NKMZ - 80. Chapters of history


Town in the steppe

The first builders of NKMZ in quantify of above 3.000 persons in autumn, 1929 lived in the tents made of tarpaulin. Such “tarpaulin” living conditions included a few canteens, medical stations, baths and shoos.

However, living conditions that can be tolerated in summer became a real test for strength in cold winter. Many of the inhabitants coned not withstand icy cold day and night.

The necessity was to be accommodated as well as possible, more safely and reliably. Therefore, by 1930, the settlements of thousands of inhabitants with barracks, temporary dwellings, baths, hospitals schools, clubs, shops, canteens, kindergartens, crèches, etc. arose around the construction site. These were the settlements Novostroi, Shlakovaya Gora (Slag Hill), Koksostroi, Melovaya Gora (Chalk Hill) and the Eight-flam houses settlement.

All these temporary dwellings were poor in terms of living conditions. There were no sewerage, well-kept roads and pavements. One-storeyed wooden barracks were built in sections each per 25-26 persons. Married couples were provided with one-room sections having a common corridor in the middle of a barrack.

It was hardly possible to keep the living area and the barracks tidy even when the dwellers themselves and superintendents from the house-manager’s office paid much attention to cleanness and tidiness.

A lot mud appeared in rainy days and clouds of dust usually rose in draughty summer days.

As the first builders recollected, twice a year – in May and September – the dwellers were moved out of doors for the whole week while the workers from the house – manager’s office tightly sealed the barracks to destroy bugs, cockroaches, black – beetles and rodents with gas.

Those who became thick and tired of the barrack life used to dig caves on the slopes of the Chalk Hill, hang the door and get a sort of the individual dwelling though windows. The first builders witnessed that the entire Chalk Hill within the area of to-day’s Yasnogorka district had been covered with such multi-storeyed dwellings. The rooms were arranged in ledges: the roof one “flat” was the floor of the flat of a neighbor living above. The cave settlement was called Norehuki or Sobachyovka (Doghouse place). It stretched for 1.5 or 2 kilometers and nobody knew how many people lived there.

Norchuki disappeared as the construction of Sotsgorod (Socialist town) proceeded starting from 1931.

A large gathering of people may threaten with epidemics therefore, medical servicing on site was provided from the very beginning. The problems of water supply and well-equipped houses were complicated enough to be solved immediately.

Building of houses on major construction sites was always behindhand compared to industrial engineering. Kramatorsk was not an exclusion from this rule. From the start of construction on site till October, 1934 82,2 percent of the funds allotted for house construction was utilized. Only 76 percent of the funds invested in civil engineering was utilized and 99,381 sq. metres of residential floor area were commissioned.

This was, undoubtly, too little and the temporary barracks though slightly modified according to the living standards of the 30-s had become permanent dwelling places for several generations of their inhabitants till the 70-s when the last of them was finally demolished.

Vladymir F.Silantyev, a former inhabitant of the town of Yurga who resided in Kramatorsk till 1941, recollected in 1933 that “Sotsgorod was located in the steppe, one Kilometer from the machine-building plant. By that time there were 10 four-storeyed buildings and one large house served as a hotel.

Across the road there was a large four - storeyed building of the Ukrainian school and at a distance of 1 kilometer from the four – storeyed buildings the Russian secondary school No.12 was located.” The first four – storeyed buildings, as far as we know, were intended for the plant managing staff and foreign experts.

Nikolai Y.Germanow, the first builder of NKMZ recalled. “Construction of the town was delayed. The site for the future town was not ready, the required drawings were not made. They started building the town two years after the plant construction had been initiated. The first apartment houses ware built in such streets as Partizanskaya Str., Kommuna Str., Marat Str., Pionerskaya Str., Lenin Str. and Sotsialisticheskaya Str. In the late 1932, two houses for the foreign experts, a district boiler house and schools No.5 and No.6 were built.

Construction of the town was carried out at a brisk pace. 27,800 sq. metres of dwelling houses, seven schools, a machine – building institute with the hostel, two clubs, five kindergartens, an airport, a stadium, two bread – baking plants and the bath and laundry house were built within three years. A small workers’ settlement of Kramatorsk became the town and the centre of the machine – building republic. In terms of the dwelling house construction, provision of the cultural and welfare facilities, equipment with services and utilities and planting of trees and gardens according to standards of that time Kramatorsk was one of the first pretty and equipped with modern amenities socialist town.”

It is noteworthy that this was just Kramatorsk in Donbass region where building on the base of the master plot plan had been initiated. The project of Sotsgorod was offered by GIPROGRAD Project Institute in 1930. Further, GRAZHDANSTROI (Civil Ergineering Project Institute) headed by G.G. Korotysh changed the line layout of dwelling houses for the housing estate one. Due to this the density of population was increased by 30 percent versus the project offered by GIPROGRAS.

Civil engineering was carried out by INDUSTROI (industrial construction agency) In compliance with the now requirements for dwelling houses, i.e., three- and four – room flats of 3.2 to 3.5 metres in height, more wide staircases and separated bath – rooms specified.

For the lack of the prewar documents we cannot get to know when and where the first dwelling house was built in Kramatorsk. It is affirmed in some sources that three wooden houses were built in block of houses No.17 and then, in August, the first house of large blocks was built.

The houses built of large blocks constitute a specific feature of the houses in Sotsgorod. This was caused by the actual shortage of building materials, in particular, bricks.

It is known from the documents that in 1932 on the initiative of K.V. Sukhomlin, Chairman of Gosplan (State Planning Committee) of Ukraine , Slag was used for making large building blocks.

Since then, building of houses through the use of large blocks became predominant. To do this, a crushing plant and some other auxiliary enterprises were built.

Andrei K. Putilin, Head of the Experimental Station of the Ukrainian Building Institute (UBI) wrote in 1934: “Construction of Sotsgorod near the Stalin machine – building plant in Kramatorsk is one of the largest and most advanced building projects of this type. This project is interesting not only in the sense of huge amounts of building works to be done but also and mostly due to the fact the machinery intended for civil engineering was utilized being integrated with scientific approaches and the most complicated construction problems could be solved based on researches. From the very beginning of application of building blocks in civil engineering, Grazhdanstroi (Civil Engineering Agency) formed a Section of Experimental Works and Light – Weight Concrete Researehes within the framework of UBI. That instute had undertaken to provide research grounding of civil engineering works. At first it was a sort of the field laboratory and later, as the scope of civil engineering works increased, it expanded the sphere of its influence due to solving the more and problems that had been faced with on Krammashstroi site.”

By September, 1934, ten large – block houses were built in Sotsgorod while four of them were under construction. Construction through the use of large blocks was also scheduled for 1935.

Krammashstroi (Machine – building plant construction in Kramatorsk) was the first USSR ’s and even the world’s construction site on which basic and acid blast – furnace slags had been applied in civil engineering. Earlier, these slags were considered as detrimental due to their tendency to decay.

Two year’s researches of the physical, mechanical and chemical properties of slags enabled the procedures of determining slags that are either stable or unstable to chemical decay to be worked out.

Since 1934, dump slags had been widely used instead of rubble stone for foundations and basements of the 4-storeyed buildings, instead of fire – clay bricks for the walls built of small and large stone blocks and partially instead of wood for roofings as well as for laying roads and pavements, making reinforced concrete structures and erecting various works. Based on application of dump slags, procedures for making no-cement concretes and mortars for brick-baying and plastering have been worked out.

By September, 1934, a social sphere of Sotsgorod included the institute for 200 students, a 7-year secondary school; for 820 pupils, a factory-and-workshop school for 720 trainees a 10-year secondary school for 350 pupils built in a record-breaking term-within 42 days, a bread-baking plant, an airport, a cinema for 500 seats and a bath-and-laundry house.

By that, 5,370 metres of sewerage, 16,700 metres of water-supply piping and 43,470 sq. metres of roads and pavements were laid. By the way, it was for the first time that asphalt had been used during construction of KZTM and Sotsgorod distriet.

Ivan G. Batenko recollected: “They boiled asphalt in huge caldrons, then stooped it, loaded in wheelbarrows and conveyed it along the road.

There, a worker dressed in the trousers lined with felt smoothed asphalt out with a trowel standing on his knees.

Builders of the plant and Sotsgorod faced one serious problem: daily water discharge of 450 cub. meters was specified in the project documents while the actual demand in water including water supply in the baths, canteens and barracks burned out to be 10-fold.

Thirst became a real threat for the workers at the plant and inhabitants of the town.

A.I.Vakher, Manager of Krammashstroi Project Dept., Wrote in 1934: “We began laying potable water pipelines concurrently with digging the shop foundation pits. The task to provide the construction site with potable water and exclude any infections diseases was solved fast and well. The chalk hills that A retched deep below the clay and sand contained excellent potable water in their seams. We drilled bore-holes in the Chalk Hill under extremely difficult conditions. Dyomin, a team-leader of the drilling team guided by Abramson and chernomor, the young soviet engineers, reached the water bed. Today, the bore-hole yields up to 120 cub. meters of pure, bacteriologically and chemically safe water that flows in wide streams far away in the water chutes. The 1-st phase of the potable water pipe-line yields 3,500 cub. metres of water per day. By the early 1935, its output is scheduled to be 6,000 cub. metres of water per day.”

