Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

On December 6, 1941, the Supreme Commander I.V. In his Kremlin office, Stalin received three commanders — the head of the chemical forces of the Western Front, Colonel K.N. Shalkov, Head of the Chemical Department of the 5th Army, Colonel Sh.Z. Bregadze, commander of the 2nd flamethrower platoon of the 26th company, Lieutenant I.F. Shvets and talked with them for 20 minutes. As it turned out, the practice of using flame-throwing weapons and incendiary means in the fight against the enemy. The very fact of such a meeting at the height of the Moscow battle is an extraordinary event. And the reason for it was the fighting of the 26th separate high-explosive flamethrower company near the village of Akulovo, Odintsovo district, which was reported to the Supreme on the command line.

The feat of flamethrowers under Naro-Fominsk not only received high marks from the Soviet command, but also influenced the development of chemical troops.

However, over time, it almost forgotten.

Here is a summary of those heroic events. From the end of October 1941, the 32nd Red Banner Rifle Division of the 5th Army of the Western Front defended the front area between Minsk and Kiev highway.Considering the importance of this line, the 26th separate company of high-explosive flamethrowers without one platoon, which was left in reserve, was given to the compound as reinforcement from the Reserve of the Supreme Command. The division was armed with 120 high-explosive flamethrowers FOG-1, machine guns, small arms, anti-tank grenades, incendiary bottles. The company was commanded by a graduate of the Kalinin Military Chemical School in 1940, Lieutenant Mikhail Sabetsky.

By the decision of the division commander, Colonel Viktor Polosukhin, the 1st flamethrower platoon under the command of Lieutenant Ivan Schwager took up positions in the battle formation of the 1st rifle battalion of the 113th rifle regiment on the south-western outskirts of Dyutkovo. He had the task - to prevent the advance of tanks and infantry of the enemy in the direction of Big Semenychi and Kubinka.

The 2nd flamethrower platoon, led by lieutenant Ivan Shvets, settled in the anti-tank defense zone of Akulovo, beyond the Mint River.

Early in the morning of December 1, the enemy launched an offensive in the area of ​​Dyutkovo. The Nazis reached the southern outskirts of Akulovo only with the onset of darkness. Infantrymen and flamethrowers tried to not detect themselves ahead of time.The snow that fell the day before made the disguise of their position even more reliable. When about a company of fascists approached 50-60 meters, 20 high-explosive flamethrowers VOG-1 were put into action. Simultaneously, the infantry units opened a powerful rifle and machine-gun fire. The effect of the fire mixture, thrown out by jets of many tens of meters, was overwhelming, and in the dark of the day it was intensified also by psychological influence. Throwing weapons and equipment, the Germans in the burning uniforms rolled on the snow, but they could not knock down the viscous fire.

As a result of the flamethrowing volley 60 Nazis were destroyed, the rest fled. They finished off the infantry. In total, more than a fascist company died. The Germans in this line of attack no longer attempted.

The 2nd flamethrower platoon on this day had a more severe test: he was fighting a battle with an enemy who had broken through into the depths of the defense of the 32nd Infantry Division. 35 tanks and two battalions of motorized infantry, capturing Akulovo and beating around the firing shaft created by the actions of the 1st platoon, moved in the direction of Kubinka. But on their way to the edge of the forest north of the village of Akulovo there were again flamethrowers.In that battle, at least 40 Nazis were destroyed.

The fierce attacks continued from the morning of December 2 across the Mint River, in the so-called Akulovskaya glade. The flamethrowers allowed the Nazi tanks that had broken through to a distance of 50 meters to the locations of the FOGs, after which the platoon commander, Lieutenant Shvets, gave the command to bring them into action. 50 flamethrowers were simultaneously hit at the enemy. Three tanks, enveloped in flames, turned to the river, where they were completely burned out, and the rest began to look for ways around. They were destroyed by Sergeant Sinkov and Red Army soldier Vereshchagin from his subversive station.

The flamethrowers of the 2nd platoon of the 26th separate company acted successfully together with the 2nd rifle battalion of the 113th rifle regiment and for the next few days. On December 5, the situation there stabilized.

Skillfully organized anti-tank defense, a clear interaction of all units and subunits in combination with the use of flamethrowers, incendiary bottles and other fire barriers made it possible to destroy a total of more than 35 fascist tanks during the defense of Akulovo and prevent their breakthrough to Minsk highway.

For courage and heroism, 15 soldiers and commanders of the 26th company were awarded orders, and the unit itself was the first of the flamethrower companies in the Red Army to be awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

A few words about the weapons used in those battles by chemical warriors. This is a high-explosive flamethrower VOG-1. He was a 20-liter tank, equipped with fire mixture. The tank in the upper part was equipped with a glass for a powder charge and a siphon tube. Powder charge could be activated remotely. The gases generated during its combustion created pressure in the tank, and the fire mixture, cutting off the membrane at the nozzle, was thrown in a powerful jet towards the target at a distance of 100–110 meters. It was difficult to escape from the effects of fire. Advanced high-explosive flamethrowers VOG-2 were produced by our industry throughout the war.

