The Soviet Union in the prewar five-year plan has achieved amazing success in all spheres, including the military-industrial complex. At first, in a hostile environment, mainly due to the mobilization of internal resources and forces, the economy and transport destroyed during the First World War and the Civil War were restored. Then the task was to eliminate the 50-100-year-old economic and technical backwardness from the West, and this task was successfully solved. The Soviet Union became the second industrial power in the world, second only to the United States.
Soviet society was built by the simultaneous transformation of the national economy, culture, education and science. In the first five-year period (1928-1932), performed in the 4 of the year and 3 of the month, the volume of industrial production increased by 1928 times compared to 2. During the second five-year plan (1933-1937), also performed prematurely, the gross output of industry increased 2,2 by a factor of 10 in comparison with the USSR 1932 in Europe and second in the world in industrial production! Thus, the Soviet Union overtook such traditionally strong and advanced economies of the West as Britain, France and Germany.
In March, the 1939 XVIII Congress of the Party reviewed and approved the third five-year national economy plan (1938-1942), which planned the creation of a powerful industrial base in the eastern regions of the country. In carrying out this plan, 2900 industrial enterprises were commissioned. In Siberia, created a second coal and metallurgical base. They mastered new deposits of coal and oil in the Far North, between the Volga and the Urals in the Far East. Fully five-year plan failed to realize because of the start of the war. However, the fact that they managed to do that helped Russia-USSR to survive and to win this terrible war.
Over the years of the prewar five-year plans, 8900 enterprises were built in the country. Soviet industry has reached a high level of development. Preemptive attention was paid to the construction of heavy industry enterprises as the material basis of socialism. Complete collectivization was completed, the mechanization of agriculture increased significantly.
At the same time, society has greatly changed. There was a creation of a new society of service and creation. Despite all the difficulties of the transition period, the country was gripped by tremendous inspiration and patriotism. New generations were brought up, for which the private, personal and material were receding into the background compared with the ideal, the people and the state. A cultural revolution occurred: the illiteracy of the population was eliminated, a new best school in the world was built, millions of cadres of the new Soviet intelligentsia were brought up. As a result, if the German soldiers in the First World War were mainly opposed by an illiterate peasant mass, who did not know the goals of the war, then during the Great War the Germans faced a completely different adversary - they were mostly representatives of the working class or intelligentsia, as well as workers of the village, familiar with technology, educated and knowing that they are fighting for "their" power and socialist homeland. In 1937, the Red Army became an army of continuous literacy. In addition, many young people had initial military training, were introduced to physical culture, etc. Thus, the Soviet (multinational Russian) people were distinguished by their moral and political unity, which was one of the main achievements of the Soviet system. Such a people was invincible.
Moscow in the prewar period seriously strengthened its military-strategic position on the western frontiers. During the Soviet-Finnish war, the strategic position of the second capital of the USSR and the largest industrial center, Leningrad, was strengthened. In the summer of 1940, the city of Bucharest was forced to agree to the demand of the Soviet government for the return of Bessarabia that had been torn away from Russia, and the Moldavian SSR was formed. In the summer of 1940, Russia returned the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) to its membership. The Baltic republics became equal Soviet republics. In September, 1939, during the German war against Poland, Moscow sent troops into the western regions of Belarus and Little Russia, which Warsaw captured during the destruction of the Russian Empire.
Thus, the Kremlin returned the native Russian territories, watered with the blood of millions of Russians and people and historically belonging to the Russian civilization, and pushed the western borders, which improved the military-strategic position of the USSR on the eve of the war.
The successes of the economic development of the Union, the advantages of its social and state system created the necessary prerequisites for the development of military power necessary to ensure the security of the country and people. The USSR did not spare funds and forces for defense. The Kremlin understood that the great war had already begun and it was only a matter of time before the enemy attacked the Union. This forced to increase the pace of technical equipment of the ground forces, air force and fleet. At the same time, the organization of the Armed Forces of the USSR was improved.
