Military Review

An experience that teaches nothing

At the end of March 1993, the fragile silence of the Tajik-Afghan border was blown up by a cannonade of combat. This time is academic. During the exercise, divisions of the 201 Motorized Rifle Division distinguished themselves. For those who know firsthand the problems of our troops in that hot and shooting region, the result of the exercise speaks volumes. First of all, that over the past year there have been significant changes for the better, that a high level of combat readiness and field training of troops is now supported, I want to believe, a solid foundation for comprehensive logistic support. And how could it be otherwise?

An experience that teaches nothing

The question is not rhetorical. However, it’s not necessary to go far for an answer.

... A year ago, units and subunits of the 201 division only mastered the unusual task of protecting the border. Hurried. As a matter of urgency, the units were staffed, settled at the outposts, including in the very military everyday life in which battle and life are inseparable. But this fundamental dependence has once again seemed to be forgotten. They did not create proper conditions for the placement of soldiers and officers, did not bother about the proper sanitary condition of stationary canteens and food facilities in the field, about water disinfection.

People began to get sick. Further more. As a result, too many officers, warrant officers, urgent soldiers and the same contract soldiers were then not in the ranks, but in a hospital bed. People literally mowed viral hepatitis, intestinal infections, malaria. In some cases, the chamber filled with offices, calculations, carriages almost in full composition. What kind of combat training! Apparently, the logistics support system at first was here in the “second echelon” of the development of the operation to cover the border. As a result, received massive illness of personnel.

It seems that this has become a bad tradition. Open at least a section of epidemiology in the multi-volume “The Experience of Soviet Medicine in the Great Patriotic War,” and you will read about all the same shortcomings that later accompanied the emergency concentration of our troops in a particular region right up to the present day. There was also a more recent and regionally close 201 division experience - the Afghan. If our memory were not so short, many errors in the rear support could have been avoided. And what happened? Tajikistan, Afghanistan - a similar picture. When we made up the sanitary-epidemiological description of the territory of Afghanistan before entering the troops there, they reported about everything, except that viral hepatitis, amoebic dysentery, typhoid fever, overheating, and thermal shock would be our scourge. Then, too, troops were injected in a hurry - quickly, quickly, then, they say, we will think about the rear. It took truly heroic efforts, a lot of manpower and resources to create a comprehensive logistical support system, taking into account the Afghan specifics, on which both the battle and life are held as the foundation. How many cones were filled — not to count, but remembering the lessons would be worth it. Here are some of them.

The troops in Afghanistan, like the 201 division, were also often located in small garrisons, outposts. They had to be equipped and equipped. For this purpose (it is a pity that they did not advance on their own territory) they deployed warehouses with stocks of material resources, achieved their optimal separation in order to deliver the necessary things in time, not allowing them to “swell up” the rear of the units and constrain their mobility.

The food of the people was organized, as it should be, three times a day, and during operations in the mountains, if the situation permitted, hot food, tea was prepared in the morning and evening, in the afternoon - dry ration. Often, food had to be dropped from the air, so over time they learned how to make special containers that could withstand landing, adapted to store food at the outposts in cellars opened for this purpose.

There was a question with water too. High bacteriological contamination of the sources led to numerous diseases and forced to take special precautions. They began to give people only boiled water, to disinfect it with pantocide. For this, the food divisions of the divisions had special kitchens, and for the storage of water - tanks. In the garrisons, pumping stations were set up with chlorination and cisterns for storing water, as well as special tanks adapted for bringing water from the nearest protected water sources, the condition of which was controlled by physicians.

It turned out, and much more. For example, the fact that the presence of canned food in the regimental and battalion level does not fully solve the problems of nutrition, if there are not enough refrigerated trucks and refrigerators for the delivery and storage of food. It also turned out that chlorination plants for water disinfection need to be improved, and the capacity of standard flasks, in which boiled water was given out, is clearly insufficient for operations in the mountains. In addition, plastic flasks were fragile, and therefore unsuitable.

