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Why in 1944 an order was issued on measures to improve the topographical preparation of the army – Rodina

Date: May 20, 2024 Time: 02:20:55

This was already the third order from the NGO on this issue.

I used to think: “Lieutenant” sounds like this: “Serve it up for us!” And, knowing the topography, she tramples the gravel.

On December 26, 1942, these poems were composed by Second Lieutenant Mikhail Kulchitsky, a recent graduate of the machine gun and mortar school, before being sent to the front. The biography of the lieutenant commander of the Kulchitsky mortar platoon will be extremely brief. On January 19, 1943 he would die in battle, never knowing that his poetic ideas about the Red Army commanders’ knowledge of topography were too optimistic. Unfortunately, the lieutenants, and not only them, did not know enough about military topography.

Even before the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, NKO Order No. 063 of February 14, 1941 was issued on deficiencies in the topographical training of troops and the teaching of military topography in universities of the Red Army. But the deficiencies pointed out in the order were never eliminated either before the war or after it began.

The war lasted a year and a half and future officers and commanders of military schools continued to underestimate the importance of military topography as one of the foundations of tactical and combined arms training.

A selective verification of NPOs carried out in the Siberian Military District, the Central Asian Military District, the Moscow Military District and other districts showed: “topographical training in military schools of all branches of the army remains at a low level and does not meet modern requirements at all.”

Commander of the 10th Guards Army of the 2nd Baltic Front, Lieutenant General Mikhail Ilyich Kazakov (left), clarifies the combat mission to the corps commander. Latvia, Lubana area. September 1944. Photo: Vasili Savransky/RIA Novosti

On February 28, 1943, that is, two months and two days after Mikhail Kulchitsky wrote his famous poem, Marshal Vasilevsky, who received this high rank only on February 16, 1943, as Deputy People’s Commissar of Defense, issued Order No. 0175 on Deficiencies and measures to improve topographical training in military schools of the Red Army. This was the NPO’s second deficiencies order.

“The cadets, and in several schools (Chkalov Tank School, 2nd Omsk Infantry School, etc.) and the combatant command personnel who teach tactics classes, do not know the map well and do not use it well in field. , determining the route on the map and with the given azimuths are completely insufficient. They are especially bad at reading the terrain on the map, they do not know how to designate objectives on a grid of kilometers, points on the map and points on the terrain. reconnaissance and observation results, elements of battle formations and topographic reconnaissance data of the area.

The level of topographical graphics and the culture of preparing combat graphic documents provided for by the regulations of the Red Army is very low. …

Surveying programs are under-timed and not carried out in accordance with frontline requirements. …

The selection of topography teachers is usually random.”

Commander of the 51st Army Vladimir Nikolaevich Lvov (right) and writer, ensign and correspondent of the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper Pyotr Andreevich Pavlenko in the trenches. Lieutenant General of the Crimean Front Lvov was killed on May 11, 1942 during a German air raid on the command post of the 51st Army. Photo: Anatoly Garanin/RIA Novosti

Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasilevsky was an extremely gentle and exceptionally delicate person. There were no organizational conclusions in his request. He did not punish anyone, he did not remove anyone from office, he did not reprimand anyone. Once the Supreme Commander-in-Chief even joked about Vasilevsky’s well-known gentleness. Addressing the marshal who had just arrived from the front, Stalin said:

“Comrade Vasilevsky, you lead such a mass of troops and you do it well, but you would probably never hurt a fly.”

The kindness shown by Vasilevsky and his fundamental reluctance to offend or punish anyone for non-compliance with the NGO’s February 1941 order may not have done him any favors.

The deficiencies pointed out in the NPO order of February 1943 were never eliminated.

God loves the trinity.

Another year has passed since the Great Patriotic War. And in April 1944, Marshal Vasilevsky was forced for the third time to address the pressing problem of the low level of topographical training, this time among students of military academies. Vasilevsky’s order deserves to be cited in its entirety.

Commander-in-Chief of Soviet troops in the Far East, Marshal of the Soviet Union Alexander Mikhailovich Vasilevsky (left) and Semyon Pavlovich Ivanov, Colonel General, Chief of Staff of the Main Command of Soviet Forces in the Far East. Manchurian Operation. Photo: RIA Novosti

Order of the Deputy People’s Commissar of Defense on deficiencies and measures to improve topographical training in higher military educational institutions of the Red Army

No. 095 April 17, 1944

Checking the topographical training of students carried out by the Military Topographical Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army at the Military Academy of the Order of the Red Banner of Lenin. MV Frunze, Higher Special School of the General Staff of the Red Army, Air Force Academy named after Lenin. Zhukovsky and 4 other military academies demonstrated that the deficiencies of topographical preparation, pointed out by the NPO order of 1941 No. 063, have not been eliminated to this day.