The state has created a strong design base that allows the creation of new types of aircraft, tanks, artillery, ships, small arms weapons etc. The leading designers were S. V. Ilyushin, S. A. Lavochkin, A. S. Yakovlev, A. N. Tupolev, N. N. Polikarpov, A. I. Mikoyan, M. I. Koshkin, A. A. Morozov, J. Ya. Kotin, V. G. Grabin, A. G. Kostikov, G. S. Shpagin, V. A. Degtyarev, F. V. Tokarev, etc. As a result, the technical equipment of the Red Army constantly rising. Production of aircraft, tanks, guns and other weapons and equipment in the second half of the 1930-s increased sharply. For example, if in 1934 the Red Army had 17 thousand guns, then by the beginning of 1939 there were already 56 thousand.
Armored and mechanized troops were created and improved. Other troops also developed - engineering, railway, communications, air defense, airborne, border, etc. Particular attention was paid to the development of the air force. The country has launched the activities of research institutes and large design organizations in the field of aviation. Created aircraft factories, enterprises producing engines and aircraft devices. “That was the time,” writes one of the leading aircraft designers of the USSR A.S. Yakovlev, “when our aviators broke into the world arena of air competitions. The successes of Soviet aviation were based on the creative pursuit of our designers and on the rapidly growing aviation industry. ” In particular, in 1937, Soviet pilots set about 30 international records on domestic aircraft.
The Soviet fleet also greatly increased its power. Deployed the construction of new warships. First small, and then larger for a large ocean fleet. Was organized mass production of submarines, torpedo boats and aircraft for naval aviation. The Pacific Fleet was created in 1932, and the Northern Fleet in the 1933. Fleet tonnage from 1930 to 1939 increased by more than 130%.
After the XVIII party congress (March 1939), the government paid even more attention to the country's defense issues. If the annual output of all industries increased by an average of 13%, then the defense one - 39%. A number of large industrial enterprises transferred to the production of defense products. Deployed the construction of new military plants. The People's Commissariat of Defense Industry in January 1939 was divided into four People's Commissars, for greater efficiency: aviation, shipbuilding, ammunition and armament. From the People's Commissariat of Mechanical Engineering were created the People's Commissariats of heavy, medium and general engineering. People's commissariats of motor transport, construction, etc., are being created, which on the whole helped strengthen the country's defense. Councils on the defense industry, metallurgy, fuel, machine building, etc. are being created from the Economic Council under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR. Their deputies were the chairmen of the USSR SNK N.A. Voznesensky, A.N. Kosygin, V.A. Malyshev and others. All these measures Improved industrial governance contributed to the accelerated development of heavy and especially defense industry.
New enterprises are created mainly in the eastern regions of the country, remote from the western strategic direction: in the Volga region, in the Urals, in Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia. In this way, The new industrial base was removed from the possible areas of battles and strikes of a potential enemy, and at the same time Moscow gradually developed all areas of the country, creating the potential for future prosperity of the entire power.
In September, 1939 passed a law on universal conscription. The previous restrictions in the military service were canceled, its term was extended from 2 to 3 years, and in the fleet - to 5 years. The draft age was reduced from 21 to 19 years. As a result, if by 1 in January of 1935, the number of the army was a little over 1,5 million, then by 1 in January of 1941, it increased to 4,2 million. By 1 June 1941, the strength of the Armed Forces has already exceeded 5 million. Taking into account the increased military threat and with the aim of the fastest growing economic power of 26 June 1940, a decree was adopted “On the transition to the 8 hourly working day, for a seven-day week and to ban unauthorized departure of workers and employees from enterprises and institutions”.
In the last prewar years, the growth of the country's defense power continued unabated. In 1939-1940 New fighters were created - Yak-1, MiG-3, LaGG-3, Il-2 attack aircraft, Pe-2 diving bomber, etc. In the third and fourth quarters of 1940, all old fighters were removed from mass production. Began mastering the mass production of new aircraft. New models of technology created in the field of tank building. In 1940, the production of heavy tanks KV and medium tanks T-34 began, the best in the world in terms of their fighting qualities (even taking into account “childhood diseases”). Important decisions were taken on the organization of mass production of tanks in the Volga region and in the Urals. From January 1939 to 22 June 1941, the industry gave the army more than 7 thousand tanks. The production of artillery, small arms and ammunition increased. New artillery pieces of the 1939 Sample were delivered to the troops: 76-mm divisional, 37-mm and 85-mm anti-aircraft guns, 210-mm gun, 28-mm mortar and 305-mm howitzer. From January 1939 to 22, June 1941, the Red Army received about 30 thousand guns, more than 52 thousand mortars, etc.