Till 1941, the Sotsgorod district with the population of 50,000 inhabitants was built. A hospital for 230 beds having all the main departments a 3-storeyed out-patients’ clinic built under individual project, 5 kindergartens and medical and epidemiological station were built for the personnel from NKZTM.

To train and being trained is our way to growth

It was supposed that upon attaining the scheduled production level there would be 16,773 workers at the plant including 9,946 persons of the high and middle skill categories.

In September, 1934, only 416 workers of the 7-th and 8-th skill categories and 3,177 workers of 4-th to 6-th skill categories worked at NKMZTM. 2,209 workers had a rather doubtful proficiency level while 1,148 workers had no professional skills at all. Half of the employees had the length of service less than 5 years and 10 percent of them worked at the plant less than 1 year. In total, 54,7 percent of the employees worked at NKMZ less than 1 year. Many of the workers attended the courses aimed at wiping out of illiteracy.

However, all the workers were young. The bulk of the first builders were from 18 to 40 years of age – the most creative age.

I.T. Kyrilkin, Director of NKMZ, said the following in 1934: “When we started construction of the plant here three years ago and marked out the sites and areas on which the giant shops rise above now, we had lost sight of the problem of the personnel required to operate and maintain the extremely intricate machines and equipment and manage the plant. We were forced to pay for such complete unconcern from the first day of servicing the plant: when the necessity to start up the shops had arisen, it turned out that there were no people capable to operate machines. There was no the staff of managers.

Today, we are forced to barn lessons from it.

In September, 1934, the “Socialistichesky Donbass” news-paper wrote: “3,163 employees have been already trained at NKZTM within the plant training network.

790 workers came to the plant from the construction site, 502 persons from the families were involved in production sphere while 1,700 were recruited from the plants in service.

I. Stepanchenko, an engineer from the Technical Training Dept., wrote in 1974 in the “Za Tekhnictosky Progress” paper: “In 1931, skilled specialists from various plants and factories were directed to Kramatorsk in accordance with the Decree of the Communist Party of Ukraine (Bolsheviks) Central Committee.

A large group of experienced engineers and technicians arrived from Transportstroi ( Kharkov).

Yesterday’s peasants who came to the construction site were involved in industrial training. About 6,000 plasterers, carpenters, brick layers, etc. went through training courses within the framework of Industroi courses and schools by 20 professions.

The first specialists trained at NKZTM included S.D. Radko, A.L. Volovelsky, G.N. Tarsis, and S.Z.Mylochkin, work superintendents: M.B. Suponytsky, Construction manager: A.K. Putilin, Dirrector of Experimental Station and P.M. Kornienko, Manager of Krammastroi.

In 1931, future machine-builders were sent as machine operator apprentices to the Voroshilov machine-building plant (Druzhkovka). The young people who had no idea of the metal-working machines before started acquiring skills of the turners, millers, borers and tube cutters.

The trainees had to acquire professional skills on outdated equipment. There were no with individual drives at all. High-duty tools were also hot available. Carbide-tipped tools were worth its weight in gold.

In 1933, the trainees from KZTM came home properly trained but their proficiency level, however was not in correspondence with technological level of the foreign-made equipment that astonished even the worldly-wise machine operators from SKMZ.

The machine shop A (No. 1) was the first shop that had been completely commissioned and available for operation.

Though later on some ideologists said that the workers took care of the machines and the production efficiency was a sacred thing for them, that was something wishful rather than actual. "Machines, which have been bought for gold quickly and in most cases became in operating in unskillful hands".

In 1934, G.K. Ordzhonikidze proposed to introduce the post of the machine superintendents who were obliged to train low-skilled workers in methods of machining and operating the unique machines.

In 1934, L.B. Starosvetsky, one of the first machine superintendents wrote in the "Komsomolskaya Pravda": "That year i had graduated MMTI and was sent with a group of the "one thousand Party members" to the Stalin KZTM. At first, I was appointed the superintendent of the 4-th heavy machinery bay in the machine shop A where only a part of the equipment had been completely erected.

In the course of assembling and operating the first machines I made sure the industrial practice that I had got enabled us to acquire some but little knowledge of the heavy machines we would work on at that giant plant. This was typical not only fir me since I had not been familiar with the production equipment before training but also for my friends-young engineers who had already been engaged in production.

In has become clear for me that in order to properly manage the shop bay and prepare myself for the serious technological work, we head to learn to operate intricate machines ourselves. So, i proposed to appoint a group of engineers who had arrived as the plant machine engineers.

I was appointed the superintendent of the combined planning and milling machine made by Schiess-Defries. At first, I felt myself awkward at this post.

The extremely intricate machine was just a mystery for me. Besides planning and milling such operations as drilling, boring, etc. could be done on this machine. This machine had the 26-metre long bed, the width of 4 meters and the height of 8 metres. A three-room flat, which, by the way, was almost unavailable for any plant engineer, could be easily placed on it. Very heavy tool holders might be lifted only by using special motors having the power equal to that of the regional electric power station.

When operating such machine, I had to solve a lot of technological problems which included working-out of the procedures and modes of metal-working, determination of machining rates, selection of the required machining tools and organization of labour.

The machine that I superintended was supplied without the proper attachments and tools so we had to gather them additionally, design and make them ourselves. As to the problems of machining, these were critical for the entire team of engineers and workers.

Acquisition of skills in producing the huge work pieces and parts on the most intricate machines required a lot of Knowledge. The specialists available in the shops were either familiar with the capabilities of the heavy machinery production and slightly acquainted with design features of the machines (like, for example, Sudarikov, the team-leader, who made a working model of the bloom mill as a present to the Party congress) or were well-acquainted with the machines but had little or no Knowledge of the production process (like Herr Krauser, the foreign expert, who had worked over 20 years at Lüdwig Leve plant).

Hence, there were no persons in the shop who could give us any help, Assistance from the plant managers could hardly be obtained as well.

Since machine certificates, service manuals or any reference technical literature were usually missing, we had to master the full capacities of our machines by groping our own way.

I received a lot of help from Ozerny and Sologub, skilled planers who worked in my team upon mastering my machine. At the same time I had often to persistently overcome conservatism of some workers who unwillingly accepted new and fresh ideas and proposals.

Unfortunately, I had no any backup prom the majority of the shop technicians in my searches of the most efficient operating modes.

Here are same typical examples. Two types of the tools - a straight tool and a bent one – were used to work on the machine. My calculations showed that operation with the bent tool is more efficient but the elder planers, however, insisted on operation with the straight tool. At first, I was forced to agree with them but when the straight tools become distorted, I showed them my sketches,

G.Geisterkampf, a foreign expert and my assistant, who formely worked at Schiess-Defries, asked me when he had seen the tools to be made according to my sketches: “What an idiot order such tools”. Two months later, however, he has changed his opinion and talked with enthusiasm about the excellent work of these tools.

During my self-education, I set myself as an object to train skilled personnel from the members of my team who would be able to operate the machines unassisted. My attempts to give elder planers any theoretical knowledge turned out to be futile though they were learning to operate the machines readily.

Quite another thing is with the young people. They willingly undertake to do calculations of cutting speeds, operating hours, tool geometries, etc. They eagerly study the machine circuit diagrams. For instance Matyzka, the helper, who is especially persistent and active in mastering operation on his machine, has already been appointed the shift foreman. So, being trained and while training I fully mastered the capacities of my machine.

Now, I am a real master of my machine. I have enriched my theoretical knowledge obtained at the institute due to practical work on the most intelligent machine. Today, my attitude to this machine is no more as an attitude to the unsurpassed perfection. I can see some drawbacks and a few design errors in it. Therefore, I have already submitted a few proposals associated with its updating to my shop superintendent. My friend, the engineer from “one thousand Party members” group, who has worked one year as the shop superintendent, said upon his departure that he might congratulate me, Really, I may be congratulated”.

Later on, L.B.Starosvetsky worked as the Chief engineer at Voronezh aircraft-building plant. In 1973, he was subjed to repression and executed by shooting. At the same time, German G.Geisterkampf and Otto A.Krause were also subjected to repression.

Afterwards, Saburov, Novakovsky, Bivul, Migachyov, Doudkin, Ozersky, Areshidze and Golman were appointed the machine superintendents. In the late 1934, no any major breakdowns on the machines supervised by engineers have been recorded. In the same 1934, over 4,000 employees were trained in the minimum of technical knowledge study groups and same other short-term advanced training courses. That was twice as much as in 1932.

We got head and shoulders above…

It was scheduled to commission Kramatorsky heavy machine-building plant on May 1, 1932. That was more than unreal since in the process of construction the plant output targets had been corrected several times towards their considerable increase. Due to this, the necessity to promptly change the project arose very often.

When Ordzhonikidze, issued an order on commissioning Uralmash in summer, 1933, he noted that the next would be Mashstroi in Donbass. The plant startup was scheduled on May 18, 1934 but it had not taken place. It was necessary to rectify some faults in workmanship that had been noted by the commission from the People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry.

In autumn, 1934, 127 out of 164 machines were erected and 6 out of cranes were in service in assembly shop No.1. Only 11.7 mln. roubles out of 14.9 mln. roubles of investments were realized.

In the assembly shop No.2 177 out of 221 machines and 6 out of 15 cranes were erected. This shop was mainly fitted with the foreign- made machines. In the assembly shop bay there were a Reinecker’s gear planer, a Neils’ gear hobber, a Smith’s lathe and a vertical borer made by Richards & Co. installed. This borer was fitted with three carriages that enabled up to 4,500-mm dia parts to be machined.

