By the summer of 1985, the situation in Barikot was desperate. Dushmans surrounded the garrison so that neither pass, nor pass, nor fly. Attempted Afghan troops to pass without the help of the Soviet Army in Barikot. But at the kishlak of Jalal in 12 km from Asmar were broken. The 86 vehicles were destroyed, including the 12 BTR-60P and six 100-mm guns intended for the garrison.
In February, 1985 was again an independent attempt to conduct a convoy of food and ammunition. I participated in this operation. Again, failure. At the kishlak of Shal, in 6 km from Asmar, such resistance was encountered by the dushmans, that the troops returned.
Meanwhile, around the Barikot, the ring was tighter and tighter, the shelling more and more intensively. The garrison held on. The credit goes to our officers-advisers, of whom there were only 5 people.
Dushmans occupied all the dominant heights around. The sniper was beaten indiscriminately by the first person who appeared from behind the blower. All work was carried out only at night. Worked school and also with the onset of darkness. At the end were ammunition, food, salt ended. It was necessary to save the garrison, but it was impossible to carry out the operation blindly.
I managed to send a scout from the local residents of Asadabad to the road to Barikot. He made his way back and forth, and I received fresh data on the condition of the road from Asmar to Barikot. 30 km and almost every kilometer dips or debris. In addition, the road was mined with Italian anti-vehicle and anti-tank mines.
I calculated the scope of work, the amount of necessary materials and made a plan for the organization of work. He presented his proposals to Army General V. A. Varennikov. It was decided on a joint operation.
A column of 110 vehicles with ammunition and food is maintained by an OOD (movement support detachment) as part of the demining regiment of the Afghan army, the 45 road battalion of the demining regiment of the 40 army and motorized rifle battalion. In the mountains to the left and right cover the column 9 PD, 11 PD and 40 army units.
The composition and equipment of the OOD were thought out by me based on the experience of the Afghan war. I have already had to act in the mountains, in addition, the February march gave something and I clearly understood that I needed to take with me. However, two days before going to the operation, a fresh general from Moscow came to me with a readiness check. He has only a week in Afghanistan, but he has already decided that he can teach me.
After listening to my report, he said that I was not ready for the operation. What is this OOD? In the squad not tank Bridge layers MTU, no TMM (heavy mechanized bridges). Helicopters are not planned to deliver construction materials directly to the work sites. You act the old fashioned way, made up a train and drove off. I will report that the OOD is not ready for surgery.
I did not explain to him the truisms of mountain roads, that tank bridge laying systems in these specific conditions are not applicable, that TMM, in general, will not pass there. And the helicopters will not fly to the place of work, because the cliff will not allow it. Therefore, all that is necessary for the production of works must be taken with you, there is no other option. Certainly no one took his report seriously.
The operation began as scheduled. The path from Kabul to Jalalabad and to Asadabad, where the command post of the head of the operation was deployed, passed without interference, further on it is already more difficult. Asmar passed, and here it is, this road! Rises higher and higher. Below, under the road, sandwiched between sheer cliffs, Kunar rushes about. Machines barely fit on the canvas. Ahead of the sapper platoon, they detect and destroy mines with overhead charges.
It must be said that the mine detectors do not detect these mines and the sapper’s only hope for the dipstick (stick with an awl at the end) and for their intuition. The fact is that we began to teach the sapper not to look for the probe with a dipstick; it is useless in the stony ground, and sticking the dipstick into the rocky pound, to feel its condition. If the density of the soil is different from the surrounding, then here dug, mean something here is. But it comes with experience.
The first failure. Dushmans did this with the concept, on the turn. So apply here MTU. I would like to see a companion checking with him. The column, clinging to the rock, stood up. We are starting to repair the road. Afghans can skillfully lay such holes with stones using a binder material - tree branches. Put them cut ends out of the hole. They lay a row of branches thickly, on top of them are stones, again a row of branches, again stones, it turns out a layer cake. Branches under the weight of stones round their contours and hold them in the wall. But such a wall is able to withstand the load up to 3-5 t. And we need to miss military equipment.
The failure width 4 m, depth to 30 m, conical. For the first time, we use the net of the MW (unobtrusive obstacle) 10 × 5 m. We stretch it with shovels and stack it in the same way as Afghans put branches. It turns out the same puff pie, but much more reliable - let the tanks go quietly. The work goes well. Immediately in 50 – 100, we blast rocks with shaped charges and place the stones into the wall.
Sudden shelling of DShK and mortar. We do not scatter, but everyone hides behind the stones and is returning fire. Connected armored personnel carriers and tanks, artillery. The answer is convincing. The shootout subsides, and again work. Shift organization. Every two hours we change soldiers. Only officers without change.
Work Afghan and Soviet soldiers. Carry stones, branches and chained down. The Afghans who grew up in these mountains carry stones two to three times harder than our soldiers and are not at all afraid of heights. He stands over the precipice, puts his foot on some kind of ledge, takes heavy stones and lays them down as if they had lain here.
