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One abiding analytical puzzle about the Soviet missile and rocket program is the very un-American reliance on liquid propellant rockets, rather than the solid rocket motors that are ubiquitous in America. One explanation [among many] might be sought in the institutional sponsorship of various programs. From the outset, liquid propellant rockets were developed by what eventually became the Ministry of General Machine Building, and air breathing cruise missiles by the Ministry of Aviation Production. While both of these Ministry's had focused responsibility, solid propellant rockets were the responsibility of the Ministry of Agricultural Machinery (Minselkhozmash), which - strangely enough, was also responsible for agricultural machinery. This diffused focus was compounded by the brief existence of Minselkhozmash, which was scattered to the winds in 1955. Although Minselkhozmash had at least two notable Ministers, Peter Nikolaevich Goremykin was Minister from 1946 to 1951. He ran afoul of Kremlin intrigue, and was removed from office, a fate that could not have augured well for his ministry.

Ministry of Agricultural Engineering
Ministry of Agricultural Machinery (Minselkhozmash)

The People's Commissariat of Ammunition of the USSR was formed January 11, 1939 from the People's Commissariat of Defense Industry of the USSR. It was abolished on January 7, 1946. On its basis, the People's Commissariat of Agricultural Machinery of the USSR was formed January 7, 1946 on the basis of the enterprises of the People's Commissariat of Ammunition of the USSR and agricultural machine-building enterprises of other people's commissariats. The Ministry of Agricultural Machinery of the USSR was formed March 15, 1946 from the same name of the People's Commissariat.

In January 1946, a draft resolution of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR "On the organization of work on developing reactive technology" was prepared and sent for coordination to all interested agencies, but was not approved. And by February 26, 1946, a new draft resolution of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR "On the organization of research and experimental work on developing reactive technology" was developed.

However, this project, which was distinguished by the highest degree of detailed specification of technical assignments, could not be coordinated with the People's Commissariats and other government bodies. By April 7, 1946, the third version of the draft resolution of the Council of Ministers, coordinated with all departments, was sent to the deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers L.P. Beria for signature. None of these projects envisaged the creation of a coordinating body for the development of missile weapons. In addition, Beria, obviously, decided that the decree for a greater weight should be signed personally by I.V. Stalin.

In March 1946, the People's Commissariats in the USSR were transformed into ministries. In the system of ministries was organized the Ministry of Agricultural Machinery of the USSR. The Ministry of Agricultural Machine Building of the USSR was established on March 15, 1946 (under Comrade Goremykin), from the People's Commissariat of the same name, and the latter in turn from the People's Commissariat of Ammunition.

On May 13, 1946, by the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, an Ad Hoc Committee on Reactive Technique was established under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, chaired by G. Malenkov. Ustinov DF was appointed deputy chairman. - Minister of Armaments of the USSR and Zubovich I.G. - Minister of Communications Industry of the USSR. Head ministries for the development and production of jet weapons were identified: Ministry of Armament - for rockets with liquid engines; The Ministry of Agricultural Engineering - for rocket propellant projectiles and the Ministry of Aviation Industry for jet aircraft.

In the ministries, research institutes were established, design bureaus and ranges for reactive technology. In the Ministry of Agricultural Engineering - Research Institute of Powder Rocket Projectiles on the basis of GCKB-1.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, a significant part of the Soviet territory was temporarily occupied by fascist troops. On the rest territory machine-building plants switched to the production of military products. After the end of the war, the production of peaceful products had to be restored anew. A distinguished worker of the socialist competition of the Ministry of Agricultural Engineering was awarded to Stakhanovite workers, engineers and employees of enterprises and institutions of the Ministry of Agricultural Engineering for outstanding work, high production performance, systematic increase in labor productivity and improvement of product quality.

The Plenum set tasks for the first post-war five-year plan (1946 - 1950), which provided for the following: "In order to increase the yield of potatoes and vegetables, a significant expansion of irrigated areas for cultivation of potatoes and vegetables obliged: the Ministry of Agricultural Engineering to manufacture sprinklers, the Ministry of Heavy Engineering to manufacture oil engines, the Ministry mechanical engineering and instrument making to produce water pumps in quantities necessary for timely irrigation. The Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR develop types of new irrigation systems.... To organize in 1947 the production of spare parts for wide-spread mowing mowers and rakes and in 1948 organize the production of wide-spread mowers and rakes. ... From 1947, organize at the enterprises of the Ministry of Agricultural Engineering and the local industry production of machines for the mechanization of livestock farms.... to organize at the enterprises of the Ministry of Agriculture and the local industry the production of machines for mechanization of livestock farms."

These decisions were carried out quite successfully. In 1950, in comparison with 1940, the output of tractors increased 3.8 times, combine harvesters 3.66 times, tractor plows 3.1 times, tractor seeders 5.5 times, tractor cultivators 3.1 times.

In May 1947, the development of a mobilization plan for the production of an artillery shot and aviation bombs began. The Ministry of Agricultural Machinery of the USSR determined the need for fuses and distance tubes in the amount of 35-40 million pieces per month (during the Great Patriotic War, the monthly demand was 13 million units) To increase the production capacity of these important elements of ammunition, the Ministry of Agriculture requested additional appropriations necessary for the construction of 12 new plants. The government, according to the conclusion of the State Planning Committee of the USSR, allowed the construction of only two new plants.

