Military Review

Caution is the mother of heroism

Caution is the mother of heroism

Much has been written about fear in war and its overcoming, in particular, that this is normal and that only a complete fool is not afraid ... Of course, a mentally normal person should avoid danger, including war, by virtue of the self-preservation instinct, or try to minimize the risk to life and health, and if he is a commander, then not only for his own. However, I would make a clarification. A well-trained military man — professional — must be wary, but not afraid of battle. The difference is that, fearing he deliberately goes to a collision, he is looking for him, and he fully understands that the enemy’s bullets are not plasticine, and therefore he tries to make himself and his unit the least vulnerable. Knowing the degree of risk allows you to act thoughtfully and competently. Ignorance creates fear and even panic.

Fear has big eyes

I have repeatedly come across people who, as such, have not eaten war, but remembered it with horror. It was in Afghanistan, after a few years - as expected, everyone spoke with great pathos. There is nothing surprising in this behavior. After all, it is not so much a specific danger that is terrible as the uncertainty that a person faces when getting into a combat area for the first time. It is at the initial stage of the front-line service that the fear of an unknown war can be described as fear. During this period, he has the ability to generate new fear, and rumors (the more improbable, the worse) strengthen it. Man intimidates himself, and only the reality of the fighting can free him.

An example of self-intimidation is история about changing the behavior of officers of our squad at the entrance to the DRA in 1984 year.

The detachment was formed back in the 1980 year, at the beginning of the 1984-th is completed with officers of the 12-th special forces brigade and other units. That is, the officers, and mostly the soldiers and sergeants, were knit together in the Soviet Union. The officers knew each other for a long time. On the way to Kushka among them there was a kind of bravado: here, they say, we are going to war! As in any team, we had slightly better and slightly worse people, but on the whole, there was not much difference before the border crossing. On the morning of February 10, we crossed the bridge over Kushka and found ourselves in Afghanistan. Here was the same land, just as damp and dank, the same fog, but ... we suddenly became different. The catalyst for this transformation was fear. The awareness that a real war is going on here made us change our behavior. Some mobilized experience and knowledge and prepared to confront the enemy, while others were ready to hide behind other people's, including soldiers', backs, although not a single shot had yet been sounded, and there was no mention of the enemy.

Another case occurred two years later. There is a post of apothecary in the staff list of a separate unit. Performed by her ensign. I do not remember the name of our pharmacist, I only remember that his name was Igor. He never left the location of the unit not only for military operations, but, in my opinion, even in the column of our autocrat who often mocked at Kushka. This man has never been noticed in anything bad for two years. He served, honestly fulfilling his position, and was already waiting for the "replacement". And the “substitute” arrived, but it turned out that the MAS of the ensign ensign corresponded to the position of company head, and not the pharmacist. It would seem that nothing terrible: not this, so the other will come. But what happened to Igor! He threw a tantrum, shouted, lay in the dust. To us, military officers, it was crazy. Igor did not risk anything, remaining a maximum of a month in Afghanistan, but the adult man wept and shouted as if he were to take part in every conceivable and unimaginable fighting exits. He confused himself, apparently, for a long time, but he honestly held on for two years, having learned about extending his life in Afghanistan on some miser, he could not stand it and broke. None of this has ever happened to any of our military officers, although many have served in Afghanistan for several months. Simply, the war was not for us the fear that our pharmacist created in his imagination.

There is no time to be afraid in battle

In the autumn of 1984, my friend and a classmate from the 9 Company of the Ryazan School came to serve as Senior Lieutenant Oleg Sheyko. By that time I had fought about six months and, in comparison with him, was considered an experienced officer. In order to compensate this difference as quickly as possible, even in a theoretical aspect, because our actions in Afghanistan differed significantly from what we were taught in school, I began to interpret the features of that war to my friend. He drew some schemes, told, showed. In the end, quite pleased with himself, asked if everything was clear. Oleg, whose face was clear that he did not share my joy, replied: “We will deal with tactics. You better tell me honestly: when does the battle start and shoot at you, is it very scary? ”Having understood which problems torment my spine more, I answered honestly:“ When the battle begins, you just don’t think about fear. You are covered by the dynamics of what is happening, you are filled with the excitement of the fight. If suddenly the enemy passes, you solve the tasks of organizing the defense. In short, at work, and war is the same work as any other, there is no time to be afraid. ”