The repair shop No.4 was almost completely equipped with machines and put into operation in 1932. There were 83 machines in the shop process line. The shop press was serviced with 5 cranes while another 4 of 9 cranes scheduled for commissioning in 1934 had been not yet installed.

The better situation was in the steel structures shop. 114 items of the equipment made by the word’s famous manufacturers such as Weingarten, Schiess-Defris, Pels, Herculeswerke, Erchard & Zemmer, Hettner, K.Faer, Kieserling & Albrecht, ebc. in service there, however, instead of producing cranes of 17-ton maximum load-carrying capacity and 18-meter span in 1934, it was scheduled to make cranes of 220 tons and over in load-carrying capacity and with the span up to 30 metres. Because of changes in the production program, the necessity to provide two additional bays to the shop has arisen.

According to the project, 3 press shops had to be erected. The press and hammer shop was intended to produce forgings up to 1.5 tons in weight. It was commissioned on February 15, 1933, and in 1934, this shop was brought to its design output figures.

Erection of the press shop No.1 designed to make forgings up to 150 tons in weight was under way. Designing of the press shop No.2 that was scheduled to make forgings weighing up to 250 tons progressed. It was supposed to equip the shop with the 15,000-ton press made by Schlömann.

By that time, the steelmaking shop and two iron foundries were in operation. A copper-melting shop designing was under way. Due to changes made in the plant product mix and introduction of turbine castings into the production program, capacities of the pattern shop turned out to be inadequate. After the shop redesigning, its production program was decided to be increased from 2,600 cub. meters to 4,800 cub. meters.

Since 1932, the tool shop has been in service though 19 machines were still unavailable. Two years after commissioning, it became clear that capacities of the shop were insufficient and a new project of the shop expansion was promptly worked out with its output being increased two-or three-fold.

Erection of the equipment at NKMZ was started almost simultancously with the plant construction. In August, 1930, the first columns in the steel structures shop were erected and four months later the shop walls brick-layed. Though brick-laying of the walls continued, they started erection of the machinery.

The first machines in the steel structures shop were mounted manually in severe winter and under the open sky. Sometimes the erectors had to dig out the presses, shears, etc. covered with snow at night.

The «Za Industrializatsiyu» paper of the Peoplis Commissariat of Heavy Industry described the situation on the largest construction projects of the 5-year plan as follows on November 12, 1932: «The equipment is usually unloaded anywhere and anyhow and often may be buried in soil. The most precious instruments are left in the open air, begin rusting and become inoperative»… Such situation was typical both for Uralmash and KZTH sites.

In February 1931, P.Belousov, A. Kharchenko, I. Yourchenko, G. Fomenko, G. Chetveric, K. Shevchenko and Y. Vinnic assembled and adjusted the oxygen facility equipment from Messer unassisted. That was the forst time when the foreign experts were not involved in erection backup.

This idea quickly spreaded among the workers.

The same obligation was taken by the erection teams headed by V.Zinchenko, P Belousov and S.Stasenko. By assembling the equipment themselves, they saved a lot of golden roubles at that period.

In April 1932, 130 items of the equipment were assembled in the shop No. 2. The erection and setup teams, which included engineers N.Perchany and V.Polyakov, a team-leader S.Stasenko and the fitters N. Belashov, A.Kharchenko, G.Chetverik, K.Shevchenko, and Y.Vinnic, worked very well. With the required insrtrumentation and circuit diagrams being unavailable, they managed to put machinery into operation with the «excellent» mark.

The erectors recollected later: «After inspection of the intricate gear miller already assembled, Herr Merkel, an expert from Lorenz, had nothing to do but say: «well, very well, just as in Germany. He had nothing to do any more and left for Germany ».

In April-May of the same year, they started erection of the equipment in the repair shop No.4, tool shop, pattern and forging shops. In July, all these shops were commissioned.

On July 19, the first heat on the 3-ton electric furnace in the steelmaking shop was cast.

On September 24, the iron foundry No.2, a water-supply plant, warehouses and the boiler plant were put into service.

By December, 1932, construction and erection pace was speeded up 11-fold versus the first months of the year. 426 units were assembled and 155 units commissioned.

The “Kommunist” newspaper (Kiev, September 27, 1934) wrote: “In 1934, Chernikov, Poruk, Krutko, Dyachenko, Lazarchuk, Kharchenko, Ezhov, Bugai, Kryachek and Sergeevsky, the erectors, said: “We become head and shoulders above others. Erection at the machinebulding plants is the most complicated and the most critical job. We had little experience of such work. The staff of erectors was not at all available several years ago so, many of our plants have been erected with the assistance of foreign experts.

The giant plant in Kramatorsk was built and erected by our engineers and workers. Two years of the persistent struggle for erection of the most complicated equipment has passed. The people went through misfortunes, grieved, gained victory and experienced joy of victories. All their work may be expressed in one line saying that 837 items of the equipment has been assembled and erected.

This figure, probably, can hardly surprise anybody who has accustomed to millions and even billions. The figure of 837 items sounds not very effective. Really, these items constitute machines. Among them there are such machines as the sewing machine and the Schiess-Befris universal planer almost equal to the bloom mill in size. There are a 5-ton and 125-ton load-carrying capacity cranes, a 6-ton capacity cupola and a 85-ton capacity open-hearth furnace, steam hammers of a few kilograms in power and a Eumuko’s 800-ton hydraulic-steam press. Now, all this struggle and all this labour of the erection teams for the last two years were summarized in one figure-837 items of the equipment.

We would like to tell a few words about ourselves. We always walked hot on the heels of the builders, concrete workers, house painters and sometimes kept abreast with them. We carried out assembling and erection of the machinery even when the shop buildings were still in shutterings and treaded on the builder’s toes. We were so deeply involved in our job that everything seemed to be routine for us. Now, when we glance back, we can clearly see that we have become head and shoulder above others, grown up and done a huge amount of work. We were busy in erection of the machinery and while so doing, we erected our socialist consciousness and our will for toiling.

Yesterday’s team-leaders often became foremen. For instance, comrade Storchai who worked as unskilled labourer when the erected started had already become a foreman. The same can be said about Konovalov, Ponomaryov and others. We managed to assemble the 125-ton crane in the open-heart furnace shop without using any cranes. We succeeded in erection of Eumko’s 300-to 1,500-ton presses and a Schiess-Defris universal planer and have done not bad. Herr Zimader, Technical manager (Eumuko) once was asked how, to his mind, presses had been assembled. His response was as follows: “I have no any complains”. It is noteworthy that this is the reply of the foreign expert whom we submitted a lot of claims with reference to the errors made upon designing of the hydraulic-steam hammers.

The erectors are those who were the former workers and peasants from the neighboring settlements and villages. Many of them had no any relation to the erection operations especially those associated with erection of the intricate machines.

Certainly, we had no any experience. Erection of the machines in the repair, tool and pattern shops was a sort of training and trial for us. We carried out erection works while training which has given a lot of results.

Erection works in the machining shop No.2 were performed in winter, 1932-1933. That was the place where the erectors showed what they could do. 129 machines were assembled within a month. It should be noted that the works have been done in cold and frosty December, in an unheated shop having no the walls on eastern side. Carpenters, glaziers, plasterers and house painters continued working above the heads of the erectors. We protected machines by covering them with plywood sheets and roofing felt. All this reminded something like a camp but not the plant shop. Several heaters were placed there though we were hot even without them.

The Komsomol team was in advance. Here is one typical example of our work. Herr Lemann, Director (Krupp) visited Krammashstroi twice as the consultant. For the first time he visited the site in early December, 1932 and for the second time in 1933. During his first visit, Herr Lemann could see only the columns made of reinforced concrete. When he came for the second time, the shop had already been equipped with the machinery and heat-insulated. All machiners were in operation. Herr Lemann could not contain himself and claimed: “Oh, they work too much here!” However, we did not have our heads turned with success. Remarks of the foreign experts, however, are like a caress for us. Remarks of quite another sort are especially important for us. I can recollect one case that occurred at the plant. A housing of the 10,000-ton press was delivered from Germany . When we started erection of the press, we noticed that somebody had written promptly the words “Rot Front” in ochre on that housing. Just imagine, what a strong impression it made on everybody of us. These words confirmed once again that by building our plant we are laying one more stone in the foundation of a strong edifice of the world’s proletarians’ socialist motherland. We may assure everybody that we are active builders of the “father” of other plants that is of a paramount importance in today’s international situation and for the defence of our motherland. If our enemies try, as our beloved Stalin says “to put their pig snouts into our socialist garden” and into the plant constructed by as, it will be of great importance in defence of the USSR .”

Bolsheviks are involved in construction all year round

In his time, V.I. Tsylulko, Chief Engineer – Construction and Erection Dept., NKMZ, said that the real builders prefer to create on industrial engineering sites.

In contrast to civil engineering, which is of interest mostly for the architects but is trivial in its essence, industrial engineering is definitely individualized.

There is no twin plant over the world and the problems to be solved during construction under force majeur demand.

Quicksands, i.e. loose deposits sutured with water and capable to shift or float under the pressure of overlying beds or any other mechanical factors were the real scourge for the builders in the Torets flood-plain. Quicksands are generally eliminated by draining. This is just the method used by the builders when construction of the steelmaking shop was started.

