Defeat in a war or defeat at some time during the war often has an explanation. As a rule, the head of state, defense industry, foreign policy, military leadership, etc. can be guilty here. This article deals with completely unexplained actions or inactions of the military leadership of the Red Army in the pre-war period, that is, since March 1939. But before proceeding to the presentation of these actions or inactions, let us briefly recall some of the main military-political events of the two pre-war years.
HITLER ALL DECEIVED
March 1939 should be considered as an important starting point. This month, Hitler deceived his partners in the autumn negotiations in Munich and occupied the Czech Republic. In contrast to the lands previously annexed to Germany, Hitler first occupied the territory with a non-German population, and also very important geopolitically and economically. The leaders of Great Britain and France realized that they were thrown in Munich, as they say now, and began to take emergency measures. Britain immediately introduced universal military duty, and France immediately increased the service life of conscription. The situation in the world began to quickly heat up. That same spring, fascism won the Spanish Civil War.
The Soviet Union also realized that the time had come for decisive action to strengthen the country's defense. Purges, arrests and executions in the country has become much less. Began a rapid increase in the size of the army. At the same time, Stalin began to pursue an active foreign policy. In the summer of 1939, a very successful, albeit risky, military campaign was conducted against the Japanese at Khalkhin Gol.
On September 1, 1939, after attacking Poland, Germany launched World War II. On the same day, we are adopting a new law on universal conscription. And on September 17, the Red Army troops begin the liberation of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus, or, as others believe, the occupation of the eastern regions of Poland. The main thing is not in terms, but that it was a necessary military-political decision, even from Churchill's point of view. The next year, the USSR managed to get 1940 in time, that is, before the onset of the spring thaw, to end the war with Finland, and then, taking advantage of the situation, that is, Germany’s defeat of France, join the Baltic States, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.
Unprecedented attention in these years, Stalin pays designers and manufacturers weapons. And a completely backward economically country creates and launches quite decent main types of weapons, although they are still very raw. Commanders who distinguished themselves in combat conditions are appointed to high command positions. The defense industry of the country goes to martial law.
In 1941, events in Europe also developed rapidly. Germany invades Greece and Yugoslavia. At this time, Russia was conducting a partial and covert mobilization, as a result of which nearly 800 thousand reservists were drafted into the army. In the second half of May, a strategic regrouping of the Red Army began - over 40 divisions moved or prepared to move to the western borders of the country, new divisions and brigades quickly formed. Stalin’s diplomatic efforts were not in vain. In the spring of 1941, a non-aggression pact was concluded with Japan, and the likelihood of war in the Far East declined sharply. Finally, in the last days before the war, many divisions made hidden marches to the border, the headquarters of the border districts moved to front-line command posts, in many divisions in Tanks loaded ammunition and fuel, and aviation preparing for dispersal at field airfields. It seemed that everything was right in the country before the war. Then what is the reason for the heavy defeats of the Red Army at the beginning of the war, and who is to blame?
The answer is unequivocal. The military leadership of the Red Army is to blame for it. It made many difficult-to-explain decisions before the war. That's about these solutions, large and not very, and will be discussed. No wonder they say that the devil is in the details and that the main thing can be determined from these details. Including determine the causes of the defeat of the Red Army at the beginning of the war. Below is a list of only some, large and small, but completely inexplicable actions or omissions of the military leadership of the Red Army before the war. So, let's begin.
Misunderstandings with tanks
In the Belarusian Special Military District, the 6 th mechanized corps was the main attack force. It consisted of over 1000 tanks, including 114 heavy tanks KV-1 and 238 medium tanks T-34. The corps was stationed in the Belostok ridge, that is, in the border bag. According to the terrain conditions, heavy 50-ton tanks KV and 28-ton T-34, due to their mass, could hardly attack anywhere. Unless to the northeast, and that at engineering preparation on a number of small small rivers. Why was the strike force of the Red Army deployed in a border bag, surrounded by swamps and rivers? As a result, the 6 th mechanized corps was actually shot by enemy aircraft and artillery in a few days. A lot of incomprehensible was in the dislocation of other parts of the district. So, there were almost no military units near the bridges across the Neman, that is, in 20 km from the border. Naturally, the bridges were captured on the first day of the war. By the way, it’s not the commanders of the military districts that are to blame for the choice of locations for military units, as is often the case here. The deployment of any part of the claimed General Headquarters of the Red Army and the Commissar of Defense.
