Military Review

Evacuation of the tank industry at the beginning of World War II

By the beginning of World War II in the Soviet Union they managed to create a developed tank industry, which consisted of several large centers of production. At the same time, the beginning of the war, terrible for the USSR, very soon forced the country's leadership to organize the evacuation of Leningrad, Kharkov and Moscow enterprises inland. The evacuation of 1941 did not affect only the Krasnoye Sormovo plant located in Gorky (today Nizhny Novgorod), far from the front line.

Before the war, the Soviet Union managed to make a qualitative leap in its industrial development. During the years of the prewar five-year plans, the country managed to go from the agrarian orientation of the economy to an industrial power. In 1940, in the USSR, 10% of the world industrial output was already produced, while in Germany - 6%. The emphasis in the Soviet Union was on heavy industry, the production of which in 1928-1940 increased by a factor of 6,1. In terms of the output of many types of products in the USSR, 1-3 ranked places in the world

A characteristic feature of the Soviet economy 1930-s was its militarization, the country was preparing for the coming war. This was most clearly manifested in the compilation of the third five-year plan (1938-1942 years). The planned guidelines of this five-year plan focused mainly on increasing the volume of military production. For example, the pace of military equipment production was 2-2,5 times higher than in 1933-1937. By the beginning of the 1941 of the year in the Soviet Union in the total volume of industrial and production assets for the engineering and metalworking accounted for 28,1% (the largest category).

Evacuation of the tank industry at the beginning of World War II
Assembly of tanks KV-1 at the Chelyabinsk Kirov factory, 1942 year

At the same time, mechanical engineering played a leading role in the technical re-equipment of the entire economy of the country, primarily its military part. In the USSR, this industry developed at a higher rate in comparison with other industries. While the gross output of industry in 1940 exceeded the level of the Russian empire 1913 of the year 7,7 times, including the product group "A" (industrial goods or goods intended for the production of other goods) - 13,4 times, the group "B" ( consumer goods or goods intended for personal consumption) - 4,6 times, then mechanical engineering and metalworking grew 30 times.

Thanks to this active development of industry and engineering in particular, the Soviet Union met the Great Patriotic War, being a powerful industrial power. By the beginning of the war in the Red Army there were more than 23 thousands of tanks of various types, about 13 thousands of which were deployed in the western military districts. It is worth noting that all tanks, including the 3-th and 4-th category cars, are included here, that is, those requiring average repairs (in the district workshops) and major repairs (in the central workshops and factories). All this mass of tanks melted like snow under the rays of the warm spring sun by the end of 1941, but the fact that the Red Army had such a fleet of armored vehicles was a merit of Soviet industry. Moreover, in 1941, the Soviet factories, despite all the difficulties that had fallen upon them, managed to transfer to the military more than 6 thousands of tanks of various types, including 2800 tanks T-34 and 1121 KV-1. For comparison, in Germany, which did not experience any difficulties with the relocation of enterprises, in 1941 a little more than 3800 tanks and assault guns were launched.

How unsuccessfully the first period of the war developed for the USSR made the country's leadership think about evacuating industrial enterprises deep into the territory. The rapid advance of German troops threatened the work of many enterprises. Therefore, on June 24, 1941, an Evacuation Council was created in the country. The council determined the places where the enterprises should be taken out, registered administrative, industrial, warehouse, educational and other buildings and structures that were suitable for accommodating enterprises evacuated to the east, gave assignments on the allocation of the required number of cars. The decree "On the procedure for the removal and deployment of human contingents and valuable property" was issued on the fifth day of the war - June 27, 1941. First of all, the evacuation concerned military industry enterprises: tank, aviation and engine factories. The result of this evacuation was that in the Urals, on the basis of existing enterprises, powerful centers of tank production were formed.

In the series of defeats for summer and autumn of 1941, the evacuation of industrial enterprises was the real bright spot, which allowed to preserve the industrial potential and the main economic base of the Soviet Union, becoming one of the important factors of a future victory in this terrible war. During the period from July to December 1941, 2593 enterprises, including 1523 large, were evacuated to the east. At the same time, 1350 of them were evacuated in the first three months of the Great Patriotic War. The largest number of enterprises managed to be evacuated from the territory of Ukraine - 550 enterprises, from Moscow and Moscow region - 498 enterprises, from Belarus - 109 enterprises, Leningrad - 92, etc. The largest number of enterprises were evacuated to the Urals (667), to Kazakhstan and Central Asia (308), and to Siberia, contrary to general opinion, approximately the same number of enterprises as in the Volga region were evacuated - 244 and 226, respectively.

