I got into the army as a reserve officer - straight from the scientific research institute. The first service was the famous Taman Division. The service was planned, when suddenly in March 1969 of the year we were excited by the news of the attack on Soviet border guards on Damansky. Moreover, one of the soldiers of our regiment, Alexey Syrtsev, even before the events was transferred to the frontier troops at the outpost of V. Bubenin and on March 2 was killed in a battle on the ice of Ussuri.
The announcement of the events in Damansky caused a bomb to explode. The next day, a rally was held on the regiment square, where provocateurs were condemned and they spoke with the support of border guards. It was then possible to speak to me. Each of us wanted to go to the border to get even for the dozens of the dead. Soon, such a case presented itself.
In connection with the strengthening of the border troops, the company in which I served as commander-in-chief was transferred to the border troops, but the command was in no hurry to part with me. A cruel joke was played by the fact that I was among the quite good officers, I was active in the party committee of the regiment. I did not give up and began to throw bosses with requests and reports on transfer to border guards. I wanted to continue my service in the prestigious then border troops. And soon I found myself on a plane heading east. True, not to the Ussuri, as expected, but to Kazakhstan, where we were introduced to the Bakhta border detachment. That was the end of March 1969.
In the city of Ayaguz, we were met by representatives of the detachment led by Lieutenant Colonel N. T. Yurchenko, dressed in border uniform, held a meeting and various kinds of instructions. So we became border guards.
Upon arrival in Bakhty, the place of deployment of the detachment, the company was introduced into the moto-maneuverable group (MMG), which began to number more than two hundred people, with seventeen armored personnel carriers and vehicles. MMG was headed by Lieutenant Colonel Nikolai Z.A. Ivashchenko, the commander of my company (and then, when changing the state - the outpost) was Lieutenant Viktor Fedyushkin. Later, while still a lieutenant, he was appointed chief of staff of the MMG, and I became the freed secretary of her party organization.
Soon for us, the newly arrived officers, had a kind of excursion to the “Chaganak” outpost, commanded by Captain V.I. Shulpin. A Chinese post was located opposite the outpost, we met him from the tower through binoculars. I remember how it was possible to see the construction of their servicemen and the duty officer on duty. It was very informative.
It was felt that clouds were gathering at the border day by day. As in Damansky, provocations were expected, including armed ones. Therefore, throughout April, we intensively engaged in combat training, and special attention was paid to the use of armored personnel carriers to protect the border. The detachment section was studied, and this is no less than 200 kilometers.
At first, the specifics of the border service, with which not only I, who came from a citizen, but also personnel officers, former army men, were not familiar. The border guard system, the structure of the border detachment, the actions of the alarm - all this was new. But very soon we realized that we were frontier guards. The army pounded the drill on the parade ground, exercises in the cold with a conventional opponent. There was no convention here. Here is the border to be defended, and behind it is a possible adversary, ready to attack at any moment. Even in the battle order the words sounded: "Speak to the protection and protection of the state border of the USSR!"
A provocation from the Chinese side, to which we were preparing, happened on 2 of May 1969 of the year in the area of the 3 th “Dulata” outpost, located in 150 km from the garrison of the detachment. There was a pastoral path. According to it, in agreement with our side and under the supervision of our border guards, the Chinese shepherds have driven cattle for many years in a row.
In the morning, the border guard outpost observed an unauthorized haul of the herd, and even the border guards noticed that the herd was accompanied not by three or five shepherds, as usual, but by several dozen, some noticed weapon under the jackets. Immediately, an alarming group and a reserve with the head of the outpost, Major R. Zagidulin, left the outpost.
When the border guards tried to stop the violation of the border, a group of pre-50 armed servicemen appeared from behind the hills. They crossed the border line and, shouting threats in Russian, moved in the direction of our border guards. A few more groups, each numbering in 20 – 30, began to enter our territory, take up positions on the hills, and dig in along the way. As the frontier guards say, "the situation was created." It became obvious that a major planned provocation was taking place, similar to those on Ussuri.
The situation was reported to Lieutenant-Colonel A. Ya. Pashentsev, head of the detachment, and Lieutenant-General MK Merkulov, head of the district troops. The neighboring outposts, Tasty and Uzun-Bulak, were alerted, their reserves occupied the frontier. Our MMG, who was in the garrison of the detachment, after an alarm on 17 armored personnel carriers and vehicles by a forced march, in about five hours, arrived at the Dulata station. The Uch-Aral detachment mangroup under the command of Major I.I. Butylkina also approached there. Immediately turned out to be a fairly solid military group - more than 30 armored personnel carriers and more than five hundred people.
Mangroup was tasked to take up defense along the border: Uch-Aral - on the right flank of the site, ours - on the left. First of all, they held a meeting of the officers of the outposts and the mangroups, a plan of joint actions, a procedure for communication, lines of demarcation, and so on were determined.
