Secret Intelligence Service
Soviet Military Intelligence
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This is a very large collection of era-specific papers, comprising; spoken thoughts, opinions, diary extracts, books and other writings of Soviet / Russian intelligence officers
Attention to the point of view
No. VI of XL
It was during early October 1941, the Germans launched an offensive against Moscow. This major operation of World War II was codenamed ‘Typhoon’. Hitler planned to seize the Soviet capital before the onset of winter cold. He believed that with the capitulation of Moscow the war with Russia would be completed.
In the battle near Moscow, the Soviet troops for the first time dispelled the myth of the invincibility of the Nazis. In that battle, domestic military intelligence played a special role. She helped unravel the Nazi plan to seize Moscow.
As the phoenix spreads its wings.
On a dark September night, a German Junkers-88 bomber was approaching Moscow. The aircraft commander, Captain Messerschmidt, was driving his combat vehicle to the Soviet capital. He is not the first time carried out a similar task on the eastern front. Night flights were safer than day flights. At the command of Messerschmidt, crew members dropped aerial bombs on Russian objects that were not even visible from the height of the flight. After the bombing, the Yu-88 was returning to base. The captain counted on this completion of the next task, and this time, being at the helm of his bomber, who was rapidly approaching Moscow.
But the bomber ‘Yu-88’ no luck. In the Golitsyno area, the plane came under fire from anti-aircraft guns and was shot down. The whole crew died. Only the captain survived. The wounded Messerschmidt managed to leave the burning bomber and open his parachute. He was hoping for the best.
The pilot landed in the garden of one of the collective farm yards. Local peasants did not expect such a guest. Concerned about the shooting of the anti-aircraft battery and the light of the searchlights, several men who had not yet been drafted into the army stood near the house where the village council was located. They detained the German paratrooper. A day later he was taken to Moscow. There was a strict order – to transfer all prisoners of war to the Red Army Intelligence Directorate. So Captain Messerschmidt fell into the hands of Soviet military intelligence.
The German pilot was provided with the necessary medical assistance. After that, the interrogations began. During the first search, a notebook was withdrawn from the German, which interested representatives of the military intelligence. Some entries in it were made incomprehensible to the translator by signs. It turned out that this is a shorthand. In the Intelligence Agency there was an employee who undertook to decipher these icons. It turned out to be Lieutenant Viktor Bochkarev, who from Golitsyno delivered the prisoner to Moscow. Before the war, he graduated from the Ukrainian Institute of Linguistic Education. He studied German shorthand. Having decoded the first phrases, Bochkarev realised that important data was recorded in the notebook. Apparently, they were recorded at some meeting, which could be of interest to the Soviet intelligence.
Bochkarev deciphered the captain Messerschmidt’s notes for several hours. From the transcript it was possible to establish that the Germans were preparing to launch an offensive against Moscow on October 1-2. This was important information. It was supplemented by a list of numbers of air units of the German army, which were to ensure the advance of the German troops on the Soviet capital as part of the Army Group Centre. This group was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock.
In the course of additional interrogations, the German reported many other useful information, which were summarised in a generalised form by the head of military intelligence, Supreme Commander IV. Stalin.
The data that was received in mid-September from a fascist captive pilot was confirmed by other sources. They were mined by numerous reconnaissance and sabotage groups operating in the enemy’s rear in Ukraine, Belarus and in Russian cities already captured by the Germans. Important information came from intelligence agents, anti-fascists, who were located in Berlin, Paris, London, Geneva, Tokyo, Washington and in the capitals of other states.
The war found the Soviet military intelligence is not in its best form. In 1936-1938, the Red Army Intelligence Agency was subjected to a ‘purge’, as a result of which military intelligence was significantly weakened. The scale of repression against military intelligence can be judged by the meagre figures in the report of I. Proskurov, Chief of the Red Army. This report was made on May 25, 1940. He was assigned to the Commissar of Defence and the Commission.
Central Committee of the CPSU (b). Proskurov, Hero of the Soviet Union, an honest and principled general, reported; ‘The last two years have been a period of purge of undercover offices and intelligence agencies from alien and hostile elements. Over 200 years, over 200 people were arrested by NKVD bodies, the entire leadership team was up to department heads inclusive. For the time of my command only from the central office and subordinate units was deducted for various political reasons and business considerations 365 people, 326 were accepted, the absolute majority of whom were without intelligence training.’