Among tank factories, the Leningrad Kirovsky Plant (LKZ), one of the oldest enterprises of the city on the Neva River, was the first to encounter the need for evacuation. Starting from 1939, the company produced heavy KV tanks. In 1941, the factory managed to assemble an 444 tank of this type. At the same time, the 5 of July 1941 of the year ordered the State Defense Committee (GKO) to export to the Ural Turbine Plant, located in Sverdlovsk, two workshops of this plant - diesel and non-ferrous casting. The industrial equipment of these workshops was completely evacuated from Leningrad to 23 July. The newly formed plant, which was focused on the production of diesel engines, was assigned the number 76. But the main power LKZ continued to be under threat.

Taking this into account, the tank and artillery production of the Kirov plant decided to export to the Ural Carriage Works, located in Nizhny Tagil. Here it was planned to transport the property of the Leningrad Izhora plant, which was engaged in the release of armored corps for tanks. The decision about this T-bills was made on July 11, but the beginning of the evacuation of enterprises was delayed. In August, 1941, the German troops approached the city directly, launching the LKZ shelling, and on August 29, Leningrad was completely cut off from the supply lines. In early September, 1941, the removal of people and equipment from the city was suspended. At the same time, it was decided not to transfer the tank production from the city to Nizhny Tagil, but to the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, which was the largest industrial center of the whole of the Urals.

This decision was more thoughtful, since even before the start of the war, this enterprise began preparations for the mass production of heavy KV tanks, which their Leningrad colleagues specialized in the production of. At the same time, in the autumn of 1941, the pace of the enterprise’s evacuation decreased, since Lake Ladoga became the only available transport route between the country and Leningrad. Given the volume of production, it was simply impossible to remove all equipment from the city until the end of autumn. At the same time, LKZ and the Izhora plant were never fully evacuated from Leningrad until the end of the war.

Also plant №174 was evacuated from Leningrad, which in 1941 year produced 116 T-26 and 60 light tanks T-50. Initially, he was evacuated to Chkalov, and then to Omsk. 7 March 1942, this company was merged with the Omsk plant number XXUMX. In June of the same year, when the missing workshops were completed, the production of T-173 medium tanks was launched here.

Another major center of the tank industry was located in the south of the Soviet Union. In Kharkov, there was a locomotive plant No. XXUMX (KhPZ) - the cradle of the legendary “thirty-four”. In the 183-s, BT tanks were mass produced here. Serial production of T-1930 tanks was able to be established in Kharkiv by 34 year. In the first year 1940 tanks were collected here. In 117, the plant number 1941 in Kharkov already released the 183 tank T-744. This company had a branch - plant number XXUMX, which was formed on the basis of the diesel shop and was engaged in the production of tank engines B-34. The Kharkov Tractor Plant and the Mariupol Metallurgical Plant, which was producing armor steel for tanks, also had to evacuate to the east.

On the territory of Ukraine, German troops advanced more slowly than in the northern direction, so at the first stage of the war the military leadership of the Soviet Union did not abandon the hope that the front could be stabilized along the Dnieper, which means that large military-industrial enterprises would not be affected by the military actions. However, by mid-September 1941, when a grandiose battle unfolded around Kiev, ending with the encirclement and disaster of the South-Western Front, it became obvious to everyone that it would not be possible to keep Eastern Ukraine, and therefore the factories need to be urgently evacuated from here to the rear. The decision to evacuate local businesses was made by the T-bills 12 of September 1941. Kharkiv Locomotive Plant No. XXUMX and most of the Mariupol Metallurgical Plant named after Ilyich were transported to Nizhny Tagil at Uralvagonzavod. The equipment of the Kharkov Tractor Plant was distributed among several enterprises. The decision was quite logical, because before the start of the war, the factory had no experience in producing tanks, while now it was planned to throw all forces on their production.

Assembling T-34-76 tanks in Nizhny Tagil. The tanks were manufactured at the Ural Carriage Works and at the plant No. XXUM, 183 year evacuated from Kharkov here.

According to the initial plans, the evacuation of these enterprises was planned in two stages. It was believed that a phased evacuation process would allow production of tanks, which are urgently needed for a howling army, in parallel with the transportation of workers and machine tools to the rear. But at the beginning of October 1941, the plans seriously changed: the German offensive threatened to thwart the evacuation from Kharkov, so the Soviet command issued a new order - to remove all the property and workers of enterprises in one stage, and as soon as possible. Due to the rush that has arisen, part of the industrial equipment was left in Kharkov, and part was lost on the way. In addition, more than half of the enterprise’s workers did not want to evacuate to the rear and joined the ranks of the national militia. As a result, the plant number XXUMX was significantly more difficult to expand the production of tanks in a new place for themselves.

