Ten years ago, large-scale hostilities in the North Caucasus virtually ceased. A peaceful life began to return to the cities and villages. However, there was no less work for security officials. Bandits, militants, terrorists, having changed tactics, continued to operate in small groups. It required a long, persistent operational work, which has a point character. In short, work for special forces.
The leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs made a decision to create in the internal troops new special forces. One of them received a permanent location in Chelyabinsk. 17 July 2002 of the year in the Soviet district of the city appeared 23-th special purpose detachment.
Now the detachment commanded by Colonel Sergey Zadorozhny is the largest special forces unit in the Southern Urals, one of the main force components of the operational headquarters of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee at the UFSB in the Chelyabinsk Region. He is valued by colleagues, respected by local residents, who have long been accustomed to seeing soldiers and officers in red and green berets on the streets of Chelyabinsk. But it is now, but at the very beginning of the path of the newly created combat unit of the internal troops, it was necessary not only to get on their feet, but also to prove their worth.
Victor Fomchenko, a reserve colonel, commander of 23 OSpN in 2002 – 2005:
- So fate decreed that I took part in the creation of both special forces detachments in the Urals regional command. In 1996, I graduated from the academy and went to the newly formed Nizhny Tagil OSPN for the post of deputy squad commander. Therefore, when in 2002, I was offered to head the new part of the special forces, I already had some experience.
I arrived in Chelyabinsk on July 15, the day after the conversation with the Commander-in-Chief, Colonel-General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov. Here, officers of the Ural Okrug headquarters were already in full swing. In three or four months, we had to form the organizational core of a military unit, one special-purpose group, support units, conduct combat coordination and be ready to go off on a business trip in October.
The preparation began in advance: we chose the area to accommodate the part - the location of the SMHF was the most appropriate. It turned out, we drove them from their homes. They left everything to us, while they themselves went to settle in the south-eastern part of the city. Somewhere in the middle of spring, the command throughout the district began to pick up officers who were ready to serve in the OSPN. Many of these came from the very "expelled" SMWCh, because it turned from a regiment into a battalion. I invited officers and warrant officers from the Nizhny Tagil detachment. They already worked with me, they knew the requirements and their front work. Here they did everything on their own, taking on the solution of issues.
Probably, a military unit, like a small child, must go through “childhood diseases”. The team we have just formed. We tried to choose, appoint suitable, in our opinion, people, and often it turned out that someone had “burned out”: he stretched for a year and a half on strong-willed qualities, enthusiasm, and then did not cope. It should have been removed. Someone left himself, someone transferred or left. Honestly, it happened that it was too late to recognize the inappropriate candidate when it harmed the entire personnel of the unit. So, in the first business trip I was forced to send home twelve people from the reconnaissance team at once. Why? The commanders did not cope, they lost heart, gave in to more powerful subordinates, the familiarity simply began.
Groups were formed gradually. Our officers traveled to the military units of the district and selected the fighters. On average, 150 recruited conscripts, of which no more than half remained in the detachment until the “demobilization”, the rest were eliminated. You know, in quantitative terms, we had no particular problems, but the quality shortage was serious.
A lot of forces took away the acquisition of the detachment of material means, weapons, equipment, uniforms, equipment. I constantly had 4 – 6 mobile guards who transported the property to the unit. We received great help from the government of the Chelyabinsk region, from local enterprises. With the allowance laid by the state, there were no problems, it was sometimes even in abundance, but, for example, a chainsaw was needed, and it was not supposed to be in the states. In such situations, the sponsors rescued.
Now, after ten years, someone will say: “What kind of special forces were they? One pampering ... "Maybe so, but at least we were charged with energy. The bar was set very high, we tried not only to reach it, but also to jump over it.
In the first hot trip “Charm” has already dropped in February 2003. The arrangement of the station of permanent deployment was not completed yet, units were still being formed when a train with 150 fighters from the Chelyabinsk Special Forces arrived in the Caucasus. Work at the special forces, which is to say, enough. One of the main tasks is to conduct engineering intelligence. Two routes: Khankala – Argun and Khankala – Gikalovskoe. The first is 12 kilometers, the second is about 20. Ural "specialists" went on them every day for two months.
