Military Review

Russian armored cars (Part 2) "Russian child"

With the beginning of the First World War, the situation with armored cars began to change radically. This was facilitated by the maneuverability of the first weeks of the fighting, as well as the developed road network and a large fleet in France and Belgium - it was here in the first days of August that the first armored cars appeared.

As for the Russian front, the Germans were pioneers in the field of armored vehicles, who successfully used a new type of military equipment in East Prussia. This is confirmed by the order of the commander of the North-Western Front of the General from the cavalry of Zhilinsky No. 35, dated August 19 1914 of the year, which determined the measures to combat enemy armored vehicles:

“The battles that have taken place recently in the troops of the front entrusted to me have shown that the Germans successfully use machine guns mounted on armored vehicles. Such machine guns, attached to small cavalry detachments, using the abundance of the highway and the speed of their movement, appearing on the flanks and in the rear of our location, are shelling not only our troops, but also carts with actual fire.

In order to secure the troops of the North-Western Front from shelling them with machine guns, I order to send forward sapper teams to damage those highways that can serve the enemy for movement with the aim of both attacking the front and threatening the flanks and rear of our troops. At the same time, it is necessary to choose such sections of the highway that do not have detours ... ”.

Unfortunately, until today it has not been finally clarified which German armored cars are being talked about. Most likely, it could be high-speed cars armed with machine guns or light trucks, possibly partially armored in field conditions.

The only to date confirmation of the existence of German armored vehicles is the photo of the “German armored car-railcar” captured in August 1914 in East Prussia.

Information about the German armored cars, as well as reports in the press about the combat operations of the allied armored vehicles in France and Belgium, gave impetus to the manufacture of the first Russian armored vehicles. The pioneer in this was the commander of the 5-th automobile company headquarters captain Ivan Nikolaevich Bazhanov.

He was born in Perm in 1880, graduated from the Siberian Cadet Corps, then the Engineering School with an additional course with the title of mechanic, and after the Russian-Japanese war - the Liege Electromechanical Institute with an engineering degree. He worked at factories in Germany, Switzerland, France. In Russia, he worked for several months at the Russian-Baltic Carriage Plant and the Provodnik Plant. From 1913, the commander of the 5 automotive company in Vilna.

11 August 1914 of the year Bazhanov, under the personal order of Major General Janov, departed for the 25 Infantry Division of the 1 Army of the North-Western Front “for negotiations on the adaptation of the machine gun to the car. 18 August "with a truck, armored vehicles of the company, with machine guns placed on it" he departed at the disposal of the 25-th Infantry Division. In his memoirs, Bazhanov wrote about it this way:

“The work was carried out in Ixterburg, near Koenigsberg. For urgent reservations used the truck of the Italian company SPA, which was booked with sheets of armor from the shields of captured German artillery guns. It was the first armored vehicle of the Russian Army, armed with two machine guns and disguised as a truck. "

We also made armored cars in the 8 automobile company that went to the front of the 18 September 1914 of the year. Among others, it included "cars" Case "- 2, passenger, armored." What they represent the author is unknown.

Naturally, such a spontaneous construction could neither provide the army with armored cars, nor give combat vehicles suitable for wide use in battles. This required the involvement of large industrial enterprises and support at the highest level.

German armored car-railcar captured by 1 units of the Russian army in East Prussia in battles of 14-20 of August 1914 of the year (RGAKFD)

17 August 1914, the War Minister of the Russian Empire, Adjutant General Sukhomlinov, summoned the Life Guards of the Egersky Regiment, Colonel Alexander Nikolaevich Dobrzhansky *, temporarily seconded to the Office of the Military Ministry, and invited him to form an "armored machine gun car battery."

Born 19 April 1873, in the province of Tiflis, of hereditary nobles. He graduated from the Tiflis Cadet Corps (1891) and the 2-e Military Konstantinovskoe School (1893), was assigned first to the 149-nd Black Sea Infantry Regiment, then to the 1-nd Caucasian Rifle Battalion, and in the 1896 year - in the Life-Guards EGMX . In 1900, he graduated from the Oriental languages ​​courses at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 1904, he was appointed to be a “military unit” under the Steward of His Majesty in the Caucasus. In 1914, he was promoted to colonel, in 1917, to major generals. Died 15 November 1937goda in Paris.

19 August Dobrzhansky received official permission to build cars. It was this document - a sheet from a notebook with Sukhomlinov's signature - that served as the starting point for the formation of armored automobile units of the Russian Army.

The choice of Dobzhansky's candidature for a new and complex business was not accidental. Serving in the Life Guards Egersky regiment at the disposal of the “imperial governor in the Caucasus for the military unit”, he was sent to St. Petersburg Cartridge Factory in 1913 to design a pointed-pointed armor-piercing bullet for an 7,62-mm rifle of the 1891 model of the year. The idea of ​​creating an armored car, according to the report of Dobzhansky himself, was born to him during a business trip to the Creusot factories in France, where he “as a machine-gunner practically studied this matter.” It is not clear what exactly Dobzhansky is writing about, perhaps he saw vehicles with partial armor armed with Hotchkiss machine guns, designed by Captain Enti in 1906-1911.

Since the beginning of World War I, Dobrzhansky "began to propagandize in military circles about the need to create armored cars in the army." Apparently, at the same time, the Minister of War Sukhomlinov paid attention to him.

Having received the necessary support from the “top”, in the first days of September 1914, Dobzhansky compiled a “schematic drawing of an armored car” (or, as we would say today, a draft design). For their manufacturing, we chose a Russian-Baltic carriage plant of the type “C 24 / 40” with an engine of 40 hp, (chassis No. 530,533, 534, 535, 538, 539, 542, the number of the eighth machine is unknown, presumably 532) . A detailed design of the booking and working drawings was developed by the mechanical engineer Grauen, and the construction of the machines was assigned to the armored workshop No. 2 of the Izhora Marine Department.

