Tourists do not lead here, and the compatriot’s leg does not step on the concrete steps of forgotten forts and pillboxes. The fact that fierce battles took place here, battles for life, and for certain death, are testified only by the huge holes in the walls in the walls, from which spun thick steel bars jut out. As it is sung in the song about the cruiser "Varyag", neither the stone nor the cross, where they have laid down, will say ...
It was probably the shortest international flight in my life: the Brest – Terespol electric train crosses the bridge over the Bug and in about five to seven minutes the Terespolsky railway station. But each of these minutes makes the heart anxiously shrink - because you're not just moving across the border - across the starting line of the war. Here it is the Rubicon, which seventy-five years ago passed the Wehrmacht. Look, on the left, there is still an old border DOT on our bank, which covered this bridge in forty-first. The train slowly enters the restricted area, where the entrance to the pedestrians is forbidden, and the plowed control-track strip covered with barbed wire blocks the way to the west. The stumps of the pillars stick out of the water a long time ago the burnt-down ferry. It seems a little more and you will see a German soldier in a deep helmet, who is still marking time at the border post of the Governor-General of the Third Reich.
It does not matter that this Polish zholnezh escorts your carriage with a bored look. It is important that he is in a foreign uniform, it is important that on the border Polish airfields, from which German bombers took off in June forty-first, now again - combat aircraft of a hostile military bloc.
One-story almost a town where the streets are named, as in the song of Yuri Antonov: Acacia, Maple, Meadow, Poplar, Chestnut. But even without politics, the main street was named after the Home Army, Cardinal Vyshinsky Street ... In the center of the city is an old dungeon, a former powder storage for the garrison of the Brest Fortress. It was here on the day of the outbreak of war that the headquarters of the 45 Infantry Division was located, it was from here that orders were sent to the regiments - “fire!”. Now in the cool twilight of the casemate store crops of strawberries and champignons.
On the 21 June calendar ... To tune in to the wave of that time, you must first grasp, feel its nerve, you must come to an equilibrium state of mind: let it be, how it will be, you need not intervene in anything, not want anything, let everything go to its own devices. Therefore, I sit in the first taxi and ask to take it to the nearest hotel. The taxi driver takes me on your own to the side of the border. A wonderful place - a two-story green cottage with a sign for some reason in German "Grὓn". It stands in 900 meters from the Bugsky sleeve, behind which you can see the West Island in the Brest Fortress. To the left of the road is an old Russian cemetery, founded in the times of the Russian Empire. On the right is my lowly shelter; He stands on the edge of the grass stadium, where in the summer of forty-first German officers, who lived in the same two-story house, played football like in a barracks. Strange neighborhood of the cemetery and the stadium. But I need to get to 1941 year from here, so I leave the Grun Hotel and go to the city on the road that once connected Terespol and Brest through the fortress. Then it was called Varshavka and was a strategic route that ran through the central island of the fortress. The citadel was hung on it like a huge brick castle. Now Varshavka leads only to the cemetery and to the hotel, to the impasse of the border line. And the new road Minsk – Brest – Warsaw bypasses the fortress from the south. But I got exactly where it was necessary - in the spatial coordinates of that time.
The past does not disappear without a trace. It leaves shadows, sounds and even smells; walls and steps remain from it, letters and documents remain from it ... To see these shadows, to hear sounds, you only need to sharpen your eyesight and hearing, you have to look closely at trifles and listen to what usually flies past your ears.
For example, these are the echoes of the harmonica. The disabled old man plays on it in the station square. I walk closer, throw a few zloty into his cap, sit on his bench and listen to slightly shrill, but still slender chords. Didn't any of the German soldiers who landed here, at this station, play in the early summer of 1941, play the same?
With a stream of people, I got to the center of the city, where instead of the town hall or another appropriate building a gray-concrete bunker with riveted armored gates dominates. It was the old powder cellar of the Brest Fortress, which was intended for the most western forts of the fortress No. XXUMX and No. XXUMX, located in the district of Terespol. On the night of June 7, the headquarters of the 6 Infantry Division was located here, and it was from here that the order was given to storm the bastions of the Brest Fortress.
