The start of my trip to Chechnya was intriguing and promising. At the departure aerodrome, we were given brand new body armor in an untouched original package, but for some reason there were several plates missing in each of them. It became even more interesting when the BTR-80 was handed over to us, and the infantry drivers who were eager to go with us were sent back to the unit. We were left alone with these magnificent, but completely unfamiliar machines.
I note that a special feature of army special forces is that it does not have any equipment in service, and there is a corresponding gap in the training of officers. Even the war in Afghanistan, where armored groups played a large role in the success of the special forces, did not force to put at least several training BTR and BMP in each unit. So I had to take the “primer” - the instruction manual and study it.
Because of this, it was not without incident. One day after arriving in Mozdok, my group was sent to perform a task as part of a special-purpose squad. We still didn’t get to the bottom of the details of the machine and 14,5-mm machine gun KPVT, we didn’t manage to conduct shooting exercises and were completely sure that everything was ready for the fight. Fortunately, at that time did not have to open fire, and we returned safely. And at the very first firing practice, it turned out that after every 4 of a shot, the machine gun “catches a wedge” due to the absence of a tray in the empty tape removal system and, as a result, the tape is unable to pass through the linkage without hindrance. She was going to the edge of the linkage and did not move on. And so with all the armored personnel carriers.
So the gunners had to, because of the lack of these parts at the field repair base, urgently to learn to press the trigger with one hand and pull the tape with the other. And what would happen to us if we came under fire on the first mission? Of course, we learned to fight not only on our sad experience, but also on examples of the use of other special forces in this war. We, newcomers, became aware of them from more experienced friends who had already passed baptism of fire and had time to appreciate the enemy. Already the militants, like no one else, were able to use all the advantages of defense in the city, obtained from a good knowledge of the place of military operations and the use of those advancing in narrow streets tanks and BMP, which became the "Mass graves of the infantry."
It is not surprising that a large number of vehicles were burned on the streets of Grozny, because the shooting was carried out, as a rule, with 30 ... 40 meters concentrated fire of several RPGs on each slowly moving bronzeseli alternately.
Knowing the ability of militants to fight, I was not surprised that the vast majority of basements of houses on the streets, more or less suitable for the movement of technology, were concentrated stocks of shots to the RPG-7. The tactics of leaving "stash" with ammunition used by militants around the world. However, although the experience of local conflicts is sometimes summarized by our military experts, the matter still does not reach bringing it to the “rising” commanders. There are no training courses or manuals on the conduct of counter-guerrilla warfare in the ground forces. So you have to learn in every new local conflict "from scratch" on your bloody experience.
Militants used ambushes, arranged by large forces at intersections. In this case, the fire was fought simultaneously from 5-20 grenade launchers, a large number of machine guns and sniper rifles. 2 January 1995, a convoy of Russian troops from 16 combat and 30 wheeled vehicles, marching to the railway station, got into such an ambush.
The task of removing the heavily wounded commander of the compound from the station to the rear was assigned to a combined-arms unit, which was given a reconnaissance group from the special-purpose battalion. The scouts were placed as follows: four on the first BMP and two on the second and third. In 100 meters from the destination, the head of the column was fired from three sides with a massive fire of anti-tank weapons and small arms weapons. Immediately burst first BMP. Soon she detonated ammunition. However, the special forces managed to get out of the car and took an unequal battle, which became the last for them.
The head of the column, who was on the second infantry fighting vehicle, ordered his driver to take the car along the adjacent street and thus left the column without control. Two commandos, sitting in the troop compartment of this vehicle, due to the limited view of the loopholes, did not see that their comrades were in trouble and could not help them. Through the 3-4 quarter, the BMP of the column commander was hit. And again the scouts took the battle, but, being alone surrounded and putting a mountain of "spirits", they died. Only the contused driver-mechanic and the head of the convoy survived, who were dragged into the basement by the local residents and hid 3 for weeks.
Due to the lack of control over the column and the battle, the third car also left the ambush, but got lost and fell into the Sunu River. All who were in it, including special forces ordinary soldier Soginov and ordinary military service Kuznetsov, escaped. Only the medical major infantry could not get out and shot himself.
Special Forces officers went into battle formations of our troops and fought on the frontline for another ten days (commanding six infantry soldiers, captured and held the library building).
Only in this one ambush, about 40 Russian troops were killed. This, unfortunately, is not the only example of effective actions of "spirits". The tactics of our command to “raise the banner on key facilities” led to such results.
The task of preserving the lives of personnel was decided by the heads of all degrees. True, sometimes it was done in a very strange way. Some commanders, taking care of the lives of their subordinates, and some fearing for their "back", came to the point that they tried to send foreign soldiers to the most dangerous area and thereby save theirs. Examples include the cases when units perform special tasks, which are not specific to them, such as storming buildings, holding them, using combined-arms columns as marching guards instead of conducting reconnaissance in the interests of a group of troops.
These are dangerous tasks, and individual infantry commanders who were given special forces units used foreign soldiers to carry them out.
