England has long dreamed of doing away with Russia. But almost always she tried to do it with someone else's hands.
All the 17th-19th centuries, the British hounded the Turks on us. As a result, Russia fought with Turkey in the Russo-Turkish War of 1676-81, in the Russo-Turkish War of 1686-1700, in the Russo-Turkish War of 1710-13, in the Russo-Turkish War of 1735-39, in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-74, in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-91, in the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-12, and in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. In addition, Turkey fought against Russia in the Crimean War and the First World War. Thus, a total of 10 times.
At the beginning of the 19th they set Napoleon against us, with whom, as with Germany in 1939, we had the Treaty of Tilsit, concluded in 1807. In 1805, he almost invaded England, but then the British were able to draw Austria and Russia into the war against Napoleon. The Russian-Austrian offensive forced Napoleon to move to Bavaria, and then to Bohemia, in order to defeat the allies on November 20 (December 2) 1805 at Austerlitz. But in 1812, through the efforts of agents of British influence, Napoleon decided to invade Russia.
Pavel Vasilievich Chichagov
The British also forced us to set out on the Foreign Campaign of 1813-14. What have we gained from this trip? An eternally rebellious Poland? Strengthening Austria and Prussia, which became our enemies a century later? Moreover, all this was paid for by several tens of thousands of Russian lives. After 1812 Napoleon would hardly have gone to Russia again. But he would have to concentrate all his efforts on England. Many laugh at Admiral Chichagov, who missed Napoleon on the Berezina (more about this here). In fact, Pavel Vasilyevich Chichagov acted on the secret orders of Kutuzov, whose plans did not include the capture of Napoleon. If Kutuzov had needed it, he would have captured Napoleon at the beginning of November in Smolensk, where, having left Moscow, he withdrew through Borovsk, Vereya, Mozhaisk and Vyazma after the defeat at Maloyaroslavets. Kutuzov was a supporter of Russia's withdrawal from the war immediately after the restoration of the Russian borders. The anglophobe Kutuzov believed that the elimination of Napoleon as a political figure pours water primarily on the mill of the British.
In 1807, Mikhail Illarionovich was a supporter of the Peace of Tilsit and joining the Continental blockade. In December 1812, he opposed the Foreign campaign, and when he was forced to obey the order of the emperor, he became upset, fell ill and died.
The successful escape of Napoleon put an end to Chichagov's reputation. Offended by public opinion, but bound by an oath not to divulge Kutuzov's plan even after his death, Chichagov was forced to go abroad in 1814. He died in Paris on September 1, 1849.
Vasily Stepanovich Zavoiko
And in 1853-56, the British themselves, in alliance with France and Sardinia, landed in the Crimea, blockaded Kronstadt, on July 6-7, 1854, they subjected the Solovetsky Monastery to nine-hour ship artillery shelling. And on August 18-24, 1854, Admiral Price's squadron (3 frigates, 1 corvette, 1 brig, 1 steamer, in total - 218 guns) tried to capture Petropavlovsk. The city was defended by a Russian garrison under the command of Major General Zavoiko, numbering several hundred people with 67 guns.
On August 20, after suppressing the fire of two batteries, the British landed an assault force of 600 people south of the city, but a Russian detachment of 230 soldiers threw it into the sea with a counterattack. On August 24, the allied squadron defeated 2 batteries on the peninsula and landed a large landing (970 people) west and north-west of the city. The defenders of Petropavlovsk (360 people) detained the enemy, and then threw him back with a counterattack. The British and their allies lost about 450 people, the Russians about a hundred. Defeated, on August 27, the allied squadron left the Petropavlovsk region. The landing of the British in the De-Kastri Gulf also ended in failure.