After a few months
I. Proskurov will also be repressed. Military intelligence was dealt a devastating blow. For several years, the consequences of this ‘purge’ did not allow to fully restore the quality of work of the Red Army Intelligence Agency, in which young officers arrived on the eve of the war. They were gunners, chemists, pilots, military sailors. While studying at military academies and colleges, these people received good theoretical training, but did not have experience in practical intelligence work. The few veterans remaining in the Intelligence Agency helped newcomers to master the wisdom of the intelligence profession. Intelligence, more than once beheaded and exsanguinated by actions to combat the ‘enemies of the people’, like the fabulous Phoenix, gradually revived and restored its strength.
In 1940 and in the first half of 1941, the ghost of fear still roamed the floors of the Red Army RU. Fear of getting into the lists of ‘enemies of the people’ hampered the initiative not only of ordinary intelligence officers, but also of the leaders of military intelligence. From 1935 to August 1940, six chiefs of the Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army changed. Y. Berzin, S. Uritzky, S. Gendin were repressed
A. Orlov, I. Proskurov. At the end of 1940, Lieutenant-General Philip Golikov was appointed Chief of Intelligence.
At the same time, military intelligence was solving one of its most important tasks; extracting information about Germany’s preparations for war against the Soviet Union. Despite the repression, the most important element of intelligence – its sources, has been preserved abroad. In one prewar year, military intelligence received more than 300 reports from them, which testified to Hitler’s preparation for war in the east. During the first half of 1941, military intelligence officers obtained irrefutable evidence about the directions of the main strikes of the German troops. Capturing Moscow was the main task of Army Group Centre. We can say that the battle for Moscow began on June 22, 1941.
Information on the plans of the German military command was obtained by military intelligence officers operating in Berlin, Geneva, Rome, Tokyo, Warsaw, Paris, London and other cities. One of them was Major General Vasily Tupikov, military attache of the USSR in Germany.
Dead ends went to Berlin in early January 1941. On the evening of January 7, on the eve of his departure for a business trip, he was received by the head of the Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Golikov. He set priorities for his resident in Germany. The first item in the order for a business trip was written; ‘to establish a grouping of German troops in the northern and Scandinavian countries, on the western front and east of Germany against the USSR. Accurately establish the composition of each group, the numbers of army groups, armies, corps, divisions and regiments of all branches of troops , their location, headquarters locations, the names of the commanders and chiefs of staff of army groups, armies, army corps, as well as tank and motorized corps and air links.’
General Golikov understood that the German troops during the war in Western Europe had gained considerable experience in the conduct of hostilities. This experience was not among the Soviet commanders and officers of the General Staff. That is why the head of the military intelligence asked Tupikov to obtain documentary information about the combat strength of the shock German armies, corps and divisions, the operational and tactical density of the battle formations, and the norms of saturation with their means of reinforcement. She was interested in military intelligence and organisation of interaction of the arms of service, especially the combat use of tank and motorized units and formations in cooperation with aviation and infantry.
V. Tupikov, who was assigned the operational pseudonym ‘Arnold’, put a lot of effort to fulfill the order of the head of the Intelligence Agency. He intensified work with the agents of Alta, Aryan, Heinz, Hira. They began to transmit important information about the armed forces of Germany, about the plans of the German command to conduct the war on the western front. A few days after arriving in Berlin, Arnold reestablished contact with Alta, the most important military intelligence agent in Berlin. On January 13, Tupikov reported to the Center; ‘I had a meeting with Alta, who passed on extensive material on many political and military issues.’
Under the pseudonym ‘Alta’ Ilse Stebe collaborated with military intelligence. Before the beginning of the War, she worked as a journalist in Warsaw, in 1939 returned to Berlin, where from the beginning of 1940 she became a member of the propaganda department of the German Foreign Ministry. It was this courageous woman who obtained information regarding the impending attack of Germany on the Soviet Union. In September 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo and on December 14 of the same year she was sentenced to death by the imperial court. Along with her, Aryan, the second most valuable source of military intelligence in Germany, was arrested and executed.
