war. For example, in January 1942, the rebels managed to even capture the village of Ust-Usa, a district center a hundred kilometers from Pechora.
The 2 Squadron Aufkl.Gr.Ob. dL, which specialized in throwing saboteurs and agents into the enemy’s deep rear, there were He-111 airplanes that made it possible to deliver troops from airfields in Finland and northern Norway to areas of Vorkuta and Salekhard with an intermediate landing at secret bases in the Arkhangelsk region. In the case of the capture of Salekhard, it was possible to arrange supplies by sea.
One way or another, but in October 1942, the Bessonov plan entered a phase of practical implementation: The Political Council on Combating Bolshevism began preparing sixty radio operators at once, a detailed program of military seizure of the Urals zone was developed, and the release of anti-Soviet propaganda literature began. In the area of Breslau, in a secret reconnaissance center, a three-battalion assault brigade was formed. By the summer of 1943, everything was supposed to be ready, but in the spring Bessonov was suddenly arrested and again placed in a concentration camp. The fact is that at this time Bessonov’s main competitor, the notorious General Vlasov, came onto the scene.
But despite the refusal of the Bessonov plan, the leadership of the German intelligence services decided to make a test throw into the territory of the Komi Republic. The terrain there was almost ideal for a hidden landing of a diversionary group: numerous swamp forests, rare settlements, but there were dozens of bridges on the Vorkuta - Pechora-Kotlas-Vologda railway.
Finally, 6 on June 1943, a group of twelve former Soviet prisoners of war, which first underwent special training at the Abwehr intelligence school near Riga, and then a lengthy briefing just before leaving Narvik (Norway), made a parachute landing around the village of Kozhva twenty kilometers from Pechora. The main task of the group was to prepare in the deserted area of the runway to receive aircraft with new batches of saboteurs; in addition, it was supposed to try to conduct a series of explosions on the Pechora railway.
Despite the trial character of the assault mission, the Germans did not stint on equipment: along with the saboteurs, the 22 cargo container was dropped from weapons, explosives, radios, products and uniforms. All saboteurs were dressed in the uniform of the NKVD officers and had impeccable documents, as well as money and ration cards. The team was led by a proven agent of the Abwehr Nikolaev.
The next day after landing, Nikolaev managed to collect the saboteurs dispersed during the throwing and found almost all cargo containers. But what happened next was not part of the Abwehr’s plans: one of the militants unexpectedly shot Nikolayev, after which the whole group went to surrender to the Soviet authorities. True, it turned out that local representatives of the NKVD not only did not know anything about the landing force, but were also completely unprepared for such a development of events. Indeed, the appearance in the depths of Russia, thousands of kilometers from the front, militants in the form of the NKVD with weapons and explosives could cause shock to anyone. The local authorities decided to start a radio game with the Germans, but already during the session it turned out that the command map with coded coordinates had been lost. The Germans, obviously, decided to elementary check whether the radio operator works under the control of the Russians. There was nothing to answer, so the radio game ended, without really starting.
The Abwehr reconnaissance groups no longer abandoned their own in this area.
Without the top secret "
... On the night of June 19, the front line at high altitude crossed the Heinkel-1943 unmarked and plunged into Soviet territory. In the area of Yegoryevsk, Moscow Region, two German intelligence agents were parachuted from a plane. Thus began the active phase of Operation Joseph, prepared by Zeppelin-Nord, one of the branches of the Unternemen Zeppelin reconnaissance unit VI of the RSHA (VI C / Z).
However, the ambitious plans of the enemy did not come true.
In the early morning of June 20, 1943, a man came to the Egoryevsky District Department of the NKVD of the Moscow Region. He said to the surprised duty officer, that he was a front-line intelligence officer of a special department of the North-Western Front, Severov, who had infiltrated German intelligence. Together with his partner, Boytsov was abandoned by the Germans on parachutes to the rear of the Red Army to perform a special mission. Naturally, Severov and the Fighters were immediately delivered to Moscow at the disposal of the Main Directorate of Counterintelligence Smersh of the USSR NPO.
It soon became clear that Severov did indeed perform special missions of the Soviet authorities. Due to the fact that the group had a very interesting task, on which it was possible to carry out serious counterintelligence activities, soon the head of the SEMC Smersh was authorized to hold a radio game with a branch of the intelligence agency VI C / Z Zeppelin-Nord. Thus began one of Smersh’s largest radio games, “Riddle,” conducted from 27 on June 1943 to 7 on April 1945. The Fighters were used as a radio operator, which seemed logical, based on the assignment he received. All encryptions going to Zeppelin were signed with the pseudonym Joseph (Joseph).
In parallel, work continued on calling an enemy aircraft into our territory. On the night of 14 on 15 in August 1944, in the area of Yegoryevsk, on a specially prepared counterintelligence site equipped with trap pits, an enemy aircraft of unknown design landed, sent to deliver the extracted materials. However, the unexpected happened. To the surprise of the Sirsh people, he was not stuck in any of the traps. When counterintelligence officers understood this, they opened fire to kill, but the plane successfully maneuvered on the runway, turned around under fire, took off and safely left the front line ...