Our mangroup took positions on a ridge of heights with a mark of 1008 and Burgon, directly opposite the positions of the opposing side. The next day, all the personnel dug the ground - a strong point was created. Extended lines of trenches, firing positions for machine guns and grenade launchers, communication lines, caponiers for armored personnel carriers were dug up. The problem was the disguise, because there were bare hills around, covered with grass and rare bushes. Here everyone showed imagination as he could.
On the very first day, under the leadership of Lieutenant P. Verbovoy, ten trucks transferred ammunition for all types of standard weapons and dug up a warehouse for them in one of the hollows.
From the very beginning of the occupation of the turn, observation of the hills occupied by the opposing side was organized. Including at night, through the Kristall devices, when the Chinese soldiers became especially active - feverish digging of trenches was carried out in their positions, some commanders appeared from time to time. Soon after identifying the number and structure of the opposing forces with heavy weapons, it became clear that we were confronted by regular army units.
The next day, according to intelligence reports, new army units, including artillery, began to be pulled from the depths of the adjacent territory. From our side, at first there were only border guards and reinforcements that arrived at the Dulata outpost: a motorized rifle company, mortar and tank platoons.
The 3 – 4 of May deployed an operational group of district troops headed by Chief of Staff Major-General V.I. Kolodyazhny and then Deputy Chief of Forces Major-General BM Golubev at the Dulata outpost. The political unit of the task force was headed by the deputy head of the political department, Colonel I. I. Petrov. The chief of the district troops, Lieutenant-General MK Merkulov, the command of the Chief Executive Officer from Moscow stayed at the site.
Initially, an operation was planned to clean up the Soviet territory by border guards, and it was even scheduled to begin. During the training, assault groups were created from the number of servicemen of the MMG, the boundaries of the transition to the attack were outlined, while taking into account all the nuances, including teams were formed to carry the wounded and killed in the event of hostilities. Amplification was delivered by helicopters - around 150 people from Zaisan, Panfilov and Kurchum squads. I remembered the phrase that a general from the State unitary Command said at the operational meeting on the organization of a military operation: “To bring to the personnel, that leaving the battlefield is unacceptable!”
The subunits reigned excellent fighting spirit, there was not a single case of weakness or panic. We, the officers, then got a very good staff. All as one showed patriotism - not a book, but a real one. Political workers did not need to have special conversations - the soldiers remembered the example of the Damanis and were ready to fight.
The time of the beginning of the operation was approaching, but there was no order. It turned out that the forces of the "neighbors" over the past day have increased so much that the command did not throw the border guards against the clearly superior enemy forces. Only the note of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sent, demanding that the Chinese side leave Soviet territory.
The next step of the Soviet side was to build up the military grouping due to the advancement of units of the Turkestan military district to the border, primarily the 18 Army. Motorized rifle, tank and artillery regiments, divisions of installations Grad. In the area of Uch-Aral, an airfield was deployed. Commander of the TurkVO Army General NG Lyashchenko arrived in the conflict area. He, like General MK Merkulov, was a war veteran and had tremendous experience. First of all, General Lyashchenko examined and highly appreciated the borders of the border guards. One day I happened to report to him on the positions of the mangroup. He was stunned by the growth and obvious physical strength of the general, as well as the way he mentally spoke with a group of our personnel.
The deployment of the main army units took place demonstratively, with the expectation that the opposing side would understand the power of our army. I remember a striking sight when at night columns of military equipment came from the rear one after another. Many tanks and armored personnel carriers lined up in the steppes in battle formations, and then a sea of light literally flooded the surroundings. Our border flew along aviation. It was a tremendous force!
Behind us are the artillery positions. Since the frontier guards did not have enough experience in interacting with artillery, artillery officers arrived to us and conducted classes on the ground: how to adjust the fire, how to build a connection with them.
There was good interaction and political work. Border guards and the army team carried out various events in unusual conditions, combat leaflets and a radio newspaper were issued. I especially remember how we jointly held the 9 holiday in May with a meeting on positions with war veterans, where we told about our border guard detachment.
The standoff lasted more than two weeks. All the time, the personnel were in conditions with minimal comfort, sleeping in trenches, dugouts, or on the reverse slopes of the hills, directly on the ground or in armored personnel carriers.
The food consisted mainly of canned food and dried potatoes. A little later, we pulled up field kitchens and organized hot food, tea. The rear men appealed to me: "What else do you need?". I say: "Cigarettes, smokers without them in any way," and there was great joy among the soldiers when they dropped a box of cigarettes from a helicopter.
Since the conflict quickly grew to the level of divisional opposition, neither side dared to conduct any active hostilities, provoke each other at this — there was no shooting, there were almost no launches of flares. But the tension was incredible!
