As reported by Censor.NET citing 5 Channel, exactly 75 years ago, Aug. 18, 1941, the strategically important dam and plant was dynamited by retreating Red Army troops in 1941 after Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. More than 20 tons of explosives were used for that purpose. As a result, according to different sources, about 100,000 people, mostly civilians from neighboring villages and towns, were killed. The Soviet military also fell victim to that operation. Additionally, the blast paralyzed the work of city's industrial enterprises.
A 165-meter long breach in the dam provoked a wave of several tens of meters high. It washed off the coastal city strip, Khortytsia island marshes and made its way through to the neighboring cities of Nikopol and Marhanets.
The Soviet Union suppressed the information about the tragic events in Zaporizhia related to the destruction of the great dam. Later, the persons behind the dynamiting committed on Josef Stalin's order became known as Boris Yepov and Aleksei Petrovsky. Neither local population or military leadership were notified of the upcoming operation.
Interestingly, this is how the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) wanted to obstruct the movement of Hitler's army. However, it hardly impeded the Wehrmacht. In addition, Russia's secret services disseminated information it was the Nazis who had blown up the dam.
According to Russian historian Boris Sokolov, the incident hurt the Red Army more than the Germans as many Soviet soldiers, who were crossing the dam at that moment, were killed. Moreover, a lot Soviet troops, who were deployed downstream, drowned, and those who survived had no other choice but to surrender to the enemy.
Subsequently, the organizers were declared spies and arrested by the Soviet counterintelligence. However, they were released following the intervention of their command.