In the Astrakhan region in the summer there is such a heat that no fresh winds from the Volga can soften it, along which the region stretches. And the lake, which settled in the northeastern corner of the region, and in the strongest heat, seems to be covered with brilliant ice, or loose snow; on the horizon one can see how a mirage string of railroad cars stretched across the "ice" itself. Only it is not ice under the cars, but salt, which really sticks out from the oversaturated brine of the lake.
About this miracle called the salty lake Baskunchak knows from the lessons of geography any Russian student. But not everyone knows the railway station Upper Baskunchak, located just west of the lake. Meanwhile, she and she alone in the first, most difficult weeks of the Battle of Stalingrad was the promised land for the wounded, who were transported with enormous difficulties through the Volga by the Stalingrad river crossing, and then by rail deep into Russia.
It so happened that the Urbach-Verkhniy Baskunchak-Ferrynnaya railway line became that year the only line through which the Red Army, which had more or less secure supplies to the Red Army, whose units entrenched on the Pistol near the Volga in Stalingrad, went and sent to the mainland.
About security, of course, had only to dream. From airfields located on the outskirts of Stalingrad, German airplanes took off right on schedule and went over the Volga to bomb the tracks and the station. Special success was considered by the aces to bomb echelons with wounded Soviet soldiers. When they succeeded, a new mass grave of those whom they did not even call the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad, grew up at the local cemetery - the battle was just beginning.
The bombardment of the front-line junction station intensified, and the military authorities ordered the population to go into the steppe 5 kilometers from the Upper Baskunchak and, if possible, dig into the ground, disguised in the same way as the fighters did at the front.
Once I was told about this by the former director of the Verkhnebaskunchak secondary school No. 11, honored teacher of the Russian Federation, honorary resident of the village of Verkhny Baskunchak, mother of three children, grandmother of four grandchildren and great-grandmother of nine great-grandchildren Lidiya Abramovna Fokina, who in that year turned 92 of the year.
- I remember well those bombings in the war - it was scary. We lived in the steppe. Children behaved like adults. It was summer. They looked after animals, grazed them, milked them. Milk, meat, warm clothes - everything was sent by rail to the fighters at the Stalingrad front, which was very close. High school children themselves shorn the sheep: they were given scissors, the teachers showed how to do it. Shel 42 year ... We have undergone a lot. Lots of.
Lydia Abramovna was hard to remember about that military disaster. But she was very proud of her father, the driver Abram Fedorovich Berdnikov - a man with a fighting temper who managed to prove himself both during the war years and in peacetime when he managed to defend himself from the closure of the depot in which he himself and his comrades worked.
For some reason, this short meeting with an old woman in the village at the steppe railway station Verkhniy Baskunchak made me think about the enormous role that Soviet railways played in the war and victory. Not only that, in those difficult years they carried out four-fifths of the entire USSR cargo turnover — another transport vehicle, for example, or air cargo, was extremely underdeveloped, except that only the rivers, as in the old days, served people regularly. No, it's definitely not just that.
Our railways are a well-organized internal system of the country, a kind of single mechanism, once and for all established.
Most recently, confirmation of this was found in an article by writer Ilya Ehrenburg, written by him at the beginning of the war - in December 1941: “When Victory Day will come, our fighters will be the first to remember the railway workers”.
The unexpected and bitter epiphany of the morning of 22 Jun 1941 of the year - they still attacked! Unlike the majority of the population, for whom well-filtered TASS information was broadcast by radio, the directors of enterprises and party authorities in the western regions of the USSR were well aware that there was no time to think: they were well aware of the pace of the advancement of the fascist troops. The Council for the evacuation of the State Defense Committee, headed by Nikolai Shvernik, a candidate member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), immediately ordered to dismantle the equipment of the plants and place it on railway platforms and wagons.
The first echelon with the equipment of the Kiev factory "Arsenal" went east just a week after the start of the war. First of all, the enterprises of the People's Commissariat of Defense were evacuated. Hundreds, thousands of enterprises.
In August 1941, it became clear that it was the turn of Leningrad. But it was a special city. Along with industrial enterprises and their workers, cultural values should have been taken out of the museums and libraries of Leningrad itself and its wonderful suburbs - Peterhof, Pushkin, Oranienbaum, Gatchina, Pavlovsk: rare editions, paintings, old dishes, sculptures. In the shortest possible time, a significant part of the exhibits of the State Hermitage Museum was taken by rail to Sverdlovsk, the Russian Museum to Perm, Solikamsk and Gorky. By the end of the month, more than 280 echelons were dispatched from the city, more than 90 large enterprises were exported. Until November, the railroad workers took out from Leningrad, mainly through the Finland Station, over one and a half million inhabitants. The rest had to either try to get out of the city with enormous difficulties and risks, with difficult transfers from the railway to the Ladoga ships, and then again to the railway, or die during the blockade, or in spite of everything, survive.
However, the main strike arrow from the west was aimed at Moscow.
... In Moscow, at the T-shaped intersection of Trifonovskaya Street and Academician Vladimir Obraztsov Street, there is a red-and-white complex of buildings of one of the oldest and most respected universities in the country. Previously, the university was called simply - MIIT, i.e. Moscow Institute of Transport Engineers, now it is called the University of Communications, but in brackets it still stands MIIT. This university has a museum, but it is so solid in terms of the number of exhibits that it will not yield to another regional one. This museum has a lot in our stories explains.
