In a rich variety of events stories An-12 Afghan war was destined to occupy a special place. Afghanistan has become an extensive chapter in the biography of a transporter, full of combat episodes, hard work and inevitable losses. Almost every participant in the Afghan war had to deal with military transport in one way or another. aviation and the results of the work of transporters. As a result, the An-12 and the Afghan campaign turned out to be difficult to imagine without each other: the participation of the aircraft in the events there began even before the Soviet troops entered and, lasting more than a decade, continued after the departure of the Soviet Army.
In the broadest way, BTA aircraft began to be involved in work on Afghanistan after the April Revolution in the country, which took place on April 11 of the year 1978 (or 7 of the month of the Saur 1357 of the year according to the local lunar calendar - in the country, according to the present calendar, the yard was 14 th century). The Afghan revolution had its own special character: in the absence of revolutionary strata in a semi-feudal country (by Marxist definition, only the proletariat free from private property can belong to those) the army had to accomplish it, and the former commander-in-chief of the Air Force, Abdul Kadir, who was removed from office by the former authority of Crown Prince Mohammed Daoud. The officer with considerable personal courage and stubbornness, being out of work, headed the secret society of the United Front of the Communists of Afghanistan, but being a man to the core of the military, after “overthrowing despotism” transferred full power to the more democratic political people in political affairs Party of Afghanistan '(PDPA), and he himself chose to return to the usual business, taking literally won the post of Minister of Defense in the new government. The commander of the Air Force and Air Defense became Colonel Gulyam Sahi, who was the head of the Bagram airbase and contributed a lot to the overthrow of the previous regime, organizing the strikes of his pilots on the "stronghold of tyranny" in the capital.
The PDPA leaders, who came to power in the country and were fascinated by the ideas of the reorganization of society, embarked on radical transformations with the aim of building socialism as soon as possible, which it was planned to achieve in five years. In fact, it turned out that it was easier to carry out a military coup, than to govern a country with a pile of economic, national and social problems. Faced with a confrontation committed to the traditions, way of life and religious principles of the population, the plans of revolutionaries began to acquire violent forms.
It has long been known that the road to hell was laid out with good intentions: the implanted reforms ran into opposition to the people, and the directive abolition of many commandments and foundations became for the Afghans personal intervention, from time immemorial here intolerable. The alienation of the people from power was suppressed by new violent measures: a few months after the Saur revolution, public executions of “reactionaries” and clergy began, repression and cleansing became widespread, capturing many of yesterday’s supporters. When the authorities in September 1978 began to publish lists of executed in the newspapers, 12 already had thousands of names in the first, more and more prominent in the society of people from party members, merchants, intellectuals and military. Already in August 1978, among other detainees, was also Minister of Defense Abdul Kadir, who was immediately sentenced to death (he was saved from this fate only after repeated appeals by the Soviet government, worried about the excessively clearing revolutionary process).
Local discontent quickly escalated into armed uprisings; It could hardly have happened otherwise in a country not spoiled by benefits, where honor was considered to be the main advantage, devotion to traditions was in the blood and as traditionally a fair portion of the population had weapon, valued above prosperity. Armed clashes and insurrections in the provinces began as early as June 1978, and by the winter they acquired a systemic character, covering also the central regions. However, the government, just as usual relying on force, tried to suppress them with the help of the army, making extensive use of aircraft and artillery for strikes against recalcitrant villages. Some deviation from the democratic goals of the revolution was considered all the more insignificant because the resistance of the disgruntled was of a focal nature, was fragmented and, for the time being, few in number, while the insurgents themselves were seen as derogatory and backward with their grandfather's guns and sabers.
The true scale of resistance and the intensity of events was already apparent several months later. In March, 1979, in Herat, the third largest city in the country and the center of a large province of the same name, broke out in an anti-government insurgency, to which the local military garrison joined with its commanders in the most active way. Only a few hundred people from the 17 Infantry Division remained on the side of the authorities, including the Soviet military adviser 24. They managed to retreat to the Herata airfield and gain a foothold while holding it in their hands. Since all the warehouses and supplies were in the hands of the rebels, the rest of the garrison had to be supplied by air, delivering foodstuffs, ammunition and reinforcements from transport airplanes from the airfields of Kabul and Shindand.
At the same time, the danger of the development of the insurrection and the coverage of the new provinces by it was not ruled out; even the rebel infantry division, numbering 5000 bayonets, was expected to attack Kabul. The local rulers, stunned by what was happening, literally bombarded the Soviet government with requests for urgent assistance with both weapons and troops. Not really trusting their own army, which turned out to be not so reliable and committed to the revolution, in Kabul they saw a way out only in the urgent involvement of parts of the Soviet Army, which would assist in suppressing the Herat insurgency and protect the capital. To help come quickly, Soviet soldiers, again, should be delivered by transport aircraft.
In the winter of 1979, Kandahar Airport looked like a peaceful place from which domestic and international flights flew. It will take quite a bit of time, and the airport building will be covered with traces of bullets and shrapnel.
For the Soviet government, this turn of events had a very definite resonance: on the one hand, an anti-government armed uprising took place at the southernmost borders, less than a hundred kilometers from the border Kushka, on the other - just acquired an ally, so loudly declaring a commitment to the cause of socialism, signed full of his helplessness, despite the very substantial assistance rendered to him. In a telephone conversation with Afghan leader Taraki 18 in March, Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers A.N. Kosygin, in response to complaints about the absence of weapons, specialists and officers, was inquiring: “It can be understood that there are no well-trained military personnel or very few in Afghanistan. Hundreds of Afghan officers were trained in the Soviet Union. Where did they all go? ”
The entry of Soviet troops was then determined to be an absolutely unacceptable decision, in which both the leadership of the armed forces and the party leadership of the country agreed. L.I. Brezhnev at a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU rationally indicated: "We are now not befitting to get involved in this war." However, the Afghan authorities were assisted by all available measures and methods, first of all, by urgent deliveries of weapons and military equipment, as well as by sending advisers down to the highest rank, engaged not only in preparing the local military, but also in direct development of operational plans and guidance in struggle against the opposition (their level and attention to the problem can be judged from the fact that, to assist the Afghan military leadership, the Deputy Minister of Defense Oysk, Colonel-General IG Pavlovsky). To ensure the urgency of military deliveries, BTA was involved, especially since there was a direct government reference to this point, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU was voiced by the words of A.N. Kosygin: "To give everything now and immediately." The long-term transport aviation marathon began, without a break that lasted more than ten years later. For the most part, with planned deliveries, equipment, ammunition, etc. were supplied from warehouses and storage bases, often it had to be taken directly from the parts, and, if necessary, from the factories. It turned out that transport aviation played a crucial role not only in deliveries and supplies - its presence was somehow projected onto almost all events of the Afghan company, which makes it appropriate not only to transfer flights, cargo and destinations, but also a story about related events private character.
The special role of the An-12 in flights to the Afghan direction was dictated by their very predominance in the BTA line: by the end of 1979, aircraft of this type made up two-thirds of the general fleet - An-12 had 376 units in ten air regiments, while the newest IL-76 was more than half as much - 152, and An-22 - just 57 units. First of all, the crews of local air transport units located on the territory of the Turkestan military district — the 194 military transport regiment (paratrooper) in Fergana and the 111 separate air regiment in Tashkent at the district headquarters where An -12 was the most powerful technique. The aerodromes of their home base were closest to the “destination”, and the goods delivered to the Afghans after a couple of hours were already at the recipient. For example, X-NUMX of March made An-18 flights from Tashkent to the airfields of Kabul, Bagram and Shindand, the following days mainly operated IL-12 and An-76, carrying heavy equipment and armored vehicles, but 22 in March four An-X arrived from Bagram. -21, and from Karshi - another 12 An-19 with weights.
The problem with Herat with the military assistance provided was finally resolved by forces of the Afghan commando and tank crews transferred to the city. The city remained in the hands of the rebels for five days, after a series of air strikes, the rebels scattered and by noon 20 in March, Herat was again in the hands of the authorities. However, this did not completely solve the problems - the Herat story was only a “wake-up call”, testifying to the growth of the opposition forces. In the spring and summer of 1979, armed attacks swept the whole of Afghanistan - it didn’t take a few days for reports on the next foci of insurrections, the seizure of villages and cities, uprisings in garrisons and military units and their transition to the counter-revolution. When they gained strength, the opposition forces cut off communications to Khost, blocking the center of the province and the garrison there. Given the overall difficult situation on the roads, which are extremely vulnerable to enemy attacks, the only means of supplying the garrisons was aviation, which also guaranteed prompt resolution of supply problems.
However, with an abundance of tasks, the own forces of the Afghan transport aviation were quite modest: by the summer of 1979, the government air forces had nine An-26 aircraft and five piston Il-14 aircraft, as well as eight An-2 aircraft. There were even less trained crews for them - six for the An-26, four for the Il-14 and nine for the An-2. All transport vehicles were assembled in the Kabul 373 transport regiment (tap), where there was also one aerial surveyor An-30; Afghans somehow got it for aerial photographing of the terrain for cartographic purposes, but for the original purpose it was never used, it was mostly idle and was lifted into the air exclusively for passenger and transport traffic.
Civilian aircraft Ariana, which operated on foreign flights, and Bakhtar, which served local routes, were also involved in military transport, but they did not solve the problems due to the limited fleet and the same not very responsible attitude.
On this score, Lieutenant Colonel Valery Petrov, who arrived in 373 th for the post of adviser to the regiment commander, left colorful remarks in his diary: “Flight training is weak. Personnel preparing to fly unsatisfactory. They love only the front side - I'm a pilot! Self-criticism - zero, self-esteem - great. Flight-methodical work must start from zero. Unassembled, they say one thing in the eyes, make another for the eyes. Work go extremely reluctantly. I estimate the state of the technology entrusted to me with a plus. ”
In relation to the materiel chronic, it was plainly not carried out the preparation of equipment, violation of the regulations and frankly devil-may-care attitude to the maintenance of machines. The works were carried out for the most part carelessly, quite often turned out to be abandoned, unfinished and all this with complete irresponsibility. As usual, aircraft with malfunctions, tools and equipment forgotten here and there, as well as frequent theft from the sides of accumulators and other things needed in the household, were the usual thing to do, and the aim of putting the cars under guard was not so much protection from forays of the enemy, how much from the theft of their own. One of the reasons for this was the rapidly developing dependency: with the ever-increasing and almost gratuitous supplies of equipment and property from the Soviet Union, it was possible not to care about any kind of thrifty attitude to the materiel. Evidence of this was the mass without regret that the vehicles were written off in malfunction and abandoned at the slightest damage to the vehicles (in the 373-m tap, four aircraft were broken by the careless pilot Miradin in a row).
The work on equipment, and even the performance of combat missions, was increasingly “re-trusted” to Soviet specialists and advisers, the number of which in the Armed Forces of Afghanistan by the middle of 1979 had to be increased more than four times to 1000 people.
The issue of transport aviation remained very pressing, since air travel along with road transport were the main means of communication in the country. Afghanistan was a fairly large country, the size of more than France, and the distance, by local standards, were rather big. As a digression, it can be noted that the conventional wisdom that there was no railway transport in Afghanistan was not quite true: there was a formal way, though the entire length of the railway was five or so kilometers long and it was an extension of the Central Asian railway line stretched from the border Kushka to the warehouses in Turagundi, which served as a transit point for the goods supplied by the Soviet side (although the “Afghan railway workers” were not there, and the local people were busy except that as movers).
The leading role in transportation was taken by motor transport, which was privately owned by 80%. With a general shortage of state-owned vehicles, the usual practice was to attract the owners of the Burbuhek, whom the state hired to transport goods, including the military, good for good baksheesh who were ready to overcome any mountains and passes and make their way to the most distant points. The supply of military units and garrisons privately, as well as the presence of a private transport department in the government dealing with state-owned problems, was not quite common for our advisers.
The established procedure for resolving transport issues was quite satisfactory in peacetime, but with the aggravation of the situation in the country turned out to be very vulnerable. There was no assurance that the cargo would reach its intended purpose and would not be looted by the Dushman troops. Wielding on the roads, they impeded transportation, took away and destroyed sent goods, fuel and other supplies, burned recalcitrant cars, because of which intimidated drivers refused to take government orders and military supplies. Other garrisons sat unattended for months, and the starving and imprisoned soldiers scattered or passed on to the enemy and the villages got to him without a fight. Indicative figures were cited by Soviet advisers under the Afghan military department: with the full size of the Afghan army in 110 thousand people in the ranks by June 1978, there were only 70 thousand soldiers, and by the end of 1979, their numbers were completely reduced to 40 thousand, their staffing - 9 thousand people.
With the underdeveloped road network in Afghanistan, the role of air transportation became very significant. The country had 35 airfields, even if for the most part not of the best quality, but a dozen and a half of them were quite suitable for flights of transport aircraft. The airfields of Kabul, Bagram, Kandahar and Shindanda had very decent solid cast concrete runways and properly equipped parking lots. Jalalabad and Kunduz had asphalt strips; at other “points”, they had to work with clay soil and gravel pads. Doing without the involvement of special construction and road equipment, gravel was somehow rolled away a tank, sometimes fastened with watering liquid bitumen, and the runway was considered ready to receive aircraft. Somewhat protecting from dust, such a coating spread out in the heat and was covered with deep ruts from taxiing and taking off planes. The problems were added by highlands and complex approach patterns, sometimes one-sided, with the possibility of approach from a single direction. So, in Fayzabad, the landing approach had to be built along the mountain glen stretching towards the airfield, guided by the bend of the river and performing a steep right turn to reduce it to go around the mountain blocking the target of the strip. It was necessary to land from the first approach - right next to the end of the runway the next mountain towered, leaving no opportunity to go to the second round with inaccurate calculation.
The provincial center of Lashkargah in the south of the country had its own airfield with a dirt strip quite decent by local standards
Valley Argandab near Kandahar. River beds, with the limitations of other landmarks, served as a very reliable help in solving navigational problems.
The growing need for air travel was also dictated by the fact that air transport provided more or less reliable delivery of goods and people directly to remote locations, eliminating the risk of interception by the enemy on the roads. In some places, air transport at all became practically the only means of supplying the blocked garrisons, cut off by Dushman cordons. With the expansion of hostilities, the promptness of solving transport aviation problems was becoming invaluable, capable of quickly transferring the required parts to the warring units, be it ammunition, food, fuel or replenishment - in the war, as anywhere, the word “egg is dear to Christ Day” applies (although in Eastern the country more appropriately heard the remark of one of the heroes of the “White Sun of the Desert”: “The dagger is good for whoever has it, and woe to the one who does not have it at the right moment”).
There were plenty of tasks for the government transport aviation: according to the records of Lieutenant Colonel V. Petrov about the work of 373 th, only one day 1 of July 1980 by the regiment forces, according to the plan, were required to deliver a person 453 and 46750 kg of cargo by return flights taking wounded and oncoming passengers. One of the flights to An-30 immediately flew 64 people from local party members and military, heading to the capital for the People's Democratic Party plenum and crowded into the cargo compartment, even though the plane had no passenger seats at all. The delivery of army cargo and military personnel was interspersed with commercial and passenger traffic, since the local merchants, despite the revolution and war, had their own interests and knew how to get along with military pilots. The same V. Petrov stated: “Sheer anarchy: whoever wants, he flies, whoever they want, and that they carry”.
In flights over the monotony of mountains stretching for hundreds of kilometers, it was necessary to rely primarily on instruments and other means of instrumental navigation.
The helicopter pilot A. Bondarev, who served in Ghazni, described such carriages “in the interests of the population” in the most picturesque way: “They loved flying, because buses and cars were regularly robbed by outlaws. It is safer to get through the air, so a crowd of people willing to fly away gathered near the airfield barrier. Working with their fists and elbows, using all their cunning, the Afghans were bursting closer to the plane. Then the soldier from the airport guard gave a line over their heads. The crowd rolled back, crushing each other. The order was restored. The Afghan pilot recruited passengers for himself and led them to the landing, having previously checked things for ammunition, weapons and other things forbidden. What I found out - confiscated, the weapons that many had were supposed to take and were put in the cockpit. The most annoying and those who strove not to pay were denied the right to fly and, having received a kick, were removed from the airfield. Others burst on board, as if mad. I saw this only in the movie about the twenties, how people storm the train: they climb over their heads, push away and beat each other, push out of the cabin. Passengers they took, how much will fit. If too much was stuffed, then the pilots brought the number up to the norm, throwing out the extras along with their huge suitcases. About the suitcases are a special conversation, they must be seen. Afghan suitcases are made of galvanized iron and locked with padlocks. And the dimensions are such that the Afghans themselves can live in it or be used as a shed "
Lt. Gen. I. Vertelko, who arrived in Afghanistan for the Office of the Border Guards, where he was deputy chief, once had to use passing Afghan An-26 to get from Kabul to Mazar-i-Sharif. The general described the flight quite vividly: “As soon as I boarded the plane, the hatch slammed shut behind me and I felt like a little bug in a shark's belly. By the characteristic "flavors" and slippery floor I realized that before me there was a beast being transported here. When the plane lay down on the course, the cockpit door swung open, a young Afghan pilot appeared on the threshold and began to say something, waving his arms. It seemed to me that the Afghan demands "Magarych" for the service rendered. Running my hand into the inner pocket of my jacket, I took out a pair of brand new, crispy, “Chervonets” paint that still smelled. My "reds" disappeared into the hands of an Afghan, as if by magic, and he, putting his hands to his chest in a gesture of thanks, said the only word: "Bakshish?" - "No, - I say, - a souvenir." Although he probably had one hell, that baksheesh, that souvenir, the main thing - money in your pocket. As soon as the door closed behind this “gobsek”, another pilot appeared on the threshold. Having received “their own” two gold coins, he, in broken Russian, invited me to enter the cabin, crossing the threshold of which I found myself under the gun of five pairs of brown attentive eyes. In order to somehow defuse the lingering pause, I open my small traveling suitcase and start handing the contents to the left pilot (the right one is holding the steering wheel): a few cans of canned food, a stick of sausage, a bottle of Stolichnaya. From the wallet, I grabbed all the cash available there. Accidental coincidence, but also to those who did not present it earlier, got two gold pieces. The pilots cheered up, started talking at once, confusing Russian and Afghan words. It turned out that the one who speaks good Russian, graduated from college in the Union. ”
A relevant question is why, with such a demand for transportation, Afghan transport aviation was limited to the operation of lightweight aircraft and did not use An-12 - machines that were widespread and popular not only in the Soviet Union, but also in a dozen other countries? For the time being in aircraft of this type there was no particular need, and local conditions did not promote the use of a fairly large four-engine machine. The main nomenclature of cargo for air transportation during everyday maintenance of the army did not require a heavy aircraft: the most dimensional and heavy were the engines to the aircraft, which were units weighing up to 1,5-2 t, other needs were also limited to a level not exceeding 2-3 t. An-26 did quite well (just as in our urban transportation the most popular truck is the Gazel). In addition, the twin-engine car was extremely unpretentious to the conditions of local aerodromes, due to its low weight and having the capabilities of short take-off and landing, which was especially noticeable when working in high mountains and from short lanes (X-NUMX-ton take-off weight of the An-20 - this is not 26 tons from An-50!). Due to such advantages, An-12 could fly from almost all local aerodromes that were not suitable for heavier aircraft.
The An-12 was also unprofitable in terms of distance, here it is redundant, since most of the flights were operated on a “short arm”. Afghanistan, despite the complexity of the local conditions and the inaccessibility of many areas, was a “compact” country, where the remoteness of most of the settlements was a concept related to location rather than distance, due to which residents of many villages lying in the mountains near Kabul no messages with the city and in the capital have never been. Located in the east of the country, Jalalabad was only a hundred kilometers from Kabul, and the most distant routes were measured by distances in 450-550 km, covered by plane per flight hour. When it took tanks to suppress the Herati insurgency, it took a little more than a day to complete the march of the tank unit from Kandahar, which was at the other end of the country. In such conditions, An-12, capable of delivering a ten-ton load over three thousand kilometers, would constantly have to be driven half empty and for the Afghans it seemed to be the most suitable vehicle.
The situation began to change after the April events. The deeper the government and the army got involved in the struggle with the opposition, trying to extinguish the increasing armed uprisings, the more forces and means were needed for this. The suppression of insurrections, the organization of the struggle against the Dushman troops, the cleansing of the provinces and the supply of the provincial centers and garrisons needed means of supply and delivery. Meanwhile, these tasks, by definition, were answered by military transport aviation, the main purpose of which, among other things, was air transportation of troops, weapons, ammunition and materiel, ensuring maneuver of units and formations, as well as evacuation of the wounded and sick. In a specific Afghan environment, the range of tasks of transport workers was significantly expanded by the need to deliver domestic cargo, since small civil aviation was primarily engaged in passenger transportation.
Faced with problems, the Afghan authorities literally flooded the Soviet side with calls for help. The needs of Kabul were plentiful and plentiful, from food and fuel support to increasingly large-scale deliveries of weapons and ammunition, which were the real necessities of the revolutionary process.
With enviable persistence, the Afghan authorities demanded that the Soviet troops be sent to fight the rebels, but for the time being they were denied this. Such requests to the Soviet government were around 20, but both government officials and the military demonstrated sanity, pointing to the unreasonableness of engaging in someone else's unrest. Explaining the inexpediency of such a decision, the politicians listed all the pernicious consequences, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense pointed out that there was “no reason to deploy troops,” Chief of the General Staff N.V. Ogarkov spoke in a straightforward military manner: “We will never send our troops there. We will not establish order there with bombs and shells. ” But after a few months, the situation will change radically and irreparably ...
So far, 1500 trucks have been allocated to the Afghan allies as a matter of urgency to meet the urgent transportation needs; The corresponding instructions to the USSR State Planning Committee and Vneshtorg were given at a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU 24 in May 1979, together with the decision on gratuitous deliveries of "special property" - weapons and ammunition, which would be enough to equip an entire army. However, the request of the Afghans to "send helicopters and transport aircraft with Soviet crews to the DRA" was again denied. As it turned out, not for long: the complicated situation in the country spurred Kabul rulers who insisted on a direct threat to the “cause of the April revolution” and openly speculated that “the Soviet Union could lose Afghanistan” (it is clear that in this case Afghanistan would immediately find itself in the clutches of imperialists and their mercenaries). Under such pressure, the position of the Soviet government began to change. In view of the obvious weakness of the Afghan army, the case tended to the fact that it would not be enough to supply weapons and supplies alone. The reason was the events around the blocked Khosta, for the supply of which at the end of May 1979, the main military adviser L.N. Gorelov requested the support of the forces of the Soviet VTA, temporarily transferring An-12 squadron to Afghanistan.
Since the voice of the representative of the Ministry of Defense joined the requests of the Afghans, they decided to satisfy the request. At the same time, in order to guard the squadron, in a restless situation, they decided to send a landing battalion.
Since the Afghans also experienced an acute shortage of helicopters and, especially, trained crews for them, they also decided to send a transport helicopter squadron to Kabul. Consent to satisfy the requests of the Afghan allies was an obvious concession: Kabul’s perseverance did not remain unanswered, while the Soviet side “kept a face”, distancing itself from engaging in Afghan civil strife and participating directly in hostilities; the sent transport workers are non-combat planes, and the landing battalion was assigned exclusively security tasks (besides, the fighters had to be located at the base of the base).
The implementation of the government order was delayed for two full months for reasons of a completely subjective nature. The equipment was immediately available: airplanes and helicopters were supplied from the aviation units located in the territory of the Turkestan military district, An-12 - from the Ferghana 194-th vtap, and Mi-8 - from the 280-th separate helicopter regiment deployed in Kagan under Bukhara . These parts were not far from the border and the equipment, together with the crews, could be at the destination on the very day. Difficulties arose with the personnel: since it was required to keep secret the appearance of Soviet military units in Afghanistan, even if of a limited composition, in order to avoid international complications and accusations of intervention (highly experienced AN Kosygin noted in this regard a bunch of countries will immediately come out against us, but there are no pluses for us ”). For these reasons, the planes should have looked civil, and transport helicopter helicopters, with their protective “military” color, should have been equipped with Afghan identification marks. The flight and technical staff decided to use from among persons of the eastern type, natives of the republics of Central Asia, so that they resembled the Afghan aviators outwardly, the benefit of those flying-technical form was completely Soviet-style and our “clothes” looked completely their own. The Afghans themselves suggested this idea - the country's leader Taraki asked to “send Uzbeks, Tajiks in civilian clothes and no one would recognize them, since all these nationalities exist in Afghanistan”.
Such precautions might seem like over-reinsurance - not so long ago, during the Czechoslovak events, a whole army was sent to the “fraternal country”, not really worrying about the impression made in the world. However, much has changed since then, the Soviet Union was proud of its achievements in the field of detente and its importance in international affairs, claiming to be the leader of progressive forces, and the third world countries gained some weight in the world and had to reckon with their opinion.
In this picture, unfortunately, not of the best quality, the sanitary An-26, which arrived in Bagram for the wounded, is sealed. The aircraft carries the Red Cross emblem on a white field for better visibility.
True, things were completely unsatisfactory with the personnel of the aviation professions. There were literally a few of them. Pilots were collected through DOSAAF, and already in March 1979, a special accelerated training kit for immigrants from Tajikistan was arranged at the Syzran Flight School. We also conducted an organizational recruitment in local departments of civil aviation, Dushanbe, Tashkent and others, attracting those who wanted an unprecedentedly high salary for a thousand rubles and a promotion to crew commanders after returning to the Civil Air Fleet. As a result of these measures, in the 280th helicopter regiment, it was possible to form an abnormal 5th squadron, nicknamed the "Tajik". Still, it was not possible to fully equip her with “national” crews, the six pilots remained “white”, from the Slavs, as well as the commander, Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Bukharin, for whose position they could not find a single Turkmen or Tajik. The navigator of the squadron was senior lieutenant Zafar Urazov, who had previously flown on the Tu-16. A good half of the personnel had no relation to aviation at all, being recruited for retraining from tankmen, signalmen and sappers, there was even a former submariner who flaunted naval black uniform. In the end, due to delays in the preparation of the “national” group, the full-time third regiment squadron led by Lieutenant Colonel A. A. Belov left for Afghanistan instead. The helicopter squadron, numbering 12 Mi-8s, arrived at the place of deployment in Bagram on August 21, 1979. For its transfer, along with technical staff and numerous aviation technical equipment, it was necessary to complete 24 An-12 flights and 4 Il-76 flights.
There were no such problems with the military transport squadron - An-12 with their "Aeroflot" marking looked quite decent and left for the place of business trip before the others. We even managed to observe the “national qualification” of the 194 transport workers, finding Lieutenant Colonel Mamatov for the post of squadron commander, who was later replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Shamil Khazievich Ishmuratov. Major Rafael Girfanov was appointed his deputy. A separate military transport squadron, named 200-I separate transport squadron (otae), arrived in Afghanistan already 14 June 1979 of the year. It included eight An-12 aircraft with crews of guards. Majors R. Girfanova, O. Kozhevnikova, Yu. Zaikina, Gv. Captain A. Bezlepkin, Antamonova N., N. Bredikhina V. Goryachev and H. Kondrushina. The entire air group was subordinate to the chief military adviser in the DRA and was intended to perform tasks at the request of the advisory apparatus in the interests of the Afghan state and military bodies.
This is how V. Goryachev, one of its participants, described the business trip, at that time the captain, the commander of the An-12 crew: “On June 12, our group (according to legend, it was a GVF detachment from Vnukovo airport) flew to Afghanistan at Bagram airfield . The group was selected to civil aircraft registration number (in large part the shelf planes had just such numbers). On these machines shot guns. All of them were equipped with underground tanks. Hence, from the airfield in Bagram, we carried out the transportation of personnel, weapons and other goods for the benefit of the Afghan army. In the summer, they flew mostly to the ringed Khost (14 times a week). Usually transported soldiers (and there, and back), ammunition, flour, sugar, other products. These flights for the hostages blocked by the rebels were very important. This is evidenced by the fact that the An-2 is designed for a maximum of 12 paratroopers. In reality, however, there in the airplanes it was "crowded" sometimes up to 90 Afghans. And they often had to fly standing. And, nevertheless, the commander of the garrison Khost was very grateful for such flights. The ability to change personnel favorably influenced both the physical condition and the morale of his subordinates.
It was assumed that the stay of the crews of the “Ishmuratov group” in Afghanistan would last three months. But then the term of our trip increased to six months. And then the introduction of troops began, and for a while there was no point in changing us, and indeed the possibilities. Often he had to fly to Mazar-i-Sharif, where from Hairatan on trucks delivered munitions. We then transported them all over Afghanistan. They also flew to Kabul, to Shindand, and to Kandahar. I had to visit Herat less often, and even less often - in Kunduz. The detachment did not suffer losses on both missions. ”
Placement of transport workers at the Bagram military base instead of the capital's airfield had its reasons. First of all, the same goals were being pursued to disguise the presence of the Soviet military who arrived with a fairly large number - two squadrons and a battalion of paratroopers from the Fergana 345 separate parachute regiment for their protection were under a thousand people, whose appearance at the Kabul international airport would inevitably attract attention and caused unwanted publicity. “Behind the fence” of the air force base they were far away from prying eyes, not to mention foreign observers and omnipresent journalists (in Kabul, then, more 2000 Western reporters were working, not without reason suspected of intelligence activities). It seems that they didn’t really know about the appearance of Soviet aviators and paratroopers in Afghanistan, since neither the press nor the western analysts of their presence had noted these months.
There were other considerations: at the beginning of August, the Kabul zone became a turbulent place - army troops launched armed uprisings in the capital garrison, and the opposition in the Paktika grew so strong that it defeated the government units there; They also talked about the upcoming campaign of the rebels in Kabul. Soviet Ambassador AM Puzanov these days even reported about the "dangers arising capture the airfield near Kabul." A well-defended military base with Bagram with a large garrison in this regard seemed to be a more reliable place. Over time, the aircraft for the military transport squadron had its own individual parking, located in the very center of the airfield, in the immediate vicinity of the runway.
As a result, it turned out that the first of the Soviet armed forces in Afghanistan were precisely the transport workers and the paratroopers who arrived to protect them. Although the patriotic-minded domestic press has long been arguing about the illegality of comparing the Afghan campaign with the Vietnamese war with the numerous arguments that international duty had nothing to do with the aggressive policies of imperialism, certain parallels in their history are said to suggest themselves. The Americans, even a few years before sending the army to Vietnam, faced with the need to support their military advisers and special forces with helicopter units and transport aircraft necessary to support their activities, to carry out logistics and other tasks. The inexorable logic of the war with the expansion of the scale of the conflict soon demanded the involvement of strike aircraft, and then strategic bombers.
In Afghanistan, events developed even more dynamically, and together with the entry of the Soviet troops, in a matter of months, front-line aviation was involved with the involvement of all its clans, from fighters and reconnaissance aircraft to the strike forces of fighter-bombers and front-line bombers immediately involved in combat work.
Transport squadron literally from the first days attracted to work. All tasks came through the line of the Chief Military Adviser, whose apparatus was increasing, and Soviet officers were already present in almost all units and formations of the Afghan army. Air transport provided a more or less reliable supply of remote areas and garrisons, because by that time, as the Soviet embassy informed, "under the control of detachments and other opposition groups (or outside the government's control) is about 70% of Afghan territory, that is, almost all rural areas ". Another figure was also called: as a result of the lack of safety on the roads, which “the counterrevolution chose as one of its main targets”, the average daily export of goods supplied by the Soviet side from border points to the end of 1979 decreased by 10 times.
View of the Bagram air base, taken from the reconnaissance aircraft. In the very center of the airfield is clearly visible separate parking of transport workers.
The transport workers had more than enough tasks: in just one week of work during the exacerbation of the situation from 24 to 30 in August 1979, the X-NUMX of the An-53 flight was completed - twice as many as the Afghan IL-12 did. On the fly, An-14 was inferior in these months only to the omnipresent An-12, whose versatility allowed them to be used for communications with almost all aerodromes, whereas only ten of them were suitable for flying An-26.
Another tendency was gaining momentum - the desire of the Afghans to shift the solution of tasks to a stronger partner that appeared on time, which was confirmed by the continuing and ever-increasing requests for sending Soviet troops or at least militia forces that would take on the struggle against the opposition. The same character traits were noted when working with the Afghan military by Soviet instructors who drew attention to such behaviors of the local contingent (such “portraits” were compiled on the recommendation of military aviation medicine to optimize relations with national personnel): “Non-executive, attitude to service reduced when confronted with difficulties. In complex situations, passive and constrained, fidgety, deteriorating logical thinking, not independent and are looking for help. For seniors and those who depend on, they can be courtesy and offer gifts. They like to emphasize their position, but they are not self-critical and not independent. Prone to speculation things. " It is not difficult to notice that this characteristic, related to the trained military personnel, fully described the activity of the “leadership group” that came to power in the country.
Meanwhile, “revolutionary Afghanistan” was increasingly turning into ordinary despotism. The massacre of dissatisfied and yesterday's associates, the growing number of refugees to neighboring Iran and Pakistan, and the ongoing insurrections in the provinces have become commonplace. Injustice and repression led to riots of the Pashtun tribes, militant and independent nationalities, who traditionally left the main state apparatus and the army, and now for many years became the mainstay of the armed resistance, the mass character of which adds a large part of the country's population (in those the traditions of the Pashtuns never paid taxes, retained the rights to own weapons, and a good third of the men were permanently members of tribal armed groups). In response, authorities resorted to bombardments of recalcitrant villages and punitive actions of troops in previously independent Pashtun territories.