British Guards Grenadiers
Only in the Crimea did the British succeed in achieving success: on August 27, 1855, the Russian troops, who had not yet exhausted all the possibilities of defense, by order of the command left the heavily destroyed southern part of the city of Sevastopol, the defense of which lasted almost a year - 349 days. It should be noted that the siege of Sevastopol was led by the Anglo-French-Turkish-Sardinian troops totaling 62.5 thousand people. The number of the defenders of Sevastopol was 18 thousand soldiers and sailors. So it was not the rottenness of the tsarist regime and not the technical backwardness that caused the defeat of Russia at Sevastopol, but the numerical superiority of the enemy by three and a half times. The numerical superiority of the enemy also explains the defeat of the Russian troops in the battle on the Alma River - 55 thousand allied soldiers against 34 thousand Russians, that is, 1, 6 times less. This is taking into account the fact that the Russian troops were advancing. In a similar situation, when the Russian troops were advancing, having a numerical superiority, they won victories. This was the case in the Balaklava battle, in which the Russians won a victory, suffering less losses than the enemy.
Balaklava battle won by Russian troops.
The Russian command is scolded for the insufficiently rapid introduction of technical innovations - at a time when our opponents were armed with rifles, our troops continued to use smooth-bore guns. However, few people know that rifled guns of our army were then not needed - Nicholas I himself invented a bullet, the rotation of which was given by an oncoming air flow. Such a bullet in range was one and a half times superior in flight range to Minier bullets fired from rifles. And if it were not for the untimely death of the emperor, then perhaps the development of weapons could have taken a completely different path.
British Enfield rifle model 1853
But, despite the fall of Sevastopol, the British did not succeed in seizing the Crimean peninsula from Russia.
The British continued their attempts to defeat Russia in the twentieth century. At the very beginning of the century, they supported Japan, which could not have won a victory over Russia without this support. Soon after the revolution, on December 23, 1917, an Anglo-French agreement was concluded on the division of the spheres of future hostilities and, consequently, the spheres of influence in Russia: the Caucasus and the Cossack regions entered the British zone, and Bessarabia, Ukraine and Crimea entered the French zone. In conditions when the old army had already collapsed through the efforts of the Bolsheviks, and the Red Army had not yet been created, the British tried to grab important key points from Russia in order to use them as starting points for further expansion. So, on March 6, an English landing was landed in Murmansk, on August 2 of the same year, British troops landed in Arkhangelsk, and on August 4, British troops occupied Baku.
But the British were closest to a war with the Russians in the first months of World War II - between Hitler's attack on Poland and the defeat of France. After the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the British began to consider the Soviet Union an accomplice of Hitler and, therefore, their enemy.
Almost immediately after the start of the war between Germany and Poland, in which the USSR took part since September 17, 1939, the Anglo-French allies showed their attention to the Baku oil fields and the search for possible ways to disable them.
By the beginning of the Second World War, the Baku oil industry produced 80% of high-grade aviation gasoline, 90% of naphtha and kerosene, 96% of automotive oils from their total production in the USSR. The theoretical possibility of an air attack on Soviet oil fields was first considered as early as September 1939 by the liaison officer between the General Staff and the French Foreign Ministry, Lieutenant Colonel Paul de Villelume. And on October 10, French Finance Minister Paul Reynaud posed a specific question to him: is the French Air Force capable of "bombing oil development and oil refineries in the Caucasus from Syria." In Paris, it was meant that these plans should be carried out in close cooperation with the British. US Ambassador to Paris William C. Bullitt, who was, incidentally, at one time the first US Ambassador to the USSR, was also informed of these plans by the head of the French government, Edouard Daladier and other French politicians in connection with the signing of a mutual assistance treaty on October 19, 1939 between England, France and Turkey. He telegraphed to Washington about the discussion in Paris of the possibility of "bombing and destroying Baku." Although the French and the British coordinated their plans, the latter were not far behind them in the development of their similar projects.
On January 11, 1940, the British embassy in Moscow reported that the action in the Caucasus could "bring Russia to its knees in the shortest possible time," and the bombing of the Caucasian oil fields could inflict a "knockout blow" on the USSR.