The power of the fleet continued to grow. From the beginning of 1941, they stopped the construction of battleships and heavy cruisers, they no longer had time to complete construction, all attention was focused on small surface ships and submarines. From 1927 to 22 on June 1941, 312 ships entered service, including 4 cruisers, 30 destroyers, 206 submarines, etc. In addition, the fleet was replenished with 477 combat boats and a large number of auxiliary vessels. Total Soviet fleet on the eve of the war had 3 battleship, 7 cruisers, 59 leaders and destroyers, 218 PL, 269 torpedo boats and about 2600 aircraft.
However, there were many problems that weakened the combat power of the USSR Armed Forces. The army has increased dramatically in quantitative terms, as a result there were not enough experienced and fully trained command personnel. Apparently, in the Soviet generals there were still representatives of the “fifth column” - the uninitiated Trotskyists, which led to a number of failures of the initial period of the Great Patriotic War.
There were problems in almost every sphere. For example, the Soviet Union was the first to create large mechanized units — brigades and corps. However, due to the incorrect assessment of the experience of the war in Spain, the mechanized corps disbanded and created smaller units — brigades and regiments. In the middle of 1940, in view of the success of large armored formations on the Western front, the erroneousness of the implemented measure became visible, it was decided to create 9 new mechanized corps. In February-March, 1941 began the formation of another 20 mechanized corps. However, it was impossible to immediately solve a problem of this scale: the tank industry could not supply such a number of tanks (to fully equip all new hulls, 32 thousand tanks, including more than 16 thousand tanks of new types) were required; massive training of technical and command personnel was required; create a material base for mass equipment maintenance; to work out methods of using such masses of tanks in combat, their interaction with aviation, artillery, infantry, etc. Thus, the formation and equipment of all new mechanized corps was not completed. However, the first 9 mechanized corps played a big role at the beginning of the war, restraining the onslaught of the enemy.
Rifle troops needed serious reinforcement. According wartime, approved in April 1941, at Infantry Division was to have 14,5 thousand. Man, 78 field guns, anti-tank guns 54, 12 anti-aircraft guns, mortars 66 82-120 mm, light tanks 16, 13 armored vehicles, more than 3 thousand horses. In June, the 1941 in the Soviet ground forces had 303 divisions, of which 81 was at the formative stage. In the five border districts there were 170 divisions, a significant portion of them had 8-9 thousand people, some 5-6 thousand people. Domestically, the divisions also had reduced staff.
The troops received from the industry a large number of guns and mortars. In the border districts military artillery, in the main, was staffed up to regular standards. However, it was a bad deal with mechanical artillery. The artillery of the reserve of the High Command (RGC) was insufficient in quantitative terms. In the spring, 1941 began to form 10 anti-tank artillery brigades of the GSC, but did not have time to do this before the start of the war. The prototypes of jet weapons created at the beginning of the war (BM-13, "Katyushas") did not immediately receive due recognition, and it was only in June that a decision was made on the mass production of jet-sets.
The development of aviation in the USSR was given paramount importance. So, in 1940, compared with 1939, the aircraft industry grew by more than 70%. The construction of new aircraft manufacturing and aircraft manufacturing plants continued. But the main problem was the improvement of combat and flight performance of aircraft. In the Air Force there were few fighters and bombers of new types. And according to the flight data, the old cars were inferior to the German cars of the same type. The reorganization and growth of the Air Force also required retraining of the flight technical staff. New air regiments were formed, new airfields were built, the air force rear was reorganized, and so on. At the same time, the entire air defense system of the country was transformed.
In this way, the enemy found the Red Army at the stage of formation of new formations, rearmament, reorganization and retraining, preparation of new fortified lines. In addition, part of the Soviet generals worked for the Trotskyist underground, or inherited the psychology of the tsarist generals (generals of "peacetime", not capable of feat and actions in crisis conditions). However, the Red Army of sample 1941 was qualitatively different for the better from the satellite of sample 1925-1935, when for the USSR even Poland or Finland was a serious opponent. It already had its beginnings, which in the 1944-1945 year, made the Red Army the most powerful force on the planet.