In the manufacture of armored cars, the plant had to solve many problems: to develop the composition of the armor, the way it was riveted to the metal frame, ways to strengthen the chassis. To speed up the manufacture of machines, it was decided to abandon the use of rotating towers, and place the armament in the hull. The development of machine gun installations for this Dobrzhansky instructed the gunsmith designer Colonel Sokolov.

On each Russo-Balt there were three 7,62-mm Maxim machine guns arranged in a triangle, which made it possible to "always have two machine guns aimed at the target in case of a delay of one of them." The machines developed by Sokolov and the rollers sliding on the rollers made it possible for the armored car to be fired at 360 degrees, with one machine gun in the front and rear hull sheets, and the third was “roaming” and could be rearranged from left to starboard and vice versa.

The armored cars were protected by “special hardening” chrome-nickel armor with 5 mm thickness (front and stern sheets), mm 3,5 (hull sides) and mm 3 (roof). Such small thicknesses were explained by the use of a passenger chassis, which was already overloaded. For more bulletproof armor sheets were installed at large angles of inclination to the vertical - in cross section, the body was a hexagon with a slightly extended upper part. As a result, it was possible to ensure the bulletproofness of the armor protection of machines at a distance of 400 steps (280 meters) during the shelling of the 7,62-mm heavy rifle bullet: “Armor, despite its subtlety ... thanks to the bonding at angles calculated at angles of bullets falling at 400 steps (on this distance is not pierced), which allows you to sweep up to this limit all attempts of the enemy to approach with impunity ”. The crew of an armored car consisted of an officer, a driver and three machine-gunners, for which landing there was a door in the left side of the hull. In addition, if necessary, you could leave the car through a hinged roof in the rear. The ammunition load was 9000 cartridges (36 boxes with ribbons), the petrol supply was 6 pounds (96 kg), and the total combat weight of the machine was 185 pounds (2960 kilograms).

Sheet from the notebook of the Minister of War A. Sukhomlinov with the order on the formation of the “automobile machine-gun battery” (RGAKFD)

In the course of the initial design, Dobrzhansky came to the conclusion that pure machine-gun armored vehicles would be ineffective “against the enemy hidden in the trenches, against the hidden machine-gun or enemy armored vehicles”.

Therefore, he developed a draft design of a cannon machine in two versions - with the Hotchkiss 47-mm naval gun and the Maxim-Nordenfeld automatic 37-gun.

But due to lack of time and the lack of the necessary chassis, by the time the armored vehicles departed, only one cannon machine manufactured on the 5-ton 45-strong truck chassis of the German company Mannesmann-Mulag (out of five) was ready for the front purchased in 1913 year.

This armored car had only a fully armored cockpit, in which besides the chauffeur there was a machine gunner, while the machine gun could fire only forward along the vehicle. The main armament — the HotNews 47-mm naval gun on the pedestal — was mounted behind a large-sized box-shaped shield in the back of a truck. There was also another Maxim machine gun, which could move from side to side and fire through side embrasures. The armored car turned out to be quite heavy (about 8 t) and slow, but with powerful weapons. The crew of the "Mannesmann" was 8 man, armor thickness 3-5 mm.

In addition, two 37-mm Maxim-Nordenfeld automatic cannons were installed on the Benz and Alldays 3-ton trucks, which were not booked due to lack of time (curiously, the cars were transferred to the company from the St. Petersburg branch of the State Bank) .

The creator of the first in Russia avtobroneva part of Alexander Nikolaevich Dobrzhansky. In the photo 1917, he is in the rank of Major General (RGAKFD)

Simultaneously with the manufacture of armored cars, Colonel Dobrzhansky was engaged in the formation of the world's first armored vehicle, which was officially named the 1-I automobile machine-gun company. 31 August 1914 to the Military Council was sent a draft staff of the new unit. This document stated the following:

“Frequent episodes from the battles taking place now, both in French and on our front, found out the considerable combat power of machine guns mounted on cars and protected by more or less thick armor. By the way, there are no such installations in our army at all. The Minister of War acknowledged the urgent need to organize the relevant units, which is why the project of the organization of the 1 automotive machine-gun company is presented to the Military Council.

... All these requirements regarding machine-gun installations are largely satisfied by the proposal of one of the officers of our army, namely, to install machine guns with circular shelling on armored light vehicles. Each of them is supposed to accommodate three machine guns, and from the personnel of the driver, officer and three machine gunners. Two armored cars make up a car-gun platoon.

For the implementation of the correct operation of such a platoon at the Theater of Military Operations, it is provided as follows:

a), for one armored car - one passenger car and one motorcycle;

b), for a machine gun platoon - one truck with a field workshop and a stock of gasoline ”.

The following resolution was superimposed on this document: “Generate by the aforementioned states: by No. 1 - control of the 1-y auto-pistol company and 1, 2, 3, 4-y machine-gun platoon and maintain these units for the duration of the current war”.

8 September 1914 of the Year By the Highest Order of Staff No. 14, the machine gun platoon was approved.

23 September 1914 of the year, when the booking of the Mannesmann cannon was completed, the commander of the 1 th auto-pistol company, Colonel Dobrzhansky (appointed by the Highest order from 22 September) sent the following letter to the Minister of War:

“I propose a draft of the formation of the states in the 1 th autobunker company of the 5 th gun platoon, I petition for its approval. In view of the fact that the guns were of a marine type, the composition of the artillerymen was sent to me by the Maritime Office during the war with the maintenance of the contents of the maritime states.

The staff of the gun platoon is proposed as follows:
Cargo armored cars - 3 (for 20000 rubles);
3-ton trucks - 2;
Cars - 3;
Motorcycles - 2.

