WE AND THE CAR
“WE WENT A CAR …”
This ZIS-5 traveled through many front-line roads before ending the war in the capital of the fallen Third Reich. He stood on a pedestal in Brandenburg; in 1985, on the 40th anniversary of the Victory, he remembered his military youth and again walked along the streets of Berlin. After the unification of Germany, he ended up in Chelyabinsk, and five years ago, he settled for eternal storage in a museum at the Military Automobile Institute in Ryazan. We’ll go there on a date with history: spoiled by modern cars, try to imagine ourselves in the place of a driver … 55 years ago.
Sergey KANUNNIKOV, Anton CHUIKIN
Time leaves its mark not only on people, but also on cars. But the skillful hands of the restorers and the bright spring sun did their job - a military convoy looks almost like a parade. Here they are - Victory cars: the commander’s GAZ-67B, the modest toiler-and-a-half GAZ-AA, and finally, the legendary ZIS, once known as a heavyweight, transported as many … three tons.
Either the drivers were more flexible, or we ate too much - getting into tight cabins is not easy. However, plant the driver in a modern way - it would not be easy for him to cope with management. And so squeezed into a modest seat with a steep back and … "from the shoulder" work with a large heavy steering wheel, "from the hip" press the pedals. The brakes are mechanical, try stopping the car with a total weight of six tons with one foot! On the ZIS-5, the steering wheel is wooden - now that would be a sign of luxury … Holding onto a simple steering wheel, you feel like you are falling through time, and now in the binding of the glass there is a faint reflection - this is a flashlight under the side of the one and a half walking in front …
Near the front line, especially at the beginning of the war, cars worked mostly at night, observing strict blackout rules. Speed - 10-15 km / h. To see at least something, they turned on weak lights, giving light vertically downward, and sometimes even sent fighters ahead with rotors in their hands. Helped by rutted tracks - let go of the steering wheel, and the car goes almost like on rails.
By the way, not only almost … On the Kursk Bulge in the summer of 1943, transport services did not keep pace with the advancing troops - the roads were broken … It would seem that here is a railway line, use it! But the Germans managed to alter the gauge to their narrow - Western European - size. The wagons of the Wehrmacht were abandoned by the wagons, and the locomotives managed to steal. And then an idea came into someone’s bright mind - how to spend precious time reworking the railroad, appoint locomotives … ZIS-5! No sooner said than done: in the workshops they made bandages, put them on instead of tires, and unusual trains went along the rails. One three-ton pulled five or six cars with 10-12 tons of cargo each!
By the way, not only with steam locomotives - next to the modern “Goby” ZIS looks very small. What can we say about the puny one and a half, a close relative of the passenger GAZ-A and the "emka"! The drivers and their cars were about the same height …
Slender boys, who had recently mastered the basics of control and received driver's “crusts”, often sat behind the wheel. In Ryazan, we met with Georgy Alexandrovich Zakrzhevsky, a war veteran, and in the recent past, a teacher of a military school. In incomplete eighteen he got to the front, fought in a company of machine gunners. In 1943, the young fighter became a driver. I learned to steer even before the war - I got a good driver GAZ-AA - and I got "rights" at the front. The instructor offered a choice of three-ton and one and a half. George chose GAZ - the car is already familiar, and even less. He made a circle around the site, and here he is, a freshly baked driver.
Experience was gained already on the front roads …. That the car hit the minefield, the driver and his commander realized too late: two powerful explosions were swept away by the Studebaker and ZIS-5 marching ahead. Stopping, they noticed the tubercles on the right and left of the rut: mines! Every second, risking to fly into the air, 300 meters backed back exactly in their tracks, until they left for a safe place.
Many cars were driven by a military driver Zakrzhevsky, including American, received by Lend-Lease. It is interesting that a considerable part of such vehicles was assembled in our Union from the components that were sent. Today this technology is called a screwdriver … At the end of 1943, Georgy Alexandrovich received his “Dodge 3/4” in Kolomna, which came from overseas … in several boxes. I assembled it together with the repair team, loaded it with ammunition and drove this ancestor of Hammer to Vitebsk to the front. Imagine - there is an awning over your head, a spare tire in the place of the left door, a safety belt in the right aperture. The driver has a light jacket, boots with windings, a cap. One joy - the windows do not sweat and do not freeze in a cabin that is open to all winds.
Winter generally required from drivers not only frost resistance, but also considerable ingenuity. The motor cannot be revived with a feeble battery, therefore it was started up with a “crooked starter”, while simultaneously controlling the air damper using a wire specially removed to the front end. In severe frosts, the crankcase and the intake manifold were heated, and the engine, especially the six-cylinder Zisovsky, was cranked up with a homemade elongated handle. Two or even three people could grab onto it at the same time. The icing of the glasses was fought by rubbing them with strong saline. (Remember, the heater refuses - it will come in handy.) By the way, there was no “stove” even in a relatively comfortable “emka”, not to mention the trucks. And the drivers of the Ladoga Life Road even opened or rented doors: if the car goes under the ice, you will have time to jump out.
ZIS-5 was characterized by survivability, without failing in the most difficult conditions. Trekhtonka was so simple in the device that it was disassembled and assembled at times without any special tools. Front-end repair methods made it possible to return the machines to service by simple means. Say, melted a babbitt of a connecting rod bearing. Not a tragedy: instead, they clamped a piece of a trouser belt - 200 kilometers was enough.
… The peaceful spring sun, reflected in a bunny in a side mirror, brings us back to 2000. A young officer stopped next to a lorry: “We found such a car near Leningrad. Restored and left at home. So you won’t believe it, in severe frosts the officer on duty preferred it over others: while modern trucks are putting batteries in, the GAZ-AA veteran, fired by the handle, will already warm up and is ready to go! ”
Today Victory machines continue to serve: almost every year the Ryazan Military Automobile Institute (WAI) organizes runs. And now, the parade system sets off cars to St. Petersburg, to the place of deployment of the first Russian autorot. By the way, the date of her birth - May 29 - is now celebrated as the Day of a military motorist. In addition, Ryazan residents have two more holidays in May - 60 years to the military school (now the Aviation Institute) and 5 years to the automobile museum.
Discreet old cars - the memory of front-line drivers, of all who won the most terrible war of the twentieth century. Eternal glory to the fallen! Health and many years alive! Happy holiday!
ZIS-5 was made from 1933 to 1958 by several automobile plants, the total production volume amounted to about 1 million copies. The 5.55-liter six-cylinder engine developed 73 hp, which allowed the truck with a total mass of 6, 100 kg to accelerate to 60 km / h.
GAZ-67B (1943–1953). On the Soviet jeep was a four-cylinder engine GAZ-M1 with a capacity of 54 hp. (Unfortunately, the windshield with the frame, the doors and the hardtop on this car are non-native).
GAZ-AA (since 1938 GAZ-MM). The legendary lorry was produced from 1932 to 1950. The engine is an in-line “four” with a capacity of 40 hp, subsequently - 50 hp During the war years, simplified versions of GAZ and ZIS trucks were produced.
Studebaker-US6 - if not the most massive, then the most famous Lendliz truck. The all-wheel drive car (there was a 6x4 option) developed 70 km / h with its own weight of about 4800 kg. The engine is a six-cylinder Hercules with a capacity of 95 hp.
Retired military driver Colonel Georgy Zakrzhevsky, one of the authors of the book on military motorists, “We Can't Forget These Road”.