Alta and Aryan were reliable sources of information, they were familiar with politicians and the military, who held high posts surrounded by Hitler. In March 1941, Alta conveyed to V. Tupikov that the deadline for the German attack on the Soviet Union was set for June 15. On June 16, Alta reported that the version about the beginning of the war against the USSR on June 22-25 was stubbornly circulating in the circles of the German High Command. These data were presented in the next special message of the Red Army Intelligence Agency and reported to Stalin and Tymoshenko.
Resident military intelligence in Berlin was an observant intelligence officer and a sophisticated analyst. On the basis of the data he had at his disposal, he reported to the Centre : ‘The qualitative condition of the German armed forces on moral and political grounds, training and equipment is now at its zenith and it’s been expected for the Reich leaders to have this level for a long time how it is already felt that the outlined complications hinting at the delay of the war, cause acute nervousness among the broad layers of the German population.’
On June 16, 1941, Arnold again urgently reports to the Centre : ‘The Aryan again reports on his speech against us and appoints the supposedly set time limit for June 22-25. Former ambassador to Warsaw Moltke and the Bali press officer were assigned to the propaganda department at the Eastern Front headquarters. The propaganda materials for the Russian regions have been prepared. Finland and Romania are ready to speak at the same time as Germany.’
Also worked hard in the pre-war period residency military intelligence in Italy, Japan, Britain, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and in some other countries.
From Romania, the Soviet intelligence officer K. Velkish, acting under the pseudonym ‘ABC’, May 4 reported : ‘If earlier, the date for the attack on the USSR was May 15, then due to Yugoslavia, the deadline was postponed to mid-June. At first, the attack would be carried out by aviation on railway junctions, highways and airfields. Soviet aviation would be quickly destroyed in the border zone, as the Germans know for sure the place of deployment of the air units. Then the armored mechanized units will be moved. The Red Army will be divided into four weeks.’
Another group of Soviet military intelligence officers acted in London, led by the USSR military attache in Great Britain, Major General I.A. Sklyarov. In just one prewar year, Sklyarov and his subordinate officers sent to the Center 1.638 telegraph reports, most of which contained information about Germany’s preparations for war against the USSR, increasing military production in Germany, and German negotiations with the leaders of Finland, Romania, Italy and Hungary.
In residency I. Sklyarov there were several experienced spies (scouts – Russian). One of them, Colonel S. Kremer, managed to establish friendly relations with Colonel Frantisek Moravec. This officer had ample opportunities to obtain information regarding the German army, the deployment of divisions and corps, their combat strength, armament, movement in the European theatre of war. The quantity and quality of information that F. Moravec transmitted to the Soviet military intelligence in 1941-1945 cannot be overestimated. It can only be conditionally compared with the legendary agent Resler, who collaborated in 1942-1943. with the residency military intelligence ‘Dora’ in Switzerland.
F. Moravec was the leader of the Czechoslovak Intelligence Bureau in London.
1941. Kremer, who attracted a Czech officer to cooperate with the Soviet military intelligence, could not even imagine that he recruited not one agent, who was given the pseudonym ‘Baron’, but the entire intelligence network of Czechoslovak intelligence, which operated in Germany, Poland, Romania , Bulgaria, France and other countries occupied by Germany. This secret network was supervised by 11 officers – Baron’s subordinates. The amount of information that F. Moravec transmitted to Colonel S. Kremer, and later to Major General I. Sklyarov, was considerable. Therefore, the spies from the first days of cooperation agreed to meet on the 1st, 10th and 30th of each month. The quality of information of the Czech colonel can be judged only by one task, which Major General I. Sklyarov received from Moscow : ‘I ask you to urgently establish through the Baron what planes, how many are armed with 1, 2, 4 and 5 air fleets of Germany. How many and what kind of aircraft produces German industry in a month. How many and what kind of aircraft is in reserve. What are the reserves of fuel, mining per month and monthly consumption.’
‘Fighting enemies’ in the Red Army Intelligence Directorate, like rust, undermined the credibility of the information that was obtained outside the country. There have been cases when important reports of military intelligence officers were considered as enemy disinformation. Such a fate befell many messages of Richard Sorge. His reports from Japan were not all and not always reported to the Commissar of Defence. At present, it is already well known that the intelligence reports of R. Sorge were accurate, they arrived in time and revealed the most important strategic plans of the German command.
