Military Review

Dig into the ground

Dig into the ground

During the Great Patriotic War, combat areas along with fortified areas played an important role in the defensive battles of the Red Army. In the militaryhistorical literature there are descriptions of the fighting of the Red Army in Gomel, Kiev, Balaklava, Luga, Tula, Rostov, Taganrog and other military areas.

At the initial stage of World War II (22 June 1941 of the year - 18 of November 1942 of the year), the field defensive areas of the Red Army were widespread. They occupied along the front from 50 to 100 and more than a kilometer of defensive line and were located in line battalion defense areas with strong engineering and technical support in the form of escarpes, anti-tank ditches, wire and nadolbovyh obstacles, minefields of the combined type, dots, bunkers, armored caps , shelters (dugouts, dugouts), trenches and rifle cells, connected by communications. The Rostov defensive area (hereinafter referred to as POD) was also among those field lines.

The length of 155 kilometers along the front and 20-30 kilometers covered the area on the right bank of the Don River, ringing two cities from the north-east, north and west - Rostov-on-Don and Novocherkassk. Natural features should be noted: a large part of the ROR was a steppe hilly area with elevations in 80-120 meters, cut by river valleys, ravines, ravines with a small number of artificial plantations (groves, forest belts, collective farm gardens), which sometimes made it difficult to shelter and camouflaging troops and equipment from ground and air surveillance, as well as made it difficult to maneuver during combat operations. With the exception of the cities of Rostov and Novocherkassk, the remaining settlements (stanitsa, villages and farms) were located in hollows, ravines and river valleys. So residents were hiding from the prevailing winds. But such an arrangement made it difficult to turn villages and farms into defensive strongholds, since from the surrounding heights they were viewed and swept through.

The scarcity of low-water springs and poor-quality water in the rivers Krivoi, Tuzlovo, Donskoy Chulek created the problem of supplying troops with drinking water in summer at temperatures up to + 35, + 40 ° С.

The road network represented three profiled highways: from the west - Taganrog — Sambek — Rostov-on-Don; from the north — Stalino (now Donetsk) —Non-Light — Rostov-on-Don; from the northeast — Moscow — Novocherkassk — Rostov-on-Don. It should be noted that all settlements had among themselves grounded country roads without artificial covering.

Roads in dry weather provided maneuver with troops and equipment from the depths of the POP and along the front to any of the attacked areas in the dark, and during the day under cover aviation and air defense systems.

The Rostov defensive area began to be created in the autumn of 1941 by engineering and sapper units and units of the North Caucasian Military District with a broad involvement of the civilian population of the city and region. Thanks to such widespread use of the population, the troops of the 56-th Separate Army received well-fortified positions and were able to use this line for repelling the German attack on Rostov for the month from October 20 to November 20.

The Germans suffered significant losses and were forced to introduce new formations from November 23 to 29, 1941, in particular, the third motorized corps of the 1st tank army of the Wehrmacht.

The Soviet units were able to return Rostov under their control and begin a new stage of defense, the creation of which was proceeding with great difficulty.

The restoration of the defensive structures destroyed during the battles of the Rostov bypass after the liberation of the city of November 29 was virtually no matter, despite the proximity of the front. This caused alarm in Moscow.

January 15 1942 Secretary of the Rostov Regional Committee of the CPSU (b) B.A. Dvinsky and the Military Council of the Southern Front received a directive from the Supreme Headquarters of the Supreme Command, which, inter alia, said: “Given the importance of work to create lines for the defense of Rostov, Comrade Stalin demands that the Rostov Regional Committee of the CPSU (B) and the Rostov Regional Executive Committee take all necessary measures the provision of labor for the complete completion of work on the Rostov bypasses. On behalf of the Supreme High Command Head, Vasilevsky, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army.

