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CEL. Baptism of fire Soviet armor

1929. Eighteen years in China there was a civil war. The country was a patchwork of territories over which absolutely and reigned supreme commanders. Manchuria, for example, for many years, Zhang Zuolin rules. But in June 1928, he was killed in the explosion of a train, and power passed to his son – Zhang Xueliang, nicknamed “Young Marshal”. He needed as soon as possible to gain prestige and consolidate power. The easiest way to do it at the expense of weaker neighbors.

“Under the Gun” from Xueliang were hundreds of thousands of soldiers, artillery, aviation, even French light tanks “Reno”

Here are just a quarrel with the formal ruler of Chiang Kai-shek of China or Japan Xueliang not want too dangerous, you can easily lose and territories, and life. And then the “Young Marshal” turned his eyes toward the Chinese Eastern Railway (CER). She is co-owned by the USSR and China, and a road just on the territory of Manchuria, which was subject Xueliang. Marshal decided, why not turn the foreign joint venture in its sole and?

Raiding in Manchu

Карта боёв на КВЖД. Чжалайнор находится недалеко от Хайлара In several stages were captured by the main institutions of CEL, and Soviet officials – were arrested. Then the Chinese side began shelling the territory of the Soviet Union has directly. Xueliang “inherited” from his father got hundreds of thousands of soldiers, artillery, aircraft and even tanks – light “Renault”, purchased in France. In the Soviet Union, not without reason to fear that the “Young Marshal” can attack the Far Eastern regions of the country.

The situation required a quick and hard decisions. Therefore, the Soviet Union has established a special Far Eastern Army (Odwan).

On the night of November 17 started Manchurian-Chzhalaynorskaya operation – part Odwan crossed the border with China. They had, causing coordinated strikes on the north and east, take the fortified area near the station Chzhalaynor and surround a large garrison town, is named the same as the rest of the province: Manchuria.

This task was not so easy. Chinese strengthening count on getting 152-mm projectiles, sometimes they were surrounded by barbed wire. According to the memoirs of veterans of battles on the CER, in dangerous directions Chinese dug trenches up to 4 meters, installed minefields and kamnemёtnye bombs. Devyatitysyachny garrison fortified area was armed with 50 mortars, the same guns, Anti-submarine mortar caliber up to 150 mm and 20 mm guns caliber 77.

For the Soviet troops it was the first large-scale offensive after the Civil War.

“Small escort” enter the battle

Рота танков МС-1 принимала участие в боях на КВЖД Armoured fighting under the banner of the Soviet and to the CER, but they were armored vehicles, more inherited from tsarist Russia, as well as the completed bronetraktora Gulkevichi , trophy “Renault”, “Whippet” and “diamonds” captured during the Civil War. Other weapons were often no better commander complained that half grenades explodes and worn guns denied after 5-6 turns. Lacked binoculars, watches, equipment, horses and humans.

The main asset of the Red Army in the Battle of Chzhalaynorom was supposed to be a company of tanks MC-1 (nine cars). It was the first production aircraft, manufactured in the Soviet Union. In order not to lose the suddenness of their appearance on the battlefield, the nomination of military vehicles was strictly confidential. The fact that the tanks will support the offensive, did not know even the Soviet infantry.

The operation began. Advanced infantry withdrew silently watch, and the troops went on the attack. A fight broke out with several bunkers near the railroad. Entrenched in their Chinese resisted desperately, not even afraid of species tanks. However, built bunkers were bad – with large dead zones, which can be approached and vertical furnace flues, friendly zakidyvaniya inside grenades. As a result of the way it turned out.

Despite early successes and participation tanks on the move to break the main fortified failed. MS-1 tanks could not overcome the wide trenches, they had to go around. Due to the fact that tanks and infantry were not able to communicate on the battlefield, tanks, as it is written in one of the reports, “scattered across the field and fell out of subordination” . And one more quote that relates to the battles on the CER, but typical for any country and every age: “ Tanks acted decisively, sacrificing himself, but the infantry supported them weak and showed no activity” .

November 17 fortified Chzhalaynor was not taken, and the offensive lost momentum. I had to pause for rest of infantry and artillery approach.

Some errors

Китайский расчёт горного орудия The next day, November 18, the tanks have already acted three platoons of cars and close cooperation with the infantry. Do not be a tank – is unknown, could the Soviet horse battery with impunity to drive up to the Chinese pillboxes at a distance of less than half a kilometer and shoot them point blank loopholes, and the infantry – strengthening throw grenades. Chinese desperate resistance could well lead to delays in the operation and heavy casualties, and at the approach of reserves from Manchuria – and to more serious consequences.

unpleasant surprise was that the Soviet artillery could not destroy Chinese bunkers and dugouts, as well as suppress battery. Saved the state of the Chinese army, which even in one of the best teams was typical of the civil war. Chinese guns grenades were of questionable quality, stood in the trenches with a limited field of fire, and the tactics of the artillery was, according to Soviet specialists, very primitive. Each dugout resisted stubbornly, but independently, without interaction between the parts. The Chinese, though in the early battles fought to the last bullet, bad shot rifles and machine guns, grenades, little used. Major losses caused advancing Anti-submarine mortar.

In tank company during fights out of order seven machines (all for technical reasons, the Chinese have not been able to knock out a single tank). With the support of tanks, infantry finally took fortified and occupied the rich booty for the entire operation on the CER – alone is not considered a rifle apiece, and cars.

As a result of the fighting tankers made a number of suggestions. They wanted to get grapeshot shells for tank guns, missiles and radio for communication. In the future, the tankers would like to receive heavy tanks specifically designed to break enemy fortifications. When conducting tank attack was deemed necessary to put a smokescreen.

Possible failure of the USSR in a skirmish on the CER would sharply reflected in its international position. This was especially critical in the chaos of the Great Depression and the beginning of the future division of the world. However, using only one tank company, and not with the most powerful and menacing machines, the Soviet Union emerged victorious in the first trial of its forces in the world. Let the MS-1 tanks were not the best Soviet tanks – but they were the first. And in the battles on the CER they served their purpose completely.

Also read on Warspot.ru: “Fights 1929 CER: Mishanfuskaya operation “.

Lyricist – Eugene Belas

Eugene Belas – historian, author of books and articles about the First and Second World War. The most famous work – “Myths of the World.” Author of the book “Tanks of the interwar period” on the participation of armored vehicles in military conflicts 20s – 30s of the last century.


  • Proceedings of the Russian State Military Archive (RSMA).
  • Fedyuninsky II to the east. – M .: Military Publishing, 1985.

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