Military Review

Operation Berezino: Sudoplatov vs. Skorzeny

18 August 1944 German intelligence received from a reliable source information that in Belarus in the rear of the Red Army is located in the environment of the Wehrmacht numbering up to 2,5 thousands of people. Loyal to the oath and the Fuhrer, the soldiers intend to fight and make their way to the west. Commanding the surroundings lieutenant colonel Sherhorn. The command of the Wehrmacht was delighted with such a gift of fate and began to make plans to use such a large military unit in the rear of the Soviet troops. The Germans could not even imagine that the information they had received was the beginning of Operation Berezino, a grandiose mystification started by the NKVD 4.

Essence of the operation

The idea of ​​the operation arose in the spring of 1944. The author of it was, according to some information - Colonel Maklyarsky, according to others the idea of ​​the operation was proposed by Stalin himself. The purpose of the operation was to make the Germans believe in the presence of a large military unit in the rear of the Soviet troops and divert to its support the maximum possible amount of the material resources of the enemy. The surrounded grouping was supposed to be (according to the Hitlerites) a suitable base for sabotage groups, therefore, among others, the task was to lure as many parachutists as saboteurs oriented toward sabotage in the Soviet rear and organizing an intelligence network into its location.

The apotheosis of the operation was to be the “exit” of the surrounded grouping in the location of the German units, during which it was supposed to introduce an appropriately prepared and equipped special unit of the Red Army into the open passage by the Germans in order to break the front.
The operation was entrusted to the 4-e NKVD Office. The operation was supervised by the Head of the Department P. Sudoplatov, the deputy organizer of all activities carried out as part of the operation was Deputy Sudoplatova N. Eitingon. Operations received the code name "Berezino". Not all plans come true. But what has been done is now being taught in special schools as the filigree work of specialists of the highest level.

Lieutenant Colonel Sherhorn

First of all, it was necessary to select a suitable candidate for the position of "group leader". What was needed was a really existing officer, of a sufficiently high rank, whose ability to rally people around himself and lead them along the enemy’s rear for a long time would not cause the Germans to have any doubts. At the same time, it was supposed to be a person who consciously made a decision on cooperation with the Soviet secret services, ready and (which is equally important) capable in the case of direct contact with emissaries from Berlin to play the role of the commander of the unit heroically fighting behind enemy lines.

In search of a suitable officer, Sudoplatov’s staff departed to camps for German prisoners of war. The desired candidate was found by I. Shchors and M. Leonov in the 27 / 1 camp near Moscow. It was the Wehrmacht Lieutenant Colonel Sherhorn. In early August, he was taken to Moscow.
From the accompanying documents: Sherhorn Heinrich Gerhardt, born 1897 Lieutenant colonel. Professional military. The commander of the rear guard regiment. NSDAP member since 1933. Captured near Minsk 9.07.1944. Confused pessimistically. Convinced of the defeat of Germany. I agree to cooperate. Assigned nickname "Shubin".

Information from a trusted source

18 August 1944, the first "bait" was abandoned. The “reliable source” was the agent “Max”, who had worked for the Abwehr since February 1942. The pride of German intelligence was in fact an employee of the NKVD, Alexander Demyanov, who was successfully introduced into the ranks of the Abwehr. In the interests of Operation Berezino, the communications officer of the General Staff of the Red Army was “seconded” to Minsk, where he participated in the interrogation of a captured German officer. During the interrogation Demyanov allegedly found out about Lieutenant Colonel Sherhorn's group fighting in the rear of the Red Army. For a week, Berlin kept silence, checking through its channels the presence in the Wehrmacht of such a lieutenant colonel and his track record. 25 August “Max” received a response radiogram, in which he was asked to contact the group and report the coordinates of the drop in cargo and the parachute group. Germans bait swallowed. The operation has begun.

Special operation in Minsk region

For the reception of the “guests” and the cargo, the group formed under the command of Major GB Borisov flew to the place of the alleged deployment of the “part of Sherhorn” (village Glukhoe, Minsk region). The group included 16 leading employees of the 4 Directorate, 10 ethnic Germans - anti-fascists, who have long been collaborating with Soviet intelligence and 20 OMSBON machine gunners. That was the composition of the whole "army of Sherhorn."

