The thesis about the high level of combat skills achieved by the Red Army to the beginning of the repressions of 1937 – 1938 is usually accompanied by reminders of the 1935 – 1936 maneuvers in the Kiev (KVO) and Byelorussian (BVI) military districts.
“The Kiev maneuvers, and the next year the Belorussian ones,” wrote, for example, V. A. Anfilov, “showed the high combat power of the Red Army, the good training of the Red Army men and the skills of the command staff, and proved that the Red Army in those years successfully solved the issues of organization and use on the battlefield, new weapons of warfare, in particular large mechanized ones, tank and air forces ". However, none of those who made such statements covered or analyzed in detail the work of the troops during the maneuvers of the 30s.
Deep strike concept
Meanwhile, maneuvers, that is, bilateral exercises with the participation of entire corps and armies, are indeed the best indicator of the level of combat skills of the army in peacetime. After all, such teachings allow, to the maximum possible extent, to imitate the real situation of war, when the masses of people and technology are involved in fighting with each other simultaneously and in a large space.
The purpose of the Kiev maneuvers of 1935 was, first of all, to test how vital the theory of deep operation developed by that time in the USSR was. The essence of the latter was to use new means of armed struggle - tanks and Aviation, with one blow, hit the enemy’s defenses to its entire tactical as well as operational depth, that is, not only break through all the enemy’s defensive lines (tactical defense zone), but also destroy operational reserves located several tens of kilometers behind them. Thus, we could have avoided the prolongation of hostilities characteristic of the First World War, when offensive operations resulted in a slow “gnawing” of the enemy’s defense along a kilometer and turned into monstrous meat grinders. Indeed, in those years when the tactical zone of defense was breaking through, the reserves of the defenders, which remained outside the influence of the attackers, managed to approach the place of the breakthrough and close the breached gap, so that the attackers had to prepare a new breakthrough.
A breakthrough with a single blow (during a deep battle) of a tactical defense zone was to ensure the simultaneous destruction of all its positions not only by artillery, but also by aircraft, as well as by supporting the attacking infantry with tanks. And the defeat in the course of the same strike of the operational reserves and the enemy’s operational rears was achieved by throwing the development tanks introduced into the breakthrough of success and strategic cavalry, by air strikes and the landing of airborne assault forces. Thus, the success of a deep operation was determined by the achievement of the interaction of different types of troops.
The outer side of the deep operation on the Kiev maneuvers was indeed recreated in full. 12 – 17 September 1935 of the year on the vast expanses to the west and south-west of the capital of Ukraine, in the area of Kiev-Zhytomyr-Berdichev two whole army groups clashed: 5-I army of the “red”.
On September 12, the “blue” infantry reached the fortified defensive zone of the “Reds” built in the Zhytomyr region and on the night of the 13 they reconnoitred it. The strip was occupied by the 100-Infantry Division. On it, 13 struck 1935 in September and announced the beginning of a deep offensive operation by the “blue”. After artillery preparation with the participation of 152-mm cannons and 203-mm howitzers of the 137 th artillery regiment of the RGK and the combined heavy artillery regiment, moving behind the firing shaft, the reinforced defensive strip of the "red" attacked the 17 th rifle corps - gleaming with steel helmets XNHMH - Ulyanovsk Red Banner Iron Division and the 24-Infantry Kiev Red Banner Division remaining in the new protective color of the caps.
The attacking infantry was supported by fire and tracks by light tanks T-26 of tank battalions of rifle divisions, tankettes of T-27 tanket companies and battalions of rifle regiments and 8 tank tank battalion (T-26 battalion of the 8 mechanized brigade). From the air, the defenders bombed and fired from machine guns multipurpose single-engine biplanes Р-5 from 19, 20 and 21 of the light bombing squadrons of 206.
The roofs of the towers of tanks and armored cars, descending vertical stripes and on the sides of the turret, crossed the straight white cross, on the blue planes the white stripe of 0,5 meter was ringed on the tail of the fuselage, and white instead of red stars shone. The breakthrough of the tactical defense of the “Reds” was completed by a long-range tank group consisting of two tank battalions of the RGS - 4 (10 T-28 medium tanks from 4-Tank Regiment) and 14 (light high-speed BT-5 and BT-2 from the 134 th mechanized brigade).
