On May 9, the squares and parks of Russian cities are always crowded: festive concerts, meetings of veterans, reviews of rare military equipment are held. All-terrain vehicle GAZ-67B, "Emka" GAZ-M1, lorry GAZ-AA are frequent exhibits of such exhibitions. These cars are legends that have become symbols of that harsh era; heroes of films, songs, books. Dozens of monographs and hundreds of articles have been written about them. Meanwhile, not so widely known unusual machines, worthy of good memory and a separate story, took part in the hostilities.
Steel militia: civilian vehicles converted for defense
The first months of the war were especially difficult for the Soviet people. Large losses of personnel and equipment bled the army. The enemy was rushing to industrial centers and transport hubs: Leningrad, Kharkov, Odessa. In these troubling days, divisions of the people's militia are being formed. People of peaceful professions take up arms and, after accelerated training, go to the front.
In the photo: "Emka" GAZ-M1, GAZ-67B, GAZ-AA
They become a kind of militia not only people, but also mobilized equipment - tractors, trucks. Many of them not only transport army cargo, but also replace tanks and self-propelled guns.
In August 1941, a small-scale production of armored tractors was launched in Odessa and Kharkov. Odessa cars received the semi-official name NI - "for fear". The Odessa NI-1 is based on the chassis and units of the STZ-5 tracked transport tractor.
The armored hull was made of rolled structural steel with a thickness of 10 to 20 mm. A turret from the machine-gun version of the T-26 tank was installed on the hull (units of faulty and damaged tanks were used). In front of the vehicle, there were two separate armored cabins. In the left (in the direction of the car) the driver's cab was located. In the right - a machine gunner with a course machine gun DT.
In place of the standard cargo platform, there was a turret compartment with a turret mounted on it. A Maxim machine gun or DShK caliber 7.62 mm was installed in the turret.
There is information about the installation on some of the NI-1 Soviet tank 45-mm guns model 20-K, captured Romanian and German guns. In the absence of a gun, a gun barrel simulator was installed on the turret.
The armored vehicle did not become a mass: the Odessa plant named after the January Uprising produced only about 60 vehicles of the NI-1 type.
The technique turned out to be slow, noisy, but terrifying. The Romanian units besieging Odessa, having neither serious anti-tank weapons nor high morale, evaded close combat with NI-1, that is, they simply fled, leaving the trenches. The use of ersatz tanks made it possible to successfully counterattack the enemy and gain time to prepare the Odessa garrison for evacuation. Odessa NI-1s were disabled and abandoned during the evacuation in October 1941.
The Kharkov HTZ-16 armored vehicle looked more like a self-propelled artillery mount with a fixed conning tower. This layout was due to the use of the chassis of the tracked agricultural tractor STZ-3. The tractor chassis was modified by installing rollers and small-link tracks from the STZ-5 transport tractor.
Thus, a smooth ride at higher speeds was achieved. The armored hull was made of rolled steel sheets with a thickness of 10-20 mm.
In place of the driver's cabin there was an armored fixed wheelhouse with a 20-K 45-mm tank gun and a 7.62 mm DP machine gun. About 30 cars were produced. Kharkov armored tractors took part in the defense of the Plotava and in street battles for Kharkov itself. The fate of their crews is very tragic: during the battles they encountered anti-tank artillery modern for that time and the latest German tanks.
Most of the Kharkov armored vehicles died in September - October 1941.
The situation in the North-West of the USSR developed no less dramatically. The Karelian and Leningrad fronts were in dire need of all types of armored vehicles. In this situation, the administration of the Izhora plant, which has experience in creating armored vehicles, proposes a project for converting trucks into armored vehicles. These products were named IZ (after the first letters of the plant's name).
The GAZ-AA lorries and three-ton ZIS-5 were subject to conversion. The first copies were released in July 1941.
The revision included the installation of an armored capsule in place of the standard cockpit and partial armoring of the body (installation of side screens and a frontal armor shield with a slot for weapons). Due to the partial booking of the body, these vehicles are called semi-armored vehicles in a number of sources. The thickness of the bulletproof armor sheets was 6-10 mm.