The decision to reach the hard soil by all means was taken, and along with the navies concrete workers were involved. They worked day and night concrete-placing and carpenter’s operations. All of them worked 20 hours a day, reached the hard soil bed and filled the foundation pit with concrete.

The teams led by V.P. Sokolyuk, I.I. Martynov and K.S. Tertyshny worked with the remarkable enthusiasm.

When erecting the press shop which was deemed to be equipped with the USSR ’s most powerful 10,000-ton press and the advanced furnaces, the builders face several serious problems.

Large weights of the equipment components and high-capacity cranes required that the especially strong foundations should be made. The situation became especially complicated because of the soil structure which was extremely unfavourable there: from the depths of 6 metres and more foundation pits ware always flooded with underground water.

G.N. Teplov, the work superintendent, was in charge of the shop construction. Together with him A.V. Manucharov,  Chief engineer – industroi; and Y.A. Bukstein, Deputy Chief engineer – industroi, could be seen on the site every day. H.H. Zhukovsky, S.D. Radko and A.L. Volovelsky, work superintendents, were also involved as technical consultants.

The shop was almost ready when preparation for laying the foundation pit was commenced. The design depth of the foundation was 10 metres. To compact soil, 3,000 running meters of timber piles were driven. Four high-capacity pumps were used to drain the foundation pit. They were in operation all the day round.

The trouble happened at warm spring night. All of a Sudden a strong fountain of water struck in the pit and began flooding it.

The pumps and monitors were gathered almost from the entire site. Water streams gushed out into the sewage piping. Managers from industroi promptly arrived at the site.

The morning was approaching but the fountain continued gushing forth. The pumps have pumping out water mixed with sand and soil pulp for several hours. Suddenly it dawned upon Mitrofan Zhukovsky: as a result of gushing the deep vacuum could develop around the foundation pit and the streams of underground water could reach the epicenter of the water fountain. The soil density in an area of the ship could decrease and the columns with roofings and partitions could crash down.

Zhukovsky orderd to swith the pumps over in order to fill the foundation pit with water. He supposed to fill the pit up to the brim thus developing pressure over the fountain required for stopping ejection of water.

The bulk of the personnel was evacuated outside the area of a probable landslide. A.V. Manucharov gave an order to bring the freight ears with the sacks of cement near the shop. Heavy cement bags fell down into the water and disappeared in the pit abyss. Shukovsky had an eye on the course of events and ordered at the proper moment to switch pumps over for pumping the water out. Cement bags from about 20 freight cars were dropped to the bottom of the foundation pit. The builders gained a victory: quicksands and the water fountain have been blocked and plugged. Having pumped all the water out, the builders completed laying the press shop foundation.

Such events to which the people react especially strong generally remain in their memory. Later, the first builders often recollected how on the 12-th of December, 1931 the show began melting suddenly and the water stream running off the hill flooded almost the entire site as well as foundation pits of the machining shops up to the brim.

All the day and night the builders tirelessly struggled with that disaster. They managed to protect the pits and drain water to the Torets by the evening of the next day.

Afterwards, they began making protective ridges of soil but due to scattering labour force over the whole site, the builders failed to complete construction of the structures that might be reckoned a sort of minor structures. The year 1932, as the first builders recollected later, was especially rainy: the old-timers could not remember such heavy rains for the last thirty years. On June 20, the flood happened and foundation pits have been flooded again.

A rush job was announced on the site. The builders remained at their work places for days. They fetched stones and soil from all sides to build the dams. The site was drained. Furher, according to Ordzhonikidzer’s promotion, it was decided to raise zero elevations for all shops scheduled for construction (except for the steel structures shop which had already been erected) by half a meter.

Under conditions of shortage and irregular supplies of the tools and materials the builders had to demonstrate not only the sincere heroism but also the mother wit which is so typical for the Slavs.

Assembling of the first electric traveling crane was performed in winter. It was done mostly in the open air, on the site without the walls and the roof (there were only the columns supporting crane beams) at 30 degrees below zero. The team of the fitters and erectors headed by Nikolai Spitza assembled the crane in due time notwithstanding the lack of the required tools and icy wind because of which bare fingers sticked to cold metal.

Exact commissioning schedules for individual bays and sections of the plant have been worked out. The erectors, however, needed rolled stock badly. The shortage of rolled products could frustrate fabrication and erection of steel structures for the spans and roof in the steelmaking shop while irregular supplies of refractories restrained bricklaying of the furnaces.

Commissioning of the open-hearth furnace No.1 was delayed because slide valves had been made of poor-quality steel. They had to make new valve reversal devices for all furnaces unassisted. When all open-hearth furnaces ware ready for drying, underground water was suddenly detected below the foundation.

To drain water, the furnaces had to be encircled with drains. They hurried to dig the foundation pit and insert special tubes there. The people worked indefatigably and drains had been completed for 10 days as they promised G.K. Ordzhonikidze who visited the site. As consequence, the furnaces were commissioned in due time.

Concurrently with erection of the steelmaking shop the iron foundry was constructed. The Europe’s largest iron foundry No.1 was built in winter. A “Roolsheviks build all the year round!” slogan was probably advanced just for such cases in the course of the first 5-year plant fulfillment. In winter 193-1932, there were three work shifts on construction site. That winter was, however, especially severe, with frosts even below minus 30.

No one and never performed concrete placing works at such temperatures before. The concrete may not obey such propaganda slogans and construction site has come to a standstill. In the late 1931, Ordzhonidze visited Krammashstroi: he was interested in the technique of concrete placing in winter.

This technique was feasible but too expensive. It was necessary to erect temporary covered and heated enclosures around foundations, heat them with temporary stoves and cover the concrete already placed with special mats. The temperature in such enclosures had not to below zero day and night within over half a month.

The experiments with temporary covered and heated enclosures for concrete foundations based on sketches drawn by S.Z. Milochkin, a work superintendent, continued up to mid-January when such bitter frosts with strong winds burst out that even the carpenters capable of great endurance stopped working atop the shops. When Kyrilkin has got to know about the downtime, he dressed bionself warmly, took the axe, called “Volunteers, follow me!” and worked all day long with a few members of the Komsomol. Next day, half of the carpenter teams took after the “red Director”. The day after, the carpenters worked without any delays. Then, placing of the concrete was begun. Temporary covered and heated enclosures served very well. On February 2, 1932, the works in the iron foundry has already been done.

The most critical reinforced concrete structures in the machining, steelmaking and fettling shops, iron foundry, etc. were built in winter. In addition to pure enthusiasm and precise engineer’s calculations implementation of the “Bolsheviks built all the year round” slogan required a well-grounded risk and, which was the most important, attainment of good performance of the construction works. That matter was that many of the load-carrying shop structures were made of reinforced concrete to support beams along which high-capacity hoisting cranes would be moved. Therefore, the problem of strength and safety was of exceptional importance. A.L. Volovelsky, S.Z. Milichkin, M.M. Zhukovsky and S.D. Radko, work superintendents, have managed to solve this problem.

The Major Construction Project of the 5-Year Plan

It was a very complicated project that has fallen to Kyrilkin’s lot. He and anybody else, who were appointed to organize and manage construction of such huge plant as KSTM, had no the appropriate experience.

Moreover, no one in the entire Soviet Union had such experience since the chief managers on all shock-construction sites of the 5-year plan faces practically the same problems.

Firstly, the term of the plant commissioning specified for Kyrilkin was unreal.

Secondly, the output figures have been changed many times in the course of construction and increased 3-folt afterall. That meant multiple additions and amendments to the project within the framework of the allotted budget and, as consequence, extensions of the commissioning term.

Thirdly, the personnel involved in construction and erection was insufficient in member and of low proficiency level. Inadequate mechanization of the major processes and operations against a background of enormous amount of the construction and erection works has already became apparent by the late 1931.

Fourthly, absence of the most simple living conditions (with the industrial – housing construction being 4:1) caused tremendous turnover.

Fifthly, there was an evident shortage of the materials under conditions of the largest enterprises all over the Soviet Union.

Sixthly, the plant managers were the yesterday’s highschool graduates or such persons of natural gifts as Kyrilkin who were ready to Carry any responsibilities on their broad shoulders but who had no, as could be said now, any systematic knowledge of crisis management.

For justice’ sake, it should be noted that the view on drawbacks of the large construction from Today does not allow for the main thing – labour enthusiasm of the yesterday’s peasants and severe responsibility of the constriction managers before “the Party and the government”, “comrade Sergo personally” and “comrade Stalin personally”.

It is a real pity that we have no documents of that period which could have reflected intrinsic contradictions of the the 30-s of the 20-th century.

Today, we can only extrapolate conditions under which Uralmash was constructed on the construction of the giant plant in Kramatorsk.

Those participated in construction of NKMZ recollected that just after the plant had been layed on October 8, 1929, never-ending rains started pouring. Broken-down country roads became impassible. Slags and ashes, which the navvies uninterruptedly poured on the ground, became mixed with slush on the spot and were thrown on the roadsides.

They hardly managed to do much in short autumn days. After the duck hes fallen, the site used to come to standstill and plunged into darkness.

The builders were short of electric power. Due to the lack of timber, which suddenly was redirected by somebody to another station, foundation pits and trenches digge in autumn turned out to be badly secured, shapeless, collapsed and flooded by spring.

In addition, there was acute shortage of dwellings.

They had to remove workers from the construction site and direct them to build temporary barracks.

By spring, just on construction site, in the vicinity of the plant shops to be built a whore town of barracks with its own post-office, bathhouse, hospital and the shop has arisen being called Novostroi )Newlybuilt site).