A flock of cyclists overtook me on the way to the hotel. And then closed: here it is! In the same way German cyclists rushed along this road to the border. They had to rush for a kilometer to immediately join the battle. The fact is that at first they were taken away from the border, through which the “nebelverfer”, the missiles fired from field installations, were supposed to fly. These shells had not yet been tested in actual battles, they flew very inaccurately, and in order not to hit their own, they took the assault company away, and then, reducing the throw time, the soldiers mounted bikes and rushed to the starting line. The battery of jet installations stood, more likely, at stadium. Here, nothing prevented gaining "neblverferam" height. And on the other side of the Russian cemetery, most likely, were the positions of super-heavy self-propelled "Karl" type mortars. They were named after the ancient German gods of war - “Thor” and “One”. They were brought to Terespol by rail, and they crawled under their own power to the designated milestone. The benefit is very close. “Karlov” was accompanied by 600-mm projectile tracked loaders, which were supplied to the guns by cranes, because concrete-borne shells weighed from one and a half to two tons (more precisely, 2170 kg - of which 380, or even 460 kg of explosives). These monsters were created to break through the Maginot Line, but the French did not provide them with such an opportunity: they surrendered the front faster than drove the mortars. Now they were aiming at the forts of the Brest Fortress. The benefit of its pipes and towers are visible to the naked eye - right from the road along which a flock of carefree cyclists had just flown.
Colonel-General Leonid Sandalov was perhaps the only memoirist who devoted his book to the first days and weeks of the outbreak of war. The troops of the 4 Army (Sandalov was the chief of staff of this army) were the first to take the most powerful attack of the Wehrmacht in Brest, as well as to the south and north of it. South of Brest there was a place called Kodeny, cut by the Bug current into two parts - the western, once Polish, and in the 1941 year - the German half, and the eastern - the Belarusian-Soviet side. They were connected by a large highway bridge, which was of strategic importance, as the road from Biala Podlaski, bypassing Brest and the Brest Fortress, which allowed the shortest route to cut the Warsaw highway between Brest and Kobrin, where the army headquarters was located, passed through it. Sandalov recalls:
“... To capture the bridge from Kodien, the fascists resorted to an even more insidious reception. At around 4 hours, they began to shout from their shore that the German border guards should immediately cross the bridge to the chief of the Soviet frontier post to negotiate an important, impatient case.
Ours refused. Then from the German side was fired from several machine guns and guns. Under the cover of fire, an infantry unit broke through the bridge. The Soviet border guards who carried the guard of the bridge fell in this unequal battle with the death of the heroes.
The enemy unit seized the bridge, and several tanks... ".
I am going from Terespol to Kodeni to visit the site of the former military tragedy, to remove the bridge in the photo ... The bus to Koden does not often go. I missed the next flight, so I take a taxi, since the prices here are not Moscow ones at all. The taxi driver, an elderly Pole with a gray mustache, who identified himself as Marek, was very surprised at the named route.
- How many taxis are there, and for the first time I’m bringing Russian to Kodeny!
The taxi driver, like most of his colleagues, was very talkative, and I had to tell you about the events of seventy years ago, which were played out on the Koddensky bridge.
- There is no bridge there!
- How is it not if I saw it on the map?
- A map with a card, and I live here, and how many times I have been to Kodena, I have not seen any bridges.
- There must be a bridge!
- I served in the Polish Sapper. Itself not just bridges over the rivers suggested. If there was a bridge in Koden, he would have known for sure.
So behind the argument, we drove into a picturesque place on the banks of the Bug, where the temples of three denominations converged - Catholic, Orthodox, and Uniate. Narrow and low streets in the colors of the June season - mallow, lilac, jasmine ... We slow down at the first passerby:
- Where is the bridge over the Bug?
- We have no bridge.
Marek triumphs: "I told you so!" But the passerby gives advice:
- And you ask an old priest. He was born here before the war.
We drive into the courtyard of the monastery complex, looking for an old priest, who was born in Kodena already in 1934 year. At forty-one he was seven years old and he heard the first volleys of a great war.
- The bridge? Was. Yes, only in 44-th year, he drilled, but did not begin to recover. Only one mound on the shore remained.