Boeing 727, bought in the United States for Afghan leader Amin, played an unseemly role in the fate of the president, giving the Soviet leadership reason to suspect that they were playing with Americans
After the change of power, the presidential Boeing-727 served in the Afghan airline "Ariana", which worked on foreign lines
“The Revolutionary Process” in Afghanistan went its own course (readers will surely remember the popular song on our radio “There is a revolution in the beginning, there is no end in the revolution”). As a result of the aggravation of discord between recent colleagues in October 1979, the recent leader of the revolution Hyp Mohammed was eliminated Taraki The PDPA General Secretary, who considered himself to be a global figure, is no less than Lenin or at least Mao Zedong, was not saved by merit and self-esteem - yesterday's associates choked him with pillows and did not spare the family imprisoned.
On the eve of the protection of Taraki in Kabul, were going to transfer the "Muslim battalion" Major Halboeva. The commandos were already on the planes when the command came on the rebound. The authorities still hoped to resolve the Afghan crisis local media, relying on the "healthy forces" in the PDPA. However, just a couple of days later, Taraki was deprived of all his posts, charged with all mortal sins and imprisoned at the suggestion of his closest party comrade, the head of government and minister of war Amin. The paratroopers were again tasked to fly out to rescue the head of a friendly country, however, Amin prudently ordered that the Kabul airfield be completely closed on September 15. In response to an appeal to the chief of the Afghan General Staff, General Yakub, about receiving a special ship with an amphibious group, he replied that Amin was given the command to shoot down any aircraft that arrived without agreement with him.
Hafizullah Amin, who took power into his own hands, was a cruel and shrewd figure, continued to praise the Soviet-Afghan friendship and, not really trusting his own environment, he again expressed his wishes about the deployment of troops of the Soviet Army to Afghanistan (as the subsequent events showed, he succeeded - on his own head ...). Insisting on sending the Soviet troops, it was increasingly argued that the unrest in the country was inspired by the foreign intervention of the reactionary forces. Thus, the conflict acquired an ideological tinge, and the concession in it looked like a loss to the West, all the more inexplicable because it was about losing a friendly country from the USSR’s inner circle, with the frightening prospect of the appearance of omnipresent Americans with their troops, missiles and military bases. This picture fully fit into the dominant scheme of the confrontation between socialism and aggressive imperialism, the expansion of which across the globe was a popular theme of domestic propaganda, political posters and cartoons.
Reports of Amin's contacts with Americans were added to the fire. Even Amin’s sudden refusal to use a Soviet-made personal aircraft, in exchange for which the USA bought a Boeing-727 with a hired American crew, was considered evidence of this. The very appearance of American pilots and a technical group at the capital's airfield caused alarm - there was no doubt that under their guise secret service agents were hiding. Amin hurried to explain that this aircraft was received against previously frozen deposits in American banks, this is a temporary matter, Boeing will soon be leased to India, and the Afghan leadership, as before, will use Soviet aircraft. One way or another, the suspicions about Amin intensified and the decisions made on his account directly affected both himself and the activities of the Soviet transport squadron.
Changes in the top of Afghanistan soon affected the attitude towards the Afghan problem. In the position of the Soviet leadership, the recent almost unanimous reluctance to get involved in the local strife has been replaced by the need to take power actions, helping the "people's power" and getting rid of odious figures in Kabul. People from the environment L.I. Brezhnev pointed out that the sensitive general secretary made the death of Taraki. Upon learning of the massacre of Taraki, whom he favored, Brezhnev was extremely upset, demanding decisive measures against Amin, who drove him by the nose. Over the next couple of months, the entire military machine was activated and a plan of measures was prepared to resolve the Afghan issue.
The base of transport workers in Bagram unexpectedly became involved in the events of big politics. It was she who was used when the implementation of the plan for the transfer of individual Soviet units and special groups to Afghanistan, provided for the case of the very "sharp aggravation of the situation."
Formally, they were sent in agreement with the requests of the Afghans themselves, with the aim of strengthening the protection of particularly important objects, including the airbase itself, the Soviet embassy and the head of state’s residence, others arrived without much publicity and with less obvious objectives.
It was the base of transport workers that became the location for the special forces detachment, which was to play a leading role in the events that followed soon (by the way, Amin himself had time to suggest that the Soviet side "could have military garrisons in those places where she wished"). In subsequent events, transport aviation played a role no less important than the well-known actions of paratroopers and special forces. The redeployment of the "Muslim battalion" of the GRU special forces under the command of Major Habib Khalbaev was carried out on 10-12 in November 1979 of the year, transferring it from the airfields of Chirchik and Tashkent with BTA aircraft. All heavy equipment, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, were transported to the An-22 from the 12 th military transport aviation division; personnel, as well as property and supplies, including tents, dry rations and even firewood, were delivered to An-12. All officers and soldiers were dressed in Afghan uniforms and outwardly did not differ from the Afghan military. Uniformity was violated except by the commander of the anti-aircraft “Shilok” company, Captain Pautov, a Ukrainian by nationality, although he was dark-hair and, as Colonel V. Kolesnik, who led the operation, noted with satisfaction, “was lost in the general mass when he was silent”. With the help of the same An-12, the following weeks carried out all the provision of the battalion and communication with the remaining command in the Union, which more than once arrived in Bagram.
Based on the site, the battalion took up training in anticipation of the team to perform the "main task", for the time being not concretized. Two more units were redeployed to Bagram 3 and December 14 1979. Together with them, December 14 illegally arrived in Afghanistan, Babrak Karmal and several other future leaders of the country. Karmal, who was to become the new head of the country, was brought aboard the An-12 and secretly stationed at the Bagram air base guarded by the Soviet military. The new Afghan leader promised to attract at least 500 his supporters to help the special forces, for which transport aircraft to the base organized the delivery of weapons and ammunition. Only one came at his call ...
The given historical excursion into the prelude of the Afghan war seems all the more justified because in all these events transport aviation, which played the leading roles, was directly involved. With the decision to conduct a special operation, Colonel V. Kolesnik, responsible for it, in the morning of December 18 flew from Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow. The route flew through Baku and Termez; border Termez, instead of the usual transit airport of Tashkent, where the TurkVO headquarters were located, arose along the route due to the establishment of an operational group of the USSR Ministry of Defense in December 14, which was formed to coordinate all actions to deploy troops in Afghanistan and headed by the first deputy head General Staff Army General SF Akhromeev.
During the flight, there were problems with the equipment, which led to the search for another plane and the last part of the journey had to be overcome at the local An-12, which arrived late at night in Bagram. Two days before the order of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces was formed and brought into full combat readiness field control formed for entry into Afghanistan of the 40 Army. Its basis constituted units and positioned in the Turkestan and Central Asian military regions, preferably cropped, i.e. having a standard armament and equipment, but minimally manned (in essence, it was a peacetime logistics reserve, if necessary, staffed up to the regular strength with a call from soldiers and reserve officers). Naturally, the units and formations that were part of the army had a local “residence permit” from TurkVO and SAVO, and the personnel for their deployment were recruited from among the local residents through the recruitment envisaged by mobilization plans through the military enlistment offices. To this end, more than 50 thousands of soldiers and officers were called up from the reserve.
This option was directly envisaged by mobilization plans in the event of wartime or exacerbation of the situation, allowing for the rapid deployment of military units. According to the plan, immediately after the call-up of the military-required military specialties and their arrival at the nearby registered units, it was enough for them to receive uniforms, weapons and take up places on the equipment, so that they could almost immediately be ready to perform the assigned tasks.
Over time, a version was received that the soldiers of predominantly Central Asian nationalities were called upon to intentionally conceal the fact of the invasion of troops, “camouflaging” the appearance of an entire army in the neighboring country. For example, the book “War in Afghanistan” by American author Mark Urbain, considered to be a classic work on this topic in the West, says: “The Soviets were confident that the local call would keep in secret preparation for military operations.” Insight brings Western and domestic analysts: it suffices to note that the soldiers and officers, even if of the "eastern call", were dressed in Soviet military uniforms, which left no doubt about their identity, not to mention the TASS statement that followed a few days later aid to Afghanistan ”, however, with the excuse clause“ about the repeated requests of the DRA government ”. The formation of an army association based on units and formations of the local military districts was the most reasonable and, most obviously, speedy and “economical” way of creating the “expeditionary corps” of the Soviet troops.
In total, in the period from 15 to 31, December 1979 of the year, in accordance with the directives of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, were mobilized and brought to full alert 55 formations, units and institutions included in the regular set of the 40 army. Bringing the troops into full combat readiness should be carried out in the shortest possible time, dictated, according to the instructions of the General Staff, by "glowing the military-political situation and by a sharp struggle for the initiative." At the time of the mobilization, the “first echelon” was the part of constant readiness that was on combat duty: border guards, command and control agencies, communications, airborne units and air forces, as well as all types of support. Inevitably, the responsible role was assigned to VTA, whose tasks included the provision and transfer of troops.
The decision to send troops to Afghanistan has been brought to the administrative board of Defense Minister at a meeting in December 24 1979 years.
An-12BK at the parking lot of the Bagram airport
As you know, the decision to bring troops into Afghanistan was communicated to the management team by the Minister of Defense at the December 24 1979 meeting. The next day, December 25 1979, the verbal instruction was confirmed by the directive of the USSR Ministry of Defense. But the lively work of the military transport aviation began in early December, when, according to the oral instructions of D. Ustinov, the mobilization of troops began, as well as the transfer of a number of units, primarily airborne units, to TurkVO. The airborne units, as the most mobile and combat-ready type of troops, had to play a leading role in the operation, having occupied key targets in the Afghan capital and central regions even before the bulk of the troops approached. December 10 was ordered to upgrade the Vitebsk 103 airborne division to increased readiness, concentrating forces and resources on loading airfields in Pskov and Vitebsk, December 11 to bring five BTA divisions and three separate regiments to increased readiness. Thus, the forces involved in the military operations were almost completely involved in the operation, including all five then-existing military transport associations - 3. Smolensk vtad in Vitebsk, 6-yu Guards. Zaporizhzhya Krasnosnamyonnay vtad in Krivoy Rog, 7-th vtad in Melitopol, 12-th Mga Krasnosnamyonnay vtad in Kalinin and 18-th Taganrog Red Banner vtad in Panevezys, as well as three separate regiment - 194-th in Fergana, 708-th in Kirovabad and 930-th in Zavitinsk (all - on An-12). When forming an air transport group, even aircraft from the instructor squadrons of the Ivanovo 610 training center were involved, from which they attracted 14 An-12 (almost all of them were based) and three IL-76 (from a dozen that were available).
In one of these compounds, the 12 th vadad, all the An-22 units in the number of 57 units were concentrated. The rest partially managed to re-equip the newest IL-76, which numbered 152, but not all of them were properly mastered by personnel. The main forces of the VTA, which accounted for two thirds of the aircraft fleet, were represented by the An-12.
In addition to the paratroopers, with the help of air transport it was necessary to make the transfer of control, communications and aviation-technical support groups.
Powered war machine all the time needed for the mass transportation transfer of thousands of people and pieces of equipment. The efficiency of the tasks required the use of many regiments of the military aviation aviation, whose crews had to go into combat work on the move. The involvement of a large number of aircraft in the operation and the sharply increased flight intensity were not without incident. At the intermediate landing at the border airfield Kokayty 9 December suffered An-12BK, out of order. The crew of Captain A. Tikhov from the Krivoy Rog 363 of the V-Tap performed the task of transporting the Su-7 aircraft for the Afghan Air Force from the repair plant. Having violated the established landing pattern at the airfield, moreover, in the approaching darkness of the night, the pilots began to approach it from a straight line and touched a two-kilometer-high mountain that was right along the course. The crew, as they say, was born in a shirt: having brushed belly across the top, having touched it with the propeller of the leftmost engine and leaving some details in place, the plane could still continue flying. Already on lowering, it turned out that the nose landing gear does not come out and knocks the oil out of the extreme right engine, which also had to be turned off. Landing was carried out on two main racks on the unpaved runway. Neither the cargo nor the people on board were injured, but the car was pretty damaged: the skin on the bottom of the fuselage was crumpled and torn, the hydraulic pipelines were torn, two engines were out of order. Repair work on the car required such a volume of labor, which lasted until the end of next year.
On the same day of December 9, while flying from Chirchik to Tashkent, another An-12AP crashed, on board of which, besides the crew, were two specialists who were flying to investigate the breakdown. In Tashkent, it was necessary to pick up representatives of the flight safety service from the army headquarters and move on to the scene. The entire flight to Tashkent with a length of 30 km was supposed to take a few minutes, and the crew did not need to gain any decent height. After the take-off made at night, the crew commander, Senior Lieutenant Yu.N. Grekov occupied the 500 m train, contacted the Tashkent airfield and began building an approach. Not very experienced pilot, just commissioned and flying with someone else's crew, did not have sufficient skills to fly in mountainous areas. Having made a similar mistake and violated the exit scheme from the departure aerodrome, he hurried with the installation of an altimeter on the landing aerodrome lying in the valley. Being sure that there is a reserve of height, while maneuvering while descending, already in Tashkent’s visibility, the pilot took the plane directly to one of the peaks of the Chimgan Range, which rose almost a kilometer. When colliding with a mountain, the plane fell apart and caught fire, all on board were killed in the crash. The plane and the crew belonged to 37-mu in the south of Ukraine. Together with the others on the eve, he was transferred to the Afghan border, and misfortune trapped him thousands of miles from his homeland ...
At the first stage of the entry of the Soviet troops, the task was to capture the airfields of Kabul and Bagram, taking control of administrative and other important objects, carried out by the airborne forces and special forces. As it was foreseen, in 15.00 Moscow time 25 December 1979 of the year began the transfer of airborne troops with a land landing on the airfields of Kabul and Bagram. Preliminary at a meeting of Soviet advisers gathered at the Kabul airport, a briefing was given and instructions were given to prevent the Afghan military units assigned to them from countering and hostile actions against the arriving Soviet troops (East is a delicate matter, although the top of the Afghan government asked for their entry, not local performances and armed attacks of army soldiers not engaged in big politics were excluded).
To prevent shelling of assault forces and landing aircraft at airfields, it was decided not to limit themselves to explanations among the Afghan military, but to take radical measures to remove sights and locks from anti-aircraft installations and to remove the keys to stored ammunition. Since relations with the Afghan soldiers were, for the most part, normal and trusting in nature, these actions were carried out without any special excesses. Among the military units of Bagram there was a military aircraft repair plant with a fairly numerous staff of Afghan soldiers (by the way, it was located next to the parking of Soviet transport workers). The adviser to his chief was Col. V.V. Patsko, says: "We, Soviet, at the plant were only two: I and adviser of the chief engineer. And now, through our advisory channels, we receive information that our troops have entered Afghanistan and that the task of disarming the personnel of this plant is set before us !!! Yes, they would have strangled us with bare hands. I call the director of the plant, an Afghan colonel. I explain to him - so, they say, and so. I understand that the order is stupid, but something must be done, somehow done. I looked, he darkened face. But he restrained himself. We were on good terms with him, humanly. He thought a little, then said: "You do not interfere, I myself." I gathered my officers, argued about something for a long time, then they all gave up their weapons. ” As a result, the landing of the aircraft with the landing force proceeded in accordance with the plan and without any incidents.
Preparing An-12 from the Fergana 194 Regiment
The first days of stay at the airport Shindanta: Soviet soldiers, along with Afghan soldiers in a picturesque paramilitary outfit
The first units of the 12-th separate parachute regiment were deployed to Bagram on An-345, then the paratroopers and equipment of the Vitebsk division began to arrive at the capital airfield. The paratrooper and poet Yury Kirsanov who participated in the operation described what happened in the following lines:
In the night a mighty caravan flies,
Over the people and technology stuffed,
Told us - fly to Afghanistan,
To save the people, Amin confused confused.
Gul sadivshihsya aircraft was clearly audible in the presidential palace Taj Beck, where Amin in the evening gave a reception. On the eve of the Soviet ambassador FA. Tabeev told Amin about the imminent introduction of Soviet units. Being confident that it was about fulfilling his own request, Amin elatedly told those present: “Everything is going fine! Soviet troops are already on their way here! ”The fact that special forces groups and paratroopers were already on the way, he was not mistaken, not realizing only that the events were not going according to the scenario he had planned and that he had only a few hours to live.
In total, the operation of the transfer of parts and divisions of the Airborne Forces required the 343 aircraft to be flown. The task took 47 hours: the first plane landed on December 25 on 16.25, the last one landed on December 27 on 14.30. On average, the landing of transport vehicles followed at intervals of 7-8 minutes, in fact, the intensity of the landing was much more dense, since the planes approached in groups and, after unloading, again went after the landing party. During this time, 7700 manpower, 894 units of military equipment and over 1000 tons of various cargoes, from ammunition to food and other materiel, were delivered to Kabul and Bagram. During the landing, the main part of the sorties was made by An-12, which made 200 flights (58% of the total), another 76 (22%) performed Il-76, giving an interesting coincidence of numbers - 76 / 76, and 66 - An -22 (19%). Sometimes these figures are referred to as the final results of the BTA’s work when troops are deployed, which is wrong: these data refer only to the transfer of the first echelon of paratroopers, communications and control units, after which the work of the BTA did not stop the delivery of personnel, equipment and logistics ensure continued without interruption for a day.
The predilection for free handling of numbers leads to some missteps: for example, N. Yakubovich in one of the Aviacollections issues devoted to the IL-76 aircraft, ranked all the work of the BTA aircraft in this operation exclusively to Il-76 transports, which looks frank by postscript - as can be seen from the above data, their real participation due to the above reasons was rather limited, and the main “burden” was delivered by An-12, which made almost three times more flights. The role of An-12 was explained primarily by their large number in the VTA grouping; on the other hand, a smaller payload compared to larger counterparts required for performing a typical task of transferring, for example, an amphibious battalion with standard armament to attract an additional number of airplanes and to perform a larger number of sorties.
In the following days, continuing the deployment of a group of troops, the transport workers were engaged in the logistics of the arriving forces and the delivery of new units and subunits, including aviation. The total strength of the 34 Air Corps at the beginning of the new, 1980, was 52 combat aircraft and 110 helicopters of various types. The work of the aviation group required the delivery of all the necessary ground support equipment, including all kinds of ladders, lifts and accessories necessary for servicing the machines, related equipment, as well as airmobile equipment for heat and power supplies. It was also necessary to support the engineering and technical staff, communications, controls, which was the task of the same BTA. Special vehicles and overall equipment of the support units from the OBATO (separate airfield-maintenance battalions attached to each aviation unit) went on their own, as part of military convoys.
In the period of its deployment, the aviation grouping was carried out mainly from the units of the 49 Air Army stationed on the Central Asian airfields - as can be seen, the formation of the aviation forces was supposed to be done with the same “improvised means” in number rather modest. Among them were the MiG-21bis squadron from 115-iap, stationed in Bagram, and the MiG-21Р reconnaissance squadron from the 87 orapp, deployed there, and the Su-17 squadron from the XNXX from the X-NXX, from the X-NXX in the X-NXX, and from the X-NXX, in the X-NXX, and from the X-NXX, in the X-NXX, in the X-NXX, in the X-NXX. also a squadron of MiG-217PFM fighter-bomber arrived in early January from the Chirchik 21 apb. One of their enumerations is able to give an idea of the scale of work on the delivery of everything necessary to support aviation activities (helicopter pilots in this regard were somewhat more independent, being able to deliver part of the means and technical personnel on their own).
After a few months, as the situation changed, there was a need to increase the air force, which required the involvement of the air forces of other districts (in the Armed Forces at that time, irrespective of the Afghan events, widespread reform of military aviation began, aimed at achieving closer cooperation with the army, during which the air armies of the front-line aviation, according to the Order of the Ministry of Defense of 5 in January 1980, were transformed into an air force of military districts, subject to the "red stripes" - the commander of the troops Amy districts). The air group redeployed to Afghanistan did not escape this fate; due to the expansion, it changed the status of the air corps to the Air Force title of the 40 Army, an aviation association of its own kind, since no other combined army had its own Air Force.
Among the other units in the 40 Air Force, the army immediately provided for the presence of transport aircraft (just as in the control of all military districts and groups of troops there were "their own" mixed air transport units). Its tasks were a variety of transportation, communications and support for the activities of the troops, the demand for which was constant and imperishable (with the peculiarity that in Afghanistan they were also added to direct participation in hostilities with the bombing assault, assault landings, patrols and reconnaissance missions ). To this end, when forming a military group, it was originally stipulated to give it a separate mixed air regiment, which included transport aircraft and helicopters. The corresponding directive of the Ministry of Defense appeared already on 4 on January 1980 of the year, in addition to which an order was issued by the Air Forces Main Command from 12 on January 1980, specifying the composition, staffing and equipment of the unit.
The formation of the 50-th separate mixed aviation regiment was carried out on the basis of the forces of TurkVO from January 12 to February 15, 1980, with the involvement of personnel and equipment from other districts. Helicopter units were the first to fly to Afghanistan, and by the end of March all the forces of the regiment moved to Kabul, where 50-th smallpox soon became widely known as “fifty dollars” (by the way, there was another fifty dollars in the army, the 350- th airborne regiment). The battle flag of the 50-th Aviation Regiment was awarded 30 on April 1980. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the activity of the regiment somehow affected virtually all the soldiers and officers of the army: while in Afghanistan, 50 thousands of people and 700 thousand tons of cargo were transported by 98 helicopters and helicopters only when carrying out transport tasks the regiment transported the entire army of one hundred thousand men seven times in a row!). 3 March 1983, the regiment’s combat work was awarded the Order of the Red Star.
In the early days, the BTA transport and landing operation was limited to disembarking at two central aerodromes, with the aim of ensuring the occupation of metropolitan administrative and key facilities, including the largest airbase, and other designated points were engaged in advancing ground-level echelon of troops and redeploying units on helicopters of army aviation to remote locations . The large volume of BTA tasks was also facilitated by the fact that the deployment of a group of troops took place during the winter months in Afghanistan is far from being the best, when roads and passes were covered with snowfall, followed by storming winds and storms — the famous “Afghan” gaining strength just in winter. Air transport in such an environment was not only the most expeditious, but also a reliable means of delivering everything necessary. Significant was the fact that the Soviet garrisons, for the most part, settled just near the airfields, which were the source of supplies and communications with the Union. Thus, in Kandahar, two cities were distinguished - the “Afghan”, which was the center of the same province of the same name, and the “Soviet”, which included army units and units located around the local airfield.
The whole special operation on taking the most important objects in Kabul took only a few hours from special forces and troops. The tasks were solved with minimal losses, although there were no overlaps caused partly by inconsistency, partly - by the secrecy of plans: at several sites the fighters fell under fire of their own units, and at the governmental palace Taj Bek, already taken by special forces, sent to support the Vitebsk the paratroopers did not recognize those of their own, shot them with armored personnel carriers and the case almost came to a head-on battle.
Babrak Karmal, who was in the position of the 345 Parachute Regiment, acted as the new leader of the country the next day, hurrying to announce that the change of power was the result of "a popular uprising of the broad sections of the population, the party and the army." It is curious that even today, other authors share a look at the events of the then Afghan ruler: in a recent publication by V. Runov “The Afghan War. Combat operations "claimed that the change of power in Kabul was carried out by a" small group of conspirators ", and the entry of Soviet troops served only as a" signal for a successful government coup "- a statement capable of causing considerable surprise to the participants in the events; No doubt, the author announced with a dashing stroke of the pen the “conspirators” of 700 of our soldiers and officers who participated in the storming and received military awards by a government decree of 28 of 1980 of April of the year. In the old days, the winners entered the capitals on a white horse, Karmal had to be content with the inconspicuous transporter An-12. Over time, when its star begins to decline, the Afghan ruler in search of refuge again will have to use an aircraft of Soviet transport aircraft.
In the meantime, the wounded during the assault of the fighters were taken to the Union on the Il-18, and in early January 1980, the entire personnel of the special forces battalion also flew home. The combat equipment was handed over to the paratroopers, the fighters and officers were loaded onto two transport workers who took off for Chirchik. It didn’t go without checking those returning to their homeland: it occurred to someone upstairs that the participants in the assault in the destroyed palace could find considerable valuables and subjected them to inspection, removing a couple of captured pistols, several daggers, a transistor receiver and a tape recorder, as well as stuck as souvenir local money - Afghani. Although in the Union colorful papers - “candy wrappers” were no good for anything, under the pretext that the money allowance in the “foreign business trip” was not issued, it was all handed over to a special department. The episode might seem insignificant, but it became a precedent for organizing a rather severe customs barrier at the airfields - the first thing that met the returning “internationalist fighters” in their homeland.
Unfortunately, the very beginning of the work of the “air bridge” confirmed the truth of the long-held truth that there is no war without loss. In the very first wave of 25 transporters in December, 1979 of the year crashed Il-76 of captain V. Golovchina, crashing into the mountain on the way to Kabul at night. In less than two weeks, An-7BP from the Ferghana 1980 th horn was injured when landing at 12 in January of 194, at the Kabul airport. As in the previous case, the cause of the accident was the error of the pilots when building the approach. The crew had little experience of flying in the mountains, although its commander, Major V.P. Petrushin was the pilot of the 1 class.
The accident occurred during the day in clear weather, when the destination airfield opened from afar. Nevertheless, in view of the proximity of the approaching mountains, the pilots began to build a landing maneuver too tightly, “squeezing the box”, because of which the aircraft set off on a landing course at a distance of 12 km instead of the established 20 km. Seeing that the plane was coming with a fair blunder, the pilot was confused, but did not go to the second round and continued to decline. Having flown almost the entire lane, the plane touched the ground just 500 meters from the end of the runway. The commander did not use emergency braking, and did not even try to evade the steering control from the obstacles rushing towards him. Having flown out of the runway to the 660 m, the plane hit the parapet and suffered serious damage: the nose strut was broken, the wing, screws and engines were damaged, after which the car flew into the SU-85 self-propelled gun. A collision with a twenty-ton armored obstacle was accompanied by especially grave consequences: an airborne captain Nelyubov and radio operator Sevastyanov suffered heavy blows upon impact, and in the crumpled bow cabin fatal injuries killed the navigator Senior Lieutenant M.L. Weaver (as usual, no one was tacked on the An-12 in flight, especially the navigator, who was uncomfortable working on a leash). The dead Mikhail Tkach, a recent graduate of the Voroshilovgrad Aviation School, from an early age dreamed of flying and in part was the youngest navigator, only the second year he came to the Ferghana regiment. The cause of the incident was called “mistakes in piloting technique of Major Petrushin, which were the result of his poor training, conceit and weak moral and psychological preparation, which was aided by the neglect of unstable pilot piloting techniques and surface preparation for flight”. Before this, the crew spent a week on a business trip, transporting the bodies of the first casualties brought by troops from Afghanistan, returning from which he went on his first and last flight to Kabul.
After the formation of the grouping of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, about 100 formations, units and institutions, which included almost 82 thousand people, were deployed in its structure. Already in February-March, the quick-change "guerrillas" of the Central Asian republics were replaced by personnel officers and conscripts (almost half of the original army had to be replaced). In addition to improving the combat capability of the units, these measures corrected the “national imbalance” of the army contingent: the professional level of the “reserves”, which was already low, was aggravated by their equipment - when transporting personnel, the crews of transport workers were amazed to see a wild, slanted and unshaven public in uniforms sticking with a stake overcoats of the war years and with PPSH machine guns taken from warehouse stores.
Unexpected for the command was the fact that the calculation of the mutual understanding of "conscription resources" from among the Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmen with kindred peoples among Afghans was completely unjustified and those were met with frank hostility (in the reports, the local population was not sufficiently loyal). for backwardness "). None of the authorities thought that the slogans of internationalism did not have any power in the region, where local tribes always historically feuded with the northerners, the mass appearance of which, and with arms in hand, could not be perceived as an invasion. However, their replacement was not only not corrected, but also aggravated - the arrival of foreigners, violating the established traditions, looked like an offensive invasion of the Gentiles - “kafirs”. The civil war that was already going on in the country with the authorities calling a foreign army gained the character of irreconcilable jihad with infidels accompanied by fanaticism, blood feud and other attributes of the “holy war”, not to mention the fact that Kabul’s reliance on the foreign army looked like a violation of all foundations and dishonor.
Placing such a large number of troops required a corresponding provision of all necessary. The military operations and any large-scale hostilities were not yet discussed - the army was primarily engaged in the arrangement, and its tasks were limited, for the most part, to the protection of the intended objects. However, the establishment of life and normal activities, also in winter conditions, required considerable volumes of supply not only and not so much ammunition, but first of all fuel, food, clothing and all sorts of other property, not to mention the creation of any decent housing conditions. , bedding and sanitary-hygienic supplies (and without that, the first winter the soldiers and officers had to spend in tents and dugouts - in the official language, "in the personal tent-type facilities").
At the same time, with the almost complete absence of wood and other building materials in Afghanistan, everything necessary was again to be imported from the Union. If the reports of the rear men on this point looked reassuring, the reports of the command of the 40 Army were fairly dissonant with them: so, as of the autumn of the 1980 year, almost a year after the start of the campaign, “as a result of the negligence and irregularity of officials, the personnel were only 30-40% is provided with soap, on 40-60% - underwear and bed linen. ” The supply was also complicated by the garrison spreading over hundreds of kilometers, with units and subunits deployed on 150 different points. All these shortcomings were noted in the very first directive document of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR from 29 January 1980, summarizing the results of the initial period of the “international mission”, which directly referred to the importance of “taking care of the material and technical support of personnel, improvement of the units, recreation, food, supplies with water (heated in winter), delivery of newspapers, letters, timely satisfaction of the demands of soldiers, warrant officers and officers. ”
Supply problems may seem of little interest compared with the poster-cinema depiction of war as a series of military operations, dashing raids and fire raids, but they determined the combat capability of the army, which not only fights, but also lives ordinary everyday life. In the most direct way, the tasks of maintenance determined the activity of transport aviation, whose role in difficult local conditions from the very first days turned out to be extremely high (the BTA Battle Regulations, among other things, define its purpose as “delivering weapons, ammunition and other materiel to troops”). As for the importance and responsibility of these tasks, the same Charter stipulates the use of connections and parts of the VTA solely on the decisions and plans of the Supreme High Command (hardly any other type of aviation, except strategic long-range, can boast such a priority!).
As a result of the multifaceted activities of the supply services and transport workers, by the end of 1980, the grouping of the Soviet troops had 2,5-month stocks of material resources. The “housing problem” was decided by the importation of prefabricated houses - the famous “modules”, officially referred to as “Module” constructions K-120, as well as service prefabricated panel buildings of the type CPM and others. For heating, incandescent stoves were brought to the rainy Afghan winter - “stoves”, very popular due to the shortage of firewood were “Polaris” - a purely aviation invention that worked on kerosene or other liquid fuel and was a long pipe with a welded end or an old fire extinguisher, on top of which broke through holes. The structure was installed upright, kerosene or diesel fuel was poured in, burning for a long time, but mercifully smoking and giving as much soot as heat.
Fuel for heating and technology was also delivered throughout the winter mainly by transport aircraft in metal tanks or rubber waterskins, in which gasoline and diesel fuel were stored on site. The army's need for fuel and lubricants in this period amounted to 30 thousand tons per month. Over time, for the supply of fuel to Kabul and Bagram, the pipeline was stretched into two "lines" - one for kerosene and the other for diesel fuel, having also adjusted the transportation of filling pipes in columns.
Since there were similar problems with electricity, kerosene lamps were in demand, which were in great shortage. Due to the lack of normal power supply during the first months, even batteries for recharging and replacement had to be carried by transport aircraft to the Union. The problem was resolved only after the delivery of basic diesel power plants DHA-15 on the airfields of Kabul and Kandahar, which allowed to provide around-the-clock uninterrupted power supply (diesel resource in 50, thousands of hours, allowed to thresh for several years without a break).
To accommodate airplanes and helicopters and equipment for parking in mass quantities, panels of metal coatings K-1D were delivered, for the delivery of which two autorouts were specially formed. True, the need for them was so great that only by the end of 1984, the issue was finally resolved and almost all of the aircraft was deployed at the sites with durable artificial turf instead of the former ground sites. What efforts it took to ensure the supply and delivery of the entire range of goods can be judged by the far from exhaustive figure - only 40 flights of 1980 flights with a total flight of 3540 hours were made by 4150 Army aircrafts. On average, daily transport workers carried out 8-10 departures with cargo, equipment and personnel.