Designing of NKMZ was carried in Berlin under the leadership of C.H.Kopp simultaneously with its construction.

In a short space of time, detail engineering of the giant plant was completed. Though not everything was carried to completion, the key designs ha already taken shape on Whatman paper and headed only to be finalized and worked out in greater detail.

Soon, it became known about the next and considerable augmentation of the plant rated capacity. It followed from this that the project would need revision. Construction, however, had already been under way and the site managers requested technical documents.

In spring 1930, the main body was concentrated on the two large projects: the institute and the steel structures shop. Construction of the 12-bay shop, which was a match for a large plant itself, had already been started.

In the newspapers of that days the names of the record setters in work productivity, such as carpenters from the teams led by F.P. Babnov, Bererhoi (including Tur, Vlasenko, Levchenko, N., Lipovy, Naumenko, Maiboroda, ek.), Tyarhkorob (including Cherep, Roborykin, and Rutenko); nannies from the teams headed by I.S. Klesov, Mazur (including Tkalenko, Salon, Goida, Saenko, Novodvorokg, ek.) and F.I.Pesin; concrete workers led by P.S. Movlev, Krasnokutsky, a team leader; Platov, the carpenter from Section No.16 and the inventor; and electors from the teams led by Karmanov, Koval, Konovalenko, Dreval, Kosturehenko and Perhkov were mentioned.

The pace of construction was ensured at the expense of the large amount of people and the human enthusiasm caused by the sincere wish to turn the USSR in and industrialized country.

The pace of construction, however, was impressive. On Angust 3,1930, the erectors from the team led by  Koval erected the first column in the steel structures shop. On February 10,1431 the first phase of the huge shop project, though with numerous unfinished jobs, was commissioned 

Construction and erection ware probably earged on by the indictment in connection with the case versus the industrial party published on October, 14,1930. It was said there the wreckers delayed construction of "the plant for two years".

Statements of the accused Professor Chernovsky on intentional delay of the Krammash plant construction caused a storms of indignitation among the builders Navvies, erectors and concrete workers responded to the "attack of the class enemies "by the "self-assignment" to the construction site up to the end of the 5-year plan and acceleration of the work pace. In particular, on December 8, Gaidashev, a team leader, layer 700 frocks upon walling in the steel structures shop. His wife, who came on the day of unpaid work (a Leninist subbotnik) brought brocks and the mortar to him.

Construction pace, however, was too slow regarding the specified targets.

The site managers decided, after the example of the fuilders from Kharkov, to initiate a decade of the stepped-up concrete works since there works restrained cpnstruction mest of all. With the "Keiser" concrete capacity of 240 batches per shift, they managed to yield not more than 40 batches per shift.

On March 30, two hundred people ware involved in the crash work. During two decodes, 11,000 workers took part in such a storm but even this activity gave only few results. The first quarter  production schedule was fulfilled only by one third.

On April 18,1931, the situation on Krammasktroi site was discussed on a session of the All-Union Council of the National Economy of the USSR. In commissioned in the quarter of 1832.

When Sergo Ordzhonikidze passed Kharkov in May, he asked the management of Traktorstroi (Tractor plant construction agency) to send one of the best teams of concrete workers composed of the Komsomol members  led by Pantelei Movlev to Krammastroi on mission in order to give them a helpful hand.

Meanwhile concrete works on Krammaskstroi site were intensified. They did their work based on ideology, i.e., with the Party, the Kamsomol and Trade union assistance and by arranging the socialist emulation.

On May 20, the team led by Tkachyov placed 90 batches of concrete. This was a record for Krammaskstroi. On May 28, an international team headed by Devletshaev placed 130 batches. The team worked in good coordination and with great enthusiasm. On June 6, Devletshaev's team placed 212 batches…

And then, Movlev's tecm including Solop, Bagev and Aronov, came from Traktorstroi. In very short time Movlev and his battalion composed of 12 Komsomol members exceeded the "Keiser" mixer capacity two-fold and on July, 5, set up the world record that amounted to 1,166 batches placed for 7 hours and 45 minutes. In 1934, Movlev Montioned Sergienko, Brekhov, Aronov and Yurkovetsky as the best concrete workers.

Sergei A.Zubov, a former member of Movlev's team recollected; "It secmed as if we hat made the most of the "Keiser" mixers. We brought charging of the mixer reservoir almost to automation and worked at high spud. Sergienko, the concrete worker, became our own Kulibin. Having studied the foreign-made mixer, he found and opportunity to increase the number of the mortar reservoir revolutions.

According to his proposal, a small transmission gear with less number of teeth nas made. The drive gear remained the same. Now, it takes 20 to 25 seconds instead of 1 or 2 minutes to mix a batch of concrete. Modification of the foreign-made machine turned out to be substantial".

It is mentioned in the sources that in 1932, the members of Movlev's team broke their own record and mixed 1.320 batches/shift. P.S.Movlev was conferred the title of the record setter in work productive over the fourth tear of the 5-year plan and awarded the gold watch engraved with the owner’s name by the fifteen-year anniversary of the Great October. But this will be later on. Meanwile, 1,166 batches of concrete that followed the above-said record and a gathering of 300 concrete workers under the motto “To place at least 40,000 cub. metres of concrete by the 14-th anniversary of the Great October” provoked an unprecedented wave of the socialist emulation in which the erectors, brick layers and navies took part.

On july 17, bricklayers from Palchikov’s team set an unprecedented record:  6 bricklayers laid 20,712 bricks (3,452 bricks per man) for 8 hours. On August 22, 1931, the team of navies led by Vaschenko and Khalnev moved 20 cub. meters of soil per man within a shift while Savchenko, Kluosov, Zubov and Dronov moved 25 cub. meters of soil per man. that was done quite sincerely.

In 1933, the USSR’s first concrete-mixing and rebar-making shop was set up at Krammashstroi site.

It was manager by P.S.Movlev. Concrete workers placed 260,000 cub. meters of concrete in the walls of the 1-st phase of the plant project. P.S.Movlev recollected in  1934: “During ringing frosts, we placed 40,000 cub. meters of concrete. The concrete placed in winter was the same as placed in summer in terms of its quality. It was just the concrete-mixing shop where the concrete and heavy concreted stone blocks have been introduced in civil engineering.

While before January 1, 1931, 4 million roubles of investments were disbursed on site, in 1931, this figure increased up to 49 mln. roubles. This was, however, too little. One could read in the news-papers of the early 30-s that managers from Industroi acted extremely slowly, there was no work scheduling and planning, wage leveling and elimination of personal responsibility were predominant and public services inadequate.

Such factors caused the enormous workforce turnover. The construction site turned into a yard with a through passage. 18,500 workers left Krammashstroi during 11 months of 1931. Absenteeism on site amounted to 10 percent of the working hours.

According to labour psycho-physiologists, the work done in the USSR in the 30-s was impossible in theory considering the level of nourishment available at that time. The work, however, was done sinch construction and toil became. through not for all, but akin to selfless devotion.


Invincible and Legendary Army

The pictures taken during the first years of KZTM construction are kept with care at the plant museum. On some of these pictures the uniformed men are portrayed. The scope of works and very short term of construction of the Europe’s largest machine-building plant could hardly be matched with the major problems of that period, i.e., the lack of manpower and extremely low of mechanization on site.

The country entered the state of the total mobilization and stress. A “reckless storm” by using the methods of the war communism was in practice.

In 1929-1930, Krammashstroi failed to carry out construction in due time. The scope of works completed by that period amounted only to 7 mln. roubles of disbursed investments. It was a little more than 3 percent of the total sum invested into the 1-st phase of the plant project.

There were no railways, motor and cart roads, water mains, sewerage, electric power supply lines and electric substations. All this, in turn, delayed the pace of construction and erection works in the forst plant shops. However, the stone-crushing, slag-milling, concrete-mixing and fully-mechanized large stone block-making works had already been commissioned. So, the rear of the construction site was prepared thus permitting to erect all the 1-st phase projects at the same time.

On March 25, 1931, the district Party committee, the district exclusive committee and the district trade union council addressed an appeal to all workers, office workers, engineers, technicians and peasants to declare the period from March 25 till April 5 as the decade of the “proletariat community mobilization in Kramatorsk around construction of the Red giant plant.

The “Kramatorskaya Pravda” paper wrote on March 26: “Yesterday, 11 peasants with the carts from “Kommunar” agricultural artel, 36 workers from the cement works and 30 pupils of the factory-and-works school arrived to “Krammashstroi”. 900 persons worked on site on March 28 and 1,410 enthusiasts worked the next day.

In mid-April, the results of the first two storm decades were announced: 11,000 record-setters in work productivity who moved 7,000 cub. meters of soil and transported over 10,000 tons of materials had been involved in construction.

The team of bricklayers headed by F.P.Bubnov addressed their follow-countrymen in a letter published in the “Kramatorskaja Pravda”: “Krammashstroi where we have been working for the second year suffers hard times. An acute lack of manpower hampers our pace and delays construction of the socialist giant plant… We ask yen to set up teams of help for Krammaschstroi”.

Following this letter, many of the yesterday’s peasants became builders. It is noteworthy that the relatives of F.P.Bubnov, I.P.Skrypnik, V.K.Pusan and I.A.Palchikov, who are the authors of this letter, also used to come to site in Kramatorsk.

