The 22 of june, 1941. This sunday was unusually festive for workers of Automobile Plant. On the eve, on saturday, the plant personnel marked an important labour achievement - the assembly of the 1,000,000th engine. Factory's newspaper "Autogigant" issued with the big title across whole strip: "There is the millionth engine!". "Gorkovskaya kommuna" congratulated the plant personnel on a big labor victory. On the radio there was a concert for the best workers of the plant. Already in the morning there were a lot of people on the bus' stops. Some of them were going to Striginski wood, the other - to the Oka's beach, the lovers of sports hurried to the stadium. Everywhere there were happy faces, music. Who could think, that in a few hours everything would be changed? Who could know, that it had already changed…
An hour later it was a big meeting in front of the plant. "…We declare ourselves mobilized to defend our beloved Motherland and are ready to work and to struggle, … , up to complete victory over the enemy!".
And immediately there were the first applications requesting to direct people to the front. On the same day after the meetings many workers went to their work places. On the 22 of june the master of tools and stamps Shabanov together with a grinder Dorogavtsev and a fitter Rykalin and others performed a huge work, without going out of the workshop for 21 hours. In usual conditions four days were required for this work. On the same day the planeman of the workshop of hot stamps N. N. Tulumbasov completed three rates. V. D. Pastuhov surpassed the rate in 4 times and after the shift till the night he worked at the another task. There were tens and hundreds of similar examples of labor heroism.
In the hour of trouble hundreds of people went to the Communist Party Commitee, Young Communist League commitee, millitary registration office. In their applications they asked to direct them as volunteers to the front. More than 100 applications were received from the workers on the 22nd of June and their number being increased every day.
The bright manifestation of patriotism, readiness of people to defend their Motherland was the creation of territorial armies. People of different ages and professions went there. They were united by a common ambition - to battle out liberty and independence of the Motherland with weapons in their hands. In a short period of time about 10 thousand of workers became territorial armies members. After a hard working day they were trained to shoot, to master a rifle, a machine-gun, a grenade. Hundreds of YCL members headed self-protection groups. Special detachments for guarding the industrial objects, for struggling against fire, spies and saboteurs were created in workshops.
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War changed the conditions and tasks of working of all enterprises of industry and transport. It was necessary in the shortest possible period to restructure industry to the military way, maximally use all reserves and possibilities for the victory over the enemies. Gorky Automobile Plant workers in the shortest time-limits had to pass to the output of light tanks, of tanks engines, armoured cars, mortars, ammunition. At that time the director of the plant was Ivan Kuzmich Loskutov (was born in 1900).
The restructuring of the enterprise was developed according to a new schedule. The equipment was placed in the workshops according to the new plan. Technological chain of producing units and details was reconsidered. Such plants as "Red Sormovo", "Red Etna", Gorkovskii metallurgical, Pavlovsky buses', Kulebaksky metallurgical and others rendered much assistence in the timely supply of the steel bodies of tanks, rolled metal, normals, driving tools, various materials.
Manifesting the greatest persistance, energy, initiative, the Gorky Automobile Plant staff successfully mastered new production processes, continuously increased the output of tanks and tanks engines, mortars and ammunition. It was impossible to imagine, that a man is able to work continuously for 20-30 hours. But now workers, fulfilling the tasks of the front, did not go out of the plant day and night. In the foundry the oven broke down. With the risk of his life electrician N. K. Sorokin together with his assistant A. V. Lupov began repairing the oven, without cooling it. The same day it was repaired. Emergent military order was fulfilled in time.
The restructuring of manufacture to a military way of production was connected with the problem of cadres. Thousands of people went to war, and the front imperatively required the new production. At the Gorky Automobile Plant, just like nationwide, powerful patriotic movement of women for mastering the new professions began. They replaced husbands and brothers, came to machine-tools, persistently mastering new specialities, for a long time have not abandoned the workshops fulfilling military orders. Only in the first month of war more than 1500 housewives came to the factory. Practically there was no such profession which was not mastered by soviet patriots. More than 500 women in short period successfully mastered difficult (male) professions - they became blacksmiths, steel founders, warmers, etc. Amid the workers awarded at the end of 1941 for selfless labor there were many women: P. E. Mokshina, N. V. Vorobyova, T. I. Maslennikova, D. K. Emelianova, M. V. Malysheva, A. V. Alexandrova and others.
The factory's staff had difficult technical and organizational tasks. If to pre-war preparing, setting up and mastering of the passenger car M-1 took two years and the significant quantity of import equipment, and mastering of more difficult weaponry was ended at the plant in five months without any additional equipment. At the enterprises new processes were arranged: the production of rubber and its parts, the manufacturing of carbide, metal rolling etc. Because of absence of metal sheets the plant had to begin the output of trucks with wooden cabins.
Understanding the importance of Gorky city as a large industrial centre, enemy tried to paralyze the activity of one of the principal armories of the country. Workers met courageously the first air raids. Thousands of workers, engineers, technicians, housewives, students came out after work and learnt to construct bomb-proofs. The hundreds of groups to struggle with incendiary bombs functioned at the enterprise. The workers gave more and more tanks, tank's engines, military machines, mortars, ammunition to the front every day.
Thanks to the great organization work and selfless labor of the staff of GAZ at the end of 1941 the restructuring of manufacture to the military rails was mainly ended. The output of production for the front (except the automobiles) grew from month to month.
Movement for combining of professions at the plant was increasing. In august of 1941 there were 668 people who were mastering several specialities. At the beginning of october the members of YCL of the plant set a new form of socialist competition - front brigades. In a few days, front brigades were created in many workshops. On 15 october of 1941 32 front brigades were functioning at the plant, which united 256 young patriots. The first front brigade of V. Shubin, V. Tikhomirov, I. Yakimenko, V. Shabaev, P. Davydova, F. Liubavin and others displayed the examples of genuine labor heroism.
In the short time-limits the plant mastered the manufacturing of a new tank T-70 and armored car. For the development of the constructions of the new types of light tanks and armored cars, the main designer of the plant A. A. Lipgart, deputy of the main designer N. A. Astrov and designer V. A. Grachev were awarded "The Goverment bonus".
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The summer of 1943 brought the difficult trials to the warriors of the Soviet Army and the workers of the plant.
On the 4 of june, 1943 at 23.40 the air alert was declared. The enemy dropped high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the plant, lighted by the enemy's missiles. A lot of workshops, houses of Sotsgorod, offices, building were burnt. Water-supply was broken, there was nothing to extinguish the fires. In many workshops the wooden walls were set in fire. The substation, which was receiving the electricity from Gorenergo was put out of action by splinter of bomb. The plant was in the flame. More than 100 high-explosive bombs were dropped to the plant on the first day of air-bombing. Blacksmith №3, chassis workshop, the main conveyer, partially spring workshop and another workshops were put out of action. Several houses, children's garden, a hospital were destroyed in the plant's settlement.