The significance of the events near Naro-Fominsk and the meetings in the Kremlin was so great that on December 9, 1941, the State Defense Committee adopted a decree “On the formation of flame-throwing companies”, and by December 25, in addition to the existing ones, 30 new flame-throwing companies and a flame-throwing battalion were created .In January 1942, the states of flame-throwing units changed significantly. First of all, the horse-drawn carriage of the mouth was replaced by cars, which significantly increased the maneuverability and marching capabilities of the units. And to all this, the 26th Separate Red Banner Flamethrower Company laid the foundation for its successful actions.

The logical question is: why did not much talk about such a feat in the forty-first, and after? In our opinion, there are several reasons. Just the day after the fighting, Akulovo launched a counterattack by the Soviet Army. And it is quite natural that the main thing was the coverage of this historic in scale and significance of the event. It is not surprising that there are no mention of flamethrowers in the memoirs of B.M. Shaposhnikova, G.K. Zhukova, V.D. Sokolovsky. For strategists, this is a particular episode against the general background of the heroic actions of the troops.

It is necessary to take into account the fact that the 26th flamethrowing company was allocated to the Western Front from the reserve of the High Command. That is why the feat of its fighters did not find a substantive reflection in the combat documents and reports of the division and army, although the distinguished ones were adequately rewarded.And yet, then commanded by the 5th Army, Lieutenant-General of Artillery L.A. Govorov, in an interview with the Pravda correspondent, which was published on December 14, 1941, praised the actions of flamethrowers in battles near Akulovo. But he chose to do this paradoxically, without disclosing secrets: “A barrier of hay, straw, brushwood and other combustible materials with a length of half a kilometer was created on the way of German tanks. It was set on fire: a continuous shaft of fire was formed, a flame up to 2.5 meters high was raging for two hours. ” In reality, this shaft was created by the 26th separate flamethrower company.

It is important that the successful use of incendiary weapons was reported to the Supreme Commander, and he found it necessary to ask the experts about everything. As a result, from December 1941 to April 1942, 93 separate companies of high-explosive mortars were formed, and since the summer of 1943, flame-throwing battalions began to be created on their base. In September 1943, during the formation of flamethrower battalions, the 26th Red Banner Company of high-explosive flamethrowers ceased to exist as a separate full-time unit, as a military unit with its documentation.

In this way, it turned out that practically no one remembers the feat of flame-throwers from Akulov.About him at one time, back in 1968, only Major-General Alexander Babushkin spoke on the pages of the Military History Magazine. But articles of a scientific nature, for obvious reasons, devoid of emotional assessments, are not always found in society in a wide response.

In the place of the exploits of flamethrowers, search engines have established a memorable sign

To restore justice, to return from oblivion the collective feat of the 26th separate company of high-explosive flamethrowers, awarded the Order of the Red Banner, was decided by the Regional Public Organization “Kostroma Fraternity” and the Interregional Public Organization of Mutual Assistance “The Commonwealth of Officers”, in the ranks of which there are many graduates of the Kostroma Higher Military Command School protection. In particular, they propose to assign the honorary title “26th Red Banner Company of High-Explosive Flame Throwers” ​​to one of the shock flamethrower subdivisions of the RCBZ troops, to create an exhibition in the Museum of the Military Academy of the RCBZ devoted to the exploits of flamethrowers in defense of Moscow in December 1941 with portraits of heroes. There is an opportunity to organize exhibitions in memory of fellow countrymen who fought as part of the 26th company in the local history museums of the Republic of Chuvashia, Mari El, Ryazan, Lipetsk, Tver, Yaroslavl regions.

The feat of the flame-throwing heroes who, together with the rifle subunits, had broken the Germans' last attempt to break through to Moscow, we should not forget.

The first type of weapon that appeared in the industrial XX century, became a jet flamethrower. And the producers originally planned it not as an army, but as a police weapon to disperse the demonstrators. A strange way to pacify their own citizens by burning them to the ground.

Early in the morning of July 30, 1915, the British troops were stunned by an unprecedented spectacle: from the German trenches, huge flames burst out and with a hiss and a whistle they whipped towards the British. “Quite unexpectedly, the first lines of the troops at the front were engulfed in flames,” a witness recalled with horror, “It was not clear where the fire came from. The soldier seemed to be surrounded by a fiercely rotating flame, which was accompanied by a loud roar and thick clouds of black smoke; here and there, drops of boiling oil fell into the trenches or trenches. Screams and howls shook the air. Throwing weapons, the British infantry fled to the rear in a panic, leaving their positions without a single shot. So entered the battlefields flamethrowers.