It is interesting to look at the tank composition of some divisions stationed, for example, in the Kiev Special Military District. The 10 Tank Division included the following tanks: 63 tank KV, 38 tanks T-34, 61 tank T-28, 181 tank BT, and 22 tank T-26. The 8 Tank Division had 50 KV tanks, 140 T-34 tanks, 68 T-28 tanks, 31 BT tanks and 36 T-26 tanks. In the 43 Tank Division - 5 KV tanks, 2 T-34 tanks and X-NUMX T-230 tanks. In the 26 Tank Division - 4 tank KV-31 (with 2-mm cannon, weight tank 152 tons), 55 light tank T-383 and one tanketka T-26. And this is without taking into account the various modifications of the T-37 and BT tanks.
To which bridge and how many kilometers can heavy and light tanks pass? And how can this divisional tank kaleidoscope be maintained at all? Can anyone understand the logic of military leaders when bundling tank divisions? At the same time, crew training was mainly conducted in combat units, and not in training centers. It is no secret that at the beginning of the war, due to the difficulties with the maintenance of completely different types of tanks and the unpreparedness of crews, armored vehicles were lost in the divisions much more than from enemy fire. By the way, even the cases of refueling of tank diesel engines with gasoline were not very rare. It is completely obvious that before the war tanks were delivered to the troops in an absolutely chaotic and completely illogical manner. And an indirect confirmation of this fact is that already on the third day of the war, government decree No. 1749-756 was issued, which established the order for sending tanks and armored vehicles to the front only as part of "formed, manned and collectively mouths".
One more thing. In the Red Army in the summer of 1940, 20 tank divisions were formed. And 40 tank units 20 motorized divisions began to form in the spring of the year 1941. I wonder where the military leaders were going to get tanks and other equipment to actually simultaneously form the 60 new tank and motorized divisions? Only tanks needed to release at least 10 thousand units. Naturally, the equipment and combat capability of a large number of divisions created in 1941 was, to put it mildly, extremely low. Moreover, many new divisions were formed at the expense of a sharp weakening of the relatively efficient tank divisions created earlier.
AVIATION TRADE AND SHORTAGE OF AIRCRAFT
For a variety of reasons, the numerous Red Army tank forces were unable at the initial stage of the war to give a fitting rebuff to the enemy. 1940 Photo of the Year
An interesting situation occurred before the war and in aviation. This is what General Sandalov, Chief of Staff of the 4 Army, writes in his memoirs about a trip to military units of the 21 district in June 1941 of the year. He reports that the air regiment in Pruzhany received two new MiG fighters two days ago, and the rest of the fighters in the regiment are old, that 20 June unloaded the dismantled Yak-20 fighters from the echelon 1 and that the first two Il-2 received in the assault regiment. Each piece arrived and disassembled in the troops and other types of aircraft. Interestingly, did the specialists in engines, mechanics or electrics of these new airplanes come with two MiGs or two Elahs? Or were the military technicians so qualified that they could properly prepare the aircraft of a new design for a combat flight, and did the pilots fly confidently at once? It is also interesting, were there pilots who had already flown MiGs or Ilahs in the border regiments? Judging by the memoirs of Pokryshkin, there were almost no such pilots. It seemed that problems with the development of new aircraft should not be. They prepared a squadron in the training regiment for flights on new aircraft, and she departed to the combat unit with her technicians, means of support, etc. But the command of the Red Army Air Force, obviously, had its own very original method of training the flight personnel.
On the same trip, that is, 21 June 1941, General Sandalov learned from the commander of the air defense district, Colonel Belov, that all his anti-aircraft units were under fire in Minsk and cover neither the army headquarters, nor the mechanized corps headquarters, nor Aircraft on the ground there is nothing. Note that in the last days before the war, in the border districts, including in the Western District, a number of divisions were advanced by night marches towards the border, in secrecy, the headquarters of the border districts urgently moved to front field command posts, loaded ammunition and fuel into tanks. And at the same time, all the anti-aircraft units of the Western District are on firing somewhere near Minsk.
