20 NOVEMBER 1955 OF THE YEAR. TOAST MARSHALA
On this day, a landmark event occurred: the Soviet Union blew up a thermonuclear device. Scientists are invited to the banquet by the military test leader Marshal of Artillery Mitrofan Ivanovich Nedelin, who commanded the missile forces. Dense, stocky, laconic. "I made an impression of a very intelligent, energetic and knowledgeable person", - characteristic of academician Andrei Sakharov. The characteristic of Andrei Dmitrievich is worth a lot.
Invited - scientists, theorists, designers, military - sit down at the richly laid table. Cognac is poured into glasses. Nedelin nods to the author of the product: your first toast. Sakharov takes a glass, rises: "I propose to drink so that our products explode as successfully as they do today, above the landfills and never above the cities."
A tight silence hangs over the table. It seems that the physicist blurted out an indecent phrase. The generals involuntarily turned their heads in the direction of the marshal, the scientists - in the direction of Sakharov.
Nedelin carefully looked at Sakharov, grinned. Took a glass. And in a heart-to-heart tone: “Let me tell you a parable. The old man prays before the icon with the icon lamp. He asks God:“ Direct and strengthen, direct and strengthen. ”And the old woman lies on the stove and gives a voice from there:“ You, old I will be able to send myself! "
The marshal paused and with steel in his voice: “Let's drink to strengthen the defensive power of our great country. And if you send it, leave it up to us”.
At that time there was no such thing as pacifism, and the word humanism was considered abusive. And Nedelin found it necessary to repel even a hint of mercy towards the enemy. Marshal made it clear: you - scientists, designers, engineers, workers - created weaponthe worst in stories of humanity. But using it is not your concern. They will decide (direct) those who are at the pinnacle of power, who heads the party and military hierarchy.
Soldaphone? Bureaucrat? Retrograde?
It was not so easy. Not at all.
Budapest. 1945 year. Front artillery commander Mitrofan Nedelin (left), 3rd Ukrainian front commander Marshal Fedor Tolbukhin (center), Marshal aviation Grigory Vorozheykin (right) at the building of the Budapest Opera House destroyed by the Nazis. Photo: RIA News ria.ru
21 SEPTEMBER 1943 OF THE YEAR. PREMIUM SHEET
From the presentation of Lieutenant-General of Artillery Nedelin Mitrofan Ivanovich to the Order of Kutuzov I degree (for the leadership of hostilities in the liberation of Donbass and the attack on the Middle Dnieper):
"The commander of the artillery of the South-Western Front, Comrade NEDELIN, during the preparation and conduct of the offensive of the front, showed exceptional energy and will in organizing an artillery offensive, concentrating large artillery formations on the main direction of the operation, often reaching densities up to 180 km of attack front ... Quick and decisive in all his actions, clear and tidy general. The frequent appearance of artillery commanders on the command post at the time of the strongest artillery and aviation about the impact of the enemy comrade. NEDELIN proved himself a brave and brave general ... "
Born in 1902 year. From the peasants. Participated in the Civil War. Under the command of Tukhachevsky he suppressed a peasant uprising in the Tambov province. After a course of commanders, commanded the battery, division. Fought in Spain - was a military adviser to the Republican government. He began the Great Patriotic War as commander of an anti-tank artillery brigade. He participated in the battles for the Dnieper, Jassy-Kishinev, Vienna. Especially distinguished himself in battles at Lake Balaton. 28 April 1945, Colonel-General of Artillery Nedelin Mitrofan Ivanovich awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
Was in the military group that 27 June 1953 of the year arrested Lawrence Beria ...
It was Nedelin who prepared the draft resolution of the Council of Ministers on the creation of a new kind of troops - the Strategic Missile Forces. And 17 December 1959 of the year became their first commander.
Less than a year ...
