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Из воспоминаний генерала Д.Эйзенхауэра о беседах с маршалом Г. Жуковым в августе 1945-го

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Eisenhower D. Crusade In Europe. — New York: Doubleday, 1948, p.510-512.

Эйзенхауэр Д. Крестовый поход в Европу / Пер. с английского Федотова Е. М. — Смоленск: Русич, 2000

В самолете Маршал Жуков и я часто возвращались к обсуждению отдельных кампаний войны. В силу его особого положения в Красной Армии он как ответственный руководитель в крупных сражениях за несколько лет войны получил больший опыт, чем любой другой военный нашего времени. Его обычно направляли на тот участок фронта, который в данный момент представлялся решающим. По его оценке состава войск, местности, на которой они сражались, и причин, побуждающих его принимать то или иное стратегическое решение, было ясно, что это опытный солдат.

[ПРОПУСК в переводе. Причина, вероятно, в описании Жуковым, как советские войска преодолевали немецкие минные поля, см. ниже английский оригинал пропущенного, а частичный перевод - с военно-патриотическим комментарием см. здесь]

Россия вынесла тяжелые испытания во Второй мировой войне. В 1941 году нацисты оккупировали огромную территорию страны. От Волги до западных границ почти все было разрушено. Когда мы в 1945 году летели в Россию, я не видел ни одного целого дома между западной границей страны и районами вокруг Москвы. На этой захваченной нацистами территории, говорил мне Маршал Жуков, было убито столько женщин, детей и стариков, что невозможно точно установить их общее число. Некоторые крупные города были просто стерты с лица земли.

ПРОПУЩЕННЫЙ ФРАГМЕНТ АНГЛИЙСКОГО ОРИГИНАЛА:

The marshal was astonished when I told him that each of our divisions, with its reinforcing battalions, was maintained at a strength of 17,000. He said that he tried to maintain his divisions at about 8000, but that frequently, in a long campaign, some would be depleted to a strength of 3000 to 4000.

Highly illuminating to me was his description of the Russian method of attacking through mine fields. The German mine fields, covered by defensive fire, were tactical obstacles that caused us many casualties and delays. It was always a laborious business to break through them, even though our technicians invented every conceivable kind of mechanical appliance to destroy mines safely. Marshal Zhukov gave me a matter-of-fact statement of his practice, which was, roughly, “There are two kinds of mines; one is the personnel mine and the other is the vehicular mine. When we come to a mine field our infantry attacks exactly as if it were not there. The losses we get from personnel mines we consider only equal to those we would have gotten from machine guns and artillery if the Germans had chosen to defend that particular area with strong bodies of troops instead of with mine fields. The attacking infantry does not set off the vehicular mines, so after they have penetrated to the far side of the field they form a bridgehead, after which the engineers come up and dig out channels through which our vehicles can go.”

I had a vivid picture of what would happen to any American or British commander if he pursued such tactics, and I had an even more vivid picture of what the men in any one of our divisions would have had to say about the matter had we attempted to make such a practice a part of our tactical doctrine. Americans assess the cost of war in terms of human lives, the Russians in the over-all drain on the nation. The Russians clearly understood the value of morale, but for its development and maintenance they apparently depended upon overall success and upon patriotism, possibly fanaticism.

As far as I could see, Zhukov had given little concern to methods that we considered vitally important to the maintenance of morale among American troops: systematic rotation of units, facilities for recreation, short leaves and furloughs, and, above all, the development of techniques to avoid exposure of men to unnecessary battlefield risks, all of which, although common practices in our Army, seemed to be largely unknown in his.

However, he agreed with me that destruction of enemy morale must always be the aim of the high command. To this end nothing is so useful as the attainment of strategic surprise; a surprise that suddenly places our own forces in position to threaten the enemy’s ability to continue the war, at least in an important area. This effect is heightened when accompanied by the tactical surprise that arouses the fear in the enemy’s front-line units that they are about to be destroyed. Time after time in the campaigns in the Mediterranean and in Europe we successfully achieved surprise in either the strategic or tactical field, sometimes in both. We suffered tactical surprise in the strength and timing of the German attack in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. In this instance, however, the probability and the general location were foreseen to the extent that reaction had been planned and could be effectively executed. Nevertheless, the early effect on morale of front-line troops was noticeable.

The basic differences between American and Russian attitudes in the handling of men were illustrated on another occasion. While talking to a Russian general I mentioned the difficult problem that was imposed upon us at various periods of the war by the need to care for so many German prisoners. I remarked that they were fed the same rations as were our own soldiers. In the greatest astonishment he asked, “Why did you do that?” I said, “Well, in the first place my country was required to do so by the terms of the Geneva Convention. In the second place the German had some thousands of American and British prisoners and I did not want to give Hitler the excuse or justification for treating our prisoners more harshly than he was already doing.” Again the Russian seemed astounded at my attitude and he said, “But what did you care about men the Germans had captured? They had surrendered and could not fight any more.” However, these statements did not necessarily mean that the Russians were cruel or were innately indifferent to human life.