War is the most vivid manifestation of an extreme situation in which a person can fall.
In the event of a shipwreck, fire, earthquake, or other natural disasters, man has developed certain rules of action, which are posted in the form of instructions and instructions.
There is not a single instruction (except for the military regulations) on how a person can act in a given situation, whether he enters the combat area or simply put it on the war. Excellent knowledge of the combat regulations does not guarantee that the assigned combat task will be accomplished with the least loss of personnel in the conditions of a rapidly changing combat situation.
A major role in survival is played by the combat experience and psychological preparedness of each fighter. There are general concepts of how to act in a street fight, in the mountains, in the territory occupied by the enemy, or in the forest. But the mountains are different, just like the streets of settlements are different, so each time you have to act according to the specific situation, sometimes guided not only by the experience gained earlier, but also by ... intuition.
Intuition, based on combat experience, is a feeling which itself “switches on” at the moment of mortal danger, and no instructions will replace it. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, when your life depends on an instantaneous, the only right decision, only your intuition can tell you how to act. The chances of a fighter getting out of a scrape alive are directly proportional to his combat experience.
EXIT TO THE AREA
Passing the line of defense of the militants in Grozny, we penetrated into the districts fully controlled by the "spirits". Army camouflage and our unshaven, blackened faces with flushed cheeks gave us a chance to completely pass for the militants in the event of a sudden meeting with the “warriors of Ichkeria”. The mess of the militants was similar to the mess that prevailed in the disposition of our troops. The system of passes and passwords in conditions of general confusion among militants sometimes did not work, and it was enough to shout “Allah Akbar” to be accepted as ours.
Our goal was to conduct reconnaissance on the territory located behind the combat orders of the militants, and to disrupt the enemy’s communications system by mining to bring in a sense of chaos and panic into its ranks.
They moved exclusively in the evening, but before dark. With the onset of darkness, the advancement of the city is dangerous, since at that time the belligerents doubled the attention behind all actions from the adjacent side. At night, we sat out in stinky basements or in abandoned houses of the private sector, which we selected after preliminary reconnaissance in such a way that all approaches to our shelter are clearly visible.
Already beginning to get dark. The second day we circled in this area, we can’t find a passage to the neighboring area, teeming with armed militants with beards with green armbands. We need to sit out this night, and with dawn go to the next street. I noticed this afternoon that the militants indicated on our map the exit to the next street turned into a stronghold in case of a Russian breakthrough tanks, filling it with various large-sized rubbish, consisting of broken cars and a half-burned bus.
The sixth sense told me that for certain this improvised barricade is “protected” by the “spirits”, therefore, foolishness should not be sent there.
The whole nature of war puts the question before a belligerent: "Will you be able to survive or not?"
Having set security and an observer, we lie down to rest on a pile of broken bricks. The bricks stick into the back, and the internal stress does not allow to fall asleep. Turning over on my stomach, I lay down on bent arms, - the pose is not comfortable, but I force myself to sleep, tomorrow is a difficult day.
You can't call it a dream. Closing your eyes, you fall into a trance of oblivion, while continuing to somehow control the environment. Woke up suddenly. Silence. However, the stomach became cold and uncomfortable. After another instant, he heard the crunch of garbage, heavy footsteps, and saw the beam of a flashlight gently prowling.
"Notice! Where is the observer, is it already lying with a cut throat? ”- my condition was close to panic.
I can not hear the breath of his comrades. It means that they are not sleeping, and just like me, hiding, are pressed into a pile of bricks.
People with a flashlight (it was probably a patrol of militants) stopped near the entrance to our shelter.
There was silence, which seemed to me life-long. Heart pushed to the throat.
“We need to pull myself together. In the morning I read “Our Father,” and God will save me, ”- this thought, if not calming me down, then at least makes me get rid of the paralyzing animal fear of the unknown and get ready for action.
Automatic at hand. The fingers of the other hand grope the cold ribbed surface of the F-1 grenade, the purpose of which is one - not to be captured alive.
Steps began to be deleted. "Not found."
Tension subsided. However, anxiety for the children who were on observation did not pass.
Conditional signal. "Our!" Two figures, similar to the shadows, slipped to us.