The proposed state, which received No. 15, was approved on September 29. To service the artillery systems of the “marine model”, 1 non-commissioned officers, commandants and miners were included in the 10st machine-gun company fleetincluded in the 5th platoon. The latter was appointed commander of the staff captain A. Miklashevsky, who was called up from the reserve, who in the past was a naval officer.

Thus, in its final form, the 1-I automobile machine-gun company included controls (1 cargo, 2 passenger cars and 4 motorcycles), 1, 2, 3, 4-second automobile machine guns and 5-second automobile gun platoons, and 15 officers, 150 non-commissioned officers and privates, 8 armored machine guns, 1 armored and 2 unarmored cannon cars, 17 passenger cars, 5 1,5-ton trucks and 2 3-ton trucks, and 14 motorcycles. All armored "Russo-Balts" received the side numbers № 1 number № 8, "Mannes-mann" - № 1п (gun), and unarmored - № 2п and Зп. For ease of management and reporting, at the very beginning of the battles, the commander of the 1 th vehicle-gun company introduced a continuous numbering of combat vehicles, while Mannesmann, Benz and Oldcese received No.9, 10 and 11, respectively.

12 in October 1914 of the year 1 in the Tsarskoye Selo was examined by Emperor Nicholas II in the Tsarskoye Selo, and on October 19, after a “part-time prayer” on the Semenovsky parade in Petrograd, the company went to the front.

“Russo-Balty” of the 1 th vehicle-shooting company on the road in the Prasnysh area. Spring 1915 of the year (RGAKFD)

The soldiers and officers of the 1-y auto-pistol company during the farewell prayer. Semenovsky parade, October 19 1914 of the year. The armored Mannesmann-Mulag can be seen in the center (photo by L. Bulla, ASKM)

1-I auto-pistol company during the farewell prayer. Semenovsky parade, October 19 1914 of the year. Armored vehicles "Russo-Balt" are clearly visible (photo by L. Bulla, ASKM)

Their first battle 1-I machine-gun company spent for the city Strykov 9 November 1914 of the year. Colonel A. Dobzhansky wrote about this the following:

“9 November 1914, at dawn, a detachment of Colonel Maksimovic began to attack the city of Strykov. 1-I automobile machine-gun company ... drove in at high speed along the highway into the city to the square, fired at the houses that sheltered the enemy, and assisted, breaking along the streets, 9 and 12 of the Turkestan regiments to capture the city.

On November 10, platoons crossed the city, advanced on Zgerzhskoye Highway, fired at the semi-flanks of the enemy's trenches, preparing an attack for the riflemen; by taking arrows at bayonets, moved the fire to the left of the highway, knocked out the enemy there.

At this time, the gun platoon, having taken the enemy out on the flank, together with the arrows, did not allow him to accumulate in a strong point - a brick factory near Zgerzhskoye Highway. In the amount of about two companies the enemy lay down in the trenches to the left of the road, but was completely destroyed by the fire of a car cannon. In the evening, the platoons and the cannon were pushed to support fire from the highway by attacking the factory with arrows, which was taken hostile by the night attack. ”

During the battle, the Mannesmann with the 47-mm cannon was stuck in the mud and stalled a few dozen meters from the enemy’s forward positions. Having fallen under the fire of German machine guns, who beat Zdunska Volya from the church in the village, the crew left the car. The nearby commander of the 5 th authoritarian team captain Bazhanov (the same one who made the SPA armored car in August 1914 of the year) along with the marine non-commissioned officer Bagaev made their way to the car. Bazhanov took up the engine, and Bagaev "turned the giant armored cannon mass with a gun to the Germans and, opening fire, shot down the German machine guns from the bell tower." After this, the armored car supported the attack of our infantry, which took Zdun Wai in an hour by fire of a gun and machine gun. For this, Bazhanov was presented with the Order of St. George 4 degree, and Bagaev received the George Cross 4 degree.

Early in the morning of November 21, 1914, the 4 platoon of Staff Captain P. Gurdov, along with the unarmored Oldmays, received orders to cover the flank of the 68 Infantry Regiment of the 19 Army Corps, which the Germans were trying to bypass:

“Arriving in Pabianipe, the commander of the 4 platoon of armored cars, coming to the commander of the 19 corps, received an order at 3 one o'clock in the morning to roll out on Lasskoe highway, since the Germans were determined to press on the left flank of our location. The cars rolled up at the moment when the left flank of the Butyrsky regiment faltered and leaned back. The Germans stepped close to the highway. At this time, the captain Gurdov crashed into the advancing dense chains and opened fire on two faces of four machine guns from a distance of 100-150 steps. The Germans could not stand it, stopped the offensive and lay down. From such a close distance the bullets cracked the armor. All people and staff captain Gurdov injured. Both cars are disabled. Four machine guns hit. Firing back the remaining two machine guns, staff captain Gurdov in 7 h. 30 min. in the morning, with the help of wounded machine-gunners, I rolled both cars to our chains, from where they were towed. ”

Armored "Russo-Balt" №7, shot down in battle 12 February 1915 year in Dobrzhankovo. Staff captain P. Gurdov (ASKM) died on this car

During the battle 37-mm automatic cannon fire was broken several houses in which the Germans sat down, as well as "blew up the front, leaving the position of the enemy's battery."

Approximately in 8.00, the 2 platoon of Staff Captain B. Shulkevich with unarmored Benz approached Gurdov, and as a result German units retreated to about 10.30. In the course of this battle, Russian armored cars managed to prevent the enemy from reaching the 19 of the army corps. During this battle, the staff captain Gurdov was awarded the Order of St. George 4-th degree, becoming his first cavalier in the company, and all the crews of his platoon-George crosses and medals. Soon the command of the company received a telegram from the Headquarters signed by Emperor Nicholas II:
"I am glad and thank you for your valiant service."