The most important information was contained in one of the last reports of R. Sorge, received on September 14, 1941. The spy reported : ‘According to the secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ozaki, the Japanese government decided not to act against the USSR this year, but the armed forces will be left in Manchuria in case of a speech in the spring of next year, provided that the USSR was defeated by that time considered guaranteed from the threat of attack from Japan.’
Similar information about the plans of the Japanese leadership came to Moscow from the Soviet military intelligence officer Maurice, who operated in the United States. In July-August 1941, he sent 6 reports to the Centre, which accurately reflected the dynamics of the German-Japanese negotiations on the prospects for Japan to enter the war against the USSR and the final decision of the Japanese cabinet. On August 7, 1941, Maurice reported that, according to high-ranking Japanese diplomats, ‘there can be no talk of Japanese speaking out against the USSR until Germany achieves decisive victories at the front.’
The information of R. Sorge and Maurice, whose real name is still kept secret for well-known reasons, allowed the Headquarters to take an important decision on the transfer of part of Siberian and Central Asian divisions to the Western direction, including under Moscow. They played an important role in disrupting Hitler’s Typhoon Plan.
In the military intelligence always worked real patriots. On the basis of the reports of V. Tupikov, I. Sklyarov, G. Kegel, K. Velkish, R. Sorge, Maurice and other intelligence officers, in just one prewar year, 31 special communications were prepared. In some of them, it was directly said about preparing Germany for war against the USSR. These documents were intended for Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, Timoshenko, Beria, Zhukov and for other top state officials.
Unfortunately, sometimes F. Golikov in the reports of I.V. Stalin drew conclusions that were based on the ‘fundamental’ prediction of the leader that Hitler in 1941 would not attack the USSR. On March 20, 1941, Golikov reported to Stalin a memorandum ‘Variants of military operations of the German army against the USSR’. This document outlined Hitler’s detailed plan for waging war in the east, which was confirmed after studying the captured archival documents of the Third Reich. However, Golikov made conclusions that were directly opposed to information obtained by military intelligence. He argued that; ‘on the basis of all the above statements and possible options for action … the most possible date for the start of military actions against the USSR will be the moment after the victory over England or after the conclusion of an honorable world for Germany. Rumours and documents speaking of the inevitability in the spring of this year of the war against the USSR, it is necessary to regard it as misinformation emanating from British and even, perhaps, German intelligence.’
Why F. Golikov made similar conclusions?
At the end of September 2001 I had the opportunity to meet with Colonel-General Anatoly Georgievich Pavlov. He was a participant in the Battle of Moscow, for many years he was engaged in intelligence intelligence, was deputy chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate. I discussed the problems of military intelligence in 1941. Naturally, I asked Anatoly Georgievich to express his point of view on the position of Golikov, which he took during the report of I.V. Stalin March 20, 1941.
‘Stalin, the people’s commissar of defence Tymoshenko and the chief of the General Staff Zhukov were aware that Germany was preparing for a war against the USSR,’ said AG. Pavlov. – This information came to the leadership of the country from our embassies, from agents of the NKVD. All important reports from the Red Army Intelligence Agency sources were also reported to the first persons of the state.
Thinking, Colonel General Pavlov continued :
– Conclusions Golikova – is servility. And, of course, fear for their own destiny. In his memory, apparently, there were still fresh memories of the fate of all his predecessors as chief of military intelligence. Golikov’s action is a hard exploration lesson.
It is hard to say what F. Golikov himself thought about this. But after some time, he apparently realised what a serious mistake he had made on March 20, 1941. A month later, when the Red Intelligence Administration received new irrefutable evidence about the preparation of the Germans for war against the USSR, Golikov acted differently. On May 9, 1941, the head of military intelligence reported to the USSR People’s Commissar for Defence, SK Tymoshenko and the Chief of General Staff G.K. Zhukov materials prepared by the USSR military attache in Berlin, Major General V. Tupikov. In the report, which was called; ‘On the plans of the German attack on the USSR’, an objective assessment was made of the grouping of German troops and indicated the direction of their strikes in the attack on the USSR.