Some articles of clothing, such as shoes, sleeping bags, equipment, also deserved fair complaints. The total weight of the property carried by the soldier, taking into account armament and dry rations, averaged 32 kg. Run in the mountains with such a baggage! Appropriate physical training is needed, which both the soldiers and the officers turned out to be insufficient. Warm clothes tried not to take with them: on the plain they suffered from the heat, and in the mountains they were shaking from the cold. Caught a cold. We were sick. Climate and terrain need a habit, time to adapt.

Unfortunately, not immediately, but learned to counteract the high incidence. In particular, they began to acclimatize people, prepare them for action in the mountain-desert terrain in the training units. Indeed, in an extreme situation, a soldier must be able to do much. For example, use an individual dressing bag, stop the bleeding with a tourniquet, make stretchers out of improvised means. Finally, just light a fire to dry, heat the stew, and boil water. Yes, and wash the pot after a meal. All this began to be taught seriously.

About many things, it seemed, would make Afghanistan think. After all, the price paid for science! Of course, no one is insured against a bullet in a war, but it is possible and must insure against monotonous feeding, lice, infectious diseases. And in peacetime and even more so. There is only one insurance policy - a reliable logistic support system, priority attention to it from all commanders and supervisors, plus well-thought-out personal training of soldiers and officers.

Our miscalculations in the “social sphere” in that war are especially prominently visible in the mirror of medical statistics. Above all, it was impossible to look into it because of the tight veil of secrecy. When the covers were removed from the mysteries, it seemed that nobody was surprised. At least, it didn’t inspire any radical actions. It's a pity. To think about what is.

According to the data of the former chief epidemiologist of the USSR Ministry of Defense, Major General of the Medical Service V. Perepelkin, in one case of injuries in Afghanistan there were from 8 to 12 cases of diseases, among which were dominated by acute intestinal infections, viral hepatitis and typhoid fever.

There are more accurate numbers. In 1993, the book “Grief of Secrecy was shot. Losses of the Armed Forces of the USSR in wars, military operations and military conflicts ”under the general editorship of Candidate of Military Sciences Col. Gen. G. F. Krivosheev. Here are some quotes from it:
"... For the period from December 25 1979 to February 15 1989, the troops in the territory of the Republic of Armenia passed military service 620 thousand military servicemen ..."
“The total irretrievable loss of life (killed, died from wounds and diseases, died in disasters, as a result of accidents and accidents) of the Soviet Armed Forces, along with border and internal troops amounted to 14 453 people. Sanitary losses amounted to 469 685 people, including: injured, contused, injured 53 753 people. (11,44%); sick 415 932 people. (88,56%). "

And further (note!): “The total number of sanitary losses is occupied by a significant number of cases (89%) ... During 110 months of stay of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan, despite the measures taken by the health service, 415 932 people became ill, of which: infectious hepatitis - 115 308 people; typhoid fever - 31 080 pers .; other infectious diseases - 140 665 people. "

Scary numbers! It seemed that the commanders, the rear men, with their skin would absorb the sad experience. Not seven, but ten times will be measured out before they are cut off, where it is a question of people's health, and, therefore, of the combat readiness of the units. And what we see in practice?

Let us consider the domestic aspect of some, albeit incomparable in scale, cases that required an extraordinary concentration of troops. Let's leave political evaluations aside, focus on logistical problems.

Armenia after the earthquake, 1988. Due to the lack of attention to the logistics of the troops, we almost did not have to save the rescue soldiers from mass diseases.

Tbilisi, 1989, the paratrooper regiment from Kostroma and the motorized rifle regiment from Akhalkalaki were transferred with one set of linen, and the air assault brigade from Kutaisi and without this smallness “landed” on the bare floor of the barracks.

Tiraspol, 1992. Only the short duration of the conflict saved the 14 Army from hospital beds in the infectious diseases wards due to the lack of good water for drinking and cooking in the field.

Moscow, 1993 Troops were placed in the buildings of the so-called parade site, the engineering networks of which were in a deplorable state.

Someone will say: little things. But is it the little things when it comes to the life of the troops - one of the foundations of their combat readiness? Especially if we are creating mobile forces, which will have to act in isolation from the places of permanent deployment. It is necessary to cut oneself once and for all on the nose - combat readiness and life are inseparable. Otherwise, the troops become mass collectors of diseases.