And sometimes the special forces had to perform and in general mythical tasks. So, on January 18, 1995, a detachment of reconnaissance men from 19 on 2-x armored personnel carriers was sent to the rear command post, located near the settlement of Tolstoy Yurt. The task of the detachment was to detect and capture the agent of the “Rocket” militants, who constantly transmitted by radio about the movements of our troops on the Chervlenaya – Grozny road section. Act was ordered from KP as from the base.
I note that when it took to find a senior manager at KP, they did it very simply - they found a warm toilet among the 200 control and communication machines. Forged from freshly planed boards, he towered over disguised cars. And in the 15 steps from him was a car with a senior senior kung. Here is a ostrich disguise.
In the days following 10's arrival, the detachment traveled to the road hoping to detect the spy. It was impossible to name anything else as an accident, because the special forces had no connection with local informants, no radio intelligence equipment, and indeed it was the work of other services. Nesolono after they returned to Mozdok. But they avoided participation in the attack on the city streets as motorized infantry on armored personnel carriers.
The following example testifies to the high efficiency of the use of special-purpose units in their proper use. 31 December 1994, a special forces detachment of 4 officers, 17 ensigns and contract servicemen, at 10 o'clock in the morning, flew helicopters into the foothills of the North Caucasus to the area of Serzhen-Yurt. Then, having made an 26-hour foot march with full equipment (up to 20-30 kg of weapons, ammunition and mine-explosives) in the mountains in snow conditions, the detachment went to the area where the commander ordered the base to be set.
After a thorough preparation of weapons for battle, and mine-explosives - to destroy the squad divided. Two officers and 8 contract soldiers occupied a perimeter defense at the base, and the rest, leaving part of the equipment, moved to the road that ran along the bottom of a shallow mountain gorge. The width of the gorge at the bottom ranged from 200 to 300 m, and, in addition to the road, there were several former pioneer camps in it.
According to intelligence information obtained by federal forces earlier from intelligence sources and thanks to aerial photography, a school of Chechen saboteurs was located in one of these camps. The road was heavily patrolled by armored vehicles, and it was used to transport personnel and cargoes.
In the next morning, 8, combat positions in the middle of the slope of the gorge were occupied by a support group consisting of the deputy commander of the detachment and three contract soldiers, and the fire and mining subgroup consisting of officer L. and six contract soldiers was located just below. They laid wire-driven landfills: one for the roadway, and the other for the transformer station located in 100.
About 8 hours on the road at the ambush site seemed BMP with militants on the armor. The explosion of a controlled landmine and fire subgroup fire and mining in seconds with the enemy was over. Then the transformer station was undermined. No sooner had the shots subsided and the dust from the explosions settled down, as another BMP appeared on the road. Shots from the RPG-22 managed to drive it away.
As a result of the ambush, the combat vehicle was destroyed, the militants 7, a huge crater formed on the road, which later led to the accumulation of enemy equipment in this place, the saboteurs base was de-energized.
The scouts set up a directional mine at the ambush site and retreated (first, firing-miners, then a support subgroup). While still on the ridge above the ambush site, that is, in 500 meters from it, the special forces heard the explosion of their mine - this was to help the militants who had been ambushed, new forces approached.
Began many hours of "race of survival." The next MONKA was left at the location of his base, putting behind her a bag of a demolition man, which must have attracted the attention of the militants. This mine worked through 40 minutes when the squad deployed a radio station to call helicopters for evacuation. The commander decided to temporarily postpone the communication session, since the distance from the former base was no more than 1 km (the scouts for 40 minutes only managed to cross another gorge).
The third mine was left at the site of a failed communication session. She worked in an hour. To the place of evacuation, which was located in 5 km from the ambush area, I had to walk along the path laid the day before, because the snow cover was shallow, the snow was wet and there were black traces of special forces on it.
After 3 hours of an accelerated march through the mountains, people who had not slept for the third day began to “cut down”. Everyone was given XDUMX tablets Sydnocarb, which brought the scouts to life, and they were able to move on.
At this point, 6 people have already received frostbite on the legs of the 2 degree. The communication session was “managed to be pushed through”, nevertheless, and the helicopters, in spite of completely non-flying weather, were in the evacuation area in time. Three Mi-24 came - fire support helicopters, two Mi-8 for personnel and one Mi-8 with a subgroup for evacuation led by the chief of staff of the special forces battalion.
As the pilots said later, the squad was being chased by 40 people in camouflage uniforms - militants from the training center for saboteurs, about 20 of whom were blown up on the fourth mine installed on the escape route. And for the nearest ridge, KamAZ was walking with the militia encirclement with militants.
The helicopters fired several volleys from NURS to their pursuers The detachment occupied the all-round defense at the evacuation site and entered the battle. The scouts were taken under heavy enemy fire, but there were no losses among ours. And the commander of one of the squad groups was even able to jump out of the helicopter and pick up his friend’s fur pants, untied from the RD-54. When he was then asked why he should take such risks, he replied: so that they would not deduct for the lost unrescribable property.
In total, the detachment destroyed about 60 militants from the reconnaissance school, a combat vehicle, and an electric transformer station. In the next 2 days aviation about 40 sorties were carried out, as a result of which up to 14 units of equipment accumulated by a crater on the road were destroyed, and the base for training saboteurs. There were no losses from our side.
This is what can be achieved with the proper use for its intended purpose of high professional preparedness in combination with high fighting spirit of special forces.