The whole company covered the withdrawal of the 2 Army from Lodz and was the last to leave the city of November 24 in the morning, on different roads.

4 December 1914 of the year, covering the retreat of the 6 Army Corps, four armored vehicles lingered in Lovech, missed our last units, and letting them go, they had a firefight with the advancing Germans. In the afternoon, the armored cars left the city, blowing up all five bridges at Lovech through Vzur, which made it possible for the 6 corps to take a comfortable defensive position.

The first battles revealed a strong overload of the Russo-Baltov chassis. Therefore, we had to further strengthen the suspension, which was held in the Warsaw workshops in early December 1914. By order of Colonel Dobrzhansky spring strengthened "one thick sheet-lining on the axis." In addition, all the springs were "even more curved because they were too much passed." The measures taken did not help much - for a six-person passenger chassis, the armored hull with weapons and various reserves was heavy.

The November battles showed the high performance of the Maxim-Nordenfeld 37-mm automatic cannons, even though they stood on the unarmored Benz and Aldice trucks. Here is what 8 of December 1914 wrote about one of these battles, Colonel Dobrzhansky, in his report to the Chief of Staff of the 1 Army:

“The commander of the 5 platoon headquarters captain Miklashevsky has just returned with a rapid-fire cannon (this is a battle in the evening of December 7. - Approx. Of the author). In pursuance of telegram number 1785, having received instructions from me, he collided with the enemy, who had been dug in a mile from s. Gulin on Bolimov highway. Approaching the trenches with a cannon at 1500 steps (1050 m), the staff captain Miklashevsky opened fire on the trenches, nestled against the wall of a burnt hut, under heavy rifle fire. In vain was searching for his beam of a German searchlight. Having spent all his cartridges (800) on the reflection of two repulsed enemy attacks, the staff captain Miklashevsky returned to the intersection of the Paprotnya. No injured. I report that the staff captain Miklashevsky worked as a gun, in the open set on the platform of the truck. "

Transportation of the damaged Russo-Balt truck, armored Mannesmann-Mulag with the 37-mm gun is visible ahead. Spring 1915 of the year (TsGAKFD SPB)

Operation "Mannesmann" showed that the car is very heavy, slow, and the high-explosive action of the 47-mm projectile was inferior to the automatic "Nordenfeld". In less than a month of fighting, the armored car went out of order, it was sent to the rear for repair, where it was dropped out.

At the beginning of 1915, the manufacture of four more cannon armored vehicles for the 1 14th automatic-pistol company began at the Izhora plant. Under the booking scheme, they looked like a Mannesmann with an 47-mm gun, but lighter trucks were used in the bases: two 3-ton Packards with an 32 hp engine. and two 3-ton "Mannesmann" with the engine in 42 hp The armament of each of them consisted of the 37-mm Maxim-Nordenfeld automatic cannon, "beating on 3 and 3 / 4 versts and releasing 50 explosive shells per minute" and installed behind a large-sized box-shaped shield. In addition, there was one Maxim machine gun for self-defense in melee. He had no special installation and could fire from the body or through the open viewing window of the cabin. Armor thickness 4 mm covered the sides of the cargo platform "to the floor height", and the cabin was fully booked. The crew consisted of seven people - a commander, a driver with an assistant and four gunners, a mobile load - 1200 shells, 8000 cartridges and 3 pounds (48 kilograms) of trotyl, the combat weight was 360 pounds (5760 kg).

The two Packards and Mannesmann arrived at the 1 of the auto-pistol company by March 22 of the year 1915, and the last Mannesmann in early April. After receiving these machines 5-th gun platoon disbanded, and new armored vehicles were distributed among platoons: in 1 and 4 - Mannesmann (received No. 10 and 40), and in 2 and 3-th - Packard (No. 20 and 30 ). In the meantime, the new armored vehicles did not arrive, the 1-I auto-bullet company continued its heroic combat work, while demonstrating the wonders of heroism.

3 February 1915 of the commander of the 2 platoon of Staff Captain Shulkevich received from the commander of the 8 Cavalry Division, General Krasovsky, the task of moving in the direction of Belsk with 2 and 3 of platoons and meeting the Germans “threatened from this direction, our left. , delay their progress. "

Mannesmann-Mulag armored car with Hotchkiss 47-mm gun on Lodz Street. 1914 year (ASKM)

Having received this order, four Russo-Balts moved forward: the first 2 platoon, followed by the 3 th. Arriving at the village of Goslice, the armored cars encountered three advancing columns of German infantry: one was leaving the village, and two were on the sides of the highway. In total, the enemy had about three battalions. From the report of the staff captain Shulkevich:

“Taking advantage of the fact that the Germans noticed us late, it was possible for the front (2) platoon to enter between the sides of the columns advanced from the middle ledges forward. The 3 platoon also came very close.

Stopping, I fired five machine guns from my platoon in all three columns. 3-th platoon opened fire on the side columns, as the middle one was closed by my platoon, standing in front. The Germans opened a murderous rifle fire, which was soon joined by artillery, bombarding all the cars with explosive bullets. Our unexpected and well-aimed fire caused the enemy, in addition to large losses, confusion at first, and then indiscriminate retreat. The fire of the infantry began to subside, but the artillery was shot down - it was necessary to change the position, for which it was necessary to turn around on a narrow highway with very viscous verges (there was a thaw).

They began to turn one car in platoons, continuing to fire from the others. Cars got stuck in the roadside, I had to get out and roll them out on my hands, which, of course, the Germans took advantage of and intensified the fire ...

