Military Review

Soldiers get up

Where did the Soviet mountain arrows come from?

Units 7-th Guards Airborne Assault Mountain Division Airborne to perform their tasks with honor in Syria. One brigade is located in the North Caucasus. This is all that we know about the mountain troops of the modern Russian army. Meanwhile they have rich history, and their most massive use fell on the Great Patriotic.

The Department of Mining, Skiing and Physical Training of the Red Army was responsible for the training of mountain rifle and mountain cavalry formations. In contrast to similar German units oriented to a specific war in the high mountains, ours trained at the foot, only occasionally making hikes to passes and storming peaks. Mountaineering in the Red Army developed more as a sport of the elect than as part of combat training.

The climbers themselves

In the 30's, massive ascents of Elbrus, called mountaineering, were undertaken. These were propaganda actions.

Soldiers get upThe alpiniad of the Red Army was accompanied by airplanes who performed pirouettes over the slopes of Elbrus. A kind of sports festival, a little like the combat training of troops. It was during the alpine trials that test pilot M. Lipkin climbed the light of the Y-2 above the top of Elbrus, having blocked the ceiling accessible to the car. It was a kind of record, popularizing the power of the Red Army.

In September-October of the 1935, several high-altitude campaigns of the formations and units of the Transcaucasian Military District took place. Personnel had to be trained in firing of all kinds weapons, tactical methods of action day and night, a technique for overcoming various obstacles. But, like the mountaineers, hiking was primarily a propaganda campaign.

To train the mountain troops under the Directorate, then just the physical training of the Red Army in 30-s was established a mountaineering department, and on-site training bases were created at the Central House of the Red Army, where campaigns to the heights of military groups and divisions were organized year-round. However, they were few, and the command wanted new records, raising its prestige.

The mass mountaineering movement developed more intensively. In 1936, by the decision of the Secretariat of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, voluntary sports societies were established at the trade unions, and all sports and climbing mountaineering camps were taken over. At the All-Union Committee of Physical Education and Sports, a mountaineering section was established. The results were not slow to appear. By 1940, in the Soviet Union, there were more than 50 thousands of people who passed the sporting standards on the USSR Climber badge of the 1 level. In the Caucasus, all the major peaks were conquered, including in winter. Back in 1937, the USSR came out on top in the world in terms of the number of athletes who climbed to seven thousand meters. But when mountaineering athletes appealed to the Mining, Skiing and Physical Training Directorate of the Red Army with a proposal to use their experience, they usually heard in response: “We should not fight on Elbrus”.

According to military officials, actions under conditions requiring special climbing training were unlikely. The low qualification of commanders and fighters was supposed to be compensated by the call of people living in mountainous areas, and suppressing the enemy by mass, putting up against four German divisions, of which two rangers (light infantry) were considered mountainous with a very big stretch, 23 Soviet.

Adjara weapon

Orientation, reconnaissance, use of weapons, rules of firing - everything in the mountains has its own specifics. Special knowledge allows reducing losses from natural hazards: frost, avalanches, rockfalls, closed cracks. Particularly difficult action in the mountains in winter conditions. To succeed, you must own alpine skiing, snowshoeing. Neither one nor the other fighters and commanders of the Soviet mountain formations could not.

Already during the war, our mountaineers turned their attention to the Adzharian step skis - the Telamuri. Their rims, made of split tree branches and curved in the shape of an irregular oval, were intertwined with tight bundles of laurel tree branches, and therefore were very comfortable to move in deep snow. In a dense forest or shrub, as well as with a steep rise, the Telamuri had a clear advantage over alpine skiing. The command purchased several pairs, the mountain arrows learned how to use them. Later, when hostilities unfolded on the Main Caucasian Ridge, these skis and similar snowshoes were made in large numbers at the direction of the front headquarters, they were supplied by units fighting in the high mountains. Thelamuri really turned out to be much more convenient than snowshoes, but they had to be done manually, which took time. Subsequently, both stepping and alpine skis were included in the set of equipment of our special units. The enemy used in the winter exactly the same set of equipment. But German snowshoes were worse than Adzharian.

Most military commanders were confident that the boots are universal. However, these shoes are not suitable for skiing. The boots are inconvenient on the high-altitude off-road, as they slide not only over the melting snow and ice, but also over the rocks. For the same reason, army boots are not suitable. Here you need high-altitude shoes with special spikes. And on steep snowy and icy slopes, in addition to them, special “cats” are required, which you can not fortify either on boots or on ordinary boots. By the way, uncomfortable in the mountains and overcoat.

Mountain shoes last much longer than usual. But its main advantage is different. Made of thick leather with special pads in vulnerable areas of the foot, it saves legs from injuries that are inevitable when hitting stones, rocks, and ice bumps.

There were a sufficient number of mountain boots in the warehouses in the Transcaucasus, but many fighters, including at the training camp, refused them, citing the severity of this shoe. However, the very first classes forced commanders and Red Army men to change their minds. And above all, it was associated with skiing.