The 2 Cavalry Corps, the 3 Cavalry Bessarabian Red Banner Division named after Comrade 5 rushed into the breach formed in the defense. Kotovsky and the 14 Cavalry Stavropol Red Banner Division named after T. Blinov (instead of the 26 th cavalry regiment of the first and 57 th, the second in their turn were the ninth march of the cavalry of the Red Cross and the 59 of the Cavalry under the sign of the county insignia of the sign of the Nazar Red Banner and the 14 of the Cavalry Podgaytsev znakznak znakn znakonnaya red banner of XnUMX and the XNUMX Cavalry under the red banner of the insignia of the insignia of the sign of the St. Knight's Red Cross and XNUMX Cavalry under the sign of the Nazi county sign of the Nazar Red Banner of the St. Petersburg Red Banner and XNUMX of the Cavalry under the banner of the Nazi county sign of the Nazar Red Banner Youth Division named after T. Parkhomenko). Eight cavalcuts walked at long intervals and distances, dispersed in depth and along the front line squadrons, machine-gun carts, batteries, a short trot, with banners and trumpeters deployed.
The blue cavalry immediately attacked dozens of Red Star X-NUMX 5, X-NUMX and 13 X-attack X-NUMX X-NUMX air squadrons from the Proletariat of Kiev region from a strafing flight, but the mechanized 14 and 24-ky-zy regiments rushed to k-zy-ky-zy-ky-zy-ky-zy-star Kiev region, but in a breakthrough, the mechanized 256 and 3-ky-zy regiments also went in a breakthrough. BT-5 and BT-2, small T-5 tanks, medium BA-37 armored vehicles and light FAIs. Under the pressure of saber, auto armored and tank squadrons, the reserves of the “red” - 27-Infantry Division of the 46-Infantry Corps did not hold fast.
September 14 morning showed even more spectacular spectacle - the landing of "blue" airborne assault forces in the rear of the "enemy". So far, one of the squadrons of the 206 Airborne Division was distracted by the Reds fighters, attacking Kiev, the other two crossed the Dnieper, reached the airfield of Brovary, and stormed it to suppress the airfield defense. After that, accompanied by the twin-engine long-range fighter ( "cruisers") P-6 35-th squadron cruising 18-th Heavy Bomber Air Brigade in Brovary began to approach dozens of four-engined TB-3 heavy bombers Airborne Division on board.
First, about 30 airships of 22, 24 and 25-3 th Heavy Bomber air squadrons-th air brigade of special purpose Kirov threw paratroopers from 1188 man in blue coveralls and light blue flying helmet - the personnel of the motorized regiment 3-th air raids and the parachute regiment (the combined battalion of 46, 51, 96 and 2 of the Caucasian infantry divisions and the joint company of 7 and 100 of the rifle).
A company of paratroopers seized an airfield, and one after another landed 60 TB-3 from 15 and 18 heavy bombers. Of them, the landing party 57 of the Irkutsk Red Banner and Order of Lenin rifle division named after the Central Executive Committee (total 58 people).
The 3-mm anti-tank guns of the 45 model of the year, the GAZ-1932 pickups, the D-4 light armored vehicles and the T-8 tank were uncoupled from the suspension mounts of the TB-37 suspension system. The parachute assault was covered by I-5 fighters from 34 and then replacing it with 35 of fighter squadrons of 451 of the aviation brigade, and the landing of the landing party with the longer duration of the P-6 “cruiser” flight.
Having completed the landing, the airborne division rushed westward to the Kiev bridges across the Dnieper, but was stopped by the tanks that had been hurriedly thrown out towards it by a mobile reserve of the “Red” - 2-th mechanized regiment of the 2-th of Chernigov Cossacks named after the German Communist Cavalry Division, they were unloaded. the regiment of the 49-th Crimean Cavalry named after SNK of the Ukrainian SSR division; and the battalion of the 9-th shooting and machine-gun brigade mounted on GAZ-AA trucks.
The climax of the maneuvers reached 15 in September, when the "blue" forces crossed the Irpen River and reached the nearest approaches to Kiev. "Red" moved to bypass the broken through grouping 45-Mechanized Corps - 133-th Mechanized Brigade, 134-th Mechanized Brigade, 135-Infantry-machine gun brigade and two assigned to the infantry battalion from the 152-Rifle Kirov Regiment of the Red 51-th Perekop Red Banner Rifle Division named after the Moscow Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the CD and the 95-rd rifle Moldavian Division. The 133-I mechanized had 152 tanks (mainly T-26, as well as BT-5, BT-2 and T-37), about a hundred more (BT-5, BT-2 and T-37) were counted in 134-th . In addition to tanks with a white stripe on the upper edge of the sides of the tower (in the 133-th mechanized brigade and with red stars in this lane) and along the edges of its roof, dozens of armored vehicles of medium-sized BA-3 and BAI and light FAIs moved along the roads.
Forcing Irpen in the opposite “enemy” direction, the mechanized corps went into the rear of the 17 rifle rifle, but its flank, in turn, was covered by the 2 th corps, reinforced by the tank units of the RGK. On the flank of the advancing troops, the 9-th Cavalry Division interacting with the Mechanized Corps struck. In addition to her, the Reds tank reserve and the P-5 attack planes fell on the cavalcore. Finally, the mechanized corps counter strike led to the encirclement of the main “blue” grouping. With the support of the tanks, the 46-division of the “Reds” also launched an offensive, and it was not possible to seize Kiev with the “blue” ones.
