Escape from Hell
The heroic escape from the German captivity of the Soviet pilot Mikhail Devyatayev predetermined the destruction of the Reich’s missile program and changed the course of the Second World War
Ordinary Soviet and became, in fact, one of the factors of victory in the Great Patriotic War. Being in captivity, he hijacked a secret fascist bomber, along with a control system from the world's first ballistic missile V-2, as well as valuable information about the world's first cruise missile V-1, which later became prototypes of the Soviet (like American ) missile systems of the new generation.
The Fau-1 cruise missile became a big problem for England, and later had to turn the tide of the war on the eastern front. The missiles were launched by German fighters from the air and effectively destroyed objects on the ground. Thanks to military intelligence, in the USSR they knew and took the German plans more than seriously. On July 15, 1944, the Chief of the Central Headquarters of the Air Defense Forces, Lieutenant-General Nagorny, sent a directive to the Commander of the Leningrad Air Defense Army with information on the training of the German command "tothe shelling of the city of Leningrad with shells-gliders (aircraft-shells) from Finland and the Baltic states ... It is also possible that towed glider bombs, which are controlled from the aircraft by radio, are not excluded.
And the first in the world ballistic missile "V-2" played an important role in inflating fear among the English population and became the first artificial object in history that made a suborbital space flight. On its basis, the Germans developed a draft two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile A – 9 / A – 10 with a range of 5000 km, which was supposed to be used to defeat large objects and intimidate the population in the United States and the USSR.
But the Soviet pilot Mikhail Devyatayev was able to prevent these plans from coming true. The outcome of World War II might have been different if it were not for his heroic deed. Mikhail was taken prisoner and was among those few who withstood the inhuman conditions of the fascist concentration camp. On February 8, 1945, he, along with nine other Soviet prisoners, hijacked a Heinkel 111 bomber with a radio control system and target designation from a secret long-range missile V-2 on board.It was the first ballistic missile in the world, which was capable, with a probability close to 100%, to reach the target at a distance of up to 400 km. The first target was set for London.
In the Baltic Sea, on the line north of Berlin, there is an island of Usedom, at the western tip of which the secret base Peenemünde was located. It was called the Gering Reserve. It tested the latest aircraft and immediately located a secret rocket center. From ten launch sites located along the coast, the V-2 was launched into the sky at night. With this weapon the fascists hoped to reach as far as New York. But in the spring of '45, it was important for them to “get” a closer point - London. However, the serial "V-1" flew only 325-400 kilometers. With the loss of the launch base in the west, a cruise missile began to be launched from Peenemünde. From here to London more than a thousand kilometers. The rocket was raised on an airplane and launched already above the sea. The Aviation Division, which tested the latest technology, was headed by ace Karl Heinz Graudents. Behind him there were many military merits, marked by Hitler's awards. Tens of "Heinkel", "Junkers",The Messerschmitts super-secret units participated in the hectic work on Peenemünde. Graudenz himself participated in the trials. He flew the "Heinkel – 111", which had the monogram "G. A." - "Gustav Anton". The base was carefully guarded by fighters and anti-aircraft guns, as well as by the SS service.
February 8, 1945 was a typical, busy day. Ober-Lieutenant Graudenz, hastily having lunch in the dining room, arranged in his office flight documents. Suddenly the phone rang: Who is it that you flew up like a crow? - Graudenz heard the coarse voice of the air defense chief. - No one took off with me ... - I didn't take off ... I saw it myself through binoculars - somehow Gustav Anton took off. “Get yourself another pair of binoculars, stronger,” Graudenz snapped. - My "Gustav Anton" stands with engines covered. Only I can fly it. Maybe the planes we fly without pilots? - You look at it better, on the spot whether "Gustav Anton" ...
Ober-Lieutenant Graudenz jumped into the car and in two minutes was parked on his plane. Motor covers and a trolley with batteries are all that a numb ace saw. "Raise fighters! Raise everything you can! Catch up and shoot down!" ...An hour later, the planes returned with nothing.
Trembling with fear, Graudenz went to the phone to report to Berlin about what had happened. Goering, having learned about the state of emergency on a secret base, stamped his feet - "hang the guilty!". On February 13, Goering and Borman arrived on Peenemünde ... The head of Karl Heinz Graudenz survived. Perhaps they remembered the former merits of the ace, but, most likely, Goering’s rage was softened by a saving lie: “The plane was caught up over the sea and shot down”. Who hijacked the plane? The first thing that came to the Graudenzu’s mind was “tom-mi” ... The British were worried about the base from which the Fau flew. Probably their agent. But in the caponier, an earthen hiding place for airplanes, near which the Heinkel was hijacked, they found the guard of a group of prisoners of war killed. They bombarded bomb craters that day. The urgent construction in the camp immediately showed that there were not enough ten prisoners. They were all Russian. A day later, the SS service reported: one of those who had fled was not at all the teacher Grigory Nikitenko, but the pilot Mikhail Devyatayev.
Mikhail landed in Poland behind the front line, got to the command, handed over the plane with secret equipment, reported everything he saw in German captivity and thus predetermined the fate of the secret Reich missile program.Until 2001, Mikhail Petrovich did not even have the right to tell that the designer of Soviet rockets Korolev himself had introduced him to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. And that his escape from the Peenemünde rocket base on February 8, 1945 allowed the Soviet command to find out the exact coordinates of the FAA-2 launch sites and to bomb not only them, but also underground workshops for the production of a “dirty” uranium bomb. It was Hitler's last hope for the continuation of the Second World War until the complete destruction of all civilization. The pilot said: “The airport on the island was false. On it put plywood layouts. The Americans and the British bombed them. When I arrived and told the lieutenant general of the 61st Army Belov about it, he gasped and clutched his head! I explained that it was necessary to fly 200 meters from the sea, where a real airfield is hidden in the forest. It was covered with trees on special mobile carriages. That is why they could not find it. But in fact it was about 3.5 thousand Germans and 13 installations "V-1" and "V-2".
The main thing in this story is not the fact that the exhausted Soviet prisoners of war from a concentration camp hijacked a military plane and reached “their own” in order to escape themselves and report everything that they could see from the enemy.The main thing was the fact that the not-111 hijacked aircraft was ... the control unit of the V-2 rocket - the world's first long-range ballistic missile developed in Germany. Mikhail Petrovich in his book “Escape from Hell” publishes the memoirs of an eyewitness to Kurt Shup's escape, who was one of the sentries on the Peenemünde base that day: “The last test run of V-2 (V-2) was prepared ... Suddenly, an airplane took off from the western airfield ... When it was already over the sea, a V-2 rocket went up from the ramp. ... in the plane that was put at the disposal of Dr. Steinhoff, Russian prisoners of war fled. ”
Devyatayev later said: “There was a radio on the plane to set the course for the V-2 rocket. The plane flew from above and sent a missile over the radio. We then had nothing like this. I, trying to take off, accidentally pressed the rocket launch button. That's why she flew into the sea. ”
I was personally acquainted with Mikhail Petrovich. He studied with his granddaughter Ira in the same class.
I remember well this man with a very prickly look and a steel voice.