The universal army mounts mounted on them, in the event of war, were supposed to be re-equipped with special brackets, made more rigid. It was possible to ski with similar bindings (at that time they were called kandahar) only in mountain boots. Alpine skiing was then considered exotic, even the instructor did not own the equipment for downhill. But in the mountains in deep snow, a fighter without skis is helpless, he can neither actively advance nor effectively defend. During the exercises, those who could not resist and fell, agreed to be considered as retired.

With fights - to the Caucasus

By the middle of June 1941, the Red Army had 19 mountain rifle divisions and four mountain cavalry divisions. According to the state of the headquarters No. 4 / 140, approved by 5 on April 1941, the number of connections was established in 8829 people. The division was made up of four mountain rifle regiments in which there were no battalions, they were divided directly into companies.

With the beginning of the war and the advancement of the enemy, the attitude towards the preparation of mountain formations began to change. The GDS members that were part of the Kiev Special Military District were either destroyed or actively used in battles as regular infantry. Only divisions of non-belligerent districts and the Far Eastern Front could be reorganized.

Already in July, the 1941 group of athletes turned to the General Headquarters of the Red Army with a proposal to use experienced climbers in the relevant sectors of the front or to train fighters of units and formations deployed in the mountainous regions of the country. The list of volunteers was made from memory. The fact is that by the beginning of the war the climbers did not register for a special military accounting profession. Therefore, only some athletes, and then by chance, were by that time in the mountain formations.

The mountain parts from the rear districts in the summer of 1941-th began to send to the front. The 21-th cd as part of the 67-th Red Banner, 17 and 112-th mountain cavalry regiments, the 22-th horse-artillery and 23-th armored battalions participated in the Smolensk battle, and in October 1941-1 was part of the Bryansk front operational group. However, in the future, the main task was to participate in the war in the mountains. But it happened a little later - July 25, the battle for the Caucasus began on July 1942.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. almost demobil
    almost demobil April 16 2016 05: 53
    Judging by the fact that the mountain units were sent to the front already in the summer of 41, and the battles for the Caucasus began a year later, all these regiments and divisions left names and soldiers unprepared for operations in the mountains. In the 41st, almost the entire personnel army, from here I draw such a conclusion.
    HERMES April 16 2016 06: 13
    Yes ... training of special parts is for life, especially paratroopers ... my grandfather told me ... he served in the special battalion of the airborne forces in Vitebsk ... he was called up in 1954, he served as a radio operator, he would be a musician in civilian life, i.e. the rumor was good (subsequently received the first rank of international class). He told me that not far from their deployment there was a clearing, she walked with a shaker, a mass grave. There were also burnt skeletons of a dozen Soviet and German tanks that were there from WWII. They were ravaged, rammed against each other. He says he remembered this picture for his whole life. In 1956 they were thrown into the forests on the border of Hungary and Austria - the task of eliminating the instigators of the uprising in Hungary who were trying to get to Austria. They set up an ambush ... the rebels fled with their families ... children, women. In response to the order to surrender, they opened fire. As a result, almost all of them were killed. 3 people remained alive (as they say - the order is the order). But there were comic moments, like without them) Like their unit during They threw them into the territory of the Baltic States not far from a village. And they are all in black overalls, masks (an innovation for those times). As their locals saw ... the whole village was drapanuli in the forest. Here you are.
    Almost before they were sent home, they were sent to guard the warehouse. As it turned out later, there was nuclear waste in the warehouse. As a result, there was radiation sickness. Almost everyone who guarded this warehouse was probably dead for a long time. And my grandfather is still alive smile He is 84 years old. He still goes to the gym, presses 120KG from the floor. fellow Airborne For Life soldier
    1. dv_generalov
      dv_generalov April 16 2016 11: 38
      Glory to GRANDFATHER, for VICTORY !!!!!!
  3. aszzz888
    aszzz888 April 16 2016 07: 59
    To fight in the mountains is a great art and skill. Therefore, the specificity of training differs from others, "flat". Mountain rangers, mountain shooters, military climbers - these are other names for special units of both our and other states.
  4. Verdun
    Verdun April 16 2016 10: 48
    With all due respect to the Soviet mountain riflemen, the Edelweiss units left the Caucasus only when their presence there lost its meaning.
    Judging by the fact that the mountain units were sent to the front in the summer of 41, and the battles for the Caucasus began a year later, all of these regiments and divisions remained the names
    A curious fact: my grandfather fought in the mountain rifle division, operating as part of the 1st Ukrainian Front. With mountains in the way of their advancement, it was hard ...
    1. Walking
      Walking April 17 2016 09: 22
      So the German mountain shooters to the Caucasus were fighting in the steppes.
      1. Verdun
        Verdun April 17 2016 13: 19
        "Edelweiss" did not fight in the steppes. It is not customary for the Germans to turn bolts with a hammer.
  5. Nick1953
    Nick1953 April 16 2016 10: 58
    Somewhere in the 70s I went on mountain trips in the Caucasus. I was at the Marukh pass. There and then there were trenches. And the bones. Under the pass from the south, on the Marukh glacier, hundreds of bullets and shells were found underfoot, and a rusty RGD grenade handle was found.
    They walked and imagined how our soldiers defended Marukh. And then I found the book "The Mystery of the Marukh Glacier" and read it voraciously. Here you cannot describe all the emotions.
    Described by Vysotsky in his song in the film "Vertical" and "White explosion" look. Young Gurchenko played in the latter, by the way. Look, you won't regret it.
    "The sunset shone like the light of a blade.
    Death considered her prey.
    The fight will be tomorrow, but for now
    The platoon went beyond the clouds
    And he left along the pass ... "