The fight went on in the air. “Red” 5 from 5 and 109 named after T. Ordzhonikidze fighter air squadrons of 256 th air brigade and blue from 34 and 35 th squadron of 451 air brigade attacked groups of storming blocks of strongholds and storming-battles of storming blocks of the airframes of the airframes of the XNUMX and XNUMX XNUMX thru XNUMX XNUMX thru XNUMX and XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX and XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX XNUMX X-NUMX XNUMX X-NUMX XNUMX and X-9 goals).
A total of Kiev maneuvers involved around 470 aircraft (242 P-5, around 90 TB-3, 89 I-5, 22 P-6 and 27 connected U-2), 1040 tanks and armored vehicles and up to 60 of 100,000 H-XNUMX), and XNUMX tanks and armored vehicles and up to XNUMX of 100,000 H-XNUMX), and XNUMX tanks and armored vehicles and up to XNUMX of 500,000 H.
The game of soldiers
The external side of the modern, by the standards of those years, the war was recreated beautifully, but only external. In essence, the Kiev 1935 maneuvers of the year had very little in common with the real war, and above all because the whole course of events on them was predetermined. It was known who, where, when and with what forces the “adversary” would collide, and who will achieve what time - regardless of his or his “adversary” ability - will have the upper hand in this or that battle, come to this or that line, etc. In the instructions to the intermediaries, it was said that there and then, before the advancing mechanized and cavalry regiments, they, the intermediaries, would have to (no matter how defenders behaved) "to show strong artillery, machine-gun and rifle fire" on such and such Mezhpolk "will be detained by artillery fire", etc. The mediators must was not to suspend or accelerate the advancement of parts, depending on the literacy of their actions, and to achieve strict observance of these parts maneuvers scenario.
This scenario was brought not only to intermediaries, but also to the participants. Even 18 – 22 August 1935, the commanders of all units and formations that were taken out on maneuvers (and in corps and divisions and headquarters) could also get acquainted with the area in which they would “fight”, and with the “operation plan”. Therefore, commanders in the Kiev maneuvers were not required, therefore, what was primarily required in the war: a quick and correct response to sudden changes in the situation (all of them, we repeat, were known in advance).
Moreover, the commanders of units and formations did not receive here even the practice of making decisions in combat (albeit known in advance) the situation, and their headquarters did not practice the working out of combat documents. To take all the decisions, to make all the documents they were obliged, again, in advance, one or two weeks before the start of the maneuvers. Prepared documentation was carefully checked at the district headquarters, and if errors were found, they were forced to redo it. In the course of the maneuvers, all the combat documentation for the headquarters of the formations in essence had only to be written off from the finished text.
Generally, if you call a spade a spade, in the Kiev maneuvers, commanders and staffs were only required not to lose their units and formations on the march and during the drawing of battles and to conduct them strictly through the points indicated in the “scenario” of maneuvers - as if through checkpoints in competitions orienteering. Yes, and this "most difficult" task - not to lose people and equipment - the leadership of the Red Army and the command of the QUO commanders of the maneuvering troops tried to ease as much as possible. Therefore, in the greenhouse conditions, which can never be in a war, not only commanders and staffs, but also troops were put on the Kiev maneuvers.
According to the plan outlined in the Headquarters of the Red Army and approved by the People's Commissar for Defense K. Ye. Voroshilov, movement in the area of maneuvers was greatly facilitated in advance. The old roads are given “in the carriageway state” and 150 kilometers of new roads were built, 14 kilometers of forest glades were laid, 21 new bridge was built. And local authorities provided maneuvering and at all fabulous "service". For example, the lines from the report of the political department chief of the 133 th mechanized brigade P. K. Smirnov from 4 September 1935 on the reconnaissance route to the area of concentration are parody: “The condition of the roads is good, new profiled roads are carried out everywhere, and now they are already rolled . All wells are cleaned. Have an inscription on the suitability of water for drinking. On the main directions of the roads there are signs, benches under the fungi, where during the period of maneuvers there will be duty collective farmers to indicate the roads to the units, especially at night. ”
The living conditions created for the maneuvering troops were no less a parody of the real war. In the area of maneuvers, a whole network of stationary and mobile medical and nutritional points of the Red Cross was deployed, where fighters and commanders could not only receive medical care, but also wash themselves in a bath, use the services of a hairdresser, get hot tea with wafers, where they not only washed their laundry, but hears fresh turnovers to the shirts! Only at the point of the Gaisinsky Committee of the Red Cross (attached to the 9 Cavalry Division) during the maneuvers were shaved to 2000 servicemen and to 9000 to drink tea with biscuits. During the period of intense and highly dynamic "fighting" the Red Army had the opportunity to make purchases in the stalls of the SSC - closed military cooperatives (as recalled by the participants of the Great Patriotic War, the arrival to the location of the front part of the Voentorg store was an incredibly rare, almost impossible phenomenon).
