By Thanas Mustaqi
Memorie.al/ Enver Hoxha was an observer of a Soviet atomic test, which was used in a military exercise. The sensational, completely unknown fact is revealed to the Albanian reader. It became public as early as 1994 in Russia, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of military exercises, in a training ground near the Urals. The event becomes even more intriguing if you consider that the Albanian leader has never spoken about his presence in the nuclear explosion. And why the first data have started to appear in the Russian media, after the declassification of many documents, it has not yet been fully revealed, the event of September 14, 1954, since it is a unique exercise, with the use of a real bomb, over 45 thousand participants. Here, General-Colonel Enver Hoxha, the head of the Albanian state, would put on the gas mask and lie face down on the ground, to avoid radioactive contamination.
Meanwhile, as a result of this, one can guess about the real causes of the disease, which appeared years later: the dictator suffered from diabetes, according to the official version, or there were signs of a slow leukemia. The participants in the trials have signed a document, with the oath to keep this thing forever secret, even before the doctors, for the consequences that would appear to them. Maybe even the Albanian leader has kept the oath of great secrecy?!
Imitation of Germany
September 14, 1954. In the Soviet training ground “Tockoje” (Orenburg region), corps exercises took place under the conditions of a real nuclear explosion, with the code name; “Snjezhok” (Snowflake). In the “Tockoje” exercises, units, headquarters and divisions of all types of troops cooperated – a total of up to 45,000 soldiers. At the beginning of the 90s, after the declassification of the training materials, the Ministry of Defense of the USSR, (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), announced that, in the training at the “Tockoje” range, in 1954, only 44-45 thousand troops participated in total. However, independent experts claim that a number of 150,000 to 300,000 people were involved in those nuclear tests. Field for the bomb test was personally chosen by Marshal Zhukov. The relief of the area of the “Tockoja” region is almost the same as in Germany – in those areas, the Soviet Union was thinking of using nuclear weapons.
The exercises were preceded by a special decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, dated September 29, 1953. The corps exercise, called; “Breaking the prepared tactical defense of the enemy with the use of atomic weapons” also had a political background – the Ministers of Defense of the allied states of the USSR were invited as observers. On the day of the test of the nuclear “apocalypse”, the soldiers and local residents recognized among the participants the marshals of the Soviet Union, Vasilevski, Rokosovski, Malinovski, Konjev, Bagramyan, Timoshenko, as well as the legends; Budjoni and Voroshilov.
Chapayev’s son, artillery brigade commander, Aleksander Chapayev, did not go unnoticed. Here, the day before the exercises, came the Soviet Minister of Defense, Bulganin, together with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Malenkov, and the first secretary of the Central Committee, of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev.
Among the guests, there were Yugoslav and Chinese soldiers. The participant of the exercises in “Tockoje”, V.U. Fyodorov wrote that among the military and foreign leaders, he especially remembered Enver Hoxha – the head of Albania and Marshal Pin De-Huan, the Chinese Minister of Defense. Even the head of the Soviet nuclear program, Academician Igor Kurchatov (the “father” of the Soviet atomic, hydrogen and thermonuclear bombs) visited the region. The observers invited from the friendly countries at that time had to see that they had an ally of their own, the Soviet Union with a terrible power in their hands. To fill their minds, they were invited to the command post, which was located 10.5 kilometers from the planned epicenter of the explosion.
In the early morning
5 days before the atomic explosion, all bodies were taken out of the 8 kilometer forbidden zone. On September 14, 1954, in the morning, the supreme command was placed at the main observation point. There were almost all marshals of the Soviet Union and types of units, some ministers, academics. The delegations of the allied armies of the USSR were also organized there. On September 14, early in the morning, the supreme military command headed by the first deputy minister of defense and the head of exercises, marshal Zhukov, came out with 40 “ZIM” vehicles from “Tockoje-2” and went to the main observation point.
When the plane carrying the atomic bomb approached the target, Zhukov went to the open VIP tribune of the exercises. After him went all the marshals, generals, as well as the invited observers. Then he and the marshals and academics climbed the tower on the right side of the VIP stand. On the left, the military delegations of the countries of the socialist camp, led by the Ministers of Defense, were placed.
Barkas VIP tribune!
The observation stand was equipped with means of communication with a loudspeaker. Zhukov, began to listen to reports on the meteorological situation at the range. The weather was clear, it was warm, and there was a moderate to moderate wind. 10 minutes before the strike, with the atomic alarm signal “Mollnija” (Lightning), all the troops stationed in the prohibited area (8 km.), took shelters, or lay face down in the trenches, the entrances of communications, put on counter-gases, closed their eyes, that is, according to the regulation, they took measures for personal safety.
