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Old 09-14-2004, 06:58 AM   #1
Tretov
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Marshal of engineers Kharchenko

Hello folks,
does anyone have any information on a marshal of engineers named Kharchenko? From 1961 he was deputy to the Chief of Engineering troops and from February 1965 he was head of the same service. In 1972 he was promoted Marshal of engineering troops. He was killed in 1975 during the testing of some new weapon.

Images appreciated. I have tried Altavista with some limited success.


/Patrik

Last edited by Tretov; 09-14-2004 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 09-14-2004, 08:30 AM   #2
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Patrik,

Do you have something that belonged to this man?

Here's what I found:

After the end of the Second World War <i>spetsnaz</i> practically ceased to
exist for several years. Its reorganisation was eventually carried out under
the direction of several generals who were fanatically devoted to the idea
of <i>spetsnaz</i>. One of them was Viktor Kondratevich Kharchenko, who is quite
rightly regarded as the `father' of the modern <i>spetsnaz</i>. Kharchenko was an
outstanding sportsman and expert in the theory and practice of the use of
explosives. In 1938 he graduated from the military electrotechnical academy
which, apart from training specialists in communications, at that time also
produced experts in the business of applying the most complicated way of
blowing up buildings and other objectives. During the war he was chief of
staff of the directorate of special works on the Western front. From May
1942 he was chief of staff on the independent guards <i>spetsnaz</i> brigade, and
from June he was deputy commander of that brigade. In July 1944 his brigade
was reorganised into an independent guards motorised engineering brigade.
Kharchenko was working in the General Staff after the war when he wrote
a letter to Stalin, the basic point of which was: `If before the outbreak of
war our sportsmen who made up the <i>spetsnaz</i> units spent some time in Germany,
Finland, Poland and other countries, they could be used in wartime in enemy
territory with greater likelihood of success.' Many specialists in the
Soviet Union now believe that Stalin put an end to the Soviet Union's
self-imposed isolation in sport partly because of the effect Kharchenko's
letter had on him.
In 1948 Kharchenko completed his studies at the Academy of the General
Staff. From 1951 he headed the scientific research institute of the
engineering troops. Under his direction major researches and experiments
were carried out in an effort to develop new engineering equipment and
armaments, especially for small detachments of saboteurs operating behind
the enemy's lines.
In the immediate postwar years Kharchenko strove to demonstrate at the
very highest level the necessity for reconstructing <i>spetsnaz</i> on a new
technical level. He had a great many opponents. So then he decided not to
argue any more. He selected a group of sportsmen from among the students at
the engineering academy, succeeded in interesting them in his idea, and
trained them personally for carrying out very difficult tasks. During
manoeuvres held at the Totskyie camps, when on Marshal Zhukov's instructions
a real nuclear explosion was carried out, and then the behaviour of the
troops in conditions extremely close to real warfare was studied, Kharchenko
decided to deploy his own group of men at his own risk.
The discussions that took place after the manoeuvres were, the senior
officers all agreed, instructive -- all except General Kharchenko. He
pointed out that in circumstances of actual warfare nothing of what they had
been discussing would have taken place because, he said, a small group of
trained people had been close to where the nuclear charges had been stored
and had had every opportunity to destroy the transport when the charges were
being moved from the store to the airfield. Moreover, he said, the officers
who took the decision to use nuclear weapons could easily have been killed
before they took the decision. Kharchenko produced proof in support of his
statements. When this produced no magic results, Kharchenko repeated his
`act' at other major manoeuvres until his persistence paid off. Eventually
he obtained permission to form a battalion for operations in the enemy's
rear directed at his nuclear weapons and his command posts.
The battalion operated very successfully, and that was the beginning of
the resurrection of <i>spetsnaz</i>. All the contemporary formations of <i>spetsnaz</i>
have been created anew. That is why, unlike those which existed during the
war, they are not honoured with the title of `guards' units.

Kharchenko himself moved steadily up the promotion ladder. From 1961
he was deputy to the Chief of Engineering troops and from February 1965 he
was head of the same service. In 1972 he was promoted Marshal of engineering
troops. Having attained such heights, however, Kharchenko did not forget his
creation, and he was a frequent guest in the `Olympic Village', the main
<i>spetsnaz</i> training centre near Kirovograd. When he was killed in 1975 during
the testing of a new weapon, his citations used the highest peacetime
formula `killed in the course of carrying out his official duties', which is
very seldom met with in reference to this senior category of Soviet
officers.

Rusty.
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Old 09-14-2004, 08:46 AM   #3
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A friend says he has a parade uniform set from this man, lacking the awards of course. I thought it was interesting.

Thanks for the text, Huligan!

Last edited by Tretov; 09-14-2004 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 09-14-2004, 10:11 AM   #4
new world
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Rusty,

Impressive career of truly unique person.

William

Quote:
Originally Posted by HuliganRS
Patrik,

Do you have something that belonged to this man?

Here's what I found:

....

Rusty.
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Old 09-14-2004, 10:16 AM   #5
HuliganRS
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I agree!

I was reading and wondering how a simple question about a Marshal of engineering troops turned out to hold answeres to history of Spetsnaz

Go figure!

Rusty.
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Old 09-14-2004, 11:57 AM   #6
Tretov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuliganRS
I agree!

I was reading and wondering how a simple question about a Marshal of engineering troops turned out to hold answeres to history of Spetsnaz

Go figure!

Rusty.

From what I have understood from the text, he was involved in the creation of Spetsnaz first and later turned to engineering

/Patrik
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Old 09-23-2004, 10:12 AM   #7
Eugene
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I should have some pictures and perosnal documents belonged to Kharchenko. I'll try to find and post a photo on the forum. A couple years ago some of his personal stuff appeared on the few action sites. I belive, Dave was selling about a year ago some pictures and docs that he obtain on the action before.
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Old 09-23-2004, 10:15 AM   #8
Tretov
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It would be great to see some photos. I have been offered the uniform but I think I will pass on it anyway due to the lack of evidence that the uniform is really Kharchenkos.
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Old 09-23-2004, 12:34 PM   #9
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I just sold the remaining documents to Harchenko that I had in the past month, interestingly enough! I missed several lots of photos back a few years ago when they were up for auction. I've never seen any of his uniform items though, but that's not to say that they weren't sold by the family the same time the paper items were. He was really an amazing guy - it's too bad that all of his stuff got split up into dozens of little groups...

--Dave
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Old 10-11-2004, 12:07 AM   #10
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Picture attached
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File Type: jpg Photo 6.jpg (33.6 KB, 45 views)
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