However, during the numerous and merciless purges, he was not injured, was not shot, but on the contrary, he was repeatedly awarded, became one of the most famous military leaders of the USSR, the legendary organizer of the breakthrough and lifting of the blockade of Leningrad. This is about the Hero of the Soviet Union, Leonid Aleksandrovich Govorov, whom military historians consider the most mysterious Stalinist marshal.
A future commander was born in a peasant family in the village of Butyrka, Yaran district, Vyatka province. His father worked as a boatman, served as a sailor on riverboats, as a clerk in Elabuga. However, Leonid himself, after graduating from the village school, managed to brilliantly graduate from the Elabuga real school, and then enter the Petrograd Polytechnic Institute. Which, by the way, debunks the myth that spread in Soviet times that higher education in Russia was inaccessible to peasant children.
Thanks to his extraordinary abilities, Govorov could have become an excellent engineer, as he had dreamed, but World War I soon broke out. I did not have time to finish my higher education - in 1916, I was mobilized and sent to the Konstantinovsky Artillery School in Petrograd, I became an officer. Demobilized after the war, he returned to his parents in Elabuga. But with the beginning of the Civil War, he was mobilized into the army of Kolchak.
An officer from a peasant family with whites turned out to be out of the way. Govorov left Kolchak's troops and, together with a group of soldiers of his battery, went over to the Reds. Together with him, his brother Nikolay, also an officer, fled. So Leonid Govorov was in the division of Blucher, where he was offered to form an artillery division and become his commander. He fought against Wrangel's troops, was wounded twice: in the Kakhovka area, with a shard in the leg, and in the battle of Antonovskaya he was shot in the arm.
He fought bravely and was awarded for this by the chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic Lev Trotsky red revolutionary trousers. This attribute of military equipment was then a special form of reward (recall the film "Officers").
As Govorov’s son, Sergey Leonidovich, recalled, his future mother and father met in the 1923 year at the Odessa Opera House. “In addition to the open-willed person and the tall, stately figure of the young red commander, she was very impressed by the so-called red revolutionary trousers, in which her father flaunted,” he cites the details of that meeting.
In the Red Army, Govorov served exemplaryly and quickly climbed the ladder of a military career. In 1926, he graduated from the Artillery advanced courses, then - Higher Artillery Courses, studying at the Military Academy and the Academy of the General Staff. By the beginning of the war with Germany, Govorov was already in the post of the head of the Dzerzhinsky Artillery Academy. By the way, shortly before that, he independently learned German and even passed the exam for a military translator. He was sure that it was with Germany that he would soon have to fight again.
Such as Govorov, military leaders with higher education in the Red Army was not too much. Especially after merciless purges on the eve of the war. It is not clear how Govorov survived in them - with such a biography as his, it was very difficult. After all, he was not even a member of the party. Or maybe, on the contrary, this is exactly what helped him? Govorov was aloof from intrigue, and, moreover, distinguished himself upon breaking through the Mannerheim Line, for which he was awarded the Order of the Red Star. In practice, he showed how to break through the impregnable defense of reinforced concrete pillboxes: with the fire of the guns of the largest caliber, direct fire from the closest possible distances to clear the way for an attack. During this period, the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda began a discussion about the role of artillery in modern warfare. The division commander Govorov, who looked far ahead, defining the place of artillery in future battles and new principles for its use in offensive and defensive battles, made a report on this topic at a military-scientific conference. It is no coincidence that later they began to call him "the god of artillery."
With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the military talents of the future marshal appeared most clearly. In the midst of fighting for Moscow, in October 1941, Major General Artillery Govorov was appointed commander of the 5 Army, which led the hardest defensive battles on the outskirts of Moscow in the Mozhaisk direction. For the first time in the military stories the command of the combined-arms association was entrusted not only to the general, but to the general from artillery.
Govorov received his baptism of fire as an army commander on the Borodino field. On his initiative, anti-tank areas and reserves were created for the first time, which played a huge role in repelling massive tank attacks by German troops. Govorov made extensive use of mobile detachments and ambushes to combat enemy tanks. The enemy was stopped at Borodino for almost six whole days, suffering heavy losses. But the forces were unequal, and Govorov convinced the commander of the Western Front, Georgy Zhukov, of the need to retreat to the defensive line in the Zvenigorod area. Georgy Konstantinovich gave the go-ahead, though he set a condition: in case of failure, Govorov will answer to the fullest extent of wartime. But he did not have to answer, Govorov was right: he managed to withdraw the troops in an organized manner, to stabilize the front. In the midst of defensive battles, in November 1941, Govorov's merits in disrupting the enemy's offensive against Moscow were awarded the Order of Lenin.