The priest showed us the direction along the river, and we immediately moved with Marek. Now I looked at him triumphantly: there was a bridge after all! We have been making our way through the coastal windbreak for a long time. The places here were obviously untrodden. Finally, they stumbled upon an overgrown earthen mound, which broke off at the very edge of the water. This was the entrance to the Kodensky bridge. On it were three old trailers, adapted either for warehouses, or for change houses. Perhaps it was in these cars that Wehrmacht soldiers arrived here. And on the precipice of the embankment stood a white-red border pillar. Exactly the same Germans broke here and threw 1939 of the year into the Bug in September.
Much later, I learned that “in the vanguard of Guderian’s strike tank units, from 22 on June 1941, the 12 Company of the 3rd Brandenburg Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Shadera, also operated. It was this unit a few minutes before the 3.15 morning of 22 that started in 1941 on June 3 of the artillery preparation captured Kodensky bridge located to the south of Brest over the Bug border river, destroying the Soviet guards guarding it. The seizure of this strategically important bridge was immediately reported to Guderian personally. Establishment of control over the Kodensky bridge allowed the morning of the first day of the war to transfer Major General Model, parts of the XNUMX Panzer Division, which were part of the Guderian group, and deploy their offensive in the northeast direction, having the primary task of cutting the Warsaw highway between Brest and Kobrin ” .
On that, on the Belarusian coast of the Western Bug one could see the continuation of the embankment. It was there that the blood of our border guards was shed. Find out their names! How strange: the names of the attackers are known, but the names of the heroes-defenders are not.
Tales of the Bug Forest
The fiercest battles in BURA took place at the site of the 17 of the machine gun and artillery battalion, which occupied the bunkers in the area of the village Semyatichi. Today it is the territory of Poland. But it is necessary to get there, and this is the main goal of my expedition. Even in Brest, seasoned people warned me: they say, you shouldn’t meddle in this wilderness alone. “Who knows? You have an expensive camera. You run into local Natsik, and they will take the camera away from Moskal, and nakostylyat on the neck. You can see for yourself what the situation is. ” The situation, of course, did not please: the “hawks” of Polish policy went against the monuments to the Soviet soldiers. DOTS are also monuments to military heroism, the most impressive "monuments" ... It is unlikely that they will be blown up. But still, while there is an opportunity, one must visit the holy places, remove what has been preserved ...
If you look at the dark waters of the river of oblivion for a long time and intently, then they will start to look through something, show something ... So it’s with the drills of the drill. Far from everything, but through the curtain of time, faces, names, combat episodes, feats appear ... Bit by bit, information about the June battles on this land is gathered by Belarusian, Russian, German historians - descendants of those who fought and died here. The names of Captain Postovalov, Lieutenant Ivan Fedorov, Junior Lieutenants V.I. Kolocharova, Eskova and Tenyaev ... They were the first to meet the most powerful strike of the Wehrmacht, many of them had a share of forever unknown soldiers.
Experienced search engines tell us that unusual things always happen before an important discovery, as if someone you are looking for is giving signs.
It is important for me today to find the “Eagle” DOT, and so far no one gives signs, not even a tourist card. The pillboxes on it are marked, but which one is “Eagle” and which is “Falcon”, and where is “Svetlana” - this should be determined on the spot. I need an "Eagle". This commanding five-glazed bunker remained longer than the rest - more than a week. It was the commander of the 1-th company of the "urai" battalion, Lieutenant Ivan Fedorov and a small garrison in the amount of twenty people.
At the village Anusin I say goodbye to the driver of the ride. DOT "Eagle" must be sought precisely in the local district.
My old friend, a researcher at the Central Archive of the Defense Ministry Taras Grigoryevich Stepanchuk, found the report of the political department of the 65 Army to the Military Council of the 1 Belorussian Front. It states that after the 1944 units of the 65 Army entered the USSR state border in the Anusin village in July, Soviet soldiers in one of the bunkers found the bodies of two people lying in a battered machine gun in a shell-strewn floor. One of them, with the stripes of a junior political officer, did not have any documents with him. In the pocket of the second fighter's tunic, the Komsomol ticket No. XXUMX in the name of Red Army soldier Kuzma Iosifovich Butenko is preserved. Butenko was an orderly for the company commander, Lieutenant Fedorov. So, the talk was about the commanding bollard "Eagle". Together with Lieutenant I. Fedorov, there was a medical assistant Liatin, fighters Pukhov, Amozov in the DOT, but it was not possible to establish the name of the junior political instructor.