As it turned out, the militants suddenly appeared from some basement, to which we at first did not even pay attention. When it began to dawn, we cautiously left our shelter, having previously left several “hotels” in the form of two MON-50. Coming out of the basement and looking around, we found an inconspicuous passage to the basement, upon further examination turned out to be a through passage to the street where we could not get to before.
Zaminirovat and this passage, which the militants will probably try to use, our group leaked behind the "spirits" in the area of the tram park. There was no reason for us to stay here for a long time. The depot of the tram park and the territory adjacent to it were infested with militants, since Maskhadov’s headquarters were located here, and the militants could run into our “presents” and see that other people appeared on their territory. Collecting intelligence by visual observation, trying to quickly get rid of the load - setting and masking mines, we began to prepare for the withdrawal. The withdrawal route, developed by us and agreed with the command of the units, to the frontier of which we had to go after the operation, turned out to be useless. Rather, to say that by this time, while we were in the rear of the enemy, the situation has changed. The frontiers of contact with the enemy moved, in some areas the militants created new strongholds. Based on the current situation, we had to carry out additional exploration and search for new departure routes.
During the three days of the operation, I lost eight kilograms. Pants literally began to fall off me, so I had to twist the additional holes in the waist belt.
In contrast to all the clever statements of doctors and psychologists, how to use their inner potential more rationally, how the condition of the “winners and losers” affects the health and psyche of a fighter, everyone maintained his body as best he could.
I remembered that in the breast pocket of my jacket I had a carefully laid out sheet of "Sidnokarb", which was given to the personnel of the groups leaving for military operations as a stimulant.
Having swallowed five pills of this stimulant at once, I felt a surge of strength and energy.
A shot can be heard from any window ...
But the most important stimulant was hatred of the enemy and the desire to destroy him. “Shoot first, act tougher and more aggressive, a good enemy is a dead enemy.” These mottos are becoming an integral element of maintaining the internal fighting spirit of a real fighter. It is a state of mind, a willingness to be the first to kill the enemy, the notions of “fighter” and simply “soldier” differ. That is why psychologically unprepared for war, twenty-year-old young Russian soldiers sometimes turned, sadly, into “cannon fodder”. The fighter should be psychologically ready for war and ready to take calmly the possibility of death. However, these principles, when moving from a state of war to a state of peace, have a detrimental effect on the psychological state of a person returning to peaceful life, with its laws directly opposed to those by which this person lived in a world of war. But more about that later.
And now we are moving along the ruined city, carefully examining the neighborhood and looking for the enemy’s vulnerable spots in order to jump out to our own.
Two times they ran into small groups of militants consisting of adult men and fifteen-year-olds. They were armed with rather different colors, however, and the “ammunition” on them was quite variegated - some were in camouflage, and others in civilian jackets, black jeans and sneakers. Unshaven, dirty faces of the militants were no different from ours. Their main armament was AKM-7,62, but SVD, PC machine guns, and even hunting rifles were also encountered.
A pair of militants in such groups carried the RPG-7 and the shots to them or several RPG-18. During short, sudden meetings, we cheered merrily (it was our face that stretched our mouths wide and showed our teeth to each other, rather than smiling) and greeting each other with shouts of “Allah Akbar” (I even once tightened the anthem of the Ukrainian nationalists “Ukraine has not died yet ...” ), pretending to hurry to our only known positions, quickly dived into the first courtyard and just as quickly tried to get away from the place of a sudden meeting. This precaution is not superfluous. Again, intuition and experience suggested that in the general confusion of street battles, insurgents may still wonder to which detachment the group of “militant Ukrainian thugs” that they encountered belong to and where they stand, and then we will only have to destroy them. For our group, an open fight on the territory under the complete control of the enemy will mean failure, and the probability of breaking through to our own will be equal to zero.
DO NOT BELIEVE THE EYES AND WEAR YOUR OWN
Despite the fact that there were guys in our group who lived before all these events in Grozny, it was very difficult to navigate the destroyed city. In some places, the enemy's positions were five days ago, and now they can be occupied by us, as a result of which there is a high possibility of getting under fire from federal troops. Although there are no “smart” deaths, it’s stupid to get a bullet from one’s own.
To avoid this, we had to constantly conduct additional exploration of the area.
