Military Review

"Such a powerful blow is transmitted deeper and deeper."


At the end of 1920, when it became obvious to everyone that the Civil War was nearing completion, the struggle against the crisis that had paralyzed everything and everyone turned into a task of paramount importance for the leaders of Soviet Russia. To develop effective measures to overcome the devastation that began during the First World War, it was necessary to answer many serious questions, in essence, boiling down to one, the main thing: how could it happen that the economy of a country that had enormous human and natural resources the most powerful, but sufficiently developed industry, in a matter of months after the start of the war came in a completely declining state?

"Full split power"

The first alarming signs of an impending economic catastrophe appeared soon after the start of the world war, in the autumn of 1914. And very soon, when the crisis began to spread and grow, the railways began to blame the country for all the troubles. More precisely, the system of management created in wartime. For example, the former Chairman of the State Duma, M.V. Rodzianko, on September 4 of 1917, spoke at a meeting of the Emergency Investigation Commission established by the Provisional Government to investigate the unlawful actions of former senior officials , "Kommersant-History", N15, 2014 year):

"It came out, for example, like this: there is a train with some kind of army. It is under the authority of the Minister of Railways to the well-known demarcation line, and when he passes this line, he ends up in the office of no one knows who. There was General. Ronzhin, who allegedly headed ways of communication. The train, having crossed some imaginary line on the map, was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Communications. This duality also went on. Where does the destruction of communication lines come from? This wrongly set principle. chaos. The supreme commander’s headquarters or directorate decided that all this should be put on a military foot. They recruited various captains who were more or less incapable of military service, and made them commandants. It turned out to be double commanders at the railway stations. because it went upstairs.) The commandant is clothed with all the power of the authorities almost to the shooting inclusive, and the station chief, too, because the railways are recognized for martial law. He, too, is clothed with great power. And these two elements collide with each other. It got to the point (they complained to me on the way on the way) that, on the one hand, where the station chief was more energetic, there he attacked the commandant, and there, where the commandant was more energetic, he almost threatened the station commander with a revolver: master". That's where it started. On my first trip to the headquarters, I spoke with Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich that it was wrong, it was chaos. It was in August or September, when I traveled for the first time: "This chaos began with the railways and little by little affected the entire administration of parts of the nearest rear, then it would go deeper, and you will get a complete split of power, otherwise powerless."

But in fact, it was not so simple and simple. In 1920, experts from the People's Commissariat of Communications (NKPS) compiled an extensive certificate in which they collected and analyzed all the circumstances that led to the devastation. They believed that the main problem that initiated the crisis was fuel difficulties resulting from the successes of Germany on the front and the German blockade:

"With the occupation of the Dombrovsky Coal Basin by Germany, Russia lost 390.000.000 pounds of coal per year; and with the blockade of the ports of the Baltic and Black Seas 500 million imported British coal, i.e. Russia totally lost almost half of all the coal it needed, namely: from 2086 million poods of national consumption in 1913, the Donets Basin remaining at the disposal of Russia could produce only 1197 million poods.

Adopted was a series of emergency complex measures that delayed the inevitable destruction of the country's productive forces.

All the intense efforts to increase the extraction and export of coal from the Donbass and thus cover lost sources of supply, of course, could not lead to anything.

Such a strong blow to the integral organism of the country's economy is only slowly, consistently, for months and years passed down deeper and deeper, first absorbing the accumulated reserves and, finally, paralyzing the entire economy and in particular even the most residual coal, oil and firewood production in the regions remaining at the disposal of Russia. "

"Fuel Care"

As stated in the NKPS certificate, great efforts were made to alleviate the fuel problem.

"Fuel care becomes the main issue of the country's existence; the Central Fuel Distribution Committee is organized under the chairmanship of the Minister of Communications, the rate of coal export from Donbass to 120 million poods per month is set: at first, the export was in fact very close to it, 110 million pounds (now 23 million pounds) ...

In order to continue to cope with the disaster, a series of emergency complex measures were adopted, which in the end gave significant results, which prevented, suspended, delayed the inevitable destruction of the country's productive forces.