However, even though the commanders, staffs and troops stayed on maneuvers in greenhouse conditions, even though the outcome of the “hostilities” did not depend on them, the commanders and staffs had to demonstrate some skills in troop control and planning of hostilities. From the same troops demanded to act as in war, demonstrating the true level of their skills. What was the training of the commanders, staffs and troops involved in the maneuvers?
Surprisingly, the RGVA did not find any reports on the Kiev 1935 maneuvers of the year, compiled by those who had to assess the level of army proficiency by specialists of the 2 Division of the Headquarters (from 22 September of the 1935 of the General Staff) of the Red Army or in the fund The Red Army Combat Training Directorate (into which 9 on April 1936 was transformed by the 2 Division of the General Staff) was not in the unclassified descriptions of the funds of the Administrative Department under the People's Commissar of Defense and the General Staff. Reports drawn up by the command of the QUO and the participants in the maneuvers cannot be completely trusted: they, naturally, tend to exaggerate their achievements. However, they can also help: if they still mention any "their" shortcomings, then there is no doubt that the latter actually existed, and most likely on a much larger scale.
Traces of the assessments made by specialists of the 2 Division of the Red Army Headquarters can be found in the order of the People's Commissar of Defense No. 0182 of September 22 of 1935 on the results of the Kiev maneuvers, as well as in the materials to the report of the Chief of the 2 section A. I. Sedyakin on the results of the combat preparation of the Red Army in 1935. In addition, we have two more independent sources at our disposal — materials prepared by the workers of the Political Directorate of the Red Army (PU RKKA), and materials from various army meetings, as well as relatively independent reports of political workers of the maneuvering troops.
We will begin the evaluation of the skills of commanders and staffs with their ability to organize the main thing that determined the success of a deep battle, a deep operation and 30's combat operations in general - the interaction of the arms of troops.
According to the order of the People's Commissar No. 0182, on maneuvers, it was possible to achieve a skillful interaction between infantry and tanks of its direct support, as well as between cavalry and tank units of the Kavdiviziya. For the time being, we will take this assessment on faith, although we have serious reasons to doubt its truth. After all, the statement of the same order to achieve "full interaction" between infantry, tanks and cavalry - on the one hand, and artillery - on the other, is actually refuted by the maneuvering themselves.
Namely - “Report on the conduct of maneuvers by artillery units”, signed by 25 September 1935, by the head of the KVO artillery N. M. Bobrov. Assuring that “the shortcomings are drowning in the achievements that artillery has shown,” and listing in detail these achievements, the report does not mention the maintenance of interaction with infantry and tanks among them. Moreover, it further states that with the staffs and commanders of tank units, it is necessary now to thoroughly put the basics of interaction with artillery: methods of fire support, setting tasks, communications, alarms, escort aircraft, support in depth and, finally, support methods ( escorts) infantry support tanks. It seems that no interaction between the artillery and tanks commanders and headquarters of these types of troops could not be achieved.
Each by itself
The organization of the interaction of artillery with infantry was also limping. During the preparation of the Western Front offensive on the Vitebsk, Orsha and Bogushevsky areas in October 1943 - March 1944, the top artillery headquarters didn’t have much time left for their planning work, especially light, for working out tasks on the ground and the organization of interaction. There, in a real war, this was one of the reasons that our artillery, in spite of its concentration in large quantities and superiority over the enemy’s artillery, did not suppress both the artillery preparation period and the enemy’s fire system during the battle. Often, the artillery fired at an empty place, did not fulfill the requests of the infantry, lost contact with it, and sometimes fired even at its infantry. The infantry went on the attack on the enemy’s non-suppressed fire system, suffered huge losses and did not advance.
Military attaches of foreign countries are watching the BT-5 in Kiev maneuvers. Photo: m.mirtesen.ru
It is possible to give a more specific example. During the offensive of the 70 Army of the Central Front on the Oryol 8 – 12 March 1943, the lack of linkage of the interaction between infantry and artillery commanders in the field led to the fact that the support of the infantry with artillery and its support with direct fire were organized poorly, thanks to which the units 260,2 and Muravchik, who were pushed forward and captured the height, fell under strong fire and infantry and enemy counterattacks, almost completely died heroically, and the remnants retreated backwards, putting down the captured positions.