The solution to such a failure was possible only after a month, when a similar special aircraft of the Arado-232 brand was captured in the Smolensk region during the radio game “Fog”. It turned out that the plane that had arrived after the materials allegedly obtained by the German agent was specially designed to land reconnaissance groups deep in the rear of the enemy. Instead of the usual chassis, he was equipped with rubber tracks, which enabled him to land even on wetlands. This allowed his crew to successfully avoid the trap.
Then, in the spring-summer of 1944, the last surge of German activity occurred, when several ambitious projects were undertaken. These include the saboteurs of the “Alash” detachment in Kazakhstan with the aim of organizing an anti-Soviet uprising, and preparing for the bombing of the Ural industrial centers with Vau-1 cruise missiles. But, of course, the most impressive was the plan of the assassination attempt on Stalin. This episode is repeatedly described in the literature; therefore, we will mention it only insofar as the special purpose aircraft also took part in it.
September 30 1944 received a memorandum No. 4126 / M from the USSR NKGB. The document reported: “5 September p. the city near the district center of the Smolensk region - with. Karmanova NKVD-NKGB detained a suspect unknown in the form of a major of the Red Army. He followed a motorcycle with a sidecar on the way to Rzhev and presented documents to the name of Hero of the Soviet Union Tavrin Pyotr Ivanovich. Together with him, a woman was detained, who was driving in a motorcycle stroller, who called herself Tavrina’s wife, Shilova Lydia Petrovna. During the search, the detainees seized a special Panzerknack with 9 charges. The study found that the Panzerknack projectile (caliber 30 mm, length 170 mm, weight 235 grams) is an armored-piercing high-explosive grenade of cumulative action with armor penetration 35 — 40 mm with a range of up to 300 meters. The device is connected with a thin wire to an electric battery and is operated by pressing a button ...
From September 1943 of the year to August 1944 of the year inclusive Tavrin, first in Pskov, and then in Riga and Berlin under the leadership of Skorzen, head of the Eastern Division of the SD, employee of the SD (who participated in the abduction of Mussolini) training as a terrorist to commit terrorist acts against the leaders of the USSR. In addition, the processing of Tavrin for a long time led by a traitor to the Motherland in Germany - the former secretary of the Rostokinsky District Committee of the CPSU (b) in Moscow G. N. Zhilenkov.
P. Tavrin (right) and Deputy Head of the German Zeppelin-Nord intelligence agency in Riga G. Greif
On the night of 4 on September 5 with. He was transferred across the front line from the Riga airfield on a four-engine German transport aircraft equipped for landing on unsuitable sites and landed with a motorcycle in the area with. Karmanova. The transfer was organized by the German intelligence agency SD in Riga, conditionally referred to as "Zeppelin".
The purpose of the transfer is to organize and carry out a terrorist act against T. Stalin, and, if appropriate, also other members of the government — Beria, Kaganovich and Molotov. Attached album of evidence in the case.
To identify further intentions of the German intelligence in the case of Tavrin started a radio game with the Germans. 25 October with. A two-way communication was established with the enemy’s radio center. As a radio operator, Tavrina’s wife, Lydia Yakovlevna Shilova (arrested), who had a course of radio service from the Germans and was thrown to the rear with Tavrin, was used ... ”
We can only add to what has been said that the unique aircraft that made the transfer crashed on the way back, and the performers almost immediately after landing were in the hands of the NKVD.
Tavrin at the motorcycle before throwing over the front line
The plane for the saboteur
What was this "miracle plane"? The aerodynamic scheme of the aircraft was chosen by Wilhelm Van Nes, chief designer of the company, from the conditions for ensuring a given dependency: payload — range at a sufficiently high cruising speed for its class from good take-off and landing data, operation from unprepared platforms, high flight performance in the entire range operational flight conditions.
The high location of the wing with the placement of engines on it and the spaced two-fin vertical tail allowed to obtain a favorable change in the longitudinal moment of the aircraft in a wide range of angles of attack. The two-spar wing consisted of a rectangular center section and trapezoidal consoles. Creating a wing with highly efficient mechanization required a lot of research before settling on retractable flaps that took about 53 percent of the wing span and increased the wing area by almost 25 percent. In addition, during takeoff, an intensive blowing of the wing with screws located opposite, in the middle of the flaps, increased the lift force by almost 30 percent. All this allowed us to obtain the maximum lift coefficient.
To reduce the length of the run was supposed to use brake parachutes, and to reduce the takeoff, if necessary, could be used rocket boosters. The layout of the plumage was chosen by an exploded two-keel scheme, fashionable at that time, in order to remove the horizontal plumage from the range of the bevel flow from the wing with fully released mechanization. This arrangement allowed us to choose a relatively small in area horizontal and vertical tail with low aerodynamic drag.
Taking into account the maximum payload, dimensions and amount of cargo transported, as well as ensuring the possibility of dropping them on parachutes, the dimensions of the cargo compartment and the fuselage, the shape of its tail section were determined. As a result of the development of all variants, the cargo compartment turned out to be 6,6 m long, 2,3 m wide and 2 m high. These dimensions met the requirements of the customer regarding the capacity of the cargo compartment.