1) It is not enough to say that millions of poods of coal were taken out a month, I must say, what kind of coal. Donetsk coals are mainly anthracite, on which, to our shame, we do not know how to work, while America uses it superbly. I had to learn and teach the stokers to work on anthracite. With the participation of professors Shchukin and Kirsch, the most successful mixture of anthracite with coal for heating locomotives (one third of anthracite and two thirds of coal) was calculated. This mixture was primarily used on the Catherine and Southern roads, then near the extraction of anthracite and on other roads. The struggle for this "innovation" was hard; often machinists dumped anthracite fines from a steam locomotive, along the sides of the embankment, road. the canvases, stating that anthracite does not burn, are not suitable as fuel on locomotives. (Anthracite is the best of all types of black coal, the most “hot”, but really extremely difficult to flare up at the beginning). Passed at that time on the Nikolaev road could see her canvas, all over littered with heaps of anthracite along the sides - little things. However, after 4 of the month, 10 roads almost completely switched to heating with the above mixture, anthracite consumption for them was equal to 20% of the total fuel consumption, that is, it almost corresponded to the percentage composition of the mixture.

2) The "stationary" building boilers and carload boilers were transferred to anthracite heating.

3) The requisition of firewood (now the “requisition” is considered “Bolshevism”) is made in the 30-free strip along the railway line. d., which gave 330.000 cube. fathoms.

4) Strengthened the development of firewood as the forces of the glands themselves. Dor., and contractors, mainly forestry, which gave the roads still 100.000 cube. fathom ...

5) For the first time attention was paid to peat "gray coal", which was previously neglected ... Experiments with peat heating of steam locomotives were carried out in two ways - briquettes and peat powder. The experiments were successful ...

6) For the first time in history, the consumption of coal by consumers began to be accounted for, distributed and controlled; also, for the first time, accelerated centralized state calculation of all railways with mines - coal suppliers through the first recipient of coal from the mines, through the Southern Roads Administration in Kharkov was made.

7) Reduced coal dumping due to ash tolerance of coal instead of 15% to 20%.

8) A mixed railway railway and water delivery of coal from Donbass was organized. "

The British could not build 15 versts from Murmansk and, striking, abandoned their work

At the same time, as stated in the certificate, work was carried out to expand the possibilities for the delivery of goods from the northern and Far Eastern ports:

"A thin thread - a trickle, the line Moscow - Arkhangelsk, designed as the last of the thinnest arteries, for negligible circulation, could pass only 70 cars a day and suddenly turned out to be the only connecting thread of the center with Western Europe.

A grandiose task, the only one in the world railway chronicle, is being put and implemented: to build in one year a new railway to the Arctic Ocean over 1000 versts miles in such places where only a brave hero, a geographer traveled until now, driven by love for new scientific discoveries, where there was no housing, where eternal night reigns for six months and all year round — permafrost, where the horse, dragging a bag in 5 pounds 1 a mile away, is already dropping in exhaustion, where there were not the most elementary conditions not only human, even tolerable animal existence where even the English-workers with all their mechanical culture and disciplined severe exposure could not build and 15 miles from Murmansk, on strike, quit their jobs; there, in this kingdom of the polar night, by the unresponsiveness of the people stretching for freedom, the building was brought to a close in exactly one year, or, more precisely, in one season of the polar bright summer, although this building consumed about 40 thousands of lives or finally died, or maimed mainly by scurvy, typhus and rheumatism.

A similar task is carried out on the line Vologda - Arkhangelsk, where this road is changed from a narrow gauge to a broad one, too, in one year.

Finally, the capacity of the water-rail mixed route is significantly enhanced: Northern Dvina - Kotlas - Vyatka.

As a result of all these conditions, the first year was taken out above the usual rate of 18 cargo of millions of poods of coal, 4 million poods of metals and other cargo, 3000 of military vehicles (the usual rate of about a million poods per year). The total capacity of the newly equipped three railways was expressed by the time they were completed (for the 1916 season of the year) in the total amount of about 150 million poods or translated into cars - 430 cars instead of 70 (i.e., 6 times the original throughput northern direction of Russia), composed as follows: 7 million poods in the rough Murmansk railway. d., 28 millions of pounds on the Northern Dvina and 115 millions of pounds on the inter-connected Arkhangelsk railway.