Together with the group, Maklyarsky, Mordvinov, Serebryansky, Fisher (Abel) flew to the area of ​​operation - the entire color of the Soviet counterintelligence of that time, the head of the operation, Eitingon, and Lieutenant-Colonel Sherhorn himself, who were to meet the “guests”. At one of the bases left by the Soviet partisans in the area of ​​Lake Pesochnoye, the Sherhorn headquarters was urgently equipped. The Germans brought in were dressed in the form of Wehrmacht soldiers. The group was supplied with captured food and personal items. The arriving agents had to remain in ignorance for as long as possible that this “part hiding in the Belarusian forest” was nothing more than a sham. The whole area of ​​the operation was cordoned off by patrols in order to exclude even the possibility of any accident. But it’s impossible to foresee everything.

How the operation nearly failed before it started.

Danger came from where it was not expected at all. Not German agents, but vigilant Soviet citizens almost destroyed the Berezino operation at its very beginning. NKVD officers only started to create an “encircling camp” in the deep forest, and on the table of the People's Commissar of the NKGB of Belarus, Tsanava laid down a report about the appearance of a military partisan military base consisting of Wehrmacht soldiers, accomplices of the Hitlerites and the Red Army deserters in Lake Pesochnoye.

Fortunately, the People's Commissar did not hurry, did not order the liquidation of the "partisans", but reported this report to Moscow, suggesting that the detected group be used for operational purposes. From Moscow, he received an unexpected reply that in the area of ​​Fr. Sand is a special operation. Also, Canaan was instructed to render all possible assistance to the officers conducting the operation. But Eitingon received a harsh scolding from Sudoplatov and instructions to strengthen the security of the area of ​​operation.

Operation Berezino: Sudoplatov vs. Skorzeny

The first "guests"

On the night from 15 to 16.09. 44 in the specified "Max" area landed 3 parachutist. Arrived met and transferred to the "headquarters". The senior group Kurt Kibert told Sherhorn that the courageous Wehrmacht soldiers fighting in the rear of the Soviet troops were reported to the Fuhrer himself, and he demanded to do everything possible to save the soldiers loyal to him. After a cordial meeting, "guests from Berlin" came out of the dugout, where the soldiers, already in Soviet form, opened their eyes to the true state of affairs. The next day, a radiogram went to Berlin saying that the group had arrived safely, confirms the presence of the Sherhorn squad, and that one of the parachutists was seriously injured during the release and is unconscious (refused to cooperate).

Convinced of the real existence of part of Sherhorn, the German command began to intensively supply it weapons, ammunition, medicines and food. For its supply, Goering singled out an 4 transport aircraft. In the course of the first month, 16 agents also arrived at Sherhorn, some of them were recruited by the NKVD and joined the “game”. The operation began to gain momentum.

How missed "magic shooter"

In Germany, the fate of Sherhorn and his soldiers was closely watched personally by the commander of Army Group Center, Colonel-General Reinhardt, and the head of the 103 Abwer team (callsign Saturn) Barfeld. But the main protagonist from the German side was Obersturmmbuhführer SS “Rebel saboteur No. XXUMX” Otto Skorzeny. Skorzeny was by no means a simpleton. During the operation “Magic Shooter” (a set of activities for the supply of the Sherhorn Group), they abandoned 1 agents, which were not reported to Sherhorn. The agents were tasked with secretly entering the specified area and checking whether Sherhorn’s group really exists. All 8 agents were caught, some were recruited and became part of Operation Berezina.

In his book, The Secret Operations of the RSHA, Skorzeny describes in detail how he organized the air bridge with the "encircling units", how, with great difficulty, he knocked out resources for the "Sherhorn soldiers." (As the Germans retreated to the west, melting stocks of weapons and food inside the Reich) If “the sabotage expert knew” that the contents of the “packages” he collected with such difficulty went to supply the Red Army, he would have torn from his book these pages!

"Heroic raid" group Sherhorn

While Skorzeny was collecting his "packages", "Sherhorn's soldiers" made their way to the west. On the way, they repeatedly engaged in combat with the rear units of the Red Army, carried out sabotage, took prisoners, and collected “invaluable” intelligence information. All this required a lot of work on the preparation of data indirectly confirming the legend. These are notes in the newspapers “on the elimination of bandit formations in the rear”, and orders for the rear of the guard about increased vigilance, and reports from local agents.

