13 November 1918 - The day of the creation of the Russian RCSF troops, it was then that the Red Army Chemical Service was created. This was a necessary and necessary measure by the Soviet government to prevent the threat of the White Guard and the interventionists unleashing a chemical war against the Red Army - there were already cases of White Guard using agents of the Red Army against units of the Red Army. In contrast to the useless and inefficient, initiated by Tukhachevsky shelling of chemical shells of the Tambov forests and marshes during the suppression of the Antonov rebellion, this is not the case today. Meanwhile, the order of 60 episodes of the use of chemical ammunition on the Northern Front by the interventionists and the White Guards is well known. Used as a rule, shells of British manufacture and in large enough quantities. For example, 10 in August in the area of Sludka - Lipovets and near the village of Gorodok, according to British data, 600 shells with mustard gas and 240 with “tear gas” were fired. At the same time about 300 Red Army was poisoned, and many are temporarily blinded. Such a number of casualties could have been avoided if the soldiers were able to properly use the means of protection.
After the civil war, the chemical service continuously developed and improved. Assessing her general condition, K.E. Voroshilov noted in 1940 that “We can say that before chemical weapons we will not be unarmed, and we will be able to protect Soviet troops from an enemy chemical attack. " Soon after the outbreak of the war, a number of facts of Germany’s preparation for use against the Red Army and the population of the Soviet Union of chemical weapons became known. Already on July 15, during the fights west of Sitnya, our troops seized secret documentation, as well as chemical property of the German 2 battalion of the 52 chemical mortar regiment. On one of the packages there were the inscriptions: “Mobilization case”, “In no case do not give into the hands of the enemy”, “Open only after receiving the signal“ indanthren ”from the headquarters of the main command”. Among the trophy documents was also the secret instruction ND 199 “Shooting chemical shells and mines”, published in 1940 year, and additions to it, which were sent to the fascist troops 11 June 1941, on the eve of the war against the USSR. They contained meticulously developed instructions on the technique and tactics of the use of agents. In addition, in addition to the instructions, it was stated that chemical troops should receive new mortars of the “40” caliber of the 10 caliber and sample of the “D”, as well as chemical mines with various potent toxic substances. It also emphasized that toxic substances are a means of the Wehrmacht high command and should be applied on his order suddenly and massively.
It later emerged that 25 in March 1941, the Chief of the General Staff of the German Army, Halder, reported that by June 1 the German army would have 2 million chemical equipment for light field howitzers and half a million shells for heavy ones. Chemical warfare charges are already available. It is only required to fill the shells with them, as has already been given. From chemical ammunition depots, the Germans were ready to ship chemical ammunition trains to 1 June to 6, and from June to 1 echelons daily. As you can see, the preparation of the fascists for the use of agents was serious.
With such information, the Commissar of Defense I.V. In his order in August 1941 of the year, Stalin, in order to protect the Soviet troops from the weapons, requested “to make the chemical defense service a part of the military use of troops and in the strongest terms to prevent the underestimation of chemical danger ...” And the fact that such a danger was underestimated is indicated by the fact that well-trained units for the chemical defense of divisions and regiments, as well as officers of the chemical service, began to be used inappropriately. Chemists from regimental platoons and divisional companies of chemical protection were taken to replenish rifle subunits, used for the curfew service. Repeatedly, vehicles adapted for degassing operations were withdrawn from the chemical divisions. The chiefs of the chemical service, mainly in the regiment-corps section, often replaced the outgoing commanders of subunits and units, and served as staff officers.
In the same order it was required: “Eliminate the careless attitude towards the preservation of chemical substances. The property that has become worthless is written off according to acts signed by the division commander and commissar, as well as by the approved head of the Chemical Front Department. ” This greatly increased the responsibility of the commanders of the formations, units and the chiefs of the chemical service for the preservation of means of anti-chemical protection.
The fall of 1941, and some changes in the organization of the chemical service and chemical defense forces. The Directorate of Military Chemical Protection was transformed into the Main Military Chemical Directorate (GVHU), and the chemical departments of some fronts were transformed into military chemical directorates. Taking into account the fact that the main task of the chemical protection divisions of the regiments and divisions was the organization of PCP troops, they received the corresponding names: the chemical defense platoon of the infantry regiment became known as the chemical defense platoon, the degassing company of the rifle division was a separate chemical protection company. Decontamination battalions RGK were reorganized into separate battalions of chemical protection (OBHS).