There were other important special reports of military intelligence to the highest military-political leadership of the country.
The EDM of the Red Army almost precisely established the grouping of German troops along the Soviet border. According to military intelligence, by June 22, 1941, 191 divisions and separate brigades were concentrated against the USSR. The documents of the German general staff captured after the war indicated that 199 divisions and separate brigades were thrown against the USSR in the initial period of the war. Military intelligence quite fully and promptly revealed Germany’s preparations for an attack on the USSR and regularly informed the country’s leadership on the dynamics of the build-up of the invasion forces and the possible dates for the start of the aggression.
The art of war is the theory and practice of preparing and conducting military operations on land, sea and air. Intelligence plays a special role in this martial art. It does not replace the military power of the state, but multiplies it. By obtaining accurate information in a timely manner, intelligence broadens the view of the country’s political leadership on real events taking place in the world, makes it possible to achieve success in diplomatic negotiations, prevent military conflicts and win wars. This is its expensive destination.
Not every officer can command a regiment or division. Not every general can lead military intelligence. F. Golikov understood this and from the very first days of the war he was asked to go to the front, he was appointed commander of the 10th army, which successfully fought near Moscow.
On the eve of and during the battle of Moscow, the Supreme Command received a significant amount of information from military intelligence, which made it possible to accurately determine the main plan of Field Marshal von Bock in the operation to capture the Soviet capital. This time, military intelligence data was fully taken into account.
It is difficult to fully appreciate the contribution of military intelligence to the preparation of the defeat of the Nazi invaders near Moscow. For this, it is best to recall the assessment that Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov. He survived the time and is fully consistent with what it was. In his memoirs, he wrote that a well-organised reconnaissance, a deep and comprehensive analysis of the situation allowed the General Staff of the Red Army and the commanders of the Western Front to open up the enemy’s plan for a new offensive in a timely manner and in accordance with this build a defence. ‘The enemy’s strike plan,’ recalled
G.K. Zhukov, – ‘we opposed a deep echeloned defense, equipped with a sufficient number of anti-tank and engineering means. Here, on the most dangerous directions, all our main tank units were concentrated.’
Field Marshal von Boc
Commander of the German Army Group Centre, Field Marshal Fedor von Bock was a hereditary military. His great-grandfather served in the army of Frederick II, his grandfather fought in Napoleonic times at Jena, his father commanded a division. At the age of 17, von Bock received his first officer rank and by 1941 he became field marshal of the German army. Proud Bock took part in the development of a war plan for Germany against the USSR, was a zealous supporter of Operation Barbarossa. It was he, von Bock, Hitler ordered the capture of Moscow.
On September 7, 1941, Field Marshal von Bock, who kept a diary throughout the war, made the following entry in it : ‘According to the Führer directive, my long-time desire is finally fulfilled: to launch an offensive against the main Russian forces’
On September 16, a plan of a German offensive against Moscow was approved in Berlin, which received the code name ‘Typhoon’. This name came up with Hitler himself. The Fuhrer believed that the army under the command of von Boca, like a typhoon, must destroy the forces of the Bryansk, Western, Kalinin and Reserve fronts of the Russians and clear the way to Moscow. The seizure of Moscow, Hitler believed, would lead to the complete defeat of Russia and the end of the war in the east.
The first attack on Moscow began precisely at that time, as was recorded in the personal book of a German pilot shot down in the Golitsyno area. On the Moscow strategic direction, the German command concentrated its best forces. Hitler in the order on the Eastern Front noted : ‘Finally, a prerequisite was created for the last huge blow, which before the onset of winter should lead to the destruction of the enemy.’
