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Gorky Automobile plant in the years of Great Patriotic war.
The 22 of june, 1941. This sunday was unusually festive for workers of
Automobile Plant. On the eve, on saturday, the plant personnel marked an
important labour achievement - the assembly of the 1,000,000th engine.
Factory's newspaper «Autogigant» issued with the big title across whole
strip: «There is the millionth engine!». «Gorkovskaya kommuna»
congratulated the plant personnel on a big labor victory. On the radio
there was a concert for the best workers of the plant. Already in the
morning there were a lot of people on the bus' stops. Some of them were
going to Striginski wood, the other - to the Oka's beach, the lovers of
sports hurried to the stadium. Everywhere there were happy faces, music.
Who could think, that in a few hours everything would be changed? Who could
know, that it had already changed…
An hour later it was a big meeting in front of the plant. «…We declare
ourselves mobilized to defend our beloved Motherland and are ready to work
and to struggle, … , up to complete victory over the enemy!».
And immediately there were the first applications requesting to direct
people to the front. On the same day after the meetings many workers went
to their work places. On the 22 of june the master of tools and stamps
Shabanov together with a grinder Dorogavtsev and a fitter Rykalin and
others performed a huge work, without going out of the workshop for 21
hours. In usual conditions four days were required for this work. On the
same day the planeman of the workshop of hot stamps N. N. Tulumbasov
completed three rates. V. D. Pastuhov surpassed the rate in 4 times and
after the shift till the night he worked at the another task. There were
tens and hundreds of similar examples of labor heroism.
In the hour of trouble hundreds of people went to the Communist Party
Commitee, Young Communist League commitee, millitary registration office.
In their applications they asked to direct them as volunteers to the front.
More than 100 applications were received from the workers on the 22nd of
June and their number being increased every day.
The bright manifestation of patriotism, readiness of people to defend
their Motherland was the creation of territorial armies. People of
different ages and professions went there. They were united by a common
ambition - to battle out liberty and independence of the Motherland with
weapons in their hands. In a short period of time about 10 thousand of
workers became territorial armies members. After a hard working day they
were trained to shoot, to master a rifle, a machine-gun, a grenade.
Hundreds of YCL members headed self-protection groups. Special detachments
for guarding the industrial objects, for struggling against fire, spies and
saboteurs were created in workshops.
* * *
War changed the conditions and tasks of working of all enterprises of
industry and transport. It was necessary in the shortest possible period to
restructure industry to the military way, maximally use all reserves and
possibilities for the victory over the enemies. Gorky Automobile Plant
workers in the shortest time-limits had to pass to the output of light
tanks, of tanks engines, armoured cars, mortars, ammunition. At that time
the director of the plant was Ivan Kuzmich Loskutov (was born in 1900).
The restructuring of the enterprise was developed according to a new
schedule. The equipment was placed in the workshops according to the new
plan. Technological chain of producing units and details was reconsidered.
Such plants as «Red Sormovo», «Red Etna», Gorkovskii metallurgical,
Pavlovsky buses', Kulebaksky metallurgical and others rendered much
assistence in the timely supply of the steel bodies of tanks, rolled metal,
normals, driving tools, various materials.
Manifesting the greatest persistance, energy, initiative, the Gorky
Automobile Plant staff successfully mastered new production processes,
continuously increased the output of tanks and tanks engines, mortars and
ammunition. It was impossible to imagine, that a man is able to work
continuously for 20-30 hours. But now workers, fulfilling the tasks of the
front, did not go out of the plant day and night. In the foundry the oven
broke down. With the risk of his life electrician N. K. Sorokin together
with his assistant A. V. Lupov began repairing the oven, without cooling
it. The same day it was repaired. Emergent military order was fulfilled in
The restructuring of manufacture to a military way of production was
connected with the problem of cadres. Thousands of people went to war, and
the front imperatively required the new production. At the Gorky Automobile
Plant, just like nationwide, powerful patriotic movement of women for
mastering the new professions began. They replaced husbands and brothers,
came to machine-tools, persistently mastering new specialities, for a long
time have not abandoned the workshops fulfilling military orders. Only in
the first month of war more than 1500 housewives came to the factory.
Practically there was no such profession which was not mastered by soviet
patriots. More than 500 women in short period successfully mastered
difficult (male) professions - they became blacksmiths, steel founders,
warmers, etc. Amid the workers awarded at the end of 1941 for selfless
labor there were many women: P. E. Mokshina, N. V. Vorobyova, T. I.
Maslennikova, D. K. Emelianova, M. V. Malysheva, A. V. Alexandrova and
The factory's staff had difficult technical and organizational tasks.
If to pre-war preparing, setting up and mastering of the passenger car M-1
took two years and the significant quantity of import equipment, and
mastering of more difficult weaponry was ended at the plant in five months
without any additional equipment. At the enterprises new processes were
arranged: the production of rubber and its parts, the manufacturing of
carbide, metal rolling etc. Because of absence of metal sheets the plant
had to begin the output of trucks with wooden cabins.