“The Russians did not leave long-term fortifications, even when the main guns were disabled, and defended them to the last ... The wounded pretended to be dead and fired from ambushes. Therefore, in most of the operations there were no prisoners, ”the German command reported.
I go deep into the roadside pine, which, according to the map, goes into the same forest where our pillboxes stand.
It is interesting to build pillboxes. First, dig a well. Then concrete walls are erected around it. Water goes to the solution and then to the cooling. weaponsby drinking the garrison. A long-term firing point begins at the well. They say that local old dowsing helped our engineers to find underground water veins.
Bunkers are a kind of concrete ships, immersed at their “waterline” in the ground, in the ground. They even have their own names - “Eagle”, “Fast”, “Svetlana”, “Falcon”, “Free” ...
“The finished pillboxes were double-decker concrete boxes with 1,5 – 1,8 wall thick walls, dug into the ground through the embrasure. The upper dungeon was divided by a partition into two gun compartments. The layout distinguished a gallery, a vestibule that diverted the blast wave from the armor door, a gas lock, an ammunition store, a sleeping compartment for several beds, an artesian well, a toilet ... The armament depended on the importance of the direction and where it consisted of an 76-millimeter cannon and two machine guns, where - from 45-millimeter, coupled with a machine gun DS. By the beginning of the war, the armament of the pillboxes was kept in conservation, ammunition and food were kept in company and battalion warehouses. Depending on their size, the garrisons of the pillboxes consisted of 8 – 9 and 16 – 18 people. Some housed up to 36 – 40 people. The officers of the junior personnel were appointed commandants of the DOTS, as a rule, ”writes the historian of BUR.
But these "concrete ships" turned out to be unfinished ... One can only imagine what it is like to fight on ships standing on the stocks. Crews do not abandon their ships, the garrisons of the bunkers do not abandon their fortifications. Each of these caponiers was a small Brest fortress. And what happened in the big citadel, it was repeated here, only in its scale.
According to the stories of the Brest old-timers, the garrisons of the unfinished, unbalanced pillboxes were kept for several days. Furious Nazis walled up entrances and embrasures. One such “blind” concrete box, in which not only the embrasures and the entrance, but even the conclusions of the communication pipes were walled up, was recently discovered by Belarusian search engines.
Walking along the forest path - away from the village, from prying eyes. To the right along the edge of the extraordinary beauty rye field - with cornflowers and daisies. Behind him, hop and strawberry plantations ... I can’t even believe that tanks roared in these serene free places, heavy guns were beating at concrete walls with direct fire, flamethrowers burst into the embrasure ... I can’t believe that they were looking for their prey along these pastoral groves - green brothers ", Merciless" Akovtsy "... But it was all here, and the forest kept it all in its green memory. Perhaps that was why it was so disturbing at heart, despite the boisterous singing of the nightingales, whistling thrushes and jays. The sun was already hot from the zenith, but I still could not find a single bunk in this forest. As if bewitched them. As if they had gone to this land, covered with a coniferous crust, thick bushes. I oriented the map along the road: everything is correct - this is the forest. And the Bug is near. Here it is, the river Kamenka, here is the road №640. But there are no bunkers, although according to all the rules of fortification, they should be right here - on a hill, with an excellent overview of all the main roads and bridges here. Now the paths have all disappeared under the thickets of wild fern. And where the fern is, there, a well-known thing, the evil force is dancing. There was a clearly anomalous zone here: for no reason at all, the electronic clock on the arm suddenly stopped. And pines grew curves-curves, so similar to the “drunken forest”, that on the Curonian Spit. And then the raven shouted - burly, rolling, disgusting. As if threatened or warned about something.
And here I prayed: “Brothers! - I mentally shouted to the defenders of pillboxes. - I came to you. From this far came - from Moscow itself! Respond! Show yourself! ”I wandered on. I wanted to drink terribly. At least where to find a trickle. He walked about ten steps and was stunned: the DOT looked straight at me with black empty sockets! How it was built 75 years ago, and he stood in full growth - not sprinkled with soil, unbalanced, open to all shells and bullets. A huge hole - in the scope of the hands - gaped in its frontal part.
I recognized him right away - from an old photograph taken on my happiness from the same angle as I looked at the pillbox and I from the southern corner. In the wall on the right there is an embrasure in a steel frame, and in the forehead there is a hole, most likely from a special concrete shell. Soldiers' souls flew out of these embrasures and holes ...