To reduce the frontal resistance of the fuselage, it was decided to make the lower bypass of the rear part of the fuselage Ar-232 rounded, which made it possible to obtain a fuselage with good aerodynamic characteristics with a small drag coefficient.
The most interesting innovation proposed by Van Nes is the chassis design. For operation from normal, prepared airfields, the aircraft had the usual three-post landing gear with a nose wheel, and for operation from unprepared sites under the belly of the aircraft, an additional landing gear consisting of 22 small pneumatics. Such a landing gear made it possible for the aircraft to land on an extremely inappropriate terrain, for example, on fallen tree trunks up to 15 cm thick and ditches 1,5 m deep. Naturally, if such a landing was planned, then the carrying capacity was reduced. For its unusual chassis scheme, Ar-232 received the nickname “Centipede” from German soldiers.
To reduce the time for loading and unloading in the cargo compartment of the fuselage, a rail with a hoist was installed on the ceiling. The rear part of the fuselage could be lowered with the help of a hydraulic drive, as a loading ramp, which at the same time facilitates the landing of troops and cargoes. The defensive armament consisted of three MG-81 Z machine guns. One in the nose with 1000 ammunition rounds of ammunition, on the top of the fuselage - with an arsenal of 1600 shots and above the ramp - 2000 cartridges.
With the development of Ar-232 planned to attract transport operations in North Africa and the Arctic. To perform tasks in diametrically opposite climatic conditions, the standard equipment of the aircraft included winter and summer sets of equipment and accessories, such as: an additional radio kit, a rescue rubber raft, an oil heating radiator, an autonomous starter and various tools to perform repair work away from their bases.
At the end of the war, Ar-232 participated in several special missions. About one of them - the operation "Scherhom" - it is worth mentioning in more detail. After the defeat of Army Group Center in the summer of 1944, the remnants of German units were surrounded. One of the groups was commanded by Sherhorn, who tried to get to his westward, but received an order to organize in the rear of the Soviet troops a kind of partisan war.
For the supply and subsequent evacuation of the Sherhorn group and others like it, they wanted to attract six Ar-232, transferred to KG 200, but in reality at the time of the beginning of December 8 operation only two cars were transferred. Until February, 1945 th they carried out single flights to supply the group of Sherhorn. Non-systematic flights were caused by bad weather, technical problems and strong opposition in the air.
Despite the incredible activity of the Germans, the operation eventually proved to be useless. Soviet intelligence showed all its skill: Sherhorn had long been captured, and the German command of radio reports hoped for success.
By the way, the Ar-232 B-017 - one of the two cars participating in that operation, was later captured by the British in excellent condition and flown around. Eric Brown, a RAF test pilot who tested the aircraft in the air, confirmed the excellent flying qualities of the German “transport worker”. After the war, this machine was used for communication between England and Germany, and in November, 1945 was participating in the demonstration of captured aircraft in Farnborough.
Unfortunately, the production of the world's first specialized military transport aircraft, capable of operating from completely unprepared landing pads, fell victim to the reduction of types of Luftwaffe aircraft at the end of World War II with a red pencil stroke. And for this reason, Ar-232 could not get as widely known as Ju-52.
Indeed, most of the Germans sabotage and reconnaissance groups were carried out by the famous Ju-52, so be sure to say a few words about it.
Seemingly bulky and outwardly angular, the Ju-52 by the beginning of World War II would seem to have completely lost any combat potential. But this unpretentious combination of corrugated plating, non-removable landing gear and three air-cooled engines, known in the Luftwaffe under the nickname "Aunt Yu", played a more important role during the war than many combat aircraft.
Goebbels with a group of fighters reconnaissance and sabotage units
The first three-engine Ju-52 / 3 m designed by Ernst Zindel made its first flight in April 1931. The success of the trials led to the decision to focus on creating just this option. All the airframes already on the assembly line in Dessau were converted to three engines. In 1941, the Ju-52 / Зm-g7 e went to the series with an increased cargo hatch in the board and autopilot. Externally, they were distinguished by large fairings on the wing behind the engines, and some cars - by an additional rifle installation on the cab, called the “condor cap”. Later this installation became standard.
The Ju-52 / 3 m-g8 e got a big cargo door plus an additional door in the cab floor. During production, the MG-15 was installed instead of the MG-131 top machine gun. For re-equipment in solving various problems, seven standard “conversion kits” were used, which are installed directly in the units.
The latest production version of the Ju-52 / 3 m-g14 e was put into production at the end of the autumn 1943 and was produced until the middle of the 1944, when production was discontinued. He used the pilot's armor protection, the armament consisted of a MG-15 machine gun on a mobile unit on the cab roof, two MG-15 in side windows and a MG-131 machine gun on the upper open turret. With the exception of aircraft made in Hungary, lutfwaffe took 1944 Ju-376 / Зm from German and French factories during 52. Since the beginning of 1939, 3225 aircraft have been launched.