In December, the 1944 squad that had grown up was divided into 3 columns, and the Nazis had to take care of the 3 groups. German radio operators constantly spotted the group talks among themselves and their tearful requests for help (radio operators worked in the Lubyanka in sweat). Sherhorn continued to accept cargoes and agents. In December, 4 agents, ethnic Belarusians who had been trained in the Abnukommand 103 and who had information about local agents, were thrown out to the unit. With the release of "Sherhorn", Polish agents began to arrive at the borders of Poland. Most agents "successfully infiltrated", began to "deliver information" and conduct sabotage.

The command of the Wehrmacht praised the courage of the "fighters of Sherhorn." In one of the containers, the Chekists found Iron Crosses with unfilled award sheets. Sherhorn himself was ordered to be a colonel by the order of the Fuhrer of March 16 on March 1945, and on March 23 was awarded the Knight's Iron Cross.

The end of the operation "Berezino"

5 May 1945, a radio operator on Lubyanka, received the latest radiogram for the “Sherhorn Group”, in which the command thanked the colonel and all his soldiers for their courage and loyalty to duty and regretted their continued support. So ended the operation "Berezina" - a grand bluff, and not disclosed by German intelligence. 8 months of weapons, ammunition, food, warm uniforms, medicines, so necessary to the Nazis at the front, were sent to support the "group of Sherhorn." Prepared agents from among the "adopted by Sherhorn" "handed over" the local agents and became channels for disinformation of the enemy.