But the health of people is expensive. Both figuratively and literally. In 1990 prices, the treatment of one soldier depending on the type, severity and duration of the disease cost the budget in 52 - 898 rubles. Today, if we take these figures to a minimum, we can safely add three zeros to these figures. Plus insurance. On the scale of the Armed Forces, the sums are gigantic. One wonders think about whether to save on the life of soldiers and officers? In a society in which economic calculation is the basis of any decision, including military, the answer to this question is obvious. There, the approach to the logistics of the troops is different. Kohl go to the same, it is worth a closer look.

While preparing for the actions in the Persian Gulf, the Americans, who, as you know, don’t spend money on the wind, considered it advantageous not to save on creating a powerful base and a broad infrastructure of rear support troops in the desert. They even preferred to take water from America by airplanes in order to avoid mass diseases. And it took a lot of it. And if the need arose, they boldly went on to “violate” the governing document: water consumption per person was brought to 80 liters per day, which is about half the norm, which is provided for by the instructions of the US ground forces on field water supply in arid regions.

In the food supply used options for a lightweight diet of high calorie content. To warm food crews tanks equipped with electric spiral heaters, and the infantry with metal tanks for boiling water.

The troops also received canned food with a device mounted in the bottom of the cans, allowing them to warm up breakfast, lunch or dinner in a few minutes in any conditions. Even chocolate was developed and supplied to the soldiers, which does not melt and does not lose its nutritional qualities in 60-degree heat.

“Desert Storm” has become a test of new field uniforms - light, strong overalls, sleeping bags, backpacks and much more, without which life in a war can negatively affect the morale of the troops and their combat capability.

We devoted a lot of time to the personal preparedness of servicemen, among whom were women, to act in the desert. All this allowed the troops to achieve their goals with minimal combat and sanitary losses.

And what about our military industry? In the past years for the battle she did a lot, but for life? But this is yesterday. Today, the question sounds almost tactless - after all, it is known in what position the "defense" is. Nevertheless, the developers are not idle. Work is underway to create a new field uniforms with high thermal properties, plans and inflatable tents for the troops, and suits with electric heating for tankers, and compact high-calorie rations.

Magnificent biofilters for water are already being produced, which with their hands tear Holland, the countries of the Middle East. And our Ministry of Defense is often simply unable to pay for the ordered products. A long, very long way "domestic wonders" to the main consumer. The arsenal of promising developments is far ahead of the capabilities of both the economy and the military budget.

However, there is another side to the problem. The task and duty of the commander is to teach the soldier to win, which means being able to not only fight but also survive. In our country, unfortunately, the emphasis is often exclusively on the first component of the science of victory. We learn, sometimes forgetting that battle and life are inseparable, that breaking this unity by forgetfulness, ignorance or negligence inevitably leads to a reduction in combat readiness.

So, it's time to make significant changes in the program of combat training. Learn not only to master the technique and weapons, not only to fight, but, perhaps, first of all, to teach just to live in conditions as close as possible to the fighting. And survive without losing health in extreme situations, which is rich not only in the military, but also in everyday life.

And this is also a great art. Do we teach him with the same regularity with which we conduct classes in shooting, driving, and public-state training? Meanwhile, enterprising people are already opening "schools of survival" and take money for training in them. Such knowledge would be useful to soldiers of mobile forces, and peacekeepers, and those involved in the elimination of the consequences of emergency situations. All who have passed the army.

They would be useful to our soldiers in Tajikistan, where war breathes every day in the face. For the year in the arrangement and life of the troops there, much has changed for the better. Well, the year is a long time, and time, as you know, is a good teacher. Learned, let's hope, But whatever the present, it's a sin to forget the lessons of the past so that it does not happen again in the future.