The description of the award, signed by G. Zhukov, said: “Comrade. Saying a strong will, demanding, energetic, brave and organized by the commander of the troops. "
And on January 18, 1942, the battle began for Mozhaisk. Soon the whole city was in the hands of our troops, the fascists were thrown tens of kilometers away. The next day, the troops of the 5 Army in a night battle liberated Borodino and the Borodino field from the enemy. The Nazis failed to carry out his plan: to destroy the monuments of Russian glory in the 1812 war of the year ...
In June, 1942, after the tragic defeat of the 2-th Shock Army, I.V. Stalin removed General Mikhail Khozin from his post as commander of the Leningrad Front and appointed Govorov instead. He was in a hungry blockade city. The tasks of the new front commander were set clear: to prevent the destruction of Leningrad by enemy fire, to break through and lift the blockade. Govorov was settled in the most quiet and safe - relatively, of course - district, on the Petrograd side.
By the way, it was then that Govorov was given a party ticket without undergoing seniority. Otherwise, he would have been the only commander of such a rank not a Communist, which in those times was simply impossible.
As a memory of the events of those days, the Govorov family still keeps a miniature model of the T-34 tank-ink tank made of brass with the inscription “Marshal of the Soviet Union to Stalin from the guardsmen of the 5 Panzer Army”. How did she get there? In the midst of preparations for an operation to break through the blockade of Leningrad, Stalin summoned Govorov and asked if he had any requests for the Stavka. Seeing the good position of the leader, he said that on the eve of the offensive, I would like to have more tanks.
Stalin frowned, then said: “I don’t have tanks for you now.” And then wearily added: "Take, Comrade Govorov, even this one." And he pointed to the ink tank on his desk.
Govorov took it for a joke, thanked him and left. And then I was surprised to see a roll in the seat of my car. There was a tank from the table of Stalin. And the real combat vehicles still came at the disposal of the Leningrad Front to the beginning of the offensive.
... Govorov was directly involved in the first performance of Dmitry Shostakovich's famous 7 symphony in the besieged Leningrad 9 in August 1942. On this day, according to the plans of the German command, the city was supposed to fall. And as a challenge to the enemy, a concert was to be held on this day in the Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic Society. Govorov set a task for the troops: to make sure that not a single enemy shell, not a single bomb fell on the city during a concert. Right from the front Govorov came to the philharmonic. All the time while the performance of the legendary symphony was going on, enemy shells and bombs in the city did not explode, because, by order of Govorov, our gunners fired at the enemy. The operation was called "Flurry."
Conductor Carl Eliasberg later recalled: “The symphony sounded. Applause rang out in the hall ... I went into the artistic ... Suddenly everyone parted. Quickly entered Govorov. He spoke very seriously, cordially about the symphony, and when leaving, he said in a somewhat mysterious way: "Our gunners can also be considered participants in the execution." Then, frankly, I did not understand this phrase. And only many years later I learned that Govorov had given the order for the duration of the symphony DD. Shostakovich to our artillerymen to conduct intensive fire on enemy batteries and force them to silence. I think that in the history of music such a fact is the only one ”.
... The operation to break the blockade called Iskra, which Stalin instructed Govorov, was being prepared carefully. For the offensive, shock groups of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts were formed.
In the rear created training fields and special towns, the troops practiced the crossing of the ice and the guidance of crossings for heavy artillery and tanks.
As Marshal’s son Sergei recalled, the commander “began to remove the battalions from the front line of the defense in order to fatten them in Leningrad and train them.” The exhausted fighters had to run across the ice of the Neva under the enemy's 800 hurricane fire in twenty degrees of frost. He even forbade the soldiers to shout "Hurray!" In order not to waste power. The brass band played the "Internationale" on a hillock; under the sounds of the hymn, it was necessary to force a six-meter, almost steep bank, which the fascists poured with water. With them dragged ladders, hooks and cats. All other details of the operation were worked out with the same thoroughness.
Thanks to the reconnaissance efforts, the Soviet command had a rather detailed picture of the enemy defense, and managed to hide the direction of the main attack from the enemy. Total groups of two fronts numbered 302800 soldiers and officers near Leningrad, around 4900 guns and mortars, more than 600 tanks and 809 aircraft. Total Soviet troops had more than five times superiority over the enemy.
The city suffering from hunger and cold also gave the last to the front.
Exhausted knitwear sewed a warm uniform for the fighters. Subsequently, many soldiers found in the pockets a little note with a message of several words: “Dear Red Army fighter! Beat the fascist reptiles! Beat while alive! Save us.
Notes, as a rule, were signed only by the names: “Masha”, “Lena”, “Luba”.