On January 24, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff of England, General Edwin Ironside - the same one who headed the British mission in Arkhangelsk during the years of military intervention - presented to the military cabinet the memorandum "The main strategy of the war", which indicated the following: "in determining our strategy in the current situation, there will be the only the right decision to consider Russia and Germany as partners. " Ironside stressed: "In my opinion, we will be able to provide effective assistance to Finland only if we attack Russia from as many directions as possible and, most importantly, strike at Baku, an oil production region, in order to cause a serious state crisis in Russia. ". Ironside was aware that such actions would inevitably lead the Western allies to war with the USSR, but in the current situation he considered it completely justified. The document emphasized the role of British aviation in the implementation of these plans, and in particular indicated that “economically Russia is highly dependent in the war on oil supplies from Baku. This area is within the reach of long-range bombers, but on condition that they have the ability to fly over the territory of Turkey or Iran. " The question of the war with the USSR moved to the highest military-political level in the leadership of the Anglo-French bloc. On March 8, a very important event took place in the context of preparations for war with the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France. On that day, the British Chiefs of Staff submitted a report to the government entitled "The Military Consequences of Military Actions Against Russia in 1940."
The Halifax bomber was originally created specifically for the bombing of our oil fields, but their entry into the troops began only in November 1940.
By the beginning of the Second World War, the Baku oil industry produced 80% of high-grade aviation gasoline, 90% of naphtha and kerosene, 96% of automotive oils from their total production in the USSR.
British generals are discussing a plan for an air attack on the USSR.
On March 30 and April 5, 1940, the British made reconnaissance flights over the territory of the USSR.
On March 20, 1940, in Aleppo (Syria), a meeting of representatives of the French and British commands in the Levant was held, at which it was noted that by June 1940 the construction of 20 first category airfields would be completed. On April 17, 1940, Weygand informed Gamelin that the preparation for the air strike would be completed by the end of June or the beginning of July.
On March 30 and April 5, 1940, the British made reconnaissance flights over the territory of the USSR. Shortly before sunrise on March 30, 1940, Lockheed 12A took off from the Habbaniyah base in southern Iraq and headed north-east. The Royal Air Force's finest reconnaissance pilot, Australian Sydney Cotton, was at the helm. The task assigned to the crew of four, commanded by Hugh McFale, Cotton's personal assistant, was to aerial reconnaissance of Soviet oil fields in Baku. At an altitude of 7000 meters, Lockheed circled over the capital of Soviet Azerbaijan. The shutters of automatic cameras clicked, and two crew members - photographers from the RAF - took additional pictures with manual cameras. Closer to noon - after 10 o'clock - the spy plane landed in Habbaniyah. Four days later, he took off again. This time he made a reconnaissance of the oil refineries in Batumi.
However, the plans of the Anglo-French command were destroyed by the German offensive on France.
On May 10, the day the hostilities began in France, Churchill became prime minister. The British consider him the savior of the Kingdom, who at a difficult moment decided to resist Hitler. But the facts show the opposite: Churchill did not sign the surrender only because Hitler did not offer it. Churchill was going to surrender even before the withdrawal from the war, not only of France, but also of Belgium. So back on May 18, when the Anglo-French forces in Belgium had not yet been cut off and pushed to the sea, Churchill put the question of where to evacuate the royal family: to Canada, India or Australia (House of Commons, Debates, 5th Series, Vol. 360, Col. 1502). He himself insisted on the latter two options, since he believed that Hitler would capture the French fleet and, soon, reach Canada (Gilbert M. Winston S. Churchill. Vol. VI. Lnd. 1983, p. 358). And on May 26, in a conversation with the head of the Foreign Office, Lord Edward Frederick Lindley Wood Halifax, Churchill said: "If we could get out of this alteration by giving up Malta, Gibraltar and several African colonies, I would jump at this opportunity" (Chamberlain Papers NC 2 / 24A). But besides Churchill, there were also more active defeatists in the government. On the same day, May 26, Halifax offered to contact Mussolini for mediation in the signing of an armistice (Hickleton Papers, A 7.8.4, Halifax Diary, 27. V. 1940).
The press of neutral countries also added fuel to the fire of defeatism. So on May 21, the Swedish press wrote that Germany does not have 31 torpedo boats, as it actually was, but more than a hundred, each of which will allow her to land 100 people on the British coast. The next day, the same newspaper, referring to a source in the German generals, wrote that the Germans were installing long-range guns on the banks of the English Channel, under the cover of which they intend to land from day to day. This source, most likely, threw a misinformation on the Swedes fabricated in Walter Schellenberg's office. But the psychological effect was enormous. The Canadian prime minister even suggested that England evacuate all English children between the ages of 5 and 16 to this dominion. The proposal was only partially accepted, since all British transport was already busy evacuating from Dunkirk. They decided to send only 20 thousand children from the most noble families to Canada.