OCTOBER 1960 OF THE YEAR. CHARACTER
Vladimir Gavrilovich Pansky from the technical group that prepared the rocket for launch on the fateful day, recalls: “On the day of death, October 24 1960, He entered the technical group barracks alone, drove past and decided to see how the missilemen live. I reported to the Marshal how according to the regulations. Mitrofan Ivanovich greeted the staff, addressing me, told me to show how we live. The barracks had just been built and settled in. I wanted to lead the marshal to the Leninist room, but he took the initiative in this matter and led me in the toilet rooms, where prov Eril all ... "
Anatoly Vasilievich Maslov, one of the veterans of Baikonur, adds: "That October at Baikonur was icy, the temperature was minus 8-15 degrees, and with the wind. All my subordinates worked in their greatcoats, and the civilian comrades in fur jackets. For my repeated calls to the leadership to give out a warm uniform to the soldiers, the answer was “not allowed.” One afternoon, in my office in the bunker, the door opened and Marshal Nedelin entered. I, as expected, jumped up to report to the marshal about the work being done. He immediately stopped me and asked c: "Comrade Senior Lieutenant, are these your soldiers in overcoats?" I replied: "Yes." - "Why not in fur jackets?" I say: I didn’t go anywhere, only one answer is not allowed. Nedelin adjutant: "To all soldiers warm uniform was issued! And in the evening I report back! - and Maslov: - And you, comrade senior lieutenant, need to be more resistant! "After two hours, all my subordinates were wearing fur jackets and pants. And all this at the start, at the time of the rocket preparation ...".
In the rocket marshal was in love.
The Baikonur Cosmodrome is the favorite child of Mitrofan Nedelin. A photo:
SEPTEMBER 1958 OF THE YEAR. FIRST LAUNCHES
This fall at Baikonur there was a demonstration of rocket technology to the leaders of the country. Starts - everything! - passed successfully. The Chief Marshal of Artillery, Mitrofan Ivanovich Nedelin, and the Chief of Staff of the jet units, Lieutenant-General Mikhail Alexandrovich Nikolsky, reported on the combat capabilities and prospects for the development of a new weapon. Then Khrushchev said a significant phrase: missiles can and should become a formidable weapon and reliable shield for the country. Then he suggested: “Let us assign Comrade Nedelin to work through the issue. He is in love with rockets, he is engaged in them literally from the cradle, he has experienced all the specifics. Think, Comrade Nedelin, now Khrushchev addressed him directly. - No need to hurry, this is a serious matter .. . "
In the top secret, the resolution was of particular importance: the commander in chief of the Strategic Missile Forces and at the same time Deputy Minister of Defense M.I. Nedelina is fully responsible for the state of the rocket forces, for their combat use, combat and mobilization readiness, material and technical support, development of missile weapons, management of the construction and operation of combat complexes and special objects, military discipline and the political and moral state of the personnel, as well as coordination on the development and introduction of special weapons and reactive technology in all types of Armed Forces.
Even in such a super-secret document, nuclear weapons were coded with the term "special weapons".
The appointment of Nedelin was especially happy in Sergey Pavlovich Korolev OKB-1, here he was known for a very long time. Even during the ground tests of missiles at the end of 1940, Nedelin participated in the work of the State Commission and made an excellent impression on everyone with goodwill and special officer education, which was not always characteristic of high-ranking Soviet military. One of the experts at the Korolev Design Bureau said: “Nedelin is not a martinet, but our ally”. He did not hide his sympathy for the commander of the Rocket Forces and the future general designer of the spacecraft himself.