All present, including Enver Hoxha, at the observation point at “Medvezhja Gora” (Bear Mountain), 10.5 km. far from the epicenter of the explosion, they put counter-gases with dark protective films on the eyepieces. Zhukov and the observers were at the observation point at the time of the explosion. A bright flame burned everyone’s faces. Then two powerful shocks passed: the first from the explosion of the bomb, and the second – reflected from the ground. It seemed that the shock wave follows the movement of the grain stalks. Many of those present had their hats torn off, but neither Zhukov nor Konjev looked back. Zhukov continuously followed the progress and consequences of the nuclear explosion.
Official notification to the Russian authorities
In the organ of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the daily “Pravda”, on September 17, 1954, a telegraphic announcement of the official TASS News Agency was published, with the following content: “In accordance with the plan of research-scientific works, the last days in the Soviet Union, one of the types of nuclear weapons was tested. The purpose of the test was to study the action of the atomic explosion. During the test, valuable results were obtained, which will help Soviet scientists and engineers to successfully solve duties of defense against an atomic attack”.
The news went around the world, as the Cold War could turn into a nuclear conflict. But the announcement does not give either the power of the bomb or the name of the range. Until 2004, few people in Russia knew about the details of the atomic explosion in the USSR, at the “Tockoje” test site. This gap to some extent was filled by the book “For the sake of the Motherland. Atomic explosion of “Tockoj” (title in the original Russian “Radi Otechestva. Tockij atomnij vzriv”). Authors-drafters P. Lapajev, P. Mazin and M. Lapajeva, have summarized previously published articles and statements of exercise participants, witness accounts.
Some documents have been able to recreate the picture of the first and only experiment in the history of mankind, with the use of the atomic bomb in military exercises and in densely populated localities. The declared power of the bomb was 40 kilotons, although independent experts consider this figure to be too low and estimate the power of the explosion to be no less than 100 kilotons (about 8 times the power of the bomb they dropped Americans in Hiroshima). The summary was published in Orenburg, where this experiment took place. But only a small circulation – 1 thousand copies in total.
At the beginning of 1954, by a secret decision of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the order of the Minister of Defense of the USSR, Marshal N. A. Bulganin, it was planned to conduct secret exercises of corps troops, with real use of atomic weapon, in the “Tockoje” range, of the military district of the South Urals. Marshal G. K. Zhukov was entrusted with the direction of the training. For this purpose, an action headquarters was established. Even today, it remains a mystery why the use of atomic weapons was decided, with the participation of a large number of troops and technicians, in a prosperous and densely populated region, in the center of the country, 1,200 km. from Moscow?!
In the spring of 1954, a reconnaissance group evaluated the “Tockoje” range, located between Samara and Orenburg. It was said to be suitable for training safety conditions. The atomic bomb, with a power of the order of 40-50 kilotons, TNT equivalents, the explosion of which was supposed to be carried out during the exercises, was tested in advance at the Semipalatinsk training ground, in the semi-desert of Kazakhstan. It was there, in 1949, that the first test of an atomic charge took place, called RDS (Rossija dellajet sama – Russia does it by itself).
Now it was the turn of the oldest military camp of “Tockoje”. Its surface in 1954 was more than 60 thousand ha. The artillery range was equipped for testing various types of weapons and combat techniques. The landfill was located 200 km. from Orenburg, 260 – from Samara, 50 – from Buzuluk. Total in this region, in a radius of 70 km. from the epicenter of the explosion in 1954, there were more than 500 villages and localities, with a population of over 300 thousand inhabitants.
Triple control system
All preparations were carried out in a regime of strict secrecy. All personnel correspondence was subject to military censorship. In the training ground and in the “Tockoja” garrison, a triple safe control and authorization regime system was created for the movement of people and equipment in the prohibited area and vice versa. Signatures were taken from the participants to maintain secrecy for 25 years. But this later caused many tragedies. People sick after the explosion could not tell the doctors about the true causes of the disease, and doctors, with diseases of this type, did not meet.