During February-June 1942, anti-tank ditches and escarpments were restored at the turn of “G”, the lines A and Zylova were opened and equipped with ditches and escarpments, installed and concreted over 80 pillboxes. The second echelon forces and reserve units and formations at the same time equipped the battalion defense areas for field filling with troops.

The main position of the Rostov fortified area began on the Don bank near the Nizhny Zhuk farm, went to the Krivyanskaya village, went around Novocherkassk outskirts from the east and from the north along the Mokra Kadamovka river, then along the right bank of the Tuzlov river, front to the north, through the Tatar, Grushevsky, Kamenny Brod hamlets Nesvetai, north of Generals.

From the southern outskirts of the village of Generalsky, the main position sharply turned to the south, along the eastern slopes of the Kamennaya and Don Chulek beams, along the western outskirts of Khapra station to the Dead Donets River. This position was called the “G” line and was equipped with an anti-tank ditch and scarp across the entire strip, covered with wire barriers, anti-tank and anti-personnel minefields, trenches and single trenches, main and spare firing positions for anti-tank guns, mortars and machine guns, and IO, IOT. and armored dots, observation and command posts, shelters for personnel (dugouts, dugouts) as part of platoon and company strong points in the battalion system Yonov Defense a total depth of up to 47-3 km.

The second defensive line (line "A") was located in 5-12 km east and south of the line "G" and passed from the Alexandrovka junction on the Aksay river through Rakovka, along the Kamyshevakha beam to the village of Krasny Krym, then, through the height 86,9, along the eastern slopes Chaltyr beams to the eastern outskirts of Kalinin Farm. Frontier A was also equipped with an anti-tank ditch and escarpments, covered with a wire fence, ridges, land mines, anti-tank and anti-personnel minefields, and 25 reinforced concrete pillboxes.

From the eastern outskirts of the village of Aksay, through the village of Myasnikan and Leninov, the village of Semernikovo, passed the rear defensive line, also equipped with escarpments and anti-tank ditch, land mines, combined minefields and 13 reinforced concrete pillboxes.

The fourth (urban) defensive perimeter was built on three urban suburbs, in the east, north and west. He had a solid anti-tank ditch, wire and mine-explosive barriers, racks and barricades on the main thoroughfares.

By 20 July 1942, two defensive lines - the “G” and “A” boundaries - were occupied by special formations: the 70 and 158 -m fortified areas (hereinafter referred to as “Ur”) in the 12 separate machine-gun and artillery battalions (opub), 6 individual flamethrower-trench mouth and 2 mouth communications total in 8878 fighters and commanders.

70-th fortified area (commandant - Lieutenant Colonel D.V. Gordeev, Chief of Staff - Lieutenant Colonel N.O. Pavlovsky) defended the eastern sector of the POR.

With the forces of 371, 372, 374 of the machine gun and artillery battalions and the 158 of a separate flame thrower company, he occupied the line “G” from the northern outskirts of Novocherkassk to the Serdyukov farm.

The 6, 9, and 10 machine-gun artillery battalions occupied the “A” line from the Aleksandrovsky junction to the Trud farm (height 86,9). The left frontier ran along the stanitsa of Aksayskaya, the kurgan in 2 km west of Shchepkin’s farmstead, Serdyukov’s and Petrovsky’s farmsteads.

The 158 th fortified area (commander - lieutenant colonel P.V. Kosonogov, chief of staff - colonel D.I. Rybin) defended the western sector of the POR. Forces 373, 375, 376, 377, 378-of machine-gun and artillery battalions, 80, 81, 82-rd and 83-th individual trench-flamethrower mouth, he served abroad "G" in the band from the village Serdyukov to the western edge of Hapry station. The 15-th separate machine-gun and artillery battalion occupied the “A” line, intercepting the Rostov-on-Don – Taganrog railroad and highway.

Each of the machine gun and artillery battalions at the turn of the “G” occupied the front in 6-7 km, having in its lane from 4 to 8 pillboxes. The composition of the parts of 70-UR (headquarters in the village of Aksayskaya) and 158-UR (headquarters in the village of Sultan-Saly) is given in table 1.