During the night of January 12, Soviet bombers struck a massive blow at enemy positions in the breakthrough strip, at airfields and railway junctions in the rear. In the morning powerful artillery preparation began artillery. “I still cannot forget the impressions of the disastrous fire of Russian cannons,” the soldier of the 401 regiment of the 170 Infantry Division, who was taken prisoner, said later. “As I recall this hellish roar, exploding shells, it makes me shiver again and again.” He was echoed by other prisoners: “I have never seen such a nightmarish fire anywhere”. Then, under the cover of the “fiery shaft”, the troops began to force the Neva. After several days of fierce fighting, the Soviet troops managed to break the resistance of the Nazis, and on January 18 and 1943, the blockade of Leningrad was broken. For the exhausted population, it was a holiday — people took to the streets, crying, kissing. The city was decorated with flags, and 8 February in Leningrad arrived train with food from the depths of the country. For the successful conduct of the operation, Govorov was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
Leading combat operations against the Courland group of German troops during the final phase of the war, Govorov persuaded Stalin to abandon the frontal assault on the fortifications in order to avoid imminent huge losses, and suggested that the Nazis be locked up on the Kurland Peninsula and forced to surrender. And Stalin agreed. As a result, Govorov made a real blockade: the surrounded Germans had to switch to a hungry ration, they ate all the combatant horses. Govorov presented an ultimatum to the surrounded, demanded to surrender within 24 hours.
The Germans knew that he commanded the troops near Leningrad and were afraid to surrender to Leningrad units, fearing revenge for their atrocities against the besieged city.
Therefore, an ultimatum to mislead the Nazis was transmitted from the radio station 2 of the Baltic Front. The Germans were confident that they were surrendering not to Leningraders, but to the Baltic soldiers, and the Kurland group of armies surrendered to 8 in May 1945. Govorov, knowing German very well, interrogated the fascist generals who had surrendered to captivity. Several senior officers, when the fraud was revealed, committed suicide out of fear. In May, 1945, Leonid Aleksandrovich was awarded the highest in the CCCR Order of Victory.
Alas, after the war, Govorov had to go through quite a few grave moments when some prominent military leaders, including Marshal Zhukov himself, fell into disgrace. And many of his close friends from among the top leaders of the city were destroyed in the so-called "Leningrad case". And again it was not clear how he himself could survive. What he had to go through can be judged by the episode that his wife recalled: “On the eve of the blockade breaking in January 1943, I asked him whether everything was ready and what would happen in case of failure. He replied that everything was calculated, the troops were ready. “Well, in the case of failure,” he said, smiling a little, “remains with his head in the hole.”
In 1948, Govorov had to lead the so-called “Court of Honor” created by Stalin, who convicted four admirals-heroes of the war: Kuznetsov, Galler, Alafuzov and Stepanov. All of them were rehabilitated in 1953.
The last military post Govorov - commander of the air defense of the USSR. But he was already seriously ill then. Why, after all, he himself survived, we will never know, Leonid Alexandrovich did not leave memoirs. His son Sergei recalled: “On one of the warm days of spring 1954, my father returned earlier than usual. Leaving the service ZIS, he paused for a bit and told his mother: “The appointment was made. I had no right to refuse. But this is the end ... ". He was referring to his appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Air Defense.
The fact is that by this time my father was seriously ill with a severe form of hypertension - the blockade of Leningrad, and the so-called “Leningrad affair”, which in 1948-1950 had, also affected. due to false accusations, people who worked with him and led the defense of Leningrad were shot.
But then there were no effective drugs against hypertension. The last year of my father’s life remained in my memory as an expectation of something terrible. The first strike occurred in the summer of 1954. Already being terminally ill, his father worked and performed his duties - in those years, the artillery was replaced by anti-aircraft missile systems, aviation switched to jet equipment, equipped with new means of detecting and hitting targets, radar and communication systems were developing rapidly. The lack of physical strength was compensated by the iron will of the father, which was noted by colleagues who came to him regularly, and an officer for special assignments, who brought documents daily. So it was at the dacha in Arkhangelsk when his father could still get out of bed. So it was in the last months of his life, when he was confined to a hospital bed. On the night of March 19, 1955, my father died. Mom said that, feeling that life was leaving him, his father escorted everyone from the hospital ward, except for his eldest son. He dictated to his son a note to the Soviet government, which he ended with the words: “I had to do more, but I did what I could, what I could.”
So, in the Moscow sanatorium "Barvikha", at the age of just 58 years, an outstanding commander died, liberating Leningrad. The urn with the ashes of the former Tsarist officer and the Soviet marshal was buried in the Kremlin wall ...