Curious and little-known facts about the legendary "Katyusha"

• The curious and little known facts about the legendary "Katyusha"

Amazing details from the history of the Guards mortars, hiding behind a thick curtain of historical myth

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Fighting Vehicle rocket artillery BM-13 is much better known by the name of the legendary "Katyusha". And, as it happens with any legend, its history over the decades not just mythologized, but has been reduced to a small number of well-known facts. They know everything? That "Katyusha" was the most famous system of rocket artillery of World War II.

That the commander of the first line of field experimental rocket artillery battery was Captain Ivan Flerov. And the first blow struck his installation July 14, 1941 at Orsha, although some historians date the Russian artillery disputed, claiming that the magazine fighting Flyorova battery contains an error, and the shelling of Orsha was conducted July 13.

Perhaps the reason for mythologizing "Katyusha" became not only inherent in the Soviet ideological tendencies. His role could play and banal lack of facts: domestic rocket artillery has always existed in an atmosphere of secrecy. Here is a typical example: the famous geopolitical Vladimir Dergachev wrote in his memoirs about his father, who served in the Guards Mortar Regiment, his "military unit disguised as a cavalry regiment, which is reflected in the Moscow photographer father and co-workers. Field post in conditions of censorship allowed to send these photos to relatives and loved women. " The latest Soviet weapons, the decision on mass production which the Soviet government decided late on June 21, 1941, is classified as "art secrecy" - the same as all encryption and protected communication systems. For the same reason, for a long time, each unit BM-13 was equipped with a device to undermine the individual, to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. However, becoming a myth, which is today very carefully and respectfully return the real features, has been spared none of the sample of the famous Soviet weapons of the Great Patriotic War: no T-34 tank and a sub-machine gun Shpagin or divisional gun ZIS-3 ... Meanwhile, in their real stories, which is much less well known, as well as in the history of "Katyusha", lacking a truly legendary events and facts. Some of them today, and says "Historian".

Guards mortar parts appeared before the entire Soviet Guards

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Guards mortar BM-13 chassis "Studebaker" US6 with the Guards badge, approved in 1942

The formal date of the appearance of the guards units of the Red Army was the September 18, 1941, when by order of People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR four infantry divisions "for feats of arms, of organization, discipline and a rough order" received the title of Guards. But by this time more than a month Guards called every single part of the rocket artillery, with they received this title is not at the end of the fighting, and the formation!

For the first time the word "Guards" appears in the official Soviet documents August 4, 1941 - the decree of the USSR State Defense Committee GKO-383ss number "on the formation of the Guards Mortar Regiment M-13." Here's how to begin the document: "The State Defense Committee decides: 1. To agree with the proposal of the People's Commissar of the General Machine Building USSR t Parshina of the constitution of the Guards Mortar Regiment, armed with M-13 units.. 2. Assign the newly emerging Guards regiment the name of the People's Commissariat of General Engineering (Peter Parshina -. Ed.). ".

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Volley Division "Katyusha" - combat vehicles BM-13 on the chassis "Studebaker" US6, Spring 1945 Four days later, August 8, on the orders of the Supreme Command (SHK) № 04 in suburban Alabinskaya camps began to form more eight Guards Mortar Regiment. Half of them - the first to fourth - received on the weapons installation BM-13, and others - BM-8, equipped with rockets caliber 82 mm.

And another interesting point. By the end of the autumn of 1941 on the Soviet-German front act for 14 Guards Mortar Regiment, but only at the end of January 1942 their soldiers and commanders equate the monetary contentment with the staff of "ordinary" Guards units. Order of the Supreme Command № 066 "On the payroll of the personnel of the Guards mortar units" was adopted only on January 25 and read: "To all the prince (the higher, older, middle and younger) the composition of the Guards mortar units from January 1, 1942 to install one and a half, and fighters double pay content, as established for the Guards units. "

The most massive chassis "Katyusha" were American trucks

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Preparing installation BM-13 on chassis ZIS-6 shooting in the car, winter 1942

Most surviving BM-13, standing on pedestals or become museum pieces - is "Katyusha" on the basis of a three-axle truck ZIS-6. One is forced to think that it is such combat vehicles and passed a glorious way from Orchies to Berlin. Although, as we might wish to believe it, the story says that the majority of the BM-13 was equipped on the basis of lend-lease "Studebaker."