In the photo: STZ-3, KhTZ-16, STZ-5
The armament of the vehicles based on GAZ-AA was as follows: a Maxim machine gun, or DShK, or Spark DA-2, or a 20 mm ShVAK aircraft cannon on an anti-aircraft machine was installed in the body. There is information about the installation of 21-K 45 mm naval semi-automatic cannons on some vehicles. In the armored cabin in front of the passenger seat, a DT machine gun was installed.
Armored cars on the ZIS-5 chassis were armed with a 52-K 45 mm anti-tank gun installed in the body and a DT machine gun. The variety of weapons installed on IZ armored cars is explained by its selection from the availability in warehouses.
In total, about 100 machines of the "IZ" type were built. They were transferred to the divisions of the people's militia and were actively used until the end of 1941. Armored vehicles "IZ" accompanied foot and motorized columns, participated in the protection of communications, were used as mobile air defense installations and nomadic firing points.
Unfortunately, the original samples of such equipment have not survived. All existing cars on display at the memorial exhibition grounds in Odessa, Kiev, Kubinka, Verkhnyaya Pyshma are replicas of the post-war period.
In the photo: 21-K, 52-K, DShK, ShVAK
Having read the title, connoisseurs of military history will surely recall the German self-propelled mine "Goliath". But few people know that at the very beginning of the war, the USSR developed and successfully applied its own land torpedo. The principle of operation of this weapon is simple: a cable-guided self-propelled tracked vehicle with a powerful charge moves to the enemy's position and is undermined in the immediate vicinity of the target. In this case, the operator who controls the torpedo remotely is in cover.
Soviet product, the ET-1-627 electric tankette was developed in the summer of 1941 under the leadership of the 3rd rank military engineer Alexander Petrovich Kazantsev and was produced in 1941-1942 by the Moscow plant No.
627 of the People's Commissariat of the Electrical Industry. The wedge was assembled on a wooden frame and rested on eight sprung rollers, interlocked in two pieces. Caterpillar belts - rubber-fabric with wooden track links.
In the bow of the tankette there was a powerful TNT charge with an electric fuse. An electric motor and electric control mechanisms for onboard drives were installed in the aft part of the tankette.
Power and control was carried out by an electric harness, which stretched behind the wedge, which consisted of one power cable and two control cables. The other end of the harness was connected to an electric generator and a wedge control panel in the escort tank, which was in a safe half-closed position. At the beginning of 1942, an experimental batch of several electric tankets and two escort tanks was sent to the front, to the Kerch Peninsula. Kazantsev himself took part in combat trials and this is what he later recalled:
. And then a land torpedo, similar to a tiny wedge heel, jumped out of the caponier and rushed to the first tank, steeply climbing the hill. , but probably did not understand what it was. Just in case, they fired a burst from a machine gun at it. Bullets must have short-circuited the winding of one of the electric motors.
The other continued to work, and the wedge ran in an arc, bypassing the tank. Then the second torpedo flew out. , driven by Pechnikov. The tank was too close to dodge. A fountain of fire and smoke with a crash rushed to the side.
When the smoke cleared, we saw that the tank's armor was torn apart. "
In total, 9 enemy tanks, 1 bunker and 15 German sappers were destroyed during the combat tests (they noticed the tankette and tried to cut the control cable). There is fragmentary information about the successful use of ET-1-627 in breaking the blockade of Leningrad and in the Moscow region. In total, about 100 ET-1-627 tankettes were produced and all of them, of course, were destroyed. The model of the unusual car can be viewed at the Moscow Polytechnic Museum.
In the photo: Tracked torpedo "Goliath" Sd. Kfz. 303a (a tax car ET-1-627)
Snows of Russian winters
Winter 1941-1942 stood out harsh and snowy. General Frost has traditionally pandered to the Red Army, cooling off the offensive ardor of the enemy. But at the same time, a number of acute problems arose.
How to conduct fast-paced raids on enemy rear lines? How to deliver people and goods in a blizzard through loose snow crust? And the answer was found! Snowmobile.
This winter all-terrain transport was widely developed in the USSR in the 30s - 40s. It did not require either a complex transmission or a tracked mover, which was time consuming to manufacture. A large number of parts (including the propeller) were made of wood. It is quite natural that at the end of the summer of 1941 the formation and training of aerosled battalions began.