The 56 army to the beginning of the fighting on the lines of the POR numbered 107 826 people of personnel, including in combat units - 81 469 people. The army had 1453 light and 695 heavy machine guns, 558 mortars 82 mm and 120 mm, 264 guns 76,2 mm and above.

In order to have at least a small understanding of the anti-tank obstacles of the 56 Army, you need to imagine seven anti-tank ditches, 16 kilometers of escarpes and minefields. It has been installed near 73 000 anti-tank mines.

And before the very leading edge of the main defense line, a wire fence, 40 kilometers in length, was erected, more than 43 000 anti-personnel mines were also installed in this area. At the intermediate army defensive turn, about 5 kilometers of anti-tank ditches were dug.

The width of the army defense strip was 93 km, the total defense depth was 15-23 km. The army headquarters for 20 July was located in the adit of the northern bank of the Temernik river, in the settlement of the Quarry, on the northern outskirts of Rostov-on-Don.

To the forefront of the Rostov defensive area, the German units simultaneously emerged from three sides: from the west, north, and northeast. That was the evening of July 21. The front lines of the German 17 th field and 1 th tank armies of Army Group A, which were opposed on this sector of the 12, 18, 37 and 56-I armies of the Southern Front, were still frozen in front of the Soviet line of defense.

The overall superiority of the enemy was: in manpower - 2: 1; in tanks - absolute (500: 15); in artillery and mortars - 6: 1.

For the decisive assault on Rostov-on-Don, the command of Army Group A concentrated up to 17 divisions with reinforcement units, over 200 thousands of soldiers and officers, about 500 tanks and self-propelled artillery installations, up to 3500 guns and mortars.

During the evening and the night from 21 to 22 in July, the Germans, in small groups of infantry and tanks, “probed” the front edge of the defense of the 56 Army, fired artillery and mortar batteries. Enemy sappers made passages in the minefields of the “G” defense line of the Rostov defensive line, undermined the slopes of the escarpes and anti-tank ditches, preparing passages for tanks.

The 8 aviation of the air corps of the dive-bombers of the Luftwaffe General Phibig bombed the crossing of the Don, the accumulation of troops, military equipment, evacuated columns of agricultural equipment, collective farm cattle herds, crowds of refugees, headquarters and artillery fire positions, anti-aircraft guns, covered armor crossings, anti-aircraft artillery, anti-aircraft bombs, covered patrols of refugees, anti-aircraft artillery, anti-aircraft artillery, anti-aircraft artillery, crowded refugees, headquarters and artillery fire positions, anti-aircraft guns, covered patrols, fleets of refugees, staffs and firing positions of artillery, anti-aircraft guns, covered patrons

The Soviet 56 Army at dawn 22 July occupied the line "G" of defense along with seven machine gun and artillery battalions of the 70-st. Fortification.

From 6 in the morning to the position of the 76 th naval rifle brigade from the line of Generalskoye-Aleksandrovka in the direction of the village of Sultan-Saly launched an offensive of the enemy's 57 tank corps to 200 tanks with motorized infantry. Having broken through the front at the junction of the 76 Brigade and the 30 of the Irkutsk-Chongar Rifle Division, by 9 hours of the morning 50 enemy tanks and a motorized infantry regiment captured the village of Red Crimea. By 10 hours around 70 German tanks broke through the road from the village of Generalskoye to Sultan-Saly.

The Germans were also able to launch simultaneously another offensive in the area of ​​the state farm Inter-Road and Kamennaya Girder, at the junction of the 376-th and 373-th individual machine-gun battalions (it was the 158-st. Fortified). At exactly six o'clock in the morning, one by one, around 150, German tanks were able to bypass an anti-tank ditch, whose walls were blown up by fascist sappers.
Two hours later, approximately at 8 hours of the morning, Soviet DOTs and gun platforms near 100 tanks opened fire at direct fire.