It was difficult to hope to increase the carrying capacity of the Siberian Railway due to its extraordinary length; but still it was possible to increase the capacity there, namely, the 824 of the car per day instead of 708. "

"Could not dissolve this deposit"

However, all these tremendous efforts only slightly delayed, but did not stop the development of devastation. Experts NKPS argued that the increase in problems was associated with the separation of rolling stock on civil and military:

"By the time of the imperialist war, our railway network had a total length of about 66.000 versts. With the announcement of mobilization, the western network lying west of the Petrograd-Vitebsk-Smolensk-Kiev-Yekaterinoslav line and south of the Donetsk basin and the Don region was declared front-line roads , passed under the jurisdiction of the Military Field Administration, yet the rest of the roads formed the Eastern District - the rear roads - remaining at the disposal of the Railways Department of the Ministry of Railways. The Western network was 22.000 versts. Vostochnaya - 44.000. The steam locomotives on the entire network were round numbers 20 000 (now 10 000). 500.000 cars (now 300 000). This mobile fleet was also divided in proportion to the length of the network: one third was listed behind the front roads, and two thirds - in the rear " .

But in reality, as stated in the certificate, a different distribution came out:

“Mobilization immediately made the wagons free, throw out“ commercial ”loads in the number of 32.000 cars and delay further follow-up of 28.000 cars without throwing cargo out of them. In total, with the start of the war, 60.000 wagons were removed from the country’s general use. 60.000 wagons remained in the entire first year of the war (of course, not the same goods, but constantly shifting), the railways could not dissolve this deposit. This figure, large in itself, however, compared with the Japanese war nothing To the same time, there was a pool of 200.000 carloads of freight. Mobilization lasted only ten days, and then the equipment began (so in the text.— "History") of adapted cars, but normal commercial loading on all roads and the front and rear fell to 6350 cars a day, that is, making up one-third of the prewar loading amount equal to 20.000 wagons per day.

All were disarmed on the roads of the Eastern network of 75.000 cars from 95.000 "equipped" to the beginning of mobilization. All these worn-out wagons, however, went completely to the same military-quartermaster traffic.

Thus, on average, 145.000 wagons were diverted by direct military transportation, i.e., in general, direct military transportation along the roads of the eastern network occupied another third of the country's rolling stock; that is, for ordinary rear needs, only one third of the country's total rolling stock remained. "

The army, as stated in the certificate, received everything necessary. Unlike industry and population:

"The flow of quartermaster cargoes not only corresponded to the needs of the army, but even allowed 32 to accumulate a million poods of various quartermaster cargoes in basic warehouses.

But in March, 1915, the supply of meat to Petrograd completely stopped; and in May, the supply of sugar almost stopped, despite the fact that the 1914 sugar campaign of the year was even more successful than the peaceful 1913 year, 150.000 carriages were transported against 136.000 in 1913 year. The cotton campaign went so well, no worse than 1913 of the year.

Due to the range of transportation and other causes, coal export from Donbass from 689 million to 577 million poods fell, despite an increase in the coal car fleet from 40.000 to 75.000, and the supply of ore to metallurgical plants was extremely reduced ...

The Ural mining industry was finally jammed with military transport, which flowed by it in a continuous stream; it was necessary to close the Perm direction for military transportations in order to give an opportunity to work on the defense of the Urals. "

The lack of rolling stock tried to fill in all possible ways:

"With the declaration of war, new 43.000 cars and 1.500 locomotives were ordered to Russian factories for 1915 year; according to the plan, 40.000 cars and 400 locomotives had to be ordered, but the Russian factories refused to take over this order. America took part of it, but 13.600 double Fox Arbele cars, equal to our 26.320 cars, and all 400 locomotives of a particularly powerful type ...

At the beginning of the war, the lack of a fleet of railcars and locomotives had to be covered with a number of skillful measures to increase the expediency of their operation. Those were the following:

1) The use of ground platforms (usually idle in winter) for transporting coal around 15.000 is by increasing the sides.