We go further. Before the war, in the divisions of the Red Army, there should be an anti-aircraft division consisting of eight anti-aircraft guns of caliber 37 mm and four anti-aircraft guns of caliber 76 mm. And even such units with a small number of guns were by no means in all divisions. In fact, the divisions did not have air defense weapons. As a result, the Red Army, first of all its tank and motorized divisions, suffered huge losses from air strikes, especially from Yu-87 dive bombers. But large-caliber anti-aircraft guns DShK, by the way, very effective in the fight against Yu-87, were created in the 1938 year, adopted by the 1939 year and launched in the 1940 year ... in small-scale production. Before 22 June 1941, they were released about 2 thousand. In addition, these machine guns were not in those parts where they should be in the first place, that is, in tank and motorized divisions. By the way, the Germans considered the DShK machine guns to be a very valuable trophy and adopted it.
Record non-stop flights of Stalin falcons to the Far East and America, of course, raised the prestige of the country. But the long-range, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft in our country have not been created until the end of the war. By the way, German high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, even in the summer of 1943, flew with impunity over Moscow.
At the beginning of the 1937, after testing the prototypes, it became clear that it was urgent to put an 76-mm cannon on the BT tanks, and on the base of the T-26 tank it was convenient to produce self-propelled artillery units. At the same time, the driving characteristics of the tanks almost did not deteriorate. And in the same year, these machines launched ... in a single production. Before the war, they released all 30 self-propelled guns based on T-26 and 130 BT-7 tanks, that is, with an 76-mm cannon. As a result, about 15 thousand BT and T-26 tanks with 45-mm guns and anti-bullet armor in combat were ineffective against the German medium tanks T-3 and T-4, and are also defenseless even from the fire of light 37-mm field guns. Not so many chances for BT and T-26 in battle and against light tanks 38 (t) and T-2, which had thicker frontal armor.
Large forces and funds were spent in the Soviet Union on the creation and serial production of multi-turbo tanks T-35 and T-28. They were released even in 1940 year, in total more than 600 pieces. Although the question of effectiveness in the battle of such mastodons was clearly resolved at the end of the First World War.
Another interesting fact is that, as you know, anti-tank guns were created in the First World War and then proved themselves well. In our country, such guns were developed three years before the outbreak of the war, but they were launched into mass production only after the war began.
The problem was in part of the weapons of the Red Army small arms. By the beginning of the war the main small arms were the Mosin rifle and the Maxim machine gun. But after all, these types of weapons were created 50 years ago and became obsolete even in the First World War. Since the end of the 20s, various new types of small arms have been chaotically developed and released in small batches in the country, but before the war the Red Army had almost no new weapons. Naturally, urgently launched into mass production machines, light machine guns, etc. had a number of serious flaws. And the military leadership of the country, which even in such a very simple matter could not decide in time, is to blame for the situation.
DOWNLOAD END OF LINKOROMANIA
In the middle of the 30-s, Soviet leaders decided to create a powerful fleet. From October 1935 to January 1941, 13 cruisers were under construction right away. Construction proceeded very slowly, and by the beginning of the war only four cruisers were built. Two more cruisers at the end of the war were completed in the Far East. Despite the obvious unpreparedness of the shipbuilding industry to build even cruisers, at the end of the 30-s, the Soviet Union decided to build more powerful ships. Four battleships and two heavy cruisers were laid at once. At the same time, for the entire Soviet time in the country at the time of the laying out of the battleships, only one light cruiser, the Kirov, was built, and even that was built according to Italian documentation.
But what should we build a battleship! At the end of the 30s, thousands of specialists worked on a heavy, and not really necessary for the country program for the construction of cruisers, as well as on a completely unnecessary program for the construction of battleships. By the beginning of the war, tens of thousands of tons of armored steel had gone only to fragments of cruiser and battleship corps. Huge funds and efforts of thousands of specialists were spent on the creation of main caliber guns, powerful power plants, various tests, etc. And the problems in the army and on navy at that time without battleships and cruisers was enough. It is possible that the construction of a powerful fleet is Stalin's whim. But the leadership of the Navy, it seems, also dreamed of cranes, that is, of battleships.
And here are two more interesting facts that happened in the first half of October, 1941, which are mentioned by General Lelushenko in his book “Moscow – Stalingrad – Berlin – Prague”. He writes that in the motorcycle regiment, standing in the city of Noginsk, there was one tank T-34. There were no tanks in any motorcycle regiment of the Red Army. Not supposed to have such regiments of tanks in the state. And in this regiment was a tank T-34. I wonder how he got there? Also, General Lelushenko reports in his memoirs that, on his initiative, in early October 1941 of the year at the Mozhaysky range, his assistants found 16 T-28 tanks, i.e. tanks with an 76-mm gun, but without engines. Lelyushenko obviously went to this range more than once and knew about the state of affairs there. Interestingly, how many non-powered tanks were at that time at different ranges of the Red Army?
