Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gorlovko: October 25th - 29th, 1941

I am currently writing the scenarios for the actions in Gorlovko (Горловка or Gorlovka or a couple of other spelling variants) by the 80th Roma Regiment. The city has a very interesting history that does not really belong in a war games scenario but i found it to be interesting.

It seems that the town was built in the late 1800s under the impetus of a Belgian investment. The town began as a collection of a few shacks surrounding a few mines. The town began to grow and grew to fame as the site of an armed uprising in 1905. There were a few actions in and around the town during the Russian Revolution.

German postcard of the town in 1920. By 1929, the town had grown to some 23,000 people. But the real growth came in the 1930s. By the late 1930s it lept to nearly 200,000 people. The infrastructure was just not there to support those numbers.

The capital of the region was Stalino. The city of Stalino had its own issues with crumbling infrastructure. It was viewed that Gorlovko could be upgraded easier than fixing Stalino. The plans were to add a new modern city center called Novo Gorlovko that included a party headquarters, modern appartments, hotels and businesses to the town. Also schools, hospitals, telegraph and telephone lines, sewage, paved roads and a tram line were all to be built.

One of the mine complexes circa 1933.

This move of the capital was short lived. It seems a high party official went for a visit and his vehicle became hopelessly bogged in the mud roads near the mines. He promptly returned to Stalino in a huff. While some funding was cut, many of the building projects did take place. The town rapidly grew through the 1930s.

The tram line was run from the city center out some 8 kilometers to one of the main mine complexes.

By the time the Italians arrived in 1941, there were a few modern structures present in the town. Most of these were industry related. The town had taken a war production footing in relation to coal production. The mines were running at full capacity. The mines were still surrounded by low ramshackle structures.

And some of the buildings that the Italians were fighting among.

Anyway, it was interesting to find out a little about this city in the Ukraine. I also got enough pictures to figure out what my map will look like for the scenarios.


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