No less important was the task of ensuring the holding of a referendum on the adoption of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic, when the servicemen of the detachment for a long time served in the observation firing points scattered around the streets of Grozny. It is worth noting that the fulfillment of these tasks did not cancel the routine tasks: measures to check the passport regime, ambush actions, conducting reconnaissance and search activities.
Much of that business trip was for the first time: it took time to get used to the conditions, to equip the rear. These issues received much attention from both the support units and the groups themselves. To put warehouses, tents, organize the supply of food, firewood, heating - that's when the knowledge and experience gained during the exhausting field outlets in the native Ural land came in handy.
Then the squad lost its first fighter. During the engineering intelligence 18 March 2003, Ensign Evgeny Savchuk was killed. At that time, the detachment carried a heavy load on its shoulders; there were so many service and combat tasks that people simply did not have enough. The scout inspected the routes without substitution, passing 30 km daily. It left a mark on the psychological state. The group stopped not far from Gikalovsky, near the stud farm, when a powerful explosion was heard under their feet ...
Obereg has a good tradition - May 23 to invite relatives of fallen brothers to visit. (In just ten years of the existence of the squadron, 12 soldiers did not return home.) This date was not chosen by chance: May 23 of Chelyabinsk OSPN suffered heavy losses on May 2006. Late at night in 2,5 km north-west of Vedeno, during special reconnaissance and search activities, special forces found a large gang. As a result of the 4 clashes, the soldiers died, 3 were injured.
Mikhail Skvortsov, reserve colonel, commander of 23 OSpN in 2005 – 2007:
- Experience comes from a business trip to a business trip, is layered on the basis of an analysis of the tasks performed. And not only positive, but, first of all, negative. The “young” period of the military unit is the most difficult: there is fearlessness, many ambitions, but they are little supported.
It is regrettable to say, but the hotheads sober the loss. In Vedeno in May 2006, we suffered the heaviest losses. It was a chain of accidents. Yes, something could be foreseen, but all - no.
Perhaps that May day was the most difficult for me during my service. I was practically all the time in Chechnya and left only 15 in May, exactly one week before the tragic events. I remember that day now. Late went to bed. Somewhere in the 3 – 4 hours they called me. They reported that there are dead and wounded. I seemed stunned by this. news. Long came to his senses.
I was always hurt and offended when my comrades died. How sad it is when a soldier gets up on the "frog" and knows that he will die. And we know that he is not a tenant. But we are trying to do something, undermine, “bronik” to wear. I understood that it was a war, but still the cats scratched at heart ...
Extreme business trip laid down on the hearts of specialists. 27 January 2012 of the year through some news channels ran stingy information: in Dagestan, there is a battle, among the soldiers of the internal troops there are dead and wounded. Only after a while the public learns the whole truth about the heroism of our special forces. In that fleeting and brutal battle, four Special Forces soldiers will die: Sergeant Denis Kozlov, Junior Sergeant Yevgeny Malov, and Corporal Yevgeny Sadchikov. Sergeant Yevgeny Epov for his courage will be awarded the title Hero of Russia. Posthumously…
Artem Katunkin, ensign, senior instructor (deputy platoon commander) 23 OSpN:
- 27 numbers we moved to the area of the special operation, by the morning arrived at the scene, got the task, dispersed and started to search. I was the senior head patrol of the search group. We stumbled upon the thickets of densely growing shrubs. As far as possible, we examined him, passing along the edge of this crater. A few dozen meters behind the back shots rang out. I heard Zhenka Epov on the side commanding his quartet. Immediately dispersed and occupied positions. Together with Corporal Nikolai Gorbachev, we left to the right of the battlefield, closing the flank. Gorbachev was in front of me, almost in the line of fire. Pulling his leg back: "crawl away for me." All this time they are shooting at us. He will then tell me: "Thank you, Comrade Ensign, otherwise I would have stayed there ..."
The machine gunner, Corporal Artem Sadchikov, having oriented himself in a situation, began to work in the direction of the enemy. The bandits attempted a breakthrough by firing a tight fire. One of the bullets was fatal for Artem.