But Voroshilov at a meeting of the Military Council under the People’s Commissar of Defense 14 in December 1935 recalled that "some" combined-arms commanders simply "forgot" to set tasks for artillery during the battle. This, as it was delicately called the People's Commissar, the roughness meant that after the end of the artillery preparation and the transition of the infantry to the attack, any interaction between it and the artillery disappeared.
The draft report on the actions of the communications troops, prepared for 25 September 1935, at the headquarters of the CVO communications troops, reinforces not only the conclusion about the poor interaction of tanks and infantry with artillery, but also doubts about the clarity of interaction between infantry and tanks of its direct support. After all, this document offered to direct the main attention of the headquarters to mastering radio equipment for communication with aircraft in the air and for organizing the tactical interaction of TDD (long-range tanks), CCI (infantry support tanks) with artillery, rifle troops and air. This means that during the maneuvers the radio communication between the infantry and the tanks of its direct support was carried out poorly, but after the start of the attack, the infantry commander could coordinate with the tank commander inside the combat vehicle only by radio.
As for the long-range tank group, Voroshilov himself noted the fact of a complete lack of interaction between it and the advancing rifle units. Upon entering the breakthrough, he indicated 14 on December 1935 of the year at the Military Council under the People’s Commissar of Defense, the DD tanks simply “disappeared” and had no connection with the 17 rifle corps that followed them or the high command.
As can be seen from the report of the telecoms staff, the ground troops’s interaction with aviation was also lame: after all, the airplanes that were in the air could aim (or re-target them if the situation changed) the infantry and tank commanders could only be on the radio. In the 17-m rifle and 45-m mechanized corps, the tongue-tied language was further specified in this draft document, “no more precise radio work has been achieved on troops with reinforcement aircraft (bomber and ground attack) and providing fighter aircraft in the air.”
In other words, at least half of all the infantry and tanks on the maneuvers could not take full advantage of the help from the air, but it came under the blow of its own aircraft (if after calling the last one the outline of the front edge had changed).
Both observers and participants in the maneuvers noted the often unsatisfactory intelligence organization. In the words of Deputy Defense Commissar G. I. Kulik, well-known in subsequent years, “clarity must be introduced here. As a man cannot live without air, so a commander cannot live without intelligence. Only then will the commander make the right decision if his decision fits the given situation, and it will only fit the given situation if the commander has information about the position of the enemy. ”
Meanwhile, it was noted in the order of the People's Commissar No. 0182, the assignment of reconnaissance tasks was not always clear and specific. Having received instead of the order “to open the composition of the enemy grouping in such and such area” the order “to conduct reconnaissance in such a direction”, the intelligence officers will not aim at obtaining a specific result, they will “reconnoiter”, but they will not reconnoiter.
But the continuity of intelligence is the fundamental principle of its organization. Without compliance with this rule, the command will build its plans on the basis of outdated information about the enemy, that is, largely in the sand. If the district in the report to higher authorities evaluates the results achieved by it more strictly than these institutions themselves, then the situation with the organization of intelligence at the maneuvers was very bad.
When the tops cannot
With regard to troop control, the order number 0182 stated: "Infantry commanders and junior commanders achieved a firm and precise control of the movement of battle formations and fire, especially machine-gun units." But further it was noted that there was a cluster of significant infantry groups, well observed by the defenders for a half or two kilometers. This means that the rare chains of the attackers gradually fell into a heap, that the battle formations thus crumbled and that, consequently, there was no firm and precise control of the movement of the battle formations.
And it was not very often! The guarantee is the annual report of the CEP from October 11 1935 of the year, in which the district command itself acknowledged that in the offensive there are often cases of too much concentration of battle formations. Kiev maneuvers crowned the school year, and if this “thickening” had occurred only occasionally on them, the report would not fail to report on the results of the year.
And the order number 0182 continues to refute itself, indicating that in some cases, the mounted machine guns of the attackers lagged behind their infantry, leaving it without fire support. Instead of pushing their "maxims" forward, machine-gun companies of rifle battalions and machine-gun platoons of rifle companies tried to shoot through the heads of the chains going forward - although specific combat conditions precluded the use of this method of shooting. The fact that in the offensive battle machine guns must move forward, it was found out even in the First World War. Therefore, the conclusion suggests itself that by refusing to change firing positions during the battle, machine-gun commanders tried to hide the lack of ability to control their platoons and companies. What is this "firm and precise control of the movement of battle formations and fire, especially machine-gun subunits"?
The battle formations of tank units and subunits were not upset, but on this basis we cannot assert that, as we will see below, the tank crews at maneuvers were put into “super-thorny” conditions, as we will see below.
The combined-arms headquarters involved in the Kiev maneuvers clearly did not differ in good command skills: they clearly lacked either specific knowledge or skills or a staff culture. In fact, even with a few days (instead of the usual hours) for preparing the command of a divisional commander to break through a fortified band, the staff officers of the 44 Infantry Division managed to draw up this document "extremely carelessly." A similar order from the commander of the 24 Infantry Division, also prepared in advance by its headquarters, contained an anecdotal wording: "In the future, the next task."