If it were not for the end of the war, it is still unknown how long the Soviet security officers would be led by the German special services. So, reading the memoirs of the venerable leaders and employees of the Abwehr and Zeppelin (SD), be careful. One should not take for granted their stories about the creation of an extensive intelligence network in the territory of the USSR, about conducting large-scale sabotage operations in the rear of the Red Army. Very often, objects exploded only on paper, and "successfully implemented agents" wrote their reports under the dictation of the Chekists. What we have every right to be proud of.
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  1. Denis
    Denis 24 September 2013 08: 08
    MASTER and SPECIAL which are few!
    That's just how different stsuki treated him
    After Beria’s arrest, the department was disbanded, and on 21 on August 1953, Lieutenant General P. A. Sudoplatov was arrested as an “accomplice of Beria” on charges of conspiracy. Zoya Voskresenskaya, having stood up for him, contrary to popular belief, was not arrested, but she was "exiled" to Vorkuta as the head of the special unit of the camp. Pretended insanity and until 1958 year was in the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital.
    On 12 of September 1958 of the year he was sentenced by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR on “counter-revolutionary” article 58-1 paragraph “b” to 15 years of imprisonment “for actively assisting the traitor of Beria’s homeland in preparing a coup d'etat, carrying out experiments on people, kidnapping and numerous murders” [2]. He pleaded not guilty. He served his sentence in Vladimir Prison, where he suffered three heart attacks, went blind in one eye, and received the disability of the 2 group.
    Released upon serving the sentence of 21 on August 1968 of the year. Returning to Moscow, P. A. Sudoplatov took up literary activity. Under the pseudonym Anatoly Andreev published three books, actively participated in the veteran movement. For over 20 years, he fought for his rehabilitation. Completely rehabilitated by the decision of the Chief Military Prosecutor of the Russian Federation of January 10 1992 year.
    He also participated in the production of the secret of the atomic bomb, and there’s nothing to count
  2. vdubcik
    vdubcik 24 September 2013 10: 38
    yes, then they knew how to make enemies of the people from heroes
    1. Humen
      Humen 24 September 2013 15: 32
      At all times they knew how to do it.
  3. reality
    reality 24 September 2013 11: 28
    I admire that after going through all the injustices after the war, these people did not begin to take revenge.
  4. Onotollah
    Onotollah 24 September 2013 11: 41
    Taking into account the facts stated in the article, let's be more restrained in expressing emotions like "Putin will surrender Syria" or the defeatist "Chef, everything is lost 11"
  5. Onotollah
    Onotollah 24 September 2013 11: 42
    And by the way, a very suitable profit from the fog of war.
  6. IllI4
    IllI4 24 September 2013 12: 59
    Brilliant operation!
  7. Val_y
    Val_y 24 September 2013 13: 14
    ... is unconscious (refused to cooperate) Hehe. Hmm, this is an operation, Sudoplatov in kind is the father of all special forces and the GRU. Glory to him forever and ever. soldier
    1. jorjick_46rus
      jorjick_46rus 25 September 2013 10: 56
      Rather, the father of special forces GB ...
  8. knn54
    knn54 24 September 2013 14: 58
    "Berezino." Another trap for Skorzeny. "
    Otto Skorzeny is just a miserable DILETER compared to Sudoplatov.
    In the spring of 1942, the General Directorate of Imperial Security (RSHA) created a special training camp "Oranienburg", which was supposed to compete with the Brandenburg special forces regiment subordinate to the Abwehr - that is, to carry out sabotage tasks.
    According to Skorzeny, the command of the SS forces proposed him as a candidate for the post of commander of the RSHA sabotage unit, since he allegedly "had combat experience (?) And knowledge of technology." It turns out - one of 10 thousand SS officers!
    -At that time, in this training camp, 20 SS men were preparing to conduct Operation Franz - organizing a tribal uprising in Iran, so that these tribes would attack the routes of transporting military supplies from the United States and Britain through Iran to the USSR. This operation ended in complete failure in the summer of 1943 ...
    -Skorzeny ordered to prepare the operation "Ulm" - the implementation of sabotage at industrial enterprises of the Ural region.
    The goal of Operation Ulm was made concrete - to disable the blast furnaces of the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.
    "Superdiversant" Skorzeny successfully carried out Operation Ulm for a whole year and a half - until the end of 1944, when it was safely canceled!
    Hitler wanted to organize the export from Italy of Mussolini overthrown there.
    This action did not have any military significance.
    Then Skorzeny (a great specialist!) Came up with a glider landing in the mountains! The operation was carried out only on September 12, 1943 (that is, it was being prepared already a month and a half, and nothing happened to Mussolini during this time!). Of the 12 gliders, two crashed during takeoff, and two more during landing. The remaining 8 gliders also could not make a soft landing on a rocky patch.
    As a result, 31 paratroopers were killed and 16 were seriously injured. That is, losses, and non-combat ones, amounted to almost 40% - solely due to Skorzeny's unprofessionalism. As the German general Tippelskirch rightly wrote in his History of World War II, it was an "adventurous, sacrificial operation."
    Moreover - if, on the site of Skorzeny, this operation to export Mussolini from Italy would have been led by a slightly more intelligent person, he would simply have agreed with the Italians-guards, would have paid them some amount of money, and would have quietly taken the Duce out. Without any loss of life.
    And for such a mediocre organization of a simple transport operation, Skorzeny was awarded Hitler with the award of the Knight's Cross and the title of SS Sturmbannführer (major). In fairness - Skorzeny should be demoted to corporal and sent to the funeral team.
    -Next task Skorzeny - to eliminate Tito's headquarters in Yugoslavia. According to the "superdiversant", he received the assignment in early 1944, and by the summer had collected the necessary information.
    The operation was carried out in the traditional style of Skorzeny - the landing of a battalion of paratroopers and landing on gliders. As a result, the paratroopers got the uniform of Tito thrown in one of the houses of an empty village.
    1. mehmeh
      mehmeh 7 December 2014 14: 08
      Skorzeny Mussolini did not find him Goering’s paratroopers found the planned operation. Skorzeny guessed the moment and jumped to Storch to Mussolini Storch could pick up 3 x pilot Mussolini there was a small platform on a rock
      Skorzeny also ventured into and
      Appeared to Hitler as a liberator))))) in general he was still a scoundrel)))
    2. mehmeh
      mehmeh 7 December 2014 14: 10
      Skorzeny Mussolini did not find him Goering’s paratroopers found the planned operation. Skorzeny guessed the moment and jumped to Storch to Mussolini Storch could pick up 3 x pilot Mussolini there was a small platform on a rock
      Skorzeny also ventured into and
      Appeared to Hitler as a liberator))))) in general he was still a scoundrel)))
  9. Alikovo
    Alikovo 24 September 2013 17: 31
    the best counterintelligence was in the ussr. in germany, soviet intelligence, according to various sources, had 150-300 different agents.
  10. Brave
    Brave 24 September 2013 23: 19
    Quote: Val_Y
    ... is unconscious (refused to cooperate) Hehe. Hmm, this is an operation, Sudoplatov in kind is the father of all special forces and the GRU. Glory to him forever and ever.