Chemical departments of armies also increased. An additional engineer of chemical weapons and an assistant to the head of the operational intelligence unit were introduced to their staff. Political bodies and the media deployed a great educational work among the personnel, during which even greater hatred for the fascists preparing chemical warfare was inculcated, explained in the press and practically showed the reliability of our anti-chemical means, special warriors were issued. In the operating troops who were on the defensive, as well as in the units of the second echelon and the reserve, classes were organized on the study of the methods and rules of using personal protective equipment and degassing weapons. There were also activities that contributed to the improvement of professional skills of chemical service officers (fees, special classes).
The “GVHU” in May 1942 of the year issued a “Temporary instruction on chemical reconnaissance”. It contained not only the issues of chemical intelligence, but also indicated measures to alert the troops about the enemy’s sudden chemical attack and the timely use of protective equipment. This important document was used by all chemical service officers from the summer of 1942 to the end of the war. During the battles, and primarily in defense, Soviet units and subunits conducted continuous chemical observation. It was carried out not only by observer chemists, but also by combined-arms and artillery observers. For example, in the course of the defense of Stalingrad, a combined-arms chemical intelligence, reinforced by groups of chemists, was conducted to a depth of 15 km. Reliable surveillance and alerting was organized. In particular, in the 21 Army of the Stalingrad Front, up to 50 advanced and 14 rear chemical monitoring posts provided with display and signaling equipment were set up.
The plans and schemes for organizing communications indicated special signals and the procedure for notifying our troops in the case of the use of chemical weapons by the Germans. The order of NGOs in the middle of August 1942, which introduced the “Interim Instruction on the provision of anti-chemical protection of troops by the services of the Red Army,” was of great importance for the further development of anti-chemical defense of troops. The instruction defined the duties and specific tasks of not only the chemical, but also the sanitary and veterinary services for the provision of PCPs for the troops.
The chemical service was assigned training of troops to the rules of using individual and collective means of PCP, degassing and indication of chemical agents; warning troops on the preparation and start of a chemical attack of the enemy; reconnaissance and weather; detection of local means suitable for PCP. In the aftermath of the chemical attack of the enemy, the chemical service was supposed to decontaminate weapons, military equipment, contaminated terrain, uniforms and equipment. The sanitary and veterinary services of the Red Army were to be engaged in the supply and training of troops in the use of individual anti-chemical packages (IPPs) and special packages for horses and service dogs; chemical reconnaissance of water sources, food and fodder, organization of their neutralization and preparation for subsequent use; complete sanitization of people and veterinary treatment of animals infected with persistent agents.
Thus, the first period of the war was characterized by a significant increase in attention to chemical protection issues and the implementation of major organizational changes in the chemical service of the Red Army. Methods of organizing PCP were carried out according to the specific conditions of the situation.
Of particular importance was educational and explanatory work aimed at improving chemical discipline among the troops, at eliminating carelessness and underestimating chemical hazards. The activities of the chemical service, units and defense units in the second period of the Patriotic War took place in an environment that differed from the conditions of the first period. This is primarily due to the fact that one-by-one defeat of the enemy troops on the Soviet-German front after their encirclement near Stalingrad led to an even greater increase in the danger of the outbreak of chemical war by the fascists. Moreover, this danger became particularly real after the defeat of the German troops near Kursk. Intelligence of all kinds testified to a sharp increase in the activities of the fascist command to carry out PCR measures and to prepare for the use of agents. New gas masks and chemical reconnaissance devices began to be delivered to the enemy troops.
It should be noted that the main type of combat operations of our troops during this period of the war was the offensive. Therefore, all activities of PCP should have been aimed at providing offensive combat. Although the anti-chemical defense of the troops had improved by the end of 1942, compared to 1941 and the first half of 1942, there were a number of drawbacks. The checks revealed the fact that individual commanders continued to underestimate the danger of the use of chemical weapons by the Germans. They were eliminated from the leadership of the anti-chemical defense, shifting it to the heads of the chemical service. Training of troops for anti-chemical defense and long-stay training in gas masks during combat work was conducted irregularly. There have been losses of chemical property, especially in offensive battles. In general, given the intensity of the fighting in that period, these violations were quite natural. 11 January 1943, the People’s Commissar of Defense issued Order No. 023, which said: “For every fact of damage, loss and failure to preserve the chemical means of the perpetrators, to punish, to the point of trial of the military tribunal.”