In practice, this meant that the crews of the BTA aircraft had a higher level of flying than the pilots of fighter and other "combat" aviation of the 40 Army, with the corresponding exertion and fatigue (recall that the flight work is classified as heavy by professional medicine). The Air Force Medical Service, according to the survey results for the year 1980, noted: “The flight personnel of the fighter aviation had a raid before the 2 annual norms, the army - 2-3, the military transport - to the 3 standards. Physical fatigue, neuro-emotional stress, forced violations of compliance with the pre-flight regime caused physical exhaustion. The flight personnel of the army and military transport aviation had a weight loss of up to 4 kg, fighter aviation - up to 2 kg. Recognized as unsuitable for the flight work of a 44 person (from 240 who underwent a medical flight study). Most were disqualified flight personnel with diseases of the nervous system. This is due to the inadequate moral and psychological training of flight personnel to conduct real combat operations, high neuro-emotional stress, and greater physical exertion in difficult climatic conditions. ”
An-26 delivered singer Lev Leshchenko to Jalalabad. Next to him, the commander of the local 335 th helicopter regiment Colonel Beshmelnov
With all the demand for An-12 as the main transport vehicle, the aircraft was not well adapted to work in the Afghan situation with regard to the working conditions of the crew. The plane was made back in those times when the unpretentiousness of the Soviet man was taken for granted, and the words “ergonomics” and “comfort” sounded, if not swearing, then already characteristic of the “not ours” way of life. On board the An-12 there was only a heating and ventilation system, and even then it worked only in flight with supercharging from engine compressors. Nobody saw the provided air conditioners in the eyes, because of what in the summer heat in the parking lot, during loading and unloading, the cabin quickly turned into a natural oven, especially because of the dark gray color of the car, the skin was heated to + 80 ° C and On board, it was quite possible to get burned (by the way, on the export An-12 for India and other hot countries, the back of the fuselage above the cabin was painted white, reflecting the rays and at least somehow helping the pilots in the heat). When working on the fuselage and in the planes, it was not possible at all to be in daytime sun - the feet were hot even through the soles. In the cockpit, the units and switches became red hot to the extent that the pilots had to fly with gloves to avoid getting burned. The AN-26 and IL-76 pilots were somewhat easier - the machines were equipped with a full-fledged air-conditioning system with turbo-coolers, and it was possible to start the APU on the ground and work in more or less normal conditions.
Inventiveness and all kinds of “little tricks” came to the rescue: the doors and the cargo hold were thrown wide open in the parking lot, creating a light draft in the cabin, and the crews used all kinds of summer clothes and shoes instead of uniform shoes and shirts with a tie, which were considered mandatory for the crew in summer (there were times when it was prescribed to wear a jacket and pants of a flight uniform only over the usual "green" everyday half-woolen uniforms, short-sleeved shirts and light shoes did not provide Even for the southern districts, and rolled up sleeves were considered the height of promiscuity). Sandals of different styles came into vogue, sometimes shaped by their own shoes, transformed into “slippers with holes” with the help of a hand drill, Panama from the sun and white linen balaclava instead of a regular headset, covering the head and ears of hot “burdocks” were popular - headphone. When one day the Chief of the Air Force General Staff, Lieutenant-General S. Gorelov, arrived at the base of transport workers in Tashkent with an inspection, a picture appeared that looked like a direct call to the charter: having wished to get acquainted with the combat work of the pilots under his command, the general arrived at the station to meet the transport worker returning from Afghanistan . Getting out of the plane, the crew lined up beneath the wing, a distant from the mandative spectacle - worn and worn to the base overalls, unbuttoned jackets with rolled-up sleeves, slippers and flip-flops on the legs and, to top it all, children's panama on head respectable years of the commander. The dressing was long and loud, and at the same time the commander of the local regiment, who allowed such a “riotousness of the personnel”, got it. By the way, the Commander of the Air Force, P.S. Kutahov, occasionally appearing in Afghanistan with an inspection, for some reason known to him, flew only in civilian clothes.
Ammunition delivered by transport workers to the Bagram ammunition depot
Sparing themselves and the car, they tried to assign flights from early morning or towards evening, when the heat subsided a bit. Such a measure was by no means a liberty of pilots: it was necessary to fly from aerodromes belonging to high altitude, where the vacuum in the air noticeably worsened the bearing properties and controllability of the vehicle; already in excess of the sea level taken as a reference point in 1500, the air density drops by almost 15% with a corresponding decrease in lift, while the airfields of Kabul and Bagram lay much higher (Kabul - at the height of 1780 m, and Bagram and at all 1954 m). Even more, the air density fell in the heat: as the temperature rose, turboprop engines, with typical values for Afghanistan in the order of exceeding 1000 m and + 40 ° C, lost about a third in take-off power, and due to the high inlet air temperatures modes limited. If the rate of An-12 in normal conditions was 9-10 m / s, then in the heat after + 25 ° C, with each subsequent five degrees of air temperature, it decreased by 1 m / s and during normal summer the forty-degree heat fell by a third. The machine kept worse in the air, respectively, the take-off and landing speeds grew, which made it more difficult to control it in these modes. In order for the aircraft to maintain acceptable flight qualities, it was necessary to reduce the load, which again forced additional flights, adding to the work of the crews.
The land winds typical for Afghanistan on take-off and landing for the An-12 were particularly noticeable - the aircraft with a large lateral projection of the bulky fuselage and a high keel was sensitive to side wind, combined with a narrow gauge requiring special care in piloting so that the car would not be taken off the runway . Vladimir Shevelev from 115 Guards. Iap, whose squadron with a dozen MiG-21 bis flew to Bagram already 27 December 1979, one of the first vivid impressions at the new site connected as times with the landing of transport vehicles: “We got out of the plane, around the steppe and quite close to the mountains, coming from all sides, a stone bag, like in a movie about climbers. On the taxiing stands Mi-24 with a bullet from DShK in the windshield of the cockpit. Wow ... It was getting cold, and in addition, such a wind blew out that stone face crushed my face and hands. It turned out that this is a local feature and it is not going to stop, besides it is blowing strongly and across the strip. Then the next An-12 is just landing. The spectacle is very unusual: such a hulk flies sideways to the strip, it can be seen “in profile”, so it becomes uncomfortable - it seems that the plane is dropping somewhere to the side, and it also leads with its nose under gusts of wind. It turns out that the wind is bulky An-12 unfolds and, in order not to demolish, the pedals must be turned out almost to the end. Just before the strip touches the plane, it sharply prowls in our direction, tucking into the runway and at a decent speed, it seems to land first, even on the front pillar, and then it flops on the main ones. ”
The helicopter pilot A. Bondarev, who was heading for Ghazni, described acquaintance with local conditions no less picturesquely: “Our replacement took place in July, and flew An-12 through Kabul. Sat down, looked around - nothing special. Around the airport there are five-story building. No oriental flavor. And then suddenly, for no reason at all, a strong hot wind arose, sand and fine gravel flew, cutting the face. It all looked like a snowstorm, only sand, not snow. It turned out that it was the same "Afghan", or "dry blizzard", a wind with an unpredictable character. Departure us hacked. "What we wait?" - we asked the commander. “This is unpredictable,” he replied. “Maybe three hours, maybe three days.” Thank God, we were lucky and did not have to wait for three days. After a couple of hours, the wind just as suddenly died down as it began, again climbed into the transport worker and flew away. ”
The meteorological conditions of Afghanistan for the work of aviation looked like an express combination of unfavorable factors and features: as noted by the orientation of the Air Force General Staff, “in winter, up to half of the total time, the completion of combat missions was completely excluded due to low clouds, closing mountains and poor visibility”; in the summer season, which lasted from April to October, the situation was characterized as acceptable for aviation operations, but with the proviso - “this time is accompanied by the largest number of days with dust and sandstorms, from 10 days per month in the north to 16 days in the south, during which the dust rises to 5-7 km altitudes, and visibility deteriorates to 300-500 m and visibility significantly deteriorates for 3-4 24 hours after wind attenuation. ” Over the powerful mountain systems, atmospheric fronts intensified with the development of dense altitudinal cloud barriers and strong jet currents. The variability of meteorological conditions was accompanied by a deterioration in the operation of radio communications and navigation devices - up to 60 days a year was accompanied by the unreliability of communications and the operation of navigation aids in different wavelengths, especially for maintaining VHF radio communications.
With the help of the VHF UHF radio station RSIU-12 available on board the An-4, a landing with the airfield and under normal conditions could be established only 30-40 km before the exit to it, therefore communication had to be maintained only by HF radio station by telephone, since the presence of the radio operator in the crew made it possible to control all the equipment available on board (by the way, the right pilot, navigator and other “youth” could change in the crew of the transporter, transferring to other crews and units, but the commander and radio operator almost always flew eat)
It is curious that in Afghanistan only the capital's airfield wore the same accessible and well-understood call sign Kabul, for others, some mysterious definitions were invented by staff from the headquarters: the call sign Mirways intended to call Kandahar, Okram corresponded to Bagram, Shindand responded to “Espoomat”, the Herat airfield was called by the same untranslatable word “Nison” and only Mazar-i-Sharif got the call sign with the eastern accent “Yakub”. Nobody managed to find out the etymology of these words - at least they had nothing to do with local languages and familiar Afghans from pilots and telecommunications workers only shrugged their shoulders - they thought that such sonorous expressions definitely belong to the lexical riches of Russian speech, moreover that the call signs of the neighboring airfields of TurkVO sounded quite human: “Bell”, “Sunflower”, “Kuban”, etc. Even the time in Afghanistan looked somehow “skoshobochny”, differing from the local time zone on 45 minutes, and to avoid confusion, all departures and scheduled tables were compiled in Moscow time. The presence of the navigator, who had enough work, was also useful on board the An-12 - the conditions for visual orientation over the monotony of mountains and deserts were very limited, and scarce reliable landmarks could be counted on the fingers: these included clearly visible river banks and dry riverbeds. Wadi, large villages, lakes and, in some places, - roads. Distinguished salt marshes, clearly distinguished by white salt spots against the background of monotonous gray desert, were noticeable. Due to the “mountain effect”, the radio compass unstable worked, and the normal RSBN range of work was achieved only with 6000-7000 m. The signals received from aerodrome radio beacons in mountainous areas were provided from a distance more than twice as high as usual over plain terrain in Afghanistan not exceeding 50-70 km. Obviously, in this respect, the crews of the An-12 were in a more advantageous position than fighter pilots and other "military" aviation, who managed without the navigator and radio operator, or rather, who combined all these duties in one person.
Machine gun installation with paired DShK in defense of Bagram airbase. A noticeable detail is the use of two different models on the turret of the machine gun, the pile of boxes from under the trap cartridges serves as a parapet.
The quadruple installation of DShK machine guns in the cover belt of the Bagram airfield. On the belt of a posing pilot - an automatic gun APS in a holster-butt, which has become a regular weapon of flight personnel. Autumn 1986 of the year
In total for 1980 a year, transport aircraft made for the delivery of troops, equipment, ammunition and other cargoes of 3540 flights with a total 4150 flight hours. The small average flight duration - about an hour and a bit - was explained by the already mentioned relative proximity of distances between local aerodromes (at least by aviation standards - which could not be said of ground transportation, which overcame roads for several days in the desert) . For example, Kabul was separated from Khost only a hundred and fifty kilometers away, about three hundred from Mazar-i-Sharif and about 450 km from Kandahar.
Taking into account the high and almost daily employment of pilots and technicians, their service in Afghanistan was limited to one year, followed by replacement, while soldiers and officers of other branches of the military, including military airfield personnel of OBATO, were sent to Afghanistan for two years . These standards, which looked humanistic with regard to aviators, were well founded: military medical examinations conducted in the aviation units of Kabul and Bagram, echoed the previous observations and showed that “after 10-11 months of intense combat activity, various forms of chronic fatigue of the flight personnel were identified ", Manifested as" significant functional changes and impairments in the state of the cardiovascular and motor systems, vestibular function, the appearance of pronounced mental disturbances functions, while the pilots 44,1% - expressed significant change of mental status. "
The reasons were called “excessive flight load, three to four times higher than the established norms, a long starting time reaching 12 and more hours, the presence of long-term negative emotions and a pronounced state of anxiety and emotional stress under generally unfavorable conditions for recreation and the same unsatisfactory social and domestic and material support. "
Since the intensity of combat activity did not decrease even with an increase in the number of aviation groups, this was accompanied not only by overworking the pilots and a decrease in efficiency, but also directly threatened flight safety. Losing equipment and crews for non-combat reasons during the war, where in addition the situation was aggravated by unfavorable local conditions, was no good.
In order to avoid "work for wear", participation in flights began to alternate with the provision of rest, giving the opportunity to recuperate. To do this, after the established norms of the raid or the number of departures, the pilots were ordered to be sent to the flight preventive clinic located in the village of Durmen near Tashkent, where, in addition to a couple of weeks of “leave” and returning to peaceful life, they could receive qualified medical help and improve their health (and The very opportunity to spend time in the southern green city, where the military was treated with oriental respect, and at every corner there was a friendly tea house and the famous Chimkent beer, fruit abundance and expanse of markets, was barely l and not the best reward after months of sweaty and hard work). However, such a rest was provided "whenever possible", and the transport crews initially had an indefinite status, since the instructions dealt with flying sorties, to which regular transportation and flights with goods and people could be attributed only with a stretch. Nevertheless, the urgency and urgency of the issue required its resolution in a directive manner and the provision of rest to the flight personnel was agreed upon by the leadership of the Air Force in the form of an order.
Another year later, the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force demanded "strict compliance with the requirements of the order by aviation commanders of all degrees", who were required to "monitor the established rates of flight (combat sorties) of flight personnel and provide him with preventive rest on 15 days in a timely manner." Apparently, the leadership in decision making did not really look at the experience of the Americans, however, already at the beginning of the Vietnamese campaign, they came up with a similar need to organize a full-fledged system of measures to maintain the health and fighting ability of flight crews by setting up a special program called “rest and recovery” and after a certain number of departures sending pilots to the "resort" bases of Hawaii and the Philippines.
However, in a combat situation, we didn’t have to count on the rest we had for all, and not always: the fulfillment of combat missions remained in the foreground, and the established standards were met by the residual principle - if there was enough! the number of pilots in the ranks, in the intervals between operations and other “ifs”, including the presence of an associated “side” heading into the Union. It was possible to wait for the aircraft for more than one day, or even had to get on the “shuttle”, sometimes a week or two waiting for a suitable flight at a foreign airfield.
In this regard, transport workers had a great advantage - one could count on a flight to the Union from Kabul or Bagram almost every day, getting to the destination with one of their own colleagues.
As regards the aforementioned “social welfare”, in the usual way, all issues of accommodation were overcome on our own, by equipping more or less decent housing, albeit without pretense of comfort, and with the help of our fellow transport workers delivering air conditioners, TVs from the Union refrigerators and other household items, up to irons and utensils. In every self-respecting unit, bathhouses, sports grounds with home-made equipment, rest rooms were built as usual “economic means”. Using the same transporters, the aviators managed to bring billiards to Bagram and Kabul, which, understandably, was not among the regular cultural enlightenment. The equipment of the latter, by the way, was stipulated by a special order of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR of 1976 and should include, first of all, means of propaganda nature — billboards and posters with visual agitation, excerpts from charters and manuals, military radio receivers providing broadcasts of political educational significance and News, and also, in view of the "noticeable craving of military personnel for musical instruments for personal use", - guitars, button accordions, harmonica and national string instruments; from leisure facilities, libraries were formed, “based on 3-4 books for each soldier with literature of a political and artistic nature”, as well as paint sets for the development of amateur performances and decoration, chess and checkers, not related to gambling by the authorities (however, without that, in any decent crew of a transport aircraft, there were backgammon and dice on board, which allowed to pass the time in anticipation of departure).
Technicians involved in the preparation of An-12
True, the attention to the everyday details and all sorts of everyday needs from suppliers and bosses usually didn’t fall, and even in Kabul and the “almost capital” garrison of Bagram air base every now and then did not find toothpaste, razor blades and ordinary socks. It was necessary to turn to “commodity-money relations” with the owners of the local ducans, since the USSR Council of Ministers decree, “based on specific economic and social conditions”, was established for 1980 years to pay Soviet soldiers in special checks for the purchase of essential goods (possession "Normal" foreign currency under the law then was considered as a criminal offense). For this, substitute money "Afghan checks" with a red stripe were introduced, for which it was possible to buy the necessities both in garrison points of sale and in local shops. The local currency was also widely used - afghanis, even if they were very cheap, having a rate of 35-40 to a full-fledged ruble.
The same transport aircraft, which allocated a special “mailer” aircraft, organized the delivery of mail and, of course, the central newspapers. The attitude to the “postman” was always the warmest and he was greeted with special impatience - “in the war, first of all, gunpowder, bread and letters are needed”, as everyone knows who served in the army and waited for news from home. The bosses paid special attention to the central press, which carried the party word - after all, according to a wise Leninist dictum, “the newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, it is also a collective organizer!”. Newspapers were instructed to deliver to the garrisons in a timely manner, on mandatory political information, bringing the next fateful decisions of the party to the personnel, which was considered by the same governing bodies as a source of "high ideology - the strength of the Soviet soldier."
It is clear that with such an abundance of tasks, party politicians had no time to deal with domestic issues and those remained the lot of the pilots and technicians themselves, good in aviation, with the minimum number of regular service soldiers, almost all the work on arranging them had to be done by the pilots themselves, among whom were the masters various crafts, from joiners and carpenters to welders and craftsmen to repair TVs. The main areas of activity of the party political party in the Air Force were determined by “educating high ideology, loyalty to communist ideals, further explaining the military-political situation, the foreign policy of the CPSU and the Soviet state, mobilizing the soldiers for exemplary fulfillment of their internationalist duty, developing the creative activity of officers” (quoted by materials of the Tashkent Army Party Conference held in February 1981 of the year). To this end, it was necessary to “carry out a differentiated approach in the management of political work in the units and subunits of the fighter, fighter-bomber and transport aviation”, ensuring that 100% of the flight personnel were communists.
In parts of the Air Force and, specifically, transport aviation as the main theme of our narrative, political bodies to strengthen the ideological and political cohesion were tasked with organizing party groups and appointing party-group organizers in all crews of transport aircraft and helicopters. Such a keen interest in this kind of aviation had a simple explanation - to establish party organizations in the crews of fighters and other combat aircraft consisting of one person would be an obvious search.
Approaching the matter creatively and in a big way, political departments sought the opportunity not to disregard any of their subordinates: it was prescribed to “arrange political studies for officers and warrant officers according to individual plans”, which those had to compose and study political self-education in their free time, using the works of V. AND. Lenin, party documents and agitation literature "(which vividly reminded the words of one of the heroes of the Haidai comedies:" You will conduct outreach work among me, and I will grow above myself "). Returning to the same analogies with the Vietnam War, we agree that there are any parallels that are completely inappropriate: the most free fantasy will not allow the pilot of Phantom to imagine that after his combat departure he has developed his personal complex plan for his own ideological development and thoughtfully studying the creative heritage of the classics American democracy ...
It was also pointed out that the political departments were obliged to monitor the implementation of these valuable instructions (apparently, the authors of such spells from GlavPUR thought that without a party meeting and supervision of a political officer, crew members could not fulfill the combat mission).
The real picture behind all these ritual phrases and husks of the "party word" was very far from paper words: the war quickly lost all the ostentatious seriousness of the attitude to the notorious high ideology, growth of political consciousness and other demagogy so beloved at home. The real skill, merits in business and military professionalism came to the fore.
In combat conditions with a combination of adverse local factors and a high load on the crews could not do without breakdowns and accidents. 28 October 1980 An-12BP crashed in the mountains near Kabul. This aircraft did not belong to the 40 Army's air force and was not at all military - the machine with the USSR-11104 registration number was listed as the Central Directorate for International Air Communications (CUMBC) of civil aviation, which was engaged in work in foreign directions. Aeroflot airplanes were frequent guests at Afghan airfields, carrying passenger and freight traffic to meet the demands of Kabul, which needed a variety of supplies (even army shoes were ordered from Czechs who were famous for their quality factories there).
This time the plane was flying from Sofia with intermediate landings in Minvody and Tashkent. At the last stage of the flight, the crew was faced with deteriorating weather, low clouds and rain. When approaching Kabul, the pilots in search of visibility decreased less than permissible and in 10.32 local time the car crashed into the Vazi-Karnibaba mountain at an altitude of 4608 m, located in 25 km from the capital's airfield. Despite the proximity of the crash site, the search for the plane in the mountains took a week. When they found the crash site, the rescue team had nothing to do there: the plane and the cargo were scattered into small fragments, and all six of the dead pilots were buried under the rubble.
Serious consequences were accompanied by an incident that happened with the military An-12BP 15 December 1980 g. As in the January case, the crew missed on the decline, because of which the car landed with the flight and rolled out of the runway. Having flown on a hillock, the nose strut broke, after which the plane plowed its nose along the stony ground, crushing the lower part of the fuselage. Lying on its side, An-12 squeezed the wingtip of the right wing and touched the ground with screws, which led to the breakdown of two engines. Nevertheless, the rest of the plane did not suffer much and it was decided to return to the system. A team of repairmen from the Fergana regiment arrived at the scene, delivering the necessary “spare parts”, including two engines, screws, a new landing gear and part of the wing. Things were exactly the same as in a long-time aviation jokes:
“Arrived, gently boarded, send parts:
Two motors, two toggle switches, fuselage and planes
Something like patching up the car on the spot and on the “live thread” by gathering the nose, An-12 was lifted into the air and taken to Fergana, where they were engaged in repairs for another six months. To carry out the work in full, it was necessary to attract a brigade from the factory, which took 23500 man-hours.
Trouble rarely comes one by one: less than a month later, the next An-12BP from the 50 air regiment suffered. This time, the crew was not guilty; besides, fortunately, there were no pilots in the car at all. In a war as in a war - 12 January 1981. The troubles lurked by the transport workers not in the air, but directly at the Kabul airfield. It was already ten o'clock in the evening, the winter darkness came up early, when the sabotage group of dushmans crept up to the regimental stands (how the dushmans penetrated into the very center of the protected area, the neighborhood of which was generously stuffed with mines and a special conversation). The grenade launcher fired four shots at the closest target, which turned out to be An-12. Shooting was carried out almost at close range, it was impossible to miss the mark on such a “target”, and three out of four fired grenades hit the plane in a row. Dushman beat straight into the board, so that one gap fell on the central part of the fuselage, and the other two grenades worked in the cargo compartment, either bursting with a delay or passing through a hole.
By some miracle, the fuel tanks in the wing and fuselage were not touched and there was no fire. The list of other damages was so extensive that it would have been easier to say that the aircraft did not suffer: numerous sides dug out both sides, right chassis fairing, engine hoods, cargo ramps, power panels of the center section, right wing toe cap and flap, control were affected. ailerons, fuel, hydraulic and oxygen pipelines, the electrical wiring was broken, there were even holes in the blister panes, in the entrance door and one of the propellers. In total, 800 holes and ragged holes were counted on the plane, the largest of which was three meters long and half a meter wide in the board. The consequences could have been much worse, but the nature of the damage with cumulative grenades gave a directional jet with a relatively weak incendiary and destructive effect of light fragments, and the cumulative blow with a fiery jet fell into the “empty” space inside the cargo compartment (everyone who saw the holed transport worker clearly agreed that , get a grenade in a fighter, stuffed more tightly, the case would inevitably end up with its complete destruction).
Since it was not possible to fully restore the aircraft on the spot (to replace power units and fully carry out assembly, plumbing and riveting works, factory conditions were required), they only prepared it for the flight to Tashkent. There, in the TEC, the regiment corrected what they could, after which the aircraft was transferred to the repair plant in Staraya Russa, where they completed the restoration work.
If shooting at an aerodrome from a grenade launcher was nevertheless an exceptional phenomenon, then mortar shelling of airbases occurred quite often. Having dragged a mortar or light recoilless weapon on themselves in a more or less suitable place, dushmans fired a dozen shells and immediately retreated, hiding in the thickets of “green” and the surrounding villages. It was difficult to fight such tactics, and the aviation of the 40 Army from time to time suffered losses right at the bases, sometimes quite sensitive.
In Kandahar 23 September 1981, the fire that ensued in the ammunition depot and the subsequent explosions of ammunition led to grave consequences. From the piles of ammunition and rockets engulfed in fire, real fire went off, missiles crashed from the burning planes and flew anywhere, several of them plopped right off the landing of the arriving transport workers. Scattered fragments and NURS fell over the entire airfield, causing damage to buildings, hitting airplanes and helicopters. Soon, fires occurred in several places. The duty link of the MiG-21 and one Mi-6, which turned out to be too close to the fires, completely burned down. Confusion was added by the fact that no one could understand whether there was an attack by dushmans, an artillery attack or some other attack.
Regulatory work on the An-12BP in the TEC of the 50 regiment. Due to the lack of space at the airport, the exit was the equipment of the parking of metal profiles, flooring. Kabul, winter 1987 g
Lt. Col. V. Petrov, who flew to Kandahar on An-26 with the commander-in-chief of the Afghan Air Force and Air Defense, Kadyr Mohammed, arrived at the height of the events: “A lively radio exchange was approaching Kandahar, almost a scream. He asked what was going on. I did not get a clear answer. Landing is strictly prohibited, the entire airfield is in smoke. MiG-21 is burning, and in two places there are fires and black smoke. Somehow I learned: the ammunition depot is burning. We decided that if you can not land on the lane, then sit on the taxiway. Bombs and shells are torn, two MiG-17 with a limited fuel supply are landing at the back. Sat on the very edge of the strip. The first three NURSs passed meters in 150 to the left of the plane, two more left again, but now to the taxiway. The head of the flight shouts: "I can not get out, shooting around." I ask: "Is this the attack of dushmans?" Nothing answers. Dropped to the end of the strip. In 50 meters, two more NURSs were spanked. Turned off the engines. Immediately left the plane.
Not without attacks and in Bagram, where the security of the airfield was considered to be well-established. 8 July 1981. Dushman mortar gunners opened fire in broad daylight. After the first breaks, the mortar crew covered the rescued helicopters, however, he managed to hit the aviation ammunition depot, which was located next to the parking lots. Close tears and falling fragments forced the vehicle to be diverted, pulling airplanes from parking areas to the other end of the airfield.
The transport squadron orientated with commendable speed, the crews immediately started the engines and began to taxi out from under the falling fragments. Having received the command to leave at the airfield of Kabul, the pilots of An-12 started off on a pair of working engines, launching the rest as they went, and jumped out on the runways along the nearest taxiways. The exit from the blow looked impressive even from the side: “An-12 scooted at a brisk pace, at a good speed rushed to the strip, took off in a fighter-like manner and without any calculated turns and boxes turned out to Kabul, wringing such turns that we on earth was breathtaking.
The introduction of tough measures for the protection of airfields, first of all, helicopter patrols of the environs, designed to comb approaches and dangerous directions, allowed for some time to ease the tension. However, the enemy did not remain in debt, starting to use rocket projectiles for shelling air bases. Such "eresy" were used with improvised launchers, did not differ much accuracy, but the shooting could be done with a distance of ten kilometers or more, and a simple device and ease of use allowed to make them mass weapons. As a result, some of the missiles from time to time found a target. All the preparation for the shooting took a few minutes - it was enough to make a launcher, propping it with stones or branches, directing it towards the object and blasting away, immediately running away and hiding after the shot. Over time, the installations began to be equipped with a clock mechanism, which triggered on their own at the conditional time, which made it possible to outfit the trigger device in advance and escape, avoiding retaliation. The loss of aircraft for these reasons occurred in the future, however, the transport workers were lucky and the case was usually limited to the same fragmental damage, allowing you to quickly return the car to the system.
Dushmansk detachments intensively armed themselves, receiving various modern weapons; however, the old-time “boers” enjoyed great respect - rifles, some of which were older than the owners themselves, had a powerful cartridge, greater range and accuracy of the battle, retaining a stopping force a couple of kilometers away and more, because of which the pilots feared more than automata. Instead of the former tribal detachments of villagers and nomads, whose interests were limited to the surroundings of their own village, the country was flooded with numerous armed formations of various kinds, in which military art became the main industry. An organized, cunning and inventive adversary has diversified the methods of combat, skillfully opposing aviation. In the fight with airplanes and helicopters, ambushes and nomadic positions of anti-aircraft weapons were used, deployed at the airfields in the take-off and landing directions, as well as along the observed flight routes, which seemed to be a particular threat to transport workers - almost all flights were carried out in several well-known directions.
Dushmans everywhere began to use large-caliber DShK and ZSU capable of hitting targets at altitudes up to 1500-2000 m. Their powerful cartridges had a high striking effect — a heavy 12,7-bullet DShK even effective armored and 14,5- The mm machine gun of the PGI installation, with reach and lethal force superior to any foreign specimens, was dangerous for any goal and inspired even more respect. An analytical note from the Main Directorate of Combat Training of Ground Forces stated that the enemy "considers the DSHC to be necessary for success" and in the dushman units try to maintain the "standards" for armament, without fail having one or two calculations of the DShK and a mortar.
Foreign instructors involved in the preparation of "spirits", noticed that the Afghans were "real aces in dealing with DShK"; however, they were not very inclined to think about the effectiveness of fire and tactical intricacies, the sight was usually wedged once and for all at one range when installed, and the gunner was much more attracted by the firing itself, accompanied by a lot of fire, rumble and smoke, and went to complete exhaustion cartridges. In tactics, shelling and raids were preferred, noisy and impressive. More or less far-reaching plans, for example, storming the same airfield with annoying aviation, requiring clear designs and strategies, but also fraught with inevitable losses, looked completely unattractive (the same Western advisers noted that “the organized seizure of Soviet bases in general is above understanding Afghans "). The very mood of the Afghan militants prevented this with individualism characteristic of the national character and eastern fatalism, where success was determined not so much by organized action as by predetermination from above. As they say, thanks and on that - the Dushman anti-aircraft defense that was gaining strength and without that brought more and more troubles to aviation.
When 17 August 1980 in Kunduz in the crash of the Mi-24 killed one of the first "Afghan" Heroes of the Soviet Union, Major V.К. Gainutdinov, the circumstances of the incident was accompanied by a number of little-known details. An excellent pilot, who held the post of deputy commander of the 181-th separate helicopter regiment, had a reputation as a competent and fair boss and was very popular among fellow aviators. He received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union by the first “Afghan” decree already in April 1980. On that day, coming to the Air Fleet holiday, he took the place of the pilot-operator when flying around the Mi-24 after the repair. A helicopter from a separate Kunduz squadron was piloted by his comrade Major I.V. Kozovoy (the officers studied together and were in Afghanistan from the early days). A few minutes after takeoff, the helicopter that was carrying out the combat maneuvering did not come out of the next turn, crashed into the ground three kilometers from the lane and burned down along with the crew. In the investigation of the incident on which the commander of the aviation of the 40 Army arrived, General B.A. Lepaev, it turned out that the flight director of the Kunduz airfield could not give any explanations, because he did not observe the circumstances of the catastrophe - at that moment he was busy landing the An-12 who had approached, starting him from the opposite direction and was sitting with his back to the scene. The crew of the helicopter remained left to itself and the details of the incident remained plainly unclear.
However, the pilots of the An-12, who was on the landing glance at that moment, turned out to be witnesses of the incident. The pilots saw how “something separated” from the circulating Mi-24, after which the helicopter went to the ground in a sharp spiral. The fragment observed by the pilots, which was lost by the helicopter, was a tail rotor or the whole end beam, which were then found separately from the crash site of the reed marshes. The next day, the infantry delivered and found in the underbrush of DShK. No one could say for sure who was waiting for the Dushman shooter at the airfield. An-12 then obviously saved the accident - if a transport worker came in to land with the opposite course, he would inevitably find himself directly under fire along with everyone on board.
In Bagram, in order to avoid shelling, the takeoffs were ordered to be carried out, as far as possible, in one direction, preventing passage over the nearby "Zelenka", where anti-aircraft gunners could hide. In order for landing maneuvers to be carried out in the protected perimeter of the airfield, a shortened scheme with high speeds of descent was worked out. Landing on such modes were more difficult, but increased safety, providing a reduction within the patrolled zone. The downside was the increasing risk due to the complexity of piloting and the behavior of the aircraft, for which similar techniques were close to the maximum permissible (for ease of understanding, you can compare them with trying to drive the car into the garage without slowing down and turning the steering wheel all the way).
October 26 1981. An An-12BK airplane took off from the Bagram airfield and was piloted by the crew of Major V. Glazychev, who arrived in 200 Ote for the post of zamkomeska with the change of the Krivoy Rog regiment. The plane turned out to be considerably overloaded - as it turned out later, its take-off weight was unacceptable 65 tons, which the commander did not seem to guess (in the flight list there was a much smaller load). During the takeoff, the An-12 ran the entire lane and only on the third kilometer of the take-off took off from the ground (in the literal sense of the word, it was possible to “undermine” the car from the ground). The plane sluggishly gained altitude and hooked the breastwork of the airfield near-drive radio system, losing the left main leg of the chassis. The impact force turned out to be such that the upper belt of the side beam was broken, the left side of the fuselage was crumpled and went in waves. Upon impact, a fair piece of chassis fairing and turbo-generator compartment vomited, the TG-16 installation itself flew off. Fortunately, the plane kept controllability and somehow kept in the air, managing to reach out to Kabul. The fuselage bottom was badly bruised, because of which the front landing gear refused to be released. The crew landed on the ground alone on the wheels of the right main landing gear with the front leg folded. His further advance on the ground could not be called mileage: the plane crawled on its belly in clouds of dust, but the pilots managed to keep it from turning over.
In addition to the damage caused during take-off, a crumpled left console, a fuselage torn to the tail, a mutilated leftmost screw and all four engines were added at the tail - three of them swallowed earth and stones, and the gearbox when the left-handed screw was thrashed about the earth. Somehow disfigured by An-12, they dragged him to a parking lot, where a specially arrived repair team from 11, a man, restored him for the next six months. The aircraft was repaired, replacing the landing gear, all four engines, a lot of trim panels, frame and power elements, after which at the end of April 1982, he returned to service.
