In the summer of 1942 a prisoner of the Germans was Lieutenant-General of the red army Andrei Vlasov. He was not the first Soviet General, was in the hands of the Germans. But Vlasov, unlike others, went on active cooperation, agreeing to take the side of Hitler.
Since the beginning of the war the Nazis were looking for collaborators in the environment captured by the Soviet military. In the first place, bet on those who are older, hoping to play on the nostalgic feelings for Imperial Russia. This calculation, however, did not materialize.
Vlasov also for the Germans was a real surprise. Cooperate with them agreed the man, his entire career owes to the Soviet system, in General, considered a favorite of Stalin.
How General Vlasov were taken prisoner, and why he embarked on the road of betrayal?
“Always stood firmly on the party line”
The thirteenth child in a peasant family, Andrei Vlasov was studying for the priest. Revolution has changed the priorities in 1919, 18-year-old was drafted into the army, with which he connected his life. Well showed itself at the end of the Civil war, Vlasov continued his military career. In 1929 he graduated from the Higher military command courses “the Shot”. In 1930 he joined the CPSU (b). In 1935 he became a student of Military Academy named M. V. Frunze.
Repression of 1937-1938 Vlasov not only touched, but helped career growth. In 1938 Deputy commander of the 72nd infantry division. In the fall of 1938, Vlasov was sent to China as military adviser, and in 1939 he became the acting chief military Advisor of the Soviet Union under the government of Chiang Kai-shek.
After returning to the Soviet Union in January 1940, Vlasov was appointed commander of the 99th infantry division. Soon, the division becomes the best in the Kiev military district, and one of the best in the red army.
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The hero of the first months of the war
In January 1941, Vlasov was appointed commander of the 4th mechanized corps of the Kiev special military district, and a month later was awarded the order of Lenin.
War is an ordeal for those officers who make a career not because of the knowledge and skills, and with the help of intrigue and groveling in front of superiors.
But Vlasov is not the case. Its body is worthy of fighting in the first weeks under the city, holding back the onslaught of the Germans. Major-General Vlasov had deserved by his actions appreciated, and was appointed commander of the 37th army.
In the defense of Kiev, the Vlasov army was surrounded, which left hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers and officers. Vlasov was among the lucky ones who managed to escape from the “pot”.
In November 1941, Andrey Vlasov gets a new assignment. He is required to form and lead a 20-th army, which will take part in the counteroffensive near Moscow.
20th army took part in the Klin-Solnechnogorsk offensive operation, the troops defeated the main forces of the 3rd and 4th Panzer groups of the enemy, threw them at the turn of the river, Lama river and Ruza liberated several settlements, including Volokolamsk.
Andrei Vlasov, the official Soviet propaganda was included among the heroes of the battle for Moscow. January 4, 1942, during these battles Vlasov was awarded the order of the red banner and promoted to Lieutenant General.
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The appointment to the Volkhov front
Leading Soviet and foreign correspondents take Vlasov interview, and plans to release books about him.
Everything points to the fact that Vlasov was considered the top Soviet leadership as one of the most promising commanders.
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That is why in early March 1942, he received the appointment of one of the most important areas of the Soviet-German front, Vlasov became Deputy commander of the Volkhov front.
From January 1942 the troops of the front in cooperation with units of the Leningrad front carried out an offensive operation aim of which is to break the blockade of Leningrad. The spearhead of the Soviet offensive — the 2nd shock army, which managed to break through enemy defenses, and to move forward significantly.
However, the advance troops had forest and wetlands, hampering actions.
Besides the breakthrough and failed to expand. In the most successful time width of his neck did not exceed 12 kilometers, which created a risk of counterattack by the Germans and the encirclement of Soviet troops.
In February 1942, the rate of occurrence dropped sharply. Delivered by Moscow to take the task by March 1, the town of Lyuban was not implemented. 12 July 1942, captured by the Germans were the commander of the 2nd shock army of General Vlasov. He pointed out, what is the reason: large losses of the 2nd shock army, lack of reserves, supply problems.
To strengthen the command structure of the front and was sent to Andrei Vlasov.
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To break the blockade at any cost
Things were getting worse. March 15, 1942, the German offensive began, and over the 2nd shock army faced a direct threat to the environment. To stop the offensive and withdraw divisions did not. This is usually interpreted as a whim and stupidity of the Soviet leadership. But we must not forget that the offensive was carried out for the siege of Leningrad, the Famine in the besieged city continued to methodically kill people. The rejection of the offensive meant a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of people. For supply corridor of the 2nd shock army was fierce fighting. He then closed completely, then re-fought, but much less width.
20 March, the 2nd shock army with a check was sent to the Commission headed by Lieutenant-General Vlasova. Back the Board came back without him — he was retained to monitor and assist the army commander Nikolai Klykov.