In Asadabad, a detachment of volunteers from local residents joined us. Strong men in turbans, overgrown with beards and mustache. We worked on restoring the road tirelessly, slept right there on the stones, and spread a blanket, which was always with you. Gone with us to the end. I wondered why they were on the wrong side. One said to me: “The revolution has given me a future, my children already know how to read and write. I protect the future. ” With them was a senior, we called him "engineer". So, during the shelling, he was wounded in the head, a fragment of a mortar mine cut his cheek, but he continued to work.
And the road rises higher. At the Sau village there are twelve dips at a height of about 70 m. There is no way out for laying stones here. Very deep, and in one place the width reaches 12 meters. Making transitions beams CCI. We lower the beams to the narrow place where they reliably rest, we make the flooring from the branches and we place the stones to the very top. If the height is greater than 5 m, then we work with the grid of MW, if it is less, then with branches. The work is going energetically, in shifts.
One and a half kilometers from the place of work the helicopter landed. This is me. Call to the headquarters to Varennikov. I arrive, I report. With Varennikov a group of generals, among them the deputy commander of the 40 Army, Major General V. Dubynin. Varennikov asks:
- How much time do you need to move forward?
- I answered: - two days.
- Not. Day and not an hour more.
I again insistently repeated what I needed, since there was great destruction in Sau. Dubynin just got into the conversation and said:
- I flew today over Sau and did not see any damage. Today we will be in Barikot!
“On foot,” I retorted.
- Well, - turning to Dubynin, said Varennikov. - You will fly with the engineer to the site and report to me.
When landing our helicopter fired. Between the stones, we got into a safe zone, from where the perspective of the entire destroyed area was opened. Dubynin stared dumbfounded at the failures and immediately said:
- Forgive me, this is not visible from a helicopter. Here it is necessary to work a week! I will report to Varennikov.
“No,” I said, “I need two days.” The day after tomorrow, the column will move forward in 7.00.
This is what happened. But for this it was necessary to overcome the most difficult failure to the depth to 70 m and width 12 m. Here the laying with stones is not the way out - it really takes a week.
Dusmans, blasting the road, left for themselves and for the donkey a trail 1 m wide. Beams from the Park of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry 4 m long. I decided to make a cantilever overlap. Calculated. It turned out, 15 beams need to drive on the 1 m in the rock, one meter trail and two meters in the air. We had a compressor, but pulling it on our hands to the work site, either on purpose or by accident, but the Afghans dropped it into the abyss. I had to punch holes in the rock with a crowbar and a sledgehammer. Fortunately, it was not very hard and we succeeded.
I must say that in the OOD I invited the division engineer engineer, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolai Zybinsky, 9 PD adviser to help me. More reliable friend is difficult to find. In addition, he is a man of cheerful disposition. He has a bike for every occasion and tells her so that everyone is lying around. So Kolya Zybinsky was waving a sledgehammer all night. Somehow unnoticed, all Afghans faded and only Soviet guys remained. Even the beginning. the headquarters of the engineering troops of the Afghan army, combat and in general a good officer, Colonel Omar, too, somewhere snooze.
I sent a translator to find him, so that he would raise everyone to his feet. There are two hours left for 7.00 and you need to finish the work. And suddenly Omar appeared next to Kolya Zybinsky and, pretending that he was always here, said: “We, Comrade Zibinsky, set the beam a little crookedly”. Kohl, without straightening, looked up at him from the bottom up as he could fiercely and swore: “Oh, your mother and so and so (literally, you can’t write). Crookedly put. Stand back, or I'll accidentally crash. ” And put the last beam into the hole. For a long time I had to explain to the offended Omar, that such a curse does not make sense, that we will say this in a temper, but in no case will it disgrace the draw of my mother.
He says to me: “I understand, my mother is far away and he could not do it, but why then speak?” Well, in the end, Nick apologized ten times, and Omar warmed up. I must say that Omar was a loyal comrade. I was convinced of this until the end, when the mortar mine suddenly rushed alongside. Omar knocked me down and covered me up. Everything went well. But about fifteen meters 11 sappers of the Afghan regiment were killed.
We were finishing work. Between the beams put wooden liners. All mounts produced 6-mm wire in 3 - 4 thread. The holes where the beams came in were tightly stoned. They laid the flooring, covered it with a pound with stones. Everything. On the hanging ends of the beams, I put a handful of small stones and gave the command to the first armored personnel carrier forward, quietly. He walked smoothly, my pebbles did not budge.
It was exactly 7.00. General Dubynin was already here.
- Well, how? - asks.
- Forward, - I answer, - there is no further damage. Until Barikot remained12 km.
Returned back on the same transitions. Later, the same verifier told me that, supposedly, he had assumed such responsibility with the console transition in vain. But war is war, and someone must take responsibility. Otherwise, no success.
A few weeks later, a letter from Dushmans was sent to the 9 PD headquarters, addressed to Kutsenko’s muskraver, where Dushmans thanked for a good road and, they say, they now carry wood through it. But if you turn up again, write, we will blow it up again. Kolya Zybinsky in the hearts tore up this letter, which is a pity. It would be nice to save for stories. After all, on that road, there was also a part of my soul.