Due to the complex approach and riskiness of landing in Bagram, the IL-76 flights were stopped there, and only An-12 and An-26 continued to operate from this base. The reason was not only the hefty weight, size and stretched landing maneuver of a heavy vehicle (for example, the IL-76 landing distance from a height of 15 m, on which it was recommended to pass the runway threshold, was 1.5 times higher than that required for the An-12). The very presence of a pressurized cargo cabin made the “comfortable” jet engine more vulnerable - a single bullet hole was enough to get the IL-76 stuck on the airfield waiting for repair, while for An-12 such damage went completely unnoticed. “Closeness” of Bagram for IL-76 was sometimes forced to organize its supply “on the crossbar”: passengers and cargo were transported by “seventy-sixths” to the airfield of Kabul, and from there they were transferred to their destination on Bagram and other airfields on board the An-12.
Passengers, conscripts and officers who were sent to serve in Afghanistan were delivered mainly by air transport, which was advantageous for both operational and safety reasons. People arrived at their destination on the same day, since, as we have already said, most of the garrisons were stationed near airfields, and it was much easier to spend an hour or two on board the not very comfortable “truck” than to get with columns along mountain roads, where shelling and losses were a matter of everyday life. In the same way, they flew on vacation and returned home to perform the “international duty” (others, however, were lucky and were able to get on a passenger IL-18 flight, from time to time plying to Afghan airfields).
At the same time, transporting personnel of military units to carry out operations in a particular area was brought on only occasionally. First of all, it did not solve the tasks in full, since the company, battalion or regiment had to be advanced with standard armament and equipment, including “armor” and artillery, which were by no means air transporting, and there was nothing to do without them. In addition, the distances between the Afghan provinces were not so great (the whole of Afghanistan was smaller than any of our military districts) and units could quickly march to their destination on their own.
Among the few exceptions was a large operation in the northern province of Faryab in January 1982. The purpose of the operation was to “clean up” the district’s Dushman groups near the provincial town of Darzab, which required the involvement of a significant number of troops deployed from other places. Two Su-17 squadrons, a Su-25 attack squadron and a MiG-21 fighter squadron were also involved in the operation. Planned landing of airborne troops from helicopters numbering 1200 people, aircraft and units of the Afghan army were involved. The transfer of personnel, ammunition and logistics equipment was performed by eight An-12, which operated flights to Shindand and Herat. As a result of the operation, the base area of the rebels was destroyed and subsequently the enemy was not restored. The cost of the operation, in addition to casualties, were three downed helicopters.
In the preparation and maintenance of the large-scale operation planned for the spring of 1982 in the Panjsher Valley, the tasks of transport aviation were much more extensive. Located near Kabul, the “liberated area”, where Ahmad Shah Massoud reigned supreme, looked like a real challenge to the authorities, and therefore the 40 army. A young and energetic leader, already at 25, received the title of “commander-in-chief of the fronts of the central provinces”, he had a real army of several thousand fighters and controlled a vast area in which his own life went and where the official authorities had no access to.
The hostility of Kabul to the lucky leader was added by his indisputable authority among the population, where rumors of his supernatural power and direct relationship with the prophet Muhammad were popular (the very nickname Massoud meant “happy”). Massoud distancedly distanced himself from the government, refusing any negotiations with hostility, but agreed to communicate with the Soviet military, leading his policies and deriving certain benefits from tacit agreements. The commander of the 40 Army, Lieutenant-General B.V. Gromov, in his turn, considered “good enough contacts with Ahmad Shah,” noting that “Massoud, with rare exceptions, fulfilled his commitments and agreements”. Being an extraordinary person, Masud was by no means an Islamic fanatic and had a wide range of interests: the Soviet military intelligence who contacted him reported that he had an unfinished institute education (he was prevented from becoming a civil engineer by a coup d'état of 1973). life, familiar with the works of the classics of Marxism-Leninism and, adhering in the life of the Muslim traditions, in a friendly circle are not averse to how to drink, being in this regard "your man."
Nevertheless, Ahmad Shah remained an adversary, with respect to which the principle remained: “Whoever is not with us is against us,” and the presence of numerous and organized armed formations that continued to expand their “autonomy” required action. On the night of April 26. 1982 was one of the Dushmani detachments launched a raid on Bagram Air Base. The idea did not pretend to any scale - a small group, sneaking up with a mortar under the cover of "Zelenka", released a dozen mines around the residential town and parking lots. The first mines fell near the residential modules of helicopter pilots of the 262 squadron, wounding the sentry. Then the enemy transferred the fire to the airfield, firing the remaining ten mines. The Su-17 was hit by fragments, one MiG-21bis got a fragmentation hit right in the frontal armored glass, and several An-12 from the 200 squadron were damaged. The rising pair of Mi-24 could not find anyone - having shot, the spooks immediately disappeared into the dark.
Fortunately, there were no fatalities - there were no people in the late hour parking areas, and the damage was small and in a couple of days all the cars were returned to service. Nevertheless, this did not prevent Western news agencies, referring to "reliable sources", to report in a couple of days about the "next success of the Afghan freedom fighters" who managed to inflict serious damage on Soviet aviation. The winning message sounded quite impressive, counting the 23 destroyed and incapacitated aircraft and helicopters, including the three Su-17s that had burned down, with capturing accuracy. The story in this version still has a walk in western literature on the Afghan theme, and, judging by its scope, it seems that the mojaheds, who played the role of “original source” themselves, had a hand in the story about the “defeat of the airbase” but also experienced Western newsmakers, who vividly built the story in the spirit of Rambo and in the usual Hollywood style: "of the three enemy aircraft, all ten were destroyed."
At the insistence of the Kabul authorities, it was decided to inflict Ahmad Shah’s detachments “a decisive defeat by carrying out a military operation in Panjshir and adjacent areas”, which implied the use of the most powerful forces and means of the army. For its implementation were involved part of the 108-th and 201-th motorized rifle divisions, 103-th Guards. the airborne division, the 191-th and 860-th separate motorized rifle regiments, the 66-th separate motorized rifle brigade, and also the 20 Afghan battalions, with a total of about 12 thousand. The operation was carried out with an unprecedented scale, on the front to 40 km and to a depth of 100 km, becoming one of the loudest in the entire Afghan war. As indicated by the Deputy Chief Military Adviser in Afghanistan, Lieutenant-General D.G. Shkrudnev, "our armed forces did not have this kind of military operations with the use of such forces and equipment since 1945."
It took almost a month to implement the “Big Panjsher” - the 17, launched by 1982 in May of 10, was completed only on June in 40. The air forces of the 50 Army participated in the operation by the helicopter pilots of the 181, 280, 335 and 136 regiments; the air support was provided by the 27 th apb fighters and the 200 fighters gv. IAP, as well as ground attack aircraft 120 th attack squadron with a total number of more 12 aircraft and helicopters. Transport aviation ahead of time began to deliver ammunition and logistics, for which involved a dozen AH-26 and An-76, as well as IL-50. Since the aviation group concentrated on the Bagram airfield, which lay at the very entrance to the Panjshir valley, the transport workers of the 12 regiment ensured the transfer of necessary means and technical support from the airfields of the front and army aviation in Shindand, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Kunduz. It also required the involvement of five An-200s from the 17-th transport squadron, which were mainly involved in providing and transferring parts of the Afghan army, which were given the task of blocking the passages into the valley and then scouring the villages and terrain to search for weapons and dushman warehouses. The amount of property delivered can be judged by the amount of ammunition spent by aircraft in combat sorties during the operation from May 16 to June 10500: the air bombs consumption exceeded 60000 units (more than half of the total quantity required for the whole previous year), NAR - over 550 units managed missiles - over XNUMX (it was about the Sturm and Phalanga helicopter gunships), ammunition for aircraft cannons and machine guns - up to half a million.
Upon completion, the operation was considered successful, and the tasks were completed. According to the report of the 40 Army headquarters, the enemy’s losses amounted to “several thousand insurgents” (“who will count them as basurmans”), but Masoud himself confirmed the reputation of a lucky and intelligent commander and left again. Subsequent events showed that military success is not all. The remaining Afghan troops in Panjshir and the restored “people's power” lasted there only a few weeks and rather left the inhospitable region, where Ahmad Shah, who managed to regain his strength, reigned in power again. As a result, right after the first operation, at the end of the summer, the next two weeks had to be carried out with the same, in general, results.
Following the results of the “Big Panjshir”, many reports were compiled summarizing the experience of military operations, and even a military-scientific conference was held by the Ministry of Defense. The data in reports and reporting documents varied considerably, even the number of troops involved in the operation differed by a factor of two. The figures cited in the collection compiled by the Main Political Administration and related to the work of front-line and army aviation looked quite amusing - some of the political office workers who were not very well versed in the materiel assessed the fighters as helicopters (!) In the evaluation of the results. mislead by the consonance of the names "MiG" and "Mi". Another curious figure was present in the same work: according to the results of the operation, 400 servicemen were awarded orders and medals, of which 74 political worker — every second person in the units, while the total number of deputy politicians and party politicians of all ranks in the troops was about 1%, and among other soldiers and officers, among those awarded was barely one out of three hundred — either “the organizing and directing force” was more worthy than the others, or simply she knew how not to forget herself, making a presentation on the orders ...
The preferred use of transport aviation in the supply and other support of the actions of the aviation parts of the 40 Army was quite reasonable: they received everything they needed, including ammunition, spare parts, food and logistics items directly to the threshold and were delivered directly to home-based airfields without repeated overloads, warehousing and red tape, inevitable with the passage of applications through the army rear services. The engineering department of the 40 Army Air Force’s management cited the figure in this regard: “The supply of aviation technical equipment, as well as the removal of the repair fund, is carried out mainly by air transport (up to 90%),” with many large and particularly cumbersome units for repair of aircraft and equipment. replacements were not generally possible to be delivered by road transport - for example, helicopter gearboxes and screw hubs to the Mi-6 or “eight-dimensional” rotor blades of twelve-meter length, complete with lodgements, did not take any truck, for An-12 such a load was quite acceptable. To other problems of the rear services, they attributed the permanent failure of vehicles to combat damage, "significantly affecting the quality of technical support for the army’s rear services" - every day trucks and tank trucks were burning on the roads from dushman's attacks.
At the same time, the “food supply at the flight and technical standards” consistently left much to be desired, while remaining extremely monotonous and incomplete, but the transport workers were certainly not to blame. On the contrary, transport aircraft remained practically the only means of delivering meat and other fresh produce, not only perishable, but also ordinary potatoes and other vegetables, which simply could not stand the long journey on the roads. However, even in the fifth year of the Afghan company, the leadership of the 40 Army's air force noted "significant violations in the organization of food", "unresolved many issues of food supply and non-compliance with the standards of flight and technical rations" and "low quality and inferiority of cooking", and simply filleted macaroni and porridge, mashed stew meat, soups from canned food, and sometimes the lack of ordinary bread, replaced by biscuits of plywood hardness and bread crumbs from stocks in the war years.
There were no such problems with ammunition - ammunition was the primary task, and applications for it were satisfied without delay. When heavily loaded army trucks with trailers packed with lattice packs walked through the streets of Tashkent or Fergana to the airfield, every local resident knew that the army needed bombs again and in the morning it would receive them. All BTA vehicles were in a regular manner adapted for the transportation of aviation weapons of destruction, for which there were relevant standards for the loading of aircraft of various types. An-12 ensured the loading and transportation of 45 “weave” bombs or 30-34 bombs of 250 caliber kg, depending on their type and dimension; 500 caliber bombs took 18 airplanes, and 20-22 received bomb cassettes of this caliber (although the bombs of the modern M-62 model, which had a streamlined shape and an elongated body, took up more space and for this reason they could be loaded twice less from - because of what they did to the 40 Army's air force in limited quantities - they were simply avoided to order, so that the planes would not "carry the air", preferring to ship bombs of more compact samples). Bombs were considered fairly simple cargo: “barrels” packed into a wooden bar bomber rolled into the plane directly from the truck or loaded in whole bundles using a two-ton crane beam, after which they were moored with cables and wedges to prevent them from rolling out in flight.
Missiles and ammunition required more trouble. The NAR of the C-5 type, as well as the aviation cartridges, went in weighty boxes weighing 60-70 kg, which had to be carried by hand, for which a team of a dozen soldiers was involved. In the An-12 cargo compartment, 144 boxes with “es-fifths” or 34 packages of large-caliber C-24 shells, 144 boxes with 23 mm caliber cartridges or 198 cartridges with 30 mm cartridges were placed. The loading was supervised by the flight engineer of the aircraft, who monitored the placement of cargo to maintain normal centering. The stacks could be laid up to four tiers in height, fastening them with ropes and mooring nets, which were tightened further so that the load did not disperse.
For airfields in the central and eastern part of the country, stocks of aviation ammunition were brought in by air from Tashkent and by land from the transshipment base in Hairaton near the Soviet border, where the railway line was suitable. Kandahar and other southern airfields were supplied mainly by air transport directly from the Union or using the Shindand base, where they were delivered from the Turagundi border transshipment base at Kushka. The scope of work of one vehicle alone on the supply of aviation ammunition and aviation equipment for the 40 Army’s aviation in terms of expenditure of forces and service life was twice as high as the cost of supplying all Air Force TurkVO.
The help of transport workers was obligatory when relocating and replacing aviation parts. Since they were replaced by the air force of the 40 Army with a one-year periodicity, the rotation required the involvement of military aviation aircraft. The aircraft of the successive part returned home on their own, or remained in place, transferred to the new group (this practice was used by attack aircraft and helicopter units), but arriving personnel, ground support equipment and numerous logistical equipment needed to be delivered to a new duty station - due to which the first acquaintance with Afghanistan was practically connected with all aviators with a flight on a transport plane. So, for the redeployment of one manpower only fighter The MiG-23 air regiment, which had replaced the former twenty-first in the 1984 Air Force since the summer of 40, including the engineering and technical staff, the control group and support units, was required to complete five flights of the An-12. , equipment, lifting and towing equipment, squadron control equipment and TECs made it necessary to carry out X-NUMX-30 flights of An-35. In reality, the task was somewhat simplified by the fact that the units were sent to the 12 Army with incomplete personnel: S-2 squadrons with a minimum of necessary facilities, and some of the most cumbersome stationary property and vehicles remained from the previous group.
Transshipment airfields during the flight to a new duty station were usually Tashkent, Fergana, and Kokaity, where border and customs points were equipped to pass personnel “into the country” (war was war, and order was strictly required to be followed).
If “beyond the river” border customs formalities looked more and more conditional and the stamp on the border crossing documents was sometimes placed right under the wing of the plane, then the houses of the returning “internationalist fighters” expected a much more strict reception with meticulous viewing of the luggage brought with them (not in vain they said that the anthem of customs is "What do you guys have in backpacks?"). During the zealous approach of the “border defenders”, among the personal belongings, all good things were drawn up for smuggling - after all, the poor and impoverished eastern countries shocked the unaccustomed Soviet man with an abundance of goods in dukan shops, from perfumery and coveted jeans to the ultimate dreams - carpets and coats (as the saying goes in those years: “If a woman is in Montana, then her husband is in Afghanistan”). Even the soldiers' salary in the amount of four rubles with kopeks was paid by foreign trade checks — almost a currency, which for two years of service was enough, at best, for a “diplomat” briefcase, which served as an indispensable attribute of an “Afghan demob”, the same jeans and a patterned scarf in homemade gift.
More resourceful people with the title of older and, especially, numerous civilian experts invented all sorts of ingenious ways to improve their financial situation and get rid of scarce electronics, the desired carpet and short fur coat. Civic "specialists" and advisers of diverse persuasion, sent to Afghanistan for the desired checks and consumer goods (who do not remember - under this word formation meant a group of consumer goods, including clothing, furniture and other good, inescapably deficient in their homeland) among passengers in general there was a lot to the extreme - the author saw with his own eyes the sanitary engineering adviser flying to Kabul, whom the meeting Afghan man respectfully referred to as “the shayse-master”. When returning, all these people, burdened with acquired good, were immediately taken over by customs, which was worth a lot of losses. In fairness, it must be said that customs severity had its rationale, both to curb the possible importation of weapons from a warring country, and because of Afghanistan’s worldwide popularity as a source of drugs that have long been produced in this region (it was no coincidence that the rise in drug addiction in our country and the return of the first visited "behind the river").
It was reasonably assumed that smuggling could be related to transportation on the Afghan route; such cases did take place and were stopped with the consequences envisaged by the Criminal Code, which was already reported at the board of the USSR Ministry of Defense in February 1981 with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB and the CPSU Central Committee. Warn them, the commander of the VTA and the Main Command of the Air Force issued warning orders, and at the local level, the commanders simply explained: “Those who find something more than a pen will fly out of the army.” Particular emphasis on the state of affairs precisely in the aviation units was quite understandable: when performing frequent flights to the Union and periodically driving equipment there for repair, the crews were on their side more often and had opportunities that were denied to military personnel of other combat arms.
You can’t throw out the words from the song, and even the crew of the personal plane of the Minister of Defense DF Ustinov was caught on speculative transactions. The IL-18 pilots, who served in the elite government squad, were engaged in a trading business with a decent scale. As it was established by the investigation, the fishery was launched in October of 1980 with the fact that the crew, in order to form the initial capital, was reset to 100 rubles, purchasing the full amount of vodka. There was enough money for 160 bottles of Russian vodka, which was sold to Soviet soldiers in Kabul and Shindand, bringing revenue of more than two thousand rubles - a very considerable amount at that time. Sheepskin coats, silk, women's scarves, indispensable jeans and home radio equipment were usually delivered by return flights to the Union. The plane for this went through the necessary "refinement" - speaking the official investigative language, "the goods were placed in the design and technological capacity between the luggage compartment lining and the body of the aircraft fuselage," for which they removed the inner panel and hid the next batch of cargo.
The volume of operations grew, reaching a size that fell under the definition of "smuggling in large quantities."
In the course of the investigation, it was revealed that the case is far from being isolated, and dozens of pilots from different crews are engaged in this field. It is significant that almost all “unauthorized cargo” delivered to Afghan airfields was almost exclusively vodka - a product with guaranteed demand. The product snapped up with the hands, and the cost of the vodka bottle paid off all the efforts - with the purchase price at 5-6 rubles, on-site vodka left for 25-30, and on holidays, even before 100 checks, and that was appreciated in two with more than a ruble, to the envy of Marx capitalists giving a tenfold income (and the classic of political economy believed that with 300% profit "there is no such crime that capitalism was not ready to commit").
The KGB of the USSR was engaged in the facts of the smuggling of military servicemen of the BTA; as a result of investigations, more than a dozen lawsuits took place. Due to the fact that those who stumbled in their deed earnestly repented and voluntarily and fully reimbursed the state for the funds received by them as a result of illegal transactions, the punishments were made relatively mild, with sentences ranging from 4 to 5 years and deprivation of military ranks.
Recognizing their belonging to the military transport aviation, on this An-12BP they painted over the previous "Aeroflot" designations and put military markings on it. However, the thoughts of command are inscrutable and sometimes done the opposite.
Nevertheless, the demand for alcohol in Afghanistan did not disappear, although there were no official delivery channels. It was believed that there was no place for alcohol in a belligerent army, and everyone should be ready for service at any time. However, our man could not be satisfied solely with lemonade and lollipops from a Voentagorsky store, seeking all sorts of ways to diversify leisure. In addition to the universal “relax and rest,” alcohol had the glory of a drug that can compensate for nutritional deficiencies and protect against stomach ailments and hepatitis, the scourge of these places. Even arrived to the post of Chief Military Adviser, Lieutenant-General M. Gareev, from his own experience of staying in hot countries, spoke of "the pleasure and necessity of alcohol," which "disinfects the body and protects against gastrointestinal diseases."
Despite all the prohibitive measures, most of the commanders were normal people, with an understanding of the requirements of the personnel and the excessive moralization were not inclined. According to the deputy commander of Bagram 263, the reconnaissance squadron Major V.N. Pobortseva, a sniper pilot with 303 combat missions, “but in war, people do not live alone fighting, when there was time - they rested, celebrated holidays, because almost every week someone’s birthday, the order for the next rank, awards, etc., relies on Orthodox custom. Therefore, at any event there are three glasses from a fuse — the law: the first toast is for victory, the second is for a specific reason, the third is silent and without words, for those who are no longer with us (and we had four dead pilots in the squadron) . Often they asked transport neighbors to bring “Soviet Champagne” from the Union, and they brought from Tashkent on 5 rubles and a half a day. They brought us the transport guys and vodka from the Union. But especially we loaded for the future, when we brought our MiG-21Ps from the repair in Chirchik, without fail bringing in herring in five-kilogram jars. It was possible to order everything from transport workers, and they were friends with them, because they flew nearby and recognized each other by their voices on the air. I even flew on the right seat of An-12 from their komeska, although the sensations after the MiG were not very pleasant - when you land, compared to our plane, you “swim” very slowly and stay longer in the area of possible defeat. ”
“Nature does not tolerate emptiness,” and everyone knew that it was necessary to turn to transport workers for “fiery water”. Every literate aviator knew the true capabilities of his car, which had many secluded places, from technological compartments to all kinds of “zagashniki” suitable for placing “high-demand goods” (by the way, the popular legend that alcohol was sometimes transported and attack aircraft in blocks B-8 rocket projectiles, allegedly suitable for the caliber for the coveted bottles, are nothing more than a fabrication that does not withstand any criticism - the vodka ware had a “caliber” of 82 mm and could not fit in the barrels of the block with the diameter Throme only 80 mm and, moreover, 57 mm blocks UB-16 or UB-32; in addition, the transportation of a “valuable product” in the non-hermetic compartments of combat aircraft flying at much higher altitudes was hampered by knowledge of physics at the school level - with a set heights due to the dilution of air, the cork bounced out together with the contents).
Alcohol was a substitute, followed by the same aviators. Alcoholic equipment was used in aircraft for various purposes - as an anti-icing agent, in cooling systems of radio equipment and was given out when working with equipment and electronics (by the way, the acting GOST provided for as many as six types of “aqua vit”, including the “ethyl alcohol potable” intended for medical use ). True, the airfield people, resorting to the popular means of leisure, adhered to the proverb “drink and think it over” and lie down because of “busting” was considered a great shame.
More economical ways also came to the rescue: as mentioned in the above-mentioned GlavPUR document, “widespread among the troops of the 40 Army received drunkenness and moonshine,” as well as other popular recipes, like ration sugar, juice and jam, ” "Almost instantly," kishmishovka "using all sorts of fruit and even a product known as" carbide "-" sugar plus yeast, with the addition of carbide for the speed of fermentation and for rumbling, giving an impact tool for headaches. " Once, at the Tashkent airport, when loading a change of aviators that was moving to Afghanistan, the inspector who was going to Afghanistan noticed an odd baggage from one of the warrant officers in An-12. The economic comrade, who was not the first time heading for the fulfillment of international duty, had with him only a voluminous case from an accordion, filled to capacity with packs of yeast. To the question: “Where are you so much?” The owner answered with a befitting restraint: “I will bake buns”.
With all the goodness of intentions and statutory reasonableness, the struggle for the eradication of alcohol in the army had its depressing side: it seems that none of the command paid attention that the bans turned out to be the main factors in the mortality of the 40 army personnel for reasons of non-combat character, after sanitary loss and careless handling of weapons, was the use of various alcohol-containing poisonous liquids.
With particular fervor, the struggle against alcohol began to be waged after the notorious Gorbachev's “sobriety decree”. Those who were caught in the use of alcohol, even a small fraction, could easily “kick out of the war” ahead of time and send to the Union without privileges and well-deserved awards. In 50, in December, 1986 sent home three pilots who were caught “in the smell” and looked into the political department for their own troubles. They turned up there on the occasion - they signed a detour sheet before the end of the 15 month-long Afghan trip. The story was all the more scandalous, before it was replaced with two days (!), However, the authorities “went to the principle” and ordered for the rest to send the guilty home with the very first board.
An-12BK from the 50-th regiment at the airport of Kandahar. In the background - the helicopters of the local 280-th AFP. Winter 1987 of the year
Transport aviation in Afghanistan carried out the removal of the wounded and sick from hospitals. The first time for the evacuation of seriously ill and wounded passenger civil aviation aircraft were recruited - re-equipped according to the IL-18 mobilization plan from various units and directorates of the MGA. Later, the Aeroflot Tu-154 was engaged in this, but civilian passenger aircraft, along with sufficient comfort, had a considerable disadvantage - the entrance door was at a decent height, which was literally a bottleneck to the stretcher, and for the injured crutches the ladder was irresistible, and it was necessary to make them on hand. Special medical An-26M "Rescuer" was much more convenient, although it had a limited capacity. Ordinary transporters came to the rescue: even without special amenities, but on an An-12 flight, 50 - 60 people could be transported. However, the An-12 career as a sanitary one was hampered by leakage and the almost complete absence of cabin heating, literally a cargo one, in which a healthy person was not very comfortable, which is why he was not often used for this purpose. More often, this role was played by the IL-76, whose pressurized cabin and normal air-conditioning system provided the victims with fewer problems (although the convenience of flying in a roar, tightly closed cargo compartment, to put it bluntly, delivered a bit).
One more role of An-12 was heard even by people far from aviation and military affairs. Known to everyone by the songs of Rosenbaum "black tulip" - this is also An-12. “Black Tulip” had its own history: there is no war without loss — this truth was confirmed from the very first weeks of the Afghan campaign: the further, the more the death toll rose, and therefore the question arose of organizing their delivery to their homeland. From the very first days, by order of the 40 Army, it was established that not one of the dead or wounded was left on the battlefield - in the words of Army Commander Lieutenant General B.V. Gromov, "alive or dead, everyone must be returned." The question of the funeral of those killed in Afghanistan was considered at the highest level of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee. At first, for those who fell in the distant war, it was proposed to build a cemetery somewhere near Tashkent, like the American Arlington, which serves as the burial place for all the dead servicemen, but in the end they decided that it would be inappropriate to build such a noticeable memorial.
However, this decision meant the need to organize the delivery of the bodies of the dead for funeral at the place of residence or conscription, and these destinations covered the entire territory of the country, being thousands of kilometers from the duty station.
The first flight with 200 cargo was already performed on December 29 1979 of the year. These were the 11 killed during the seizure of Amin’s Palace and other facilities in Kabul, followed by Major Anatoly X-NUMX from Karinov’s 12 th vtap, who brought them to Samarkand and then to Tashkent, from where the first victims of that still unknown war were sent to the last haven. Such a way with a transplant was needed because only the central district hospital in Tashkent provided the preparation of the bodies for long-term transportation with sealing into a zinc coffin - the very “zinc” that soon became notorious. In total, 194 soldiers and officers were killed in the December 1979 events of the year when troops were deployed, of which 86 were killed for military reasons.
The army got involved in the war, and the tragic expense of losses began to grow rapidly. For the export of the "two hundredths" on other truly dark days, we had to allocate several planes. In a battle alone in the Kunar operation on the day of March 2, 1980, the 24 paratroopers of the 317 th parachute regiment of the 103 division were killed. At the end of the summer, the military output of the Kunduz 201 reconnaissance battalion of the motorized rifle division ended with grave consequences. Moving forward on 3 August 1980 of the year to complete the mission at Kishima, the scouts were ambushed on a mountain cornice. The enemy battalion on the open ledge shot dagger fire from different sides. Helicopter pilots from Faizabad rose to the rescue, but when after forty minutes they were on the spot, it was all over. In a short battle, almost all the fighters were killed - 47 people survived, only three wounded who managed to escape and were not noticed by dushmans survived. In the next few years, these were the biggest one-day casualties of the 40 Army in combat, but with the start of large-scale operations, they were also surpassed.
The acting directive of the General Staff was ordered to ensure the delivery and burial of the dead in their homeland no later than seven days after the death. In order to meet the deadlines, the task was to involve transport aviation of the same 50 air regiment and other parts of the BTA flying to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, already in 1980, the death toll every month was 100-120 people, increasing in the course of other major operations twice and more. For sanitary reasons, the “200 cargo” was shipped in zinc coffins in wooden packaging, ensuring the safety of hermetic “zinc”, and weighed about 200 kg. Four points served to transport them to the Union - Kabul, Kandahar, Kunduz and Shindand, at the hospitals of which they equipped special welding and evacuation units. Definition with literal accuracy described the essence of their work with the preparation of the bodies of the dead and the obligatory soldering of impermeable "zinc", which was to be a long way back home. The staff was recruited there voluntarily, mainly from those who studied in medical institutions and had internships in the morgue, subject to adequate psychological stability. Other ceremonies regulated by the combat regulations with the appointment of a regimental or divisional orchestra for parting with the dead were observed occasionally, usually considered superfluous - the shipment was ordered to be carried out “succinctly and quickly”, and the coffins themselves were accompanied with the inscription “can not be opened”.
The zincs themselves were made by a special workshop in Tashkent. At one time, entire piles of coffins prepared for shipment to Afghanistan were piled up right at the Tuzel airfield stops and carried them there by the same transport aircraft. Then someone from the authorities realized that such a neighborhood was not very encouraging to the personnel, and the grim cargo was taken to the district warehouses, from where the zinc was delivered to the welding and evacuation departments of hospitals of the 40 Army. For the same reasons, the departure of those killed in the Union was organized by special flights on separately allocated boards, during which one of the officers of the unit accompanied the fallen to the place of burial.
The reason for choosing An-12 as an aircraft with gloomy glory had a quite prosaic explanation: using the forty-ton payload for the IL-76 task was not the most acceptable option, and it could take the “200 cargo” only from a limited number of airfields, while An-26, on the contrary, had a small capacity for working with rather bulky zinc. An-12 for this service was the most suitable, having the ability to fly around almost all points and providing 18 loading of such cargo places. To avoid a lot of overloads, the route was laid across the Union, with landings at local airports, from where coffins were delivered to relatives' places of residence, but with a small number of places, cargo was handed over in Tashkent to Aeroflot airplanes or to a regular baggage car of a passenger train and he traveled to the burial site for weeks.
Regarding the very name of the "black tulip" there are many versions, according to the very gloominess of the subject. The most likely is his ascent to the tradition adopted by the Afghan army to print in the military newspapers obituaries and photos of those killed in the frame of an ornament of black flowers - steppe tulips.
An account of the BTA battle losses was opened in 1983. Until that time, transport workers working in Afghanistan were treated only with equipment damage, sometimes quite serious, but without fatal outcomes. However, the growing activity of dushmans and all the best equipment with their weapons made the expected consequences a reality. In reconnaissance, the enemy’s anti-aircraft assets increased, the anti-aircraft positions with camouflage equipment were thought out and ingeniously equipped, anti-aircraft defenses were used on vehicles, firing points were noted at the dominant altitudes along the flight routes of aviation, communication was established with warning and control posts using radio stations , and in training camps, training of anti-aircraft gunners was specifically launched (by the way, one of the opposition leaders Turan Ismail was really a former a pitan of government troops - “Turan” in the Afghan army meant a captain's rank, - commanded an anti-aircraft unit and went over to the side of the rebels, together with his unit in the days of the Herat insurgency).
The quantity inevitably turned into quality: starting from 1982, it was noted that the Dushman troops stopped, as before, with the onset of cold weather, they went for wintering abroad and dispersed in the villages, waiting for the hard winter in the mountains. Now, relying on the equipped bases and camps, the armed struggle continued to be actively waged during the winter months. This was confirmed by the growing losses of aircraft: if in January-February, not a single aircraft and helicopter were shot down by 1981, in the same months at the beginning
1982, combat losses at once amounted to 7 machines, for the most part affected by DShK and ZGU. The bulk of the losses and heavy damage to aircraft was still in the summer, which was greatly aggravated by the deterioration of flight performance in the heat and, especially, by the extreme adverseness of the hot season for the health and performance of the pilots, directly affecting the functional state and rapid fatigue. and a general reduction in combat capability. To exhausted people it was simply difficult to fight and work, resulting in a growing number of errors, accident rates and combat losses.
Considering that hot weather in Afghanistan is from May to October, in 1982, this period accounted for two thirds of all losses of airplanes and helicopters (24 from 30), in 1983, their share was already 70% (22 from 32).
An-12 landing in Kandahar
It is significant that during the same summer months all the losses and heavy flight accidents with An-12 fell. 1 July 1983 of the year when a night-time bombardment of the aircraft of the capital’s airfield fell a dozen and a half minutes, and the next series covered residential modules of the Kabul aviation city. One of the first gaps was touched by a group of technicians who jumped out of the module, under the porch of which the mine hit. Fortunately, there were only injuries, but there was plenty of confusion. One of the eyewitnesses recalled: “I jump out into the corridor, bustle and bustle everywhere, nobody understands and does not know what to do. On the stretchers, the wounded are already carried, in the dark they have confused the living hut with sanitary aid. From the rupture of incendiary mines, the glowing smelly phosphorus scatters, falls on the soles, and in the night only the soles of people running through shine. ” Transport workers could assume that they were lucky then: the pilots of the 1 squadron of the 50 regiment went to friends for their birthday, and literally in five minutes a direct hit into the center of the module smashed the empty room together with the beds in it.
If during the shelling of the capital's airfield, everything was almost done well, then the very next day, July 2 of the year 1983, An-12, shot down by the enemy at Jalalabad, opened the bill of losses. The city was famous not only for its subtropical climate with extreme heat and humidity, palm groves and orchards by its standards, but also for the populated “green zone” approaching the airfield itself - impassable thickets, from which there were frequent shelling of camps and towns, and because of the proximity "Zelenka" planes and helicopters came under fire almost directly under the strip. The saying was known: “If you want to live like an ace - go serve in Kunduz, if you want a bullet in the ass - go to Jalalabad”. In addition, the strip of Jalalabad airfield was short, requiring special attention during take-off and landing - it was worth delaying, the plane could jump out of the runway and bury itself in the sand.