2) The assumptions of loading into the car 1200 pounds instead of 1000 p.

3) Disposal of special-purpose wagons mainly for meat transportation.

4) Establishment of block trains to reduce maneuvers along the way and facilitate their passage. knots.

5) Starting trains "after" each other, first in the form of normal, but one-way traffic with a delay of the entire oncoming traffic, then, without waiting for arrival, 15 minutes after each other and, finally, a continuous train of trains with intervals in 50-100 soot. and speed 5-10 versts per hour. The echelons of the troops were thus delivered from Siberia on 4 days before the proposed deadline.

6) The introduction of heavier trains, for which purpose modern, powerful types of locomotives were ordered ...

7) The use of pushers in areas with a difficult profile, which, after all, determine the carrying capacity of the entire road ...

8) Reduction of idle time of cars, because the main life of a car, on 70% of its time, consists in parking, not in motion: waiting for loading, under load; waiting for unloading, under unloading; waiting for repair, in repair; but not in motion. "

The newly invented methods for increasing the loading of cars were used, as indicated in the NKPS certificate:

"For the transportation of lightweight hay, an ingenious method of loading the car from below with rails going to the front was invented up to the full lift of the cars."

The theft was a collusion, a gang and the station chief, and the train crew, and compilers, and gendarmes, etc.

"Launch and Zag"
But, as the NKPS experts admitted with regret, all good undertakings did not work because of the human factor. An attempt to introduce a continuous ride of locomotives, when the train crews were not assigned to a specific locomotive, led to a dismal result:

"The American uninterrupted ride with the lazy, careless attitude of almost every Russian person to his duties gave consistent neglect and crap of all locomotives."

But the emergence of an acute shortage of wagons for commercial goods affected the transportation even worse:

“At the end of the first year, colossal speculation and railroad bribery began on the basis of carriage hunger. Thousands of circulars, prohibitions of cargo directions and their cancellation, closure and new release, not only from military invasions, but also from natural disorders - evacuations, re-evacuation, blockage all the station intendantskim and military goods, the insecurity of existence and hunger - all this created the possibility of the broadest bribes, abuses, predatory robbing of people's goods, less even stolen, I eat spoiled, to be able to steal.

Instead of flying repair, wagons were poured sand into the axle boxes, and then, by burning, the wagon was uncoupled or the car was braked too tightly, so the wheels crawled along the rails and bondage got a pothole; cargo was stolen, and the car for huge money, correcting it with volatile repairs, provided a new load. The theft was a collusion, a gang and the station chief, and the repair team, or inspectors of trains, and train crews, and compilers, and gendarmes, etc.

At the same time, the thieves were not shy about the fact that there were no wagon axles and bondages in the country’s stock, and they very quickly artificially weared the last available resources. From the cases of cars and locomotives were rolled up for the purpose of selling nuts, bolts were pulled out. What the matter, if after a while the entire carriage crumbled into individual boards that were burned on fires. Such examples can be brought endlessly from the Russian past rich in criminal history. "

The saddest thing was that it was more difficult to eliminate the "devastation in the heads" than to restore the work of the railways after the war:

"All this, unfortunately, has recovered again now and is a formidable ominous sign of a serious illness in the country."

The editorial board of Voenniy Obozreniye urgently needs a proofreader. Requirements: impeccable knowledge of the Russian language, diligence, discipline. Contact: [email protected]

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  1. Gray 43
    Gray 43 18 October 2015 06: 52 New
    Thanks to the author for the article! Much has been written about the work of the USSR railways during the Second World War, but we know almost nothing about the tsarist period.
  2. apro
    apro 18 October 2015 07: 25 New
    Efficient managers with honest private contractors, that is, effective owners smashed the Russian empire worse than the Germans, Comrade IV Stalin did not allow such disgrace in the next war.
  3. bulat
    bulat 18 October 2015 07: 29 New
    Unfortunately, it is repeated. Electric locomotives are also working through the method now. The condition is awful.
    1. alicante11
      alicante11 18 October 2015 11: 14 New
      Unfortunately, it is repeated. Electric locomotives are also working through the method now. The condition is awful.