For the first time a knapsack fire device was proposed in 1898 to the Russian military minister by the Russian inventor Sieger-Korn. The device was found difficult and dangerous to use and was not accepted for arming under the pretext of "unreality".

Three years later, the German inventor Fidler created a flamethrower of a similar design, which without hesitation was adopted by the racer. As a result, Germany was able to significantly outpace other countries in the development and creation of models of new weapons. The use of poisonous gases did not reach their goals - the enemy had gas masks. In an effort to keep the initiative, the Germans used new weapons - flamethrowers. On January 18, 1915, a volunteer sapper squad was formed to test a new weapon. Flamethrower used near Verdun against the French and the British. In both cases, he caused a panic in the ranks of the enemy infantry, the Germans managed to take the enemy’s positions with minor losses. No one could stay in the trench when a stream of fire poured over the parapet.

On the Russian front, the Germans first used flamethrowers on November 9, 1916 in a battle near Baranavichy. However, here they failed to succeed.Russian soldiers suffered losses, but did not lose their head and stubbornly defended themselves. German infantry, rising under the cover of flame throwers in the attack, ran into a heavy rifle-and-machine-gun fire. The attack was frustrated.

The German monopoly on flamethrowers did not last long - by the beginning of 1916, all the military armies, including Russia, were armed with various systems of these weapons.

The construction of flamethrowers in Russia began in the spring of 1915, even before their use by German troops, and a year later, the knapsack flamethrower of Tavarnitsky design was adopted. Then the Russian engineers Strandin, Povarin, the Capital invented a high-explosive piston flamethrower: the combustible mixture was ejected from it not by compressed gas, but by a powder charge. In early 1917, a flamethrower called ATP had already entered mass production.

How are the

Regardless of the type and design, the principle of operation of flamethrowers is the same. Flamethrowers (or flame-throwers, as was said earlier) are devices that eject jets of flammable liquid at a distance of 15 to 200 m. Liquid is ejected from a reservoir through a special hose using the force of compressed air, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen or powder gases and ignites when leaving Hose special igniter.

In World War I, two types of flamethrowers were used: backpack packs in offensive operations, and heavy ones - in defense. Between the world wars a third type of flamethrower appeared - high-explosive.

The knapsack flamethrower is a steel tank with a capacity of 15–20 liters, filled with flammable liquid and compressed gas. When the valve is opened, the liquid through a flexible rubber hose and a metal hose is thrown out and ignited by the igniter.

A heavy flamethrower consists of an iron tank with a capacity of about 200 liters with an outlet pipe, a crane and a bracket for carrying by hand. Hose with control handle and igniter movably mounted on the carriage. The flight distance of the jet is 40–60 m, the lesion sector is 130–1800. A shot from a flamethrower affects an area of ​​300−500 m2. One shot can be disabled before a platoon of infantry.

The high-explosive flamethrower differs in design and principle of operation from knapsacks - the fire mixture from the tank is ejected by the pressure of gases generated during the combustion of the powder charge. An incendiary cartridge is put on the nozzle, and a powder ejection cartridge with an electric fuse is put into the charger. Powder gases emit liquid at 35−50 m.

The main disadvantage of the jet flamethrower is the short range. When firing over long distances, an increase in the pressure of the system is required, but this is not easy to do - the fire mixture is simply pulverized (sprayed). You can fight this only by increasing the viscosity (thickening the mixture). But at the same time, the free-flowing burning jet of fire mixture may not reach the target, completely burned in the air.
All the terrifying power of a flamethrower incendiary weapon is incendiary substances. Their burning temperature is 800-10000С and more (up to 35000С) with a very steady flame. Ognemesi do not contain oxidizing agents and burn due to oxygen. Incendiary substances are mixtures of various highly flammable liquids: petroleum, gasoline and kerosene, light coal oil with benzene, a solution of phosphorus in carbon disulfide, etc. Oil-based mixture mixtures can be either liquid or viscous. The first consists of a mixture of gasoline with heavy motor fuel and lubricating oil. This forms a wide swirling jet of intense flame, flying 20−25 meters.The burning mixture is able to flow into the slots and openings of the target objects, but a significant part of it burns in flight. The main disadvantage of liquid mixtures is that they do not stick to objects.

Another thing napalms, that is, thickened mixture. They can stick to objects and thereby increase the area of ​​damage. As their fuel base use liquid petroleum products - gasoline, jet fuel, benzene, kerosene and a mixture of gasoline with heavy motor fuel. Polystyrene or polybutadiene is most often used as a thickener.