For this reason, many participants in the exercise, local residents, died young, even though clarification work was done with the population, who lived 20 km away from the planned epicenter of the atomic explosion. The inhabitants of this area moved and settled in other places. Houses were built for them, property losses were compensated. But, as the former head of the Internal Affairs region of “Tockoj” points out, “apparently, the government and the military leadership believed that beyond this distance, nothing terrible would happen. Therefore, the local residents residences, 30-70 kilometers from the epicenter, knew nothing, and as a result were blinded by the bright flame, felt the blast wave”. Of course, the radioactive pollution of the surrounding environment did its job.
At 9:20 a.m., the bomber plane accompanied by two “Il-28” bombers and three “MiG-17” shooters flew over the territory of the “Tockoje” training ground and made the first landing for target detection. After being convinced of the accuracy of all calculations, according to the ground navigators, the commander, Major Vasiliy Kutorchev, directed the plane through the designated corridor and on the second landing went on the combat course. The commander reported to Zhukov: “I see the object.”
Zhukov gave the order, over the radio: “Perform the task.” The answer was: “I’m destroying it, I threw it away.” Thus, at 9:33 a.m., the crew of the plane carrying the bomb, at a speed of nearly 900 km. in hour. from a height of 8 thousand meters dropped the atomic bomb weighing 5 tons, with a power of 40-50 kilotons. After 45 seconds at a height of 358 meters from the ground the explosion occurred by avoiding the marked square of 280 meters.
End of the world
At the moment of the explosion of the thick steel shell of the bomb, there was a loud deafening noise, then – a blinding flame, in the form of a fiery sphere. The super-high pressure, several trillion atmospheres that was caused, pressed around itself, the air space of the environment, as a result in the center of the sphere, a vacuum was caused. At the same time, a super-high temperature was created, from 8 to 25 thousand degrees, with super-high radiation in the air, surface and ground, a temperature that penetrated everywhere and only happens once. The explosive material in the bomb turned into plasma and scattered in different directions. Into the vacuum hole that was formed from the surface of the earth, uprooted trees, soil with living vegetation, dust and soot weighing several thousand tons rose up.
As a result, the stem of the nuclear mushroom was formed, with a diameter of 2.5 – 3 km. At this time, it became difficult for people and animals to breathe. Simultaneously, in the center of the explosion, a shock wave was formed, with great power. It hit the bomber and the planes accompanying it. He threw the planes up, up to 50-60 meters, although they were already 10 kilometers away from the place of the explosion. The sound shock wave shook the surface of the earth, in a radius of up to 70 kilometers, first on one side, then on the other side. The shaking of the ground, in a radius of 20 kilometers from the epicenter of the explosion, was equal to the shaking that a 6-9 magnitude earthquake brings. At this time, in the center of the explosion, at the height of 358 meters, the reaction continued.
Initially around the fiery sphere, a small swirling cloud of white to gray color formed. It began to turn into a huge mushroom “shelter”, growing rapidly, as if it were a giant monster. In it “floated” trees three broad saws, raised high. The mushroom cap shone with different colors and at a height of 1.5 – 3 km. its diameter reached 3-5 km. Then it turned white to gray, climbed up to 10 km. and began to leave to the east at a speed of 90 km/h. On the ground, in a radius of 3 km. from the epicenter, a fiery hurricane arose, which caused powerful fires in a radius of 11 km. from the explosion. Due to radiation, radioactive contamination of air, soil, water, experimental animals, technology and, most importantly, people began.
Directly, in the Soviet atomic exercises of September 14, 1954, more than 45 thousand soldiers and officers, 600 tanks and AVL (self-propelled artillery), 500 cannons and reactive mortars, 6,000 units of auto-tractor technology, a large number of vehicles took part , of liaison and logistics, 3 divisions of the Air Force, with 320 “IL-28”, “MiG-15” and “MiG-17” aircraft. It was then, for the first time, that the new “T-54” tanks, the new “GAZ-69” cars appeared. Finally, field uniforms made of wool, capes, etc., were introduced for officers. All these were planned to be checked during the exercises.
In a radius of 300 m. – 2.5 km. from the premeditated epicenter of the explosion, combat equipment, “IP”, “KV”, “T-34”, “T-54” tanks, vehicles, cannons and other weapons were deployed. Both in shelters and outside of them, planes of constructions from the newest to the oldest were placed. In the tranches, 2 thousand mannequins of soldiers with guns and shells were distributed. For the tests, 40 horses, 40 bulls, several dozen heads of cattle, 400 sheep were brought, which were distributed in trenches, shelters, open ground, aircraft and armored vehicles. Other animals were also used for testing: monkeys, mice, rabbits, animals and birds, which had the territory of the polygon as their habitat. Memorie.al