At this point, I understand that now the militants will move on me. Lurking. Finger on the trigger. I am waiting ... From the bushes, like a growth figure, a bearded "spirit" appears. Then everything is on the machine, a short line - the fighter has fallen, two more appear behind him. Turn. One, second, third ... Ready. I unfasten the store - empty. Only one cartridge left in the chamber. Who knows, if there were still “spirits” left, would I have had time to change the store ?!
The shots subsided. There was silence. I hear that the commander on the radio calls for help to evacuate the wounded. I convey that I also have a "three hundred."
Major T., commander of the special-purpose group 23 OSpN:
- The combat order came the day before, January 26. All evening prepared maps, decisions on a special operation. On the night they moved to the Kizlyar district of Dagestan and started searching at nine in the morning. Four search groups from special forces and one from intelligence, plus attached "moto-league." They were needed to clear the way, because the terrain is difficult to pass because of the densely growing lohovovka - a wild thorny bush.
Our search bar was divided by aryk. First, we walked along one side, then switched to the other. Because of the growing shrub wall, we had to go not in a column, but as a ledge to maximize the field of view. The head patrol was moving ahead, the side one on the right, the core behind them, the rear behind and between me and the 5 search group from the intelligence given to me by a dog handler with a mine-searching dog. Having walked about thirty meters, I stumbled upon a dead tree near the tree, powdered with snow. It seemed to me suspicious, a pipe of an air duct or an entrance to a dugout could well be hiding under it. Began to dig. At this moment I hear, corporal T. gives a conditional command. Next to me was Sergeant J., our medical instructor. I turn to T., he gestures to the ground, to some object. Ya and I make a couple of steps in his direction, like an automatic burst of fire is heard near T.
Later a dog handler, warrant officer S., will tell me how a black trunk came out of the ground in the direction of T., a line thundered. T. fell. Ensign S. managed to empty almost the entire store when an action movie emerged from a hole and fired at it. Almost all the bullets intended for the ensign were taken by the German Shepherd Dog Zabava. And Ensign S. still hurt. But due to the fact that his unloading was a little different from those that were on the fighters, lead pierced through two stores in the unloading pocket and was stuck in a bulletproof vest. They tried to save the dog, but did not have time to take it to the hospital, died on the way.
I moved to the right, gave a queue in the direction of the hatch, but I did not see the militants themselves, even though they were three or four meters away. Out of the corner of my eye I notice that Sergeant Denis Kozlov is in the open space in the line of fire, I manage to give him a command to change positions. Denis rises, makes a short queue, covering his comrades, and at that moment his bullets hit him.
Two MTLBs approach us at the same time. One I put to cover the evacuation of T., the other put the wounded and taken away to the TLU. After a couple of minutes, the shooting subsides. A third search team came up, and I learned from them that almost the entire lateral patrol died ...
When I realized that all the militants had been destroyed, I began to look where my guys were ... Kozlov was killed, T. was wounded, in the side patrol three “two hundredths”: Malov, Epov and Sadchikov from the headquarters nearby. "Spirits" tried to break through them, threw grenades. One of them covered the body of Zhenka Epov.
Information on the bandits was not. With a part of the third search group, we started to go to the base, to clear the cradle with armor. Gradually, the picture began to appear. Four militant corpses were found through the bushes; later, the fifth was brought by the fighters of the first search group. This last of the surviving "spirits" was trying to hide, ran into the rear of the first group, fired all the time on the move. A sniper shot him in the head.
Later it turns out that they tried to catch this gang for a long time, but without success. All its members were very experienced. The selection in the gang was tough, random people did not linger. All applicants were trained on the bases, those who did not pass the selection were just accomplices, and the most trained organized sabotage and attacks. Virtually all of our dead were fatal to the head. The gangsters were armed mainly with AKMs with armor-piercing ammunition. Four paths were prepared from the base for the withdrawal through a dense lokhovnik, along which one could only crawl. The gang acted boldly and lightning fast. A year ago, they engaged in a clash with the special forces of the FSB, but the militants managed to escape.