Napalm is highly flammable and adheres even to wet surfaces. It is impossible to extinguish it with water, so it floats on the surface, continuing to burn. The burning temperature of napalm is 800-1100С. Metallic incendiary mixtures (pyrogels) have a higher burning temperature - 1400–16000С. They are made by adding powders of some metals (magnesium, sodium), heavy oil products (asphalt, fuel oil) and some types of combustible polymers - isobutyl methacrylate, polybutadiene to common napalm.
The army profession of a flamethrower was extremely dangerous - as a rule, it was necessary to get close to the enemy several tens of meters with a huge piece of iron behind his back.According to an unwritten rule, soldiers of all armies of the Second World War did not take flamethrowers and snipers into captivity, they were shot on the spot.

For each flamethrower accounted for at least one and a half flamethrower. The fact is that high-explosive flamethrowers were disposable (after triggering a factory recharge was required), and the work of a flamethrower with such a weapon was akin to an engineer. High-explosive flamethrowers dug in front of their own trenches and fortifications at a distance of several tens of meters, leaving on the surface only a masked nozzle. When the enemy approached at a distance of a shot (from 10 to 100 m), flamethrowers were activated (“undermined”).

Indicative of the battle for the Shchuchinkovsky bridgehead. The battalion was able to make the first fire salvo only an hour after the start of the attack, having already lost 10% of the personnel and all the artillery. 23 flamethrowers, which destroyed 3 tanks and 60 infantrymen, were blown up. Having come under fire, the Germans retreated to 200–300 meters and began to shoot Soviet positions with tank guns with impunity. Our fighters switched to spare disguised positions, and the situation repeated itself. As a result, the battalion, having spent almost the entire supply of flame throwers and having lost more than half of the composition, by the evening destroyed six more tanks, one self-propelled gun and 260 fascists, with difficulty holding the bridgehead.This classic battle shows the advantages and disadvantages of flame throwers - they are useless at a distance of more than 100 meters and are terrifically effective when used unexpectedly at close range.

Soviet flamethrowers managed to use high-explosive flamethrowers in the offensive. For example, in one section of the Western Front, before a night attack, they buried at a distance of only 30–40 m from the German wooden-earthen defensive embankment with machine-gun and artillery embrasures 42 (!) High-explosive flamethrowers. With the dawn, the flamethrowers were blown up in one gulp, completely destroying the kilometer of the enemy’s first line of defense. In this episode, the fantastic courage of flamethrowers admires - to bury a 32-kg cylinder in 30 m from a machine-gun embrasure!

No less heroic were the actions of flamethrowers with the ROX knapsack flamethrowers. The fighter with an additional 23 kg behind him needed to reach the trenches under the deadly fire of the enemy, get to a fortified machine-gun nest at a distance of 20-30 meters and only after that make a volley. This is not a complete list of German casualties from Soviet backpack flame throwers: 34,000 people, 120 tanks, self-propelled guns and armored personnel carriers, more than 3,000 pillboxes, billets and other firing points, 145 vehicles.
The German Wehrmacht in 1939-1940 used a portable flamethrower arr.1935, reminiscent of the flamethrowers of the First World War. To protect flamethrowers themselves from burns, special leather suits were developed: a jacket, pants and gloves. Lightweight "small improved flamethrower" arr. 1940 could serve only one fighter on the battlefield.

Extremely effectively the Germans used flamethrowers in the capture of the Belgian border forts. The paratroopers landed right on the combat coverage of the casemates and flamethrowed shots into the embrasures silenced the firing points. At the same time, a novelty was used: an L-shaped hose on the hose, which allowed the flamethrower to stand at the side of the embrasure when firing or act from above.

The fighting in the winter of 1941 showed that at low temperatures German flamethrowers are unsuitable because of the unreliable ignition of a flammable liquid. The Wehrmacht adopted a flamethrower arr. 1941, which took into account the experience of the combat use of German and Soviet flamethrowers. According to the Soviet model, igniter cartridges were used in the ignition system of flammable liquid. In 1944, a single-use flamethrower FmW 46 was created for parachute units, resembling a giant syringe weighing 3.6 kg, 600 mm long and 70 mm in diameter. He provided flame throwing for 30 meters.

At the end of the war, 232 backpack flamethrowers were handed over to the Reich fire brigade units. With their help, the corpses of civilians who died in bomb shelters during the air strikes of German cities were burned.

In the postwar period, a light infantry flamethrower, LPO-50, was put into service in the USSR, providing three fire shots. Now it is produced in China under the name Type 74 and is in service with many countries of the world, former members of the Warsaw Pact and some countries of Southeast Asia.

The jet flame was replaced by jet flamethrowers, where the fire mixture, enclosed in a sealed capsule, is delivered by a missile to hundreds and thousands of meters. But that's another story.

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  • Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

    Flamethrowers of the Great Patriotic

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