Moscow has become a front-line city. Many people’s commissariats and headquarters have already been transferred to other cities of the Soviet Union. The Red Army Intelligence Directorate was also transferred to Kuibyshev, but the State Committee of Defence, I.V., continued to work in Moscow. Stalin. In the capital were the head of military intelligence and several officers of the European department of the Intelligence. They were responsible for organising and conducting intelligence in all countries of Western and Eastern Europe occupied by fascist troops. The department was headed by Colonel Ivan Bolshakov. His deputy was the regimental commissioner Leonid Epstein, the senior assistant to the head of the department was military engineer 2nd rank Konstantin Leontyev. Leontyev was in touch with the most valuable agent who worked in the German embassy in Moscow. In Intelligence, he was listed under the conditional code ‘CVT’. In fact, his name was Gerhard Kegel. From June 1940 to June 1941, G. Kegel delivered 20 reports to K. Leontiev, which spoke about the plans of the German leadership to prepare for a war against the USSR. Fearless antifascist G. Kegel on June 15, 1941, informed K. Leontiev that the German embassy firmly believed that Germany was ‘facing an attack on the USSR in the coming days. According to Schieber, the attack will occur on June 23 or 24. There is an order so that by 19 June heavy artillery was transferred from Krakow to the borders of the USSR.’
June 21, Gerhard Kegel called an emergency meeting of the Soviet intelligence officer and told him that ‘the war will begin in the next 48 hours.’ In the evening at 19 o’clock on June 21, risking his life, he again summons Leontyev to a meeting and reports that ‘in the morning the embassy was instructed to destroy all secret papers. All embassy staff were ordered to pack all their belongings and hand them to the embassy themselves also be in the embassy building.’
On the same evening, the head of military intelligence sent another special message to Stalin, Molotov and Tymoshenko, in which Gerhard Kegel reported that ‘in the German embassy,’ everyone believes that the coming night will start a war.’
The staff of Colonel Bolshakov’s department on the night of June 21–22 all remained at their workplaces. At dawn on June 22, a military intelligence station’s resident radio operator in Berlin sent a radio message to Moscow, containing only one word : THREAT. It was a conditional signal that the radio operator informed about the beginning of the war of Germany against the USSR.
The battle near Moscow became the most difficult test for the Soviet General Staff, the commanders of the fronts, for commanders and soldiers who fought with the enemy in the vast expanses of the Moscow region and the adjacent areas. The Moscow battle was the most serious examination for professional maturity and for Russian military intelligence, which had no right to make mistakes.
Hitler’s divisions were approaching Moscow. On October 19, the State Defence Committee imposed a state of siege in Moscow and the surrounding areas. The day before, Colonel Bolshakov invited to his office, which was located on the second floor of the Intelligence Agency in Znamensky Lane, the regimental commissar L. Epshtein, military engineer K. Leontyev, captain M. Polyakov and four more members of the department. Bolshakov told the officers that the Intelligence Agency had developed a secret ‘Plan Z’, envisaging the creation of five illegal military intelligence residencies that would operate in Moscow if it was captured by the Nazis. Each residency included several of the most reliable and proven Muscovites – workers, engineers, teachers, artists. In one of the groups was Anna Serova – an employee of the film studio ‘Mosfilm’; an employee of the Central Telegraph Nina Korolenko agreed to join the other illegal residency. The band was entrusted to lead Captain M. Polyakova, one of the most experienced intelligence officers of the European department. The West station was to be headed by Senior Lieutenant S. Kuroyedov. The North group was entrusted to command the Senior Lieutenant P. Romanenko.
Muscovites selflessly prepared to defend their favourite city. The country and its Red Army were determined to show the strength of spirit and the strength of their weapons on the outskirts of the capital.
After the meeting with Colonel Bolshakov ‘Plan Z’ was put into action. Military intelligence M. Polyakova, V. Bochkarev, S. Kuroyedov, P. Romanenko, V. Medvedev, V. Rotter were ready to work in emergency conditions.
Under such conditions, intelligence agencies of all fronts had been operating for several months. From the first days of the war, reconnaissance and sabotage groups were preparing and heading to the rear of the enemy. From July 1 to August 1, about 500 intelligence officers, 17 partisan detachments, 29 reconnaissance and sabotage groups were transferred to the enemy rear by the intelligence agencies of the Western Front. When at the end of July the Army Group Center, rushing to Moscow, went over to temporary defense, military intelligence actively obtained information about Field Marshal von Bock’s forces and his plans for a new offensive.
In August, a paratrooper detachment headed by I.F. was sent to the rear of the Germans. Shirinkin. The detachment consisted of 27 people. From September 7 to November 1, intelligence officers successfully operated in Smolensk, Vitebsk, Pskov and Novgorod regions. After returning from the mission, the detachment command reported on the work done in the enemy’s rear to the commander of the front, G.K. Zhukov. In November 1941, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote about the actions of the detachment.