The position of the British was more than precarious. In England, there were only 217 tanks, and the aviation had 464 fighters and 491 bombers. In addition, only 376 aircraft were manned (Liddell Hart B. History of the Second World War. New York, 1971, p. 311). If the Germans had not even landed troops, but simply offered England an unconditional surrender, then at the end of May 1940 it would have been adopted by a majority of the British Parliament. But the Germans missed the moment.
It's no secret that the respected Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill inherited from his father Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill (1849-1895), among other things, manic-depressive psychosis. This disease is manifested by recurrent mood disorders. In typical cases, it proceeds in the form of alternating phases - manic, expressed in an unmotivated cheerful mood, and depressive. Usually, the attacks of the disease are replaced by intervals of complete health. So, after the interval of full health in early June, Churchill entered a depressive phase. On June 4, he wrote to former premier Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947): "You and I are unlikely to live to see better days" (Cambridge University Library, Stanley Baldwin Papers, Vol. 174, p. 264). And on the 12th, leaving Paris after another meeting with Reynaud and Weygand, he told the already mentioned Hastings Lionel Ismay (1887-1965), the future general (from 1944), the baron (from 1947), and the NATO Secretary General (in 1952- 57): "You and I will die in three months" (Harvard University, Houghton Library, Sherwood Papers, fol. 1891).
It was Churchill's depressive mood that was the final blow to Weygand's hopes to organize resistance to the Germans on a narrow strip of the Bay of Biscay with the support of the naval artillery of a strong French fleet. It was guided by this plan that Weygand recommended transferring the government not just anywhere, but in Bordeaux - just on the coast of the Bay of Biscay.
Churchill's depressive phase soon ended by the twentieth of June. Began manic. And so, Churchill, speaking in Parliament on June 23, announced to the dumbfounded deputies that England would fight the war to a victorious end. What was Churchill's confidence in victory based on?
The fact is that these days a brilliant idea came to his head: once again try to make Stalin think that Hitler, having dealt with France, would attack Russia. As early as May 20, 1940, the Soviet side was informed of its intention to send a "special commissioner" Sir Stafford Cripps to Moscow on a "research" mission. Soon, Cripps becomes an ambassador instead of the previous Sir, Sir William Seeds, who had gone on vacation on January 2. And already on June 25, Stalin received Churchill's letter through Cripps, in which the prime minister of a broken country with an unarmed, demoralized army offered not just anyone, but Stalin, the hand of friendship.
Stalin did not accept her, but Churchill did not rest on this. He decided to provide Hitler with information that Stalin was preparing a stab in his back. Such information is the British. Mainly through the French and neutral press, they unobtrusively tried to throw at Hitler from the very moment of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Thus, on October 15, 1939, an editorial in the French newspaper Temps stated that "the positions conquered by Russia pose a constant threat to Germany" (Temps, October 15, 1939). A little later, in December 1939, "Epoque" wrote literally the following: "The plan of the Russians is grandiose and dangerous. Their ultimate goal is the Mediterranean Sea" ("Epoque", December 4, 1939). One of the episodes of this propaganda campaign was the aforementioned distribution by the Havas agency of a forged protocol of the Politburo meeting.
The overseas press did not lag behind its French colleagues. The following lines appeared in the January issue of the official magazine of the State Department: "Having turned his troops from east to west, Hitler must constantly be on his guard" ("Foreign Affairs", January, 1940, p. 210). But such statements in the neutral press reached a truly wide scale in the period between the end of hostilities in France and the German attack on the Soviet Union. They tried with all their might to convince Hitler that Stalin wanted to attack him. And Hitler believed. Already on January 8, 1941, Hitler told Ribbentrop: "England is supported only by the hope of help from America and Russia. The diplomatic training of the British in Moscow is clear: Britain's goal is to throw the USSR at us. The simultaneous intervention of Russia and America would be too difficult for us. Therefore, it is necessary destroy the threat in the bud. " Therefore, the main reason for Hitler's violation of the non-aggression pact is precisely the efforts of the British. It was England, saving itself from the inevitable defeat, managed to redirect Hitler's aggression to the east.