Here is the testimony of the head of the Baikonur cosmodrome, in those years, Colonel-General Konstantin Vasilyevich Gerchik: "Mitrofan Ivanovich belonged to that group of military leaders, whose characteristic feature was a reasonable sense of purpose. It was difficult to distinguish between S. Korolev and M.I. Nedelina. These were two giants of a rocket-space project, an indicator of Nedelin’s extraordinary abilities given to him by nature, could be such a result of his work as the input of the main objects of the cosmodrome during Two years and three months. It was his personal feat and the feat of the people who worked with him ... "
I would pay attention to the words of Gerchik "reasonable sense of purpose". Not the most characteristic property of a military tribe of nature. And I would add one more quotation from the head of Baikonur: “One could limit himself to assessing Nedelin Sergey Pavlovich Korolev, who said this about him:“ It is a great success that he works with us, an erudite and intelligent military leader, to help us with everything he could. ” in fact, Mitrofan Ivanovich was a military leader of great will and intelligence. By the mind and organizational abilities of military commanders equal to him in the Armed Forces there were few. Many times he had to watch and hear when Mitrofan Ivanovich on a number of complex technical issues sedat with rocket developers and systems, test engineers professionally ... "
New knowledge was necessary for the marshal artilleryman: during this period there was a fierce struggle between two outstanding designers Korolyov and Yangel, each of whom sought to launch his offspring into the series. Yangel developed the P-16 rocket. Korolev - P-9. Nedelin had to make choices, and personal attachments and relationships receded into the background.
As a result, the run was won by Yangel. It was his rocket that stood on the Baikonur launch site 24 of October 1960 of the year.
The P-16 rocket launcher is very simple in comparison with a modern launch complex. A photo:
21 OCTOBER 1960 OF THE YEAR. HOME POSITION
September 20 Kim Yefremovich Khachaturian, then the lead designer of KB Yangel, arrived at Baikonur with a group of specialists from Yuzhmash together with a rocket. Exactly one month later, on October 21, it was taken from the landfill to the starting position. “The machine was technically fully prepared,” says Khachaturian. “There were comments during preparation, and a lot of them, but all the faults, inaccuracies were dismantled, eliminated, the instruments were replaced.”
General Gertchik, the head of the cosmodrome, has a fundamentally different opinion: “The P-16 rocket versus common sense and logic was sent to the raw range, with major defects and flaws. The P-16 rocket development was directly in the field of view of the government and Khrushchev personally. They demanded that the work be accelerated. The pressure on developers and customers from the center was enhanced ... The developers of the rocket — the Yuzhmash plant, Dnepropetrovsk, and the customer — the Main Directorate of missile weapons of the USSR Ministry of Defense did not dare to report I know about the unavailability of the P-16 missile complex. We, the military testers of the test site, insisted not to send the raw P-16 rocket from the factory to the test site. But an objectionable solution followed to our objections from the developer and customer: send the P-16 rocket to the test site ... Tests at MIKE lasted more than a month, but they did not reveal those defects in the rocket, especially in the control system, which led to the tragic events at the start.The adventurism of those in power has brought disaster and misfortune that it was impossible to foresee. In the acts of the commission, Brezhnev is silent about this reason. It was probably unprofitable to strip ... "
There was another reason for the rush, understandable to every Soviet person. The start was scheduled for October 23, hand in hand to the next anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. November 7 is supposed to meet gifts, this is the tradition. Khachaturian testifies: “From above they expressed, well, not just a demand, but a wish to launch it for the holiday. This made us work at the cosmodrome, if not around the clock, then very hard.”
In addition, as recently as October 20, the famous Khrushchevsky sounded at the rally of many thousands of Moscow workers: "If you, gentlemen, want to once again experience the power and endurance of a socialist state, we will show you, as they say, to the fucking mother." And on October 25 scheduled the opening of the next session of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, where you can report on what has been done. Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, who returned from a trip to America, is eager to show the whole world, and US President Eisenhower, first of all, that he has a formidable weapon. What is going to declare at the solemn meeting in honor of the October Revolution ...
October 21 The 1960 of the year at 8 of the morning the rocket smoothly floats on a giant platform to the launch site. Installation on the launch pad passes normally. All communications are connected, electric tests begin. A number of malfunctions have been discovered - a familiar matter, designers, specialists from Yuzhmash and other enterprises, testers correct the malfunctions.