In November 1941, in the rear of the Germans in the area of Naro-Fominsk, a reconnaissance detachment commanded by B. Krainov acted. As part of this squad there were several girls – students of Moscow universities. Among them was Vera Voloshina, a former student of the Moscow Institute of Soviet Cooperation. At night, in the area of the village of Golovkovo, a detachment clashed with the Germans. Vera Voloshina distracted the enemy to herself, letting the other members of the group return to the base and transfer to the command the acquired valuable intelligence information. The fight was unequal. The spy was wounded and captured by the Nazis. Interrogations and torture did not break her will, and she did not betray the Germans. For many years nothing was known about the fate of Vera Voloshin. In the eighties, students of the institute became interested in her, and they found witnesses to the execution of a brave spy. Thanks to the persistent efforts of Colonel N. Anokhin, an employee of the Moscow University of Consumer Cooperatives, and Antonina Bulgakova, director of the museum of this institution of higher education, in 1994, by decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vera Voloshinoy was awarded the title Hero of Russia (posthumously). University students installed a monument to Vera Voloshinoy in the village of Kryukovo. The name of this brave spy was given to one of the vessels of the Azov Shipping Company and the small planet.
Through the entire Moscow battle in the enemy’s rear acted reconnaissance detachments and groups Fire, Yastreb, Abram, Igor, Professor, Bravy, Ryabchik, Brave and many others. The fighters of these reconnaissance detachments boldly left behind enemy lines and obtained information that allowed them to promptly disclose the plans of von Bock, Guderian, Kluge, and other German generals.
In the battle of Moscow distinguished and domestic radio intelligence. In September 1941, the 490th radio division was transferred from Tashkent to Moscow. He will become the radar ‘Osnaz’ Stakes of the Supreme Command. The division successfully carried out reconnaissance missions of German bomber aircraft, determined from which airfields which planes and how many took off into the air to carry out raids on Moscow and other large industrial centers. From the very first days, the division command had a direct connection with the air defense headquarters and within one or two hours warned of possible German air raids. So the Yu-88 bomber, which was controlled by Captain Messerschmidt, was not accidentally hit by Soviet anti-aircraft gunners. On his route, they were warned in advance.
In November – December 1941, all German attempts to break through the strategic defence of the Soviet troops were unsuccessful. Neither from the west nor from the south did the Germans fail to break into Moscow. In early December, the forces of the Western, Kalinin and South-Western fronts launched a counter-offensive. An offensive operation of the Soviet troops began, in which military intelligence continued to actively obtain information about the plans of the enemy. In the battle of Moscow, military intelligence officers not only obtained information about the enemy, but also actively conducted sabotage work deep in the rear. In one of the archival documents of the Western Front intelligence department it is stated that 71 sabotage groups and a total of 1,194 men were sent to the rear of the Germans. The instructions of the Kalinin Front Intelligence Department at the final stage of the battle for Moscow said : ‘By sharply intensifying sabotage, reduce to a minimum the transport of enemy troops and cargo along important highways, and especially in the Smolensk direction, to help forward units that have launched an offensive on this sector of the front.’
The intelligence department of the Western Front, which had the code name; ‘Military Unit 9903’, was engaged in preparation for work in the enemy rear of young men and girls from Moscow, Smolensk, Yaroslavl and other cities. Commanded this part of Major A.K. Sprogis. Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, Vera Voloshina, Fedor Gorbach, Konstantin Pakhomov, Pavel Kiryanov were trained in the Sprogis squad.
‘During the battle of Moscow,’ said Army General SM Shtemenko, who in 1941 was the deputy head of the operational department of the General Staff, ‘we knew, for example, about the enemy quite a lot to precisely define the plan, the nature and directions of his We were aware of the degree of tension of the forces of the German fascist troops on the entire front of their offensive. Therefore, the Soviet Supreme Command decided to launch a counterattack near Moscow at the most suitable time for this … Breaking The resistance of the armies of Field Marshal von Bock, in early January 1942, the Soviet troops inflicted a crushing defeat on them.