Understanding the importance of Gorky city as a large industrial
centre, enemy tried to paralyze the activity of one of the principal
armories of the country. Workers met courageously the first air raids.
Thousands of workers, engineers, technicians, housewives, students came out
after work and learnt to construct bomb-proofs. The hundreds of groups to
struggle with incendiary bombs functioned at the enterprise. The workers
gave more and more tanks, tank's engines, military machines, mortars,
ammunition to the front every day.
Thanks to the great organization work and selfless labor of the staff
of GAZ at the end of 1941 the restructuring of manufacture to the military
rails was mainly ended. The output of production for the front (except the
automobiles) grew from month to month.
Movement for combining of professions at the plant was increasing. In
august of 1941 there were 668 people who were mastering several
specialities. At the beginning of october the members of YCL of the plant
set a new form of socialist competition - front brigades. In a few days,
front brigades were created in many workshops. On 15 october of 1941 32
front brigades were functioning at the plant, which united 256 young
patriots. The first front brigade of V. Shubin, V. Tikhomirov, I.
Yakimenko, V. Shabaev, P. Davydova, F. Liubavin and others displayed the
examples of genuine labor heroism.
In the short time-limits the plant mastered the manufacturing of a new
tank T-70 and armored car. For the development of the constructions of the
new types of light tanks and armored cars, the main designer of the plant
A. A. Lipgart, deputy of the main designer N. A. Astrov and designer V. A.
Grachev were awarded «The Goverment bonus».
* * *
The summer of 1943 brought the difficult trials to the warriors of the
Soviet Army and the workers of the plant.
On the 4 of june, 1943 at 23.40 the air alert was declared. The enemy
dropped high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the plant, lighted by the
enemy's missiles. A lot of workshops, houses of Sotsgorod, offices,
building were burnt. Water-supply was broken, there was nothing to
extinguish the fires. In many workshops the wooden walls were set in fire.
The substation, which was receiving the electricity from Gorenergo was put
out of action by splinter of bomb. The plant was in the flame. More than
100 high-explosive bombs were dropped to the plant on the first day of air-
bombing. Blacksmith ¹3, chassis workshop, the main conveyer, partially
spring workshop and another workshops were put out of action. Several
houses, children's garden, a hospital were destroyed in the plant's
But the enemies continued air-bombing. From 4 to 22 of june of 1943
they appeared at the same time over the plant. Many workshops were
destroyed or capitally damaged, arterial communication networks were
seriously damaged, the production cycle was impaired. At all enterprise 50
buildings and constructions, more than 9 thousand metres of conveyers, 5900
units of process equipment, 8 thousand of engines, 28 cranes, 8 workshops
substations, 14 thousands of kits of instruments and many other were
destroyed or damaged.
But despite the destructions, the plant continued to live and to work.
The largest Gorky factories: «Red Sormovo», «The engine of revolution»,
«Red Etna», the aeronautic factory of Orjonikidze and other enterprises
were engaged in reconstructive work. Workers, restoring the plant, at the
same time increased the tempoes of manufacturing. And on the 18 of august
of 1943 all the workshops of the Gorky Automobile plant were working.
28 of october, 1943 plant workers and builders reported to the national
Committee of Defense about the plant recovery. The manufacturing program of
the IV quarter of 1943 to goods production was fulfilled 121%. Annual plan
was completed ahead of time, on the 17 of December.
Victory was provided not only in the workshops of the factory, but also
in design bureaus. The outstanding designers were A. A. Lipgard, V. A.
Dedkov, V. A. Grachev, N. A. Astrov, A. M. Kriger, I. N. Sorochkin, L. V.
Kostkin, V. K. Rubtsov, N. I. Efimov, N. F. Denisiuk. They all were awarded
by the local authorities and the government for their work. At the
beginning of 1945 by efforts of the chief-designer A. A. Lipgard, designers
A. M. Kriger, Y. N. Sorochkin , L. V. Kostkin and other talanted designers
new lorry automobiles GAS-53 , GAS-AAˆˆ, GAS-63, car M-20 «Victory»
(«Pobeda») were created.
At that time Soviet soldiers successfully stormed Berlin. The news
about our victory was brought out among the workshops of the plant. Two
hours later the order which was the shortest one in the war period under
signature stamp «urgently» appeared - 1293. The factory director I. K.
Loskutov congratulated workers on their great victory, and the day of 9th
of May was declared completely out of work for all workshops and
departments. Thousands of tanks, automotive installations and lorries were
given to the front by GAZ during the years of the Great Patriotic War. For
success in the all-union socialist competition the Red Banner of GCD was
given to the GAZ staff for 33 times. The Red Banner GCD as the symbol of
courage and labor heroism was passed over to them for eternal storage.
1. «Gorky Automobile Plant», Moscow, 1981.
2. «Gorky Automobile Plant», Moscow, 1964.
3. «Labour and deed write the history», Gorky, 1981.
4. The materials from the archive of GAZ.