This time, the transport worker, who was on a flight to Kabul with construction materials, did not receive a go-ahead for landing due to weather conditions and was sent to Jalalabad. Waiting for the weather there, the crew of Major Viktor Druzhkov flew to the destination. Observance of manuals on meteorological support turned out to have dramatic consequences: the plane was fired upon take-off and lost control (perhaps the pilots were amazed in the cockpit, according to another version, the DShK's turn touched one of the extreme engines, the screw did not manage to be zaflyugiruyutsya and the car began to be unfolded). The plane with a roll suffered on the rocks and it crashed near the airfield. The car burned almost completely, and among the piles of smoky debris intact looked like fallen bobbins of barbed wire, several tons of which were loaded with building materials on board the aircraft. Among the dead passengers were specialists from the Air Force TurkVO and Lieutenant Colonel I. B. Merkulov, Senior Inspector-Pilot of the Air Force Management of the 40 Army.
The crew stayed in touch until the plane crashed, and the catastrophe itself occurred right before the eyes of those on the airfield:
... Black stretches trail behind the tail of the plane,
We are going to the rocks, to the terrible ram.
Here the skill of the pilot,
Life is already behind ...
Damn you, Afgan!
Following the incident at the airport Khost. Communication with the city, which lay at the very Pakistani border, was maintained mainly by air. Although he was some one and a half hundred kilometers from Kabul, he was considered to be very remote by Afghan standards and it was worth a lot of work to get there. The only mountain road leading to Khost was a pass that climbed three-kilometer high, in winter it was often completely insurmountable, and because of this it was a whole task to push the convoy with cargo to the city, while the air traffic was maintained more or less regularly. The situation in Khost was characterized as “stably complex”: to neighboring Pakistan, the city was opened, which was used by the opposition, which operated in the district completely unhindered. As a channel for the penetration of the Dushman troops into the central provinces and their reliance on the numerous local bases, Khostinsky ledge gained high importance in operational terms, which is why the Afghans held a whole military unit here - the 25 Army Infantry Division.
Khost's airfield was improvised, representing a somewhat rolled up dirt strip that allowed transport aircraft to land. This time, 20 August 1983, the flight was performed by a crew who had recently arrived in Afghanistan, and the skills of the pilots to work in such an environment were very limited. The approach to the aerodrome was ordered to be built from one direction, from the side of the mountains that approached the city. This approach was not the most convenient, considerably complicating the landing, but avoided the risk of jumping “beyond the ribbon” of the border that lay only in 15-20 km and on the horseshoe on three sides bordering the city. During the landing approach, the pilots pretty badly miscalculated and sat down with the flight, due to which their An-12BP rolled out of the strip and received multiple damage. Especially got the chassis and fuselage, bruised all over the bottom. The crew cabin and the middle part of the fuselage, both the skin and some of the frame parts, suffered; nevertheless, the pilots remained intact.
The plane was already the “oldest” in the regiment, having a respectable age - it had already served 20 for years, but the condition of the machine was recognized as satisfactory for restoration. Quickly eliminating the main damage on the spot, the plane was ferried to Fergana. The flight took place with the released chassis, which did not dare to remove because of the condition of the car, which was already holding “on parole”. Repairs were carried out by joint forces of the military unit and the brigade of the Tashkent aircraft factory, and representatives of the Antonov Design Bureau had to be called in to address a number of complex issues. Restored the aircraft for more than six months, it took the replacement of many units, but in the end it was returned to service.
Only four weeks passed, and a new incident occurred with the An-12 200 Squadron, this time with far more serious consequences. 16 September 1983, the An-12BP airplane with the crew of the 1-class pilot of captain AM Matytsin from the Fergana regiment flew with a cargo of mail to Shindand. During the landing approach, the plane was shot at and damaged, the crew reported on the failures in the 4 engine. The case was aggravated by the side wind on the ground, which demolished the aircraft in the direction of the damaged engine. The car touched the ground in five hundred meters from the beginning of the strip with a fair overload, literally stuck into the ground. As a result of a rough landing on the plane, the pneumatics of the left landing gear burst, and he was dramatically pulled to the side. The lost controllability of the car was carried out from the lane to the left, directly to the parking lot of the Mi-6, which was located in the middle of the runway. During the collision, the plane exploded, and the subsequent fire destroyed both the ill-fated transport worker and the helicopter in the way.
The shooter of the stern guns, seeing that the ground was not flashing under the plane, but the ground, immediately found and made a salutary decision: jerking the handle of the emergency hatch, he fell out of the plane a second before the impact and the explosion. A ride on the ground, ensign Viktor Zemskov with fractures and bruises could not even crawl away from the raging fire, where his comrades died. Still, the shooter could have thought he was lucky - he was the only one who survived the crash. None of the members of the deceased crew had had time to turn thirty years old ... As if by inspiration, the next incident happened exactly one month later and again in Khost. With all the significance of the local airfield, there was no Soviet garrison on it, the 40 Army Aviation Division was not on duty, and there was no need to count on helicopter cover. October 16 1983, who arrived at Khost An-12BP, Captain Zaletinsky from 200, was under unloading when the mortar attack on the airfield began. The first breaks covered the parking lot, riddling the plane with splinters. Three of the five crew members were injured, but the pilots decided to use the remaining opportunity and leave the fire. Interrupting the unloading and one by one launching the engines already on taxiing, the pilots took the plane to the strip, lifted the car into the air and took it to Kabul. One of the engines did not reach the regime due to damage to the fuel system, but managed to somehow gain altitude, cross the mountain range four kilometers high and safely reach the place. When inspecting the aircraft, over 350 holes were found in the fuselage, rudders, ailerons and flaps. Rear underfloor tanks in the fuselage, right-wing caisson tank, rudder thrust, fuel, hydraulic and oxygen pipelines were damaged. For repair, the aircraft was transferred from Kabul to “its” base in Bagram, where, by joint efforts, the technical squadron of the transport squadron and neighbors from the fighter regiment led to a more or less normal flight condition, which allowed the car to fly to the Union for overhaul. For the future, the crews of transport workers were given a recommendation: “In order to reduce potential losses from destination aerodromes, in order to reduce the time spent at aerodromes, provide for the loading and unloading of aircraft without turning off the engines.”
Even in comparison with Khost, flights to Farah and Zaranj in the eastern direction looked like a real test, where local “airports” looked miserable even by Afghan standards. Special equipment, light and radio engineering, the airfields did not have at all, the problem was even a normal connection, and the dirt strip after several landings was broken into a completely indecent state. All of the flight control was carried out by one of the ship commanders with the help of a signaling soldier who was delivered there on An-26 (they were called the “reduced-size flight management group”). Flights to Zaranj in the salt marshes on the Iranian border were episodic, but Farah was a focal point in the populated Farahrud river valley, where many trade and caravan routes converged, was important for the control of the region and the whole direction. The crowded, by Afghan standards, place demanded control and continued support of the units of the Soviet 371 Motorized Rifle Regiment and the 21 Infantry Brigade of Afghans that were here, especially since Farah had a strategic highway that encircled the whole of Afghanistan.
A new incident was not long in coming. In just three months, on January 18 of 1984, along with the crashed An-12, the crew of L.V. Verizhnikova died. A change of Far Easterners from the 930-th Wtap arrived to work in Afghanistan as part of the 200-th squadron in July of the 1983 year. All the pilots spent here for half a year had to work literally without a break, and the commander and assistant had 370 combat sorties, despite the fact that the right pilot AV Skrylev was yesterday's graduate of the flight school, who was barely 23 of the year, and he received the rank of senior lieutenant in Afghanistan. The plane was flying from Bagram to Mazar-i-Sharif, delivering a load of ammunition and other equipment to the Afghan army. The wreckage of An-12 was found in the mountains, 40 km from the destination. The cause of the disaster was officially considered the defeat by enemy fire, finding that the plane was shot down on approach and all of the seven crew members and passengers among the passengers were killed by Soviet specialists. However, knowledgeable pilots considered the error in meteorological support to be more probable - the crew were indicated that the wind direction was inverse to the actual route, which caused them to dodge the route and, starting the descent after the Salang pass, flew up the mountain.
An-12 arrived to pick up the bodies of the dead pilots. Apparently, we are talking about the crew of the Mi-8, shot down on the eve of the New Year - navigator A. Zavaliev and flight equipment E. Smirnov. Bagram, December 1983 g
Less than a month later, An-12BP from 50-ths was seriously injured in the breakdown. When landing in Bagram, the crew of Lieutenant Colonel K. Mostovoi “attached” the car so that the right landing gear was formed. The plane was carried out from the strip, the fuselage, the console and the screws of the two engines were damaged. Fortunately, none of the passengers aboard the 40 were injured, and the aircraft after repair with the replacement of the rack and two power plants returned to service.
The high intensity of combat work and large aircraft raids combined with extremely unfavorable operating conditions made the work of the technical staff particularly responsible. Attention and effort here required much more, since the wear and malfunctions in the local situation were also specific. Summer temperatures and heating under the sun caused the rubber membranes, gaskets and other parts to dry and crack, hermetic seals and hoses failed prematurely, deteriorated, oxidized, quickly melted and washed out the lubrication of components and hinges. The ubiquitous and penetrating dust and sand were especially detrimental to engines, which, as a result of dust erosion, quickly lost parts of the flow part, especially the small blades of the last stages of turboprop engines.
The fuel was often pretty dirty because it was usually delivered in unclosed tanks (the drivers knew that the clogged tank exploded when it hit it, and when the lid is open, the fumes evaporate and the case can do without an explosion from a simple hole that is easy to caulk for, kept a set of wood-chopped plugs). Kerosene for refilling went decently littered, with the content of sand and dirt that was not acceptable at home, visible even by the eye. When checking it turned out that per ton of kerosene was gained up to a kilogram and more sand. As a result, fuel and oil filters quickly clogged up with tarry black mud, air filters and jets of fuel automatics suffered, which threatened the start and pick-up deterioration, the speed of hoverings and their mismatch on the power units (“fork” of turns), gas temperatures turbine. To combat these misfortunes, it was necessary to wash the filters much more often on an ultrasound unit that “knocked out” even small entrenched debris, which was required to do every 10-15 hours of work (at home, except during 100-hour maintenance work). In the heat, fast coking of fuel and oils was observed, with viscous products and slags deposited on nozzles and filters, dust and sand penetrated into the engine oil cavities through seals, causing rapid wear of contact parts and bearing assemblies, and blockage of oil jets could lead to oil starvation of bearings. In other hinge assemblies and vapors, the ingress of sand and dust into the lubricant formed a true abrasive mixture, and the decomposition of the lubricant to form organic acids only contributed to corrosion.
Getting into the nodes of electrical equipment, dust and sand accelerated the wear of the collectors of generators and electric motors, brushes “flew” quickly, breakdowns occurred, and power supply parameters “walked”. The same trouble was accompanied by the accumulation of dust in radio equipment, which led to overheating and failure of generator systems. Large daily temperature fluctuations, from daytime heat to coolness at night, were accompanied by precipitation of abundant dew that flowed into all kinds of gaps and cavities, causing increased corrosion even in the dry local climate. This was also facilitated by the destruction of protective coatings with cracking of the paint layer due to the same temperature jumps and abrasive wind effect. The dust itself, raised by the winds from the salt marshes, contained aggressive sulphates and chlorides, which, in combination with the dew, gave an extremely caustic "chemistry." When penetrating the fuel, oil and hydraulic systems, these components contributed to the corrosion of precision components and the development of corrosion fatigue, and it was noted that the resulting medium leads to corrosion of almost all aviation metals and alloys, including high-strength and alloyed steels, which under normal conditions are considered to be stainless .
Hydraulic systems quickly broke down hoses, rod seals, leakage and leakage began, and accumulators failed, where it was aggravated by high working pressures. Even the hardy landing gear of the aircraft at elevated take-off and landing speeds was subjected to excessive loads under off-design conditions, with loading of impact character, lateral impact due to wind demolition and vigorous braking. Frequent and intensive use of the brakes, necessary due to the same increased speeds and limited size of many landing sites, led to the frequent cases of brake disc destruction, although they already wear out quickly, and the cooling of superheated brakes with water after landing caused them to crack. there were no technicians here - otherwise overheating of the wheels threatened with an explosion of pneumatics, already literally burning on the landings, as evidenced by mountains of worn-out rubber at parking lots, why among imported property wheels were listed among the most necessary).
Sending to the homeland of the fallen pilots but the “black tulip” of the USSR-11987. The An-12 captured in the photo will soon itself come under fire from the Stinger of the Dushman and return with a burning engine.
All these misfortunes demanded increased attention and great labor costs, which repeatedly increased the load on the engineering staff. The usual type of troubleshooting was the replacement of units, the procedure itself was laborious, and with the An-12 size, it was also not easy due to difficult access. Even to replace worn-out wheels, the usual procedure on other machines, the entire aircraft had to be hung out on three massive lifts, and for work on the power plant it was required to use bulky high ladders. Since the instruction on the aviation engineering service in the current edition required that the equipment was always in good and operational condition, without instructions on how to achieve this with a lack of time and manpower, the difficulties were overcome in the usual way - the hard work of technicians and mechanics. The documents of the IAS stated: “With high voltage, the personnel of the IAS solve complex and responsible combat missions to support the combat operations of the ground forces. The working time of the engineering staff, as a rule, is 12-15 hours per day, and sometimes even more. ” If the pilots tried to somehow ration, the working time was routinely considered dimensionless for the “techies”, while vacations and rest in the dispensary did look like an unaffordable luxury (if to some, these parts may seem insignificant - in war, war ", - it is advisable to try on everyday work seven days a week in this mode for at least six months).
Often it turned out that the arriving technical staff was weak in practical work skills (who would give the “uncle” a good specialist), or even completely unfamiliar with the machine on which to work. On this account, it was noted that "60 - 70% of the IAS composition comes from parts that operate other types of aircraft and are not familiar with the features of their operation in the region." What is true, it is true - less than a third of the aviation regiments continued to serve at home at the VTA on An-12 by the middle of the 80-s, other parts managed to switch to more modern equipment, for which specialists were trained in schools. On the device An-12, some of which were of advanced age and were older than their staff, young people had the most general ideas, not to mention the practical experience. The replacement of personnel in Afghanistan in relation to transport workers was carried out through the WTA associations, there was not much to deal with the bids, and then technicians from An-22 and Il-76 were sent to them with the order: "Understand in place." However, the same practice of filling staffing flourished at home: a graduate of a technical school, who had studied a certain type of fighter for five years, could easily get into the helicopter unit, without any retraining, starting to work on a new technology. On transport workers, it’s true, the situation was rather simplified by the presence of a fairly large crew, including flight engineers, who helped the newcomer to get used to the required skills — it is known that learning comes through the hands better than through the head.
There were problems with the flight crew. The documents of the Air Force headquarters noted that when pilots were sent to Afghanistan, the selection was not so demanding, and those who arrived after the replacement of the 40 Army in the Air Force often lack training, did not have time to properly master the piloting technique, having the entire 3 class, sometimes they are sent to Afghanistan almost immediately after graduating from military schools, already on the spot being commissioned. These claims were corroborated by the facts of accidents and losses - out of the number of dead crews of An-12, all the assistant commanders were from the youth who were just starting the service. The aircrew did not always go to the 40-th Air Force in a striking and complete manner, and the technicians of the required specialties often arrived “by the piece” (unless it was about replacing an entire squadron). Those who were sent to Afghanistan usually received orders to send them “for the fulfillment of a special task” (in official documents demagogic turns about the “discharge of honorable international duty” were not welcomed). For example, from the Chita 36 squad, who was not at all in the structure of the VTA and who worked in the interests of the command of the Trans-Baikal district, a man from the number of pilots, technicians and officers of the control group, one of whom, a flight engineer, warrant officer P. Bumazkin, died in Afghanistan aboard downed An-33.
Work in the crew of the transport worker was enough for everyone. If we consider that the crew of the transport aircraft had to deal with loading and unloading, mooring bales and crates in the cargo compartment, then the pilots had to work considerably more than their colleagues, physically and in time. Loaded more than others turned out to be airborne equipment - a senior on-board technician of the aircraft and his partner, an onboard technician for airborne equipment, in addition to these concerns, were also engaged in the preparation of the machine itself, together with the ground-based technical crew. Occupation of this on a large aircraft was time consuming and difficult, because of which the flight engineers among the flight crew could always be distinguished even by clothes bearing traces of kerosene, oil, and battered in cramped compartments.
An-12BK lands in Kunduz
The load on the crews of transport workers and the tension of their work looked very impressive even against the background of the activities of pilots of “combat aircraft”. According to the 1985 year, the average flight time per An-12 in the 40 Army Air Force was of the order of 280 hours and 260 sorties, while the An-26 performing similar tasks was less than 2,5; in fighter-bomber aviation, the average flight time on Su-17 and Su-25 was approximately equal to 200 hours and 230 departures, while the MiG-23 fighters had 80 hours and 110 sorties. Helicopter pilots who had up to 400 hours and more than 360 flights per year (on average for all types) accounted for more flying times. At the same time, one of the An-12, who served in the 40 Army Aviation, got much more work than the others - the plane, which had a rare reliability and constant serviceability, had a high “performance”, having completed 745 flights with 820 hours (not really perhaps, such figures can shake the well-established notions about the work of transport aviation as seemingly auxiliary and not very significant alongside “real” military pilots!). I was also impressed by the records in the documents about the “personal achievements” of one of the pilots for ten months of service in a 50 mock-up: “... As part of the crew of the aircraft, I carried over 7000 passengers and several hundred tons of cargo”.
At first, engineering and aviation maintenance of the operation of the equipment was carried out on the basis of an order issued by the Air Force MI from 31 in March 1980 of the year, which retained the main provisions of the Manual on the Engineering Aviation Service (NIAS), provided for peacetime, with some “relief”: allowed up to six flight days instead of three at home; to reduce the preparation time, it was allowed to simultaneously perform refueling and charging of the aircraft’s systems with checking equipment under current; skavsheesya security, allowed the extension of the resource to 50 hours without regular prescribed maintenance work and performing regular regulations in stages so that the machine quickly back into operation. In fact, it was obvious that it was impossible to fully produce all the types of work envisaged and painted in the governing documents and instructions, which required all working time even at home, in a combat situation — a large number of sorties, takeoffs and landings, and the development of systems and equipment made it economical to maintain.
It should be recalled that the current instruction provided for the implementation of the most voluminous and labor-intensive types of services in the preliminary training, which was held on a special day on the eve of flights and extended over several flight shifts. The pre-flight preparation, as the name suggests, was carried out immediately before departure and included checks of the readiness of equipment and systems for the flight mission. In the post-flight preparation (or preparation for re-departure), the car was refueled and equipped with everything necessary, ensuring readiness for a new task, if the plane brought some faults of a more or less complex nature from the flight, as a rule, they were left "for later" and eliminated The next day.
In Afghanistan, due to the significant number of missions and the need to continuously provide a much larger number of departures, the labor costs for the technical operation of aircraft were almost doubled and, as noted by the Air Force Information Engine, this “led to an acute shortage of working time and the 40 Air Force army. Priorities shifted, and the main type of service was post-flight training, which was assigned the main role in ensuring the continued combat readiness of the aircraft. Such changes seemed to be quite reasonable: maintaining the machine’s readiness to perform tasks, immediately after arriving the plane was filled with fuel and everything necessary, immediately eliminating the failures that had appeared, in short, they brought the plane into a fully operational state.
On transport workers, without delay, along with the post-flight operations, they tried to load them immediately, so that the plane stood in full readiness for the next flight (considering that receiving several tons of cargo, its placement and mooring were long and laborious, to engage in loading before departure meant full uncertainty with starting time). When servicing the machine, it was necessary to do the minimum necessary work, usually limiting ourselves to an external inspection and checking the equipment’s performance, recording the results of the preparation of the aircraft “in full” as usual. If the plane was not damaged, leaks of fuel, oil and hydraulics and traces of unacceptable wear, communication and the main equipment, which allowed to let it fly, worked, they did not pay attention to other trifles, considering the vehicle to be ready.
Although the NIAS included a special section regulating the preparation of equipment in wartime, the management did not give a go-ahead for the organization of work provided for a long time, although in fact the reality itself was ordered and the technicians had to do with their mind and disposable time, deciding what ensuring the readiness of the machine - all the same, the relations with the flight crew and with the materiel were the most trustworthy and it was simply considered unacceptable to leave the plane with malfunctions ments guiding instruction. The introduction of wartime regulations was not decided not so much because of the formal non-recognition of the undeclared Afghan war - the word “war” was not welcomed in any official documents and was a real taboo in the publications of the domestic press, replaced by the wordy-running “international debt”. The reasons for the delay with the decision had far more realistic reasons of a non-ideological nature: since the conditions of the aviation engineering support for wartime provided for substantial deviations from the normal mode of operation, the removal of many restrictions and the permitted reduction in training, there were not unreasonable fears that the personnel after such “Democratization” and reduction of demands will be completely relaxed, the service will be performed somehow, and the quality of preparation will drop to unsafe level, so it was easier not to rush to innovations.
However, the situation dictated its own. Organizational changes were a clear necessity and received approval by the order of the Air Force CI issued on December 26 1983, which replaced a number of the prescribed works with simplified checks, and the experience of the actual engineering aviation service was required to be generalized and presented in the form of reports. In the end, the requirements for the provision of engineering and aviation services during the period of hostilities were put into effect, which came into force by an indication of the Air Force MI from 17 June 1986. This directive consolidated a more rational and efficient order: in a combat situation, the usual preliminary training was canceled with a large amount of work, the necessary part of which was carried out now in preparation for the flight, technical calculations were made of the necessary specialists, who prepared the equipment comprehensively for the flight, and many types of labor-intensive work , previously carried out after a certain raid or accumulation of aggregates, were replaced by target and periodic inspections that established the performance of those hnikiki (in other words, not prescribed “on time”, but really necessary works) were done.
If it was usual practice at home to invite factory representatives to troubleshoot warranty equipment and assist them in carrying out complex repairs using factory technologies, in a combat situation the wait of the factory workers was an unaffordable luxury and they tried to solve such problems with their own strength and understanding (on this account folded of the technicians, the couplets with the words: "... was tormented, tormented, worked, I cut, soldered and pasted"). If necessary, it was allowed to let the car fly with malfunctions if they looked safe and did not interfere with the task - “if only the screws were spinning and the wheels rotated”. This looked completely unrepresentable at home, where it was strictly prescribed by the existing instructions to “allow the equipment to fly only with the performance of all the specified types of training and with properly completed documentation”. The pilots also treated the reliable car with understanding, since the An-12 deserved full confidence in this regard: "The wheel is heard, it is up to itself, up to itself, down, and okay."
At the same time, the transition to the operation of aircraft for technical condition began, instead of previously adopted at the appointed time, when the units were subject to permanent replacement after they had developed a warranty resource with a certain number of operating hours. Previously, it was prescribed to unconditionally replace or return the repaired components for repair, since further work was considered unsafe, however, due to the safety margin, many of the parts and assemblies remained operational, allowing further operation. The transfer to operation and maintenance as it provided not only saved material resources, leaving the equipment working properly on board, but also allowed to significantly reduce the labor intensity and save power both in parts and in industry - after all, a constructive unit or equipment block is very expensive. it was ordered and manufactured, and its replacement on board required time and labor, adding to the care of technicians.
Regarding the faults that have taken place and the defects that were detected, without which it was impossible to operate (the hammer has absolute reliability, and one hundred percent reliability for complex equipment is even theoretically unattainable), the picture presented by official documents differed in a curious way from the situation with this question at home: according to reports the engineering department of the 40 Army Air Force, the main cause of the manifested failures and detected defects turned out to be structural-production deficiencies of equipment, with put 80% of the total number of faults, while lightweight errors were the basis of all 4% breakdowns, and the engineering staff’s fault was unimportant 3% failure of the materiel (in other words, the equipment broke down more and more with her). The obvious reason for such a redistribution of responsibility was definitely the reluctance to incriminate personnel, already working above all standards and under the most difficult conditions, placing the blame on meek iron. A closer look revealed a more objective picture with the prevailing influence of the same “human factor” on the causes of breakdowns and failures: for example, in accounting for the 40 Army’s aviation forces, the share of aircraft engines that were out of service and subject to early replacement through the fault of flight crews, engineering staff and service parts with depressing consistency amounted to at least one third (for comparison, a house in BTA units was 12-15% percent of the "dead" engines).
Although a special resolution of the Central Committee was allowed to recognize the presence of transport aviation units in Afghanistan (someone had to “carry goods to the local population”), the work of transport workers was only twice mentioned in the central press. True, according to the liberty of the author of one of the articles, obviously a propagandist who did not understand the topic very well, in the story about the pilots of An-26 one of the crew members was persistently called “air gunner”, and the other - “gunner-radio operator”, which is certainly a few undermined the credibility of the sincerity of the story; ideologically savvy political worker, who apparently did not deal with technology in his life, did not imagine that there were no gunners in the An-26 or crews with machine guns with which they could be controlled. However, many other authors of publications about the “heroic everyday life of warriors-internationalists”, aptly named “correspondent members”, made up their pathos creations without leaving the Kabul hotel, and therefore their works were filled with similar absurdities.
Organizational changes undertaken by the 40 Army Air Force on the eve of 1984, came as soon as possible. A number of large-scale military operations were planned for this year, including the new Panjsherskaya, which was unprecedented in scope and had the goal of "decisive defeat of the Ahmad Shah formations." The leader of the local opposition units by this time had grown into a major political figure with unquestioned authority, which for official Kabul looked like a real challenge. He still did not go into contacts with state authorities, being a self-sufficient figure and treating the government with outright scorn, but at the same time concluded an unofficial non-aggression pact with the command of Soviet troops, pledging not to allow attacks on garrisons , posts and transport not only the forces subject to him, but also other formations. However, under pressure from Kabul and the considerations of “big politics” that demanded the elimination of such an odious adversary, the victory over which was also given a propaganda effect, the leadership of the 40 Army was instructed to carry out the appropriate complex of military tactical actions (operation) on the Ahmad Shah grouping.
But somehow, being aware of the goals and plans of the operation, Masud ahead of time brought most of his troops and even the population of entire villages out of the valley, taken by buses and trucks to neighboring areas. This explains the rapid and relatively easy movement of troops that did not meet the expected resistance. General B.V. Gromov, who arrived in Afghanistan for the second time, now in the Defense Ministry’s task force, wrote: “A few days after the outbreak of hostilities in Panjshir, we found that the gorge was empty.” Just as quickly, the situation was restored and after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops - the “people's power” rolled back from unfriendly villages back to Kabul, and everything returned to normal.
On the days of the operation, transport aviation carried mainly aviation munitions and deployed personnel. There was a great deal of ammunition, because without universal air support, from experience, it simply did not go. In addition to the bombing, the mining of roads and mountain paths from the air was actively pursued, which was intended to impede the movement of the enemy.
While the “Red Star” wrote about the “victorious march of the Afghan troops”, the enemy took retaliatory actions. Having returned to the native places of the Charikar “Zelenka”, already on 11 of May 1984, the “spirits” organized a powerful mortar attack on the Bagram base. As if demonstrating their not very affected forces, the Mujahideen staged an artillery attack in the middle of the night, but the fire was surprisingly accurate. The first mine fell with an undershoot, the second - with a flight, a classic "fork", after which direct hits covered the duty link of the MiG-21 right in the shelter. It seemed that it could not have done without the gunner correcting the fire from somewhere in the base - they said that he was sitting right on the roof of the hangar of the Afghan repair factory, an ideal position at a height of fifteen meters. All four fighters were destroyed by a burning fire, rockets flew out of the fire, hot shrapnel rained down on the parking lot of the transport workers and the bombs lying right there (they were delivered with a reserve to the operation, and the bombs were piled up on the ground right by the aircraft). The pilots who arrived in time started the engines and taxied someone far away from the conflagration. 2 June 1984, at the next shelling of Bagram, the mines were laid right at the parking of the transport squadron. The nature of the local soil, hard, caked loam, which did not leave cracks, which usually left a good half of the fragments, added any troubles, and they flew in all directions like a fan. Fragments were damaged by one An-12 and a pair of inopportunely caught helicopters. Fortunately, this time there were only holes and the cars after repair were returned to service.
The 1984 year was also marked by other major operations: in December, they again stormed the Dushman base in the mountains of Lurkoha, carried out operations in the area of Khost, Herat and Kandahar. In total, 1984 had a planned and unplanned operation for the summer period 41 of the year alone - almost twice as many as during the same period of the previous year (22 operations).
The year 1984 also brought a serious increase in aviation losses: the number of aircraft and helicopters that the 40 Army lost to the Air Force almost doubled compared to the previous year - from 9 aircraft and 28 helicopters in 1983 year to 17 aircraft and 49 helicopters in 1984. Accordingly, the volume of combat work grew and the consumption of ammunition: the number of used air bombs more than doubled, from 35 thousands to 71 thousands, and missiles — even more, from 381 thousands to 925 thousands.
In October, an unusual transport operation was undertaken by X-NUMX using An-1984. On the eve of an emergency landing in Bagram, the Su-12 attack aircraft was broken. The plane received serious damage, precluding its repair on the spot or a flight to the factory for restoration - the attack aircraft could not even be towed, the landing gear struck the fuel tanks when struck and he could barely keep his feet. Send it to the Union decided by air, disassembling and loading on board the An-25. Nevertheless, the cargo turned out to be oversized, and the cargo compartment could not close its doors. It was required to contact the BTA General Headquarters, having received from there a “go-ahead” for a flight with a cargo-carrier “unbuttoned”. The attack aircraft was safely delivered to the repair plant in Chirchik, but he did not return back, having ended his service as a visual aid in one of the military schools.
As noted earlier, the 1984 year brought a serious increase in aviation losses: the number of airplanes and helicopters that the 40 Army lost to the Air Force almost doubled in comparison with the previous year. However, all these were only "flowers" ... In addition to building up the enemy's air defense forces, an increasing number of anti-aircraft weapons and the skillful use of DShK and ZSU to combat air targets, completely new and qualitatively superior weapons began to appear in the dushman units - portable anti-aircraft complexes ( MANPADS). The first MANPADS met sporadically, getting to the Mujahideen by all sorts of winding paths, primarily from Arab and Chinese sources (they had too much time to distribute domestic Arrows to numerous allies and friends). Intelligence reported on the presence of Western models of the enemy MANPADS, although at the official level until the autumn of 1986 there were no such supplies (it is known that one cannot buy money for money can be obtained for big money).
Reports on the use of MANPADS appeared almost from the first months of the war, although it is very likely that they (the eyes of fear are large) could be fired from grenade launchers - Dushmansky’s favorite weapon. With the advent of fragmentation grenades, RPGs became not only anti-tank weapons. A fire from an RPG, called “partisan artillery,” could be an effective means against low-flying air targets, allowing you to hit them even without a direct hit, with an air bombardment of a grenade at a distance of self-destruction in 700-800 m, giving a lot of fragments and a characteristic flash of rupture with a trace, similar to the launch of MANPADS. In one such case, in September 1985, in 50, the small arms specialists could not even understand what caused the defeat of the car - on the Mi-24 helicopter that somehow reached the entire front part, it was full of holes, the sides of the armor were covered with dents and seemed burned large holes, and the body of the deceased pilot-operator is literally riddled.
Because of this, it was not always possible to establish the nature of the actual weapons used, but the enemy’s use of the MANPADS was officially observed from 1984, when the first full-scale MANPADS samples were captured and 50 rocket launches that hit six targets (three planes and three helicopters ); according to other data of the 40 Army Headquarters, in 1984, there were 62 cases of use of MANPADS. Their number grew rapidly, as soon as the next year, reaching the 141 case with the result of seven affected vehicles. In particular, pilots reported on the use of MANPADS in the course of the Kunarskoy operation held in May-June 1985 in the eastern regions of the country. The operation involved significant forces. To support them, transport aviation transferred several thousand personnel and a large quantity of ammunition and material and technical means to Jalalabad, the center of Kunar province. The enemy, for his part, pulled up troops of up to five thousand fighters to Kunar, and not only resisted, but also in some places turned into counterattacks. In the frontier zone, a large number of anti-aircraft weapons were concentrated near Asmar, and anti-aircraft missiles were repeatedly deployed here.
ZSU-1 anti-aircraft gunner at work
The effectiveness of the use of MANPADS at first looked very low, yielding less than 5% of successful launches. It might seem strange - after all, the homing device obviously had to have good efficiency, and with polygon shooting “Arrows-2” the number of hits was at least 22-30%. The reasons, apparently, were poorly developed and poorly trained Dushmansky shooters - after all, MANPADS required at least a little technical knowledge - and, again, extremely limited, despite reports of “observed launches,” the actual number of MANPADS ( in the next year, 1986, start-ups counted as much as 847, which shot down 26 airplanes and helicopters with a performance of just 3%). Confirmation of the notorious exaggeration in estimating the numbers of MANPADS also looked like they were extremely rare among trophies at that time, counting in literally single instances even when capturing large warehouses and combing operations on entire areas. In general, few people saw it "alive", while DShK, mortars, launch missiles and the same RPGs among trophies were common. For example, during the Kunar operation alone, two hundred DShK and ZSU were captured, but not one MANPADS. A reconnaissance-strike group composed of the Mi-8MT pair and the link of the Mi-24 helicopter in August 1985 of the year, 14 DShK, 5 PGI and heavy machine gun, 5 DShK and 2 PGU were destroyed, and 4 DShK, 3 PGI and a machine gun were captured and delivered to the base, however, no trace of MANPADS in the whole area was revealed by the crews (and maybe for the better ...).