In early April, the Canines became seriously ill. April 20, Vlasov was approved by the commander of the army retaining the post of Deputy commander of the front. Vlasov was not happy with the appointment, for he got not fresh, and much battered troops in a difficult position. Meanwhile, the Volkhov front was merged with Leningrad under the command of Colonel-General Mikhail khozina. He received the order to release the army.
General Khozin three weeks pondering over the promised Rate plans, and then reported — with the 2nd shock army to take to the neck of a breakthrough, to expand it, and then to gain a foothold on this turn, and the onset to move to another area.
In fact, Khozin repeated what Meretskov had insisted, but three weeks was wasted. All this time the troops of the 2nd shock army, eating biscuits and horsemeat, suffering heavy losses, continued to hold the position.
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May 14, Rate issues a Directive on the withdrawal of the 2nd shock army Luban ledge. The General Khozin, received the same order orally two days earlier.
And what about the Vlasov? He fulfill his responsibilities, but any large-scale initiative did not show. The fate of his army was determined by others.
In spite of that, the first phase of allotment the 2nd shock army was successful. But the Germans, realizing that the prey slipping away, stepped up the pressure.
The catastrophe began on may 30. Using the overwhelming advantage in aviation, the enemy launched a decisive attack. May 31 corridor through which came the 2nd shock army, slammed, and this time the Germans managed to strengthen its positions in the area. In the “pot” turned out to be more than 40 thousand Soviet soldiers. Exhausted by hunger, the people under the continuous attacks of German aircraft and artillery have continued fighting, breaking out of the encirclement.
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Later Vlasov and his supporters will say that the Soviet command to “throw the 2nd shock army in the lurch”. It is true, attempts deblokady did not stop, part tried to break through the new corridor to the surrounded.
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June 8, 1942, General Khozin dismissed, Volkhov front again became a separate unit, and save the day sent General Meretskov. Stalin personally gave him the task — to withdraw the 2nd shock army from encirclement even without heavy weapons.
Meretskov gathered in a fist all the reserves of the front, to get to the Vlasov army. But on the other hand, the Germans threw all new and new forces.
16 Jun from Vlasov receives telegram: “the personnel of troops to the limit exhausted, the number of deaths and morbidity from malnutrition is growing every day. Due to the cross-fire of military district troops suffer heavy losses from adminmessage fire and enemy aircraft… Combat strength of the joints has decreased dramatically. To replenish it at the expense of rear and special units any longer. All that was taken. On the sixteenth of June, battalions, brigades and infantry regiments remained in the average of several dozen people.”
19 Jun 1942, he was punched a corridor through which could leave several thousands of Soviet soldiers. But the next day under the strikes saving way out of the encirclement was again blocked.
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On June 21 opened a corridor width of 250 to 400 meters. He was exposed to fire through, people were dying by the hundreds, but several thousand people managed to get to his.
On the same day from Vlasov came a new telegram: “the Troops of the army three weeks to get fifty grams of biscuits. The last days of food absolutely was not. Finishing the last of the horses. People are extremely exhausted. There is a group deaths from hunger. No ammunition…”.
The corridor for fighters with heavy losses was maintained until June 23. Came the agony of the 2nd shock army. The territory which it controlled, now shoots through the enemy.
The evening of June 23rd, the soldiers of the 2nd shock army went to a new breakthrough. Managed to open a corridor width of about 800 metres. The space, which is all the time narrowed, called “Valley of death”. Those who went through it told that it was a real hell. Only managed To break the most lucky.
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The last hours of the 2nd shock
On the same day the Germans attacked the command post of the Vlasov. To repel the attack failed, the soldiers of company a special Department which allowed the staff workers to move, but the leadership of the troops was lost.
In one of the last radio messages Meretskov warned Vlasov, 24 Jun troops outside the “pot” will make a last decisive attempt a rescue of 2nd shock army. Vlasov was appointed on this day encirclement of the headquarters and rear services.
On the evening of 24 June, the corridor was again opened, but now its width does not exceed 250 metres.
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Command column, however, astray, ran into a German bunker. She struck the fire of the enemy, the Vlasov received a slight wound in the leg. Of those who were near Vlasov, his night managed to break only the chief of the intelligence section of the army Rogov, who single-handedly found saving the corridor.
Around 9:30 am on 25 June 1942 the ring around the 2nd shock army completely shut. The environment remained more than 20 thousand Soviet soldiers and officers.
In the weeks that followed, alone and in small groups managed to escape several hundred people.
But here’s the thing — German sources record that the facts of mass surrender was not. The Germans noted that the Russian in Myasnoy Bor, preferred to die with arms in their hands.
The 2nd shock army died heroically, not knowing what a black shadow would fall on her because of the commander.
The second part of the material will be published July 13.