Has affected the process of evacuation 1941, and Moscow factories. Businesses in Moscow and nearby cities also went to the east. Plant No. 37 was evacuated, specializing in the production of light tanks (in 1941, X-NUMX tanks T-487 and 40 tanks T-20 were assembled here), the KIM automobile plant (today known as Moskvich), the Podolsky machine-building plant named after Ordzhonikidze and Kolomna steam engine maker. factory. The reason for the evacuation of enterprises was the launch of the German troops on Moscow that began on 60 of September 30. Kolomna Locomotive Plant was transported to Kirov, where it is located on the territory of the local plant named after 1941 May. The remaining 1 enterprises of the Moscow region were evacuated to Sverdlovsk. Here they merged with local industrial enterprises, uniting all together in the plant number XXUMX.

Difficulties with the transport of mass of industrial equipment, people and goods faded with the difficulties that arose in connection with the arrangement of enterprises in a new place. The property and personnel of the factories evacuated to the east needed to be located somewhere. The government instruction on construction in wartime allows you to visualize the conditions in which Soviet workers had to re-establish the production of tanks at a new location. As a matter of urgency, in the areas of plant evacuation, temporary buildings were erected, which were designed for commissioning in parallel with the completion process. In the construction it was prescribed to use the simplest structures. In particular, the lighting problem was proposed to be solved not with the help of lamps, but with the help of glazing of the upper part of the walls of factory buildings.

Production of T-34-76 tanks. Foreground: 76,2-mm F-34 guns of the 1940 model of the year.

Industrial buildings and structures were installed with lightweight walls and coatings, while the supporting structures in temporary buildings were allowed to be made of wood. Household premises for workers (washrooms, showers, walk-in closets, toilets, etc.) were located directly in workshops on the production area, or in semi-basements and basements. It was assumed that workers and employees in most cases would have to undress directly from their jobs. The arrangement of domestic premises for workers in the annexes to the workshop or in separate buildings was allowed only for industries with pronounced hazards (treatment of poisonous, infectious substances, etc.), as well as explosive and hot. In this case, all the buildings were built, if possible, from local materials. Residential houses for workers were often ordinary dugouts or common barracks, equipped with stove heating. Exterior decoration of buildings and structures was carried out only in cases where lining and plastering were necessary under the terms of heat engineering design. Barracks were usually built with bedrooms designed for 20-25 beds. Separate rooms, which were designed for a smaller number of people, were allowed only as an exception.

But the main problem faced by evacuated tank enterprises was the shortage of skilled labor. It was especially acute in KhPZ. 6 November 1941, the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry was forced to direct the plant with options for solving personnel problems. At the disposal, it was recommended to reduce the number of auxiliary workers by at least 30-40%, the plant's administration and workshops were proposed to reduce by at least 50% with the mandatory transfer of reduced employees to retraining to tank jobs. The same prospect was expected by 40% of the weakest, non-specialized engineering and technical workers. Employees who did not want to retrain were ordered to be dismissed from the factory, taking food cards from them, as well as evicting them from their homes. As the most extreme case, it was prescribed to consider the option of closing part of the factory production in order to fully equip the armor and tank production with the necessary labor force.

From the proposed measures it becomes clear that the situation at KhPZ with qualified personnel was almost hopeless: all solutions to the problem boiled down to the redistribution of the company's employees inside the plant. The equipment evacuated from Kharkov could not provide the front with such necessary combat vehicles by itself, therefore the enterprise personnel needed to be transferred from working with papers - to labor at the machines. Many enterprises of the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry were also supplemented with unskilled labor (women and children), but this option seemed to be an even less successful way of solving the problem.

Assembly site radiators at the Ural tank plant number XXUMX in Nizhny Tagil

Despite the large number of problems that arose, the very fact of evacuating industrial enterprises to a safe zone in the rear was a significant success for the USSR leadership. Many enterprises were literally saved from capture and destruction by the enemy, and their employees were able to continue to work on the creation of technology, which was so necessary for the front. The machine tools and equipment transported to the east could significantly increase the production capacity of enterprises already in the rear. Thanks to the merger of industrial enterprises and their consistent reorientation to the production of tanks in the east of the Soviet Union, a powerful industrial base was created, which affected the outcome of the Great Patriotic War.