All in all, for his ten years history “Charm”, performing service and combat missions, spent more than five years in the North Caucasus region. At the moment, more than 350 military personnel of the detachment have combat experience, are veterans of combat operations. It is the Obereg fighters, our strong special forces brotherhood that are the main weapons in the fight against evil. And they get into this “family of colors of the park” in completely different ways, having different life and combat experience behind them.
Senior Lieutenant K., Senior Assistant to the Chief of the Personnel Team - Psychologist of the Detachment:
- In 2000, I was drafted into the army. First they said that I would go to serve in ODON, and after three days of waiting at the draft I was taken to the team that was heading to the North Caucasus region of the internal troops. I came to serve in the village Persianovskiy, sergeant school. He studied for the commander of the LNG-9 calculation and, with the rank of junior sergeant, went to the operational battalion in Neftekumsk. In the eighth month of service, I was in Chechnya. Then I smelled gunpowder for the first time. We carried out engineering reconnaissance, put up barriers on probable landfill sites. Many times they participated in passport check-up activities, in other words, stripping operations, provided cordon.
January 1 2002 of the year we were taken out of Chechnya. Then I decided to enter the military institute. I wrote a report, passed a commission and went to study at the Novosibirsk Military Institute of Internal Troops.
About three months before the release, "buyers" began to arrive. I wanted to continue serving in the Caucasus, after all, the places were familiar, or in the Urals. 23 August 2007, I came to the squadron, took the post of deputy commander of the personnel reconnaissance group. A few months before my arrival, the detachment was headed by Colonel Valery Kosukhin, holder of the three Orders of Courage.
I quickly joined the team. Fortunately, the senior comrades did not throw in the "free swimming". By the way, I learned a lot from my subordinates. I did not consider and do not consider it shameful to approach a sergeant or an ensign and ask him to explain an incomprehensible question to me. You can be a good theorist, but without practice you are worthless. For example, I learned the military topography here. When I learned that I would temporarily perform the duties of the group commander, I approached one of the ensigns and said: “Glory, help, teach. I had only eight hours of topography at the institute. ”
The main backbone of the detachment, if we talk about soldiers, sergeants and ensigns - these are people who served here urgently and then signed a contract. From those who came from the citizen remain in the ranks of those who previously served in the special forces of explosives, Defense Ministry and other security agencies.
Those who go to the special forces for a long ruble, do not stay long. Here they serve by vocation. For example, recently came to settle for a contract of soldiers. I ask him: “Why do you need it?” He answers: “I like it. And I have a green one, but I want it to be krapovy. ”
We try to select people who can think and make the right decisions. Strong hands and feet will not help if the head is in the wind.
On my first business trip with the squadron, I went in January 2008 of the year as a “commander” of the reconnaissance group, and stayed in May for another three months. My first combat exit as a commander of the intelligence unit, as I remember, was 5 June 2008.
During these few years of walking in the mountains there was a lot. I remember how in 2009 my search group came in at the extreme, was at the junction with the twenty, a Saratov special-purpose squad. I was ordered to leave higher, and the search group of Saratov brothers got in my place. Here it just hit. On the air a mess, everything is clogged. We began to catch up to the scene of the clash. And since the special operation began at five in the evening, I had to move at dusk. After some time we received an order to stop. We have not reached a hundred meters to a group in distress. Saratov lost four.
The next day they went there again, and the battle began again. When their ammunition ran out, my unit replaced them and went ahead. We go to the height. There are two “spirits”, weapons, equipment. We went a little bit more, found the base. Inspect we did not climb, inspected the perimeter and marked it.
In 2010, I became acquainted with “spiritual” know-how — syringes as contactors for IEDs. We go along the path. Suddenly, the head patrol gives the command: “Stop!” Either the boar dug up a “surprise”, or the rain exposed the wires, or the militants put the IED in haste, but we noticed explosives. A can of nails and bolts, wires and the above syringes. On the way back, when they returned to the RPM, they found an 155-mm artillery shell, which was laid as a mine bomb.