Oleg then did not answer. A few weeks later, he arranged his group on a comfortable, but shot down from other heights hill. In the morning, their spirits began to be chased from the ASC, so that they would not lift their heads, and the infantry went with a chain. Oleg managed to organize a repulse, cause support and evacuate all without loss. Then he came to me and said: “You were right! At first I didn’t believe it, I thought I was just showing off. But this morning made sure that you did not lie. There is no time to be afraid in battle! ”

A man in battle is engaged in combat, not in his own fears and self-intimidation. Over time, experience and confidence come. The behavior becomes clear, competent and prudent. It would seem that everything: the process of becoming a warrior and a commander is over, things will go further. It was not there. Approximately in half a year another danger arises, even more terrible for a person, since it is not realized.

Star disease

Having won successfully six months, a person ceases not only to be afraid, but even to be afraid of war. Successes dull the sense of danger. The confidence comes that you can all that luck favors. As a result, you start to admit inaccuracies and negligence, and it is good if fate punishes not strongly, just by shaking the collar, like a puppy playing, recalling that war is not a joke and negligence is fraught with death.

So it was with me. By the fall of 1984, I fought quite successfully, without loss. Both my group and the company, which I commanded for two months, replacing the company, had solid results. Almost all officers and many soldiers were presented for awards. It was then that fate clicked me on the nose.

I commanded the 310 squad, which had been separated from our company. The task was to land two groups of armor on caravan routes in the area of ​​the city of Buriband and in the area north-east of the settlement of Shahri-Safa. I myself, with an armored group of three BMP-2, one BRM-1 and one CMR, and an eight-man landing force, had to go deeper east of the armor and reconnoiter the caravan routes of the rebels near Kalat.

The company officer, going to hospital, forgot to hand over the keys to the safe, where our “medicine” was kept. I, having lost my vigilance, did not bother to demand from the command to appoint a medical orderly to the composition of the armored group.

Everything went according to plan. Having landed the groups, we dived into the area of ​​our responsibility for about a hundred kilometers with a hook. The day was approaching sunset, and we decided to stop for the night. To our right was Mount Loy-Karavuli-Gunday, in profile resembling a double-humped camel. There we decided to occupy all-round defense. The main forces "sat down" on the eastern hump of the mountain, but they did not want to leave the western one unsupervised. Therefore, I ordered to put one BMP-2 in the hollow between the humps, and above it, on the western hump, put two of the troops to cover.

The night was absolutely moonless. The lack of visibility was aggravated by a strong wind that concealed suspicious sounds. Near 23.00, I went around the position on the eastern hump. Everything was fine, and I made the second mistake. Knowing that the guys we have experienced, too lazy to go check the fighters in a separate car. It was also relaxed that no one attacked the armored groups that occupied the perimeter defense. However, as it turned out later, the neighborhood of the city of Kalat was “the land of frightened idiots”. Six months later, after the described events in this area, the spirits of the 7 squadron were marching almost in columns, like Kappelevs in Chapayev. Naturally, after a while, having lost not one hundred people, they realized that they were wrong, but in the autumn of 1984, they had not yet seen a single Soviet soldier. As the agents later reported, three bandit groups came together against us, uniting in a detachment of more than 80 men.

Under the cover of darkness, the spirits surrounded the mountain and began to rise. Around 24.00 began shelling of the armored group. The fire was very dense, but due to the fact that the spirits had to shoot from the bottom up and because of the darkness that prevented the aimed fire, we did not suffer losses. In a tough and transient battle, we managed to repel an attack on the main group, but the separately standing machine — the only one that was projected against the sky — was hit immediately, the gunner-operator, ordinary Kamenkov, died. The driver of the KSHM ordinary Bazlov, who carried him out, was seriously injured. The fire of one of the BMP-2 spirits that surrounded the black car, were destroyed. Opponent moved away. The helicopter, called in 1.00 to evacuate the wounded, arrived only in 8.00. Bazlov by this time died.