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  1. Amurets
    Amurets 27 June 2016 07: 38
    There’s a lot about the article! There is a lot about the evacuation of the tank industry. I would like to note that when the armored rolling mills were evacuated, they started rolling armor on Blooming in Magnitogorsk. This was the highest risk, but there was no other way out. We won a dear price and memoirs of some of the leaders you don’t read industry, it’s scary at what price the people paid for our victory in the Second World War. This applies not only to the tank industry, but also to other industries. In fact, in the Urals and Siberia it was necessary to build new industrial centers to replace the lost ones.
  2. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 27 June 2016 08: 01
    Quote: Amurets
    when the armored rolling mills were evacuated, in Magnitogorsk they began to roll armor on Blooming.

    like a magnitian, I confirm. For the first time in the world metallurgy, at MMK, the armor plate was rolled in blooming. It happened on July 28 1941 of the year, exactly eight years after the start of blooming. This bold experiment made it possible to organize the production of a much-needed product line before launching the 4500 and 2350 mills that arrived in Magnitogorsk from Mariupol and Zaporozhye. Every second Soviet tank during the war was made of Magnitogorsk armor, and this is a great achievement of the Magnitogorsk distributors.

    To date, blooming at MMK ceased to exist.
    1. wasps
      wasps 27 June 2016 12: 05
      Tell me what is blooming?
      1. Amurets
        Amurets 27 June 2016 13: 37
        Blooming rolling mill which is used for primary crimping of steel ingots.
        Here is a link to blooming.
        1. wasps
          wasps 27 June 2016 14: 50
          Thank you.
  3. zoknyay82
    zoknyay82 27 June 2016 08: 09
    ... "How unfortunate the first period of the war was for the USSR made the country's leadership think about evacuating industrial enterprises deep into the territory." ...
    I think the evacuation plan was before the start of the Second World War. The plant is a lot of energy-consuming things, and electric networks capable of withstanding such a load are not everywhere, and the plant consumes a lot of other resources.
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 27 June 2016 10: 26
      Quote: zoknyay82
      I think the evacuation plan was before the start of the Second World War. The plant is a lot of energy-consuming things, and electric networks capable of withstanding such a load are not everywhere, and the plant consumes a lot of other resources.

      Yes! Before the war, there were plans for the development of industry in Siberia and the Urals, but unfortunately they only began to turn into reality. ChTZ; MMK; Uralmash and a number of new factories, this is only the beginning of a new industrial region. But unfortunately, these were just drafts of what had to be done and the main problem was the lack of electricity.
      1. ARES623
        ARES623 27 June 2016 21: 46
        Quote: Amurets
        Yes! Before the war, there were plans for the development of industry in Siberia and the Urals, but unfortunately they only began to turn into reality. ChTZ; MMK; Uralmash and a number of new factories, this is only the beginning of a new industrial region. But unfortunately, these were just drafts of what had to be done and the main problem was the lack of electricity.

        In September 1939, defense nakomats adopted programs for the reconstruction of old production and the construction of a new one, taking into account their placement in a zone inaccessible to aviation by a likely enemy both from the West and from the East. In accordance with the three five-year plan (3-1938), a more rapid development of production was envisaged in the Volga region, in the Urals, in Siberia and other deep areas, the construction of backup plants in these places was planned. This program has developed at a rapid pace. Of course, they did not manage to start the finished production, but the sites were selected, in many cases communications, roads, generating capacities were prepared. For more than two years, they prepared a bridgehead for the deployment of production. Now imagine if that work had not been carried out, if all that had been done in the fall of 1942 and the winter of 1941-1941 would begin with a search for a place and deforestation. I think the conclusion is obvious, the restoration of production went at least until mid-42.
        Quote: Amurets
        ChTZ; MMK; Uralmash and a number of new plants

        Only from July to November 1941, at least 1523 industrial enterprises were evacuated to the East. According to some estimates (academician Kumanev), no less than 30 large and medium enterprises and about 000 million workers, engineers and their families were relocated. Trains to the East went in a continuous stream, at a stopping distance from each other. Under evacuation, half of the rolling stock was involved, approx. 17 wagons. And the main problem, along with the lack of electricity, was the struggle with organizational difficulties and sloppiness. There were times when the trains of one plant came to different cities, and even the ends of the country. And there was still a bombing, mobilization of the most able-bodied part of workers and engineers, there was just a thaw and frosts, rain and snowfall. Today it’s hard for us to even imagine how IT could be mastered by our grandfathers. And, I repeat, without preliminary decisions and efforts by the country's leadership, this was hardly possible. That’s where the endless theme for Russian cinema is .... To know, remember, be proud and draw strength for today's confrontation.
    2. Reptiloid
      Reptiloid 28 June 2016 05: 06
      I also think so, and these plans are probably very advance, not to have time to think everything through to the decree on June 27. I often thought that this was a colossal event - moving one plant, namely Kirovsky (was there). And how much factories moved.
      I really liked the article. Thank you.
  4. avia12005
    avia12005 27 June 2016 08: 21
    Once again I ask myself the question: why did the "generals" of industry in 1941 at their best, while many generals in the western districts were not?
    1. sq
      sq 27 June 2016 12: 17
      Any "general from industry" is obliged to look ahead not even one or two steps, but for years, because the change in the production of even one part is much longer, the rise of a military unit on alarm. And plans for the evacuation of enterprises in the western regions of the USSR existed in the eighties. according to stories in Brest in the seventies, steam locomotives stood at the railway station in pairs in case of war.
  5. atos_kin
    atos_kin 27 June 2016 08: 21
    I will turn around: what was done, the author spoke well, but about the one who bore the main responsibility for the evacuation, the author kept silent.
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 27 June 2016 10: 39
      Quote: atos_kin
      I will turn around: what was done, the author spoke well, but about the one who bore the main responsibility for the evacuation, the author kept silent.