The first Minister of Agricultural Machine Building was Boris Lvovich Vannikov, who from January 1939 to June 1941 had been People's Commissar of Arms of the USSR. On June 7, he was arrested, and in his place was appointed director of the Leningrad plant "Bolshevik" DF Ustinov [about whom more would be heard later]. When, after a month of war, there were strong interruptions in the supply of ammunition, Stalin asked Beria about the fate of Vannikov. On July 20, 1941, Vannikov was taken straight from prison to the office of Stalin and appointed a People's Commissar of Arms. Stalin requested "no offense for what had happened". From February 16, 1942 to January 1946, as People's Commissar of Ammunition of the USSR, Vannikov organized the provision of the Red Army and the Navy with ammunition of all types and calibers. At the end of 1942, the release of ammunition was twice as high as in 1941, and in 1943, as compared with 1941, production tripled. From January to June 1946, he was People's Commissar (since March 1946 - Minister) of agricultural engineering.

The Ministry of Agricultural Machine Building is most closely associated with the name of Peter Nikolaevich Goremykin, who from 1946 to 1951 Minister of Agricultural Machinery of the USSR. Prior to his appointment on March 3, 1941, the People's Commissar for Ammunition, Pyotr Nikolaevich, from February 1938 to February 1939, served as the head of the Third Main Directorate of the USSR Commissariat of Defense Industry, from February 1939 to May 1940- deputy USSR People's Commissar for Arms, from May 1940 to March 1941 - Member of the Bureau of Defense Industry under the SNK of the USSR.

As a People's Commissar, Goremykin has undoubted merit in the forced relocation of a large number of enterprises to the rear of the country, placing them in new places and promptly putting them into operation. Apparently, this was one of the main reasons for Stalin's decision to transfer from February 16, 1942 PN Goremykin to the deputies of the people's commissar, and the People's Commissar of Munitions appoint the first deputy People's Commissar of Arms, Boris L. Vannikov. However, in this post in the subsequent stages of the war, Pyotr Nikolaevich worked with the same energy and initiative that was noted by the leadership of the country. He is included in the new board of the USSR People's Commissariat of Air Supply, and by the decision of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR on November 18, 1944, he was awarded the rank of Major General of the Engineering and Artillery Service.

After the end of the Great Patriotic War on June 26, 1946, Goremykin was appointed Minister of Agricultural Machine Building of the USSR. In the same year he was included in the Special Committee on Reactive Engineering at the Council of Ministers of the USSR, chaired by G.M. Malenkov. The committee was charged with monitoring the development of research, design and practical work on reactive weapons.

In March 1951, Peter Nikolaevich Goremykin was slandered and dismissed from his post with the phrase "for a gross violation of state discipline, expressed in the concealment of metal remains in the factories." Six months later, he was sentenced to three years in prison and expelled from the party. After the death of I.V. Stalin, in 1953, P.N. Goremykin was rehabilitated and reinstated in the ranks of the CPSU. In the same year he became director of the Research Institute of the Ministry of Mechanical Engineering, in 1953-1955. works as Deputy Minister of Defense Industry of the USSR, and in April 1955 appointed Minister of General Mechanical Engineering of the USSR. In 1957, Pyotr Nikolaevich was accused of being associated with an "anti-Party group" and was removed from his post as minister. Almost a year he had to stay out of work, until, finally, his "case" was not reconsidered.

The Law of the USSR of 15 March 1953 on the transformation of the ministries of the USSR combined the Ministry of Automotive and Tractor Industry of the USSR, the Ministry of Machine Building and Instrument Making of the USSR, the Ministry of Agricultural Machine Building of the USSR and the Ministry of Machine-Building of the USSR into one Ministry - the Ministry of Machine Building of the USSR. The Ministry of General Mechanical Engineering of the USSR, was formed on April 2, 1955.

It was united on May 10, 1957 with the Ministry of Defense Industry of the USSR. In 1957, the departmental system of managing the national economy was abolished. Instead of ministries industrial enterprises were subordinated to regional councils of national economy, and branch scientific institution - the State Committee for Science and Technology of the USSR. In 1962, the system of ministries and departments was restored.

Pyotr Nikolaevich Goremykin died in Moscow on November 8, 1976. He was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery.

Scientific-Research Institute of Solid-propellant Reactive Projectiles using the facilities of State Central Design Bureau No. 1 (GTsKB-1), a design bureau using the facilities of the Ministry of Aviation Industry NII-1 Branch No. 2, and the Scientific-Research Test Range for Reactive Projectiles using the facilities of the Sofrinsk Test Range. GTsKB—Gosudarstvennoye tsentralnoye konstruktorskoye byuro [GTsKB-1] later became NII-1, and finally the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, the developer of modern-day Russian mobile ICBMs such as the Topol. The NII-1 Branch No. 2 was later successively known as KB-2 and GSNII-642. Currently, it is known as GNIP OKB Vympel and develops ground and launch equipment for the Russian space program.




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Page last modified: 04-08-2019 18:54:00 ZULU