Witness to the consequences when our recon groups flew their own, I became in January 1995.
A similar reconnaissance team under the command of Vadim flew at the Volgograd (part of the 8 Army Corps under the command of General Rokhlin) in one of the districts of Grozny. The lack of interaction played a tragic role, the Vadim group was accepted by the “Volgograd residents” as the enemy, and fire was launched at it to kill. One of the group was killed. Vadim jumped out of hiding and started shouting: “Do not shoot! We are ours! ”After he was“ detained ”by fighters who came up, it turned out that he had no documents. Attempting to explain himself to the "Volgograd" Vadim was severely beaten and almost shot. After clarification of all the circumstances of the case and requests for confirmation to the higher headquarters, Vadim in critical condition was taken to the hospital at Severny.
I stood by his bed, and it was painful for me to listen to his poignant, stuttering speech, in which he only often repeated: “T-t-pn-understand, I-I in Af-fgan-p-p-got-k- to-con-uziyu, and sz-here-to-me to-to-end ... "Two hours later, he was taken by special" turntables "to Mozdok, and then to the hospital on the" mainland ".
Having run a small square, through the arch we drop into the courtyard. He seems to be from another life. The war so spared him that the ruins on the neighboring streets create the impression that the arch through which we entered the courtyard was a gate from one world to another. Silence is unusual.
The fact that silence in war is sometimes deceptive, we were convinced in a few minutes. Trusting in silence and seeming calm, we made a mistake that almost led to a tragic denouement for us. We have violated the basic rules of movement on the territory occupied by the enemy, which say: “Do not trust your eyes and ears. Trust only instinct and animal instinct. Check seven times ... ”and other principles, according to which we have no right to relax.
From the window of the second floor of the neighboring house we were called in Chechen. We were confused ...
Having received no answer, they opened fire on us. But either the arrows turned out to be crap, or because these “bestial instincts” woke up again in us, only one person from our group received a slight wound to the side, and even that is tangent, since we immediately found ourselves behind high concrete slabs, hiding from enemy fire.
In order not to waste ammunition in vain, we decided not to conduct intensive non-aiming shooting at the enemy in the building and, therefore, in an advantageous position, especially since we did not know their strengths and intentions. Being under the cover of the same concrete slabs, snapping short bursts and a single fire, we tried to gain time to make the very “right decision”.
Through the windows of the basement, we penetrated one by one into the three-story house behind our backs. Cursing and cursing himself for carelessness, the first thing was helping the wounded man. Two went on reconnaissance. The rest took defense. Returning from intelligence brought good news: at some distance from us are the lines of the Russian troops storming the city. Apparently, the close proximity of the federal troops did not allow the militants who had fired at us in the courtyard to take more decisive actions against our group, entrenched in this three-story house. Or maybe it was a similar group of the enemy, whose task is not to conduct a protracted open battle. In any case, we quickly established contact with the command of the divisions of the federal troops, which reached the line, and within an hour on the armored personnel carriers sent us to the "Northern".
THE LAW OF WAR
There are no people who could refute the thesis that “war is bad and peace is good.” However, pacifist thoughts evaporate immediately, from the very first days, as soon as you get to the combat area.
Will fall ... will not fall ...
If a person did not understand where he went, then pacifist thoughts evaporate with the soul, and this process happens very quickly and, as a rule, does not cause regret in others.
The constantly changing situation in battle leaves little time to think about whether to shoot or not to shoot. The whole nature of war as an extreme situation poses the question to a belligerent person: “Will you be able to survive or not?”
The answer to this question depends on which decision you take faster and which decision will be correct. On this depends, as a rule, not only your life, but also the life of your comrades.
So, in December, 1994, on the border of Dagestan and Chechnya, a crowd of local civilians blocked a column of Russian armored vehicles. Unaccustomed to shooting at unarmed people, the Russian soldiers and officers were confused, which the militants who stood in the crowd of local residents did not fail to take advantage of. Several “soldiers” and officers (among whom there were two lieutenant colonels), under the merry hooting of the crowd, the “peaceful” inhabitants dragged out the armored personnel carriers from the hatches and turned them from armed people into frightened prisoners.
