Why the Soviet Union built the Molotov Line

History 30/01/20 Why the Soviet Union built the Molotov Line

it Should immediately be noted that such names as Molotov Line and the Stalin Line in the Soviet Union officially did not exist. And in the informal way these phrases were applied only to the West side. Where are they, in fact, was invented.

In the Soviet Union, officially there were fortified areas in Western, southern and Eastern borders. In military terms, they were all independent, the only structure in which they were United is a military construction Directorate of the red army.

In 1939, after the change of the state border of the USSR began construction of fortifications along the new border, that is Molotov Line.

And the Stalin Line and Molotov Line, and fortified lines in the far East and the Caucasus, and different in structure and purpose. And concrete fortifications also had its own characteristics.

For defense or for attack?

At once caused a great response the book Rezun-Suvorov’s “Icebreaker” and its sequels Stalin Line and Molotov Line was given a lot of space. The author has developed a whole theory of their purpose, and planned use. Like the other ideas of the author, these are not stand criticism and don’t deserve special attention, but, to paraphrase a phrase from a popular movie: “Finding he was in the right direction.”

These lines were built in different periods of the development of military Affairs, though, and separates them only a few years. At the turn of the 30-ies in the USSR was considered a fortified regions on the border as a means to reflect the first impact of a potential enemy. In the case of threats against the fortified garrisons and field army intended for their filling, otmobilizovat (preferably secretly), and had to fight with the enemy, crossed the border. The objective of the fortifications was to gain time required to mobilize the main part of the armedlocated forces. And then, as they say, according to circumstances.

In the fortified areas was planned to have permanent garrisons, which are in a dangerous period now intended to strengthen. In addition, there were pre-created field the troops that were to operate in these fortifications. In 20-30 years there was a great theoretical work, as is well told in the book Valentine Runova “All fortifications and defensive lines of World war II”. According to the then existing world views, fortified areas, consisting of long-term fortifications occupied by permanent garrisons, was to serve only the backbone of the defense. At the core of the had to rely, field troops. While in countries such as France and the Soviet Union part of field troops for the filling Level formed immediately, and differed from the usual combined arms. French fortress infantry division (Division d’infanterie de Forteresse), instead of the normal infantry divisions had machine-gun. In the red Army, according to the “Plan for development and reorganization of the red army in 1938-1942 he” had the infantry divisions of fortifications, which was different from the usual presence of additional machine-gun battalion in each regiment.

However, in the late 30’s views of the Soviet leadership at the beginning of the war has changed significantly. Now all the plans for the future war included the pre-emptive strike at the concentrated at our borders for the enemy troops. That was reflected in all pre-war documents. However, it could be a situation where a preemptive strike is delayed and the enemy will go first. In this case, and there were plans of covering the state border, the main role which was to play the fortified areas. They had to take the blow, to keep the enemy to give the opportunity for Soviet troops to turn around and act on their plan.

that is why the Molotov Line, in the first place was to cover the most vulnerable areas of the border. For the Stalin Line the task was to completely cover graIan “from sea to sea.”

Guns old and new

Stalin Line, unlike the Molotov Line had very little artillery. In thirteen Urach by the beginning of 1938 there were only 222 99 capanina guns and field artillery pieces. However, according to “Encyclopedia of domestic artillery” by A. Shirokorad in 1936, the red army capanina units with 76-mm guns mod. 1900, was 54, and 76-mm guns mod. 1902 — 472. But we must remember that at that time were built and thirteen fortifications in the far East.

Such a small amount of artillery is not evidence of the fact that the leadership of the red army was going to contain the offensive of the enemy among the guns. Industry capabilities are not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the army. Not that the red army lacked weapons, it was more than in any country in the world, but the Red Army constantly grew in size and demanded more and more modern samples of weapons and equipment. The industry also could not cope with the increasing demands, constantly breaking plans.

Because are created to strengthen the arm was nothing. In order to solve the issue, began to use of obsolete and captured weapons depots. As a result, the Stalin Line has turned into a kind of artillery and machine-gun Museum. In addition to domestic “Maksimov” there was a Hotchkiss machine guns, Vickers, Colt, remaining from the First World war. Among the field guns could even be found 3,42-DM field gun mod. 1877. Heavy artillery was represented by 6-DM of guns 120, 190 and 200 pounds and their French contemporaries of the caliber of 155 mm. and 120 as anti-tank guns in Bunkers put marine 47-mm Hotchkiss guns and 37-mm battalion gun Rosenberg. Used tank turret, and a separate 45-mm tank cannon.

During the construction of the Molotov Line anti-tank defense has paid much more attention . If Stalin Line about 10% of the Bunkers were artillery weapons, in Urach on a new frontier, this figure is planned to increase up to 30%. In the Soviet Union was developed and adopted by the installing DOT-4 45-mm cannon and machine-gun Silina. Before the war they managed to produce more than 800, but the troops received only 410 units. Was created casemate installing the 76 mm gun L-17 and DOT-2. First ordered 600 units, the second — 200 in 1939 and another 200 in 1941.

Developed the armored turret with 45-mm and 76-mm guns, casemate installation 57-mm and 107-mm guns, but it was not accepted into service.

it is Necessary to take into account that the Stalin Line was not completed and half the Molotov Line was also built by 20%. Therefore to evaluate and compare them it is possible only very conditionally, and largely on the real state, but only according to the plans.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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