We do not Know, for how long the Red Army men worked on site. At least on one of the date: September, 1932 is stamped. Therefore, the Donbass soldiers used to be on site for many times.

These were the Red Army men from the 80-th infantry division of the Donbass Proletarian territorial army. The army was raised in September, 1923 of the battle-hardened military units of the Ukrainian military district (Donetsk province). there regiments were given the numbers and then, proper names according to the names of the towns where they had bun billeted. These were the 88-th Artemovsk artillery regiment, the 240-th Krasnolugansk, the 239-th Slavyansk and the 238-th Mariupol infantry regiments.

In 1930, the 80-th division was awarded the Red Bammer of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR for the progress in battle and provincial training.

The division and its regiments lived like the whole country and toiling people. the privates, commanders and political workers not only performed their service duties but also carried explanatory work among the people and took an active part in collectivization and industrialization.

Subunits of the 238-th Mariupol regiment took part in construction of Azovstall steel plant. They helped the steelmakers from the Ilyich steel plant under force majeure, i.e. when any failures had happened at the plant or the necessity to unload the freight cars or to ship the finished metal products had arisen.

We way suppose that the men from the 239-th Slavyansk infantry regiment participated in construction of NKZTM.

The contemporaries recollected: “A great occasion was the order of the Revolutionary War Council of the USSR in which the 80-th infantry division had been acknowledged as one of the best formations in the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army and entitled under the name of the Donbass Proletarian division.

In February, 1934, the Central Executive Council of the USSR awarded the 80-th division with the order of Lenin for the progress of this personnel in the battle and political training. The “Red Army” paper wrote: “The heroic Donbass may deservedly be proud of the 80-th infantry division which is the foremost and the best one in the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army…”

There is no doubt that under the phrase “labour heroism” the work on Krammashstroi site was also meant.

It was mentioned in the newspaper that in laying NKZTM’s foundation stone the division commander V.E.Hermonius had been present while the ceremonial startup of NKMZ had been attended by the corps commander Pravdin.

Vadium E. Hermonius, the World War I veteran and lieutenant of the old Russian Army, joined the Worker’s and Peasants’ Red Army in 1918. During the civil war he was in service as the battery commander and took part in the defence of Petrograd. In 1921, Hermonius participated in suppressing the revolt in Kronstadt, then, he served in Turkestan. In 1934, Hermonius represented the Donetsk Party organization at the 17-th Congress of the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). In 1937, V.E.Hermonius was arrested and executed by shooting. The fortune of the corps commander Pravdin is unknown.

It is, however, known tat D.I.Doronin, battery commander assistant (289-th infantry regiment), and A.F.Krut, lieutenant, were locked up in a prison camp, M.N.Kachurishin, senior lieutenant, N.S.Konyakhin, division engineer, and S.T.Korobov (Zukerstein), headquarter 2-nd unit commander, were executed by shooting.

Till July 18, 1937, the brigade commander S.P.Obysov commander the division. Later, he was arrested and executed by shooting.

In 1939, raising of the formations and units of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army initiated. Each of the regiaunts formely included in the 8-th division was expanded into a detached division.

For instance on the base of the 240-th Krasnolugansk regiment the 192-nd mounting and infanfry division commanded by the brigade commander Y.I. Tonkonogov was raised. Based on the 239-th Slavyansk regiuont the 141-st infandry division under command of colonel P.N. Privalov was formed. The 238-th Mariupol regiment was given the number and name of the 80-th Donbass Proletarian infantry division, its banner and the order of Lenin. A new formation was cammanded by the brigade commander V.I. Prokhorov.

A newly-raised division included the 77-th, the 153-rd and the 218-th infantry regiments, the 144-th artillery regiment, the detached tank, motor car, engineer, medical and sanitary battalions, the anti-aircraft and antitank batteries as well as signal and reconnaissance services. Just after the division had been raised, it set out towards the western frontier. This way the division took the field to the Western Ukraine.

Later, the 80-th Donbass Proletarian division took part in the Soviet-Finnish (winter) cacupaign and in a breakthrough of the Mannerheium line.

Upon cessation of hostilities and making peace with Finland, 3 men from the division were given the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union, 9 were awarded the order of Lenin, 162 were awarded the order of Red Banner and 157 were awaroled the order of the Red Star. In summer 1940, the division took part in liberation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.

The 80-th Donbass Proletarian division took part in the Great Patriotic War from the very first days.

It was disbanded on September 19, 1941. Disbanding at that time meant only one thing, i.e. most of its available personnel had perished in battles.

Novokramatorsky mashinostroitelny Zavod, however, was built and the labour of the Red Army men from the 80-th Donbass Proletarian division is incorporated in its shops and buildings.

Weekdays down the Line of Management

No one new settler. Whether the machine builder who entered a new shop or the head of the family who had changed rented dwellings to his heart’s content, could understand the builder taking part in commissioning the project. Such a builder feels like a father who is proud of his son, and lets him go along the highroad of life being confident that his son will not shame the family.

The Europe’s largest enterprise – Kramatorsky heavy machinery plant – and a comfortable socialist city Novokramatorsk – the only city in Donbass built according to the master plan – were given us by the builders from industroi trust.

This trust was set up in 1926 in Kharkov and intended to carry out construction of industrial enterprises. At that time, Vladimir A. Trubin, who participated in construction of the tractor works (Kharkov), turbine and generator works (Kharkov) and a number of the by-product coke plants in Ukraine was charged to be Chief engineer of the trust.

Being at this post, he had to start up construction of the largest heavy machinery plant in Kramatorsk.

In 1936, V. Trubin was superseded by Vladimir Kucherenko who later became a prominent expert in the field of construction machinery, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and Chairman of Gosstroi (State Construction Agency) of the USSR.

Industroi was assigned to be KZTM’s general contractor. It started working in May, 1931.

B.K. Kronow, Managing Director of Kramindustroi in 1934 recollected: “We came to this site for the first time with an unwavering purpose to arrange the site and civil engineering correctly and in proper way from the very beginning, set up a solid and united team of the builders who would be no afraid of innovations, industrial risk and any difficulties”.

The builders were very young here. The «eldesrt» was Arsen V. Manucharov, Chief engineer of Kramindustroi who had graduated technological university in 1918. It was the first large construction site for V.S. Vonsky, Deputy Chief engineer; Y.A. Bakstein and A.P. Nekrasov, Chief engineer assistants; A.L. Volovelsky, S.D. Radko, G.V. Tarsis, S.Z. Milochkin, M.M. Zhukovsky, work superintendents; and B.K. Kronov himself.

Altagether 30 persons were among the top and middle-level managers of Kramindustroi. The team was a steady one: only two persons left their jobs for 3.5 years.

The unanemous and solidary team, as it was written at that time, was “trained in a spirit of the collective responsibility for the job everyone had been enterested with”. Solving a lot of problems that could arise in any areas of a huge construction site became the deed of honour for the entire team.

“One day Abel Volovelsky or a “sad Abel”, as B.K. Kronov recollected, left his post after three sleepless nights.  That occurred in winter when the frosts were especially hard. When he was not available, a reinforced concrete beam in the machining shop A turned out to be “frozen”. Certainly, one beam was a trifle considering a large scope of works to be done in winter but that was the first and, by the way, the last case of this sort. The entire council of engineers gathered to “cure” the frozen beam.

Professor N.Y. Stolyarov, an eminent scientist, who found himself on site at that moment, was also involved in solving the problem. The thing was corrected by common efforts. There were many of the cases when to help one member of the team, the others hurried to offer assistance even without any appeal but of therr own free will.

Just during the first month of its work “Kramidustr agreed with the Ukrainian institute of Railways to set the USSR’S first experimented station.

The first offer on business come from the team involved in preheating crushed stones, sand and water in winter, Having been already placed, the concrer needed to be covered with straw mats, thick felt or sawdust. The team of engineers developed a unique-procedure of heating the concrete with quicklime being charged between the twin shutterings. When water was supplied, it gradually slackened the lime and thus, heated the mixed concrete. The heat emitted as a result of this process was sufficient for providing standard concrete setting, Special boxes made to exact size were used for all materials required during concrete placing. Water supply we also precisely proportioned.

They needed to place 265.000 cub. Meters of concrete during the 1-st plase of NKMZ’S project. To provide insulation and preheat of the concrete within the four winter months, at least 1.000 cub. metres of timber might be needed for making temporary covered and heated enclosures. The experts from experimental station proposed to use electric current for heating up the concrete.

They performed many tests and worked out the procedure of concrete heating with electric current for the first time in the USSR. This procedure permitted to get rig of the temporary covered and heated enclosures and attain the specified concrete strength within 90 hours instead of 28 days. The structures and buildings erected and built of concrete by this method withstood the test of time. It was a great service of the engineer A.K. Putilin and his team.

A total scope of works performed in winter amounted to 29,5 percent. It means that there were no winter months on site and thus, no seasonal works.

Bricks were delivered to Krammashstroi erratically. Tens of thousands of freight cart were needed to transport them. The experts from the experimental station came to know that the inhabitants of Petrovka settlement had used to take the open-hearth and blast-furnace slag for filling foundations of their houses. The plant shops, however, are not alike the houses. A.K. Putilin, however, concerned himself with slugs. The researchers from the experimental station milled slag to pieces of various size, searched for correct sand and cement proportions, molded bricks and blocks and then, subjected them to mechanical and some other tests.