Such a decisive demand greatly reduced the loss of gas masks and contributed to an increase in the readiness of troops for anti-chemical protection. In 1943, the Red Army Field Regulations (PU-43) was published, in which questions against the chemical defense of the troops were quite clearly stated in the event that the enemy began to use chemical weapons. Began to be more active chemical intelligence. Its main tasks were as follows: detecting parts of the chemical attack of the enemy in front of the front of our troops, seizing samples of chemical ammunition, new anti-chemical defenses and operational documents on chemical attack. The most important methods of chemical reconnaissance were: chemical observation by forces and means of chemical units, supplemented by combined-arms and artillery observers; the inclusion of reconnaissance chemists in the combined arms reconnaissance groups and detachments when conducting reconnaissance in force; interrogation of prisoners, especially chemists, gunners and pilots; survey of local residents.
Chemical intelligence has become more successfully cope with the tasks. Sometimes she obtained data on the chemical weapons of the enemy even earlier than it was sent to his troops. An example is the seizure of the German instruction "ND-935-11a 1943" with a description of a new chemical intelligence device.
In the summer of 1943 of the year, on the eve of the battle of Kursk, the Supreme Command in its directive from 7 of June of 1943 of the year, signed by I.V. Stalin and A.M. Vasilevsky, warned the troops about the real threat of the use of chemical weapons by the Nazis. In it, in particular, it was said that the Stavka has information about the recent reinforcement by the German command of preparing its troops for the use of chemical attack weapons. It was also noted that in the German command "there are enough adventurers," who, hoping to catch us by surprise, can decide on a desperate adventure and use means of chemical attack against us.
The prevailing situation obliged the chemical service and the chemical defense troops of the Red Army to direct all efforts to eliminate the sudden use of chemical weapons by the fascist command, and to properly prepare their troops for chemical protection. The troops began work on the training of personnel of chemical defense. The main attention was paid to the practical application of personal protective equipment, to the inculcation of skills in the decontamination of weapons and the mat. Classes were usually held in the rear areas and ended with fumigation with chloropicrin in gas chambers (tents).
The officers of the combined-arms units studied the means of chemical attack by the enemy and studied the management of units (subunits) under the conditions of the extensive use of chemical weapons by the enemy. These classes were conducted by the most prepared heads of the chemical service. In turn, the officers of the chemical service and parts of the chemical protection were trained in the 200-300-hour program, approved by the Main Military Chemical Directorate.
Based on the instructions of the Supreme Command in the 1943 year, the practice of using gas masks in the performance of combat operations continued. In each unit (institution) daily anti-gas drills were conducted according to plans developed by the head of the chemical service and approved by the unit commander or the head of staff. Particular attention was paid to the training of new replenishment. Thus, during the Kursk battle in the troops of the Steppe Front (7-I Guards, 53-I and 57-I armies), the duration of a continuous stay in gas masks to 1 September 1943 of the year was reduced to 8 hours.
The directive of the Supreme Command Rate from 7 June 1943 was also used to establish a new procedure for providing troops with gas masks. To reduce the loss of personal protective equipment, gas masks were handed out only in defense, and exclusively to personnel of the first echelon units. Before the offensive, they surrendered to the battalion points of ammunition and transported for the advancing troops. For the transportation of gas masks, each rifle battalion allocated to the ammunition point three horse-drawn carts. Reception of gas masks from subunits, their surrender to the battalion point and the subsequent delivery to the hands during the transition to defense were carried out by chemical engineers of battalions (artillery battalions, cavalry squadrons). However, experience has shown that this method of transporting gas masks had a significant drawback. The fact is that the horse-drawn vehicles allocated for this purpose were often used to deliver ammunition. This led to the lag of personal protective equipment against the troops. From October 1943, at the initiative of the chiefs of chemical services in the chemical protection divisions, regimental "consolidated detachments" began to be created for the transportation of chemical property. Due to this, the loss of gas masks was significantly reduced. For example, in the Western and Southwestern Fronts, the loss of gas masks was reduced (in the rifle division) from 20 units per day to 20 units per month. At the same time, the immediate issuance of gas masks was guaranteed to personnel upon receipt of the first data on the threat of a chemical attack by the enemy.
It is worth noting that from the beginning of 1943, on the basis of a GVHU instruction, simplified degassing tools began to flow into the troops. This was due to the fact that the industry could not fully meet the demands for the corporate property. Factory-made facilities were mainly directed to the armament of individual chemical defense battalions.
