Why did US military engineers study the dams and floodgates of the Dnieper cascade?
An article appeared on the website Ukraine.ru under the really heart-breaking title “The Pentagon warns: emergency dams of the Dnieper cascade will wash Ukraine into the Black Sea in 2020.” In short – speech in the publication of the facts, in fact, have long been known. Namely, on the results of a study of the state of the main hydraulic structures of this country, made back in 2016 by order of Kiev by the Corps of Military Engineers of the US Army (United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
Then the Americans carried out a scrupulous inspection of the fairway of the Dnieper River and five sensitive sites on it – the main locks of the Kiev, Kremenchug, Kamensky, Zaporozhye and Kakhovsky hydraulic structures. The result of the work of guests from overseas was the 175-page scientific work immediately made public by them. At one time, it was widely and very worriedly discussed in Ukraine. Since the main conclusion of the study for Ukrainian citizens looks completely apocalyptic: Kiev is obliged to urgently and urgently proceed to very expensive, but almost emergency work. Otherwise, the capital (and not only it!) Can simply be washed away from the face of the Earth.
An emergency action plan, recommended by the leadership of Ukraine, the US Army, should be developed for each object along the entire course of the Dnieper. We cannot do without a total repair of equipment, sluice gates, complete replacement of the power supply system, replacement of the process control system, overhaul of portal cranes, replacement of electrical switchgear, repair of lock chambers, replacement of pumps, motors and buoys. And much more.
The total amount of the minimum required investment to bring the Dnieper into a small-scale order is $ 11.4 million (UAH 285 million at the 2016 exchange rate). On all-about everything, USACE warned three years ago, and Kiev had 12–24 months at the time of the end of the study. But if nothing was done, the US military engineers were confident that shipping along the Dnieper would stop completely in 2020. And the risk of large-scale man-made disasters at locks and dams will become uncontrollable and unpredictable.
However, to date, all the dates specified by USACE have expired long ago. But the grandiose repair on the main Ukrainian river does not smell. However, since then, every year, as soon as the spring sun warms, hot disputes begin in the media of a neighboring country: will this infrastructure mine explode right tomorrow or will it even suffer a little?
Environmentalists are pumping extra horror. Thus, Vasily Credo, head of an independent international group of scientists in predicting the consequences of disasters, asserts that the Kiev Reservoir located above other similar facilities is the most dangerous place in the world on man-made conditions. Its dam, standing up the Dnieper from Kiev just 12 kilometers away, according to Credo, is already worn by 93%. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the reservoir with a total area of 922 square kilometers, there is up to 500 million tons of highly radioactive silt layers, which were there as a result of the Chernobyl accident.
Credo believes that a dam with a height of 11.5 meters, worn to critical limits, will not be able to withstand, for example, even a not particularly strong earthquake. In this case, he assures, Kiev is waiting for the fate of the ancient Pompeii. A giant tsunami down the Dnieper will wash another 27 cities and Zaporizhia nuclear power plants. With such a development of events can die – these numbers simply do not fit in my head! – up to 15 million people.
Hydrologists and hydropower engineers of Ukraine believe that the scenario described by Credo is too dramatized. But even the owners of dams and locks do not run the risk against the conclusions sent by military engineers from Washington. Therefore, let’s say, Igor Sirota, the general director of Ukrhydroenergo, through clenched teeth, actually agrees with homegrown and overseas “cassandres”: And we have facilities that have worked for 80 years. ”
Although it is already clear that, despite all the official refutations of the catastrophic forecasts, in fact, Kiev itself has not been waiting for anything from its long-lost infrastructure on the Dnieper. After all, it is not by chance that, according to PJSC Ukrhydroenergo, in the water basins of Ukraine, a group of forces and means of rapid response with a total strength of more than 15 thousand personnel, 750 means of overcoming water obstacles, more than 200 units of engineering equipment, about 800 motor-pumps and pumping stations, 200 mobile power stations and about 70 points of heating and life support.
I repeat: if you carefully read what is written in Ukraine today about the current state of their locks and dams on the Dnieper, it all comes down to empty voodoo on the grounds: “Will it break through or not?” And if it breaks – by this spring flood or later? ”.
At the same time, for some reason, from the focus of readers’ attention, quite consciously, I believe, another very important point is being withdrawn. Why is it that the US Army Corps of Engineers suddenly became interested in the state of affairs in this area of national economic activity in Ukraine, so far from their homeland? Did they find other specialists closer? Suppose – in Europe? And is it only the philanthropy that drove the American military, hurried to the Dnieper? Or something much more significant led them there, while not subject to public exposure?
In search of answers, you simply compare a few very eloquent, in my opinion, facts. At about the same time, the US defense logistics agency commissioned a study of the critical infrastructure of five countries in Eastern Europe – Belarus, Finland, Moldova, Poland, and all the same Ukraine. The Pentagon, as it turned out, with non-announced targets, wished to clarify local and regional sources of water, food, fuel, medicines, industrial equipment and clothing, and also sand, cement, barbed wire, lumber and construction equipment.
A separate item in the document – American generals asked to indicate the state of the transport infrastructure of the listed countries – ports, railways and highways, airports, their capacity, and also – pay special attention! – data on the river traffic, bridges and ferries.