All these actions were supported by Germans from the air - the Yu-87 bombers one by one dropped their bombs on the position.

Despite these fierce attacks, they were repulsed. The first and then the second and third tank attacks were repelled. During this battle, the German tank 32 and 15 vehicles with infantry were hit.

Then the enemy subjected the line of defense to heavy bombing from the air and artillery and mortar shelling. At 9 hours 30 minutes over 60 enemy tanks, ironing the line of defense of the 339th Rostov Rifle Division, they moved towards Rostov. Thus began the second page in the military history of the city.

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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 21 July 2016 07: 41
    Thank you, Polina .. they raised an interesting topic ... It is not possible to embrace the immensity in one article ..
    1. igordok
      igordok 21 July 2016 08: 07
      Quote: parusnik
      Thank you, Polina .. they raised an interesting topic ... It is not possible to embrace the immensity in one article ..

      That would be a map of Ur, in general it would be gorgeous.
      1. Tanya
        Tanya 21 July 2016 10: 34
        Unfortunately, I do not have a UR map, but there is another document (56 A) drawn up 4 days before the events described in the article. Maybe someone will be interested.
        And Pauline - thanks for the article and the plus.
  2. Monster_Fat
    Monster_Fat 21 July 2016 10: 56
    Ury is interesting. There is little information on them even now. But what about "digging into the ground" ... unfortunately, our field "fortification" in the initial period of the war at the lowest level-company-battalion was "not up to par" both in general terms and in terms of engineering support. Despite the defensive nature of military operations during that period of "trench fortification" in the Red Army, little attention was paid. Instead of trenches, in defense, preference was given to individual trenches, which did not have a "ligament" and "feeling of elbow" in battle and therefore had little combat stability. The trenches that were dug out were shallow, simple - a "linear" scheme without shelters, reserve, cut-off positions, etc. It was precisely because of the imperfection of defensive positions in engineering terms that our troops had weak combat stability and quickly abandoned them. This situation is explained by several reasons: 1) the preparation of the Red Army units to a greater extent for offensive actions than for defense, 2) a mistake in the strategy itself and the plan of a defensive war - excessive reliance on prepared lines of defense and URA and underestimating the need to build defense lines by the troops themselves on unprepared lines. 3) because of this, the weak saturation of the active units with sapper tools and engineering vehicles, in particular, there were practically no sapper vehicles for deep digging in the Red Army until the end of the war. 4) disregard for the "echelonment" of the defense - the creation of its second and third lines; 5) untimely withdrawal or supply of troops to occupied defensive lines, as a result of which the troops did not have time to create the necessary field fortification and prepare the terrain for defense. The situation with field fortification was managed to be rectified only by the end of 1941, when the troops already paid with their blood for the knowledge and ability to build solid temporary field fortifications even at intermediate lines and the "golden" rule of that war was not mastered - "stopped, no matter how tired, dig into the ground "... Well, the" Small Infantry Shovel ", the savior of many, many soldiers' lives, has its own very interesting and instructive story:, 125468
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 21 July 2016 12: 15
      Quote: Monster_Fat
      Despite the defensive nature of military operations during that period of "trench fortification" in the Red Army, little attention was paid. Instead of trenches, in defense, preference was given to individual trenches, which did not have a "ligament" and "feeling of elbow" in battle and therefore had little combat stability. The trenches that were dug out were shallow, simple - a "linear" scheme without shelters, reserve, cut-off positions, etc. It was precisely because of the imperfection of defensive positions in engineering terms that our troops had weak combat stability and quickly abandoned them. There are several reasons for this.

