But the militant commanders, among whom Khattab and Sh. Basayev were, decided to take a different path. Having concentrated the remnants of their forces, they conceived to break through the Argun gorge and cross the Dagestan border, hiding from the combat zone. By the time the operation began in the locality near Ulus-Kert, according to information from various sources, thousands of well-armed and trained militants were concentrated by 1,5-2,5.
While the Flag of Russia has already hoisted over the Shatoi, and most of the Federal group could officially cover weaponThe 6 th company of the 104 th regiment of the 76 X division of February 28 was ordered to settle at the height of Ista Kord. All known mountain trails flowed to the height, which the militants could use in case of their departure. Thus, the purpose of this operation was to cut off the main and most likely option for breaking through the remaining enemy formations to the northeast of the country. It was necessary to block the passage in the area of the village of Selmentauzen, settling at the turn, located four kilometers south-east of Ulus-Kert, and to prevent the militants from moving towards Makhkety, Elistanzhi, Kirov-Yurt and Vedeno. Run the task was necessary before February 14 29 hours.
In the morning of the 29 th military group, which included the 6-I and 4-I parachute companies, as well as two reconnaissance groups of the 104-th regiment under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel M.N. Evtyukhina, having received the last instructions, moved to the designated point. Moving on foot, by noon 6, headed from the beginning of the operation by major Sergei Molodov, reached the height of 776, which is four and a half kilometers from Mount Ista-Kord. For reconnaissance, a reconnaissance group of twelve servicemen was sent to the indicated mountain, which, when climbing 12: 30, ran into twenty militants and engaged them in battle. Leading a fierce firefight, the military had to retreat to the rest of the regiment to the height of 776. By that time, due to the death of Major Molodov, Lieutenant Colonel Evtyukhin assumed overall command. By 16 hours of the day, all the soldiers of the 104 regiment were involved in the battle, who had taken up defense at 776 and 787 heights.
Militants also did not waste time and, pulling up reinforcements, began a massive shelling of the Pskov division simultaneously from several directions. In 23: 25, they launched an active offensive using a large number of mortars and small arms, using well-known riverbeds and the remaining flanks of the federal forces that were not sufficiently protected. By the end of the first day, the losses of the 6 th company were 31 people, that is, a third of the personnel. One of the three platoons, who did not reach the height, was shot right on the slope during the ascent. Only two remaining platoons continued to fight the numerous enemy.
Despite the strong support from the artillery division, owing to the incessant fire from the bandit formations and the difficult terrain conditions, the command of the task force was unable to unlock the "encircling". At the same time from the militants periodically received offers of surrender with promises to save the lives of all those taken prisoner. By the morning of March 1, violating all the orders of the authorities and taking advantage of a slight lull, they were able to break through part of the 6 company numbering 4 men under the command of Major Dostanalov through the barrier of the militants. They also tried to help the paratroopers blocked at height and the 15 paratroopers headed by Sergey Baran, the intelligence chief of the 120 regiment. They left their positions and forced the river to provide all possible assistance to fellow soldiers. But as they climbed the height of the slope, being ambushed, under heavy mortar fire they were forced to gain a foothold on the shore. Later, the commander received a severe reprimand and an order to turn back.
Major General Alexander Otrakovsky, nicknamed "Grandfather", who commanded a group of marines, sought to help Evtyukhin. But his repeated appeals to the high command remained unsatisfied. From the strongest feelings for his comrades and friends from Major-General Otrakovskogo 6 March heart refused.
Significant assistance on our part to the besieged fighters was provided only by artillery. One of the peculiarities of combat with it is that with a close approach of the belligerents, the blows fall not only according to the forces of the enemy, but also to their own. At a certain moment of the battle, Lieutenant Colonel Evtyukhin realized that there was simply no way out. Then he decides to cause artillery fire on himself, being in close proximity to the enemy. Communication with the gallant commander ended on March 1 exactly at 6: 10.