Having pulled out the first car, I continued the fire, but the servants of the second car could not roll it out. I had to stop firing from the first and get out to the aid of the second. At this time, gunner Tereshchenko was killed, gunner Pisarev and two gunner Bredis wounded by two bullets, driver Mazevsky was wounded, the rest received abrasions from fragments of explosive bullets. All efforts seemed in vain, as the machine did not yield, and the number of employees decreased. I wanted to take help from the 3 platoon, but they were so behind that they could shoot them until they reached them ... He sent Private Bredis to report to Captain Deibel (commander of the 3 platoon. -Prim. Of the author), asking him to drive up by car, but it turned out that during the turn, her cone burned down and she did not move on her own.

Despite the critical situation, the 2 platoon steadfastly endured all the losses and continued selflessly to help out his car and, finally, with incredible efforts, pulled out and turned the second car. The Germans took advantage of the calm of the fire and went on the offensive, but turning the cars, the 2 platoon again opened heavy fire. The Germans began to retreat again, but our position was still very difficult: the platoons were 10-12 versts ahead of their units without any cover, out of four cars — three almost did not move on their own, suffering significant losses, the servants were overwhelmed by incredible tension.

Finally, it became clear that the Germans, having suffered huge losses, are retreating, and will not resume attacks again. Their artillery began to shoot at the village of Goslice, apparently fearing our persecution, but this could not be thought, since the cars still had to be hauled in their arms.

Getting dark. Having called up a whole machine under the command of ensign Slivovskii to cover our detachment, the detachment safely went to his troops, rolling cars on their hands. ”

As a result of the 2 and 3 th bout, the platoons managed not only to stop and detain the German column that was bypassing the left flank of the 8 th cavalry division, but also inflicted heavy losses on it. This was confirmed by the fact that the next, 16.00 February, was not in the indicated direction of the enemy’s attack on 4. This allowed the Russian units to withdraw without loss and gain a foothold in the new position.

For this battle, all the lower ranks of the armored vehicles received the St. George crosses, Second Lieutenant Dushkin received the Order of St. Vladimir with swords, the commander of the 2 platoon received the Order of St. George 4. And the headquarters captain Deybel was awarded St. George weapons.

Damaged "Russo-Balt" on the trailer of the truck. Spring 1915 of the year (TsGAKFD SPB)

11 February 1915, a detachment consisting of four armored Russo-Balts and an unarmored truck with an 37-mm automatic cannon, received the task of firing German positions in the village of Kmetsy, ensuring the attack of the 2-Siberian infantry division of the 1 th Siberian infantry division. Having set the sights on the level still dark, the armored cars moved in the direction of Kmetsy. The fire was opened in 0.40, while the Russo-Balts fired 1000 cartridges each, and the cannon fired 300 shells for 10 minutes. The Germans began to stir up, and soon they left the trenches at Kmetsy and retreated to the north-west. According to local residents, their losses amounted to 300 killed and wounded.

12 February 1915 of the 4 Russo-Balt (1 and 4 platoons) and 37-mm unarmored Old cannon were attached to the 2 Siberian Infantry Regiment to support the attack of the Dobrzhankovo ​​village. Leaving one armored car in reserve, the detachment, moving away from its infantry on 1,5 versts, moved almost close to the village, where it was met with rifle-and-machine-gun fire and the shrapnel of the two guns to the left of the highway. Stopping, armored cars opened "deadly fire at the flank at the trenches, and the gun fired on top of the first two machines to platoon enemy artillery." One of the first German shells was pierced with armor on the head machine and killed the platoon commander, captain P. Gurdov. An automatic gun, firing two ribbons (100 shells), swept down the servants and smashed both German guns. But by this time only two ordinary of seven servants remained in the truck. Despite this, the gun transferred the fire to the German trenches to the right of the highway and released two more tapes. At this time, one of the bullets pierced the gas tank of a truck with an 37-mm gun, it caught fire, and then the shells in the back of the truck exploded (550 pieces).

Despite everything, the armored cars continued to fight, although their armor was penetrated from all sides (the enemy fired from a distance of less than 100 m). The commander of the second armored car, lieutenant Prince A. Vachnadze and the entire crew, were wounded, two of the three machine guns were broken, however, the German trenches were overwhelmed with dead and wounded.

Unarmored “Old-Day” truck with an 37-mm automatic cannon in a battle near the village of Dobrzhankovo ​​12 February 1915 (drawing by an unknown author from the collection of S. Saneyev)

Seeing the plight of their comrades, they were moved to the rescue by the commander of the Russo-Balt in reserve, the staff captain B. Podgursky, who asked the commander of the 2 Siberian Regiment to move the infantry forward. Approaching the battlefield, Podgursky, together with the only remaining armored car, broke into Dobrzhankovo, shooting everything in its path, and occupied two bridges and did not allow the enemy to withdraw. As a result, parts of the 1 Siberian Infantry Division surrendered to 500 Germans.

In the course of this battle, the captain Gurdov and six machine-gunners died, one machine-gunner died from wounds, the staff-captain Podgursky, the lieutenant Vachnadze and seven machine-gunners were wounded. All four armored vehicles were out of order, were broken by 10 12 machine guns and splinters from XNUMX machine guns, the truck with an automatic cannon burned down and was not recoverable.

For this battle, Capt. P. Gurdov was posthumously made captain, awarded the St. George’s Arms and the Order of St. Anne 4 of the degree with the inscription “For Bravery”, Lieutenant A. Vachnadze received the Order of St. George of the 4 degree, and Captain B. L. Podgursky - Order of St. Anne 3 Degree with swords and bow. Were awarded St. George crosses and all the crews of combat vehicles.

Sending a letter to the family of the deceased captain P. Gurdov, the company commander Colonel Dobrzhansky wrote in it: “... I inform you that by the name“ Captain Gurdov ”dear to our unit, we called one of the combat vehicles.” This armored vehicle was the Packard No. 20 from the 2 platoon.

