Military Review

Revival of the Kapustin Yar site

Revival of the Kapustin Yar site

Today, 13 May, marks 70 years of the Kapustin Yar test site. About how this complex test complex was created, who stood at the origins, what work was carried out on it, military historian Vladimir Ivanovich Ivkin told the IEE. Of particular interest are previously unknown facts from stories polygon. It is also worth noting that the events of those early years, when the proving ground was created, closely correlate with modernity. Now Kapustin Yar is included in the structure of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Rocket armament is being tested on it today for all types and kinds of armed forces. This is the oldest missile range in Russia, it is not only the cradle of the strategic missile forces, our cosmonautics was born on it.


In this anniversary year for Kapustin Yar, it is planned to test about 160 samples of new weapons, twice as many as in 2015. And last year was marked by the beginning of testing of combat robotic complexes for the Strategic Missile Forces. Work on upgrading the data transmission system was carried out in advance, and a single information field of the landfill was created. Already completed a complete modernization of the measuring complex, which will soon work in automatic mode. The test systems of weapons, military and special equipment (VVST) are being improved. The landfill is preparing for intensive activities related to the rearmament program.

Research and testing will be conducted for the needs of the Armed Forces, and in the interests of other ministries and departments. The main focus is now on improving the AMIS, including reconnaissance equipment and high-precision control systems. weapons.


In those days when the Red Army invaded Germany, documents about V-2 rockets (index A-4) fell into the hands of the Soviet command. The military-political leadership of the USSR already knew about the existence of the German “weapon of retaliation” (German abbreviation “V” (fau) from the word Vergeltungswaffe, which translates as “weapon of retribution”), but this time the intelligence managed to obtain detailed documents. The level of development of missile weapons in Nazi Germany was amazing. Serial production of the V-2 has been conducted since the beginning of the 1944 of the year, the missile carried a warhead weighing 1 tons over a distance greater than 280 km, and reached the target with acceptable accuracy.

The American and British intelligence services also for a long time and closely focused on the operational development of these weapons. At the end of the war, the Allies launched an unprecedented effort and special importance to hunt for specialists in the field of rocketry.

US intelligence agents turned upside down all three occupation zones, which were under the control of the Western allies, in search of specialists in the field of design (construction) and production of missiles. As a result, Fau-2 chief designer Wern von Braun and with him from 300 to 400 specialists of the highest level were taken to the States. The Americans received design and design and production documentation in full, a large number of components, fuel and materials. In addition, they captured about 130 missiles ready to launch. Research at the US landfills began immediately after the delivery of materials, equipment, rockets and the arrival of specialists.

The UK was also able to capture a number of ready-made missiles, documentation, components and materials for their production, which are necessary to start developing their own samples of reactive technology.

The Soviet side got crumbs from the German "rocket pie". I was lucky that the V-2 production complex in Peenemünde was in the Soviet occupation zone. It was possible to find middle and lower level specialists, mainly engineers and skilled workers, whose experience was used to assemble the V-2 both in East Germany and in the Soviet Union.

In 1945, a commission was formed in the USSR to study rocket technology. This commission came to the conclusion that the work has an enormous volume and requires decisions at the highest government level, since it will be necessary to use state resources to carry out this task. Beginning in August 1945, the Soviet government urgently adopted four important decisions on the development of rocket technology in our country. Before that, a resolution of the State Defense Committee was prepared, it prescribed the organization of work on the design and production of missiles. The People’s Commissariat of Ammunition was obliged to establish production of solid-fuel rockets, and the People’s Commissariat aviation industry was to manufacture liquid-fuel rockets.

But this decision was never made due to the lack of coordination of the requirements of industrial people's commissariats (hereinafter the ministries) according to the technical specifications put forward by the military. The army wanted to get powerful weapons, and the industry in every way refused from this suddenly arisen extremely difficult task. People’s Commissar of the Aviation Industry Shahurin, pointing out that the rocket is not an airplane, sought to remove this task from itself. He explained his refusal by the fact that the rocket, although it was an aircraft, was very specific, which was closer in design to missiles for BM13 than to aircraft. And since the shells for the "Katyusha" were issued by the people's commissar of ammunition, Shakhurin proposed that the task of producing the missiles be fully assigned to this department.

In March 1946, the top echelon of the state power of the USSR was transformed. People's Commissariats have become ministries whose names have been changed. Thus, the People's Commissariat of mortar weapons was transformed into the Ministry of Agricultural Engineering. It was to this structure that all the developments and production facilities related to the Katyushas were transferred, and it continued the development of volley fire systems.

