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TsKB-29 - Central Design Bureau No. 29 of the NKVD

Stalin and Beria organized under the supervision of the Beria's apparatus the so-called Central Design Bureau No. 29 of the NKVD, which had the slang term "sharaga" or "sharashka". In order to maintain production of new airplanes after these arrests, a special prison institute (TsKB-29, or Central Design Office No. 29) was established. The authorities decided that it was irrational to use the best engineering staff at the logging site and organized special technical offices. In addition to the famous Tupolev and Kerber (author of the book-memoir "Tupolev Shrike"), Lev Termen, Sergei Korolev, Robert Bartini and other designers worked in it, becoming the stars of aircraft construction and cosmonautics a few years after liberation.

Tupolev was arrested in 1937 on charges of espionage. He was accused of transferring drawings to French intelligence and that he headed an anti-Soviet wrecking organization in the aviation industry. hE got 15 years with deprivations of political rights. Tupolev's name was erased from the history of the aircraft industry. ANT aircraft were renamed to TsAGI.

After this came the arrest of specialists working in his design bureau. At the end of 1938 - the beginning of 1939 in Bolshevo, just where the propaganda film "A Voyage to Life" was filmed in 1931, convicts began to arrive : aviators, shipbuilders, artillerymen, tankmen, missilesmen, signalmen. Soon Tupolev got there, around which the future backbone of KB 103 began to gather - Yager, Frenkel. At some point he was summoned to his superiors and ordered to make a list of all the arrested specialists he knew. There was an idea to create a large design bureau. They collected about 200 "enemies of the people" (and in fact - cream of Soviet science and technology: 17 major aviation designers, of which two are future academicians, 15 corresponding members and doctors of science, 12 chiefs of design teams). With them worked about 1000 civilian constructors, who were, paradoxically, in submission to "pests" and "spies".

In the camps was the color of Soviet aviation thought, aircraft designers AN Tupolev, VM Petlyakov, head of the design team of experimental aircraft in the Tupolev Design Bureau VMMyasishchev (future developer of strategic aircraft), RL Bartini - in fact , who created Yer-2, the author of many innovations in aviation, IG Neman (who once worked on the Ivanov project), VA Chizhevsky (who created the BKK aircraft), the chief designer of the D.Osaviakhim plant. Markov, the head of the design bureau for the construction of the Maxim Gorky airplane BA Saukke, Ostekhburo structural designer ARBonin, AVNadashkevich, airplane designer, inventor of the famous "aviazvena" BSVahmistorov, constructor of gyroplanes AMCheremukhin. A group of TsAGI workers headed by N.M. Kharlamov was arrested.

KB 100 VM Petlyakovhigh-altitude fighter-project
KB 102 VM Myasishchev distant high-altitude bomber
KB 103 Tupolev dive bomber TU-2
DL Tomasevic front-line fighter

The bureau included four independent bureaux.

Tupolev, who by that time had been imprisoned for more than a year, was transferred to work at TsKB-29. Before him the task was to create a dive bomber. To this end, Tupolev selects a group of people he needs from among the prison inmates of the NKVD, and in early 1940 about one hundred and fifty professional prisoners are transferred to Moscow to the KOSOS building. People who agreed to work in the TsKB-29 and selected by Tupolev essentially owed him their life: the inhuman conditions of the Gulag camps during the war left little chance of survival. The formed collective literally represented the elite of Soviet aviation thought. In addition, it included specialists from several other industries, knowledge and experience of which were necessary for the common cause. There were automakers, metallurgists, electronics engineers, physicists, materials experts, including plastics specialists, prominent employees of the Academy of Sciences and a number of research institutions.

The attack of the fascists on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 only strengthens the determination and labor of specialists working in prison. In addition to daily twelve hours of work, prisoners build a bomb shelter. Among the working and Tupolev himself - with a shovel and an ax. The bomb shelter is ready by July 20 - just two days before the first raid of the fascist bomber aviation to Moscow. Meanwhile, on 21 July 1941, Tupolev did not go to work: an event unheard of in prison conditions. As it turned out, twelve days before the Supreme Court of the USSR decided to pardon Tupolev and about twenty more people. The rest of the convicts found out about this, as well as about their pardon only on 08 August 1941 on their way to Omsk during the evacuation of an enterprise organized in connection with the Nazis' offensive.

In Omsk, the design bureau, which continued to be called the NKVD TsKB-29, was located partly in the River Administration building and in the unfinished buildings of the car and truck assembly plant. Designers do not stop working on a dive bomber. Now it is called Tu-2 / ANT-58/103. The car assembly plant was gradually transformed into a serial aircraft plant. In the fall of 1942, TsKB-29 was finally removed from the direct subordination of the NKVD and renamed to the aircraft factory No. 156, and a year later, in the fall of the 43rd, the designers returned to Moscow, leaving a streamlined serial production of aircraft in Omsk (Omsk plant exists until now, although ties with Tupolev's firm have practically been lost: here the An-72/74 aircraft are being manufactured now). In the meantime, the design bureau again occupies the usual buildings of the design department of the experimental construction sector and the pilot plant on the Yauza embankment. At the end of the war, 3,397 people work here, and two years later - 5,226 employees.

Most of the designs developed were never brought to serial production. The sterility of creative work in "sharaga" was inevitable by making frightened slaves out of people. The success of the work of the Tupolev sharaga in the creation of the front-line bomber TB-2 was determined primarily by the fact that AN Tupolev himself was a spiritually free person capable of defending the necessary technical solutions to Beria himself.

One of the sources of information about the history of CDB-29 and the reason why it became known as the Tupolev Shrimp is a book with the same name in the authorship of Leonid Lvovich Kerber, one of the prisoners of this KB experts. It spread in samizdat in the early 1970s as the work of an unknown author. The first edition of the Tupolev Shrug was released in 1971 in Yugoslavia.

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Page last modified: 04-11-2018 17:41:27 ZULU