Over the entire winter period of 1984-1985, during the operations and ambush operations conducted by units of the 40 army, and in three months, 32 operations of various sizes were performed and almost one and a half thousand ambushes ranked: 119 RPGs, 79 were among the trophies DShK and PGI and only seven units of MANPADS.
In total, for 1985 a year, the 40 Army Air Force reconnaissance aircrafts of all types of aircrafts were opened by the 462 Army Air Force (the number was undetected, understandably, could not be accurately estimated and their presence manifested itself in the most unpleasant way). The enemy increasingly tried to attack the planes on takeoff and landing, moving closer to the airfields, when the low altitude, the limited speed of the aircraft and the constraint in the maneuver made shooting at the aerial target most effective. As the MANPADS spread to 50, aviation losses began to occur in the protected area of airfields, since the compactness of the MANPADS simplified ambush and contributed to the secrecy of the anti-aircraft gunners. The device, which weighed some nine kilograms, was not for nothing called “portable”, it was practically no problem to drag him to the ambush site and hide, unlike the bulky DShK with a machine weighing over a hundred and fifty kilograms.
Such a case was the tragic accident with Major Y.F. Il-76. Bondarenko, 28 October 1984, flying from the Union. The plane was shot down right over Kabul by a rocket fired from suburban duvalov. The entire crew and several people accompanying the cargo died on board. On the approach was the next transport worker with personnel and he was the victim - the losses would be immeasurably large ...
Two weeks earlier, An-12 from the 200 squadron was almost lost, and only the courage and skillful actions of the crew allowed them to save the plane. 15 October 1984, the plane of Captain A. Tsaralov arriving at Khost turned out to be under mortar fire. The plane delivered a load of blankets for the local population and a couple of gasoline tanks for vehicles. One of them was just unloaded when mines began to tear around. The fragments riddled the plane (later more than 150 holes were counted in it), the controls from the steering wheel of the right pilot turned out to be broken, and the cistern left on board, from which gasoline began to spread on the cargo compartment, was stung. Fragment wounds were five of the eight pilots, especially the wounds of the assistant commander Lieutenant Loginov. The commander of the ship was seriously wounded in the arm, the radio operator could not even move independently, but the crew decided not to remain under fire and made an attempt to escape from under fire. Launching the engines on the move, they took off straight from the taxiway, with the last engine entering the regime almost when it was taken off the ground. The plane managed to be brought to its airfield, but the injuries of Lieutenant Loginov were fatal and the pilot died aboard his car.
The next year’s losses account was also opened by a transporter: On January 22, 1985 of the year, an An-26 was hit by a rocket fired from the surrounding Zelenka on a take-off from Bagram. The crew of Lieutenant E. Golubev from the 50 regiment and two passengers died. Overweight and unhurried transporters became attractive targets for enemy shooters, whose task was simplified by a well-visible machine, slowly gaining height and slowly sailing in the sky, thus enabling them to make and accurately launch a rocket. The following losses went one after another: 11 March 1985 of Bagram was shot down by An-30 by Captain Gorbachevsky from 1 Squadron of 50 X-th Scum, and exactly four months later, on July 11, the rocket hit An-12 Major MD. Shadzhalikov from the 1 Squadron of the Tashkent 111 Scum. For some whim of fate, both of these cases fell not only on the same 11 number, but also on one fateful day of the week - Thursday.
Afghan government officials inspect the trophy anti-aircraft guns. The heavy machine gun was extremely popular and was actively used by all the warring parties in Afghanistan.
ZSU-1 anti-aircraft mining installations captured from dushmans
The Tashkent regiment constantly worked in the interests of the 40 army and Afghan allies, and this time the crew of the commander of the detachment Shadzhalilov flew to Afghanistan from the Union (by the way, other members of the Shadzhalilov family, whose family was firmly associated with aviation, also served here with Muhamadali Shadzhalilov in the service in the Air Force there were four more of his brothers). The navigator and other crew members had flown here for more than a year, but the commander himself managed to perform "beyond the river" only a few flights. On this flight, the plane was supposed to deliver mail, communications equipment and radio operators accompanying it. The route with a departure from Tashkent passed with landings in Kandahar and Shindand, after which it was supposed to return home on the same day. The flight and landing in Kandahar went well, then followed the flight to Shindand. The entire flight there occupied, from strength, 40 minutes and did not seem to promise anything unusual. The commander did not waste time on gaining altitude in the protected area and, without performing extra maneuvers, immediately after take-off, he headed for Shindand. When the plane passed over the city from the outskirts, a launch was made, a rupture struck one of the engines and a fire started. The pilots tried to return to the airfield, but the subsequent explosion of wing tanks left no hope. The plane fell in 22 km from the airfield, all on board were killed. In the subsequent analysis of the incident, a cautionary conclusion was made: “Relaxing in war is life-threatening.” The commander himself, due to the negligence of one of the staff in the death notice, found the place of the accident confused with the destination and left unintelligible in the documents “he died while delivering the special unit to the area located 22 km from Kandahar airport”. In fact, the plane fell in the kishlak zone near the village of Murgan, which had a reputation as a "dushman anthill", where there could be no question of any landing.
Although the regiment already had airplanes equipped with heat trap cassettes, the plane had not had them. By this time, most transport vehicles had been finalized with the installation of these protection systems. Heavy “Anteyam” from 1985, flying to Afghanistan, was completely banned, having every reason to believe that such a prominent giant would catch Dushman's anti-aircraft gunners not today or tomorrow. The ban did not look reinsurance at all: the experiments showed that the powerful An-22 engines have much higher thermal emissions than other turboprop engines, making it an extremely attractive target for MANPADS. An-12 and An-26 in this regard "shone" much weaker, emitting less heat, the temperature of gases behind the turbine of the engines even in takeoff mode did not exceed 500 ° C, being more than two times lower than that of turbojet technology and in IR - they were less visible to rockets. In addition, the turboprop unit screws “washed out” the hot gases with a stream of ambient cold air, helping to cool the thermal plume behind the plane.
An illustrative launch of MANPADS at the airfield Kandahar. The rocket went to heat traps that have proven their effectiveness
Turning to the developers of infrared homing systems, they found out that the probability of capturing a target depends mainly on its thermal contrast (temperature of the emitting source above the environment) and the radiation power measured in kilowatts per solid angle, as well as its spectral range. The most effective and quickly implemented measure of protection was shooting from the aircraft of false sources of infrared radiation, more powerful than the target, which would be diverted to thermal rockets. On the supply of the Air Force has long been such tools, called cartridge-reflectors (originally they were designed to protect aircraft from detection and destruction by radar-guided systems and served to arm anti-radar interference by ejecting metallized dipoles-reflectors of radar signals). After a slight revision of the contents of the cartridges were quite suitable for setting thermal noise.
The infrared jamming cartridge of the type PPI-26 was a paper or aluminum sleeve of a hunting fourth caliber (diameter 26 mm) with equipment from a thermite mixture, fired by a charge of ordinary smoky gun powder. After the shot, the contents flared up, creating a torch with high temperature for 5-8 seconds and distracting the missiles. Many front-line aircraft and helicopters were equipped with PPI-26 cassettes, and their IL-76 transport was equipped, where an automatic machine with interfering cartridges was located in the chassis gondola. However, low-power cartridge cases with a small charge, containing only 86 g of the mixture, turned out to be rather weak to provide sufficiently effective protection. If on helicopters they coped with the task, then to cover transport workers with much more powerful and “hot” engines, not to mention combat aircraft, they clearly did not have sufficient qualities that the Bondarenko story of IL-76 clearly showed.
According to the lessons of the Afghan war, it was necessary to urgently develop a more effective means, and in the shortest possible time a new cartridge of the caliber 50 mm 50 was created. The new cartridge fundamentally differed little from its predecessor, however, it carried an order more powerful thermite charge weighing 850 g. Under the reinforced powder charge with a cap-electric igniter, a strong steel sleeve was needed, the capsule with thermite contents was thrown farther from the aircraft. The burning time did not change, amounting to 5-9 seconds, but the strength of IR radiation at temperature under 2000 ° increased fourfold.
To accommodate the traps and the organization of shooting for the An-12 were created cluster holders KDS-155, in the slots of which were placed on 15 cartridges. The cassettes were installed four in the fairing on each side, placed quite comfortably at a low height, which allowed them to be equipped without any stepladders and supports. The capacity of the cassettes made it possible to handle them manually — a fully prepared beam weighed kilograms under the 20, each such cassette was filled with cartridges separately and placed into the holder. The total number of cartridges on the An-12 was 120 pieces, which allowed, with economical spending, to provide protection during the voyage back and forth. For safety, the most thrifty crews tried to grab a crate or two traps with them in flight, reloading the cassettes to the full set before returning. In addition to the cassettes, the aircraft was equipped with the appropriate control electric armature with a console at the radio operator’s workplace, with which the number of cartridges fired in the series and the frequency of the batches were set - depending on the situation, on the 1, 2 or 4 cartridge with intervals between volleys in 2, 4 or 7 seconds
In addition to the KDS-155 device, for the An-12, a variant of the installation of a unified UV-26 type was also developed, in which trap blocks were mounted on the sides of the fuselage under the center section in the form of bulky cheeks. But this device, apparently, had nothing to do with the "Afghan" modifications, remaining in single copies. Possessing only dignity in the form of a large stock of traps, the system was very inconvenient in operation - the cassettes were at a three-meter height above the protruding chassis gondolas, in the most unsuitable place for their equipment, where it was troublesome to get even from a stepladder.
In addition to technical countermeasures, the transport workers proceeded to the organization of flights, which ensured an increase in safety. For this purpose, “shortened schemes” of take-off and landing approach were mastered, with the aim of making take-off and landing maneuvers in the protected area of the airfield, with a decrease and a set of safe altitude within it. This took into account the fact that the DShK and ZGU had reach heights of up to 2000 m, and MANPADS of the Strela and Red Ay types - up to 2800 m, to which the necessary safety margin was added, where the enemy’s fire no longer represented would be a threat. Since the size of the safe zone was limited to the near vicinity of the airfield — the perimeter covered by guard battalions, minefields, and patrolling helicopters — one should try to fit the trajectory of take-off and landing to the required height.
The fate of the majority of the villages lying near the airfields was unenviable - the dushmans who were hiding in their dvuls did not miss the opportunity to bombard the parking lots and airplanes, followed by the inevitable reciprocal artillery strike or bombardment. At the Jalalabad airfield, the hell kishlak used bad fame, from where they kept firing at the airfield. Aviators did not remain in debt, shooting ammunition remaining after the next departure, or even specially saving a bomb for this purpose. After another attack of the enemy, the “Hail” was connected, and in the second year of the war the village ceased to exist. The same fate awaited many other villages, which turned out to be in protected (and well covered with fire) zones - soon only piles of dusty ruins soon remained in their place ...
The take-off technique for the An-12 shortened scheme looked as follows: the start should start from the very beginning of the runway, immediately after taking off the ground and cleaning the chassis at 10 m, the first turn on 180 ° began to gradually increase to the maximum angle of pitch and allowed when released flaps speed. For acceleration and more intensive climb after turning, the flaps were removed, and the exit to a safe altitude was carried out on take-off mode of the engines, allowed for 10 minutes (it was dangerous to keep the regime longer in the local heat so as not to burn the engine). The climb was made in an upward spiral, with the maximum allowed roll up to 30 °, or an extremely compressed “box” - two turns on 180 ° above the runway ends. When departing in a spiral, the number of turns was determined by the loading of the aircraft and the maximum allowable vertical speed of dialing, usually with 4-5 circles. Further on, the climb was carried out at the nominal value of the engines in the usual way.
The approach was carried out in a similar way - with a large number of turns and a high speed of descent at the maximum allowable speeds and with minimum radii of turns of the steep downward spiral. Since, due to the strength of wing mechanization, the flaps were allowed to start only at a speed not higher than 370 km / h, the reduction was carried out with the mechanization retracted, and they were released to the landing position at an angle of 25 ° (instead of the usual 35 °), it was prescribed to carry out when passing near the drive, on the border of the protected area, the height above which 3100 m should have been, remaining “slightly higher” than the reach of Dushman anti-aircraft guns (in a normal approach scheme, the height on the glide path above the beacon of the near drive should be about Kolo 60 m). The exit from the spiral was required to be made with a landing course in the alignment of the strip, being at a distance of 1,5-2 km from the runway end and at an altitude of 150 m.
Since the instruction did not rule out “the penetration of rebel groups with MANPADS and DShK into the protected zone and the firing of aircraft into them”, it was prescribed that in the course of the landing approach, the means of protection should be used in advance. The shooting of infrared cartridges on the An-12 should start from the true height of 2400 m and up to 1500 m series of one cartridge at intervals of 7 seconds. As the series continued to decline, they became more frequent with a decrease in the intervals to 2 seconds. If a missile launch was observed or the crew received a message about it from the ground or accompanying helicopters, salvo firing of traps was activated at two-second intervals, and they fell in a real fire hail. It should be borne in mind that at night the shooting of traps is issued by the aircraft, indicating its position - if with full blackout on board and disconnecting all the lighting and even lighting of the An-12 cockpit in the night sky it became visible only from a distance of about a kilometer, then the trap trail is visible It was kilometers beyond the 15-20, attracting the attention of the enemy to the flying plane and giving those opportunities to prepare.
Gradually, some experience was gained in countering MANPADS, which made it possible to determine recommendations for the best possible use of available funds. The use of MANPADS was worst detected from the aircraft when launching from the forward hemisphere, which was understandable - none of the pilots during landing were distracted to inspect the surroundings and were busy with their work; but when fired at the rear, the crew’s response time was minimal, on the order of 2-3 seconds - the situation was still followed by the stern shooter, who was charged with monitoring the terrain. When a missile launch was detected, the shooter immediately sent a command to use traps, and if possible, he should try to suppress the anti-aircraft position with his guns. Shooting at ground targets was envisaged by the course of combat training and practiced at home, they did not deny themselves the pleasure of shooting, and the crews reasoned on this score that “the shooting will not be worse”, and this shooting is useful even for acute purposes. From time to time, stories appeared about a lucky shooter, but no objective evidence of their success was ever found.
View of the Bagram aerodrome from a plane taking off. Smoke tails from dying traps scattered around the spiral track of a “steep gradient” behind an airplane gaining height behind
The use of traps was recommended to be combined with anti-missile maneuvering (although such advice looked like good wishes for a heavy transporter). Thus, with the start observed, together with the start of trap shooting, one could try to escape from the rocket by steeply lowering or turning the angle 30-40 °, removing engine revolutions from the fired rocket, thus reducing their thermal contrast, and the distracting IR-cartridges worked with the highest by efficiency.
The effectiveness of traps has been repeatedly proven in practice. 11 On January 1985 of the year An-12BK’s captain Orlov’s plane was taking off from the Bagram airfield at the height of 2000, it was fired at MANPADS. The crew turned on the shooting in time, the rocket went to the torch of the burning cartridge and in front of the pilots' eyes exploded in 150 m from the aircraft, without causing him any damage.
16 July 1985, taking off from Bagram An-12BK with the crew of Major Gromak, was shot at the entrance to the Panjshir Gorge. When reaching the 2500 altitude, the radio operator noticed two starts, one after the other. Judging by the second interval, the shooter was not one, but the fire was fired from two positions at once. The first rocket, not having captured the target, went away with a miss far. The second rocket with a well-visible smoke plume was sent exactly to the plane, but on approach it landed directly in the burning trap and exploded.
As to the statistics on the use of MANPADS, in most cases their use was taken into account by all who are in that much. With all the danger of underestimating the enemy, these missiles seemed to be seen in almost every Dushmanian detachment, while intelligence reasonably indicated that not every commander of the Mujahideen could count on having such a prestigious and very expensive weapon credibility with foreign suppliers and, of course, funds for strengthening relations — little is done in the East without money, as evidenced by the large sums of money and bales seized in caravans rkotikami - valued throughout the East Afghan hashish and opium, a reliable driving force "dushmanskoy economy."
An-12BK with the installation of UB-26 trap blocks on the fuselage
The device carried 768 infrared ammunition type PPI-26
In the absence of objective evidence, at the headquarters of the 40 Army for the period from the beginning of 1984 to April 1987, they already counted 1186 of cases of use of MANPADS. The engineering department of the Air Force presented the numbers much less - according to its data, for the entire time of 1984 - 1987, only 691 was recorded when aircraft and helicopters fired rockets (that is, almost half), and 65 of affected aircraft was attributed to them. In one edition, the numbers were transformed altogether into “600 launches of anti-aircraft missiles registered only in the first half of 1986 of the year,” which seemed to be quite an exaggeration (dear authors probably confused the final data and reports at the beginning of the same year about the upcoming shipments to Afghanistan 600 units of American MANPADS planned and carried out over the next few years).
The danger of meeting with MANPADS was particularly high when flying to border areas - the places around Khosta and Jalalabad were densely saturated with Dushman troops, for which the local mountains and "Zelenka" were a real home. The message with the bases in neighboring Pakistan was practically uninterrupted and it was simply impossible to stop the supply of the Mujahideen with the newest weapons - the border remained open throughout the day and there was enough daytime traffic for the Dushman arrows to appear at the Jalalabad or Hostovsky airfield and immediately after the shelling went back.
To relieve tensions in Khost district in the spring of 1986, an operation was undertaken to crush Javar, the largest transshipment base here. Initially, it was supposed to be carried out by the forces of the Afghan troops, gathering four infantry divisions there, two of which bore the “heroic” honorary title. However, the matter did not go away for those, and after a month of treading, Soviet units had to be used on the spot. For this purpose, four Soviet battalions landed on Khosta airfield from 5 to 9 on April 1986 by transport planes An-12 and An-26. At the same time, ammunition was delivered by air and the means used up by the “allies” were recovered (all Afghans, with their ineradicable love to come up with a showy effect, threw all their artillery shells, fired into the first week of the operation). The base was taken to 19 on April, however, this success was worth the loss of two attack aircraft to the airmen: regimental commander A. Rutskoi was shot down right over Javara, and the padded castle plane K. Osipova reached Khost and sat down on the forced one, losing the chassis and plane. Losses in the operation were palpable - “Black Tulip” had to work every day.
Among other trophies in the warehouses of Jawary, 60 DShK and ZSU were taken, as well as 45 MANPADS, including two British Bloupeyp, which got into Afghanistan by some unknown means (the British authorities, who had their long and sad experience of interfering in Afghan affairs, on the official support for the Afghan resistance was not welcomed). In addition, the British MANPADS was a very cumbersome 20 kg structure with a radio command missile that needed continuous target tracking, which required well-learned calculations and certain skills in shooting. Other systems in circulation were simpler, especially the notorious "Stinger", which in no small measure contributed to its popularity and effectiveness in this area.
With the withdrawal of troops to the garrisons, at the end of the operation, intelligence information appeared that the enemy was preparing his response, planning to attack units leaving Khost along the only path here, and intending to arrange a real “road to hell” with continuous shelling. Avoiding unnecessary losses, Army General V. Varennikov, who commanded the operation, ordered the removal of personnel by air, for which aircraft of the Soviet and Afghan transport aircraft were again involved. They also took away trophies - mines, communications, weapons and the same MANPADS, some of which were intended for military schools and interested organizations in order to study the design and develop countermeasures.
These measures were all the more necessary because in March 1986 of the year it became known about the sanction of the American authorities for direct deliveries of the Afghan opposition to a large party of Stinger MANPADS. It was about the delivery of 600 (for other 650 sources) kits, as well as assistance in the training of shooters and the organization of their actions, established in training centers in Pakistan. In the near future, the Americans will have to regret this decision - the missiles destined for “freedom fighters” will become the weapon of Islamic terrorists, threatening the owners themselves. However, then became a mass weapon MANPADS turned into a considerable problem. The Stinger really threatened to seriously complicate the actions of aviation: a highly sensitive homing head with frequency modulated radiation had a selective effect and resistance to natural and organized interference, being able to “recognize” the heat of an airplane engine from heat traps and the sun, on which former missiles pecked. The Stinger was guided by the long-wavelength part of the infrared radiation spectrum typical of aircraft engines, which made traps a less effective means of protection. In addition, the Stinger had a reach in height of 3500 m and had better energy, having a higher speed, which reduced the effectiveness of the anti-missile maneuver. Its warhead with weight in 3 kg (for “Arrow-2” - 1,3 kg) had a much more powerful fragmentation and high explosive effect, which was also intensified by the use of a proximity fuze, which did not require a direct hit and worked even when flying close to the target.
The first evidence of the appearance of new MANPADS was the occurrence of attacks on aircraft at altitudes that were previously considered safe (with the reach of the 2 Arrows in 1500 and Red I to 2500, the use of traps at altitudes more than 2500 was already considered unnecessary). Apparently, it was Stinger that caused captain A.B. An-12 to die. Khomutovskiy, knocked down November 29 1986 of the year. The crew from the Kirovabad 708 th vtap did not work for the first time in Afghanistan, the commander himself two years earlier was already here as part of the 200 squadron, and in this "race" was sent to the 50 squadron. The pilots had already worked for almost a year and they were to receive a replacement from day to day. This flight was supposed to be one of the "last", but was the last ....
Consequences of hitting the "Stinger": fragmental damage and the fire started knocked out the engine, burned the wing and part of the flap. Kabul, December 1986 g
The flight was carried out from Kabul to Jalalabad, there was a cargo of ammunition on board - C-24 aircraft missiles, almost half a ton of explosives and a passenger 23. Among them was a group of special forces soldiers who flew to the place of service, the rest were employees of the Voentorg and civilian civil servants. In fact, the neighborhood of passengers and ammunition on board was a violation of instructions - people were forbidden to be transported when there were ammunition, explosives and even flammable cargo of fuel and lubricants on board. When transporting ammunition could only be accompanying, but such liberties usually turned a blind eye - "in war, as in war", and it is not known yet when it will be possible to fly with the next flight.
The crew was experienced, prepared and, it seemed, did not make any reprehensible mistakes. What happened seemed all the more challenging: the route was well known, the entire flight should have taken about half an hour from the force, the weather was clear and there were no problems with orientation - the river Kabul flowing down the mountain gorge led directly to its destination. The take-off from Kabul passed without obstacles, the plane gained altitude according to the “short circuit” and headed for Jalalabad. The plane did not arrive at the destination aerodrome - at 24 km from Kabul An-12 airport was hit by an anti-aircraft missile, fell and exploded. The hit occurred at an altitude of 6400 m, where no previous means of destruction could reach the plane.
To investigate the incident, an operative group was organized under the leadership of Colonel M. Simonov, deputy chief of staff of the army. Having traveled along the flight route of the aircraft, in the mountains, it was possible to detect the position of the anti-aircraft gunner, where "shot down elements of the previously unknown anti-aircraft complex" were lying around. We must pay tribute to the shooter: having established the route of the flight of the aircraft, he found a vulnerable spot - immediately after take-off, he had to pass over the Chanangar mountain ridge of three kilometers in height. Climbing to the top, the shooter was able to make an aiming start with the ultimate removal and the missile hit the target exactly.
It seems that they were talking about the very "first swallows" who came to the rescue from training centers and acted skillfully and tactically competently. The anti-aircraft calculation consisted of two people - the shooter and his assistant, who was watching the air situation and holding a second rocket ready for reloading, as well as two fighters of the covering group. The fact that the incident was not an accident was confirmed on the same day: nearby, in the same area near Surubi, two MI-24 helicopters from the Jalalabad 335 regiment were shot down by MANPADS. The helicopter pilots worked according to their plan; they had nothing to do with the An-12 flight, but such tragic results of one Saturday day did not look like a coincidence.
The incident with the An-12 Khomutovskiy according to the number of victims was the most difficult with the machines of this type for the entire time of the Afghan events - 29 people, the entire crew and passengers died on board the transporter. Exactly four weeks later, on December 27, and again on Saturday, the 50 th frigade suffered another loss: with the use of MANPADS, the An-26RT repeater plane of Captain S. Galkin from the 2 th squadron regiment was shot down. The plane was at a height of 8500 m, which did not prevent the enemy arrow. Opponent fired twice on both engines. The pilots tried to reach Kabul, but the fire caused by the hits and the loss of control forced them to leave the car and throw themselves with parachutes as they approached the airfield. The plane was unable to leave the flight engineer Mechanical Ensign B. Bumazkin.
On the eve of a miracle just managed to avoid another loss. December 26 over the same mountain range at Baraki rocket hit exactly the leftmost engine of the An-12BK USSR-11987, which was on a flight to Khost. The aircraft from 200-th otae with the crew of captain A.N. Mzhelsky underwent fire after climbing in a safe zone, after reaching the 6500 echelon. The fire started, the pilots tried to eliminate it, cutting off the fuel supply to the engine and turning on the fire extinguishing, but because of the broken highways, the fire caught the nacelle and spread around the wing. The sharpness of an already critical situation was due to the presence on board of a significant load of gasoline in four two-ton tanks. Fortunately, Kabul was only seventy kilometers away and the crew managed to turn around and reach the airfield. The skill of the pilots helped to stay in the air for ten minutes, which seemed endlessly long, to save the car and land. The fire of the power plant blown up by the flow continued to the ground itself, which caused a good third of the left flap to burn out. Sensing that the plane was pulling into a dangerous lurch, the pilots limited themselves to incomplete release of the flaps and landed on the move, without wasting time on maneuvers. The stern shooter, ordinary Stolyarov, was ordered to jump while he was high, but he was slow to leave the car - after all, the rest of the crew remained on the ground. Already at the touch of the ground, when the black soot flame reappeared behind the engine, the shooter who remained alone in his stern cabin could not withstand the nervous tension, opened the emergency hatch, fell at high speed directly onto the concrete wall and crashed. Private Igor Stolyarov was a signalman and could have served on the ground, but he got into the crew by his perseverance, proud of his becoming a pilot. Stolyarov was the youngest of the transport pilots who died: according to the evil whim of fate, the tragic accident happened on the eve of his birthday - the next day he had to be 20 years old ...
The mutilated smoked plane stood in the parking lot for a long time, awaiting repairs. The damage from the fire was such that to restore it at least for the flight to the repair plant was a big problem: before it was limited to holes or replacement of individual units of the aircraft systems, this time it was necessary either to restore it, or to change almost the entire middle part of the wing, which some it was necessary to deliver the way, not to mention the flared pair of flap sections. There were enough other defects, so it was not even clear where to start. The repair was delayed in order, but in the end the aircraft was put into a flying state (however, it was not without the quiet words of the repair brigade to the pilots who delivered “this ruin” to the base).
The very “short scheme” with the need to maneuver in regimes close to the extreme, when the mistake made by the pilot since some time could no longer be corrected, was not an easy task. Large gradients of descent and spiraling with almost extreme angles and rolls, when the plane was balanced on the verge of “controlled breakdown”, demanded good training, high professionalism and lightness of the crew (the gradient is understood as the rate of change of any parameter, in this case, height) . For their development and maintenance of skills, crews periodically conducted training flights; “War is war, and study is on schedule,” and the exercises envisaged by the course of combat training continued to be carried out routinely by pilots.
September 25 The 1986 of the year when performing round-trip operations to work out a landing approach according to a shortened pattern by the newly arrived crew of the 1 squadron of the 50 scopes landed without landing gear. When analyzing the incident, it turned out that an unaccustomed engineer just did not have time to release it. Normally, the flight in a circle continued 12-15 minutes, and then the car turned to land in the fourth minute (“rolled quickly, as if from a slide”), and the busyness of the rest of the crew did not allow them to notice that the chassis remained clean and the lights The alarms are red. With a crash, the plane drove its belly over the concrete, spun it and carried it to the ground, where it plowed another couple of hundred meters, touched the ground with a wing and froze in clouds of dust. No one on board was injured, but the plane was badly injured, the design "led" and it could only be written off. This An-12 with the onboard number USSR-11408 ended its days at the dump of the Kabul airfield, serving at last as a source of spare parts, all sorts of necessary pipes and electrical fittings not only for its fellows, but also for aviators of other parts, the benefit of this good machine was enough for all .
In just the last four months of the 1986 of the year, from September to December, the 50 th regiment lost four AN-12 and AN-26, which had been destroyed and disabled. The following year did not bring relief: the enemy continued to gain strength, getting the latest weapons, improving skills and tactics. As a safety measure, transport aviation flights began to be performed at night, when the plane under the cover of darkness was not so noticeable. The airfields with the most dangerous situation, like Khost and Jalalabad, flew mostly small, brisk An-26, and the supply of Faizabad lying in the mountains, where it was difficult and dangerous to fly planes, was carried out with the help of Mi-6 helicopters.
The national reconciliation announced by the authorities, which came into force in January of 1987, did not bring the expected results. The generously supplied enemy did not intend to put up with the "infidels" and the apostates from Kabul, and military affairs for the Mujahideen looked much more familiar and worthier than diplomatic maneuvers. In a continually fighting country, a whole generation managed to grow up, who did not know any other tool than a machine gun. The concessions on the part of the authorities for ordinary mojaheds and their leaders, recognizing only strength and independence, with complete distrust of the state, looked like a manifestation of Kabul’s weakness, which was known to both sides - in a report to the head of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army on the results of actions taken without bias said: “Only thanks to the presence of the 40 Army, is the current government kept in power.” At the same time, GlavPUR pointed out the need to move to “peacekeeping, social and propaganda tasks”, which affected even the tone of military reports and other documents, which were ordered to make “lexical changes”: thus, the words “rebels”, “dushmans”, “gangs” they were replaced by “oppositionists”, “opponents of the truce”, “armed detachments” (in this concession, the tribute to the changed state of affairs was perceptibly visible - as is known, “the insurrection cannot end in luck - otherwise his name is different”). Having realized it, the new head of the Afghan government was called the full name of Najibul; as it turned out, the formerly used form of his name Najib was familiarly derogatory and not very welcome for a respected person, which was the country's leader.
The agreements reached on a cease-fire and the establishment of "treaty zones" in which, in theory, the opponents were to refrain from using weapons, the opposition used "to the fullest" for their own purposes, adding strength and strengthening support among the population. In return for refusal of hostilities, the authorities bargained for help with food, fuel and medicines.
Obviously, such “establishing relations” required a growing volume of supplies from the USSR of a wide variety of goods. Grant aid from the USSR to a friendly country in the amount of 1987 million rubles was planned for 140, while other requests from Kabul in the Soviet Vneshtorg were frankly called dependency, moreover, irreversible. What is true, it is true - for this year the Afghan side “expressed interest” in receiving 1 billion rubles free of charge (that is, for nothing), half of the amount hoping to spend on upgrading the army and its military security, having increased the money allowance several times. It didn’t hurt much - desertion continued to grow with each month, which only in the first four months of “national reconciliation” fled or went to the enemy 11 thousand troops.
Hot days came again for transport aviation: large-scale transportation was required to support Kabul, in which, in addition to supplying new equipment, army warehouses were thoroughly wiped out, where since ancient times large deposits of weapons and all kinds of property, long since removed from supplies in the Soviet Army, were stored . Due attention was paid to the delivery of special propaganda to the enemy - leaflets, which each year brought more than 5 million pieces, and other propaganda materials, stigmatizing the counter-revolution and telling about the Afghan-Soviet friendship. They tried to find the form of presentation more accessible, in the form of caricatures of the enemy and deliberately primitive comics in pictures that are understandable for the most part illiterate population. Islamic motifs were widely used, surahs from the Koran, the first of which called for “peace in hearts”, in the design green Muslim color prevailed. A popular plot was the opposition of the laboring peasantry to the immoral opposition, spending time in idleness and vice, with wine and women, which was supposed to disgust the true devout.
In view of the same illiteracy of the population, great importance was attached to broadcasting. To this end, equipment was specifically delivered to Kabul for the deployment of the Afghan Hack radio station (“Voice of the Afghan”), which began broadcasting in March from 1986 in the languages of Pashto and Dari. Its programs, in addition to campaign programs, included the preaching of Afghan clergy from among loyally-minded mullahs, music and songs, and were very popular among the public. The work of “Afghan Voice” was a success, and the command of the army came out with a proposal to distribute cheap low-cost radio sets with a fixed frequency to the public, with which it would be possible to expand the audience and sow “reasonable, kind, eternal” directly among the population and the opposition. It was less known that the management of the radio station was completely under the jurisdiction of the political department of the 40 Army as part of the plans for special propaganda. As for the expansion of the audience due to the distribution of small-sized radio receivers, it was not possible to implement it - the domestic radio industry refused to get involved in a not very profitable project (there were no such devices in production, and the development and organization of production required expenditures with indispensable coordination inevitable "long box"). The opposing side appreciated the benefits of propaganda work even earlier: spooks also set up broadcasting, and the programs were aimed not only at the population, but also at the Soviet military. From time to time, at the usual frequencies, instead of “Mayak” and “Youth”, one could stumble upon a program in quite decent Russian language, which was led by a local “commentator”. After compulsory prayer and bravura motives, there were reports of successive victories over the "Soviet occupiers" and other military successes of the Mujahideen, after which they "triumphantly retreated to the mountains, and the Russians randomly ran after them."
Campaign work often gave quite definite consequences, although with a note: “Explanatory work among Afghans is most effective when it is supported by the provision of material assistance.” Refugees began to return to the country, who, away from sin, were transported by transport aircraft inland, away from the war zone, because there was no certainty that the disadvantaged people would not be in the enemy’s camp tomorrow. Entire tribes of several hundred people, with all the belongings and indispensable weapons as an attribute of everyday life, were thrown by such flights. On this account there was a special instruction, which prescribed the weapon to be removed and stored in the cockpit during the entire flight during the flight.