The commission at the very top informed Stalin about all necessary urgent decisions. In a memorandum signed by Beria, Malenkov, Bulganin, Ustinov, Yakovlev, transmitted to the Generalissimo in April 1946, the need for urgent policy decisions on the Soviet missile project was mentioned. It explained what was done on missile issues before the war, during the war and what materials and information could be obtained about the German V-2 (A-4) missiles. The Commission proposed to boost the project to concentrate all research, design, design work and the production of missiles in the same hands. Everything related to liquid-fuel missiles was handed over to the Ministry of Armaments, and powder rockets were handed over to the Ministry of CX engineering. In the same mode, work was carried out on the Soviet atomic program. Minaviaprom left the task only to create a jet propulsion system.

It is necessary to take into account the situation in which rocket science began in the USSR. In December 1945, the “aviation case” began, which was associated with a serious lag in the Soviet jet and long-range aviation from the United States. The first to be arrested was Marshal Khudyakov, who was shot in 1950. In February, 1946, this business received a powerful development. Many top leaders of the military aviation industry and the Air Force were repressed, among them were Minister Shakhurin, Commander of the Air Force Novikov, his deputy Repin, member of the military council Shimanov, head of the State Department Seleznev and others.

In one of the notes of the commission, which entered the secretariat of Stalin 20 of April, it was proposed that in a short time, namely 25 of April, to gather in the Stalin's office a meeting devoted to rocket science in the USSR. It brought together all the responsible persons at the highest level, according to its results a decision was taken that gave impetus to the development of jet weapons and a missile program in the country.

In 1946, 4 took place in May by correspondence plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), it was decided to release Malenkov from the post of Secretary of the Central Committee in connection with the failure to manage the aviation industry. Stalin appointed him chairman of the commission responsible for rocket science, gave him a chance to rehabilitate.

Further, in the resolution of this plenum, it was said that it was necessary to create in the structure of the Ministry of the Armed Forces of the USSR (which, while combining other posts, Stalin personally supervised) the management of jet weapons as part of the GAU, he was entrusted with the functions of the customer and controller of the production of the A-4 2). Within the same ministry, it was prescribed to form a research institute of jet weapons (now the 4 Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation), the central state testing ground of jet weapons, which was to become a platform for testing all types of missiles in the interests of all departments involved in this program, and a separate military unit of special purpose, whose task was the maintenance of missiles, their testing and testing of combat use. The final of this decree indicated that the missile program was a primary task, mandatory for all party and state administration bodies to execute, in fact, it was a strict warning for those officials who did not like the missile program’s seriousness for the country's defense. Following this decree, an order was issued by the Minister of the Armed Forces on the formation of new structures within the military department, as prescribed by the plenum of the Central Committee.


Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 1017-419ss was signed by Chairman of the Council of Ministers Stalin 13 in May 1946. For the execution of decisions of the Soviet government, a special committee was created, which was entrusted with the responsibility for the implementation of rocket production plans. With his own hand, Stalin listed the name of the chairman of this committee, as usual, with a blue pencil, as we already know, Malenkov was honored.

The interdepartmental commission involved in the missile program of the People's Commissariat of the USSR and the State Agrarian University for the study and synthesis of combat experience in the use of reactive technology was headed by Major-General Lev Gaidukov. This was also a personal decision of Stalin, legally it was enshrined in the resolution of the T-bills No. 9475ss.

Resolution No. 1017-419 also prescribed a commission to select the site for the construction of the landfill. She was instructed to conduct a survey of possible areas for the landfill, she had to do this work in a short time: from June 1 to August 25 - and by August 30 to report the results to the Generalissimo. The fact that this commission was headed by the first deputy minister of the USSR Supreme Soviet Bulganin speaks of the super importance of this case. At the indicated time, the commission examined eight districts, none of which approached for the construction of the landfill. It was decided to continue the search for the necessary territory, as a result, the commission chose three possible options for further research - one in the South Urals Military District (near the city of Uralsk) and two in the North Caucasus Military District (the first is near Stalingrad, the other near the city of Grozny in Chechnya).

The formation of the polygon structure began even before the choice of its location. By order No. 0347 of 10 June 1946, signed by Bulganin, Lieutenant General Vasiliy Voznyuk was appointed head of the test site, who previously held the position of deputy artillery commander of the southern group of troops (Austria). Colonel Leonid Polyakov became his deputy for the test of the ground forces' jet technology; Colonel Ivan Romanov was appointed deputy for testing missile weapons for the naval forces. Colonel Nikolai Mitryakov became deputy for testing jet weapons for army aviation, and Major General Stepan Shcherbakov headed the Air Force testing team. All newly appointed persons took an active part in the search for the location of the landfill.