With the role of cavalry, all the leading European countries were already determined in the middle of the First World War. After that war, cavalry in the European armies was virtually gone. In the fall of 1939, the war in Poland again clearly confirmed the conclusions of the First World War. And what did our military leaders have been waiting for for almost two years? True, several cavalry divisions were disbanded, and several more were reformed, or rather, renamed ... mountain cavalry! Still, at the beginning of the war in the Red Army there were at least seven cavalry divisions in the border districts alone.
However, there were problems with another kind of troops. Thus, in the Red Army in the prewar year, they managed to form five airborne corps and a number of separate airborne units. That is all in all the Airborne Forces had over 60 battalions. And the entire military transport aviation of the country in 1941 could lift two battalions in one flight at best. As a result, at the beginning of the war, most of the landing corps of the Red Army fought as light rifle units, that is, virtually without artillery, mortars, etc. Upstairs, it was obviously decided that heavy weapons are not necessary for brave soldiers.
LESSON OF MILITARY GEOGRAPHY
The right bank of the Western Dvina River, as is known, was a serious and well-prepared defensive line in the First World War. There were even rokadnye railways and highways. It is obvious that at the main bridges across this river the Red Army was obliged to place at least a few units to cover them. But by 22 June 1941, on the banks of the Western Dvina, many bridges had virtually no military units. Upstairs probably believed that the Red Army would have time to cover the bridges. Miscalculated. Bridges across the Western Dvina at Jekabpils and Dvinsk (Daugavpils), the German troops took the run. But in the Baltic Military District on the eve of the war there were 26 divisions.
In the Kiev Military District, the direction from the border protrusion in the Ustyluh-Sokal area, that is, the shortest direction to Kiev, was covered by relatively weak forces of the Red Army. It is not surprising that the Germans here struck the main blow, tearing the front into two parts. I wonder where the Red Army expected the brunt of the Germans? Through the Carpathians or through the marshes of the Pripyat River?
The list of unexplained actions or omissions of the high command of the Red Army in the development and production of weapons, in the staffing of divisions with personnel and equipment, in the placement of units in border districts, etc. You can, of course, continue. And immediately recall the law on the transition of quantity into quality, the phrase "obvious - incredible", etc. Of course, there were quite a few miscalculations in the German army before the war. But inexplicable actions or omissions in military construction are hard to find.
When considering the failures of the Red Army in the initial period of the war, attention is often drawn primarily to the mistakes of Stalin. Of course, Stalin had both operational, and military-industrial, and other mistakes. There were monstrous repression. Serious miscalculations were also made by the leaders and designers of the country's defense industry. And in the initial period of the war, the leadership of the Red Army also made many operational mistakes, including difficult to explain. But, nevertheless, in the defeats of the Red Army in the initial period of the war with Germany, the guilty party was above all the top military leadership of the country, which, even before the start of the war, was distinguished by its "inexplicable actions or inactions." Stalin, who in the prewar period did not actually control the activities of senior military leaders on purely military issues, was also to blame.
There is, if I am not mistaken, an ancient Roman proverb, the meaning of which lies in the fact that, starting a war, you need not only to succeed in it, but it is important that the enemy do foolish things. Yes, the German army in the summer of 1941, was very strong. But the leadership of the Red Army also “distinguished”. The Minister of Defense, the Chief of the General Staff, the commanders of the districts and other responsible military ranks are obliged to form, deploy, train and arm the army in accordance with common sense, and not according to their own departmental concepts. Unfortunately, the leadership of the Red Army succeeded more in its inexplicable actions or inactions before the war. In any case, do not make the military leadership a multitude of inexplicable prewar mistakes, the Red Army, perhaps, could have stopped the enemy on the Western Dvina-Dnieper line by the winter of 1941.
And further. In the military department of our country and before the war with Germany, inexplicable actions or inactions were committed. And there were a lot of them. Such examples can be found in stories Crimean War, and in the history of the Russian-Japanese War, and in the history of the First World War. But even now the times have not changed much. More recently, a few years ago, we witnessed further unexplained actions or omissions in the Russian army and the subsequent emergency removal of the country's defense minister. The question now is how long the army will be built in the right direction.