With the help of transport aviation, Afghan activists also traveled to the republics of Soviet Central Asia, organized according to the political department plan of TurkVO. Such “excursions” were held from 1987 twice a year, with the aim of demonstrating the success of socialist construction, and included trips to collective farms, enterprises and military units. Among Afghans, they were very popular not only because of the interest in the achievements of Central Asian collective farmers — everything was bought up in Tashkent and Fergana, from blankets and pillows to pots, galoshes, teapots and especially favorite vatnikov - everything that was not in Afghanistan, where dignity Soviet goods were considered indisputable. Back, the Afghans were returning loaded with impressions and bales that our shuttle traders could envy. The trips were mostly encouraged not by the cabinet workers: those who arrived by habit strove not to part with their weapons, many had scars from battle wounds, while others were completely disabled without an arm or leg and one could only guess what their lives cost in their native villages.
The bulk of the opposition did not intend to cooperate with the authorities, adjoining the “irreconcilable”, since they had their own support channels from abroad. Sources of these were very abundant, allowing you to increase the number and combat readiness, as the figures convincingly testified: in the first six months of 1987, the number of attacks on Soviet posts, outposts and columns increased threefold compared to last year. In turn, two weeks after the declaration of national reconciliation, the commander of the 40 Army issued an order - to respond with every blow to the enemy with a worthy blow. With a general course on the limitation of hostilities and the preparations for the withdrawal of air forces of the 40 Army that had begun, they continued to bear increasing losses. According to their number, 1987 was the peak - 19 aircraft and 49 helicopters were shot down, 17 of them - using MANPADS (in the previous year, 23 machines were shot down by missiles). The data on the number of anti-aircraft weapons from the enemy differed - most of them came through the agent channels "from the other side", and the informant Afghans deservedly had a reputation of "bearded storytellers", according to the reward ready to tell anything. However, the growing number of aviation losses was convincing evidence of the growing enemy air defense forces, as well as the number of MANPADS and other anti-aircraft weapons being captured among the trophies.
The weapons seized from the dushmans were delivered to the airfield of Kandahar. Pilots and technicians inspect captured DShK anti-aircraft machine guns and ZGU large-caliber installations
In the course of the first half of 1987 conducted by the army units (by 15 June), 461 DShK and ZGU were destroyed, as well as 121 MANPADS, 170 DShK and PGI and 171 MANPADS got as trophies. It is easy to see that MANPADS among the captured trophies occupied a weighty place, which was not only about their number from the enemy - the reasons were quite prosaic: the large-caliber machine gun taken with the fight was simply very heavy, the DShK itself weighed three pounds (48,5 kg without machine and cartridges), and with the bed-tripod and cartridge case already 157 kg, because of which dragging him to a helicopter or a combat vehicle for removal was not easy and usually anti-aircraft installations destroyed, breaking out parts or undermining on the spot, while “trope” and deliver s on the basis of MANPADS, rightly call "portable", it was much easier. And finally, it was quite possible to count on a well-deserved reward for seizing such dangerous weapons as MANPADS, presented not on paper, but in the form of a “net result” (for the first Stingers they were directly promised to the Hero's star). The significance of such trophies more than justified the efforts - each MANPADS captured and destroyed meant not only saved planes, helicopters and the lives of pilots, but also allowed to count on the preservation of freedom of action in the air, air support and the same transportation that the enemy carried out a real hunt.
There were already enough troubles - for 1987, 50-th scum lost four An-12 and An-26 transport planes, two of which died together with the crews. 12 July 1987 crashed while flying to Kandahar An-12. On landing with a side wind, the pilots did not have time to level the car and roughly "put" it on the ground. The right landing gear broke up, after which the aircraft was carried out from the strip, turning its tail forward. The plane was on the ground opposite the airfield TEC, hitting the minefield of the airfield cover strip. After an explosion a few minutes the plane caught fire. The crew of captain A. B. Timofeev and the accompanying cargo jumped out and rushed away from the burning fire. The people who rushed to the rescue began to put out the fire, not knowing about the extremely dangerous cargo on board the car - the plane was carrying 7,5 and bombs. The fire already engulfed the aircraft’s fuselage and a few minutes was enough for the bombs to detonate.
The blast literally swept the plane, mowing people around with splinters. 16 people died and 37 was injured. Among the dead, in addition to the soldiers and officers of the airfield battalion, were several helicopter pilots and technicians of the nearby fighter-bomber squadron. None of the crew of An-12 was injured. After the explosion and fire from the aircraft there was only a smoky spot and burnt engines buried in the sand. Immediately, the sanitary UAZ, the fire and watering machines, fitted to fight the fire, were burning down.
An-12BK from the 50-th regiment at the airport of Kandahar. In the background, the helicopters of the local 280-th ORP. Winter xnumx
The ensuing proceedings handed out "to all the sisters on the earrings." The arrival of the commission carried out an analysis of the incident, approximately punishing the right and the guilty: violations were found in the flight management and organization of the airfield cover, simultaneously squeezing the personnel for loosening discipline. In the diary of one of those who served then in Kandahar, a memorable note was left: “The authorities quickly got to the bottom of our failures, got involved and not involved. They scooped up the brag, ordered them to remove the television sets from the antenna modules so that they would not unmask the airfield, break the wonderful gazebo for rest in front of the regiment's headquarters (because it was not appropriate), conduct combat operations with all parts of the aviation town and ordered to organize essential political exercises to strengthen our morality. "
The following incident with An-12 also did not go without casualties and, again, was not the result of the actions of the enemy. Captain A.D. Grigorieva, who belonged to 50-Osap, made a flight from Kabul to Tashkent with cargo and 13 passengers on board. Departure of 21 in October 1987 was night, its role, apparently, was also played by the fact that the crew from the Siauliai regiment arrived in Afghanistan just a month ago. In the Kabul airport at night, there was a real pandemonium: transport workers flew and landed, helicopters and attack aircraft flew, flights of airfield cover circled, Aeroflot flew in, Afghans flew in their own business. While An-12 was taxiing from the parking lot, Mi-24 took the place in the middle of the lane, requesting control hovering and take-off. Having stopped at the executive start, the commander of the An-12 also turned to the flight leader for “good” to take off. Their call signs were similar and from the tower, taking the report of the An-12 for the repeated request of the helicopter, replied: "I have already authorized you." Having accepted the answer to their account, the pilots of the transport worker began the run. Already at a decent speed, starting to lift the nose of the aircraft, they saw a hanging helicopter in the headlights. There was nowhere to go, the pilots tried to jump over the obstacle and collided with a helicopter. An-12 collapsed right there at the strip and burned down with everyone on board (the fatal number of 13 passengers played its role), only the shooter was left alive who was fortunate enough to survive the fallen tail. Surprisingly, the helicopter crew was luckier much more - the pilots were almost unscathed, and the helicopter did not suffer much, escaping with a tail rotor and flying off damage to the end beam.
An-12 didn’t suffer much at the collision itself either, the plane was ruined by speed: the transporter accelerated and could not brake, but when trying to “blow up” the car, he sharply took the steering wheel and the pilots didn’t have any other way and the maneuver led to stalling, crashing and catastrophic consequences when hitting the ground.
But both of the lost An-26 became victims of MANPADS. One of them, the “mailer” of Captain M. Melnikov, the very next night of October 22 1987 was hit by a missile while landing in Jalalabad and crashed with the entire crew and several passengers. The next loss occurred exactly two months later and again fell on the same 21 number, as in October. The aircraft returned to Kabul after the delivery of the commander of the 40 Army B.V. Gromov and was shot down right at the Bagram airport at the second round of climb. The crew left the car with parachutes, but his salvation came at the cost of the life of the commander - Major V. Kovalev kept control of the burning aircraft until the last minute and he did not have enough height to reveal his own parachute. Posthumous military pilot of the 1 class, Major V.A. Kovalev was awarded the Golden Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, becoming the only VTA pilot to be awarded this rank for the entire period of the Afghan war.
Transport workers An-12 and An-26 but the parking lot of the airport Bagram. At this time, An-26 carries the stars, clearly talking about his belonging to the Air Force, and An-12BK differs in civilian marking with an “Aeroflot” flag
13 August 1987. Another An-12 suffered from the use of MANPADS. Despite the unlucky number, things went well. The rocket did not explode and the plane, after a rocket hit it, was able to make an emergency landing at the Kabul airport. It was the plane of Captain Dvorovenko from 200. He followed the route on the 9200 m train, having exceeded the 6400 m mountain range when he was shot down in the Gardez area. The rocket fuse didn’t work, but a third hit of the lower stabilizer panel along with a lick of the articulation of the plumage and fuselage blew off with a direct hit from the Stinger's hull and tore the oxygen tanks of the aft cabin. When viewed from the landing, it turned out that the power parts of the tail frame were not affected in a successful manner, with the result that the car was quickly returned to service.
It remained unclear how MANPADS missiles catch targets at heights that are much more “passport”, because with the same Stinger, with all its perfection, the height range of altitude was about 3500 m (even if up to 4500 m, according to advertising data). Apparently, the thing was that the Dushman arrows skillfully used positions on mountain peaks and passes, not only winning in the height of the “starting point”, but also unknowingly, benefiting from the fact that the rocket launched in thin air. Due to the lower air density, the rocket had significantly less resistance to flight, accelerated better and then slowed down in the passive section, thus reaching a significantly greater height (according to estimates, when starting from the platform at a three-kilometer height, it was possible to expect an increase in reach 1500-1800 m). Confirmation of these calculations was the fact that even the bullets in the mountains flew further, that every competent sniper knew.
Such results provided extensive information for reflection on the effectiveness of the protection of transport vehicles. According to the Air Force Engineering Department of the 40 Army, for the period 1984 — 1987. 36 cases of An-12 missiles were fired, five of which were hit. In all cases, the damage occurred when heat traps were not used for some reason. With their timely shooting there was not a single hit. On An-26 aircraft, missile launches were observed 41 times, while three aircraft were struck from which no traps were used and none - when they were used (for some reason, the Kovalev case, whose An-26 was shot down, was not reflected in the reports. although he led the shooting of ASO, which left the first fired rocket, but the second got right into the engine). The infrared traps were not used and their shooting stopped when the altitude was considered sufficient, although the Stinger rather moved the idea of safe flight levels.
In total, over the years of the Afghan company, as a result of the enemy’s MANPADS, two An-12 and six An-26 and An-30 aircraft were lost, which is quite convincing evidence of the reliability and efficiency of the protection systems used on these types of machines - primarily due to on the An-12 more powerful and effective infrared cartridges, which gave the An-12 obvious advantages (the comparison is quite correct due to the almost equal number of these types of machines that were in the 40 air force and similarity of the situation in which they had to work with, and the intensity of the An-12 combat activity was even higher).
For diversity, one can cite data on the effectiveness of MANPADS, called the western side (although these figures appeared in the “free press” at the suggestion of the Mujahideen themselves, much in describing their exploits, and to the smallest extent could claim objectivity). According to 1989, published in July, a special document by the US Army leadership claimed that from September 1986 to February 1989, as a result of the use of Stinger MANPADS, Afghan guerrillas shot down 269 aircraft and helicopters, producing 340 rocket launches. The authors of the report themselves did not deny that the data presented looked “a little too good” - this performance meant that the average percentage of hits reached 80%, which was much higher than in the American army itself when firing well-trained calculations and in ideal polygon setting. Although the Americans made some "inaccuracies" in describing dushmansky successes, they hardly imagined that they were exaggerated as much as fivefold, and the real losses of Soviet and Afghan aviation from MANPADS of all types for this period were only 20% of the named figure, and the narration of Dushman informants most reminded of the hunting stories of the famous Baron.
How such reports appear, one of the Mujahideen named Mahmoud told, in the summer of 1987 he decided to make money in an easier way and surrendered his “Stinger” for reward to the Afghan authorities (such a proposal to surrender weapons for quite decent money was propagandized among the population, contained in many leaflets and from time to time brought quite real results). Yesterday’s Mujahid, a two-month course in Pakistan, said: “During my studies, several Quartet with Stingers went into a raid, and then they returned without missiles. Some said that they shot down a Russian military plane there. Others said that they were surrounded by a detachment of the people's militia, but they broke through to the border, leaving their launchers. They, of course, did not really believe, but nothing can be proved. The Yankees interrogate everyone in detail and personally check the launchers. The people with whom they are handed, go to different tricks to avoid risk, but to get money. For example, they would launch a rocket into the air and sit out in the mountains, and then return with a “victory”, although they did not see any planes. After checking the plants, the Americans are recording something, then they issue a new rocket. This is what they call “control.”
The Mujahideen’s activity was directly linked to the fact that the Afghan army, during the course of national reconciliation, began to demonstrate an increasingly “peace-loving” position, refraining from hostilities and giving up its positions, garrisons and entire areas to the enemy. Describing the behavior of government troops, our advisers spoke directly about the "sabotage" of army officials. In numbers, the picture looked even more revealing: although the Afghans, at least on paper, had three times more forces than the 40 Army, their successes were more symbolic. With regard to success in the fight against anti-aircraft guns, for the aforementioned period of the first half of 1987, the government troops reported on the destruction of 60 units of DShK and ZGU (49 was captured) and as many as 7 MANPADS, as mentioned above, damage Dushman air defense was much more impressive - they destroyed large-caliber anti-aircraft machine guns and captured six times more than the entire Afghan army - 631 and 109, respectively. In terms of the effectiveness of the fight against MANPADS, the success of our troops was altogether forty (!) Times higher - 292 and 7 units, respectively.
Although the number of the Afghan army by the end of 1987 was doubled, the words about the “worsened situation” sounded like a refrain in reports from all the provinces. Even against this background, the situation around Khost, who was in complete blockade, looked especially critical. The city and the garrison were practically cut off from the center and were held solely thanks to the efforts of the commander of the local 25 Infantry Division, Major General Asef, and the supply of transport aircraft. A skilled organizer and a dashing commander, Asef kept his patrimony in his fist, demanding only support with ammunition and food. The situation was aggravated by the fact that the fighters of the local Jadran tribe opposed the district, and in the best of times they did not recognize either the king or the government. They led the line of their possessions along the Satykandav pass, through which the only road to Khost stretched. There was no movement for it for many months, and the entire supply of the garrison and the city was carried out mainly by air. In the autumn of 1987, the “air bridge” was maintained with difficulty. They tried to fly more and more at night, but losses could not be avoided. If the Soviet crews were lucky and they didn’t lose a single car here, then Afghan transport workers now and then came under fire. By August, 1987 had shot down five Afghan An-26 and four transport helicopters with heavy casualties while flying to Khost.
The last straw was the reports that the opposition leaders are planning to settle in Khost, considering his fate to be decided, and are going to place their “Afghan government” there. This threatened to lose Kabul's positions in the international arena: one thing is the opponents of power hiding in the mountains, and the other thing is an amateur opposition government right there on the territory of the country claiming recognition and help. Holding the Khost thereby turned into a political problem of corresponding importance. In order to resolve it, an operation “Magistral” to unblock the city was planned and organized, which aimed at practical tasks to ensure that convoy of cargo convoys and the necessary stocks were sent to Khost and the “strategic” aspect - to demonstrate the army’s ability to control the situation.
"Highway" was the more remarkable phenomenon that was the last major operation of the Soviet troops in the Afghan war. In November-February, the 1987 and 108 motorized rifle divisions, the 201 airborne division, the 103 separate air assault brigade, the 56 th separate parachute regiment, a number of other parts and divisions. On the Afghan side, the forces and assets of the five infantry divisions (345, 8, 11, 12 and 14), as well as the 25-th tank brigade and commando units were deployed.
After taking the Satykandav pass, it was decided to continue the operation with counter actions, organizing the performance of units from Khost to meet the main forces. To this end, a battalion of Soviet troops and a brigade of Afghan commandos were transferred to the airfield of Khost by transport aviation. As a result, the road to Khost was completely taken under control of 30 December, a day before the New Year, cars with cargoes went on it. 40 thousand tons of ammunition, food and fuel were transferred to the city by 24 Army trucks, after which the troops were taken back and ... the situation recovered: the enemy straddled the road and Khost again found itself in a perimeter defense, maintaining communications with the center only by air.
Spilled blood here was paid for the ambitions of Kabul exclusively - there were no Soviet units that needed support either in Khost or in the district. As for the drama of the Khosta blockade, its resolution, apparently, was the fruit of the persistence of the Afghan authorities. The enemy in fact did not really show any desire to storm the city, remaining in the same position until the very departure of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan and even three years later.
Incessant shelling of air bases, especially sensitive in Kabul and Bagram, continued to plague the city, where spooks operated under the cover of villages that approached the airfields directly. On August 11, 1987 Aviation Day, a real battle broke out at Bagram, the clashes were right at the perimeter of the airfield, and the grenades of mines and rockets covered the site every now and then. The defense had to hold not only the guard battalion, but also the aviators themselves, who held positions with weapons in their hands. Aircraft in case of shelling tried to disperse around the airfield, but in the parking lot of transport workers the planes stood wing to wing, and the bulky machine itself was an attractive target. The “black tulip” of An-12 (board No. 18), damaged by splinters, was touched by a close break, and two soldiers were also injured when they sent “a load of 200”. Direct hits also covered the TEC of the 50 th air regiment, where there were killed and wounded. In Bagram, then, in one day, two dozen planes and helicopters received damage from mines and shells.
The new attack was not long in coming - after a few days, on August 21, the spooks made another fire attack, which again covered the location of the 50 regiment. Pilots and technicians gathered for a mourning rally to say goodbye to the dead on the eve, when shells began to burst right in the parking lot. Again there were injured and damage to equipment.
Transport workers but the parking of arriving planes of the Bagram air base. In the foreground are MiG-23LDs and fighter pilots from the duty link of the 120-iap. Winter xnumx
The situation at Bagram in 1988 was no less tense. The withdrawal of Soviet troops announced from 15 in May initiated the actions of the local opposition groups who decided not to wait until the “apple falls from the tree” and began to occupy the approaches to the base. Aiming at weak spots in the aerodrome protection belt, riflemen began to force out Afghan units from defensive positions and posts, refraining from contacting Soviet troops, with whom agreement on mutual neutrality was previously reached (gangs were considered “contractual”). At the same time, the transport workers of the 200 squadron were not in the most advantageous position, since their stands were directly next to the “Democratic” ones and the firing was near. Government aviation was brought in to assist, striking the enemy right on the outskirts of the airfield. The planes taking off barely had time to remove the landing gear and immediately dropped bombs, the whole action took place right before the eyes of the airfield people watching the battle. Having been subjected to continuous bombing attacks for several days, the enemy lost a man to 300, could not stand it and abandoned his plans.
No less hot accounted for in Kabul. The metropolitan position of the city made it a particularly attractive target for the Mujahideen of all stripes and orientations. Shelling Kabul, a symbol of political power, was a manifestation of valor that increased self-esteem and prestige among partners and rivals. To protect the city, there were two security belts, the closest of which included outposts along the perimeter of Kabul itself, and long-distance posts were located on the mountain tops around, preventing large gangs from entering the defensive ring and preparing shelling. They couldn’t be completely eliminated - the situation itself was hindered by difficult terrain, a lot of mountain passes and trails, and even the Mujahideen armed forces had means of attack with ever greater range of fire - new missiles made it possible to fire from a distance of fifteen kilometers, hiding in the mountains .
The capital's airfield proved to be especially vulnerable, as it was extremely difficult to cover up with a large occupied area and openness on the ground. The regime zone of Kabul was 1600 km2 with a fifty-kilometer perimeter, for the defense of which more than 4500 people were involved, four or six artillery battalions with hundreds of guns and mortars, as well as two helicopter squadrons were involved. The airfield itself was covered by 27 guard posts and posts of the Soviet troops.
The launch of the 1988 Army from Afghanistan, which began in May, did not alleviate the situation. Its first stage, calculated for three months, was returned to its homeland by half of the army personnel, mainly leaving the distant garrisons, including Kandahar, Jalalabad, Kunduz and Faizabad. The enemy in these areas used the situation to their advantage, gaining greater freedom of action and establishing almost undivided control over the district and roads. As to the shelling and attacks on the Soviet garrisons and the locations of the units, the opposition leaders managed to agree on mutual restraint with others, others, as if waking up and competing with each other, tried not to miss the opportunity to display prowess and “show off” about the outgoing “shuravi” .
Within six months after the commencement of the withdrawal of troops, 26 fire attacks were made on the airfields where the Soviet aircraft was located. Kabul was particularly getting into it - during the year 635 was hit by missiles at the city, which caused more casualties at the capital’s airdrome than during the previous years combined attacks. Extremely severe consequences entailed a raid on Kabul 23 airfield on June 1988. The tears in the missiles covered the Su-25 attack aircraft, which were fully loaded and warheaded. When the airfield was cramped, the planes stood in an open place tightly, wing to wing, and the fire started immediately covered the entire parking lot, destroying eight attack aircraft. Immediately lay ammunition, and nearby was a parking lot of transport workers of the 50 regiment with a dozen An-26 and several An-12. One of the An-12 was standing next to burning attack aircraft, in a couple of tens of meters.
Unfortunately, the transport workers did not have any of the pilots - they rested after night flights and there was no one to drive the cars to a safe place. Ammunition had already begun to burst, and fragments whistled over the planes. One of the first to arrive at the airplanes was the 2 squadron Major N. Danilov. However, the major flew only An-26 and had never dealt with An-12 before. However, he didn’t have to think it over and, having called one of the technicians, the pilot climbed into the An-12 cockpit, hoping to find out on the spot. And again, bad luck - the technician turned out to be an unimportant assistant, he also did not have to work on "big" machines. Having somehow decided on unfamiliar equipment in the cab, Danilov managed to start one engine, unlocked the steering wheels and, removing the car from the parking brake, tried to move from the spot. The plane did not obey - one engine lacked traction, and the second pilot, who was already working, could not launch. Time after time trying to revive him, the pilot got his way. Further it was already a matter of habit: the pilot drove the car away from the fire and drove into the distribution area. Returning, Danilov took up "his" An-26, took one and then another plane to safety. When asked how he coped with an unfamiliar technique, the pilot laughed off: “As with a bicycle, who once learned to drive, he will always cope.”
For the valor and salvation of equipment, Major N. Danilov was presented to the Order of the Red Banner, but “at the top” they considered that “the reward does not correspond to the position” and the pilot deserves only the Red Army’s “standard” flight crew (the usual pilots who participated in the hostilities were awarded in the corresponding hierarchy: the commanders of the regiment and, sometimes, the squadron, received the Order of the Red Banner, the other pilots of the Red Star, the IAS leadership - “For serving the Motherland in the Armed Forces” and the technical staff - “For oevye merit ", and needed a great contribution (or other advantages), this distribution list to change).
The losses and damages caused by the shelling were far from exhausted: that while the pilots and equipment of the regiment rescued the planes and fought the fire, the Afghan neighbors arrived at the scene of the fire. Hitting off at the ravaged parking lot, the “allies” vividly dragged off all the remaining property, whether it was bad and well-laid — plane covers, tools, and other good things that were in the economy.
Heavy day for the 40 Army, the day did not end there. By the ill will of fate, already on the morning of the next day, 24 June 1988, during the flight from Kabul to Bagram, the An-26 of the co-esque of Lieutenant-Colonel A. Kasyanenko from the 50 regiment crashed and crashed with the whole crew (only the flight mechanic survived) Ensign S. Popov, selected by the search group).
Already at the end of the year, 13 in November 1988, during the next shelling of the Kabul airfield, the regiment suffered heavy losses. The shelling began in the evening when the pilots of the helicopter squadron gathered at the TV to watch hockey with the participation of Dynamo. The thirteenth number confirmed its unkind glory: the shell hit right on the roof of the building and exploded in the room among the pilots.
The evil whim of fate was that the shell was crazy - a well-informed opponent, no doubt, knew that it was at that time that Tu-154 with the Soviet government commission headed by E.A. had to take off from Kabul airport. Shevardnadze, who discussed military supplies. The raid was timed exactly to the specified time. The plane ran to the accompaniment of gaps, but everything went well for the delegation - the car broke off the ground, gained altitude and went home. The pilots of the helicopter team covering them, having returned, found out that the hitting had at once taken the lives of their comrades 12. These were the greatest one-time losses of the airmen of the 40 Army, moreover, they happened a few weeks before the end of the war.
The same unsafe situation remained at other airfields, especially where there were no longer any garrisons of the Soviet troops and covering forces that could be expected by arriving transport workers. For example, in Kandahar, to ensure at least some similarity of safety, the vicinity of the airfield had to be processed by attack aircraft coming four hundred kilometers from Shindand. Meanwhile, the local Afghan garrison and the remaining group of Soviet paratroopers desperately needed the support of aviation, and the supply could be carried out exclusively by air. The commander of the 2 Army Corps, governor-general Nurulkhan Olumi, who ordered in Kandahar, an authoritative and representative man, whose brother was Assistant to President Najibuly, in general demanded only ammunition support, everything else was obtained on the spot. In the district, he had his people everywhere, and the necessary fuel and food were simply bought through local merchants, who were not particularly disturbed by the hostilities and blockade of the city. Transport workers went to Kandahar mainly at night, delivering ammunition, shells and mines, and returning the wounded by return flights.
Since the departure of the Soviet troops did not guarantee reliable airfield cover, the safety of IL-76 flights to Kandahar was not ensured. A large and heavy vehicle was too visible a target and their flights to Kandahar had to be stopped. Only An-12 and An-26 continued to work in this direction, in which the “short circuit” take-off and landing maneuvers were more compact. This significantly complicated transportation problems: after all, the IL-76 took on board three times more cargo than the An-12, not to mention the An-26 with their five-ton carrying capacity. The supply of Kandahar now had to be carried out in a “two-step” manner: the necessary cargo from the Union was delivered to Kabul on Il-76, where they were taken by An-12 and An-26, flying to Kandahar.
It was indicative that the plans for the withdrawal of the troops did not envisage a reduction in the air transport forces. If during the first stage of the withdrawal of the army, the number of air forces of the 40 army decreased by 45%, the transport workers of the fifty kopeks and 200 squadrons remained in place, retaining their entire grouping and continuing to work "to the full extent". Moreover, in the summer of 1988, the air force was replenished with one more unit, the 339-I separate mixed squadron of central subordination. The squadron was quickly formed at the base of the Transcaucasian District Air Force by July 11 1988 and redeployed to Kabul, aiming to work in the interests of the advisory apparatus and, if necessary, to evacuate the embassy staff and the government of Afghanistan. In an emergency, in addition to the capital’s airport, it was also envisaged to take people from the Kabul stadium, which was located closer to the administrative districts. For this purpose, the squadron was staffed with five Mi-8МТ, two An-26 and one An-12, based on a separate parking lot of the Kabul airfield. She didn’t have to sit idle - although the enemy didn’t go for an attack of Kabul, the squadron pilots were actively involved in carrying out various transportation tasks, and the helicopter crews patrolled the environs of the capital and, after the failure of an entire 50 squadron squadron, were involved in working with special forces , disembarking inspection teams and fighting caravans.
There were obvious justifications for increasing the load on transport aviation: in addition to the usual tasks of supplying parts of the 40 Army, transport workers received an additional amount of work to ensure the withdrawal of troops, their personnel and funds. Only from the Kandahar airbase was it necessary to withdraw the 280-th separate helicopter regiment, the 205-th separate helicopter squadron, the assault squadron of the 378-th separate assault aviation regiment and the squadron of the 979 th fighter regiment with all the means due, and the assets of the property and unit. In addition, the needs of the Afghan troops increased significantly. Motivating the ever-increasing demand for supplies, Kabul cited the increased importance of its army in opposition to the opposition as an argument. “Defending the cause of the revolution” needed more and more significant help: suffice it to say that in 1987, the volume of Soviet military support doubled compared to the previous year, exceeding one billion rubles, and in 1988 it increased by another two-thirds, reaching 1629 million rubles.
However, it was still flowers: for 1989, compensating for the absence of Soviet troops, the Afghan government demanded more than two times more - 3972 million rubles; thus, Kabul's supply volumes reached 10,9 million rubles daily, while home in the Soviet republics became increasingly noticeable a shortage of many goods, from soap and other consumer goods to bread and gasoline, behind which gas stations lined up for hours. The war in general turned out to be an insatiable business and more and more unaffordable, literally ruining the country.
In addition to the usual tasks of transportation, transport aviation forces ensured the delivery of journalistic groups that arrived to cover the withdrawal of troops in the spirit of declared openness and publicity. Already in the first stage, the number of journalists from leading news agencies around the world, including European and American, exceeded 400, and 34 television and film groups also worked. Representatives of news agencies, as well as diplomats from the UN and observer countries arrived in Tashkent, from where they were transferred by air transport to Kabul and, further, by local airplanes and helicopters to garrisons, where they could control the withdrawal of troops and accompany the columns of the departing units. The delivery of observers and reporters was not without incident: the plane with the first group that flew to the airfield of Jalalabad 14 in May 1988, sat at night at the bombed airfield under mine explosions and machine-gun tracers - the Mujahideen demonstrated their “farewell” scenario with the Russians.
The situation with the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Kunduz unexpectedly turned around. The center of the province in the north of the country lay some fifty kilometers from the Soviet border and the situation here was considered fairly tolerable, besides there were considerable forces of the Afghan group of troops "North" and troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security, which were considered the pillar of power. However, in Kunduz there was no active ruler, similar to the Kandahar governor-general, and the strength of the government forces in fact could not withstand the first pressure from the enemy. Having almost fivefold numerical superiority over the opposition units, they simply fled when the Mujahideen approached the city and Kunduz was taken on 8 of August 1988 of the city without any resistance. Local authorities and the remnants of the garrison retreated to the airfield of Kunduz, where they took shelter under the protection of the units of the 75 Infantry Regiment. At inquiries from the center, discouraged local leaders explained what had happened to the general superiority of the enemy forces and their pressure, overcame the heroic resistance of the city’s defenders, but on closer examination it turned out that the “valiant defenders” had neither the dead nor the wounded in their ranks, and the city mayor and part the tops of the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs immediately came to their side as the Mujahideen approached.
To rectify the situation at the headquarters of the 40 Army, they promptly prepared a response plan. The main point for their development was precisely the airfield of Kunduz, which remained in their hands. It was not only about helping an unlucky ally, but also about the strategic development of the situation - Kunduz, the fourth largest city in the country, was a major hub, supplying the remaining parts of the 40 Army, and a large opposition group on the nearby roads could be a serious hindrance. In the evening of 12 in August 1988 in Kunduz on An-12 flew a group of officers of the 40 Army headquarters, followed by the An-26 - generals and officers of the operational group of the USSR Ministry of Defense led by Army General V.I. Varennikov. The airfield of Kunduz was attacked by the enemy, the radio and lighting equipment did not work, due to which several armored personnel carriers, which indicated the direction of landing with headlights, had to be adjusted to illuminate the strip. The commander of An-12, Major V. Afanasyev, in the dark managed to properly land the plane, an An-26 arrived an hour later.
The decisive role in the preparation of the liberation of the city was assigned to aviation. Additional forces from the Afghan army, including the commandos and units of the 18 th infantry division of government forces, were promptly transferred to the airfield of Kunduz by air. Bombing attacks of aviation were inflicted on the opposition formations in the vicinity, after which Kunduz was again taken under control. General of the Army V.I., who led the operation. In his report, Varennikov emphasized in his report “the decisive role in the liberation of Kunduz, which was played by troops deployed from the Center.”
The events around Kunduz became indicative not only in the sense that the enemy for the first time managed to seize a large administrative center and establish its power there, albeit briefly, which threatened to “lose face” of the Afghan rulers; Significant was the confirmed value of the airfield as a base, a kind of fortress and a source of support that allows you to hold positions, get reinforcements and, ultimately, to break the situation in your favor (just as the Americans used their bases in the Vietnam War unsinkable aircraft carriers "held and supplied exclusively by air).
As the deadline for the withdrawal of Soviet troops approached, the Afghan rulers were becoming increasingly nervous. Having received a negative response to repeated requests to leave at least part of the 40 army to support the "people's power", the rulers of Kabul focused on requests for more extensive assistance, saying bluntly that the very survival of "friendly Afghanistan" would depend on it. At the January talks with the Soviet representatives, President Najibul openly speculated on possible discontent of the population, and even revolt in the capital, unless the Soviet side organized an “air bridge” and created sufficient stocks of food, fuel and other goods. More - more: the Afghan president "would consider it desirable that Soviet airfields in the immediate vicinity of the border of Afghanistan would have a certain amount of aircraft on duty that could be quickly used against the insurgents in the event of a threatening situation in a particular region of the country" (To put it bluntly, it was about the continuation of the hostilities of the Soviet armed forces by the bombing of aircraft and "expeditionary means" from the territory of the USSR).
In the end, they agreed on the priority transfer by the forces of the Soviet BTA 2000 t flour from Tashkent to Kabul, as well as the organization of urgent measures to support government forces in Kandahar. Since the city was completely surrounded by opposition troops, the Afghans offered to carry out convoys with cargoes under the cover of Soviet troops, which again meant their inevitable involvement in battles, not to mention the indispensable scandal with non-compliance with international obligations when the troops returned to the recently abandoned city. Agreed that the Soviet side pledged to transfer by air from the territory of TurkVO to support 3000 Kandahar t ammunition and 20 military equipment units up to February 4 1989 (date was the line to which it was planned to completely withdraw the 40 army units and from the Afghan capital). These obligations meant a difficult task for transport aviation, which was required to ensure delivery of selected cargoes within a couple of weeks, for which only An-12 should have been made to Kandahar order 400 — 450 flights.