Federal troops came to the positions that the 6 Company took up only on March 2, after the militants had already collected the bodies of all their dead. The number of their losses according to different sources ranged from 400 to 700 people. The paratroopers in this bloody meat grinder lost eighty-four people, thirteen of whom were officers. Six heroes still managed to escape death. The last officer who survived by that time, the captain Romanov, already left without legs, was trying to save the life of Andrei Porshnev and Alexander Suponinsky. He ordered the guys to jump off a cliff, and he covered their departure until the last. The soldiers managed to get out of the battle zone and get to the federal forces safe and sound. One of the paratroopers, Yevgeny Vladykin, who decided to make a sortie behind his sleeping bags for the wounded, when he ran out of ammunition, got involved in hand-to-hand fighting and received a strong blow with the butt on the head. Militants just considered him dead. A little later, the private came to his senses and managed to get into the location of our parts. The same thing happened with Private Tymoshenko, who, on the orders of the commander, was supposed to sneak into the machine gun crew of the militants. Almost reaching the goal, he was stunned by the explosion of a mine and wounded, but remained alive. The other two survivors, private Alexei Komarov and Roman Khristolyubov, were fighters of the third platoon, who was never able to climb the slope under the fire pressure of the enemy.
Of all the survivors, the Golden Star of the Hero of Russia was given only to Alexander Suponinsky, and twenty-one paratroopers received the title of Hero posthumously according to Presidential Order No. 484 of March 12 of 2000 of the year. Sixty-eight soldiers (of whom sixty-three posthumously) were awarded the Order of Courage for showing courage during this unsuccessful operation to eliminate bandit armed groups.
According to these militant actions, obtained during the battle in the Argun Gorge, the well-known military men led Abu Walid, Bakuyev, Shamil Basayev, Arsanov and Khattab, who managed to escape from the battle zone with the remnants of their gangs. But one of the militant commanders Idris was destroyed thanks to the personal courage and bravery of Art. Lieutenant Vorobyov.
Much later, in March 2012, a Chechen court convicted three of the gangsters who had participated in that bloody operation in the Argun Gorge for their criminal actions and encroachment on the lives of servicemen. They turned out to be members of the Khattab Kemal Ebzeev group, Hamidulla Yapov and Rashid Atutov. The bandits were sentenced to 13 and 14 years of imprisonment.
While awards orders were issued and payments to the families of the deceased soldiers were determined, many people wondered: “How did it happen that in relatively peaceful time there were eighty-four! young and healthy fighters died? ”Their feat can be put on a par with the military prowess of the Panfilov heroes, the streets were named after them, memorial boards were dedicated, but so far no one has voiced the names of those responsible for their deaths. The fighters, who were ready to carry out the task assigned to them at the cost of their lives, were actually thrown one on one with the enemy forces twenty times superior.
For the families of the fallen soldiers, the personal apologies of Russian President Putin for the commanders’s miscalculations and the initiative to create a monument in their honor, expressed on the day of the 70 anniversary of the Airborne Forces in the Pskov Division, were hardly a consolation.
The bitter example of our paratroopers proves that such concepts as heroism, selflessness and courage are not a thing of the past, that contemporaries are also capable, if necessary, of being worthy successors of their heroic ancestors. None of the participants in the events of March 2000 had even allowed the thought of giving in to the provocations of the militants and giving up, preserving their lives, while displaying heroic restraint and composure in that difficult situation.
In Cherekh, near the checkpoint in front of the 104 garrison of the 3 regiment of August 2002, a twenty-meter design was opened in the form of an open parachute, under the dome of which autographs of all those killed in that terrible confrontation in Chechnya were engraved.
The family of the fallen heroes created an organization called “Red Carnations”, the purpose of which was not only to preserve the memory of those who died in the Argun gorge, but also to clarify the true causes and perpetrators of the incident. The heroic events of February-March 2000, became the basis for the creation of feature films "Breakthrough", "Russian sacrifice", "I have the honor." According to eyewitnesses written books "Step into immortality", "Company" and "Breakthrough." Bards composed many songs in honor of our soldiers who died in that bloody battle, and even filmed a musical called "Warriors of the Spirit." And family members can only hope that someday the truth will open about the death of the most precious people for them, who did not flinch and carried out the order until the last minute of their lives.
(open 2 August 2002 of the year)
(opened on August 1 on 2001 by President of the Russian Federation V.Putin)
- Igor Sulimov
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