Wednesday, June 1, 2016

74 years ago USSR has blown up Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, which dam was the largest in Europe at the time of its construction.

Many strategically important dams and plants were dynamited by retreating Red Army troops in 1941 after Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. The Dnieper Hydroelectric Station has been mined in advance in August 1941 by 157th NKVD regiment. 20 tons of ammonal were used by miners under the command of Colonel Boris Epov.
Colonel Boris Epov
When two German divisions: 9th and 14th approached the city of Zaporizhia the order to set the station off has been given by the Red Army high command. The explosion has been set off at 20:15 August 18th 1941. American journalist H. R. Knickerbocker wrote that year:This way Russians have proved now by their destruction of the great dam at Zaporizhia that they mean truly to scorch the earth before Hitler even if it means the destruction of their most precious possessions”. The tidal surge killed many unsuspecting civilians, as well as Red Army officers and soldiers who were crossing over the river.

These pictures were taken soon after the dam was set off
When Zaporizhia was taken by Wehrmacht, it took 46 days for German military builders to repair the station. New electric equipment was delivered from Germany in summer 1942 and thus power generation was restarted. In 1943 the station was dynamited again by retreating German troops. The dam suffered extensive damage, and the powerhouse hall was nearly destroyed. Both were rebuilt between 1944 and 1949.