The tactics of using civilians in operations to seize Russian weapons and captured militants stopped after Russian units stopped responding to crowds of civilians. Until the militants вич bloody snot ’flew on our armor, human shields from local residents were placed in the direction of advancing almost all Russian convoys in Chechnya. The “indecisive” and “doubters” of the actions of the Russian servicemen had previously become easy prey for the militants, and the weapon with the same ease passed into the hands of Dudayevites. “With our decisive, even if sometimes brutal, actions, we put an end to the vicious practice of the militants, preserving the lives of our children,” one of the officers of the motorized rifle regiment located under Vedeno confessed to me.
DO NOT RESPOND TO FIRE!
I have occasion to communicate with helicopter pilots, whose work is quite comparable with the work of an infantryman or tankman.
The fact that helicopter pilots have to work with maximum load and constantly under threat of being shot down in the Vedeno or Shatoy districts was not a secret for anyone in Chechnya.
In May, 1996, I met the pilots of the Vyazma helicopter regiment.
Two weeks ago, they arrived in Chechnya from Tajikistan, but had already managed to get the bitter experience that violation of the laws of war leads to unjustified victims.
- You see, Andrei, it comes to the point of absurdity. They are firing us from "zelenka" and settlements with which a peace treaty has been signed. To all requests to the command, to give permission to destroy the enemy firing points, we get the answer: "Do not shoot at all."
In May, a X-NUMX near Nozhai-Yurt was destroyed by a Mi-1996 from a grenade launcher, two people were killed. The helicopter was destroyed by the separatists at the same post where several days later 8 fighters of the 26 regiment of ODON were taken prisoner, despite the fact that the local population had warned the federal forces in advance about the presence of the Gilayev gang in this area.
The fact that the ability of helicopter pilots to turn into a pile of warped metal and steaming meat is high, I realized from my own skin.
FLIGHT OVER NUCLEAR NEST
We take off with a pair of Mi-24 to cover a column of troops moving from Asinovskaya under Bamut. I sit in the troop compartment of one of the MN-24 in place of the onboard equipment-arrow. Wearing a headset and connecting a headset intercom, I hear all the conversations of the crew. We are flying at a height of about 1000 m. Having escorted the column, we lay on the opposite course. When we flew over the Orekhov, we heard a characteristic squeak in the headphones - we are irradiated.
The irradiation "spinner" receives from the laser rangefinder MANPADS (portable anti-aircraft missile system). And this means that at any time an anti-aircraft missile can be launched on our helicopter. I looked hopefully at the parachute behind me. Even before departure, the onboard technician advised me to wear a parachute suspension. Now I looked down: "Yes, I will have to fall high." In the headphones I hear the voices of the commander of the crew
Sasha and the navigator:
- Irradiation of the rear hemisphere.
- We produce heat traps.
- Do not come close to the mountains.
For a moment, imagining the white smoke of rockets approaching us from the ground, I was sad. Several more times in the headset the signal of the helicopter's radiation was heard. But this time, it seems, carried by. Apparently, the "spirits" did not dare launch a rocket, since the second helicopter of fire support, marching with us in a pair, could not request permission from the command and "accidentally" strike the gunmen’s firing point. Attacking the enemy firing points is one of the conditions for the conduct of hostilities. Here, pilots have to act at their own peril and risk so that the military prosecutor’s office does not engage them.
We return to the base. Our helicopter goes at a height of 2-3 meters above the ground, at a “criminally low” height (as the pilots themselves joke). Moving along the bed of the dried river, avoiding dangerous places, lying on the battle lurch, we raced at a speed of 250 - 280 km / h. The bank of the river and the bushes on it rushed past the window of the helicopter so that the eye had nothing to “catch”. The combat pilots who passed through Afghanistan, Abkhazia and Tajikistan, now “turned on” the sky of Chechnya.
SWORD OF DAMOCLES
As I have already said, it was necessary to fight in Chechnya with an eye to the employees of the military prosecutor’s office, who, among other tasks, were entrusted with monitoring the correctness of the use of weapons by the Russian military.
The presence in the combat zone of workers of the main military prosecutor's office, perhaps, is justified, but this "sword of Damocles", constantly hanging over the Russian soldiers and officers fighting in Chechnya, did not allow the troops to adequately respond to the active actions of the militants. Before shooting, the soldier wondered if the military prosecutor’s office would take care of it later. The right of the “first shot” belonged to the militants, which they did not fail to use.