      And what is so modest? It’s direct and necessary to say that the whole burden of plant evacuation fell on Beria’s shoulders. I don’t remember what, but they lost something from the electro-energy equipment. When they started asking from the person responsible for the evacuation of this unit, he called the number the platform on which he loaded it. After five days, the platform was found and delivered to the factory where this unit was going according to the evacuation plan. They lifted up all the NKVD for searches. I don’t remember, it seemed like Shakhurin, And they were looking for a turbogenerator of Zaporizhzhya TPP.
  6. aba
    aba 27 June 2016 09: 06
    In 1940, 10% of the world industrial output was already produced in the USSR, while in Germany - 6%. The emphasis in the Soviet Union was on heavy industry, the production volume of which in the years 1928-1940 increased by 6,1 times. In terms of output of many types of products, the USSR occupied 1-3 places in the world.

    For Russia, these indicators will long be an unattainable guide.
  7. evil partisan
    evil partisan 27 June 2016 09: 38
    Yeah ... Evacuation of industry to the east of the country is an incredible feat in its tension and heroism. He worked at the plant, which was deployed in Sverdlovsk in the 41st on the basis of the evacuated from near Moscow, and my immediate boss remembers how his father, an engineer of this plant, who was just preparing for the evacuation, picked it up on his shoulders and showed it in the sky are German planes that flew to bomb Moscow ... And how much of everything we found on the territory of the plant, which remained from the war, is horrible! Up to a radium-containing dry powder ...
  8. Mikhail3
    Mikhail3 27 June 2016 10: 02
    The war showed what heights Russian people can reach. And she ... Workers then did not just work. They showed the highest class of production, burning themselves. And they convinced the Soviet bureaucracy that the organization of production was a sinecure. It’s how it’s organized!
    Indeed it was - people plugged all the allowed holes in the manufacturing process. Plugged themselves. And well-fed bosses blissfully believed that it was so, that it would always be so ... After all, the production was incredible. And what did the Soviet factories turn into just a thunderstorm? Ugh ...
  9. Kibl
    Kibl 27 June 2016 21: 23
    Here is a masterpiece of logistics !!! Try now to carry out such a move with all computers and other gadgets !!!
  10. Vladislav 73
    Vladislav 73 29 June 2016 00: 16
    Quote: KIBL
    Try it now, carry out such a move with all computers and other gadgets !!!

    It's not even worth trying, it won't work! It's not about gadgets. Then there was state property, state administration. But now? Try to touch someone's factory ... And "effective managers", managers and other riffraffs, you can imagine, so that they begin to ask them "in full" and without any superprofits? I personally cannot. And this is a ready-made 5th column! For the sake of a beautiful life, it seems to me that she will go to any contract with the devil himself! Okay, the system of power .... the people were one! Though simple, even leaders! And now? Some - "golden parachutes" and complete permissiveness, others - tighten your belts!
  11. murriou
    murriou 30 June 2016 12: 58
    A wonderful example of the survivability of Soviet industry and the economy.

    What is characteristic: now there are enough disasters with a reflex to blame everything Soviet for just what is Soviet. But with what to compare?

    Liberasts nod to the United States (which both world wars hovered over the ocean a little less than the end, and when they entered the war, they crushed with masses and equipment, and this was not always successful) and Western Europe, which almost without resistance fell under Hitler.

    Bakeries nod at "Russia-which-we ...", which has very little relation to real history - in the 20th century the Russian Empire looked pitiful and wretched, in the RYA and WWI it was clearly manifested.

    And in all cases, if you do not take the husk of propaganda myths on faith, but get to the facts, the USSR looked incomparably better than any proposed alternatives.