Shielded T-28 tanks pass through Red Square during the November 7 1940 parade of the year.
T-35 tanks before the parade on Red Square 7 in November 1940 of the year
Strategic situation in June 1941.
From the summer of 1940, when France and the expeditionary forces of England suffered defeat, to June 1941, military operations were limited. Separate outbreaks of active actions were followed by pauses. After the air strikes in England in winter, Germany continued to struggle in the Atlantic and, together with Italy, in the Mediterranean and North Africa. The German command practically abandoned the surface cruising operations, and now only the German submarine fleet threatened British communications. In addition, during the preparation of the war with the USSR, Germany transferred part of its submarine forces from the Atlantic to the Barents and Baltic Seas (ten submarines moved to the Mediterranean Sea). In the spring of 1941, Greece and Yugoslavia were crushed and occupied.
But the main attention of Hitler's Germany was drawn to the preparation for war with the USSR. Berlin completed the strategic deployment of the armed forces along the western borders of the USSR. The annexation of Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to the German bloc, as well as the defeat of Yugoslavia and Greece, provided the southern strategic flank of the Wehrmacht. More than 150 ground forces divisions were intended to attack the Soviet Union. 38 divisions and 2 tank brigades remained in France, Belgium and Holland; 9 Infantry Divisions - in Denmark and Norway; 8 infantry divisions - in the Balkans, in North Africa - 2 tank divisions; The 5 infantry divisions and the 3 brigade are in Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia. The main part of the German fleet was still diverted to the Atlantic. Part of it was deployed against the USSR. For example, in the Baltic for operations against the Soviet Baltic Fleet and to secure the coastal flank of Army Group North, the Germans had about 100 warships. Germany's allies - Romania, Hungary and Finland, launched 37 divisions against the USSR. That is, all against the USSR at the beginning of the war put up about 190 divisions. In addition, the 2 Slovak infantry divisions and the moto-brigade, the Italian expeditionary corps as part of the 3 divisions, were to take part in the aggression against the USSR.
Italy continued to focus on the Mediterranean and the Balkans. By June, 1941 from the 64 divisions of Italy 33 were located on the Balkan Peninsula, 24 - in Italy (3 was being prepared for transfer to the Russian front), 7 - in North Africa. Most of the Italian navy and air force operated on the Mediterranean.
England in this period focused on the organization of the defense of the metropolis and sea communications, mainly in the North Atlantic, where the main sea routes of Britain were located. British aviation occasionally bombed German economic facilities. Three quarters of the land forces were deployed in the metropolis. In North Africa, in the Middle East, there was a half-million army, which mainly consisted of Australian, Indian, New Zealand, South African units and formations. The fleet covered England and conducted military operations in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Taking into account the reduction of the threat directly to the metropolis, the British command sent significant fleet forces to ensure communications in the Atlantic. By June 1941, the number of British escort ships in the Atlantic reached about 700.
In the spring of 1941, England’s position in the Mediterranean deteriorated somewhat due to the loss of Greece and Crete. However, this unfavorable factor was compensated by the fact that Germany’s main focus was on the USSR and Hitler turned down plans to expand the zone of control in the Mediterranean. In particular, the operation to seize Malta was curtailed, and the 10 Corps of the German Air Force was transferred from the Mediterranean theater to attack the USSR. Therefore, the British fleet retained dominance in the middle and western part of the Mediterranean Sea and a strong base in Malta, from where it was possible to strike at the communications of the Italian-German forces. In North Africa, where 100-thousand was located Italian-German contingent, at this time there was no active action.
The Japanese empire, continuing the aggressive war in China, hoped to use the forthcoming war of Germany against the USSR and the weakening of the positions of the colonial powers in the Asia-Pacific region to realize its own expansion. The primary direction was southern, but after the defeat of the main forces of the Soviet Union by the Germans, the Japanese hoped for a significant expansion of their possessions at the expense of the Russian lands. To attack the positions of the United States and Britain in the Pacific, they planned to use the main forces of the fleet and aviation, more than 10 land divisions. To attack the USSR, they planned to use the Manchurian bridgehead, where the 400-thousand was located. Kwantung Army. In China, Japan had 39 divisions (of which in Manchuria - 12 divisions), in Korea - 2, in Japan - 9 divisions.
To be continued ...