23 OCTOBER 1960 OF THE YEAR. START POSTPONED
October 23 after checks rocket refuel components of the fuel - poured almost a half thousand tons of fuel and oxidizer. This is a deadly poisonous substance, flare up at the slightest contact with each other. After refueling, it is detected: rocket fuel is leaking through sealing joints - 142-145 drops per minute. Technical guidance has justified the possibility of such a defect, subject to neutralization. Because at the place of leakage just put a soldier with a bucket.
Another obstacle unexpectedly falls down: after filling with the components of fuel and oxidizer, the turbopump unit could withstand no more than a day, after this period it was supposed to be replaced. Should hurry. Haste added nervousness.
Konstantin Khachaturian recalls: "The 23 number, when the missile was being prepared for launch, revealed a design flaw in the ground control console ... The launch was delayed for an hour, then for two hours, then for a day, because the situation was serious."
The circuit was soldered. Replaced the main software current distributor. The hatches were already closed late at night. At a meeting held right under the rocket, the state commission postponed the launch until the next day. People are exhausted. We decided to give them a rest, sleep.
24 OCTOBER 1960 OF THE YEAR. HOUR TO START
October 24 morning began with inspections, which are allowed only on an unfilled rocket. Security measures neglected.
Colonel Savinsky, a participant in those events, recalls: "The morning of October 24 began anxiously. An hour before the launch of the rocket, some clever men, closing the hatch, broke three multicore cables that my communications workers had laid, the headset of people working on the rocket was interrupted, which was immediately It was reported by someone to the state commission. Lieutenant-General Mrykin immediately took up this question. They called me and asked how much time I needed to fix the problem, I answered 10 minutes. The cables were replaced within 5 minutes. Work continued. “I ordered the removal of the fault to send seven people to shelter, which saved their lives.”
Near the rocket many people. Around one and a half hundred curious - large, medium and very small superiors crowd around the main persons. There is a solemn, but also nervous, revival caused by the presence of top management. Nedelin and Yangel stroll near the rocket, right there are the deputies of the designer Berlin and Kontsevoy.
The head of the starting position does not go away, hesitates and still decides to invite the marshal to the bunker. Nedelin takes a step toward heavy painted green paint on a metal door that hides narrow steps that go steeply down, but at the last moment changes his mind.
Waving his hand: "Start" - and moves away ten steps from the rocket.
Immediately and the head of the landfill, Major General Gerchik. His duties include monitoring compliance with the rules and instructions on the territory entrusted to him. He knew that he was obliged to remove from the start all outsiders, regardless of their rank.
But next is the Marshal, the Commander-in-Chief, and he is only Major General ...
24 OCTOBER 1960 OF THE YEAR. CATASTROPHE
Nedelin and Yangel knew each other for a very long time. Especially they became close in recent years. The marshal and chief designer became, if not friends, then good comrades. And the friendly relations between them are also one of the micro reasons that led to the catastrophe.
The marshal, perhaps, would have told the queen if there were any flaws: “No! We postpone the launch until the rocket is completely ready.” Yangel he allowed to make constructive corrections right at the start.
Nedelin, naturally, was not going to observe the launch of a rocket, standing a meter from it. Perhaps he wanted to instill confidence and tranquility in the people who were preparing a rocket for the launch in a terrible park. He himself was sure of P-16. Otherwise I would not have behaved so recklessly. Perhaps, General Gore is right: “There is nothing more dangerous when a complex technique begins to hold on to a familiar service, they lose their sense of distance. The technique requires turning to you and severely avenges liberty. Then, during the years of the rocket boom, many believed that the missiles They do not conceal any special surprises. Everything has been researched, studied, understood - launches have become routine. Of course, problems cannot be ruled out, not without it, but they were tried not to think about them. There was an illusion of permissiveness. "
Colonel Savinsky about the first seconds of the disaster: "I saw Marshal Nedelin sitting in a chair near the CP. Near him was Lieutenant Colonel Salo, this is his adjutant. In 18.45 there was a crash, I had an instant response, I traveled 10 meters to the side with speed higher than the Olympic record. When I got on the sand, I heard an explosion. Flames rushed along the concrete and licked me all. I was burning, I thought: it was over. But something prompted me, because I was in memory, run! I ran, but I was only I was in flames, so I began to roll in the sand, I got up - still burning. "
Savinsky woke up in the hospital on the second day. He well remembers the morning of October 26, when the nurse turned on the radio and he heard the official message: Marshal of Nedelin was killed in a plane crash.