Not only the history of the university itself and its individual graduates is kept in the museum cabinets, but also the chronicle of the glorious path of the whole department of communications.
Much has been said here about the discoveries of scientists, evidence of the exploits of high school graduates on the battlefields of World War II and even in the ranks of French poppies. At the end of one of the cabinets is a photo portrait of Yakov Dzhugashvili, who once studied at Memiit (that was the name of the university before the war). He was presented to the institute by her daughter Galina, who later, having learned that the image of her father was placed on display, also brought to the museum a portrait of her grandfather Joseph Stalin, made to order in a special workshop.
Any visitor is struck by an absolutely unusual exhibit - a shaggy and serious light brown bear, medium for a toy bear, with a bow. What is it? A gift to the museum from its head, Candidate of Technical Sciences AKNikolaenko. At the age of five, Anna Konstantinovna was evacuated from military Moscow, lived with her mother in Tashkent, returned, and during all this time she rarely let the bear out of her hands: she would hold herself tightly and her life seemed quite bearable.
The middle of October, 1941, turned out to be an extremely dangerous time for Moscow. The enemy approached its very outskirts. But the mass evacuation began only on October 10. And drove slowly. From the east came trains with troops and armaments, which should have been passed first. In the book of historical essays "Transport of Russia" under the general editorship of Honored Transport Worker of the Russian Federation T.L. Pashkova said bluntly: “The trains went in a continuous stream, sometimes the interval between them was 600-700 meters ... From the first days of the war, a military train schedule was introduced.
The mass heroism of the railway workers made it possible to perform unprecedented traffic volumes.
2,5 thousands of factories and plants were transported to the Urals, which allowed in the shortest possible time to restore military and industrial potential. 18 million people were taken to the evacuation, which required 1,5 million cars. ”
People, henceforth called "evacuated," went into the unknown, in cramped conditions, in unusual conditions of existence - but still in relative calm. Those who moved towards them, belonged not to themselves, but to fate. Including railroad workers, who often have multi-ton trains with bombs and shells behind their backs or fuel tanks that are attractive to enemy pilots. The enemy was chasing these compositions. On the route Urbach - Upper Baskunchak - Ferry during the confrontation in Stalingrad in September 1942, German aviation made 316 raids, and in October already 1020. In general, during the Battle of Stalingrad, German pilots carried out up to 60 thousand raids on the railways reaching the city and dropped more than 90 thousand bombs. But the USSR railway transport both worked without serious interruptions, and it worked.
If only stocks of cargoes and railway lines were enough! But the latter was just not enough. They quickly had to finish building or rebuild. Only in 1942, the railway builders began to build the Kizlyar-Astrakhan line with the erection of a bridge over the Volga for transportation to the front of the fuel.
Despite the intensified air bombardment, the pace of construction was incredible: up to 8 kilometers of railway tracks per day!
August 4 on the new line passed the first train.
From August to October 1942, the 16 of thousands of fuel tanks were delivered to Stalingrad.
It was built in the direction of Stalingrad and Rokad from Sviyazhsk. Her project was carried out by the Volga group of Lentransproject. A special survey was conducted on the site Sennaya - Saratov, where there was a danger of flooding of the ways in the Volga floodplain, but they managed to get them out of the danger zone and, thus, get by with fewer bridges. Not enough rails. They were removed from little-used factory access roads in different regions, and also carried from BAM unfinished before the war. On 103, the first day after the start of excavation work, the first train went from Stalingrad through Ilovlya to Petrov Val station, and on September 11 to Saratov. Plot north of Saratov was launched later.
8 November 1941, German troops cut the Volkhovstroy - Tikhvin railway line. This tragic event led to the death of many thousands of Leningraders, who did not have time to take out of the city surrounded from all sides. There was only one, almost illusory possibility of communication with the mainland, and the transport workers used it: rail-water-ice-car communications were established, which were later called the Road of Life.
In the Central Museum of Railway Transport of the Russian Federation, which is located in St. Petersburg, this year the 70 anniversary of the Great Victory hosted an exhibition dedicated to the role of railways in achieving victory in the Great Patriotic War. The uniform of the Minister of Transport I.V. Kovalev, decrees on awarding people for their selfless work, telegrams, tools used to repair the ways ... But the most eloquent is photos. Being black and white, they, like no color, most accurately convey the mood of people who worked in conditions of military overstretch. The photos have a lot of ice, snow, water mixed with ice, instability and cold.
Railway tracks and facilities related to the construction of the Roads of Life were built and erected in the incredible conditions of the marsh instability, however, like all of Petersburg at one time.
But here's the result in the photo: what happened, what they were trying to achieve - the bridge, the paths that go straight into the lake water, the overpass - and everything is done as responsibly, firmly, professionally and even beautifully.
... In the museum of MIIT, I consider not only those exhibits that are related to the war, but quite peaceful, old, almost from the nineteenth century (university — 120 years). I look around the office of the museum staff with luxurious carved tables, look at the details of the building of the institute and gradually recall what I have known since childhood: railwaymen are special people. I studied in one of the Saratov "railway" schools - there were such schools that for a long time were on the balance sheet of the Ministry of Railways of the USSR. They always had the most professional and responsible teachers, a pleasant atmosphere of noble rigor and a very high level of education.
You can imagine what was the level of education in IMIU - Imperial Moscow Engineering School of the Ministry of Communications, which was later transformed into MIIT! Everything here has always been beautiful, durable and thoughtful - from the most modern for the XIX century laboratories that no one dares to touch until now, until the last nail in the hostel.