The following types of snowmobiles were in service in the Red Army:
RF-8 (Design Bureau of the River Fleet, design No. 8 of Veselovsky) - light communication snowmobiles. Their open hull was assembled on a timber frame and sheathed with waterproof plywood. The body rested on four skis through an independent spring suspension. The two front skis were steerable.
Control - via cable rods from the steering column. The power plant was in the tail section and set in motion the pushing propeller.
An automobile engine from GAZ-M1 with a capacity of 50 liters was originally used as a power plant. with. , and later it was replaced by the aircraft engine M-11G and M-11D with a capacity of 115 - 125 hp.
with. The two crew members were positioned in tandem one after the other. In the front seat was a shooter with a DT machine gun on a turret half-ring with a firing angle of 300 degrees. In the back seat, along with the controls and control devices, was the driver.
An interesting design feature was the swing unit of the snowmobile.
At long stops, the skis froze to the crust. The thrust of the screw was not enough for starting off. Therefore, a knot was introduced into the design of the sled, which allows you to detach the skis from the ice by swinging the body on the suspension struts - the mechanism was driven from a pedal brought out to the driver.
In the photo: RF-8
NKL-26 (Design Bureau of the People's Commissariat of the Timber Industry, Andreev's design) - armored combat snowmobiles. The closed hull rested on four steerable skis, and the frontal projection of the hull was protected by a 10 mm thick sheet of bulletproof armor.
The driver was in the front seat of the tandem cab. The shooter (who is also the commander of the car) sat behind and above the driver. At his disposal was a turret mounted on the roof with a DT machine gun protected by an armored shield. Due to the strong noise of the propeller and the absence of intercom, the signals from the commander to the driver were transmitted by conditional touches of the back and shoulders of the latter. The snowmobile was set in motion by the M-11G aircraft engine, which rotated the pushing propeller.
NKL-16/42 is already a transport amphibious snowmobile. The high-capacity wooden-plywood hull made it possible to carry up to 600 kg of cargo or up to 10 paratroopers in the cabin and on the outer steps. All four skis were manageable. For self-defense and fire support for the landing, a turret with a DT machine gun was installed on the roof. Sometimes, to enhance the firepower, cradles with machine-gun points were attached to the outside on the sides of the hull.
The paratroopers inside the cabin could fire small arms through two hatches in the hull roof.
The tactics of the combat use of a snowmobile deserves a separate description. As a rule, they were used for reconnaissance in force and raids on enemy front-line rear areas. Snowmobiling groups rapidly appeared where they were not expected and when they were not expected. And if the Germans placed minefields and anti-tank artillery on the tank-hazardous areas, then from the side of the deaf virgin snow with snowdrifts up to the waist there were only sentries in secrets.
Usually they did not have time to react to cars rushing at a speed of 50-60 km / h. As part of the aerosled group, several landing NKL-16/42 under the cover of armored NKL-26 were regularly included. Seconds after the start of the attack, the German guard was suppressed by powerful machine-gun fire, the landing force landed and began intensive cleaning of the enemy's dugouts and trenches, and threw grenades at the parked equipment.
In addition to combat, snowmobiles had many auxiliary tasks. With their help, the wounded were evacuated, ammunition, food and fuel were delivered, dispatches were transported, some snowmobiles were used as repair missions and command vehicles.
The aerosled battalions carried out seasonal combat work until 1944.
Not a single example of combat snowmobiles has survived to this day. The only mock-up monument is located near the entrance of the Krasny Oktyabr sawn timber plant in the city of Perm.
What is the bottom line?
The discerning reader may note that the models of technology described above did not play a decisive role in that great war. The damage they inflicted on the enemy is small in the scale of the military campaign.
Yes, this is a fact, but no facts can change the main thing. They do not cancel the technical ingenuity, the courage of our ancestors, their unbending will to win. The feats of all those who, in the fever of endless work shifts with limited resources, created new equipment, those who burned in ersatz tanks, those who went out to meet the enemy on plywood snowmobiles, do not cancel. All those who created, fought and died, but even dying - won!
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