Soviet Railways

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Der Alte Fritz
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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 13 Mar 2018 10:44

I think that the 12th March 1943 GKO decision is this one:
GKO-3029 converting captured wagons to broad gauge.pdf
The 36,000 wagons represent around 5% of the fleet at that date, perhaps a little more. Wagon loadings for the Germans in Spring 1943 ran at 13,000 a day with a turnaround of 7 days which would indicate a minimum fleet of 91,000 so the loss of 36,000 wagons in the short term would be quite a loss, however there was always a large stock sitting around in sidings especially in industrial centres like Kharkov so you might be looking at around 20% of the entire fleet.
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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 23 Mar 2018 10:17

Calculation of military formations, units, services, departments and institutions 1 Tank Army for transportation by rail, remaining after road transport and without the presence of caterpillar vehicles
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=112676833

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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 31 Oct 2019 18:22

History of the VOSO service of the Russian Army
http://voso.zazhgu.ru/index.php/topic,176.0.html#forum

The text of the 2-volume anniversary textbook from 2008 which replaces the standard text book of 1952 История службы военных сообщений и железнодорожных войск Советской армии: учебное пособие/Под ред. Г.Н. Караева. Ч. 1. Л.: ВТА им. Л.М. Кагановича, 1952. С. 13
[The history of the service of military communications and railway troops of the Soviet army: textbook / Ed. G.N. Karaeva. Part 1. L.: Military Transport Academy (BTA) L.M. Kaganovich, 1952.P. 13]

INTRODUCTION

The textbook offered to the attention of readers is dedicated to the anniversary — the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Central Directorate of Military Communications of the Red Army (1918), which determined the modern structure of the military communications service of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
However, in the Russian, Soviet and Red armies, military communications bodies had a centuries-old foundation of knowledge, skills and traditions accumulated in the campaigns of the ancient Slavs, developed by medieval Russia, systematized by the Russian army in the Petrine era and continuously developing to this day.
The art of war is the art of maneuver. And it was the perfection of military communications that made it possible to deliver devastating blows to the enemy in unexpected directions for him, to decide the course of campaigns and wars in his favor. At the same time, the shortcomings of military communications fatally affected the combat effectiveness of the army, and in many respects caused serious defeats.
They say that generals always prepare for past wars, bearing in mind the continuous development of military art, the birth of new forms and methods of armed struggle. However, this birth does not occur from scratch. Therefore, it is also known that one who does not have a past does not have a future either.
Thus, in this edition, the systematic plan summarizes the experience of developing communication lines and means of transport of our country, the practice of using them in the interests of the Armed Forces, provides historical examples of both successfully and unsuccessfully organized military communications, shows the stages of the formation of the EUMA service and the procedure for managing it .
The relevance of the book is determined, of course, not only by the anniversary mentioned - the previous analogue, a two-volume manual “The History of the Service of Military Communications and Railway Troops of the Soviet Army”, was published in the Military Transport Academy named after L. M. Kaganovich back in 1952–1953. and became a bibliographic rarity, and subsequent special monographs, in many respects having the form of collections of memoirs, about 40–20 years ago. The team of authors tried to preserve the structure and orientation of the previous manual, if possible to refine its content both “in depth” and supplementing it with an analysis of events that have occurred over the past 50 years, of course, without claiming to be complete.

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Der Alte Fritz
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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 31 Jul 2020 12:27

An academic colleague is looking for information on the Soviet decision making process to set up the Polish Railways (Soviet) and change the gauge for wartime use. If anyone line Greg-Singh has some information on this.

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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Vasilyev » 03 Aug 2020 21:34

Said colleague here! The State Defense Committee reversed course several times about what to do with the railways. First, on July 31st Stalin signed off on a GKO resolution (Discussed by the Operations Bureau on July 29th) which would convert Polish railways along several directions up to the Oder and the Czech border, over 4,000km of track out of 14,000km total. The management of Polish railways was left up to Soviet railwaymen, which proved very unsatisfactory to the new Polish communist government

On October 7th the GKO decided to halt the conversion of all railway track at the Vistula while transferring management of the railways 50km+ from the frontlines to Polish authorities, with Soviet military representatives to coordinate. This decision stemmed from persistent protests from the Polish authorities about Soviet management of their railways, the Railway Commissariat's fears that it was bleeding locomotives and wagons onto the Polish railways due to their inadequate rolling stock, and a budding transportation crisis in the Soviet rear which threatened the supply of material to the front and made it desirable to leave the Poles to handle things on their own.

However, this proved to be an inadequate decision. Poor mechanization at the broad-narrow gauge transshipment points established in the rear as well as the tardiness of the decision meant that while a capacity of 1,000 wagon loads per day was needed only 400-500 was achieved by the Vistula-Oder Operation. As a result, the GKO decided to change its plans once again on January 28th 1945, in the middle of the offensive! Each Front would now be permitted to covert a line in its rear to a wider gauge - 1st Belorussian Front, for example, had Warsaw-Poznan-Frankfurt converted while running the line from Demblin on the European gauge. Because of the delay the Front actually had to convoy material from the Magnushev bridgehead and Warsaw to Demblin for transport to the frontlines while the conversion took place.

Even after all that, the issue wasn't settled until a final modification was issued to 2nd Belorussian Front on February 1st.

Anything additional on this topic would be very helpful, especially in Polish! I'm trying to piece together a timeline of events in Poland and the USSR to contextualize the twists and turns of the decision-making process over the 7 months from July 1944 -February 1945.