      In fact, there is only one reason - this is the poor combat training of the infantry before the war. On the one hand - simplification in training and a large number of conventions. On the other hand, there was a huge shortage of personnel precisely from the lower ranks (sergeants and junior officers) and the low level of training available (the most experienced personnel were seized in the BTV and the Air Force in 1939-1940). Plus, the difficult legacy of the 30s is the low level of demanding commanders and the emphasis in training on the consciousness of the fighters. The same permanent Disciplinary Charter in the Red Army was adopted only in 1940 (before that, the provisional DU already existed in 1925, reprinted in 1935 - written for a completely different Red Army, a sample of the Civil).
      What is the engineering equipment of the area - the soldiers did not know how and did not even want to follow personal and group weapons:
      In parts of the 97th rifle division, rifles manufactured in 1940, which were on hand for no more than 4 months, up to 29% are reduced to a state of rust in the barrel bore, machine guns "DP" manufactured in 1939, up to 14% also have a deterioration in the barrel bores.

      So it turned out that at the initial stage of the war, the fighters either did not know and did not know how to properly equip their positions, or simply scored it - it’s all the same today or tomorrow to retreat. The maximum that commanders could achieve was the implementation of the first stage - to open single cells.
      And only at the cost of a lot of blood did the survivors realize that the normally equipped position was needed not by the commander, but by themselves to survive.

      And here is what the field position should have looked like after the pre-war instructions:
      The cells, as a rule, should not immediately adjoin the connecting passage, but are brought to it by small narrow slots ... The cells should be separated from each other and from the connecting passage of the trench by at least 3-4 meters ... The connecting passage must be broken , that is, every 3-5 meters its direction changes ... Due to this arrangement of cells in the trench, cell slots and breaks in the connecting passage, fighters are better protected from machine gun fire from the flanks, from artillery and aviation fire and tank attacks. If a whole shell or aerial bomb hits a separate cell or the connecting course of the trench (which rarely happens), most fighters who are in other cells or around the turn of the connecting course will not suffer at all. With machine-gun shelling of a trench from airplanes or an attack of tanks, fighters can well hide at the bottom of the cracks. Breaks in the connecting passage interfere with the perforation of the trench
      © Major S. Herbanovsky. Self-digging infantry. Military Publishing House, M., 1939.
  3. nivander
    nivander 21 July 2016 11: 38
    the Germans actively used the tactics of the assault group (assault groups), which gnawed through even the strongest defense ... but it was 1942 in the yard and the Red Army learned to counteract the assault groups, in particular, in the Rostov suburb of Nakhichevan (as it is written in a German source) during a sudden counterattack by border troops and tank crews The 6th brigade was blocked and destroyed by the assault battalion of the SS Viking division, and while trying to seize the pontoon bridge across the Don, a battalion from the Brandenburg special purpose brigade was ambushed and destroyed.
    1. Velizariy
      Velizariy 21 July 2016 14: 05
      Well, at least not a storm troop, but an assault and not a troupe, but a group) In general, it sounds like a campaign group, i.e. battle group.
      1. Stas57
        Stas57 21 July 2016 15: 31
        The assault group and the camp group are slightly different things.
        the first is the platoon level, max. companies
        the second is a division and above, well, different tasks
        1. Velizariy
          Velizariy 22 July 2016 08: 41
          So then it is! But only not a navigator and a troupe.
  4. mroy
    mroy 21 July 2016 13: 13
    The last photo shows Panzerjager I, a rare beast in 1942 on the Eastern Front.
  5. Old26
    Old26 21 July 2016 18: 33
    Quote: Monster_Fat
    But what about "digging into the ground" ... unfortunately, our field "fortification" in the initial period of the war at the lowest level-company-battalion was "not up to par" both in general terms and in terms of engineering support.

    But at the end of the war, taught by the bitter experience of previous years, "buried in the ground" despite the fact that, in general, went on the offensive. My father talked about the capture of Konigsberg, when, in general, the city was besieged, and the Germans from the outside were no longer nearby, but out of habit they buried
  6. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 21 July 2016 20: 41
    Very good article and informative comments on it.