And further. Attention to the problems of logistics support for personnel today is acquiring particular urgency and social significance, and because the withdrawal of troops from near and far abroad is in full swing. Entire units, units, subunits have to settle down, to establish combat training, service, and life in new areas of dislocation, and not always at all in advance prepared and equipped places. In order for the commanders, specialists of the rear, military physicians to know what to pay special attention to in the sanitary-epidemiological condition of troops suddenly redeployed to other regions, we recall the recommendations scattered across different guidelines, which must be fulfilled to maintain a high level of combat capability of personnel and in places of permanent deployment, and in the extreme conditions of modern warfare:

• coordination of logistics, engineering and medical support with the forecast of the incidence of personnel, the dynamics of the adaptation of the body of servicemen to extreme environmental conditions, service and life;
• the allocation of time sufficient to create the immune protection of personnel, teaching them the rules of behavior in the conditions of the region;
• exploration of water sources with laboratory testing of water quality;
• protection of water supply facilities;
• putting in good condition the means of supplying and storing drinking water;
• additional water disinfection of the city pipeline;
• equipping with a sufficient amount of cleaning agents for individual water supplies, individual flasks;
• creating reserves of canned water;
• supply of facilities for reducing high initial levels of microbial water contamination (filters for cleaning, tanks for boiling, etc.);
• organizing the supply of benign water for drinking small teams during raids, military operations, while in the cordon, in the guard;
• personnel training on drinking water use rules, including handling water treatment devices;
• planning and carrying out environmental protection measures, combating pollution of the territory where the troops are located, preventive disinfection of common areas, disinsection;
• Avoid long-term canned food;
• supply units with a full set of containers for delivery of prepared food to remote posts;
• provision of multivitamin preparations from the day of receipt of the order for relocation, regardless of the season;
• supply of equipment for the supply of water to soldiers' canteens in the quantity necessary to maintain them in satisfactory sanitary condition (at least 20 l per person, including 16 l - hot);
• equipment for washing pots;
• control over the full weight of servings of prepared food;
• replenishment of underwear and bed linen;
• equipping a separate bath of each unit;
• adherence to the schedule or procedure for carrying out washing of personnel;
• carrying out anti-pediculosis measures (regular check-ups, disinfection);
• disinfection in the foci of infectious diseases no later than three hours after the patient was identified;
• isolation of infectious patients immediately after detection, hospitalization - on the first day;
• proactively stockpiling funds for the immune protection of personnel from infectious diseases that dominate the upcoming actions (immunoglobulin, vaccines, toxoids, antibiotics), for pharmacological correction of the adaptation process of military personnel to extreme environmental conditions, optimization of physical and psychological performance, convalescence after diseases and wounds.
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  1. avt
    avt April 8 2013 09: 25
    good Just a good article.
  2. omsbon
    omsbon April 8 2013 09: 27
    The article, although written in 1994, has not lost its relevance. Thinking ahead of us is not good, but we must think!
    1. Papakiko
      Papakiko April 8 2013 13: 47
      Quote: omsbon
      Think ahead