Wrecks of An-12 on the outskirts of Kabul airport
Accordingly, the assigned scope of work required a significant increase in the operational grouping of the BTA at border airfields. For this it took to concentrate forces here, which had not been for ten years already - since the Soviet troops entered. The senior aviation commander of the VTA was the first deputy commander of the VTA, Lieutenant General V.A. Trapeznikov, whose headquarters was in Tashkent. From the airfield Mary-2, 20 crews of An-12 Trans-Baikal 930 Wtap worked under the command of regiment colonel V.G. Ovsyankina, from Fergana - five crews of the local 194-th vtap.
An air bridge to Kandahar was organized, and An-12 and An-26 began to arrive in the city. Ammunition and foodstuffs were delivered to the city, the remaining people and property were taken by return flights. The first voyage for the evacuation of personnel almost cost the lives of the An-12 pilots. In addition to the regular crew, there was an on-board pilot-inspector of the military training department of the military aviation aviation colonel AM Kolbasin. Already during the landing approach a heavy fire was fired. It was possible to sit down only from the fifth approach, literally crept up to the runway on the low-level flight. Barely started unloading, as mines began to fall nearby. One of the first gaps lay down next to the pilots, knocking down and contused them. The crew commander was hit with a shrapnel cap and scratched his head, Kolbasin received a wound through the leg. After that, they began to fly to Kandahar only at night, but this did not bring much relief.
On the same night of January 22, 1989 in the Kandahar airport, an An-26 arrived for the wounded. The plane, which belonged to the 50-th regiment, received significant damage and had to be left, and the crew and victims were taken out by another aircraft sent for them. However, this was not the last transport worker lost in the Afghan war.
Less than a week, as on the night from 27 to 28, in January, she was covered by Captain S.F. An-12, who was standing under unloading. Ganusevich from the 930 regiment It turned out that it turned out to be the same plane that suffered from the MANPADS hit in December 1986, returned to the base in a seemingly hopeless situation and after the repair continued to serve. The plane with the USSR-11987 number had a difficult fate: this time misfortune lurked it on the ground and already with more serious consequences. Fortunately, no one from the crew was hurt, but the car damaged by splinters failed. It was no longer possible to lift it into the air or repair it in the besieged city to return home. Having passed through the entire war, An-12 didn’t escape the fate prepared for him in recent days ... The plane was left in Kandahar, and since the plane was abandoned in the wrong hands, it was necessary to draw up a special act of cancellation, which the special administration carried on a signature. Being a 14 in February of 1989, on the day when the last Soviet military from the task force of the USSR Ministry of Defense left Kabul, this act became almost the final official document in the history of the Afghan campaign, and the car fell to become the last aircraft sacrificed in the Afghan war .
On the night of February 1, 1989 almost got to the loss of another An-12. When the arriving plane of Captain A. Egorov was turning from the lane to the taxiing, he got the wheels of the right trolley into a fresh funnel from hitting a mine. The stand was slightly crushed, but it was worse that the plane that had collapsed on its side touched the ground with a propeller and put the leftmost engine out of action. The blades were bent "to the rose", and it didn’t even talk about replacing the engine in the blocked Kandahar. The first reaction of the authorities was: "Blow up the plane, fly away on the very first board." However, the pilots decided not to abandon a practically serviceable aircraft, on which some of them flew their entire flying life, having had the most literal connection with each other (no wonder - some of the crew were younger than their car).
The next night, an abbreviated four-man crew — Colonel A. Kolbasin for the commander, captain A. Egorov as a right-wing pilot, navigator and flight engineer — took the plane to the runway. Having launched three engines and having estimated that on the run, the An-12 would pull in the direction of an inoperative power plant, he was taken to the left edge of the runway. The calculation turned out to be correct: the plane was hardly kept during the takeoff run, and it went into the air at the very end of the strip from its right edge. A couple of hours later, An-12 landed in Marah. Two days later, he was already returned to service. For the beginning, the pilots who returned the car received a dressing from Moscow; Kolbasin was punished for his self-will. Having cooled down, some time later, the authorities changed their anger to mercy and, for saving the plane, awarded him on behalf of the commander of the VTA with a transistor receiver, and from the government with the order “For personal courage”.
During the war years, BTA aircraft made 26900 flights to Afghanistan, of which Il-76 made 14700 sorties and another 12200 made turboprop aircraft, including An-26, An-22 and An-12. The latter accounted for 26% of cargo and 11% of the total number of personnel in 426 thousand tons of cargo and 880 thousand people transferred by BTA forces.
The withdrawal of air units and air force rear from Bagram began on January 12, from Kabul on January 19 1989, however, due to the continued work of transport workers and the need to cover the airfield, they had to linger. In addition, by order of the commander of the 40 army, Lieutenant-General B.V. Gromov's air transport forces were required to ensure the withdrawal of garrisons of personnel not engaged in hostilities. Those were about 30 thousand people, and sending them home by air was much safer than moving in army columns on snow-covered mountain roads. The withdrawal terms had already been moved by almost a month: the original plans were to “unload” the central garrisons already in the New Year's area, but an unforeseen “force majeure” intervened, which was the devastating earthquake in Nagorno-Karabakh. In order to eliminate its consequences and emergency aid, the victims needed to use almost all the forces of the VTA. The number of transport workers working for Afghanistan, however, could not be reduced, since the final withdrawal dates were not subject to revision, being a matter of principle for the country's political responsibility for the commitments made. It was necessary to overtake the missed by the end of January, as a result of which the ground echelon of the 40 Army Air Force left Bagram 28 in January, from Kabul - February 1.
The last 40 Air Force airplanes left the Bagram air base by February 1. In Kabul, the aviators lingered until February 14, covering the work of the “air bridge”. In all cases, the “extreme” machines, which flew away only after all the others had left, were precisely the transport workers - in the usual way, waiting for the technical staff and the flight management team that produced the airplanes and helicopters flying home, the An-12 or An-26 was on duty. Only after the message that the planes landed safely at the destination aerodrome in the Union, the transport worker took the people and took the course.
In the last group, already in the morning of February 1, Bagram also left Colonel Perekrestov, inspector of the 73 Air Forces Flight Safety Army, on whose account there were more than one hundred sorties on various types of aircraft. He remembered the last night on the deserted base like this: “The airfield looked deserted and no one’s around - not a soul, only here and there are cars with the doors open, left everywhere. Just before the flight, they remembered that zinc of cartridges remained in the hostel of the flight management group. We decided to grab it and went through the KDP. The picture there was completely mystical: the building was completely empty, all the doors were wide open, equipment was still working in dark rooms, lights were flashing, indicators were flickering regularly, fragments of some conversations were heard on the radio and, like in a dark movie, not a soul ... Everything left the war.
The returning units were transported by transport flights at the airfields of Tashkent, Fergana, Mary, Karshi, Kokaity and Chirchik - all capable of receiving a mass of troops and equipment. Not everywhere, “internationalist warriors” waited for a warm welcome - the welcoming scenes in the style of “Country Meets Their Heroes” remained the subject of television programs, and the local border regime did not provide for indulgence, and the customs service didn’t miss their work. The same extreme group of senior officers and technical personnel who arrived from Bagram received a reception at home with all the authorized severity: “Arrived in the morning, it was not light yet. They wanted to get out of the plane to warm up, smoke, but no - not very friendly "border" literally with bayonets and butts drove us back to the transport worker, to wait for the check. So they froze in the cargo compartment until they arrived and the review of documents and things began. I don’t know what they were looking for, but for some reason this draw-box of cartridges didn’t attract anyone and stayed with us. ”
Among others, he left Afghanistan and 50 th osap. “Fifty-one” was initially taken to the airfield of Mary, and then stationed in Belarus, where part of it remains safely today, having today the status of the 50 transport order of the Red Star of the Air Force Base of the Republic of Belarus.
The troop group remained on the territory of TurkVO for another month and a half - no one could vouch in which direction the war would turn. Transport aviation was also on duty, although during this period Soviet shipments of weapons, ammunition and special equipment were suspended. With the withdrawal of Soviet troops at the disposal of Afghans at the main bases were left three-month ammunition stocks, imported with the participation of the same BTA. They were not long enough - in the first decade of March, President Najibullah appealed for an urgent resumption of supplies, speculating to the Soviet leadership that "we may lose Afghanistan."
Such extravagance while providing free supplies was predetermined. The total amount of Soviet aid in all positions, from food and fuel to household goods, utensils and even furniture, also listed in Kabul's applications, has reached truly astronomical numbers - for those 10 months, while troops were being withdrawn, at the disposal of the Afghans, S. Keshtmand, over half a million tons of all kinds of cargo were delivered. Given that Kabul was the destination of almost all of this flow, each adult resident had more than one and a half tons of Soviet aid. Ammunition and fuel were not limited to Kabul's needs: aside from other things, salt alone in warehouses for supplying Afghanistan with 1988 in November was almost 5000 tons, soaps - 1400 tons, tea - 506 tons.
The parking lot of the Afghan 373 air transport regiment
Panorama of Kabul airport. May 1988 g
Lieutenant-General M.A., sent to Afghanistan as the head of the operation group of the USSR Ministry of Defense. Gareev described his impressions of the 6 1989 arrival in Kabul in February: “With an experienced crew of the Air Force of the Turkestan Military District, we got to Kabul late at night. As always when landing at the Kabul airfield, the plane made several rounds in order to produce a gradual decline in the mountainous terrain. And it was well seen how in different places there was shooting and tracer bullets rushed up. It seemed that battles were fought in the city. But it was the usual shooting up numerous watch and guard outposts guarding Kabul. They tried to fight unsuccessfully with this constant indiscriminate shooting at the expense of a large amount of ammunition, but ultimately we had to get used to all this. ”
Already 12 in March 1989 at a meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, it was decided to resume the supply of weapons to Kabul. In addition to the allocation of material resources, the Ministry of Defense was instructed to ensure their delivery by organization of convoys and the engagement of BTA forces. Thus, it turned out that with the end of the Afghan war, the epic of transport aviation was far from over, moreover - to supply Afghanistan, additional forces needed to be involved, organizing a group of two dozen BTA aircraft deployed on the airfields of Tashkent, Fergana and Karshi. The local aerodromes coexisted with large junction stations of the Central Asian Railway, which ensured the uninterrupted and timely delivery of cargo destined for transfer to Afghanistan. With regard to transport volumes, the flow of goods did not fall at all after the departure of the 40 Army from Afghanistan. Moreover, deliveries to Afghans in many positions have increased significantly, being a kind of replenishment for the absence of Soviet troops. For example, if for the needs of the 40 Army's air force 1987 thousand air bombs were delivered to 113, exactly the same amount was shipped to the Afghans of 1989 - 112 thousand air bombs.
Among other things, in March, 1989 1000 pieces of Bumblebee flame throwers were urgently delivered to Kabul. For the defense of the capital, where there was only one Gradov Division, missile launchers P-300, Luna-M, high-power volley fire systems Smerch and Uragan were provided, the range of which allowed them to restrain the enemy at a safe distance from capital Cities. True, it seems that neither the top political leadership nor the advisory generals took into account that these systems of rocket weapons, with their limited accuracy capabilities, are suitable only for defeating large area objects — enemy clusters and their bases, to the least extent satisfying tasks of the anti-guerrilla war, where such goals were simply absent. However, it seems there was no talk about some kind of performance - the Afghans were more attracted by the very importance of owning an impressive-looking weapon and the entertainment of rocket launches with heavy missiles carried away into the distance with a trail of fire, which they applauded and rejoiced like children. Moreover, even tribal formations, who agreed to take the side of the authorities and were interested in superiority over their neighbors, claimed the rocket complexes. Vtoril them and MS Gorbachev, in a letter addressed to the Afghan president from 11 in December 1989, pointed to "great importance, which, undoubtedly, reciprocal missile strikes have."
One way or another, but applications for the supply of heavy rockets sounded constantly, making up a few dozen pieces every month. Missiles were thrown through the air, assigning additional flights of transport aircraft. For transportation, the missiles were undocked, the case was delivered separately on special cradles and the warhead in its packaging.
The bulk of the transportation work was carried out by heavy IL-76, but there were also enough tasks for the An-12. The work of the “air bridge” continued for another three years, allowing Kabul, if not to count on monitoring the situation in the country, then at least signify the presence of state power. In the provinces, the situation was different, holding on to the presence of the army, and where on the ability of local leaders to negotiate with the opposition. The same Kandahar Governor-General Olumi kept the balance in the province with both the whip and the carrot, sending their relatives to local field commanders, who had to persuade the Mujahideen to persuade them to attack; the consent of the enemy was bought by the Mzdy, or even ammunition, the Mujahideen were allowed to visit their relatives in the city, however, with the condition to keep their weapons at the checkpoint near the city limits.
The fighting was most intensively unfolded near Kabul, Jalalabad and Khost, demanding the constant provision of Soviet military aid. In addition to other cargoes, it was necessary to deliver cargo parachute systems and platforms for non-stop landing of cargoes. They were required to supply the garrisons blocked by the rebels, where delivery was otherwise impossible. The Afghan crews were engaged in this, and even used the parachutes from the besieged Khost even managed to take out helicopters and An-26 aircraft for reuse. Their reserves, however, were quickly exhausted - it was a sin to expect that the parachute canvas would not immediately begin to pull away for everyday use everyone who had access to it.
Domestic transportation of cargo and personnel to airfields and garrisons, where there was no longer a Soviet transport aircraft, was engaged in planes and helicopters of government forces. To support the Afghan Air Force, they were transferred to the An-12 squadron with a dozen aircraft. Placed them at the Kabul airfield, which became a real staging base, where Soviet transport workers arrived unloaded. An-12 became the most powerful and "representative" technique of Afghan transport aircraft, the rest of its fleet were An-26 and An-32. The planes were not new, after all, the production of cars of this type was completed almost twenty years ago. All of them belonged to the An-12BP variant and, before handing over to the Afghans, underwent current maintenance work, which provided the necessary “working capacity” stock.
At first, it was proposed to solve the problem in the simplest and fastest way, transferring to the Afghans the aircraft from the 50 regiment and the Bagram transport squadron. However, such a solution was hampered by decent wear of equipment with a literally knocked out resource, for which it needed to be restored and overhauled, and on returning home it was immediately sent to aviation repair facilities. I had to collect transport workers in parts of the BTA in the Union and distill to Kabul. Apparently, for this reason, the planes intended for Afghans who had not worked here before were not equipped with heat trap tapes, and this “forgetfulness” was corrected only later, making the necessary improvements. Pilots were trained for them at the Fergana Training Center.
In what conditions did the flights to the blocked garrisons take place, said General MA Gareev, who in September 1988 visited with the inspection at Khost: “The ring of defense narrowed to the limit and the troops stationed in the valley occupied an extremely disadvantageous position. The city and, especially, the airfield from all directions were shot by artillery fire. During the landing approach, we have already seen tracer bullets and projectiles flying in the air in the direction of our aircraft and the landing strip is covered with tears of rockets. It seemed that there was no way to evade them. But the pilots, maneuvering on the landing strip, were already approaching shelters prepared for people at the end of the airfield. At this time, a shell exploded ahead and the plane crashed into the resulting funnel. It was clear how many fragments riddled the hull of the aircraft, but by some miracle no one was injured, except for fairly severe bruises that were obtained during sudden deceleration of the aircraft and overcoming the crater from a missile. We quickly reached the shelter, and the aircraft crew, before flying back, had to load the wounded and sick, the spent parachute systems under enemy fire, and then take off. These pilots were given additional payment for each flight to Khost, but regardless of anything, their every flight was a feat. ”
There have even been attempts to use transport aircraft as bombers. Either one of the Afghans heard that the transport workers could carry bomb weapons (and even some An-12 could take on board nearly fifty bombs), or this idea occurred to some of the advisers who were keen on using the idea " all the forces and means ", but the proposal to use transport workers for carpet bombing in the vicinity of Kabul was not long in coming. They intended to cover the areas where the enemy’s fire assets could be located to ensure the security of the capital by bombing the squares, which was a consistent continuation of the trend - the number of hectares rather than the allegedly destroyed missile and mortar positions was already included in the reports. in the district, treated with artillery and multiple rocket systems, shooting squares.
Tens and hundreds of tons of bombs rolling into the neighborhood would be a logical development of this course. But this offer was rejected. There was an obvious parallel with the experience of the Americans in the Vietnam War, where they, being richer, could afford the tasks by continuously increasing the amount of ammunition consumed, covering entire areas with carpet bombing and mowing down the jungle with the fire of "ganships" with the expectation that there was some kind of bomb or the shell will still find its goal. Acting with their usual scope, the Americans bombarded the jungle, villages, industrial and military facilities with a truly insane amount of ammunition, intending to crush all resistance with a firing squad. In terms of the number of aviation forces involved and the expenditure of aviation weapons of destruction, the Vietnamese campaign looked absolutely incomparable with Afghanistan: suffice it to say that at the height of the hostilities, US aircraft used up to 120 thousands of tons of bombs monthly (!) - twice or three times the amount received by the Air Force 40 th army for a whole year, even during periods of the greatest military tension. In concrete numbers, the difference looked even more impressive: in 1968, US aviation with the participation of air forces, naval aviation and marine corps dropped 1431654 t bombs on objects in Southeast Asia, and 1969 t bombs on 1387237. During the Afghan war, the highest consumption of bombing weapons achieved by the 1988 Army aviation in 40 amounted to 129 thousand units, mainly 100 and 250 caliber kg, making up the difference in tonnage by several orders of magnitude.
Afghan An-12BP parked at the Kabul airfield. As you can see, transport workers do not carry heat trap blocks. May 1988 g
The experience of the Americans in using aviation in local wars was studied and analyzed by our specialists. We also drew attention to the practice of using “hugships” - transport airplanes, stuffed with machine guns and artillery weapons and used in the tactics of the “firing shaft” in direct aviation support, in the fight against manpower and transport of the enemy - the same goals as in Afghanistan. When discussing the prospects of such a tool in the Air Force Engineering Academy. Zhukovsky, all the estimates of weapons specialists were refuted by one and very weighty argument - “it will take such an expenditure of ammunition that we simply will not feed it!”. There was no exaggeration or lack of self-assessment of the capabilities of our “defense”: guns and machine guns of the AC-130 Hercules class fired more 10000 cartridges per minute, whereas for the entire 40 Army aviation it was considered sufficient to allocate 1000-1200 for the whole aviation of the XNUMX Army for a year Thousands of cartridges (and in other years or less), and all this supply of one “ganship” alone would have shot for a couple of hours of work if its trunks could work without stopping.
In addition to ammunition and other supplies, the Soviet side had to periodically also compensate for the loss of aircraft equipment by Afghans. As before, the main reason was not battle losses, but the “natural loss” in flight accidents due to negligence, lack of discipline and numerous mistakes of the Afghan pilots. In the first half of 1989 alone, the Afghan Air Force lost about 60 airplanes and helicopters, by the end of the year their number was 109 units, including 19 transport aircraft.
A witness of one such accident in Bagram in November 1988 said: “In broad daylight, the Afghan pilot An-32 managed to destroy a brand-new and perfectly serviceable aircraft. Camouflage that your lizard, "Antonov" missed the band, so that the landing fell on the gullies and potholes "primer". On the bump turned up, he immediately demolished his front stance, nuzzled his nose and continued to plow a strip with a raised tail, scattering sand and stones. He was still lucky - he rushed straight to the post of radio operators, but he dug into the ground and stopped at some fifty meters. The pilots got out and went away. The flight is over. And the plane remained standing in an indecent form with a tail sticking into the sky. Immediately the next "heroic crew" (they had such a title in the Air Force) almost ruined their An-26. The spectacle was even where: night, An-26 comes in to land, but does not fit and goes to the second round. Whether the flight engineer, or the co-pilot removes the chassis, the commander does not notice. Being confident that everything is in order on board, the pilot gently lands the plane on the belly. Cassettes with traps hang in An-26 under the fuselage, so that he sits right on them. He strikes cassettes on the concrete, they light up and the grandiose fireworks begin on the entire airfield - the traps are firing with volleys, with a whistle they fly in all directions, the people who are running where. There are already four hundred rounds of ammunition, so the salute turned out - be healthy. All night with pitchforks and shovels then remove this An-26 from the strip. I was lucky again - he just sat on an “even keel,” he didn't even squeeze the screws, he managed with burnt cassettes and a scratched belly, so he left after a few days on his own. ”
The consequences of the emergency landing of the Afghan An-32. The transporter got past the lane and broke the front landing gear. Bagram, November 1988 g
As things worsened, uncertainty about success grew. One more misfortune was added - “negative moods of the flight and technical staff”, which did not harbor any illusions in the event of a fall in power; for this reason, government aircraft lost seven units of aircraft, in which their crews, judging that there was no worse, flew to Pakistan (a year earlier there were four of them).
Fears overcame not only ordinary pilots — some senior dignitaries also experienced uncertainty about the future. Although President Najibullah and Defense Minister Shah Nawaz Tanai were compatriots from Khost district, personal ambitions and conflicting views led to an aggravation of relations. Tanay was dissatisfied with the concentration of power in the hands of the president, in turn, he suspected the minister of oppositional moods and insufficient activity in the leadership of the army. Intrigue and mutual insults led to an attempt to solve the case by force. The Minister of Defense arranged for 6 in March 1990. The attempted coup d'état organized a revolt in the capital. As always in Afghan civil strife, it was not without the use of aviation. Tanai and his entourage introduced armored vehicles to Kabul and raised airplanes from the Bagram airbase, which bombarded the presidential palace and government offices. However, the forces of the rebels in the city were blocked, and some pilots, having decided not to look for good, stayed on the side of the president, avoiding participation in the bombardments and flying to other airfields.
Further more: on the orders of President Bagram, she was subjected to rocket fire covering the parking lot, ammunition depots and the runway. Only one division "Hurricanes" on the airfield was released 200 heavy shells.
"Friendly fire" was unusually successful: rocket volleys knocked out 46 aircraft, 12 of them irrevocably, in warehouses more 1000 bombs exploded. At that insurgency and ended. Fortunately, the shooting of fragmentation shells caused almost no damage to the runway, giving the top of the rebels the opportunity to escape on an airplane. Tanai with his family and closest entourage took advantage of one of those who were in Bagram An-12, having flown over it to Pakistan, where he soon joined the opposition.
The damage to government aviation alone as a result of the rebellion was estimated at 50 million rubles, which required large new Soviet supplies to compensate for the losses. The flow of weapons, equipment and other resources continued to go to Afghanistan until the very end of 1991, and the flights of the BTA aircraft did not cease with the formal disintegration of the Soviet Union (it seemed that the case with the support of the “ally” was rolling as if by inertia, missing own country). Officially, they put an end to the agreement reached by the USSR and the United States on the simultaneous termination of military supplies to the conflicting parties in Afghanistan in order to reach a political settlement. In April, the last military advisers of the now former USSR Ministry of Defense left the Afghan army 1992. Their mission was terminated at the insistence of the Afghans themselves, who perfectly saw that the authorities were living their last days. To send them 13, April, it was necessary to organize a special flight of the plane to their homeland in order to avoid quite foreseeable obstacles - too many would not mind to delay their stay as a kind of “human shield”, since Ahmad Shah, who was approaching Kabul, promised not to touch the Russians. Disorder and disintegration in the government army was accompanied by an increase in defeatism and a search for the guilty. In anticipation of the near collapse of the regime, many soldiers, in search of excuses, distanced themselves from those who, in their opinion, were most responsible for participating in the internecine war and numerous casualties. These included the closest circle of the president and state security, as well as the rocket men and pilots who caused the greatest losses and damage to the opposite side. The hostility towards yesterday’s comrades in arms was fueled by the fact that these categories of servicemen looked relatively privileged and lived more or less tolerably on their secure bases, far from advanced positions - after all, the pilots actually dealt with the enemy from a fair height and they really did not have to swallow the dust.
True, the opposition leaders had their own views on aviation: having the opportunity to evaluate its effectiveness and importance, the aviators were promised patronage and protection during the transition to the side of the new owners. And so it happened: by mid-April, Ahmad Shah's forces occupied the Bagram airbase without too much difficulty, having received at their disposal the entire 60 alone of the MiG-21 and Su-22М4 combat aircraft. The missile launchers of the P-300 missiles also fell into the hands of Masud's field commanders. The leader of the Mujahideen was going to use combat aircraft and missiles in the storming of Kabul, but the government troops did not think to resist, and the main problem was restraining other overly zealous Dushman groups that aimed to plunder the capital.
To protect Kabul from overtly gangster groups, it was necessary to resort to the help of the forces of General Abdul Rashid Dostum, who controlled the country's northern provinces. The commander of the local 53 Infantry Division, a tribal formation, recruited mainly from local Uzbeks, was quicker to find his way in a changing environment. By concluding an alliance with the new government, he promptly secured the transfer of his fighters to 4000, who were sent from Mazar-i-Sharif to the capital by transport aviation.
In Kabul, new masters reigned, but the situation was finally shaken. The discord in the camp of the opposition in a matter of days led to armed civil strife with the use of aviation, artillery and armored vehicles of yesterday’s army units, which joined one or another Islamic group. It couldn’t have been otherwise in a country that has been in a civil war year, where an entire generation has grown up, from an early age accustomed to military craft ...
Afghan aviation also turned out to be routed between “fighters for a just cause” of the most varied sense (if only those on the territory under control had at least some airfield). The affiliation of the aircraft and the airmen themselves was determined increasingly by personal relationships with the leaders of the various formations of the new authorities, from time immemorial honored ties of kinship and habit to the habitable place. Transport aviation was in particular favor as a practical and useful thing for personal transportation of the same supply - after all, why was it to fight, if not to get a little bit of previously inaccessible goods? The same General Dostum, whose main forces were located in the northern regions, from where it was not an easy task to get to the center, ensured its presence in the capital almost exclusively by air. To match the accessories, the new identification marks on the planes differed - in some places they limited themselves to eliminating the revolutionary red star that had not come to the court of the former cockade, others went further and restored the “pre-revolutionary” signs with Arabic writings. Quite often, on the planes, new signs were side by side with the old designations of “people's democratic” times, especially on the wings of transport workers, where it was inconvenient to repaint them because of their high location.
The situation in the country continued to remain extremely unfavorable: the warring factions continued to sort out relations and drag power onto themselves, periodically exposing the city and foreign bases to shelling. At the same time, the airfields were delivered to it, where the planes looked like a visible and vulnerable target. One of these airfields was Mazar-i-Sharif, which was under the control of the so-called troops. Northern Alliance, led by General Dostum and Ahmad Shah. Among the other vehicles, several An-12s were transported here, performing transportation in the interests of the alliance's owners. When flying to Kabul, because of the time and time of flared up exacerbations, they tried not to linger there, flying off to overnight in neighboring India or Uzbekistan.
The next fire attack on the Kabul airfield on the evening of 16 February 1993 fell just when one of the Dustum An-12BPs stood under loading. The plane was supposed to perform a flight from Kabul to Mazar-i-Sharif, delivering a detachment of militias of tribal military formations, members of their families and a couple of vehicles. Loading was interrupted by exploding shells near the parking lot. The crew commander, a 41-year-old graduate of the Frunze Aircraft Technical School, decided to take off immediately, without waiting for the download to complete and not wasting too much time on pre-launch testing of the aircraft’s systems. In the rush and bustle of his not even fueled. More than a hundred people managed to get into a panic in a panic, most of whom were armed dostumov fighters. Without lighting the side lights, under incessant shelling, An-12 drove to the runway and took off.
Departing from under the fire and gaining altitude, the plane headed for Mazar-i-Sharif. In the air, it turned out that of all the navigation and communications equipment on board, only the command radio station RSB-5 normally works. However, the crew, accustomed to everything, had already adapted to do without excesses, and this state of affairs was almost the norm. Heading north, the plane crossed the mountain range of the Hindu Kush and in 40 minutes was at the goal. The airfield met them with complete blackout, neither drive beacons, nor radio communications, let alone completely non-functioning lighting engineering, worked. "Yakub" (call sign Mazar-i-Sharif) stubbornly did not respond, and the plane circled over the city, without risking a decline - near the mountain, reaching three-kilometer height. In the tanks there was fuel “on the bottom”, and the strip could not be examined at all. When the emergency alarm was highlighted in the cockpit, the crew could only hastily look for any suitable place for landing.
Afghan An-125P at the emergency landing site at Termez. Uzbekistan, February 16 1993
During an emergency landing on plowing, the plane broke down the left landing gear and turned the leftmost engine, which had touched the ground, together with the engine mount
The commander decided to turn to the nearest airfield on the map, which turned out to be Termez in Uzbekistan. Upon learning of this, passengers with automatic guns began to break into the cabin, wanting to get home by any means and demanded to sit down in the sands of Mazar-i-Sharif. Having repulsed them and explained that the night landing in the rocky desert will inevitably end in disaster, the crew pulled the plane to the north. Before Termez, which lay at the very border, there was only 60 km and fuel, albeit barely, was enough.
Even without radio communication, the pilots managed to reach the city, illuminated and noticeable, but it was not possible to find the airfield here. None of the Afghans had ever flown to Termez, they had no opportunity to warn about themselves, they did not wait for the “guests” at the airfield and the strip was not highlighted with lights and searchlights. On the third round, the Afghans were lucky: they noticed a flashing light in the sky, which was gaining altitude (it was the recently soared An-26). Realizing that the airfield is somewhere nearby, they turned in the direction of the lighthouse. Soon, ahead of the pilots on the left, they could see the concrete, and in the last liters of kerosene they began to pull up on the landing glide. The flaps and the chassis were already released, when all four engines simultaneously stalled - the fuel ran out. The screws were automatically threaded and the heavy machine went down steeply. There were no heights anymore, but the commander made the only right decision in a split second: turn away from the rare lights along the course where you could run into lampposts or buildings and sit on an unlit area, hoping that the land hidden in the darkness would be flat.
Good luck on this day was on the side of the Afghans: the plane swept over the high railway embankment, almost blew down the landing gear on it, miraculously did not crash into the power line poles, only hitting one of them with a wing and chopping a console. Winding up the broken wires with protruding blades of the propeller blades and dragging several pillars pulled out behind them, An-12BP touched the plowed field. Being buried in plowing, he laid a 100-meter gauge, stuck to the wheels along the axles and, breaking the left main stand, touched the ground with a wing, turned on the spot and froze. The cracked frames could not stand, and the broken cart lay down next to the plane. The crumpled was the ending of the left wing (it hit the pole), the propellers plowing the ground turned the first engine down with the engine mount. None of the crew members and passengers were injured. Fortunately, because of the urgent take-off on board, they did not have time to load the cars: if they had broken during the attack and flew forward like a ram, there would be few people left in the cargo compartment.
During the night landing, the transport worker demolished the communication line, dragging wires and several poles behind it. The An-12 curiously combines the identification marks of the former "revolutionary" pattern on the wing and the new "Islamic" patterns with Arabic script on the keel.
An-12 debris on the outskirts of the Kabul airfield
The sudden roar of the plane in the night sky and the almost soundless landing attracted no attention. They did not notice him at the airport, to which only half a kilometer remained. Getting out of the plane, the commander went out on the road, stopped the Moskvich who was passing by and got to the airfield on it. A good command of the Russian language almost failed the pilot: for a long time he didn’t want to let him through the security guard, taking one of her pilots and advising “to come in the morning, like everyone, to the beginning of the working day”.
Having understood, in the morning, representatives of the local civil aviation authority, the Air Force and the competent authorities arrived at the landing site. An-12BP appeared on their wings, and the bearded men with machine guns roamed around them. As it turned out, there were eight crew members and 109 passengers on board. All the passengers were immediately taken by bus to the border and sent to their territory. The crew was delayed during the investigation of the accident and a few days later it was taken away by the master of the northern provinces of Afghanistan who had flown for their pilots, Colonel-General Dostum.
With the accession of the Taliban in Afghanistan, part of the aviation managed to fly to unoccupied areas. Other pilots remained at their usual work, since radical Islamists, who eradicated the surplus of civilization in the form of radio, televisions and other demonic fictions alien to the traditional way of life, also appreciated aviation and made an exception for such a useful thing. The airline "Ariana", in which there was a pair of An-12, was saved. However, the life of these vehicles in the service of the Taliban was short and both were destroyed at the 2001 airport in Kabul in October by American bombing during Operation Enduring Freedom. Another An-12 was used by the Taliban militia and was defeated in a crash at the Pakistani Quetta airfield 13 in January 1998. After the Taliban were expelled, the fleet of Afghan aircraft was replenished with several more An-12, obtained in various ways from the former Soviet republics.
Airfields of Afghanistan, which provided the basing of combat and transport aircraft. The characteristic indicates the length of the runway and the excess above sea level
An-12BK of 50-th, small-arms bomber 40-th Army. Kabul, summer 1987 of the year
An-12BK from the 111-th aviation regiment of the TurkVO control. Like many BTA aircraft flying to Afghanistan, the Aeroflot designations were placed on top of the shaded stars. Autumn 1988 of the year
An-12B from Afghan 373 th tap. During the change of power in Afghanistan, the identification marks on the car also changed, and on the wing they remained the same type. The plane crashed near Termez as a result of a navigation error in February 1993