- New cannon armored cars have proven themselves in the very first battles. So, 15 on April 1915, the two Packards, were given the task of destroying the enemy’s reference path near the village of Bromeř. During the reconnaissance, it turned out that this structure was “in the form of a steady, by force on a company”, surrounded by wire barriers. Behind the stronghold there was a big straw mound, at which the Germans set up an observation post: “The king over the whole terrain, being in close proximity to our trenches and relatively safe from our artillery fire, unable, thanks to the absence of closed positions, to move closer three miles to To Bromier, this observation post held the entire garrison in a tense state for two months, shelling the regiment during the day and night and adjusting the fire of its artillery. ” Numerous attempts by soldiers of the 76 Infantry Division to burn a rick did not work, only led to great losses.

Armored Packard truck with 37-mm automatic cannon in the yard of the Izhora plant. February 1915 of the year (ASKM)

After reconnaissance, on 3 in the morning of 18 on April 1915, two “Packards” got up on pre-selected positions and opened fire on a strong point and location of German artillery:

“The whole battle of guns was fought in the distance 400 of fathoms from the enemy. His machine-gun fire was almost instantly stopped. The lunette is destroyed, the rick is burned, the dugout with hand bombs is blown up, the garrison is killed. Even the wire fence burned out from the heat.

Having fired 850 shells throughout the enemy’s location, where there was heavy commotion, and fired various sights at its rear, without causing a single gunshot in response, the guns in 4 arrived at one o'clock in the morning safely back to Gora village. ”

7-10 July 1915 of the year, especially on the last day, the whole company remained on the left bank of Narew from Serock to Pultusk, covering the crossing of the 1 units of the Turkestan corps and the 30 th infantry division with their cannons and machine guns to the rear. In these battles, the Packard No. 20 Captain Gurdov was especially notable.

On July 10, at the ferry near the village of Khmelevo, the crew of the armored car, seeing that the Germans were pressing on our outgoing units, left the German artillery for wire barriers and direct fire, repulsed several German attacks from the 300-500 distance. Due to this, the Russian units in this area went without loss.

The Mannesmann-Mulag armored truck with an 37-mm automatic cannon prepares for battle. 1916 year (TSGMSIR)

It is interesting to cite an article by Boris Gorovsky “The Russian Child”, published in the newspaper Novoye Vremya 18 on April 1915. This material clearly demonstrates how the press of that time wrote about bronchitis:

“In the reports of the High Command, more and more often we read about the dashing actions of our armored vehicles. Not so long ago the word "Armored car" was some kind of bogey, not speaking to a Russian person. The first to understand this word - and quite unexpectedly for themselves - the Germans.

At the beginning of the war, on the roads of East Prussia, they were worn, here and there, some monsters, bringing terror and death to our troops, who looked at the unprecedented weapon with wild bewilderment. But one fine evening, when the Germans, with the proud shouts of the winners, entered the half-ruined city of Strykov already empty, some strange silhouettes with a Russian flag appeared on the two extreme streets, not frightened by a swarm of buzzing in all directions. Something ominously rattled, and the continuous first rows of helmets rolled, behind them others, third ... And the terrible gray silhouettes were coming closer and closer, burning lead streams plunged deeper into German columns. And already in the middle of the city, a Russian “Hurray!” Was heard, the dreams of a warm overnight in the “taken” town were replaced by an unexpected desire to run, to escape from the gaze of these terrible silhouettes ...

That was the first acquaintance of Germany with our armored cars. At the same time, Hindenburg received news of the appearance of the same Russian monsters on a wide variety of fronts.

Minul Strykov, fought in Glowno, Sochachev, Lodz, Lovech, went under three cars of Captain Gurdov for three hours, three and a half German regiments from Pabianits - I recognized armored cars and our army. Dry, short telegrams from the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief suddenly in their entirety gave the Russian public a picture of the terrible, all-crushing power of our Russian armored cars.

The young, small part in their battle tables for 4-5 months managed to record such insane courage and destruction of the case as under Pabians and Prasnysh. When not long ago, during the funeral of machine-gunners, one general saw a small front in which most people were with the crosses of St. George, he found only one worthy greeting for them: “Wow, handsome!”

These "handsome" - all the hunters, all the Russian people, their steel, gloomy cars - Russian to the last screw - their offspring.

The real war raised the curtain on the world stage, there were many unknown forces of Russia. While this curtain was lowered, we got used to set ourselves the motto: “Everything is Russian is bad”. And so, in one of the branches of technology, at a time when no mistake is intolerable, when the slightest step is a contribution to the result of a bloody war of nations, we managed to find ourselves at an unexpected height.

When two years ago, Colonel D [Obzhansky]. He spoke about the project of the armored car, this question did not receive the shadow of serious coverage, did not deserve the slightest attention. At that time, they only looked at it as a toy that accidentally took its place at car shows in a number of other cars. But when the need now appeared for this “toy”, as in a serious weapon that should bear full responsibility for its military actions, Russian power was felt — the whole bureaucracy immediately flew off to the side and the motto sounded sharply: “It is said - done”.

One fine day, Colonel D. flew through the factories and work began to boil. Quickly found a suitable composition and officers, and the lower ranks, and found the desire and skill.

There were also Russian cars, we also found our own production armor. As a result, before going to war, Petrograd saw for the first time on the Field of Mars maneuvering armored vehicles, in which everything from the wheels and ending with machine guns was ours, Russian to the last rivet.

The Packard armored car of the 1 of the Kapitan Gurdov auto-bullet company in battle. 1915 year (photo from the collection of M. Winter)

Day and night, under the direction of Colonel D., our officers and soldiers worked; the hammers in the hands of Russian workers tirelessly knocked, forging an unprecedented, terrible weapon from Russian material.