The day came when the researchers recommended to use large blocks over 1 sq. metre in size for building the houses. Te provide the required construction pace, Chief mechanical engineer P.A. Aksyonov designed a unique gantry crane named afterwards the "Krammashstroi" crane. It was used for hoisting and placing large building blocks and steel structures. 16 to 20 days were needed to build walls of the four-storeyed house.

93percent of the house walls in the pre-war Sotsgorod were built of slag. This allowed to save 3.4 mln. roubles. By using large building blocks, they managed to save over 50 mln. pieces of bricks, release 12,000 freight cars for other deliveries and reduce the demand in manpower by 30 percent on the average.

"We rum risks by making foundations of slag  concrete, B.Kronov wrote. No one did it before all over the world. Based on a well-developed and tried technology, we can now erect not only the walls but also roofings and partitions of the houses."

The builders did not hope very much for external supplies. They provided their own rear by setting up a number of the mechanical, forging, foundry and blanking workshops. During 1930-1932, the stone-crushing, slag-milling and concrete-mixing works were put into service. A fully-mechanized concrete block-mixing plant with the output of 6,000 blocks per day was commissioned. Such auxiliary plants allowed to produce products at the cost of 24 mln. roubles which amounted to 40 percent of the cost of all building materials utilized within that period. Products made at auxiliary plants were by 30 to 50 percent cheaper than the purchased ones.

Special attention was paid to proper organization of works on quarries. And on sites were laid. There was no shortage of local building materials which costs were relatively low.

While at first the building works were carried out mostly by hand, then, since 1931, as B.K. Kronov affirmed, "the available power per a worker from Krammshstroi amounted to 0.63 h.p. versus 0.39 h.p. on any other sites in the USSR. Mostly all works  were mechanized.

We applied power shovels, scrapers, ditch diggers, stone crushers, trenchers, rebar-making machines and paint sprayers for house painting. Conveyers were widely used for carrying various loads".

Within 3.5 years of construction on NKMZ's site, 2.3 mln. cub metres of soil were moved, 275,000 cub. metres of concrete placed, 50 mln. pieces of bricks laid in the walls of buildings and houses, 23,000 tons of steel structures assembled, 390 hectares of roves laid and 120,000 sq. metres of highways and pavements run. Industroi managed to commission construction projects rated at 110 mln. roubles versus 128 mln. roubles spent for 3 years.

Rallied round a Common Case

The fate brought two prominent men ‑ Ivan Tarasovich Kyrilkin and Leonid Kharitonovich Kopp – together on KZM's construction site. Being almost of the came to site in quite different ways. The love of their brainchild – the future NKMZ – united these two polar individuals.

Ivan Kyrilkin raised himself up to ranks of the outstanding managers in industry as they say, from the scum of society. The life without parents fell to his lot. From the age of12 he worked as an odd-job man, horse-holder and electrician at the mine of Alexandro-Grushevsk. In May 1917, a 27-year-old Kyrilkin was elected the deputy of the Soviet of Worker’s and Soldiers’ Deputies, the first Soviet in Shakhtinsk.

The went through the Civil war, worked in Yuzovka, Makeevka and Kharkov thus growing up to an eminent industrial manager. In order to acquire best technological practices, he visited the largest works in the USA, Great Britain, France, Czechoslovakia and Germany where he visited, in particular, Krupp and Demag plants. In September1928, Kyrilkin who completed only two classes of the parish school, was appointed the Chairman of the Board (KGMMZ) and the Chairman of the Board (Krammashstroi) in 1929. Krammashstroi was set up on KGMMZ’s base with the aim of coordinating civil engineering works to be done on the Novokramatorsky plant site.

Six years later, A.Cammings, a correspondent from News Chronicle, called I.Kyrilkin “a Lloyd George of the Russian industry”. He wrote: “Kyrilkin is one of the most outstanding persons I have ever met and one of the most attractive ones. He is under 50… With his original intellect and a living and strong character, he became one of the most prominent personalities in Soviet Russia. He describes Kramatorsk as his own child”. the huge shops equipped with giant machines are surrounded with the parks. gardens, boulevards and fountains. Not for from the plant a new town with the beautiful houses, flowbeds, schools, clinics and crèches was built… I had never seen so many happy men and women, all of them adore Kyrilkin, the founder of Kramatorsk… If the Kremlin knows its job, it can also rely upon any of such Kyrilkins”…

Leonid Kharitonovich Kopp, an author of KZTM project and engineer from the USSR’s largest Industroi trust, completed his classical school with external degree. He became a pharmaceutist by his first profession. In 1915, he graduated from the Technological institute in Kharkov. Being keen in astronomy, in 1928, he made the voyage aboard icebreaker along the North Sea way to Wrangel Island. He brought the skin of a polar bear from there as a present to his sister.

Sergo Ordzhonikidze treated L.Kopp  with sincere affection and rated him hihly as a very good expert.

Upon approval of KZTM’s conceptual design by the Supreme Council of National Economy of the USSR, it has been submitted to UKRGIPROMASH (Ukrainian State Industrial Project Institute), Kharkov.

L. Koop was appointed the Chief design engineer here and put at the head of the designers’ team.

According to memories of the contemporizes, L. Koop was an easily-carried away person: he made drawing and computations himself, thought over every job or the lane of poplars along the plant and the flowerbeds between the shops. Moreover, he carried away everybody with his power and energy.

L. Koop was appointed the Head of Designers’ Group which took part in development of NKMZ’s project in Berlin. I.D. Didenko, the NKMZ’s historian, wrote: “The Soviet engineers who studied designs of the available steelmaking and machining shops, used to catty out their own design works based on advanced technologies, boldly polemicized with foreign experts and competently and reasonably persisted on their opinions. L. Koop being the Chief Design Engineer, has got the ironical nickname of Gross Kopf (in German), i.e. “a large head”, and that sounded more than politely. On the eve of the project completion and Kopp’s drive off, he was invited to visit the Chief manager of the company. After stock congratulations and wishes of happy job, L. Koop was proposed to take up the position of a General consultant in their company with a 10-fold rate of salary, but he denied this offer.

When the project has been finalized, L. Koop was seat to Kramatorsk as the Chief engineer of Krammashstrois.

There, he has shown his worth as a brilliant and eminent technical manager. Novokramatorsky giant plant was his brainchild and his favorite. He was especially fond of  casting shop since it had been his own project. Being a person of the extreme tact and responsiveness he could not tolerate any administrative pressure and could rationally plate the young specialists at the service of NKMZ construction. He could always get a contact with the young people and they returned him the sincere gratitude and affection.

Till 1936, Kyrilkin was the actuator while Koop was the soul of the project.

The new tunes however, have come. Being a man of the storm, powerful ataxic and breakthrough, Kyrilkin was capable of managing the socialist construction.

However, he had a lock of knowledge to manage the giant machinery plant. He understood that to pull the plant out of the quagmire of unfinished jobs and discrepancies, he had to show courage, proper technological knowledge, engineer’s way of thinking, accuracy, rigorous discipline, deep analytical mind, a firm character and a skillful hand.

One can hardly say today who initiated Kyrilkin’s transfer to another post but on May 29, 1936, Ordzhonikidze signed an order on Kyrilkin’s appointment as the Chief manager of the ship-building plant to be constructed in Arkhangelsk. In his special order Sergo mentioned the “ outstanding service of comrade Kyrilkin at the post of the chief manager of KZTM -  the largest machine – building plant in our country”. Ivan Kyrilkin was awarded the order of Lenin. On July 9, Sergo signed an order on L. Koop’s appointout as the Technical Director of the shipbuilding plant in Arkhangelsk. As the contemporaries witnessed, that was Koop’s personal request. They had to start from Scratch, i.e. from working out the project, mobilization of labour force, construction of the plant the railway and the town. Five years were schedules to carry out the entire amount of works. Being armed with a solid stick made of birch (to make jumping over hummocks easier) and put in waders, Koop used to walk across the site, talk to the work superintendents and workers many of whom he knew by name.

Koop thought much of the workers. He could give a bonus for selfless labour just on the work place as he had used to do it in Kramatorsk. However, he was strict with those who were at any fault. His energy was infinite, his eyes were omnipresent. Koop was hot-tempered but easily appeased. To carry conviction, he could use a strong language.

Construction pace was, however, rapid; the first two-storied house was build in 10 days; a building of drama theatre was completed in 25 days; a 50-kilometer branch line was laid in 4 months. The first train with the goods crossed that lone when Kyrilkin had already been not there.

L. Koop had no tine to complete construction of Sudation (Ship-building plant site) settlement, later named Molotovsk and finally, Severodvinsk. In September 1938, Koop reported on successful completion of the 1-st phase of the ship-building plant project on a session of Politburo.  Stalin said that he had done well and thanked him. Later, in the small hours, when all the family was celebrating Koop’s daughter Klavclia’s birthday, Koop was arrested.

Here is a reference:

In the Book of Memories of the victims of Stalinist repressions (Arkhangelsk region) it is written the following:

Ivan Tarasovich Kyrilkin, born 1890, Shakthy, an inhabitant of Molotovsk, Chief Mamager of the ship-building plant construction site. On May 2, 1941, he was illegally convicted by the military tribunal of Arkhangelsk military district, sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment and 5 years’ disfranchisement according to clauses 58-7 and 58-11 of the Criminal lode of Russian Federation and the law dated July 07, 1932. He was fully exonerated on July 25, 1956.