Test manager Alexander Matrenin: “In 18 hours, 45 minutes, the supervisor announced 30-minute readiness. The crew on the crew performed the final operations: disconnecting the pneumatic communications filling, removing the plugs and the wind fastening of the rocket, removing the installer from the launch device. At that moment as a result impulses issued by the software current distributor to the executive bodies, the launch of the cruise engine of the second stage of the rocket occurred. "
The fiery jet instantly burned the tanks of the first step, streams of fuel and oxidant, nitric acid, more than one hundred fifty tons rushed down onto the heads of people who did not understand. Where they touched, flames flared. The first step fell apart. Above, completing the destruction, the second stage collapsed.
Those who were near Nedelin, directly under the rocket, were killed instantly. Who kept to the side, tried to escape, rushed to the shelter - this path led to a painful death. By the arrival of the high authorities, the site was asphalted, and it turned into a trap. Asphalt instantly melted, people stuck in it, after a few moments tar broke out ...
Then on this place they found what was not burning - coins, buckles, tools.
What happened at the start of the P-16 can be compared with disaster films. The storm of fire, in which not only all living things burned, but the metal evaporated.
24 October 1960 of the year. The first second after the explosion. A photo:
24 OCTOBER 1960 OF THE YEAR. ICON WEEK
Chief Designer P-16 Yangel fantastically lucky. A few moments before the explosion, he went down to the smoking room, a pit in 30 meters from the launch pad, where chairs were placed around the barrel. But this miserable shelter saved his life. Yangel only had time to light a cigarette, when, following a blinding flash, there was no explosion, but a mighty rumble — the designer froze, looking at the end of the world. And rushed to the start.
"There are people. I have to ..." he shouts incoherently. His hold. Yangel breaks free. He almost loses his mind at that moment. There, his friends and his staff burned in a thousand-degree flame. Did he hope to save dying people or did he want to share their fate? Later, he tore off burning clothes from people running out of fire, put them on fire, burned his hands, but did not leave until General Mrykin and someone else from the military forcibly brought him to the hotel. As soon as the doctor bandaged his hands, Yangel returned to the burning rocket again.
At this point in the 18 hours 45 minutes, Mitrofan Nedelin died. A photo:
Boris Lavrenenko recalls: “Yangel came to us all the time and said one phrase:“ Look for Nedelina, look for Berlin. ”He left, again approached, again he said:“ Look for Nedelina, look for Berlin ”.
General Gore: "I personally managed to determine the place where Marshal Nedelin was killed. I found his deputy badge. He was the only deputy of the Supreme Soviet among the dead, so there could be no doubt."
Guilt did not leave Yangel all the remaining years. He died on the day of his 60 anniversary right at the celebration, in the office of the USSR Minister of General Engineering, Afanasyev. The main celebrations were scheduled for the evening, in a large hall, but for the time being, the closest ones gathered to congratulate them without a pump, shortly. Yangel was deeply moved, suddenly complained: something pulls the heart. The Minister proposed to lie down on the couch in the rest room adjacent to the office. Taking the pill, Yangel closed the door behind him. He never opened it again. Yangel found dead on the couch. A heart...
People burst from the flames like burning torches ... Photos:
25 OCTOBER 1960 OF THE YEAR. FINDINGS
The commission to investigate the causes of the accident P-16 was headed by Brezhnev. The main reason was already determined by October 25. The premature launch of the second stage sustainer engine triggered three technical factors, described in detail in the conclusion of the commission. Each of them individually could not affect the normal process of preparing the rocket for launch, but their combination led to a catastrophe.