The commanders of large headquarters, it was noted in the report on the work on the maneuvers of the communications troops, during negotiations over the direct wire is not able to clearly and briefly express their thoughts ("verbosity is a common phenomenon"). In this regard, attention is drawn to the phrase from the political report of the chief of the political department of the 24 Infantry Division P. M. Ganusevich from September 13 of 1935 of the year: “There is still no clear command of the command personnel”.
Even worse, the headquarters did not know how to organize uninterrupted communication with the troops. As the KVO command itself noted, every time the headquarters changed location, this connection disappeared: “Radio equipment operating on the move was not used.” And with the connection, the headquarters lost control.
As for the tank headquarters, Yakir, commander of the KVO, and I. A. Khalepsky, head of the Red Army Auto-Armored Directorate (ABTU RKKA), and Sedyakin, head of the 2 division of the Red Army headquarters, clearly controlled the actions of the 45 of the mechanized corps. But these estimates could be explained not only by the professionalism of the corps headquarters, but also by the contrast with the results of the September 1934 maneuvers of the year. Then 45 was so unmanageable, 8 reminded 1935 of December at the Military Council under the People's Commissar for Defense Khalepsky, that we even endured a negative opinion about the existence of such a cumbersome organization as a mechanized corps. And the contrast, in turn, could be due not so much to the increased skill of the staff officers over the year as to the simplification compared to 1934 in the year of structure and a decrease in the number of mechanized corps. In their composition now there were no, for example, artillery units (by the way, already in December 1935, at the Military Council under People's Commissar of Defense Yakir, anxiously began to talk about the danger of attacking such forces to the troops of a potential enemy: he would have nothing to suppress their numerous artillery). Tank platoons instead of five tanks began to have three - this in itself should have increased the controllability and mobility of tank units, and therefore, units with formations. In general, it is not worthwhile to exaggerate the degree of training of the headquarters of the 45 mechanized corps.
The preparedness of artillery headquarters was clearly insufficient. After all, the above-mentioned delay by the chiefs of artillery of the 8 and 17 corps of the release of combat documents was due to the fact that the starters were replacing the staff of their headquarters - so prepared, obviously not enough ...
The level of the gunnery artillery training of the artillery commanders participating in the Kiev maneuvers is extremely difficult to characterize. Firstly, due to the fact that the maneuvers were not fired at with live shells, and secondly, due to the absence of other sources, besides the “Report on the maneuvers by artillery units” cited above by the KVO artillery staff quoted above. .
Nevertheless, the report’s admission that this section of the 17 rifle case didn’t part of the artillery divisions didn’t perform the bench marks set by the table of fire (because of which the fire, which later opened up in real combat, was less accurate) looks extremely alarming. . However, the neglect of the adjustment of benchmarks indicates that it is directly incompatible with "good training" - a clear lack of some of the commanders-gunners of the rifle culture. And if the facts of non-fulfillment by commanders-artillerymen on the Kiev maneuvers of their duties in battle were met not only in the 17 corps and not only when shooting bench marks?
Fussy Queen of the Fields
The characteristics of troop proficiency demonstrated at the Kiev maneuvers will begin with the infantry. The mediators noted the good disguise of the soldiers of the 44 th rifle division, but from the reports of the political workers it appears that the infantrymen in the maneuvers did not do much of what they would have to do in battle. So, in the 24 Infantry Division they were distinguished by the “poor use of shovels,” that is, they did not dig in badly or at all. But self-digging must have been applied in the offensive as well - to be fixed on each of the successively reached lines.
Here, for example, the lessons of several episodes of the Smolensk battle. “The infantry on the battlefield does not dig into the ground, does not dig trenches for itself,” noted the report of the senior assistant to the chief of the operational section of the Western Front headquarters, Colonel A.V. Vasilyev, on the progress of the 20 Army east of Smolensk 9 – 15 August 1941 of the year, - and therefore easily vulnerable to artillery and aviation fire. " Then, the 19 th infantry company of the 7 th infantry regiment of the 400 th rifle division advancing east of Dukhovshchina of the 89 Army, “crawling” on August 6 without digging back and forth, lost half of the squad.
Essentially, an infantryman on the Kiev maneuvers only moved around the battlefield, but did not fight. If so, these maneuvers cannot testify to any "good training of the Red Army soldiers" infantry.
As for the training of infantry units, the order of Commissar No. 0182, which illuminates it, contradicts itself here too. The tactical infantry training, it argues, is good, but it further states that "in some episodes" the battle formations "were not sufficiently applied to the terrain", "there was an accumulation of significant infantry groups well observable by the defenders within a mile or two." In other words, in the authorized battle formations, the infantry did not know how to attack, its soldiers moving with rare chains gradually knocked together and the chains turned into crowds, that is, into an ideal target.