Under the conditions of the so-called “truce” declared by the Russian leadership at the end of May 1996, the demoralization of the Russian troops and the rise of the morale of the militants began.
This silence is deceiving ...
The temporary administration building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in the Chechen Republic is located in the Staropromyslovsky district of Grozny, here in May 1996 was the headquarters of the operational headquarters (GUOSH). The building of the former fire department housed the fighters of the combined units of SOBR and OMON from Kaliningrad, Orel, Arkhangelsk and other cities of Russia, which are the backbone of GUOSH. The main tasks of the SOBR in GUOSH were escorting transport convoys, working out militant penetration areas and organizing ambushes, protecting officials and other equally important combat missions. The most difficult combat task, according to the testimony of the guys from the Oryol SOBR, was escorting Yandarbiyev’s convoy to the Nazran talks in April 1996. The separatists refused to go to Nazran by the route proposed by the federal command, and SWAT soldiers had to accompany the convoy of separatists along the path chosen by Yandarbiyev. The route of the column passed through the villages occupied by the militants, so there was a high possibility of provocation from the crowd of Yandarbiyev, shouting "Allah Akbar!"
The situation on the territory of GUOSH resembled the situation on the territory of the besieged fortress. On the roof of the former fire department there are firing positions of SOBR, windows in the building are laid with bricks and sandbags, with tiny battlements left for firing, reinforced concrete blocks in the territory are arranged so that at any moment they can be turned into pillboxes. My sense of a besieged fortress was justified that night.
“ALLAH AKBAR” - “SALAM ALEIKUM”
The silence of the night broke suddenly, as if from a call from an unexpected guest. From the nearby “Zelenka”, “spiritual” grenade launchers hit the building of the GUOSH, the militants opened a firing of small arms from an abandoned building opposite. They responded with a booming thud from the roof of the SOBRovsky machine-guns, the night sky with a hiss lit up with signal flares, the queue of tracer bullets, giving target designation, eagerly searched for their prey. Shouts of “Allah Akbar!” Were heard from the “Zelenka”, in response, from the position of SOBRovtsev, amicable: “Salam alleykum ... your mother”.
The shooting also stopped suddenly as it began. In the first seconds the impression is deaf. However, the shot of the “spiritual” grenade launcher that followed in two minutes and the resumed return fire from the positions of the SOBR returned me to reality:
- And often you have such a "fun?" Commander of the Arkhangelsk SOBR
Shreds are looking at me - have I really lost my time?
- Yes, almost every night. "Spirits" in their own way understand the "truce."
FUGAS AS ARGUMENT OF TRUCE
The "truce" the next morning turned into a bloody tragedy. At 10 in the morning hours on Staropromyslovskoye Shosse, the militants carried out a controlled landmine on the side of the highway. Fragments of a burst 152-mm howitzer projectile (tank and howitzer shells are used by militants as the main landfill tab) pierced the armored personnel carrier armor, instantly killing the driver. Uncontrolled armored personnel carriers at a speed of 70 km / h, jumping to the opposite side of the highway and cutting off a concrete lighting column, stopped, covered with blood and splashed by the brains of the 101-th brigade of the armed forces of the armed forces.
Four soldiers died in a matter of seconds, the fifth, who had his legs blown off, died on the way to the hospital, the sixth died on the operating table. Near the scene of the tragedy, an elderly Russian woman walked over, covering her face with her cloak, unable to hide her tears. She has to hide her tears from a crowd of Chechen youth who gathered at a crossroads and cheerfully discussed what had happened.
On the same day, five militants captured at one of the roadblocks were taken to GUOSH. Dressed in black clothes that looked more like uniforms, they had a weapon with them, half of which was equipped with devices for silent shooting. Coming out of Shali after the operations of the federal troops there led by General Shamanov in May 1996, this group tried to penetrate Grozny.