From the report to the CPSU Central Committee:
Clarifying the causes of the disaster with the participation of leading experts established the following.
During the preparation of the rocket for launch, a deviation from the approved technology was allowed ... As a result, a premature launch of the second-stage sustainer occurred, which led to a powerful fire and complete destruction of the rocket at the start.
The test managers showed excessive confidence in the safety of the entire product complex, as a result of which individual decisions were made hastily, without a proper analysis of the possible consequences.
In preparing the rocket for launch, there were also serious shortcomings in the organization of work and mode. At the launch site during the time readiness of the rocket, besides the specialists necessary for the work of 100, were present before the 150 man ... "
The final meeting of the Government Commission was opened by the then young and energetic Brezhnev: "I talked with Nikita Sergeyevich, we consulted, and the government, the country's leadership decided that since the perpetrators of this tragedy and all those involved in this case were killed, except for Yangel and Mrykin, they decided not to punish anyone ... Because you punished yourself. And now the most important thing is to turn all your strength, attention, energy, etc. to bring this rocket to mind, because it is terribly necessary for our defense. "
In total, according to the commission, 126 people died. This figure includes the dead at the site and the dead subsequently in the hospital. More than 50 people were injured and burned.
Baikonur Cosmodrome. 41 is the site. Memorial in memory of the victims of the intercontinental ballistic missile explosion P-16. A photo:
26 OCTOBER 1960 OF THE YEAR. OBITUARY
The newspaper Pravda published it on this day:
"From the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers of the USSR are deeply saddened to report that on October 10, the chief artillery commander and strategic commander Nedelin Mitrofan died in office as a result of an aviation accident. Ivanovich, candidate member of the CPSU Central Committee, deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Hero of the Soviet Union, Deputy Minister of Defense of the USSR, one of the most prominent oennyh figures, famous hero of the Great Patriotic War. "
In this message, besides the posts of the marshal, there is not a word of truth. The circumstances of his death were so secret that even relatives vaguely imagined what happened on the evening of October 1960 of the year. In the series "The Life of Remarkable People" in the year 1978 published the book "Nedelin". There is one sentence about the death of the marshal: "October 24 1960, this remarkable man in the full bloom of strength and talent died tragically in the performance of official duties."
And still there was a case
"Kapustin Yar", who sat down in a puddle
Nedelin is the original person. Eyewitnesses recall how the marshal inspected the test site at the Kapustin Yar test site. On the eve of the only rain that sank in that arid summer. At the entrance to the site formed a puddle. Nedelin, who left “ZIM”, rested on it.
A smile slowly slipped from the marshal's face. After a moment's hesitation, he ordered into the space: "A shovel." Surrounding officers rushed in, defended the situation by Captain Sobakin, the security chief of the site. He alone knew where the entrenching instrument was stored. Marshal carelessly took a spade approached a puddle and began to scoop it violently. Accompanying, not moving, observed.
The performance lasted a couple of minutes. Having finished with the puddle, Nedelin also silently gave Sobakin’s spade, went back to the car and, perched in the back seat, briefly threw to the driver: “To the airfield”. Inspect the exhibits did not deign.
What is it - tyranny or educational reception? Decide for yourself.
The launch of the second P-16 rocket went smoothly. True, the flight control system failed. Good luck came from the third attempt. All further tests occurred without incident.
In October 1961, the intercontinental ballistic missile R-16 was adopted by the Soviet army.
Academician Boris Evseevich Chertok, the closest ally of S.P. The Queen concludes: “Much differently in our rocket technology would have been different if it were not for the death of Nedelin. Among the senior military leaders of those years, he was the only marshal and deputy defense minister who understood our problems. therefore, he was respected by both military and civilian specialists. We really felt the loss of Nedelin after his place was successively taken by the marshals of Moskalenko, Biryuzov and Krylov. I they could not fully appreciate "