The battle for Moscow lasted 203 days. On the vast expanse, equal in size to the territory of France, which the Germans conquered in just under two months, Soviet generals GK Zhukov, K.K. Rokossovsky, I.S. Konev,
A.I. Belov, L.A. Govorov was tamed by Field Marshal von Bock, Guderian, Hepner, Strauss and other commanders of the Third Reich. After the failure of the operation Typhoon, Hitler sent Field Marshal von Bock to resign.
Military intelligence during the Battle of Moscow successfully completed one of its main tasks. After the defeat of the Germans, the Supreme Commander for the first time changed his attitude to the Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army and its employees.
In February 1942, Colonel Bolshakov held a regular meeting with the officers of the European Division of the Red Army Intelligence Agency. The meeting was short. The colonel gave a brief description of the situation that had developed after the defeat of the Germans near Moscow, and announced that Plan Z was canceled. When an officer asked for how long the plan was canceled, Bolshakov clarified loudly and clearly : ‘Plan Z canceled forever.’
L. Epstein, K. Leontyev, M. Polyakova and other officers who were present at the meeting understood that a new stage was beginning in the Great Patriotic War. They did not yet know how events would develop on the Soviet-German front, did not assume that after the defeat near Moscow Hitler would order the Gestapo to identify and destroy all intelligence organisations of the Soviet military intelligence in Germany, Italy, Poland, France, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Belgium other countries. Many Soviet intelligence agents will be arrested and executed, the residency of S. Rado, operating in neutral Switzerland, destroyed.
In the battle of Moscow, Soviet military intelligence gained considerable experience. It became clear that the structure of the Intelligence Agency did not fully correspond to the harsh conditions that the war imposes on intelligence. On January 31, 1942, Commissioner I. Ilyichev prepared a memorandum to the State Defense Committee with a proposal to reorganise the Red Army Intelligence Directorate, to strengthen its material base. During 1942, the organisational structure of military intelligence changed twice.
In October 1942, the first anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Moscow was fulfilled. She passed unnoticed. Before the victory over Nazi Germany was still far away. But at the end of October, an event occurred which, in some way, was possibly connected with this anniversary. People’s Commissar of Defence of the USSR I.V. Stalin signed a decree on the creation of the Main Intelligence Directorate. Of course, such a decision was primarily dictated by the conditions of the war. But by this decree, the Main Intelligence Directorate was separated from the General Staff and was subordinated to the People’s Commissar of Defence. I.V. Stalin began to personally supervise the conduct of military intelligence intelligence both abroad and in the Soviet territory temporarily occupied by the Nazis.
In 1956, Lieutenant Colonel Viktor Bochkarev worked as a senior assistant to the USSR military attache in Austria. In May, he traveled by car from Vienna to Salzburg for an important assignment. On the road closer to Salzburg, V. Bochkarev made a stop and headed for the local restaurant to have lunch. At the same time, a car stopped in a parking lot near Bochkarev’s car, which was moving along the highway from Salzburg to Vienna. Out of it came an elderly man, who also went to a restaurant. When Lt. Col. Bochkarev stopped at the door to the restaurant, he turned his attention to a stranger who had arrived from Salzburg. He also looked at Bochkarev, who was wearing a good suit and looked like a local Austrian. The stranger quickly approached Bochkarev, greeted him and said that in 1941 they met in Moscow.
– I’m Messerschmidt. Captain Messerschmidt, the stranger persistently reminded Bochkarev. ‘You won’t recognise me?’ We talked with you in Moscow in September 1941.
Bochkarev looked at the stranger. Near him stood the former captain of the German air force Hans Messerschmidt. It was hard to believe, but it was really so! Bochkarev recognised the commander of the Yu-88, despite the fact that after those meetings in the Red Army Intelligence Directorate about fifteen years passed.
Lt. Col. Bochkarev smiled and said that perhaps they had met somewhere.
A few minutes later the senior assistant to the Soviet military attache raced along the highway to Salzburg. Herr Messerschmidt was driving in the opposite direction. This time they broke up forever. They were no longer enemies, but on that May day, each of them apparently thought about how surprisingly small the world in which they live.
Secret Intelligence Service
Red Star. Soviet Military Intelligence
No. VI of XL
Adversitate. Custodi. Per Verum