As it turned out, the fighters who were covering the separately standing BMP-2 left their positions and went down to the crew, which also did not conduct any observation. If I checked their combat readiness in 23.00, then these losses would not have happened, and if I had bothered to take the medical instructor with me, due to the lack of medicines, Bazlov would most likely have survived. Having received this shake-up, I again began to treat war as a war, and not as a pleasure walk. Everything fell into place.

But it happens that a person makes unforgivable mistakes. Then the bad students in the school of life will meet with its director - the Lord God.

So died Lieutenant Sergei Kuba. It cannot be said that fortune favored him especially. In essence, despite all the desire to fight, the Cuban did not carry out a single effective (trophy) ambush. All he came across some little thing. However, I went to the ambush regularly and never a bit. Apparently, that's why I relaxed on the Khakrez road.

At night, his group “hammered” a tractor with a trailer, but empty. The guys would get together and go to another place. At night, the spirits would not have found them, and they did not look for them. They stayed. In the morning, the spirits pulled up the forces, put the snipers in and dumped ours in full. Seryoga summoned the "turntables" and made them himself, firing a machine gun. When the sniper's bullet struck nearby, he understood - they were shooting. However, he made a mistake again and did not change his position. As a result, the next attempt to shoot a machine gun got a bullet in the head. Group with difficulty and loss dragged from the gorge.

An even more tragic incident occurred in the 7 squad in Shahzhoy. The group of Lieutenant Onischuk was almost completely destroyed. The reason - all the same star fever. “Scoring” the car at night, Onischuk, in order not to risk people, decided to watch it in the morning. Everything is logical, but at night the spirits at the car set up an ambush, and the large forces pulled up and placed on the mountain, opposite our positions. The main mistake of the special forces was that the inspection team began to work outside the visibility of the main forces. The spirits, who were in the ambush, silently destroyed it, dressed in a spetsnaz robe and began to climb the mountain, where the main forces of the group were. And again negligence! No one bothered to look through binoculars at the returning, or at least chat with them on the radio. We noticed that bearded men come to them, and not their guys, too late. As a result, two or three people survived. The heroism shown in that battle could no longer save the situation ...

Having received in my time "by the nose", I clearly understood that war must be taken extremely seriously. This was taught by his fighters and young lieutenants who arrived from the Union when he became deputy company commander. Each entry to the war should be like the first. Then both the commander and his subordinates, realizing that the enemy should not be afraid, but it is necessary to fear, in 99 cases from 100 will remain alive and successfully complete the task.
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  1. Baron Wrangell
    Baron Wrangell 22 January 2014 09: 10
    I agree with the author on all 100%.
    I agree about the pharmacist. I saw something like this, after a business trip to Chechnya, one of ours at the Moscow airport knelt and roared, as we were even ashamed! Yes, and there he somehow behaved strangely. It is evident that he was very afraid
    1. Hleb
      Hleb 22 January 2014 09: 28
      cried and what? was so afraid that he was still shaking at the airport? and why were you ashamed of him?
      1. Baron Wrangell
        Baron Wrangell 23 January 2014 09: 04
        I will try to answer!
        Quote: Gleb
        cried and what? was so afraid that he was still shaking at the airport? and why were you ashamed of him?

        even on a business trip it was noticeable that fear tormented and tormented him, it was very difficult to describe his behavior, but it was clear that the guy was going crazy, and at the airport tears with snot, scattering substance, it was clear that the roof was completely torn off. I do not know his further fate, but according to fragmentary information, he was commissioned for psycho-indications! Alas.
      2. The comment was deleted.
    2. Old Cynic
      Old Cynic 22 January 2014 09: 40
      He was on his knees and roared AFTER a business trip, and not before her, judging by your message. Apparently, the man handed over the nerves ... But they handed over after a business trip, and not before her!
      1. Baron Wrangell
        Baron Wrangell 23 January 2014 09: 07
        Quote: Old Cynic
        He was on his knees and roared AFTER a business trip, and not before her, judging by your message. Apparently, the man handed over the nerves ... But they handed over after a business trip, and not before her!

