Zemlyanka - a traditional Russian earth dwelling

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by MicroBalrog, May 27, 2011.

  1. MicroBalrog

    MicroBalrog Monkey+++


    Many books, films, and songs about the war mention the word “zemlyanka".

    “I often dream of all my friends
    from my wartime days
    and our three-layer Zemlyanka..."

    But the term itself is used incorrectly. The quotes above actually describe a dug-out or blindage, often confused also with the DZOT defensive structure.

    The zemlyanka is a dwelling and auxiliary building. It is not to be constructed for cover of personnel against enemy fire. The zemlyanka is an unburied earth-wood construct and is designed for rest of the personnel in the rear, where other dwellings may be unavailable or destroyed. These may also house warehouses, headquarters, medical points, hospitals, baths, workshops, etc. etc.

    The type an capacity of the Zemlyanka are defined by its purpose. THe standard detachment zemlyanka has the following specifications:


    - main room length 3.5m and width 3.7m
    - internal height 2.15 m.
    - labor needed - 10 man-days.

    A motorized rifle detachment, equipped with timber and entrenchment tools, can build a zemlyanka in a single day. Its habitability is guaranteed by the presence of an entrance airlock with two doors, a window, a stove, and a well-made roof. Whether it is warm or cold inside depends on your fuel, but at any rate it is better than any tent, vehicle cabin, or, of course, a tnk or IFV fighting compartment.

    If needed a zemlyanka can hold 200 men or even more. Oleg Tulnov has provided the author with this image of 1931 zemlyanka:


    It is clearly visible that this zemlyanka can comfortably hold at least a platoon of troops. In such dwellings units that returned from the Great Patriotic War remained for years until the barracks and military cities ruined during the war could be rebuilt. For exampl, in the Ural Military District, the 44 Lisichansk Armored Division lived in zemlyankas from the summer of 1945 to 1954.

    1. Field Fortifications: A guide, Moscow, Military Press, 1962
    2. Kalibernovnov, Kornev, Soskov, “Engineering Support for Battle,” Military Press, Moscow, 1984
    3. “The Red-Bannered Ural - A History of the Red Banner Ural Military District”, Military Press, Moscow, 1983
    4.Kalibernov, “A Combat Engineer Officer's Handbook”, Military Press, Moscow, 1989
    5. Andrusenko, Dukov, Fomin, “The Motorized (Armored) Platoon in combat, Military Press, Moscow, 1989
    6.“Combat Engineer Training” , Military Press, Moscow,1982

    Translated by MicroBalrog from this site
  2. thebastidge

    thebastidge Monkey+

    I can't see the images from this network. But it sounds like amn inetersting idea. I have been researchign the feasibility of building a cob house:


    I am fairly certain that I will build one of these, at least. I need a plce for my motgher to retire to anyway. If it works out well, I'll build a bigger one.
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