In the order of the USSR Minister of the Armed Forces No. 0019 of 2 of September 1946, the organization-staff schedule of the landfill and its technical equipment were finally approved.

The commission, one year late from the scheduled dates, was able to present the result. Only 26 July 1947 of the year issued a resolution of the Council of Ministers on the preparation of the first launch of the A-4 rocket (V-2) and on the placement of a test site in the area of ​​the village of Kapustin Yar (near Stalingrad, within the Astrakhan region). Among the archival documents there are maps, personally signed by Stalin, on which the results of the reconnaissance of the territories selected for the device of the landfill are plotted.

Moreover, there is information that the site was originally chosen for the landfill near the village of Naurskaya (Chechnya), but this option was rejected as a result. Took into account the high density of settlements in the area of ​​the proposed location of the landfill. In addition, the Minister of Livestock, Alexei Kozlov, was categorically opposed to this option, since it threatened to destroy sheep in the Kalmyk steppes, where it was supposed to create a target field for missiles.

The decision on the date of the celebration of the formation of the Kapustin Yar polygon was made in 1950 and it was decided to celebrate its “birthday” of 13 in May according to the release date of the decree No. 1017-419ss. The formation of a "special artillery unit for the development, preparation and launch of V-2-type missiles" is connected with the same document. A special assignment brigade of the High Command Reserve (BON RVGK) was created. The command of this compound was entrusted to Major General Alexander Tveretsky. The official date of its formation is “12 June 1946 of the Year” was determined only in 1952 year. Later, the brigade was reformed several times and finally, on the basis of those connections into which it was transferred organizationally, the 24-i division of the Strategic Missile Forces was created, which fell under the reduction in 1990 in connection with the signing of the INF Treaty.


The German V-2 was used by the winners as a basis for creating their own ballistic missiles. Photo from the Federal Archives of Germany. Xnumx

The report, which arrived at the Stalin Secretariat in December 1946, signed by Malenkov, Yakovlev, Bulganin, Ustinov and others, said that the collection of information and materials for preparing the production of missiles was completed and summarized.

From part of the assembly materials of the USSR, the 23 missiles were fully equipped, and 17 still remained understaffed. The transportation of parts, materials, laboratory testing and production equipment to the Soviet Union was organized. At the same time, to continue the work begun in Germany, 308 German specialists arrived in the USSR, who were distributed among the relevant ministries and began work. About 100 of them were sent to the 88-th plant (SRI-88). Later they were transported to the island of Gorodomlya, which is on Lake Seliger, where the branch number 1 NII-88 was located. In total, about 350 German specialists were taken out of the Union from Germany for the organization of design work, production and testing of missiles. Of these, 13 people participated in the first launch of the A-4 at the Kapustin Yar test site. By that time, work on rocket technology was already conducted on the territory of the USSR in the relevant design bureaus and scientific research institutes. The program was attended by most of the then existing line ministries and interested departments and institutes of the Ministry of the Armed Forces.

By the beginning of tests in Germany, the first batch of X-NUMX A-10 rockets was assembled with the involvement of German specialists. Another batch of 4 missiles was assembled in Podlipkah near Moscow at the 13 plant of the Ministry of Armaments.

The organization of the production of missiles in the USSR was skidding. For example, in Germany, 1944 rockets (345 per year) were produced on average per month in 4140. In the 1945 year: in January - 700, in February - 616, in March - 490. Our industry failed to reach the production capacity of the Third Reich missiles.

Even the Yuzhmash plant, the largest in the post-war period (located in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR, in 1951 by order of the USSR Minister of the USSR Supreme Soviet was assigned the number 586 and the open name of the PO box 186), at the planning level had the task to produce only 2 th. rockets a year, but this task was not completed.

By the way, the special committee (or committee number 2) as a result of its work came to the conclusion that it would be necessary to copy the entire complex German production structure, otherwise it will not work. In the Third Reich, in cooperation with it, there participated plants located not only in Germany, but also in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and other countries. In 1946, the task was set to set up production of V-2 entirely from domestic components (a kind of import substitution program), but this task was not completed either by 1949 or 1950. Back in 1947, Stalin removed Malenkov from supervising the missile program due to his inability to manage this complex problem, Bulganin took his place.

In 1948, the first test of the P-1 rocket was made, which was not fully assembled, but mainly from domestic components. The main problem was that the domestic chemical industry could not produce rubber products: pipes, gaskets, cuffs and other components of the desired strength. This snag was managed only in 1950 year. The next rocket P-2 was already produced entirely from its materials.