What would such a “too much thickening of battle formations” turn out to be in a real battle, clearly shows, for example, the episode of the Demyansk operation 1942 of the year, more precisely, the attack of the 1 shock army of the North-Western Front under Old Rusa in February 1942: “During the offensive of the 47 Infantry Brigade on the village of Svyatogorm units went on the attack extremely crowded. The brigade suffered heavy losses. On the ascent to the village, a large number of the corpses of our fighters lay either side by side or half a meter apart. ” The 402 Rifle Division of the Southern Front, operating in February 1943 during the Rostov operation, “in crowded battle formations and not sustaining intervals,” lost 70 percent of personnel in five days.
Only this “too much concentration of military formations”, which doomed the attackers to enormous losses, completely obliterates the assertion of a “good” tactical training of the maneuvered infantry.
The skill of a single gunner fighter in Kiev maneuvers was not actually checked. Does this mean that in the Kiev maneuvers, ordinary gunners were not required to either monitor the targets, set the sight, or do anything else that was required of them in a real battle - except for firing a shot by pressing the trigger or jerking the trigger cord? By analogy with ordinary infantrymen, the answer, I think, should be given in the affirmative. Accordingly, the Kiev maneuvers cannot testify to any "good" training of the fighters (and, hence, artillery units).
What did not see strategists
As for the tank troops, they seemed to have demonstrated simply the excellent training of driver and unit mechanics. Huge masses of combat vehicles moved smoothly across the battlefield (the only exceptions were 4 and 14 th “RGC tank battalions”, whose battle orders were stretched due to “insufficient hardship”), the fast-moving BT-2 and BT-5 hit dashing jumps with overclocking through the moats, the accident rate was extremely low.
In Russian literature, they like to recall the French General L. Loiseau, who was present at the maneuvers: “With regard to tanks, I would consider it right to consider the army of the Soviet Union in the first place”. The opinion of the well-known military theorist, English captain B. Liddel Garth can also be added here: “A small number of breakdowns is an indicator of the health of their mechanisms and standard (as in the translation text, should be read - exemplary) crew training.”
However, the French general and the English captain did not know and could not know that most of the tanks on the maneuvers were not led by the people who should lead them in battle: not the driver mechanics (many of whom were trained not so "exemplary" that Were afraid to let out on maneuvers), and commanders of cars.
Another fact, which Luazo and Liddel Garth did not know, testifies to how “exemplary” the bulk of the “mechanical drivers” of the units brought to Kiev’s maneuvers was prepared, how competently it exploited the equipment. A few days before the maneuvers a significant part of their tank armada was not capable. Thus, in 45-m mechanized corps outputs maneuvers 260 tanks (97 BT-2 and BT-5, 98 T-26 and 65 T-37) from the position of the state 303 (126 BT-2 and BT-5, 112 T -26 and 65 T-37), in the last five to six days, we had to replace the motors on the 39 BT-2 and BT-5 and carry out a bulkhead of the motors (in the amount of factory repair) on 66 T-2658.
In other words, start the teachings a week earlier - and the beauty and pride of Kiev maneuvers would not be able to move or lose in the very first hours due to a malfunction of the 34,7 engines, the percentage of full-time and 40,4 percent of the tanks that went on maneuver. And if you take into account only linear tanks, eliminating reconnaissance T-37 from the calculation, then these figures will increase, respectively, to 44,1 and 53,8 percent.
Loiso and Liddel Garth did not know that the tankers on the Kiev maneuvers acted in even more greenhouse conditions than the infantrymen. Not only were all the necessary for the march tank sections of the road laid out or improved in advance, but also ... the terrain on which the tanks then attacked was leveled. And tankers - again in advance, before the maneuvers - also carefully examined the fields of future “battles”.
And so it was achieved with pride presented in the 1935 QUO report in the year "a small percentage of accidents during maneuvers and the ability to drive at high speeds in conditions of rough and swampy areas." In a real combat situation in the same 45 mechanized corps, up to half of the tanks would break or be stuck on heavy roads even on the march, while most of the rest would slow down in an attack before each ditch. Visual confirmation of this is the failure of the 7 of the mechanized Leningrad Corps during the exercises of the Leningrad Military District, which took place immediately after the Kiev maneuvers, 18 – 22 of September 1935 of the year in the Bottom - Porkhov - Pskov area.