There are, however, some facts about Koop’s life. He perished in Vetlag (the K-321 prison camp) on March 26. 1942. Here exist two versions of his death: either he was killed by the criminals or died due to collapse of the stack of logs that buried him. We cam hardly learn the truth about his death.

There is a memorial plaque installed on the office building of the ship-building plant in Severodvinsk which confirms complete Kyrilkin’s exoneration.

L. Koop was arrested on his birthday, on November 19, 1937 in M. Kaganovish’s reception room. In May, 1941, he was sentenced to 8 year’s imprisonment. being in the prison camp, he was appointed the Chief engineer of Arkhumstroi. Then, he was directed to another construction site.

In 1943, being in prison camp, he was arrested again with his term of imprisonment extended till 1952.

The administration of the prison camp rated Kopp highly as an expert. Both the criminals and political prisoners respected ham.

Leonid Kharitonovich Koop, born 1886, Mosow, an inhabitant of Molotovsk, Technical Director of the ship-building plant construction site. On May 2, 1941, he was illegally convicted by the military tribunal of Arkhangelsk military district, sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment and 3 years’ disfranchisement according to clauses 58-7 and 58-11 0f the Criminal Code of Russian Federation. Any information on his subsequent life is not available.

He was fully exonerated on August 25, 1956.

L. Koop died in July 1950 from the heart attack.

Administration of the prison camp did all their best to save the life of an experienced specialist who was needed them but in vain. The last Kopp’s words: “I am drying. It’s a pity that I hadn’t live to communism…” were recorded in his death certificate. A cast-iron plate and the fence cast at his plant were installed on Koop’s grave. being rallied round a common case construction of the new plants – and shackled due to Stalin’s repressions, I.T.Kyrilkin and L.Kh. Koop remained in the people’s memory forever.

A Manually-Assembled Plant

In 1999, NKMZ’s flag was hoisted and its emblem established for the first time witch its 65-year history. The picture of the rolling mill put in a gear became NKMZ’s symbol. So, the priorities of the CIS’s largest machine-building plant were specified.

In fact, the picture of the mill enscribed in the gear should have been an emblem of the pre-war NKMZ. The mill might have been chosen as a symbol of NKMZ since it embodied patriarchal life of that time and that of the neighboring villages white the gear was a symbol of motion and radical changes.

Such an emblem could also have been the symbol of the first 5-year plans when Stalin started realization of the Leninist theory of socialist construction in one country. The necessity to “overtake and surface” the capitalist countries became the key idea of the progress in the USSR. thus, Stalin directed al his will and energy to transform the peasants’ Russia into the industrial state. “We have fuller behind the developed countries by 50 to 1000 years, - Stalin wrote in his “the year of Fundamental Improvement” article. We must pass running this distance within 10 years. Einther we will do it or we will be smashed”.

Kramatorsky heavy machinery plant was designed as a link in a huge chain of the largest industrial construction sites that included over 1,200 plants and factories. Ita Grothers from birth were the steel plants in Kuznetsk, Tula, Kryvoi Rog and Tagyl, Magnitogorsk integrated iron-and-steel works, Zaporozhstal, Azovstal< Gorky motor car works, Kharkov tractor works, Berezniki chemical plant and ГПЗ-1 Bearing plant in Moscow. The priority was given heavy industry that received 78 percent of all investments.

In fact, a by-product coke plant should have been built in the place of KZTM. Here, in summer 1927, construction of the temporary wooden barracks named Koksostroi (Coke plant construction site) was started. In 1928 they began construction on the plant site an on the site of a new electric power-generating plant. In the settlement of Ulyanovka they initiated construction of a dam across the Torets and began drilling boreholes to get potable water.

However, construction of the chemical plant was considered to be unreasonable mainly due to the lack of logistics.

An option that to build a heavy machinery plant is more profitable for the state prevailed. There were several favourable conditions for the future construction site. These included, in particular, the available and old machine-building plant (SKMZ), skilled personnel, Kramatorsk settleuout proper as it created for machine building by the nature itself, Donbass region with its heavy industry, a network of railways and the nearby industrial centers like Kharkov.

This opinion was taken into consideration by the Supreme Council of the National Economy and by Ordzhonikidze, its chairman. So, the decision to build the machine-building plant here was finally takes. Construction of the by-product coke plant and No.4 blast furnace at KGMMZ was stopped.

The largest construction projects that included the Dnieper Hydro, Turkestan-Siberia railway, Stalingrad tractor works, etc. had to be completed in 1930. Heavy machinery plants Uralmash and KZTM had to be commissioned in 1931 and 1933 respectively.

At first it was planned to discuss the problem of updating the machine-building section at KGMMZ (Kramatorsk state-owned metallurgical and machine-building plant) that had already been in service for 30 years. Such updating however, could not make it possible to meet the ever-growing demands of industrial enterprises in South Russia. KGMMZ’s production program for 1927-1927 included 15,500 tons of equipment while the total demark of the USSR’s steelmaking plants, the ore and mining industry in South Russia and heavy machinery industry amounted to 140,000 tons. Therefore, it was decided to build a new plant that would be located as near to the railways, water-and power supply mains as possible. Kramatorsk was a perfect place for such construction.

In April 1929, G.K.Ordzhonikidze, the People’s commissar of the Worker’s and Peasants’ inspection approved the project though the  plant profile and its capacity were finalized only in 1930 when construction had already been initialed. KZTM was scheduled to supply almost one half of the heavy metallurgical equipment for the whole country along with the ore and mining, press and forging and some other heavy machinery. We need to produce our own equipment for the soviet republic, Ordzhonikidze said. Construction of the giant machine-building plant is planned to be done on the base of KGMMZ. this will be the largest plant in Europe. 141 mln. rubles  were invested into construction of the new plant.

In the same 1929, Ordzhonikidze arrived to Kramatorskaya station to approve layout of the future plant. It was decided to build NKMZ to the north of Kramatorskaya station, near the settlement of Steigerovka, on the land of the Bubnov Kolkhoz.

A flat and even site of 700×1000 metres in size was chosen on the night bank of the Torets. The site was limited with a rather steep but not long slope. Behind the site a flat sloping plain extended for several kilometers. It was supposed to build the “people’s settlement” there.

April, 1929 was rather strained. To coordinate civil engineering works, Krammashstroi Agency was set up. I.T.Kyrilkin, Chairman of the Board – KGMMZ, was appointed its chies manager and O.M.Kamenev was appointed to a position of its Technical Director. Industroi trust, the largest in the USSR, was selected to be the project subcontractor.

In the same April, L.Kh.Kopp, an engineer from UKRGIPROMASH and the winner in a tender for designing the future NKMZ, was sent on mission with the group of engineers that included P.K.Vyviorkovsky, E.Rosenberg and Valenty to Germany to carry out consultations under the project. There, at Orgmetall branch in Berlin, a GYPROMEZ project bureau was set up. The group of designers headed by L.Kopp carried out negotiations with regard to designing the steelmaking, press and forging shops and the machining shop A (No.1).

It is noteworthy that being abroad the Soviet engineers borrowed mainly calculations of manufacturing process. The designs finalized in Berlin were then revised by UKRGIPROMASH with the aim of increasing capacities of the future plant.

A heavy burden of the construction arrangement was laid upon I.T.Kyrilkin.

The large constructions project of the 5-year plan was a salvation for Kramatorsk since the number of unemployed who were recorded on labour exchange in 1925 reached 2,000 persons. It was enormous for Kramatorsk and its envious with the population between 20,000 and 22,000 inhabitants. Not more than 10 lucky men were sent job daily at the customer’s requests.

However, the outskirts a calm station settlement could not provide the giant construction site with adequate labour force. Therefore, labour mobilization in the regions of Kharkov, Orel, Kaluga, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Chernigov, Smolensk, Poltava, Kherson, Zaporozhe an d some other far and near districts of the Soviet Union was announced.

Some people came themselves when they had picked up the smell of works while others were brought by force. The people arrived, as a matter of fact, to bare steppe land since the neighbouring villages could not provide all those who had been mobilized with longing. People lived under canvas. There were canteens, medical stations, shops and the bath-house under camas. Later, the barrack settlements like Shlakovaya Gora, Novostroi, Melovaya gora, etc. arisen. As the contemporaries recalled, wooden barracks with slots were knocked up of wooden slabs. They could protect from wind and rain in summer but they were unfit for living in cold winter.

On October 8, 1929m laying of the plant foundation stone took place. the first stone in a symbolic foundation of the future giant plant was laid by S.I.Ponomarenko, a work superintendent from Office No.4 of Industroi and I.T.Kyrilkin, Chairman of Krammashstroi. the steel structures shop was a key construction project. This shop was supposed to work not only for the USSR’s industry but mainly to provide the site with steel structures.

NKMZ may be called manually-assembled plant. At first, there were no any mechanisms at all. Spades were the main tool of production, wheelbarrows, banners and backpack attachments named a “goat” were the key means of carrying bricks and any other loads.

One cannot say that construction of the plant was started straight away. the lack of technical documents and absence of dwellings for the builders above all hampered construction. In addition, the first winter on site was especially distressing: the kettles used to burst under the canvas at temperatures below 40ºC. A bit better life was for those who manager to cut out caves on the slope of the chalk hill, hung the doors and lives there without daylight, water and elementary conveniences. The dwellers of such burrows could easily be recognized by their clothes stained with chalk. Later these dwellings