For the first time, personnel began arriving in Kapustin Yar only in August 1947. Two tiers arrived in September. One came from Germany (with special rocket and telemetry equipment), the other came from Podlipok with materials and equipment for the device of the landfill.

The construction of the landfill started on 20 August 1947 of the year. Worked hard. "Founding Father" and the permanent head of the landfill for the next 27 years, Vasily Voznyuk said: "We have an 8 hourly working day at the landfill: eight hours before lunch and eight after." In the first place were built: a test complex, launch sites. Hastily created a system for monitoring the trajectory of the missiles.

People first lived in tents, cabins and dugouts. For two months, by the end of September, the necessary facilities were built to begin testing: a launch site with a bunker, an assembly and test building, a fuel depot, a bridge, a highway, 20 km of railway tracks (from Stalingrad to Kapustin Yar), a headquarters and other office buildings. At the same time, the fields of falling of the missiles were marked and fenced, measuring points were installed to observe the flight trajectory, the scope of work was enormous. When the objects of the first stage polygon were erected, the construction of residential prefabricated panel houses began.

On the readiness of the test site for the start of testing, General Lieutenant Voznyuk reported to Moscow on October 1 1947. Two weeks later (October 14) a group of designers led by Korolev arrived in Kapustin Yar (to lead the first launch) and the first batch of A-4 missiles was delivered.

And already on October 18 1947 of the year 10 47 minutes, Moscow time, the first launch of a ballistic missile in the Soviet Union was made. The parameters of its flight were the following: the highest elevation is 86 km, the flight range is 274 km, and the deviation from the flight director is 30 km (left). According to the conclusion of the special commission, the first launch was successful.

The first Soviet P-1 ballistic missile was launched on 10 on October 1948 of the year. This start opened the rocket-space era of our fatherland. In the future, the Soviet designers, having received significantly less materials and documents about German missiles than the Americans, managed to overtake their overseas counterparts as soon as possible in rocket production and in the exploration of near-earth space.

Between 1947 and 1957, the year Kapustin Yar was the only proving ground in the USSR where ballistic missiles were tested. It tested most types of missiles from P-1 to P-14, "Storm", RSD-10, "Scud", many other short-range and medium-range missiles, cruise missiles and air defense systems.

The missile test and preparation system for the launch, which was developed at that time, is still in use. At the same time, it was determined that the conduct of separate tests by industry and the military is inexpedient; they decided to combine these processes.


At the end of 1949, at the Kapustin Yar proving ground, a joint group of the Academy of Artillery Sciences of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and the Institute of Aviation Medicine under the general supervision of Lieutenant-General Blagonravova began preparations for advanced research projects, in terms of which experiments were provided that determine the possibility of launching into space and Returning animals back. At the first stage, it was decided to launch eight rocket launches with biological materials on board. The experiments were carried out on dogs, rats, flies, fruit flies and later on monkeys. Thus began the preparation for manned space flight.

Chairman of the Commission on missile launches Anatoly Blagonravov 4 September 1951 reported to Moscow that in the period from July 22 to September 3 six vertical launches of the P-1В missiles to an altitude up to 100 km were carried out. The preparation and implementation of these tests were carried out with the participation of the Physical and Geophysical Institutes of the Academy of Sciences, the State Optical Institute of the Ministry of Armaments, the Ministry of Light Industry and the Institute of Aviation Materials. The rockets and complexes of spacecraft spacecraft fulfilled their mission. A number of data was obtained on the state of primary cosmic radiation and on the interaction processes of primary cosmic particles, atmospheric pressure was measured at altitudes up to 100 km, air composition was determined at altitudes 70 – 80 km, data on the speed and direction of movement of atmospheric layers at altitudes up to 80 km, tests of the wing model at high altitudes were carried out, and the friction force at supersonic speed was also determined there.

The same document stated: “The survival rate of animals at altitudes up to 100 km, without disturbing physiological functions, was proved, in four cases out of six experimental animals were brought to the ground without any damage.” The first dogs-astronauts who returned alive from space were Dezik and Gypsy. Later Sergey Korolev distributed their posterity to his acquaintances.

A decade later, in 1962, the P-12 rocket was decided to be used as a carrier of spacecraft being put into low orbits. 16 March 1962, the first small research satellite "Kosmos-1" was launched into Earth orbit. The launch of the Intercosmos-1 satellite took place on October 14 of the year 1969. Kapustin Yar was used as a starting point for satellites under the Intercosmos international program up to the 1988 year. In parallel with it, military and national-economic space vehicles were launched. But in reports about launches in the press and in official documents, Kapustin Yar was never called the spaceport. Also, the purpose of satellites was never covered. It was simply informed that the next satellite "space" was launched with such a serial number. Only specialists distinguished meteorological, television or radio broadcasting from reconnaissance spacecraft.