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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by GregSingh » 04 Aug 2020 02:29

:welcome:
On October 7th the GKO decided to halt the conversion of all railway track at the Vistula while transferring management of the railways 50km+ from the frontlines to Polish authorities, with Soviet military representatives to coordinate.
It was a pure smoke and mirror political decision never intended to transfer full management of the railways to Polish authorities.
At that time it was around 100km from the front line (along Vistula river) to Curzon line (Bug river). So there was not much left to manage anyway.

But it was quite clever and achieved three main goals:
- raised the importance of a new Polish government (The Polish Committee of National Liberation / Lublin Committee) among local population - as it was now trusted to "manage" railways;
- allowed local Polish authorities to call up on thousands of civilians to rebuild the railways (they had to provide their own transport and food), rather than Soviet military trying to force them to do so, and
- temporary stopped dismantling not military important rail links (Soviet war booty) as it already angered locals.
the GKO decided to change its plans once again on January 28th 1945
That in reality allowed conversion works without asking permission from Polish government and enabled uncontrolled dismantling of rail links; but in large part was now done by locals themselves!

As for documents, there are some in Archiwum Akt Nowych (docs of Ministerstwo Poczt i Telegrafów w Warszawie), IPN, Wojskowe Biuro Historyczne.
If we become increasingly humble about how little we know, we may be more eager to search.

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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Vasilyev » 05 Aug 2020 01:26

It was a pure smoke and mirror political decision never intended to transfer full management of the railways to Polish authorities.
At that time it was around 100km from the front line (along Vistula river) to Curzon line (Bug river). So there was not much left to manage anyway.

But it was quite clever and achieved three main goals:
- raised the importance of a new Polish government (The Polish Committee of National Liberation / Lublin Committee) among local population - as it was now trusted to "manage" railways;
- allowed local Polish authorities to call up on thousands of civilians to rebuild the railways (they had to provide their own transport and food), rather than Soviet military trying to force them to do so, and
- temporary stopped dismantling not military important rail links (Soviet war booty) as it already angered locals.
the GKO decided to change its plans once again on January 28th 1945
That in reality allowed conversion works without asking permission from Polish government and enabled uncontrolled dismantling of rail links; but in large part was now done by locals themselves!

As for documents, there are some in Archiwum Akt Nowych (docs of Ministerstwo Poczt i Telegrafów w Warszawie), IPN, Wojskowe Biuro Historyczne.
Right, it'd be naive to say Polish railways were independent after the October 7 resolution with Soviet "representatives" at every department and station, especially given the wider context of Soviet policy in Poland. I've been trying to get a handle on the role "optics" and "politics" played in Soviet decision making - as you noted, crafting the illusion of Polish independence (Both to domestic Polish and international audiences) was an important part of these decisions, even at the expense of military effectiveness. N.A. Bulganin, the GKO representative in Lublin, sent several cables on the railway situation which stressed the political consequences of not giving the Poles more involvement on the railways. As early as August 8th he was bringing up the issue (See the attached cable). Stalin's personal fond has a good amount of material to work with.

I'll dig around in the archives you listed (RGASPI has been consuming my time right now)! Do you have any recommended books on Soviet trophy policies in Poland and the mobilization of civilian labor? N.A. Antipenko's memoirs (Quartermaster General for 1st Belorussian Front) and other Soviet sources are rosy about the latter ("Fraternal cooperation" and all that) and ignore the former. Zamkowska's Odbudowa i funkcjonowanie kolei polskich, 1944-1949 has a lot of detail but is from the 80s, and it shows.
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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by AllenM » 05 Aug 2020 22:09


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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Cantankerous » 22 Aug 2020 21:09

Did the Soviet locomotive industry in WW2 ever propose giant steam locomotives comparable to huge American articulated steam engines like the Big Boys and Challengers for the Union Pacific, the Yellowstone-class engines, the Allegheny-class engines for the Chesapeake & Ohio and Virginian, and the Cab Forwards for the Southern Pacific? As far as I recall, the Ya-01 Garratt as well as the P34 (2-6-6-2) and P38 (2-8-8-4) locomotives were the only articulated steam engines built in the USSR, but the former was built before WW2 and the latter two were post-WW2 designs.

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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Vasilyev » 26 Aug 2020 15:24

A while ago RGASPI digitized all of fond 644, the State Defense Committee's documents and materials. Along with all the original GKO resolutions you have draft/preparatory materials, the Operations Bureau's minutes, and Malenkov's personal documents related to the committee's work. I've attached GKO Resolution 6658, "On the operation and management of Polish railways during the war", which on October 7 set out the guidelines for managing Poland's railways (Until it was superseded in January 1945).

Materials for the NKPS (RGAE f. 1884) and TsUp VOSO (Under TsAMO f. 67) aren't available online from what I can tell, so other sources need to be consulted to get a more detailed look at railway management outside of the USSR's borders. The dissertations "Служба военных сообщений на железнодорожном транспорте в годы Великой Отечественной войны: Историческое исследование" by V.N. Ratkevich and "Деятельность спецформирований НКПС СССР и ЖДВ по обеспечению боевых операций Красной Армии в период Великой Отечественной войны 1941-1945 гг." by A.N Manzhosov (Not available online sadly) are next on my reading list.
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Re: Soviet Railways

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 26 Aug 2020 16:20

Yes I am looking for the Manzhosov article too. I have written to the Old Kursk website and to the Univeristy of Kursk Library who have passed the request onto another univeristy library in Kursk in the hope that they can help. I will let you know if I get anywhere with this. Art says that there is a copy in the Russian National Library but I have yet to find anyone in Moscow who could go in and get a copy.

For those who want to look at the GKO State Committee for Defence decions as above, you can find them at http://sovdoc.rusarchives.ru/ Russian State Archive of Social and Political History

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