Extreme business trip, perhaps, was the most difficult for me. A special operation began on the night of January 27. We left, got to the TLU, the search groups went in the morning. We dug trenches. I reserve gave the command to take food. Only took the spoons, as explosions and shooting rang out. It was about a kilometer away from us. Immediately went information about the wounded and dead. We heard two explosions. One is, apparently, Zhenya Epov covered the grenade. Units of other detachments immediately began to approach the battlefield. They brought the wounded, called the turntable. Marked her a place for landing smoke, loaded the wounded. In the second board - the dead.
It was all hard. I knew Epova well, we handed over to the “combat unit” together.
Lt. Col. M., Chief of Staff of 23 OSPN:
- Before joining the squadron in 2007, I did not serve in the special forces. Before graduating from the academy, he made a conscious choice. I understood what OSPN is, but did not think for a long time when making a decision. Frankly, at first it was hard. First, relationships are built a little differently than in the linear or academic part: here, perhaps, the interpersonal contacts are in the foreground, rather than simply following the letter of the charters, because in the mountains the tasks are the same burden for the soldiers and commanders. Secondly, in spetsnaz the deception “does not roll”: you have to be a real person to the end. And to the officer, and the sergeant, and the soldier. Being the best in words will not work for a long time. Constantly you have to prove to yourself, the team, that you deserve service in special forces.
On combat missions, I began to travel with the detachment. I remember the first one perfectly. This was at the end of 2007 of the year. Had to go along with everyone, but flew later because of leave due to personal circumstances. He was very upset, everything was new. It's one thing - in the academy on the maps, the other - to walk in the mountains. The first exit ... scary, what to hide? At first I went to escort the columns, and I started climbing the mountains only in the second half of the trip.
The first clash in life occurred in 2009 in Dagestan. We performed the blocking task. Militants "spud" special forces from the FSB. We blocked the paths of the likely appearance of "spirits." They dragged the wounded with them, which gave us extra time to carry out the blocking normally. By the way, bearded men tried to pass through our orders all night. There are about six people left. Result - a part is destroyed, a part is gone. In that battle, there was no loss on our part. When in the morning we inspected the area in front of our positions, we found two killed militants.
The hardest thing for a commander is responsibility. The task can be performed in different ways. And the main thing for us is to save people. It is necessary to understand that professionals are fighting on that side. This is a trained and trained opponent. He adapts to the changes of our tactics, builds his own. For example, in the past, when they left the encirclement, the militants tried to spread out, feel, and only then pull out the backbone of the group. And now they are trying to break through it in one direction with massive fire and get out of the encirclement. We are all tracking, analyzing. During training, we work out the necessary changes, we work on countermeasures.
Combat work in the North Caucasus region is only part of the life of the Charm. As an operational reserve of the Federal Operational Headquarters, the squad personnel take part in the implementation of anti-terrorist measures, including in the Urals Federal District. Every year, the detachment takes part in joint exercises with the FSB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Emergencies Ministry units, primarily aimed at preventing penetration and sabotage at nuclear power and industry facilities.
It is worth noting that sometimes the soldiers and officers of the 23 squad had to protect the lives and property of citizens in not very familiar ways. The fighters of the detachment entered into battle with the fire element, extinguishing fires near important industrial facilities and settlements. So, in May 2004 of the year in the Kurgan region, they saved the village, in time firing on the approaching flame. At the same time, one of the group in general was cut off by fire and climbed out of the trap using the armored Pokemon.
The personnel of the detachment constantly takes part in competitions among special purpose units, demonstrating high professional training. For the first time, specialists from Chelyabinsk loudly declared themselves as a strong team in the 2005 competitions of the year in Smolensk. Then, in the third year of the squad’s existence, the team of the Urals showed a good level of training.
For a long time, the military unit in which the guys from Chelyabinsk serve did not have a proper name: the sleeve insignia meant only belonging to the special forces unit under the faceless number. 27 March 2012 of the year at a general meeting of the troops of the detachment decided to give the detachment the name "Charm". Why exactly? And not something in the special forces spirit aggressive? Apparently, to once again emphasize the purpose with which the division was created ten years ago, and now sounding the motto of 23 OSPN - “Protect and protect!”.