These exercises did not rehearse the troops as thoroughly as the Kiev maneuvers, and the “theater of operations” did not advance in advance. As a result, "a lot of tanks 19 and 31 th name Uritsky mechanized brigades out of action and out of order for technical reasons and the difficulty of the way." And “wheeled vehicles and tanks were generally bogged down in dirty, unexplored roads” so that the 33-I Voskov shooting and machine-gun brigade “was forced to abandon their cars and march on the battlefield on foot.”
The same scam was achieved on the Kiev maneuvers and a formally good tactical training of tank units. However, not everyone: the 4-th tank battalion of the RGC "proved to be insufficiently naked and insufficiently disciplined." When entering September 13 into a breakthrough, its battle formations were stretched, and two out of ten of its T-28 even collided with each other.
The tank crew’s fire training - in the same way as that of infantry infantrymen - was not actually tested on the Kiev maneuvers. Many tanks were generally without commanders (who sat, as we remember, on the site of a driver), and therefore without full-time gunners (whose duties were carried out by tank commanders). Thus, Kiev maneuvers cannot testify about the "good" fire training of tankers. Moreover, they noted instances of the low level of this training: it happened that the tankers opened fire at direct distance from a distance of two to three kilometers, that is, without really seeing the target.
In the Airborne Forces, the consolidated parachute regiment assembled quickly after landing, but the collection of the special purpose 3 motorized regiment was "very slow" (in the draft of the reporting document, the title of which was not preserved, such wording was crossed out, but writing instead of it, collection was held "with a delay", this last word was considered necessary to emphasize). As a result, a company of paratroopers to capture the airfield of Brovary was sent too late, and the TB-3 with the landing force actually landed on an untapped airfield, the battle for which was still going on. The maneuver scenario was sustained, but in a real combat situation the landing of the landing assault force would have to be delayed. And "parachute units, without receiving timely support of the landing regiments, can be destroyed by the enemy."
The personnel of the liaison forces of the QUO appeared to be prepared satisfactorily. According to the order of the People's Commissar No. 0182, the connection on the maneuvers acted even “well”, but such an assessment was apparently given (as was the case with the handling of the 45 Mechanic Corps) according to the contrast noted in the same order with the teachings of previous years and even 1934 of the year. The organization of radio communications, as we have seen, was often not up to par, and the “single technical training of a fighter” in many cases was still “incomplete”.
Performance for attache
As we see, the Kiev 1935 maneuvers of the year, in principle, cannot testify to the high level of combat training of the then Red Army. After all, the army is preparing for war, and here it was placed in such hothouse conditions as the war can never be:
a) the course and outcome of the operations played on them were predetermined and in no way depended on the skill level of the maneuvering maneuvers;
b) all their actions and decisions, as well as the actions of the enemy, to the commanders and staffs were known long before the start of the "operation";
c) commanders, staffs and troops rehearsed their actions in advance in one or another specific episode of the “operation”;
d) the troops were not required to do a lot of what they have to do in a real war: from building bridges to installing a sight;
e) the troops on the maneuvers were put in greenhouse living conditions that have nothing to do with real front-line life;
(e) Tank troops — the “trump card” of the Red Army — brought mainly manned, not regular, but improvised crews, which they would never have managed to do in a war, and attacked artificially leveled terrain.
We are not saying anymore that before the maneuvers the troops "threw away all other types of combat training and were engaged in only one thing - preparation for maneuvers."
In general, the Kiev 1935 maneuvers of the year were a grandiose pretense, and their true essence was well defined even the day before they began, September 11 of the 1935, the Red Army Ornlov 8 Regiment: “Maneuvers are eyewash, we try to rub glasses into representatives of the foreign army ".
Actually, in 1935, no one denied the fact that the Kiev maneuvers very remotely resemble a real war. In the same order, Commissar No. 0182, it was explicitly acknowledged that these exercises were “educational-experimental”, why their “responsible” episodes were previously worked out with the personnel of the maneuvering troops and “thoroughly lost with intermediaries”. But then it turns out that more than elementary things for a regular army were tested on Kiev maneuvers:
the ability of commanders and staffs to organize the movement of troops on the ground according to a previously developed plan and the rally of a number of previously planned combat episodes by troops;
the ability of troops to carry out orders and move on the ground.
Contrary to the generally accepted view, the Kiev maneuvers showed not “good”, but weak “training of the Red Army” and the same “skills of commanders”. That is, the orders of the chiefs are already capable of carrying out, the theory is also known, but they still do not know how to fight ...
The fact that the Kiev 1935 maneuvers of the year were not at all an indicator of the high preparedness of the Red Army, Voroshilov also explicitly acknowledged. Having endorsed in a speech at a meeting of the Military Council under the People’s Commissar of Defense 14 of December 1935, the ostentatious method of preparing Kiev maneuvers, in which Yakir carefully prepared the area, “and then the bosses played the maneuver well”, openly said: “During the exercises, one must act until the troops and commanders are properly prepared. ”