        I analyzed his behavior for a long time, I understood one thing, the young guy went to the war for medals and orders, I thought apparently there would be a walk, but the reality turned out to be harsher, and because of animal fear he frustrated him.
        And he went not by order but voluntarily.
        And they are afraid, we were all afraid, only fools are not afraid. But the main thing is not to let fear gobble you up.
      2. The comment was deleted.
    3. Eugene
      Eugene 22 January 2014 18: 40
      Okay. The guy held on as much as he could. I have a friend. He’s been for 30 years! When we walk at night, along the street, I lead him by the hand! He’s scared. That's right. And under the bullets ....
      1. Mikhail3
        Mikhail3 22 January 2014 19: 12
        This is very bad. Before and after the action, be afraid as much as you like. During the action you can not be afraid. But you can’t fly on a courage, if you don’t know clearly that this is your last fight.
    4. dag
      dag 22 January 2014 23: 06
      Quote: Baron Wrangel
      After a business trip to Chechnya, one of ours at the Moscow airport knelt and roared, as we were even ashamed! Yes, and there he somehow behaved strangely. It is evident that he was very afraid

      In war, you don’t realize the degree of danger, awareness then comes like that of a guy. But a man should be able to control himself to the last. If it’s so painful, you need to do it alone with yourself. These are the things a man should be different from the weaker sex.
  2. ImPerts
    ImPerts 22 January 2014 10: 08
    Rotation and rotation again. Therefore, they try to keep for six months, no more)))
  3. Black
    Black 22 January 2014 10: 08
    ... yes, laziness and "maybe" - obviously - not even a stepmother ...
  4. Marconi41
    Marconi41 22 January 2014 10: 35
    Good article. The psychology of war is such a thing that you can't predict how not to try. It happened that the "middle-aged sergeants" huddled in the cracks, and the "young" skinny guy not only shoots, but also sees where he is shooting. The actions of the commanders during the DB also have a significant effect on the l / s. As soon as the commander is a little confused, his unit immediately has confusion in the eyes and vice versa.
    The first fight is a separate topic. L / s strive to huddle together in such a way that sometimes they almost have to be crucified, but drawing conclusions on people after the first fight is also a big mistake. Very often, after the first clash in a person, something in the brain switches, he remembers what he was taught, does not pour lead in vain, etc. Over time, of course, come and bravado leading to ridiculous losses. A mine is flying, there are three people and one of them arrogantly notices "not ours", a total of three 200x.
    Article plus, and a special thanks to the author.
  5. operator35
    operator35 22 January 2014 14: 13
    unfortunately in Our country there is absolutely no work of psychologists in the war and the rehabilitation period after. it is replaced by vodka - which only exacerbates the situation ...
    1. Mikhail3
      Mikhail3 22 January 2014 19: 26
      Firstly, there is work. The site has articles on the topic. The main problem is also visible there - psychologists are faced with fierce resistance from the military themselves. Read comments for articles. True, rare answers come across those with whom they systematically worked before and after. But as I understand it, there are not many Lions of the Tolstoys among the real special forces, they are not masters to write, and indeed these are taciturn people.
      And so ... for centuries, the military education of a warrior nation has been practiced in families and in men's unions, which were not one in each village and in each city. With the advent of Christianity they ceased to be called Perun brotherhoods, the rite seemed to be hidden ... but it was. But the authorities fiercely persecuted this entire tradition, and the Bolsheviks completely eradicated it.
      So there was a popular belief that the military spirit is something natural (we don’t need any psychologists! Vodka, sleep and everything will pass!), But there is no education of this spirit. The USSR tried to replace the crushed by its own system. It did not work out - the technique was contrary to the progressive collapse of Soviet reality. But Russian is not American. For us, the image is useless, a lie (which psychologists willingly operate on) can’t catch a Russian.
      At the moment, the situation is deplorable. The Soviet education system is destroyed, which is generally incomprehensible. As long as most of the kids say - completely rude animals. At the kindergarten level - hell. In schools, too, teachers (who can work exclusively with the support of the family, or call the police like in the USA) start to run up, because working with animals is not for them, it's for trainers. It's bad ...
  6. Aleks tv
    Aleks tv 22 January 2014 16: 17
    The article is not new, but WONDERFUL.
    As a rule, these questions do not arise until ... you get there.