    Frost on the skin ....
    And on the 85th I went to "two" after appendicitis on the southern slopes of Elbrus. In honor of 45 years of Victory! An RGD grenade was found in the dugouts. "Green", everything worked, the handle was being raised. And American explosives. Such wax candles in waxed paper depicting cowboys. Everything was brought home by plane :-).
    And both Russians and Georgians and Ossetians fought there together against a common enemy.
    And the history of the Becho pass? "Molybdenum" exodus from Tyrnyauz.
    Many heroic pages in the history of our common Motherland.
    And now for whom to fight? For Vekselberg?
    1. Thunderbolt
      Thunderbolt April 16 2016 20: 00
      Quote: Nick1953
      And now for whom to fight? For Vekselberg?
      As I understand it, this question is rather a rhetorical one. Whatever questions exist for the authorities, but the people still have to fight for their native land and for the Victory. The shift has changed for the Soviet mountain shooters and there is someone to protect. I think that it will always be so.
  6. 26rus
    26rus April 16 2016 13: 00
    V.G.Gneushev, A.L.Poputko - "The Mystery of the Marukh Glacier". The strongest book! The first edition came out in the middle or late 60s, then it was reprinted and supplemented several times. Personally, I have a 75th edition, a huge number of photographs and documents, eyewitness accounts. You are still reading, and emotions are going through the roof. After all, the passes were defended for the most part by ordinary infantry units, cadets of military schools, partisan detachments, even sailors from Gudauta. Poorly equipped, experiencing an acute shortage of weapons and food, they managed to keep the Edelweiss, and then to throw them from the Caucasus. Once the director of our school was P.S. Betsky, at the age of seventeen he fought in the Caucasus passes, liberated the Crimea, Bulgaria, Hungary, ended the war in Prague. He organized a sports and patriotic club at the school, took us to the Marukhsky and Klukhorsky passes, organized meetings with fellow soldiers - participants in the battles for the Caucasus. Recently Pavel Semenovich stepped over the 90-year mark hi Honorary citizen of our city.
    1. bubalik
      bubalik April 16 2016 20: 36
      26rus RU Today, 13: 00, I agree a very strong book !! ,,, at my place 1964g. edition. ,,, such a sample (not a photo)
      1. Walking
        Walking April 17 2016 09: 25
        I read this book, it was very interesting to find out how they fought in the mountains.
  7. 26rus
    26rus April 16 2016 13: 19
    I did not quite understand the author, what kind of brigade 7 of the traffic police is located in the North Caucasus? The structure of the division includes 108 Guardsman Children's Artillery Regiment (Novorossiysk), 247 Guardsmanian Children's Artillery Regiment (Stavropol) and 1141 Guards Artillery Regiment in Anapa.
  8. SIT
    SIT April 16 2016 23: 12
    In 1972 it was a very hot summer and the ice melted heavily on the passes. The first groups that went to the passes came back, because thawed corpses lay there side by side. After that, the military and doctors already went there. The main cause of death of most of those found is injury, and then hypothermia. There was no climbing equipment on them. Ordinary soldier boots with windings on smooth leather soles. Professor G.K. Tushinsky, who wrote a training manual in 1942 on how to minimize non-combat losses during battles in the mountains. He said that the soldiers had to bind cats directly to the boots. There was no equipment. When the climbers were gathered from all fronts, they fought in their homemade equipment. It turned out to be better than German. Abalakovo’s grabs were kept on an icy rope, and the German Prusik glided. As a result, the edelweisss knocked them out with their own tactics - they bypassed traverse along such slopes where the Germans considered it impossible to pass.
  9. Signaller
    Signaller April 17 2016 03: 58
    History says that NO ONE teaches history. You can step on the rake many times, but all is one- Where are the mountain rifle regiments or divisions in Russia, or at least brigades ????? Yes, as it was not, so no. Special forces, yes there is climbing in the mountains in Ossetia, studying, and the usual moto shooter fighting in the mountains ???? No.
    Well, you can’t. Still need to learn history
    1. Walking
      Walking April 17 2016 09: 32
      The Afghan experience of war in the mountains was not in demand. And before Afghanistan and during that war there was no mountain preparation.