Kapustin Yar is used from its first days to the present, not only as a training ground, but also as a training center. He is rightly called the field academy for rocket men. To get an admission for combat service can only be there. The unit arrives at Kapustin Yar, receives equipment from industry, performs comprehensive inspections of this equipment, passes tests for admission to independent work with it. And at the end of the process, it conducts a military launch and only after that it is introduced into the combat personnel of the rocket forces. All graduates of military schools passed military training and training at Kapustin Yar. Much attention was paid to the development of regulatory documents based on the generalized experience obtained at the site. The instruction on launching rockets, the instruction on marching, the use of equipment in the difficult climatic conditions of winter and summer — all this was worked out in Kapustin Yar. Excellent results of this work contribute to the whole unique complex: Kapustin Yar - Balkhash.


By the middle of 50, the infrastructure of Kapustin Yar met the tasks assigned to it. In the future, with the expansion of the volume of these tasks, the testing ground itself was improved. In 1959, 12 December, the first launch of the P-17 rocket was made. The P-12 and P-14 missiles tested on it in those years played a role in the Caribbean crisis. In 1962, by decision of the Soviet leadership, during the operation "Anadyr", 36 Р-12 and 24 Р14 missiles were delivered to Cuba. After these events, the Americans moderated their arrogance and switched from aggressive actions against the USSR to dialogue. Moreover, a telephone cable was laid from the White House to the Kremlin for emergency communications.

In 60, they tested the PT-1, PT-2, PT-15 missiles, the TEMP complex. Launched target missiles for testing missile defense A-35 at the Sary Shagan test site.

In the 70-e years tested the RSD-10. But the focus was on operational-tactical missiles: Luna, Tochka, Vulkan. Individual elements of the ICBM were also tested, primarily to determine their aerodynamic and ballistic characteristics.

In 1988, the landfill carried out the elimination of solid-fuel missiles RSD-10 in accordance with the INF Treaty, signed a year earlier between the USSR and the USA. The work was carried out under the supervision of American inspectors. Starting and technical positions were mothballed, although left in a healthy state. Over the next 10 years they were not used.

In the 90s, there was a slump in funding all articles of rocket construction. The management of the landfill fought for each of its units, seeking to protect them from cuts. Trials continued in a truncated form, but they were purely exploratory in nature, a kind of reserve for the future. Thanks to them, the Topol-M missile system was later created.

In October, 1998, Kapustin Yar received the name "4-th State Central Interspecific training ground of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation" (4 GCMP). In the same year, for the first time after a long break from it, rocket launches resumed to put satellites into low orbits. Since the beginning of the new century, it has undergone tests: the ZRS C-400, the RT-2PM missiles of the Topol complex, the IBR RS-12М Topol, PC-26 Rubezh, and the Iskander-M OTRK.

Now Kapustin Yar works in the interests of the Ground Forces, the Aerospace Forces, the Navy fleet and Strategic Missile Forces.
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  1. 1vlad19
    1vlad19 14 May 2016 09: 23
    The closed city of KapYar was, in the mid-80s they drove past it, the fences even stood. But they provided it in full during the times of the USSR. And when the RSD-10 was “liquidated” (launched) in the daytime, green, red balls appeared in the sky!
  2. Verdun
    Verdun 14 May 2016 10: 15
    At one time I happened to visit Kapyar during the service. Provided anti-aircraft firing. I had the opportunity to visit the abandoned KP for guidance. It was funny to walk along the empty corridors of the building, which outwardly looked like an ordinary Khrushchev. But inside - the remains of oak flooring and good tile, scraps of expensive wallpaper. But it is, memories. The fact that they are trying to bring the landfill into working condition is good. The right thing.
  3. PKK
    PKK 14 May 2016 15: 48
    They took Pioneers for Pashino. Missiles came from the factory, and technicians from Barricade. They checked 10 missiles, launched one, the astronauts just watched us fly. The lieutenant, becoming the commander of the Launcher, immediately gained great authority and significance. Could demand: Give me a magnetic a file to collect metal saws when sawing a hole in the connecting box for an unplanned cable. The youth immediately became rocket men. In total, he lived on the training ground for half a year. In those days everything worked like a clock. Really tested I was a common military and industry. Cool rockets often flew, it happened, the head part is larger than the rocket itself. In the store there was a shaft of chocolate and nuts, it was played in preference.