      Hmm, what do you mean by "end-to-end method"? Loose riding or something else? We have practiced loose riding for as long as I can remember on the railway. The exception was and still are shunting diesel locomotives and, in part, passenger locomotives. The former work at certain stations and the same machinists or locomotive crews work in shifts at them. The share of attached ride in passenger traffic is minimal, and even then it is mainly on electrified railways. And everyone else travels unattached, because the attached ride on mainline locomotives involves not only tying locomotive crews to the schedule, but also locomotives to locomotive crews. Because of this, the number of locomotives involved in providing transportation and idle time of locomotives is increasing. Which is not economically profitable, although it gives an improvement in the technical condition of the SS.
      What other "through traffic" can be discussed is not entirely clear to me. All locomotives are assigned to the main locomotive depot and operate according to its circulation areas. Only carriages go "draft".
    2. NordUral
      NordUral 19 October 2015 00: 49 New
      And how are these "effective" managers better than those described in the article? At least those were fools in the majority, but these pests. You look at Chinese high-speed trains and roads and only obscene words in the language.
      1. alicante11
        alicante11 19 October 2015 04: 59 New
        Don't understand why this question is? I actually gave data on how rail transport works. And the rationale too. To "effective" your claim. For example, the same TMH-Service. But we are talking about "through driving".
  4. Kibalchish
    Kibalchish 18 October 2015 08: 14 New
    Good article. It reflects the whole predatory nature of thieves who have twice led the country to disaster.
  5. parusnik
    parusnik 18 October 2015 09: 17 New
    The theft was conspiracy, a gang and the head of the station, and the repair team, or train inspectors, and the train brigade, and compilers, and gendarmes, etc.... These are the people who prepared the February revolution ...
  6. chunga-changa
    chunga-changa 18 October 2015 10: 50 New
    They constantly forget about February the seventeenth, it did not happen by itself. There was a bourgeois conspiracy in the country against the tsarist government. The situation was deliberately destabilized by members of the liberal government. As a result, a bourgeois revolution took place, but the quality of management by the "new owners" was so low, well, just like now, that the more cunning Bolsheviks easily took advantage of its fruits.
    1. provincial
      provincial 18 October 2015 11: 15 New
      Almost like the 90s, one to one. I’ll tell you a little about that time - he served in 1985-90 in the city of Borzya, the Chita region, it’s easier in ZabVO. I went to various stores, as needed, I needed to look for the right product or products. Therefore, we shopped in Voentorg and received rations. And suddenly in the city’s shops there were such goods and products that residents of regional cities or even metropolitan { carpets, imported furniture, crystal, etc.}, products {sausages, cheeses, various canned goods from the category of delicacies} and no lines. Residents of the city went stunned, looked like museums, but didn’t buy. But this did not last long, it disappeared at once. about three months later. It’s all disappeared as soon as the very shit came to power. The conclusion and understanding came later, when the very dermocrats for what bared store shelves in the capital and regional cities of the USSR and began to drive on TV and write in the media about if not about hunger and economic collapse. Having seen everything, I understood where that klindike in the provincial Transbaikal town came from.
  7. bubla5
    bubla5 18 October 2015 19: 33 New
    For this, all countries like jackals rushed to rob weakened Russia
  8. 97110
    97110 18 October 2015 22: 36 New
    Thanks, very interesting. I knew nothing about the fuel shortage, I was surprised at the abundance of peat mining after the Civil War. There are interesting stories about the construction and reconstruction of railway in the North. He himself knew something about the river's fleet on S. Dvina, although he was surprised at its development - the second place after the Volga in terms of the volume of dredging works. But it is especially interesting to destroy the Stalinist organization of the Ministry of Railways today, when the tasks of the country's survival somehow do not coincide with the appearance of owners wagons. Nobody can tell you how the efficiency of using wagons has changed with the advent of Freight One and the disappearance of the inventory park of the Ministry of Railways? Conversations about the emergence of effective owners of traction and other "improvements", if they are implemented, are guaranteed to stop any transportation if necessary to achieve the state goal. Electric locomotives cannot be heated with wood.