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September 4, 1954

Meeting held by Marshal of the Soviet Union Com. G.K. Zhukov 4 September 1954 at Totskoye Camps

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)


held by Marshal of the Soviet Union Com. G.K. Zhukov

4 September 1954 at Totskoye camps


Com. Bolyatko reported:

As Com. Agal’tsov reported on 3 September 1954 on the readiness of aviation to drop the atomic bomb, I will not touch this issue.


I. Measures to ensure the safety of troops


Meteorological observation has been established daily with the aim of determining the weather forecast.


A restricted zone has been established with a radius of 8 km from the center of the target, while from the side of the advancing troops – 5 km from the center of the target on the River Makhovka.


Guard posts have been organized in the restricted zone. Either a sergeant or an officer will head the post.


Shelters have been made for the personnel and military equipment of the advancing side, placed at a distance of 5 to 8 km from the center of the target, as Com. Proshlyakov reported yesterday. Shelters have not been made for the rear troops, but they will be placed at a distance exceeding 12 km and can use natural shelters.


All military personnel participating in the exercise have been supplied chemical protection equipment, as well as equipment for partial sanitary treatment and decontamination. In the kit with gas masks, 15,000 light-protective films were distributed and an additional 20,000 will be distributed which will ensure the full demand for them.


Assets for radiation surveys and supporting sanitary treatment and decontamination were readied in the troops.


A group was created for dosimetric tracking of the leadership staff and invited guests, and is headed by Colonel Zhdanov.


I have myself readied 352 special eyeglasses for the main group of the leadership staff and invited guests; the rest of the staff will be issued gas masks with light-protective film.


Commands and signals on atomic danger have been worked out and the troops have already conducted training in previous exercises.


Instructions on troop and population safety have been worked out. Instructions have been elaborated with the officer staff. Sergeants and soldiers will be familiarized with the memo on safety at D-3. These instructions will be elaborated with the civilian population at D-2.


II. Measures to ensure the safety of the population


In light of the fact that the commencement of the exercise is slated for 14 September and we did the calculation for 11 September, in a number of places in the restricted zone in a radius of 8 km from the center of the target, they have begun to remove livestock and chickens.


The four villages slated for resettlement with a total number of 1633 families (Makhovka, Yel’shanka-2, Ivanovka and Orlovka) have been prepared.


Marshal of the Soviet Union Com. Zhukov ordered: resettlement is to be completed at D-3.


Hay, located in the restricted zone, has been removed to the five-kilometer zone.


Trucks have been given to the population for removing belongings, with one truck allocated per family. The property of civilians which cannot be removed will be sheltered in cellars and pits.


The task of removal of the population from buildings to natural shelters or crevices in centers within the zone of 8 to 12 km from the center of the target and in centers in the zone from 12 to 15 km where the population will be removed from homes to a distance of 15 to 30 km, has been placed on the staff of YuzUrVo which has conducted training with local party and Soviet organs. Memos for the population of these zones have been worked out and will be given to the population two days prior to the start of the exercise.


Fire teams, consisting of 12 fire teams and 3 sapper battalions, have been created and are concentrated in the region of the exercise. In 128 sk, a detachment of 120 men has been organized.


III. Additional measures to ensure the safety of troops and the population.


Com. Agal’tsov reported that the carrier aircraft crews studied the special instructions and they are ready to complete the task. Ship commander Lt. Colonel Kukichev, in one crew, has already dropped a bomb. In a second ship, the ship’s navigator participated in a drop.


General-Major of the Engineering-Technical Service Chernorez, chief of the Vladimirov test range, is responsible for training the crews and aircraft.


All measures have been taken to maintain the explosion of the bomb at an altitude of 350 m. In good weather, the target is visible at 50 km.


Com. Bolyatko reported that, with the aim of ensuring the safety of troops and the population in large population centers adjoining the area of the exercise, 18 dosimetric posts have been set up and provided with telephonic and radio communications to the leadership staff.


Ground-level survey in armored transport vehicles and special tanks has been set up, as well as an air survey in aircraft. And, they will conduct surveillance of both the area of the explosion as well as along the path of the spread of the radioactive track.


IV. Measures to ensure the evacuation of the population and to restore damaged buildings.


In order to implement timely evacuation of the population from the zone of dangerous contamination, an automobile battalion consisting of 180 vehicles has been created, as well as a reserve column (a total of 320 vehicles).


In order to restore buildings and peripheral structures which might be damaged in population centers and in the area of the exercise, the necessary lumber has been brought in (500 cubic meters more than had been envisioned in the plan), and forces have been allocated to complete the restoration work.


Marshal of the Soviet Union Com. Zhukov ordered that:


a) acts be drawn up:

- on the readiness of the carrier aircraft and crew for flights;

- on ensuring the safety of the exercise;

- on fulfilling measures to ensure the safety of invited guests and the exercise leadership;

- on fulfilling measures to ensure the safety of the population.


b) Com. Glebov and Com. Bolyatko prepare a report for the CPSU CC and USSR Council of Ministers on the organization and readiness of all measures to ensure the safety of troops and of the population (on all issues with attachments of acts).

Report on Tuesday morning (7 September 1954).


[handwritten: 8 September 1954]



Notes from a discussion among Soviet military leaders concerning the risk of contamination during the Totskoye nuclear exercise.

Document Information


Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Dmitriĭ Antonovich Volkogonov papers, 1887-1995, mm97083838. Translated by Theresa Billow-Supple.

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