For degassing uniforms and equipment in the chemical protection companies' infantry divisions, a transported degassing kit (DC-OS) was introduced, consisting of two collapsible chambers for hot air degassing, one collapsible chamber with a vapor source and two barrels for degassing in a vapor-free manner without a special steam source. For the purpose of degassing contaminated areas with a bulk degasser in divisions' chemical protection companies, a suspension device for area degassing (PDM-2) was introduced, the bunker of which was attached instead of the rear side of the truck, and the sowing mechanism was set in motion by a rear wheel drive of the car.
For the degassing of weapons in the rifle subunits, a group degassing kit (GDK), consisting of a plywood box, 6 bottles of 0,5 capacity each with a liquid degasser and 3-5 kg of tow (waste), was adopted. Thus, in the rifle companies, single-stage degassing of weapons and equipment was introduced instead of two-stage (preliminary in combat orders and complete at special degassing sites). This event was very effective, as it simplified and accelerated the process of degassing weapons in the army.
Considering that in the fascist army about three-quarters of all the poisonous substances were mustard gas, in 1943, the troops began to carry out so-called disinfestation (special skin treatment of fighters infected with droplet-liquid mustard gas) for training purposes, in order to familiarize the whole personnel with military mustard ( appearance, smell, toxic properties); practically work out the methods of degassing against this agent on human skin and clothing with various degassing agents, solvents and materials at hand; instill confidence in the soldiers that individual anti-chemical packages (IPP), as well as other degassing agents (solvents) are reliable means of treating infested with mustard gas. The dispensation was carried out under the direction of the officers of the chemical and sanitary services. The results were quite satisfactory. So, in the 4 shock army of the Kalininsky front from 40000 fighters and officers who underwent de-delivery in the winter and spring of 1943, only 35 had slight reddening of the skin. The practical significance of this event is difficult to overestimate. After its holding in many units and obtaining positive results, the GVHU of the Red Army obliged de-installation to do in all troops.
In the troops standing on the defensive, in the first half of 1943, considerable work was done on equipping positions in the anti-chemical context. At command and observation points, in operational hospitals and medical stations, shelters were created with the installation of filter-filtering pre-fabricated filter sets in them. Over the trenches and trenches, visors and awnings were made to protect against dripping and liquid droplets. In addition, shelters were built in rifle companies (artillery batteries), in which filter fans were installed from improvised means. The example of the 4 Shock Army of the Kalinin Front, already mentioned, is characteristic in this respect. By order of the commander of the association, Lieutenant-General V.V. Kurasov, in the area of collections of the entire command staff of the armies at the beginning of winter 1942 / 43, engineering and chemical divisions created typical shelters for companies, checkpoints, medical centers and first-aid posts. After the charges, on the orders of the commander, the equipment for such shelters began at all positions, command, observation and medical posts of the army.
Great attention in the second period of the war was also paid to the organization of PCPs in the rear units and institutions of the fronts and armies. The positions of chief of the chemical service of the front and army rear were introduced. In the performance of their duties, they were guided by the "Regulations on the work of the front service (army) chemical service chief" dated April 2 of 1943 and the Interim Instructions on the organization of rear facilities, signed at the end of 1943 by the head of the Main Military Directorate and Deputy Head of Logistics of the Red Army. Thus, the activities of the chemical service in the second period of the Patriotic War consisted primarily in ensuring a higher readiness of troops and rear forces for chemical defense in the conditions of the transition of the Soviet troops to a strategic offensive.
The third period of the Patriotic War is characterized not only by our swift offensive actions, as a result of which the enemy was driven out of the Soviet land, but also by the fact that hostilities were transferred to the territory of Germany and its allies. Therefore, the obvious inevitability of a complete defeat of the fascist army further increased the danger of unleashing a chemical war. From the mortally wounded fascist beast could expect any adventure. To delay the hour of their death, the Germans were ready to use any means.
All this set before the chemical service the task of ensuring the constant readiness of the Soviet troops to repel a chemical attack. Distinctive features of the organization of the chemical service in the third period of the war were the centralization of the planning and management of all the activities of PCPs carried out by the troops. As before, paramount importance was attached to chemical intelligence, which faced new challenges in connection with the release of Soviet troops in areas that had been occupied by the fascists for a long time. Its task was not only to identify the degree of preparation of the enemy for the use of chemical weapons, but also to establish the level of development and direction of the production activities of his chemical and military chemical industry, the state of the scientific and technical base. She also had to clarify the correctness of the data on the preparation of the fascists for the use of agents that were obtained earlier.