Despite the transition of academies to normal training periods, the topographical training of students does not receive due attention and remains of a low level, without even meeting the requirements imposed by the NKO Order of 1943 No. 0175 for cadets of military schools. . In the educational units evaluated, the average of unsatisfactory grades in basic issues of reading and using topographic maps varies: in command faculties from 22% to 48%, in engineering faculties it reaches 53% (Air Forces Academy of the Red Army Zhukovsky) and in accelerated courses it reaches 93% (Military Academy of the Red Army named after MV Frunze).

The main disadvantages are:

1. The absence in most academies of entrance exams in military topography, provided for by the NKO order of 1941 No. 063, as well as tests and exams on the course taken at the academy.

2. Lack of minimum time required for the topography course.

3. Inconsistency of the content of the programs with modern demands and the experience of the Patriotic War.

Little attention is paid to work with a map on the ground, orientation with and without a map in various conditions, the preparation of graphic combat documentation and work with aerial photographs.

4. Weak attention of the departments of the operational-tactical cycle to the issues of integrating tactical training with topographical training.

5. Lack of full-time military topography teachers in some academies (Zhukovsky Air Force Academy, Leningrad Air Force Academy, Military Academy of Command and Navigation Staff of the Red Army Air Force, etc.) .

6. Lack of adequate control and monitoring by the main departments of the NPOs and the command of the military branches over the organization of teaching and the state of topographical training in the academies subordinate to them.

In order to improve the teaching and training of students in military topography in higher military educational institutions of the Red Army, I order:

To the heads of the central and main departments of NGOs and the heads of higher military educational institutions of the Red Army:

1. Review and coordinate with the Military Topographic Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army the military topography programs for subordinate academies, higher military schools, institutes and academic courses for officers, taking as a basis the attached standard programs …

The new programs should be put into effect before the beginning of the summer term of 1944.

2. Establish a mandatory minimum number of hours of topographical training for higher military education institutions in accordance with the attached calculation…

3. Introduce military topography exams in all military academies starting in 1944:

– entry – into the scope of the military school program;

– semester or final – depending on the course taken at the academy. In other institutions of higher military education and academic courses of advanced training for officers, exams are held on the completed course.

4. Strengthen control and monitoring of the organization and state of topographical training in subordinate higher military education institutions.

Establish a firm procedure for carrying out topography programs, linking it in timing and content with the topics of the operational-tactical cycle and the disciplines of the special cycle related to topography.

Force the departments of the tactical-operational cycle to pay more attention to the issues of integration of tactical training with topographical training.

5. Bring together the staff of military topography teachers from all higher military education institutions in accordance with the calculation of hours according to the new program.

With 5 or more topography professors, have a military topography department in higher military education institutions as part of the operational-tactical cycle.

The official salaries of military topography teachers should be equal to the salaries of teachers of the tactical-operational cycle.

Appointment to the positions of heads of departments and professors of topography is carried out by agreement of the candidates with the head of the Military Topographic Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army.

To the Head of the Military Topographical Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army:

1. Exchange work experience and improve the qualifications of teaching staff, hold annual educational and methodological meetings for teachers of military topography and engineering geodesy in higher military educational institutions of the Red Army.

2. By January 1, 1945, compile a textbook on military topography for military academies. Involve the best professors from the military academies in the development of the textbook.

To the Head of the General Directorate of the Air Force of the Red Army:

Organize the supply to higher military educational institutions and advanced training courses for officers of aerial photography material for decoding training sessions.

To the Head of the General Artillery Directorate of the Red Army:

1. Prepare together with those responsible for the academies a list of topographic equipment necessary for training sessions and equipment for military topography classrooms.

2. At the beginning of the summer period of 1944, provide higher military educational institutions with the topographic instruments and accessories necessary for semi-instrumental surveys and work with aerial photographs.

The order must be communicated to all teaching staff and command staff of higher military educational institutions of the Red Army.

Vasilevsky, Deputy People’s Commissar of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union.

Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasilevsky remained true to himself. He once again managed to restrain himself and not punish anyone for obvious omissions in his service. And this time no organizational conclusions were made in his request. Years will pass and Vasilevsky, in his memoir “The Work of a Lifetime”, will formulate his life’s creed as follows:

“Some people try to equate a commander’s strength of character with rudeness. Evidence of rudeness on the part of individual military leaders has sometimes been found, but I believe these two concepts should not be confused. the character of a commander, much less an element of troop leadership in my opinion, in a military leader’s ability to control himself…

But I will say frankly that it was not always easy to stay calm and not allow myself to raise my voice. But… sometimes you clench your fists until it hurts and remain silent, refraining from swearing and shouting. The ability to behave with dignity towards his subordinates is an indispensable quality of a Soviet military leader.”

It is difficult to argue against the validity of this humane statement by the famous commander. However, in this regard, the classic fable of Ivan Andreevich Krylov “The Cat and the Cook” comes to mind:

And I would tell another cook to make a notch in the wall: So that speeches are not wasted there, Where power must be used.

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Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.

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