    Add a little:
    The first battle is always breaking ... Then how can the curve deduce. Someone breaks, someone tempers ... A lot depends on the team.
    The unit should “work” MISCONTINALLY within itself. If the fighters understand what ALL the unit is doing at the moment and know what will happen in the future, such fighters almost do not need to be controlled and commanded, but only “direct” and “confirm” their actions. In such a team, literate and calculating Fighters grow up with a capital letter.

    The most difficult thing is to raise the soldiers under the bullets ...
    It’s different for everyone. Someone “works” with the utmost caution, someone “turns on” some recklessness ”, albeit careful, but reckless ... Someone works silently, someone yells ... whatever.

    And the battle ...
    The battle must be able to FEEL, only then is it possible to win. It is difficult to explain in a nutshell .....................................
    There is another concept - a premonition of battle, it really is. It consists of a number of objective reasons (terrain, bird behavior, etc.), and is also absolutely intuitive.

    Well, the commander should always remember that he has two BASIC tasks:
    1: Save the lives of fighters
    2. Fulfill the order.
    And it is advisable to carry out these tasks in that SUCH sequence. Then the unit really rallies near such a commander. And even cowards are less afraid of such a team.

    And finally:
    It must be remembered that when you return to the RPD, it is the best fired fighters that become ... rasp.zdiami ...
    And this is normal, since they really have a “brain tear” from understanding:
    * what is "fighting"
    * what is "peacetime service".
    This should not be forgotten by the commander.
    Yes, caution is the Mother of Heroism, but a lot depends on the psychological state and mood of the whole unit. You need to act heroically prudently and wisely, but you should take risks to the best of your ability - without this you can do nothing.

    More to such articles.
    Thanks to the author.
    1. MAG
      MAG 22 January 2014 19: 24
      + From the coherence of the unit, a lot depends on us at all exits, the officers called only the composition, and everything else they did themselves and checked each other on the radio station they spoke mainly only with known digital ciphers or the Tatars spoke))) But when the couple was seconded, the couple closed on myself (I know from myself) since you don't know anyone, you don't know their team and friendship in it. And at the expense of intuition, I sometimes blurt out "I wish I could go into an ambush" in 2 days we go then "something will happen" and it WAS)) then the boys say better to me to be silent, well, I was silent and then they themselves "well, why will everything be fine there? as if I'm Vanga)))) after that I got a third call sign Shaman))))))
  7. Walking
    Walking 22 January 2014 16: 39
    In World War I and World War II, they didn’t talk about any rotations, the soldier fought either before being wounded or to death. Maybe before people were different?
    1. Booby
      Booby 22 January 2014 17: 11
      After heavy battles, the battalions-regiments-divisions were withdrawn to the rear for retrofitting and coordination.
      What is not rotation?
    2. Zymran
      Zymran 22 January 2014 20: 24
      The Germans seemed to have a vacation home after some time spent on the front lines, at least at the beginning of the war.
  8. Free Island
    Free Island 22 January 2014 17: 00
    many thanks to the author for the article ....
  9. D_L
    D_L 23 January 2014 00: 16
    Only fools are not completely afraid !!! It is common for an ordinary person to experience fear.
    Fear must be learned to control. Gradually it turns out. After the first fight, almost everyone "shakes up". This is normal.
  10. go
    go 23 January 2014 01: 52
    I think all the soldiers and officers in this sense would be useful to engage in, or at least take a martial arts course and not some kind of demonstration exercises, but get to the level of working normally in sparring and group. Through this, a person is psychologically accustomed to being in a state of struggle, to adequately and calmly react to its course, and it is also important that he becomes prepared for the fact that it can begin at any moment. The weapon will then become a continuation and complement of his arms (and legs :). This, of course, cannot be compared with the war, but it should definitely help the newcomers psychologically, if not physically. For special forces, this is a must. I know that they are practicing in NATO.