The reason is simple: the Moscow Automobile Plant named after Stalin simply did not have time to release a sufficient number of machines until October 1941, when he was evacuated immediately in four cities: Miass, Ulyanovsk, Chelyabinsk and Shadrinsk. In new places at first failed to start production of an unusual plant for three-axle model, and then from it altogether abandoned in favor of more waste. As a result, from June to October 1941 it was issued only a few hundred units on the basis of ZIS-6, and that the first armed guards mortar pieces. In the public domain is a different number from 372 combat vehicles (which looks obviously underestimated figure) to 456 and even 593 units. Perhaps this inconsistency in the data because the ZIS-6 were used for the construction of not only the BM-13, but the BM-8, as well as the fact that for these purposes the trucks were removed from wherever they were found, and whether to take into account among the new, or not.

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

The Guard BM-13 mortars on the chassis "Studebaker" US6 with the Guard icon in the Victory Parade June 24, 1945

But the front required all new "Katyusha", and they had to be something to install. Designers have tried everything - from the truck ZIS-5 to tanks and railway platforms, but remained Triaxial cars most effective. And then in the spring of 1942 we decided to place launchers on truck chassis, supplied under Lend-Lease. It is best approached American "Studebakers" US6 - Triaxial same as the ZIS-6, but more powerful and passable. As a result, they accounted for more than half of "Katyusha" - 54, 7%!

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Volley Division combat vehicles BM-13 in the course of the Berlin operation, in April 1945

The question remains: why as monuments often put BM-13 on the basis of ZIS-6? Many researchers of history "Katyusha" are inclined to see in this ideological underlying reason: that the Soviet government did everything that the country has forgotten about the importance of the American automobile industry in the fate of the famous weapons. However, the reality is much simpler. Of the first "Katyusha" to the end of war survived a matter of unity, and they were mostly of production facilities, which were in the course of the reorganization of parts and replacement of weapons. A setting of BM-13 "Studebakers" remained in service with the Soviet Army and after the war - as long as the domestic industry did not create a new machine. Then launchers had taken off from a US base and repositioned on the first chassis ZIS-151, and then the ZIL-157 and ZIL-131, even, have served as "Studebakers" passed to rework or to discard.

For jet mortars posted a separate Commissariat

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Peter Parshin during the leadership of the People's Commissariat mortar weapons As already mentioned, the first Guards Mortar Regiment began to form 4 July 1941 at the initiative of the People's Commissar General Engineering Peter Parshina. And after more than four months of the People's Commissariat, who led the famous engineer-manager, it was renamed and became responsible almost exclusively for ensuring appliances Guards mortar parts. November 26, 1941 the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium issued a decree, which read: "1. Convert general engineering Commissariat of the People's Commissariat mortar weapons. 2. The People's Commissar of mortar armament appoint so. Parshina Peter Ivanovich. " Thus, the Guards mortar units began only in the Red Army's view of the armed forces, which had their own ministry: for anybody not a secret that by "mortar weapons" understood primarily "Katyusha", though mortars all other classical systems of this Commissariat released too much.

Incidentally, it is remarkable: the very first Guards Mortar Regiment, the formation of which started on 4 August, four days later received a number 9 - simply because at the time of issue of the order did not have numbers. Formed and armed with a 9 th Guards Mortar Regiment was on the initiative and at the expense of workers Commissariat general engineering - future Commissariat mortar weapons and equipment and ammunition was produced from the month of August over the plan. And the People's Commissariat lasted until February 17, 1946, then turned into the People's Commissariat of mechanical engineering and instrument of the USSR - under the guidance of the same permanent Peter Parshina.

