In this publication, I would like to debunk another myth as usual. The fact that the Soviet command plugged "holes" in the defense, cavalry. And the fact that the cavalry played a significant role in the battle for Moscow, solely due to the fact that there were terrible frosts and even agreed to something that the German tanks the towers were freezing.
All this is pseudoscientific nonsense, composed by people ready to discredit everything and everyone. First, let's understand where the wind is blowing or the legs grow. And the wind, as always, blows from our liberal public claiming that Stalin was a cannibal, the Bolsheviks were morons, and cavalry was one of the reasons for the defeat of the Red Army in the first months of the war. But now we know that the number of armored formations was neither inferior to German in any quantity, and some models of tanks, such as the KV, were generally invulnerable to German tanks.
So what was the matter with the cavalry? In the first months of the war, cavalrymen were one of the few, along with the troops of the NKVD, who were able to organize at least some resistance to the enemy in an atmosphere of chaos and general panic.
As in the First World War, the main role of cavalry was forgotten, namely the maneuver war. In the same way, in the first months of the war, Soviet cavalrymen died from mediocre orders and sometimes from criminal inaction.
Literally before the start of the battle for Moscow, six armies were surrounded, these were the Vyazma and Bryansk cauldrons. In his memoirs, Stuchenko, who then commanded 45 kav. division, describes the case when prepared for a breakthrough of cav. The division was stopped by General Lukin at the time of the attack. The division was practically destroyed, Stuchenko himself came out of the encirclement with a group of fighters, but the “commander” Lukin was captured by the Germans and, as far as I know, survived the war safely. The happiness of the cavalrymen themselves was that they were led by people who had absorbed the spirit of this elite kind of troops, who perceived it not as an anachronism, but as a real fighting force. Why has cavalry always been an elite? A cavalryman is always obliged to be with a horse, to look after her, to live by a strict schedule of the day in which there is no place for outsiders. You can not replace the work of the horse, the work on the host. object, it is impossible not to conduct exercises, the horse requires daily, hourly attention, and daily exercises. Riding itself, forcing the rider to always be in excellent sports form. Life with a horse disciplines. Constant training on a horse develop determination and courage in the rider. Therefore, the cavalry units were an order of magnitude superior to the rifle units, in terms of combat stamina and discipline. In his memoirs, Stuchenko writes about the masses of the fleeing ones who also carried away cavalrymen and only the resilience of individual units saved at least somehow the situation.
In the memoirs of the German generals, you will not find derogatory epithets of cavalry. In Halder’s diary, on the contrary, when the word “cavalry” is mentioned, there are notes of anxiety. And not in vain! The Soviet cavalry will do its utmost to make the fate of the Wehrmacht unenviable.
Of particular interest in terms of evaluating the actions of cavalry are the memories of General Belov, who later became the commander of 2 Guards cav. enclosures. The book is called "We are Moscow". In this book, Belov gives, albeit in a somewhat relaxed way, but rather a rather unattractive assessment to the Red Army commanders and the actions of the Stavka.
It is known that, 2 kav. Corps commanded by Belov, had to close another "hole" in the defense of Moscow, namely to defend Kashira. Belov brought his cavalrymen to the city, which was preparing to surrender. Literally in three days, he and his cavalrymen managed not only to defend the city but also to strike, in parts of the 2-th Panzer Army of Guderian. Strike to win. In the memoirs of Belov, all the defects that hit the Red Army are excellent. Namely, not the knowledge of the commanders of the operational situation, not the ability to establish interaction. Belov is to the higher command and he sets himself the task, "can I protect bridges and crossings"? The command which is entrusted to lead the defense of Kashira is in Stupino slowly showing up in battle formations. But the success of such people as Guderian or the same Belov was partly in the fact that they were always directly in the combat formations of their units and knew the operational situation very well. If Stuchenko enthusiastically writes about saber attacks, then Belov considers them an anachronism. According to the talented military commander, the cavalry in the battle for Moscow acted like this, cavalry units attacked, as a rule, on foot and attacked as always, just as it was supposed to, by a scattered or retreating enemy. The main advantage of the equestrians was that they reached the line of attack with the speed of inaccessible infantry, using the folds of the area, flew as close as possible, dismounted, handed horses to the riders, and attacked the enemy. The attack was carried out as follows. Frontal divisions shackled the enemy with fire, mobile squadrons engulfed the enemy from the flanks, and if luck came, they came from the rear. Such tactics helped to take strongholds, the enemy, on his communications. The strikes from the rear by mobile units created panic. . Even the Headquarters was notable for its punctuality, promising to give Belov two rifle brigades, she lost them somewhere. Can you imagine if Hitler had promised von Bock a division and lost it? How realistic is this?
In the course of the battle for Moscow, the role of cavalry emerged, not as some kind of deputy, tank and motorized infantry, but as an independent kind of troops capable of waging a modern maneuvering war. The cavalry, without being tied to the roads, acting at any time of the day, in any terrain, turned out to be much maneuverable, and tank formations and motorized infantry. Yes, somewhere in Europe with their Liliput distances and an extensive road network, the motorized infantry will show its speed and shock power. But here in the vast expanses, in the mudslide, among the fields and forests, the cavalry had no equal. By the way, the climate during the Moscow battle was not so cruel. In the memoirs of Belov, it is said both about thaws and not too severe frosts. The cavalry impacted on the fact that it will be relevant in the conditions of modern global wars. Cavalry does not need fuel, often cavalry can go to grass and fodder, you can always get in the countryside. Motorized divisions often became the victim of horsemen, precisely when they ran out of fuel.
Belov's cavalry actually defeated Guderian’s 2 tank army without any numerical superiority or advantage in heavy weapons. Literally by force, Belov forces the pilots to cover him from the air. The rest of the time, his equestrians operate only at night.
At the same time, in the western direction of the cav. Dovator's corps, led heavy defensive battles, trying to somehow pin down the enemy forces. One of the most dramatic events in stories This corps turned out to be a battle near the villages of Sheludkovo and Fedyakovo, a unit of the 34 Armavir regiment, its 4 squadron. The day before the battle, in this place a tank battle of the tank crews of Kataukov took place, with the Germans, the field near the village was covered with the skeletons of burnt tanks. It was there that occupied the defense of the 4 squadron, under the command of junior political instructor Mikhail Ilyenko. The battle began on November 18, when 10 tanks moved to the squadron position, with the support of the infantry. Cossacks armed only rifle weapons, and grenades, began to cut off the infantry. He earned only one in the squadron machine gun. German tanks passing by the burnt wrecks, were amazed by the bottles and grenades. Having lost six tanks, the enemy retreated. The next attack was already involving 12 tanks, but then five T-34 tanks unexpectedly jumped out, and already seven burning vehicles remained on the battlefield. Tankers helped the Cossacks, but left. A squadron remained in position. Ilyenko was injured. The ranks of the Cossacks thinned out, but the squadron did not give up their positions. With the order to move away, the advance officer was sent, but the sniper's bullet cut him off along the way. When the order to withdraw was delivered, there was no one to transmit it. The entire squadron died the death of the brave, to the last man, without betraying the Cossack honor and not changing the oath.
The bet appreciated the actions of cavalrymen in the Moscow battle. All kav. units involved in the battle received the title of the Guard.
And detailed information can be obtained on the Internet.
Of course, in one publication it is impossible to reflect all that cavalry could do in the battle for Moscow, but the most important thing happened, the cavalry asserted itself as an independent branch of the military, capable of performing miracles in skilled hands.