Vasily Margelov: biography, awards and titles
The initiator and founder of the Airborne Forces, Vasily Margelov, personifies the image of the USSR Airborne Forces. Among the soldiers who are related to these troops, he is paratrooper number 1. He is also the laureate of the State Prize.
Childhood and youth
Vasily Filippovich Margelov was born in the city of Yekaterinoslav (Dnepropetrovsk) on the twenty-seventh of December 1908 (January 9, in a new style). His father - Philip Ivanovich worked as a metallurgist, his mother - Agafya Stepanovna was engaged in a house and garden.
The family of the future general - immigrants from Belarus. In 1913 they returned to their homeland (Mogilev province). According to some reports, Vasily graduated from church school in 1921. He started working as a loader, then tried his hand at carpentry. In the same year I went to study the leather craft in the workshop. In the twenty-third year, the next general got a job as an auxiliary worker at the Khlebprodukt enterprise.At the same time he studied at the school of rural youth. Then he worked as a freight forwarder, delivering mail and various cargoes through the Kostyukovichi-Khotymsk line.
In 1924 he got a job as a laborer, then a konogon in Yekaterinoslav at the Kalinin mine. From 1927, he was chairman of the timber industry committee and a member of the local Kostyukovichi Council. In 1925 he was sent to Belarus, to the forestry.
The beginning of military service
Vasily Margelov, whose biography is set out in this article, was drafted into the army in 1928. There he was sent to study at the OBES (United Belarusian Military School), which was in Minsk. He was enrolled in a sniper group. In the second year he became a foreman of a machine-gun company.
In the spring of 1931 he graduated from OBVSH with honors and the management appointed him commander of the machine-gun crew of the 99th regiment of the 33rd rifle division. In 1933, he became commander of a platoon, the following year he was appointed pomkomom company. In 1936, the future general already headed a machine-gun company. From the autumn of 1938 he commanded the second battalion of the 23rd regiment of the eighth rifle division. He headed reconnaissance, as the head of the second division headquarters. Being in this position, he took part in the Polish campaign of the Red Army in 1939.
Vasily Margelov already in life became a real legend.During the war with the Finns, he commanded the reconnaissance ski battalion (122nd division), having made several raids to the rear of the enemy. During one of them, the future general was able to capture several officers of the German General Staff, who were officially (at that time) allies of the Soviet Union.
In 1941 he was made the commander of a regiment of marines in the Baltic Fleet. There were opinions that the "land officer" will not be able to settle down in the fleet. The regiment of Margelov was considered “the guard of Admiral Tributs”; he sent her in besieged Leningrad even to places where it was difficult to send the penal battalion.
For example, when the fascists stormed the Pulkovo Heights, the regiment of Margelov landed in the rear to the Germans on the coast of Lake Ladoga. The marines showed heroism and forced the Germans to stop the assault on Pulkovo in order to resist the Russian landing force. Major Margelov was seriously wounded, but survived.
In 1943, Margelov Vasily Filippovich was already a division commander, stormed the "Saur-Grave", participated in the liberation of Kherson. In 1945, the Nazis gave him the nickname - "Soviet Skorzeny." This happened after the famous German tank divisions "Great Germany" and "Dead Head" surrendered to him without a fight.
In early May 1945the command set before Margelov the task: to destroy or capture the remnants of the famous SS units who wanted to get through to the Americans. Vasily Margelov ventured on a dangerous step. He, with a small group of officers armed with machine guns and grenades, with a battery of cannons, crept up to the headquarters of the enemy and ordered to open fire if he did not return after 10 minutes.
The brave man went to the German headquarters and presented an ultimatum: to surrender and save life or to be destroyed. Gave time to think a little - until the end of a smoked cigarette. The Nazis surrendered.
In the Airborne Forces
At the victorious parade in Moscow, the founder of the Airborne Forces, Vasiliy Margelov, commanded the regiment of the Second Ukrainian Front. After the victory over the Nazis, Vasily Margelov, whose biography is set out in this article, continued his service.
From 1950 to 1954 was the commander of the 37th airborne Svirsky corps. From 1954 to 1959 commanded the airborne troops of the Soviet Union. In 1964, being impressed by the motion picture “Such is sporting life”, he introduced rugby in the training program for paratroopers.
On October 28, 1967, he received the rank of “Army General”.He commanded the paratroopers during the entry of troops into Czechoslovakia. For all the time of his service he made more than sixty skydiving, the last when he was sixty-five years old. Thus, he showed a personal example to his subordinates.
Contribution to Airborne Development
The name of Margelov will forever remain in the history of the Airborne Forces of Russia and other countries of the former Union His persona personifies the era of development and formation of the Airborne Forces. His name is forever linked to their popularity and prestige both in our country and abroad.
General Margelov Vasily understood that mobile and maneuverable paratroopers could carry out military operations in the rear of the enemy. He always rejected the installation on the retention of areas captured by the landing force, until the arrival of the troops that were advancing from the front. In this case, the paratroopers could be quickly destroyed.
Vasily Margelov over 20 years led the Airborne Forces of the USSR, and thanks to his merits, they became one of the most mobile troops in the structure of the Armed Forces of the country. The contribution of the general to the formation of the Airborne Forces was reflected in the playful deciphering of this abbreviation - “Uncle Vasya's troops”.
The concept of the role of airborne
In military theory it was believed that the use of nuclear strikes and maintaining a high rate during the offensive required the use of airborne troops. In such circumstances, the airborne troops must comply with the strategic goals of military conflicts and meet the political goals of the country.
Margelov believed that in order to fulfill its role in operations, it was necessary for the Soviet formations to be maneuverable, covered with armor, well-managed, have fire effectiveness, could land at any time of the day behind enemy lines and go to combat immediately. It is necessary to strive for such an ideal, as the famous general believed.
Under his leadership, the concept of the place and role of the airborne forces in military operations was developed. On this topic, he wrote many papers and defended his thesis.
As time went on, the need arose to bridge the gap between the theory of the use of airborne troops and the layered structure of troops and the capabilities of military transport aviation. Becoming the commander, Margelov Vasily (Airborne) received at his disposal the troops, which consisted of lightly armed infantry and aircraft, equipped with IL-14, Li-2, Tu-4.Opportunities were severely limited and military personnel were unable to tackle serious tasks.
The general began with the fact that he initiated the mass production of landing gear, parachute systems and platforms, as well as cargo containers. For the Airborne Forces, modifications of the weapon were developed that were easy to parachute by parachute - folding stock, low weight.
Also, the combat equipment was upgraded specifically for the Airborne Forces: self-propelled landing gears ASU-76, ASU-57, ASU-57P, ASU-85, tracked vehicle BMD-1 and others. Radio stations, anti-tank complexes, reconnaissance vehicles were also developed. Anti-aircraft complexes were equipped with armored personnel carriers, they were placed calculations with ammunition and portable complexes.
Closer to the 60s, the AN-8 and An-12 aircraft with a payload capacity of up to twelve tons arrived at the landing, and they could fly long distances. A little later, the airborne troops received the AN-22 and IL-76 aircraft.
After retirement, Vasily Margelov lived in Moscow. Uncle Vasya died on March 4, 1990. He was buried at the Novodevichy cemetery. Monument to Vasily Margelov installed in Tyumen.There are also monuments in his honor in Krivoy Rog, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Chisinau, Ryazan, Kostyukovichi, Omsk, Ulyanovsk, Tula, and St. Petersburg.
In Taganrog there is a memorial plaque dedicated to the general. The officers and soldiers of the airborne troops annually visit the monument to Uncle Vasya at the Novodevichy cemetery and pay tribute to his memory.