      How is it "in advance" if everything is done through the "Differentiation hole".
  3. Seaman
    Seaman April 8 2013 09: 45
    Good and useful article. There is something to pay attention to.
  4. Seaman
    Seaman April 8 2013 09: 47
    Useful and relevant article. There is something to pay attention to.
    1. albanech
      albanech 6 June 2013 16: 40
      You can’t but agree! Always respected the Navy!
  5. as3wresdf
    as3wresdf April 8 2013 09: 56
    The base of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of all citizens of the Russian Federation on this site and the main thing was done as if to search for lost relatives, but here is all the information about each of us: correspondence with friends, addresses, phones, place of work, and the worst thing is even mine nudity photo (though I do not know from where ...). In general, I was very scared - but there is such a function as "hide data" of course I used it and I advise everyone not to hesitate, you never know
  6. erased
    erased April 8 2013 10: 02
    It is a pity that the top of the army rarely ever really cares about providing warring units. Even in Afghanistan there were a lot of problems, but nothing is said about Chechnya. One tradition is steadily observed - they threw the army into battle, supplied ammunition and shells, and the rest somehow. Because rear lines and generals are not at the forefront. They hell what is there and how.
    It was then that just to take an example from the Americans, learn the good. But where is there, there’s no time to do small things. Cottages need to be completed, grandmothers removed, positions to buy.
    And while serious changes are not visible.
    1. kaprall
      kaprall April 9 2013 17: 57
      this is because irresponsibility is everywhere, they, generals, are not put on the "counter", they are not exiled in Siberia, so they will be removed from office with a promotion for a hundred disabled people. It's a shame for the state, however.
  7. smershspy
    smershspy April 8 2013 10: 55
    Super! There are no words!
  8. kudwar68
    kudwar68 April 8 2013 11: 15
    Good article. I have encountered such problems more than once.
    HAIFISCH April 8 2013 11: 23
    there really are no words, we unfortunately always knew and did not hesitate to save on soldiers
  10. Vovka levka
    Vovka levka April 8 2013 11: 40
    Issues of nutrition and security (except for ammunition) have always been put on the back burner. The main thing ahead, your mother. And we ourselves still laugh that enemies cannot fight without toilet paper and gum. Heroism is in our blood. Only heroism is the consequence of whose flaw, gouging.
  11. Prometey
    Prometey April 8 2013 11: 45
    Good article. Another evidence that the success of hostilities depends not only on the number of cartridges and shells, but also on the conditions of the soldiers' presence in a combat situation. Somehow long ago I came across a brochure (oh, sorry I don’t remember either the name or the author) about the development of military affairs. There, the author wrote quite seriously that many battles were lost not so much because of superiority in weapons or tactics, but because of the medical and sanitary conditions in which the enemy was. You can, of course, laugh, but the author quite seriously argued that, for example, the French often lost the battles in the Hundred Years War because of lice and, I apologize, diarrhea winked Instead of supporting their attack, the warriors squatted in the bushes.
    In general, such articles (meaning on this site) should be read more often to historians who like to write stories about the campaigns of Alexander and Genghis Khan. The legends of the great conquests are, of course, interesting, but far from reality - Alexander and the Mongols would have lost only half the warriors from illness during the march.
    1. Papakiko
      Papakiko April 8 2013 13: 49
      Quote: Prometey
      the French often lost the battles in the Hundred Years War because of lice and, I apologize, diarrhea

      The Anglo-Saxons were in similar conditions and there is still the concept of "bear disease". wink
  12. Alekseev
    Alekseev April 8 2013 13: 28
    I wonder how the rear and honey were organized. provision during the years of the Second World War?
    there were less material means then, but there is no evidence of mass epidemics in the troops due to which military operations would be disrupted. Or did the issue of vodka save? winked
    In this matter, among other things, both the hardening of the soldiers themselves (the soldier heats with smoke, the soldier shaves with an awl), their fitness for harsh military life, and the initiative of the tactical-company commanders and battalion commanders are very important in this matter.
    You can, for example, organize boiling water, a makeshift bath in a suitable barn, etc.
    Of course, it’s good when all this is organized by the rear, and no one has removed the duty to feed, wash and provide the troops with everything necessary from the rear. (and from outsourcers?) But "in war, as in war", it is not always possible, so why die without a fight from lice and infections?
    1. Prometey
      Prometey April 8 2013 14: 17
      Quote: Alekseev
      I wonder how the rear and honey were organized. provision during the years of the Second World War?

      High intensity of hostilities. There were no epidemics, but there were high honey. losses among the wounded, including due to a lack of dressings (accession of secondary infections) and antibiotics. Among those who died from wounds, 20% were tetanus and gangrenous inflammation - this was a scourge for the wounded in WWII.
      For the most part, eyes were closed on dysentery (it was inevitable in conditions when water was drunk from puddles and swamps). They were sent to hospitals in severe cases of the disease.
    2. vladimirZ
      vladimirZ April 8 2013 15: 54
      "I wonder how the logistics and medical support were organized during the Vov years?"
      Alekseev (1)  Today, 13:28