    Yes there were people in our time
    Heroes ...
  11. Kostya pedestrian
    Kostya pedestrian 25 September 2013 03: 26
    The fact that Sudoplatov is a hero is no doubt. So beautifully Hitlerites divorced. But our current, Chairman of the Belarus KGB, Vakulchik Valery Pavlovich will be able to figure out that almost some official religious organizations are engaged in nuclear terrorism, i.e. install dirty bombs in Minsk itself.

    Do not believe me, find one of the sights of the capital of Belarus called the Nagasaki bell, and what it is, and these are capsules with earth from areas contaminated by radiation.

    Why do we need, in the center of Minsk, capsules with radiation from Nagasaki? And now also Fukusami (what is the similarity with Fuk.s with the brain of a black cat gang)?

    In addition, Nagasaki was bombed by our allies, by all the rules of the war, not like the Japanese slaughtered them, no different, he was Hitler's sadists. So this one argument is worthy, so that this "dirty bomb monument" was sent back to Japan.

    PS: By the way, there is another bell, opposite the QGD building called "86 Regiment", for fans of exposing terrorists on 9/11 the question is: "wasn’t there any secret sign that it was the masters of melting bells (read artillery handicraftsmen) who accepted participation in the organization of the Chernobyl disaster? ”

    Question No. 2 “the bell was installed in 2000, on the eve of the terrorist attack in the United States, and before that the red church was the House of Cinema, and the prototype for the cassel was the death of two children (what sacrilege!), As the Teutons once poisoned the children of Grand Prince Vitovt ( in vain He didn’t take Malbork then in 1410) And if you take into account that many conspiracy theorists say that the “lowering” of the buildings in New York was “expected” by “tourists” with video cameras at the ready (only the chefs took their aprons) and from different angles , then we can assume that this is a movie of the holy spirit. But if Helen Ripley in Aliens was able to fill up the beast, then what should we build a house!

    By the way, “Aliens”, according to the facts from Wikipedia, came out in 1986 and collected US 86 million in kasu (ca --- SI - sa).
    For everyone recorded in the book of the dead, you can imagine what kind of brain this could have planned, it’s just manna from heaven for zombies. By the way, the word belar (k) can be printed as “judfk”, but what does it mean in English buy, correctly we are not buy, we are buy!
  12. Kostya pedestrian
    Kostya pedestrian 25 September 2013 03: 37

    Additional "smolny", by the way, and what is the guarantee that these "Martian" capsules are not real nuclear bombs? Has Belpalata checked all the certificates of fitness for the radioactive decomposition of our peoples?

    But it doesn’t matter, the main thing is to put the nuclear submarine in the right position so that the shooting experts understand that “there are no barriers and obstacles for Soviet strong steel, Vorkuta-Kaliningrad again proved this”, by the way, the march of the city of Cherepovets from the National Team of the Union is also very well suited here !

    By the way, it's time to conquer Martian markets, and not sit at home!
  13. Knizhnik
    Knizhnik 25 September 2013 16: 01
    A very similar operation was carried out by Abwehr against the British several dozen agents.
  14. Knizhnik
    Knizhnik 25 September 2013 16: 25
    A very similar operation was carried out by Abwehr against the British several dozen agents.
    Quote: Knizhnik
    A very similar operation was carried out by Abwehr against the British several dozen agents.
    Operation English Game (Operation Nordpol)
    1. ivanovbg
      ivanovbg 25 September 2013 22: 04
      The funny thing is that the English radio operator, at the risk of dying in agony, deliberately missed the "security code" in the transmitted radio messages, and the clever guys at the British headquarters, although they noticed, decided not to pay attention to the "such annoying random mistakes" of the performers. Mind incomprehensible! For this it is not enough to have an officer's rank and position in British intelligence. You also need a noble origin!