Machine gunners say:
“Our car is everything. We always work alone. Our steel box paves the way for the troops following behind it in the batteries of enemy machine guns, in hundreds of people. Hand over the car, do not sustain the armor, refuse machine guns - and we died, and those who follow us. ”

It is clear that now, when armored cars have spent so many glorious battles, their personnel with infinite love to treat their cold moving fortress. In this love and gratitude for the fact that the car did not disappoint, and pride in its Russian origin. "

For almost the entire war, the 1-I machine-gun company did not get out of the fighting, with the exception of a three-month respite (from September to November of the 1915 of the year) caused by the repair of machines at the Kolomna engineering plant. However, with the onset of a positional war, the activity of using armored cars decreased. Therefore, such vivid combat episodes as in 1914 - the first half of 1915, in stories The first Russian bronchial was no longer there. However, the active Colonel Dobzhansky could not sit idle - he took out two more 37-mm Maxim-Nordenfeld cannons on wheeled carriages, which were transported in the back of a truck. Together with a specially formed foot platoon, these guns were used in the combat formations of our infantry.

In September, the 1916 of the year, the company that was reorganized into the 1-th armored division, entered the disposal of the 42-th army corps stationed in Finland. Such a measure was explained by rumors of a possible landing of a German landing force there. In addition to the four offices with the "Russo-Balta", "pakkaradami" and "mannesmann", the division included the 33-e machine-gun department with armored "Austin".

In the summer of 1917, the 1 Division was transferred to Petrograd to suppress revolutionary actions, and in October, shortly before the coup, they were sent to the front near Dvinsk, where in 1918 a part of its vehicles were captured by the Germans. In any case, in the photo of March 1919 of the year on the streets of Berlin, you can see both “packard”. Part of the machines was used in the battles of the Civil War as part of the Red Army's bro-parts.

Armored car "Captain Gurdov" in battle, 1915 year (drawing by an unknown author, from the collection of S. Saneev)

The heroism of the crews of the first Russian armored cars can be judged by the following document - “Extract from the number of George crosses and medals received by the lower ranks of the 1 auto-bullet company for combat exploits in the current campaign” as of March 1 of the 1916 year ”:

Many of the officers who were awarded were also officers of the 1 th auto-bullet company (1-th division): two became holders of the Order of St. George 4-th degree, one received the St. George weapon, and three (!) Became the Knights and the Order of St. George 4. degree, and the St. George weapons (in total for the service in the armor twice awards officers awarded St. George were eight people).

Armored car made by Izhora plant for the Caucasian native horse division. 1916 year (photo from the magazine "Niva")

The history of awarding colonel A. A. Dobrzhansky is quite interesting. During the 21 battle of November 1914 of the command of the 2 Army at Pabia-nits, he presented him with the Order of St. George of the 4 degree and sent the documents to the St. George's Duma in Petrograd.

27 November 1914 of the year The 1 th auto-pistol company moved from the 2-th to the 1-th army, and for the battles of 7 — July 10-1915, at Pultusk, Colonel Dobrzhansky re-introduced to the Order of St. George. However, since there was already a single submission on him, for these battles he received the St. George weapon. For the destruction of the German stronghold near the village of Bromerz, Dobzhansky was presented to the rank of Major General, but replaced it with swords and a bow to the already existing Order of St. Vladimir 4 degree:

“Finally 4 of April of this 1916 of the year 2-I army asked what awards Colonel Dobrzhansky had for the current campaign, because the Army Command allowed in view of the re-submission to the St. George’s Weapon to replace him with the Major General’s rank, sending the submission to the headquarters of the Western Front.

On this June 13 was notified that the Commander-in-Chief of the Western Front replaced this awaited reward from November 21 of 1914, which has already been replaced twice with swords to the existing order of St. Stanislav 2 degree. ”

For the final resolution of the problem, the army headquarters sent a report outlining the case to the Marching office of His Imperial Majesty, but even here the matter was delayed. Nevertheless, Nicholas II reviewed a report on the merits of Colonel Dobrzhansky in February 1917 of the year received in his name, and put the following resolution on him:

“I wish to receive Colonel Dobzhansky tomorrow, February 21, and personally award the Order of St. George 4 degree in 11 hours.”

Thus, Alexander Dobrzhansky was apparently the last to receive the Order of St. George from the hands of the last Russian emperor. After this award, he was promoted to major general. The author does not possess information about the future fate of this Russian officer, it is only known that he died in Paris on November 15 on November 1937.

Armored car built by Izhora plant for the 1 machine gun company in the 1915 year. The car was captured by the Germans, in the photo it is an exhibit of an exhibition of trophies in the Berlin Zoo. 1918 year (photo from the archive of J. Magnusky)

Brothers "Russo-Baltov"

In addition to the armored cars of the Russo-Balt company of Dobrzhansky, the Russian Army had machine-gun armored vehicles, constructively similar to them. So, October 17 1914, Colonel Kamensky reported to the General Directorate of the General Staff:

“The sovereign emperor was pleased to welcome the Caucasian Native Equestrian Division * one truck so that it was covered with armor and equipped with 3 machine guns on it.

In view of the foregoing, I urgently request that the commander of the 1 autobunker company, Colonel Dobrzhansky, be given three machine guns (two heavy and one light) to install them on the above-mentioned car. ”

The car was built at the end of 1914, at the Izhora plant, constructively it was similar to the "Russo-Balt". Her photo was printed in Niva magazine for 1916 a year. The author does not have any detailed data on this armored car.

The Izhora plant built another armored vehicle of a similar design for the 1 motorcycle company in the 1915 year. This armored car was used during the Civil War.