      On the organization of the rear support of troops, it is necessary to read not the reports of the rear services, but the memoirs of ordinary soldiers and officers with the front line.
      I advise you to read the memoirs of the front-line officer Alexander Shumilin in his unpublished book "Vanka Rotny" on the site
      Shumilin A.I., who went through the war since September 1941, experienced not only fire, shelling, bombing from the German troops, but also all the "charm" of organizing logistical support from our rear services, which, to put it mildly, could not organize the proper way of food and supply of troops on the front line. Constant hunger accompanied the soldiers on the front lines for almost the entire war. "Khlebovo" - flour diluted in water and half a loaf of bread - this is the soldier's constant daily ration. It's amazing how our fathers and grandfathers fought and won on such a ration.
      The unsatisfactory organization of the logistic support of the troops at the front line is, unfortunately, a distinctive feature of our Army, especially during military operations.
      Read "Vanka of the company commander" and you will understand what kind of blood, what labor it cost our soldiers to win in the Great Patriotic War.
      1. Alekseev
        Alekseev April 8 2013 20: 47
        Well I do not know...
        I don't want to accuse anyone of replicating "trench truth", maybe the ration was too small ...
        Personally, I have always been guided by the stories of my father. In the war he was the commander of a rifle platoon in the spring of 1943, twice seriously wounded, ended the war in Prague.
        Later he graduated from the Frunze Academy, was the commander of the SME. That is, a person had a certain outlook, worldly and military.
        In fact, he spoke rather sparingly about the war, never heard "enticing" stories. It must be hard to remember, even years later. And he never wrote books. ”Vanka, by the way, is a platoon commander, not a company commander. wink
        But I remember about feeding, said that he experienced real hunger in the rear, at the 2nd Kuibyshev Infantry School. They shot and ate a raven, and not the cadets, but the commander of the platoon.
        At the front, there were no problems with food (and vodka). Of course, I admit, the front was from the Barents to the Black Seas, situations could be different.
        And medical support saved his life.
        It was organized.
        A fragile girl, a medical officer, pulled a seriously wounded woman from the battlefield, bandaged in a shelter, and at night, on oxen, they sent him to a medical battalion. Used, means, improvised means, and achieved success, saved lives, often, these simple means.
        With great respect, my father remembered the surgeons at the hospital in Voronezh.
        According to him, these were great practices - virtuosos of their craft. Although they couldn’t (they didn’t intentionally, so as not to damage the knee joint) remove the splinter, they made it so that he survived without much suffering until his advanced years.
        So that it happened, and what difficulties it cost our soldiers to defeat, I realized for a long time and without any books.
  13. saygon66
    saygon66 April 8 2013 13: 37
    - Of the events listed in the article, most should be carried out at the company level - battalion, (approximately 15 points from 25). In the companies, ensuring the proper nutrition of the military personnel as well as control over the sanitation and hygiene of the personnel is entirely and completely borne by the foreman of the company! And here we have: a hole in a hole ... Starting with the approach to who should be appointed (elected?) To this position, ending with the training methods of this category of military personnel!
    1. ImPerts
      ImPerts April 8 2013 21: 35
      Fully agree with you.
  14. knn54
    knn54 April 8 2013 14: 56
    Once, they tried to solve a question with a rear officer with a Belarusian colleague. And it ended up with the fact that the colleague told him directly: you and I are round orphans, I have neither father nor mother, but you have no shame or conscience ...
    Read the memoirs of Denikin-what the rear services did in Kharkov and Odessa.
    My replacement talked about the death of the driver and the Zil-130 car during the withdrawal from Afghanistan because of the "bald rubber." And the rear officer, the major selling spare parts to the "spirits", got rich and even went up ...
    PS During the Second World War (and I believe) it was not in vain that the abbreviation-Parts of Material Support appeared.
  15. Rider
    Rider April 8 2013 16: 53
    Alas, the main "antiseptic" in the areas of the DB was (and probably will be) alcohol.
    as our nachmed used to say - red eyes do not turn yellow.
  16. skrava
    skrava April 8 2013 20: 02
    All the chiefs said this, but my navigator's red eyes turned yellow quite quickly.
  17. ImPerts
    ImPerts April 8 2013 21: 37
    The navigator probably did the opposite. Not water (products) with alcohol disinfected, but alcohol with water.