Fir cones were lying on the sand, like spent cartridges.
That picture was taken in the summer of 1944, and therefore the area around is open, adapted for firing, but now it is pretty overgrown with pine and bushes. It is not surprising that you can only notice this pyatiabrazurnuyu fortress up close. Souls of unwelcome soldiers hiding under the overlap of the bunker heard me, moreover - they treated me to strawberries that grew around the whole shaft ... They gave me large red ripe berries! And what else could they give me? But the souls of the killed enemies sent ticks and gadflies at me. Probably, they turned into them.
I went in through the rider - some kind of “canopy” open from the sides in order to divert the blast waves from the main entrance door. In the dim casemates there was a damp cold that after midday hell was perceived as a boon. A cold drop fell on my crown: salt icicles like staltictics hung from the ceiling. They were going to drops of moisture, like tears. Dot cried! Everywhere sticking up bars of rusty reinforcement. The builders had time to fix the clamps for the ventilation pipes, and they did not have time to mount the pipes themselves. This means that the fighters of the bunker were choking with powder gases ... From the battle compartment - a square hole to the lower floor, to the shelter. Everything is filled up with plastic bottles, household garbage. The emergency exit was hammered ... I got out and went to look for the rest of the bunkers. And soon he came across two more powerful concrete boxes. Every pillbox here is a Russian islet in a foreign land. Someone was not sorry to leave her, and they went to the east, to their limits. And the soldiers of BURA carried out the order - “not to leave the pillboxes!”. And they did not go out, accepting martyrdom. Even more excruciatingly because around, as now, life was just as wild - grass and wild cherry blossomed ...
Someone was throwing tanks - the fuel was over. And they had no such excuse. Kept to the last.
One of the mouths of the pulbat took positions near the village of Moshston Krulevsk. She was commanded by Lieutenant P.E. Shortcuts. The Germans fired cannons with pillboxes, bombed from aircraft, they were stormed by engineer Einsatz teams with flamethrowers and explosives.
But the garrisons kept to the last bullet. There were six Red Army men and twelve lieutenants, who had just arrived from vocational schools and did not manage to get a weapon on the fateful night, in the DOT, which still stands on the northeastern outskirts of the village of Moschona Krulevsk. Everybody died ...
The double-brass artillery and machine-gun bunkers "Svetlana" and "Sokol" and several other field facilities covered the highway from the bridge over the Bug River to Semyatichi. In the first hours of the battle, a group of border guards and battalion headquarters joined the defenders of the DOTS. Three days led the battle of the bunker "Svetlana" under the command of junior lieutenants V.I. Kolocharova and Tenyaeva. Kolocharov, fortunately, survived. According to him, it is known that among the “Svetlanovtsy”, the Kopeikin machine gunner and the Kazakh gunner Khazambekov especially distinguished themselves, who in the first hours of the war damaged a German armored train leaving for the bridge. Armored crawled back home. And Khazambekov and other gunners moved the fire to the pontoon ferry; the enemy infantry was crossing the Bug across it ...
I leave the forest to the railway embankment.
This DOT, most likely, is the Falcon. His embrasures look just at the railway bridge over the Bug. The riveted trusses of the double-track large bridge are covered with rust, the rail track is overgrown with grass. The view is as if the battle for this strategic object ended only yesterday. Today nobody needs a bridge. The movement along this section of the route to the Belarusian side is closed. But how many lives were laid for him in the forty-first, and in the forty-fourth ... Now he stands, like a monument to those who covered him. And the bridge stands and two bunkers at a distance - one of the rigid structures of the Molotov line. Although the excursions here drive. But excursions tend to the "Maginot Line". Everything there is safe and sound: the weapons, periscopes, all the equipment, and even the army beds in the casemates are made up. There is something to see, there is something to twist, touch, not that here - on the "Molotov line", where everything is broken, shattered, pierced. On the "Maginot Line", as you know, there was no fighting.
The Wehrmacht 293 Infantry Division commander appreciated the importance of the Brest fortification, which up to 30 June 1941 stormed the positions of the 17 th SAR under Semiatichi: "There is no doubt that overcoming the fortified area after its completion would require heavy casualties and the use of heavy weapons of large caliber ".