The senior militant group, as it turned out during the investigation, was at the same time the commander of the reconnaissance group from the Shamil Basayev detachment. The captured militants testified that they had arrived in Grozny to carry out terrorist acts. This was evidenced by a list of persons belonging to the government of Chechnya, found with them, indicating the location of the offices. During interrogations it turned out that the militants were also given an order to take out from Grozny, before 10 June, families and relatives of militants fighting in the mountains. All this made it possible to believe that the militants use the “truce” for their own purposes, and far from being peaceful. The atmosphere in Chechnya is heating up every day.
The unwillingness of the military and political leadership of Russia to live according to the laws, even if it was not declared, but still the war led to the tragic events in Grozny 6 August 1996. (see "The Fall of the Terrible").
In the center of the village of Shali in a three-story building there is a military commander's office under the command of Russian lieutenant colonel Arkadyevich (we called him so by patronymic). The creation of military commandant's offices was an attempt by the command of the federal troops to keep under control the situation in the large settlements of Chechnya.
The chances of a fighter getting out of a scrape alive are directly proportional to his combat experience.
At the beginning of June of this year, a convoy of SOBRovtsy assigned to reinforce the commandant's office, under the protection of armored personnel carriers, advanced from Grozny in the direction of Shali. Passing the last Russian roadblocks near Gremenchuk, our column entered the territory where militants are the absolute masters. From the cautious views of the civilian population on the bazaars, and at times even openly hostile - the thought involuntarily arose in the windows of the houses: “They fell into the gaduchnik”. As it turned out later, the same thought occurred to other guys with whom I rode on armor.
Arriving at the scene, we, with disappointment, were forced to state that the company of the PPS (patrol and inspection service) guarding the commandant's office and consisting of 19-year-old conscripts called up to the police force was suitable only for doing economic work, but not for fighting. Against the background of the PPS policemen who were lazily and stupidly serving the militiamen, the SOBR officers from Arkhangelsk, Orel and Astrakhan were distinguished by their concentration, the ability to quickly find their way around the situation.
That same evening, I spoke with the commander of the special security forces of the city of Orla, Major Peter N., and shared his thoughts on the need for additional work on the engineering equipment of posts around the commandant’s office.
The next day, work was already in full swing in our location. Walking through the posts, we found weaknesses in the defense and right there on the spot eliminated the shortcomings. The barbed wire was practically re-stretched, in the places of the most probable approach of the enemy we installed managed PWS-100, which I found in abundance in the building of the commandant's office.
Our preparations had a very specific justification, since the location of the commandant's office in the center of a large settlement filled with insurgents, in isolation from the main forces, represented a "tidbit" in the event of an attack by the insurgents.
After the signing of the “truce”, in early June, in order to disrupt the session of the Supreme Council of Chechnya, the militants installed ZU-23-2 in the Shali square and pulled large forces together. Having taken firing positions in the houses adjacent to the central square, the militants with the participation of local residents organized an anti-Russian rally.
Concerned about the situation in Shali, the Russian command raised several helicopters from the Khankala airfield for reconnaissance overflight of the village. From the side of those who rallied on the square of the protesters, from the roofs of the houses, the militants opened fire from RPG-7 and small arms at helicopters. Suddenly, shooting began in the immediate vicinity of the wall, which is the border of the territory of the commandant's office. The first thought was: “Attack!” It turned out that the militants who had crept in and opened fire tried to provoke a return fire from the helicopters at the commandant’s office in which we were located.
The personnel of SOBR quickly and without much fuss took firing positions, preparing to repel a possible attack. The militants still did not dare to attack us, since the SOBR are not boys from the PPS and they will fight to the last, and the 166-I Tver brigade, located under Shali a few kilometers away, would help this rich village under the "steamroller". In the afternoon, with the efforts of the commandant in negotiations with local authorities, the situation returned to normal. The militants either left the village, which is unlikely, or went home, hiding their weapons and again becoming “civilians”.
The thesis “war is a cruel thing” does not need to be confirmed, just as it doesn’t need to be confirmed that war has its own cruel laws, one of which reads: “If you want to live, shoot first”.
But however, no matter how cruel these laws are, they are not without justice. The simplicity and fairness of the laws: “Help a friend in need,” “Share last”, “Have compassion for the enemy who dropped the weapon” and other postulates of the war are so obvious that people live in peace life according to them, maybe the principle “ shoot first ”would have to be applied less frequently.