And, finally, two armored cars were made for the 1 machine gun company (not to be confused with the 1 car gun machine) at the Izhora plant in the same year 1915. In the report of this company, they pass as "cars under the machine gun." Unlike previous machines, they had one rotating machine gun turret in the rear with a firing angle of about 270 degrees. Both armored cars fell into the hands of the Germans (one of them was captured in 1916 in the battles of Vilnius and exhibited at the trophy exhibition at the Berlin Zoo), and in 19181919 they were used in battles during the revolution in Germany. One of the machines was part of the Kokampf team, consisting of captured Russian armored vehicles, and was called Lotta. According to some reports, the armored car was made on the chassis "Gusso-Balt". According to others, the car was installed 40-strong engine "Hotchkiss."

Caucasian Indigenous Horse Division - Cavalry Division, formed by the Highest Decree of Nicholas II from August 23 1914 of the Highlanders of the North Caucasus. It consisted of six regiments - Kabardian, 2-th Dagestan, Chechen, Tatar, Circassian and Ingush, combined into three brigades. After the formation, the division commander appointed Grand Prince Mikhail Alexandrovich. The Soviet press is better known as the "Wild Division."

Armored vehicle of Izhora plant, made for the 1 motorcycle company. Picture taken in 1919 year (ASKM)

Procurement Commission

Since the beginning of the First World War, the Russian military department faced an acute problem - supplying the army with vehicles. The fact is that by August 1914, there were only 711 vehicles in the Russian Army (418 trucks, 239 cars and 34 specials - sanitary, tanks, repair shops), which, naturally, turned out to be ridiculously small for the armed forces. Solving the problem at the expense of domestic resources was not possible, since in Russia there was the only company that was producing cars - the Russian-Baltic Carriage Works (RBVZ), whose production volumes were very modest (in 1913, all 127 machines were made here). In addition, RBVZ produced only passenger cars, and the front needed trucks, tank trucks, car repair shops and much more.

To solve this problem, by order of the Minister of War, at the end of August 1914, a special procurement commission was formed, headed by the commander of the Reserve Automobile Company, Colonel Secret. In September she went to England with the task of acquiring vehicles for the needs of the Russian Army. In addition to trucks, cars and special vehicles, it was planned to purchase armored cars. Before leaving, the commission members, together with the officers of the Main Military Technical Directorate (GVTU) of the General Staff, developed tactical and technical requirements for armored vehicles. One of the most important conditions was the presence of “horizontal booking” (that is, the roof) on the purchased samples. Thus, the Russian officers were the first of all the belligerents to support a fully armored fighting vehicle. In addition, the armored vehicles acquired were supposed to be armed with two machine guns mounted in two turrets rotating independently of each other, which was to ensure firing "for two independent targets."

By the time of arrival in England, there was nothing like this here or in France: in September 1914, a large number of a variety of armored vehicles were operating on the Western Front, with partial or even full booking, but none of them met the Russian requirements. Only during the negotiations on the purchase of trucks with the British firm Austin (Austin Motor Co. Ltd.), its management agreed to accept an order for the manufacture of armored vehicles for Russian requirements. In the last days of September 1914, a contract was signed with this company for the production of 48 armored vehicles with delivery dates by November of the same year, as well as for the supply of 3-ton trucks and tank trucks to their chassis. In addition, the purchasing commission acquired an armored car on the Izotta-Frascini chassis from the owner of Dzhar-Roth Company (Charles Jarrott and Letts Co) at the time of the race car driver Charles Jarroth in London on October 2.

The main military-technical department was created in 1913 in the year when the previously existing Main Engineering Directorate was renamed. At the beginning of 1914, the GVTU was reorganized, after which it had four divisions and two committees. The fourth department (technical) included aeronautic, automobile, railway and sapper departments. It was he who was engaged in armored vehicles.

Point of unloading arrived from England cars in Arkhangelsk. December 1914 of the year (ASKM)

During a visit to France, the 20 Secret October commission concluded an agreement with Renault for the supply of 40 armored vehicles, but not according to Russian requirements, but a “type adopted in the French army”: they did not have a roof and were armed with a Goch 8 machine gun -kis behind the shield. By the way, all the armored cars were delivered without armament, which was to be installed in Russia.

In this way, by the end of 1914, the Russian government abroad ordered the 89 armored vehicles of three different brands, of which only 48 met the requirements of the GVTU. All of these armored cars were delivered to Russia in November 1914 - April 1915 of the year. Such long periods were explained by the fact that the Renault, in contrast to the Austin, was shipped unassembled - the chassis was separate, the armor was separate.

It should be said that in addition to armor, the procurement commission ordered 1422 various cars, among which were 5-ton trucks "Garford", automobile workshops "Nepir", tank trucks "Austin", as well as motorcycles.

Major General P. A. Secreyev, Chief of the Military Automotive School, 1915 Year (ASKM)

Armored car "Izotta-Frascini", purchased by the Secretes Commission. Subsequently, the car was re-reserved by the project of captain Mgebrov (photo from the magazine "Niva")
Articles from this series:
Russian armored cars (Part of 1) First Steps
Russian armored cars (Part 2) "Russian child"
Russian armored cars (Part 3) Organization and formation of automotive armor
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  1. sergey1972
    sergey1972 14 February 2014 11: 32
    the duck is where Adam Kozlevich took his Isotta-Fraschini! I just unzipped it and renamed it the Antelope Wildebeest)))
  2. Robert Nevsky
    Robert Nevsky 14 February 2014 13: 59
  3. Trapperxnumx
    Trapperxnumx 14 February 2014 14: 41
    we used to set ourselves the motto in everything: "Everything Russian is bad."

    Yeah. Not new ...
  4. Eugeniy_369k
    Eugeniy_369k 15 February 2014 01: 41
    Thanks for the article +.