About the commandant of Brest fortification, Major General Puzyrev ... It is very easy to throw a stone at this person, and if it is easy, then they throw it. So the weighty cobblestone was thrown at him by the author of the popular books Mark Solonin: “In war as in war. In any army of the world there are confusion, and panic, and flight. For this, there are commanders in the army in order to encourage some in a similar situation, to shoot others, but to achieve the fulfillment of a combat mission. What did the commander of 62 UR did, when crowds of Red Army soldiers who had abandoned their firing positions came running to his headquarters? "The commander of the Brest fortification, Major General Puzyrev, with part of the units that went to him in Vysokoy, went to Belsk on the very first day (40 km from the border. - M.S.), and then further to the east ..." "Departed"? .. What was Comrade Puzyrev going to get in the rear? New mobile pillbox on wheels? ”.
It is easy to be ironic about a person who cannot answer you in any way ... No one, better than General Puzyrev, knew how much his 62 fortification was not ready for serious hostilities. Recently appointed to the post of commandant, he drove across the entire “Molotov line” and was personally convinced that the concrete “shield of the country of the Soviets” was still patched and patched. And then to say - in the scope of the construction work, the BUR could be equated to such a “construction site of the century” as the Dnieproges. Despite the fact that dozens of pillboxes were close to the completion of construction and installation works, almost all of them did not have a fire connection with each other, that is, they could not cover each other with artillery fire. This meant that the teams of the enemy demolition men got the opportunity to get close to them. Caponier guns were installed far from everywhere, ventilation pipes, communication lines were mounted ... There were not enough 2 – 3 months for the BUR to become a single defensive system. And here the fire shaft of the most important attack of the invasion fell on the fortified area. Already by noon on June 22, the link between the Puzyrev headquarters and the supporting areas was interrupted once and for all. There was no connection with the higher command either with the headquarters of the 4 Army or with the headquarters of the district that became the headquarters of the Western Front.
Separate groups of sappers and military builders arrived at Vysokoy, where Puzyrev was located with headquarters. They had no weapons. What did General Puzyrev have to do? Organize anti-tank defense with shovels and crowbars? To go to the nearest DOT itself and die heroically with a rifle before being captured along the way? Shoot, as did the commander of the Western Front Air Force, General Kopets, after a crushing blow to the Luftwaffe on its airfields? But he had a headquarters, with people and secret drawings, diagrams, plans, maps. Many people came to him - Red Army men, for one reason or another, left without commanders, as well as concrete workers, rebarmen, excavators, bricklayers, some had wives and children, and everyone expected what he would do - the commandant, general, and a big boss. And Puzyrev made the only right decision in that situation - to take all these people out of the blow, to bring them to where you can restart the defense, where you and all will be given clear and precise orders.
General Puzyrev built a crushing crowd into a marching column and led them to join up with the main forces. He did not run away, as someone claims under the nickname “Shwonder”, but led the column not to the east, but to the north-west, to his own, through Belovezhskaya Pushcha. And he brought all those who joined him.
And entered the disposal of the front of the headquarters. By order of the army general, Zhukov was appointed commandant of the Spass-Demenskii fortified area. Such is the "dot on wheels". In November 1941, General Puzyrev died suddenly. As his subordinate military engineer of the 3 rank P. Paly noted, “the general swallowed some pills all the way.” In his 52 of the year, Mikhail Ivanovich Puzyrev, who went through the hearth of more than one war, was the core. And it didn't take a German bullet to stop his heart. Enough of the deadly stresses of that fateful time ...
Yes, his fighters fought in dots to the last. BUR, though half-forceful, held a third of the strength of the defense. They fought without command, because without command it is impossible to command. Yes, from the outside it looked unsightly: the troops were fighting, and the general was departing in a direction unknown to them. Perhaps it was this situation that tormented Puzyrev’s heart and soul. But the war put people and not in such situations ... No one knows where General Puzyrev was buried.
DOTS of the Brest Fortification ... They only initially sheltered their defenders from the first bullets and shells. Then, when they fell into a regular siege, they turned into deadly traps, into mass graves. There is not here, under Semyatichi, neither bouquets of flowers, nor eternal flame. Only an eternal memory, frozen in a war-prone reinforced concrete.