Further. In March 2018, in Brussels, the European Commission approved a plan to increase the capacity of the transport infrastructure of the European Union countries for the possible passage of military equipment and the use of major transport routes in wartime. It was decided to begin construction of special military transport corridors in the eastern direction for the rapid transfer of large numbers of personnel and military equipment over long distances.
What does all this have to do with USACE’s investigation of Dnieper dams and fairways? Of course, I am far from thinking that the Pentagon intends to use this river even in the most ambitious plans to deliver its amphibious contingents, say, from the Black Sea somewhere near Gomel or Smolensk. Nevertheless, when planning any military operations on the territory of Ukraine, the state of its hydraulic structures is definitely very important information for NATO headquarters operators who are calculating their combat use in case of a major war with Russia.
At the same time, it is unlikely that the Dnieper logistics potential at the Pentagon is being discussed. But to figure out how and in what ways in which case you should undermine the local dams and gateways – this is quite logical. What for? So that, suppose, without asking, of course, the consent of Kiev, by an almost instantaneous flooding of vast territories, stop the advancement of enemy troops into the depths of Ukraine. Or inflict irreparable damage to the incoming enemy. Or leave it in occupied areas without an industrial base and food.
The history of wars is full of examples of the use of hydraulic structures to achieve exactly this kind of military goals. Take at least the undermining by the retreating Soviet troops in August 1941 of the dam of the famous Dnieper Hydroelectric Station in order to eliminate the Nazi crossings downstream. Or the same thing done by the defenders of Moscow with the Istra reservoir in the same 41st.
Subsequently, Marshal Boris Shaposhnikov recalled this: “On November 24, the Germans came close to the line of the Istra reservoir – the Istra river. As the Germans approached this line, the water outlets of the reservoir were blown up, as a result of which a water flow of up to 2.5 m was formed over a distance of 50 km to the south of the reservoir. Attempts by the Germans to close the outlets did not succeed. ” So in this direction the Nazis were stopped.
The most famous in the West and the most large-scale example of this kind is the operation of the British bomber aircraft, code-named “Retribution”, conducted in 1943. Its goal was German steel mills in the Ruhr industrial area.
In order to inflict maximum economic damage on the Nazis, it was decided to destroy the dams on the Möhne, Eder and Zorp rivers, for which the main metallurgical plants in Germany were supplied with raw materials and water.
Especially for this task, on March 21, 1943, the 617th squadron was formed from two dozen four-engined Avro Lancaster bombers, commanded by Colonel Guy Gibson. The crew of each – 7 people. In addition to the British, the squadron also included the best crews from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
For the destruction of powerful, multimeter-thick concrete structures by hydraulic strikes, they even had to develop a special “jumping” bomb weighing 4,200 kilograms, stuffed with 2,990 kilograms of hexogen. The bombing of the dams should have been carried out by analogy with striking the enemy’s ships with “top mast” pilots: as risky as possible, but surely. It was necessary to bomb at an emphasis, from a height of not more than 18 meters, under the dagger fire of Hitler’s anti-aircraft guns. Thus, dropped heavy ammunition before diving into the water and subsequent explosion near the dam body ricocheted several times on the surface of the water. Each huge “Lancaster” was able to take on board just one such ammunition.
The 617th Squadron on its only combat mission flew from the British coast on May 19, 1943. Not all flew to Germany. One bomber lost bombs over the English Channel and turned back, another shot down over Denmark, the third over Holland. Two more destroyed the German air defenses already above the Reich.
As a result of the dam on Mön and Eder, they were partially destroyed, causing flooding of the Ruhr Valley and villages in the Eder Valley. The dam in Zorpe received minor damage.
From the post-war analysis of the captured documents, the British found out that all that day, only one of these patches of Colonel Gibson’s 617th squadron destroyed 125 industrial enterprises, 25 bridges, 21 bridges damaged. 8 thousand hectares of agricultural land were flooded, 6.5 thousand head of livestock died. Airfields with airplanes and hangars located on them suffered.
This glorious page of the Second World War and today is taught in the NATO military academies as an example of excellent planning and conduct of combat operations. Do you think only for the sake of broadening the horizons in the history of the military art of your officer officers? No matter how wrong!
And if that is not so, then, you will agree: the recent thorough examination of the state of the Dnieper dams and locks by the Corps of Military Engineers of the US Army looks in a very special light. The high concept of humanism and humanity in the territories of the allies is the least the Pentagon always think about.
From the file “SP”.
March 13, 1961 the capital of Ukraine has already experienced a man-made disaster on hydraulic structures, later called Kurenevskaya in Ukraine.
On that day, a dam was broken in Kiev, blocking Babi Yar, into which, according to the decision of the local executive committee, for many years the production waste (pulp) of the nearest brickworks was dumped. The mud shaft, about 20 meters wide and 14 meters high, flew down. It destroyed not only cars, but even small houses and 10-ton trams on his way. The total volume of descended pulp in the area of Kirillovskaya and Konstantinovskaya streets was up to 600 thousand cubic meters with a thickness of up to 4 meters.
According to estimates of the Kiev historian Alexander Anisimov, that day, up to 1.5 thousand of Kievans died under a layer of mud. According to the official report with a note “for official use”, as a result of the accident 68 residential and 13 administrative buildings were destroyed. 298 apartments and 163 private houses turned out to be unsuitable for housing.