Commander of the Guards mortar parts became Colonel

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Basil Aborenkov received the Stalin Prize for his part in the development and formulation of the weapons "Katyusha", 1943 September 8, 1941 - a month after the order for the establishment of the first eight of the Guards mortar regiments - the State Defense Committee issued a decree number GKO-642ss. The document signed by Joseph Stalin Guards mortar parts stand out from the Red Army artillery, and to guide them introduced the post of commander of the mortar units directly subordinate to his bid. This extremely important post of the same decree appointed deputy head of the Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army Vasily Aborenkov - Military Engineer of rank 1, that is actually a lieutenant colonel of artillery! However, those who took the decision, low rank Aborenkova not confused. After all, his name figured in the author's certificates for "missile for the automatic installation of a sudden, powerful artillery and chemical attack on the enemy with the help of rockets." And it Aborenkov Military Engineer in office, first head of the department and then deputy head of the GAC did everything to the Red Army received a reactive service.

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Head of the Main Military Chemical Directorate of the Red Army Vasily Aborenkov, 1945

The son of a retired gunner Guards horse artillery brigade, he voluntarily joined the Red Army in 1918 and gave her 30 years of his life. In this case, the greatest merit of Basil Aborenkova that forever inscribed his name in Russian military history, the emergence of "Katyusha" on the Red Army arsenal. Active promotion of rocket artillery Basil Aborenkov engaged after May 19, 1940, when he was appointed head of the department of the Main Artillery rocket weapons of the Red Army. It is at this position, he showed extraordinary tenacity, even daring to "jump over the head," his immediate superior, firmed in the gun sights of the last head of the GAU Marshal Grigory Kulikov, and achieving a focus on the new weapon by the country's top leadership. It Aborenkov was one of the organizers of the demonstration jet mortars leaders of the USSR 15 and 17 June 1941, which ended with the adoption of "Katyusha" on arms. In his role as commander of the Guards mortar parts Vasily Aborenkov served until April 29, 1943 - that is, until the day before there was this post. From April 30 "Katyusha" returned under the leadership of Commander of Artillery, and was to lead Aborenkov main military-chemical control of the Red Army.

The first rocket artillery batteries were armed with howitzers on

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Battery BM-13 on chassis ZIS-6 conducts fire, spring 1942

In the view of most people who are not immersed in military history, "Katyusha" themselves are so powerful weapons that the armed units of no need of any other. In reality it is not so. For example, according to the state of the Guards Mortar Regiment № 08/61, an approved People's Commissariat of Defense of August 8, 1941, this unit apart from the BM-13 units were armed with six 37-millimeter automatic anti-aircraft guns and nine 12-millimeter anti-aircraft 7 guns DSK. And there was also a small arms personnel, which, for example, a separate mortar Guards Division of the state from November 11, 1941 was supposed to much: four DP machine gun, 15 pistols, machine guns, 50 rifles and 68 pistols!

Curious and little-known facts about the legendary

Division combat vehicles BM-13 on chassis ZIS-6 prepared for volley. Summer 1943

Although particularly interesting that in the first line of the experimental battery of field rocket artillery captain Ivan Flerov included the 122-millimeter howitzer sample 1910/1930's performing duties included adjustment tool. To it relied ammunition 100 rounds - enough, considering that the missiles for the BM-13 battery had six times more. And the most amazing thing in the arms of Captain Flerov battery list included also a "seven guns caliber 210 mm"! Under this column were launchers for rockets, while their chassis - truck ZIS-6 - were recorded in the same document as a "special machine". It is clear that this was done for the sake of all the same notorious secrecy that has long surrounded the "Katyusha" and their history, and eventually turned it into a myth. Author: Anton Trofimov