The reconnaissance of the liberated or occupied territory was carried out by special reconnaissance groups created from subdivisions and chemical defense units (Orkhz, Obkhz) by inspecting the area and important objects. Chemical intelligence was planned for combat, operation, and during operational pauses - for a period set by the command. The chemical departments of the fronts usually planned chemical reconnaissance for a month, and the chemical departments of the armies - for 10-15 days.
In the compounds and parts, a separate plan for chemical intelligence was not developed, and its tasks were included in the overall plan for PCP. Much attention was paid to the anti-chemical training of troops, which was conducted during operational pauses. A characteristic feature of this was that it was no longer limited to individual training of personnel, but also pursued the goal of verifying the implementation of measures for the PCP part (compound) plan. Usually, such an inspection was carried out in the form of a sudden announcement of training chemical alarms, which were carried out according to plans of army headquarters and fronts, and were unexpected not only for the personnel of the units, but also for the heads of the chemical service. Sometimes, by decision of the appropriate military councils, such checks were carried out on the scale of armies and even fronts. For example, on October 16 of 1944, a chemical alarm was declared on the troops of the 1 of the Ukrainian Front. The fact that it is of an academic nature was known only to the command, the front headquarters and the persons allocated to verify the actions of the troops. Therefore, all activities in the troops were carried out without any conditionality. The audit showed that after 4-5 hours after receiving a warning about the "chemical hazard", the front forces were already basically ready to defend against a possible chemical attack. Subsequently, the efforts of the command and chemical service of the front were directed at reducing these periods.
During the final offensive operations conducted by other fronts, personal protective equipment was constantly in the hands of the personnel of the troops. Peculiarities of the organization of PCRs during the third period of the war led to the appearance of a number of changes in the chemical supply system for the troops. They were aimed at redirecting the entire supply system in the context of broad and swift offensive actions of our troops. The experience of organizing the supply of troops with chemical property has revealed the need to transfer these functions from the military-technical supply service directly to the chemical service. This led to the reinstatement in March 1944 of the post of assistant chief of the chemical department of the supply division, which was subordinate to the “consolidated units” created in 1943 for storing and transporting protective equipment. In addition, in the same year 1944 chemical armies of armies were withdrawn into an independent organization. As we see, the chemical service of the Red Army in the third period of the war became an integral part of the combat support of the troops. At the same time, the organization of PCP troops was approaching the conditions for waging war with the use of chemical weapons.
The vast experience gained by the chemical service in the organization of PCP troops in the Patriotic War was fully used during the war against Japan, whose military leadership for many years also intensively prepared for the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons against our army and country. The Japanese had experience of its use in the war with China. Therefore, the Soviet command attached great importance to ensuring the constant readiness of troops for chemical protection and excluded the possibility of a sudden chemical attack. In the organization of PCR troops in the war against Japan, compared with the Soviet-German front, there was no fundamental difference, but there were some features.
First, the number of chemical defense battalions has significantly decreased in the fronts. Instead of 6-8, in the operations on the Soviet-German front in the Far East in the fronts there was a battalion 1-2. This led to an increase in the number of personnel of PCZ platoons and chemical protection companies, due to combined arms units, approximately doubled.
The second feature was that due to the substantial distance from each other of the offensive zones (especially on the Trans-Baikal and 2-m Far Eastern Fronts) armies, the direct management of their chemical departments was carried out by the permanent representatives of the chemical departments of the fronts. In general, the chemical service during the Second World War was constantly improved. She has done significant work to prevent the death of millions of people in the event of a chemical war by the Germans or the Japanese. Today it is reliably known that one of the essential factors that prevented the fascists from unleashing a chemical war was the high readiness of our troops for anti-chemical defense, which did not leave the German command any hope of a surprise attack and a massive use of toxic substances with the proper effect. The experience of the chemical service during the war was peculiar, since the chemical defense, fortunately, did not receive a combat test. However, it was a service that actually operates, organizes and conducts the necessary activities. Its main tasks were warning its troops about chemical hazards and protecting them from agents.
Practice has shown that of all types of chemical intelligence the most important was the direct chemical intelligence of the opposing enemy. Exploration is the same terrain and weather was conducted on a limited scale. To obtain the most complete and objective information about the enemy chemically, chemical intelligence data should be closely linked with the data of tactical, operational and strategic intelligence.
The most effective methods of chemical reconnaissance were: special chemical observation, reconnaissance in force, and the study of documents captured from the enemy, weapons, and means of protection.
The Patriotic War revealed the need to improve the means of conducting chemical intelligence and the system for notifying the troops of chemical danger.
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