At the same time reconnaissance actions were taken. The warriors of the mangroup conducted two or three reconnaissance attacks on the heights occupied by the Maoists. One of the reconnaissance groups in 20 was led by lieutenants D. Shamritsky and V. Korolev, and I was ordered to cover this raid with several soldiers. The group managed, with a machine gun on a wheeled machine, to climb a steep slope to the crest of the dominant height, where it ran into a division of Chinese soldiers who immediately took shelter, and our fighters studied the peculiarities of their positions.
In addition to the pre-combat confrontation, the border guards constantly carried the border guard service along the entire line of the state border.
Our side carried a propaganda impact on the soldiers of the adjacent side with the help of sound stations, through which they called in Chinese to leave our territory, not to shoot at Soviet soldiers whose fathers liberated China from the Japanese occupation. In response, the sound broadcasting was also conducted, especially intense at night - apparently, this way we were tried to be exhausted. In Russian, almost without an accent, the announcer of the “neighbors” said: “Soldiers! Do not obey the officers! Don't listen to the revisionists! ” These programs caused our soldiers only bitterness, and they grumbled: “If you could get to this loudspeaker and jump on it from the machine gun!”
The confrontation ended for us quite unexpectedly. As a result of the operational deployment of a powerful military grouping, together with diplomatic efforts, the Chinese side withdrew troops from the conflict area. At some point, on the slopes of the opposing hills, any movement ceased, and intelligence established the withdrawal of troops. After that, the main forces of TurkVO moved away from the border.
Although the hills that were occupied by the Chinese units were on the Soviet side, our border guards didn’t leave them for some time, like the contested territory. Probably there and then, for many years, there were traces of the presence of military units.
After a fall in tension, the mangroup was taken to the rear, about five kilometers to cover this threatened direction. Between the outposts "Tasty" and "Dulata" they deployed a town of tents, constantly remaining on alert. Armored personnel carriers have always been fueled, equipped with a full ammunition. The service was conducted along with outposts, enlarged outfits, often led by officers.
10 June 1969, a new armed provocation happened on our precinct. That battle did not give wide publicity, with the exception of a published note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR from 11 June 1969.
In the morning, the outfit, serving in the area of SNP Burgon, observed a revival at the post in the adjacent territory and reported that a shepherd with a flock of sheep in a hundred heads moved to our border line. In short, the neighbors without much imagination repeated the script of their provocations.
In the area of the alleged violation of the frontier of profits, the head of the mangroup is Lieutenant Colonel N. G. Ivashchenko, deputy commander captain G. N. Zvonarev, and later reserve with major B. V. Dudin. It should be noted that then there was a strict order - to use weapons only as a last resort, to act with persuasion, to force out violators without provoking.
Meanwhile, about 18.00 hours the shepherd with the flock crossed the border and dived into our territory by 400 meters. A group of 10 border guards headed by Lieutenant I. S. Litvinov, who, with the help of a Russian-Chinese phrasebook, demanded that the violator go back, came forward. The shepherd pulled out a quote book and began shouting slogans. An alarming group of Tasty's outpost, accompanied by sergeant Nikolai Krasikov, also rushed here on horseback. It is noteworthy that on that day he was released from the service - he had something with his leg, but he begged the chief of the outpost to send him to the place of the event.
As soon as the outfit began to carry out the order to detain the intruder, a chain of twelve Chinese soldiers armed with machine guns with attached bayonets led by an officer rose from ambush behind the shelter, and with fierce cries went towards the border guards. When they failed to fight off the shepherd, they retreated behind cover. The commander of the mangroup detachment, sergeant V.I. Mashinets, having heard the juggling of the machine gun gates, shouted: “Get down! Spread out! The border guards immediately took shelter behind some mounds of hillocks, and after a moment fire was opened at them. If it were not for the vigilance of V. Mashtatsa, the situation with the treacherous shooting at the border guards on Damansky could repeat (later the sergeant was awarded the medal "For Courage").
A shootout ensued. Among those who joined the battle were the soldiers M. Glukhovskaya, N. Kryukov, I. Fahrion, I. Razmanov, V. Medvedev, I. Pinchukov, V. Kuskov, M. Kozlov, N. Obukhov. To support the provocateurs, a help was put forward - about 20 people on horseback. But the path of her fire cut off the machine-gun crew of ordinary V. Shchugarev and M. Boldyrev.
Sergeant N. Krasikov was seriously wounded. The bullet hit just below the shoulder. Two soldiers pulled him out from under the fire and were taken to the outpost on horseback, but the sergeant could not be saved. He was awarded the Order of the Red Star posthumously, and a memorial stele was installed at the outpost in honor of his feat.
When the clash occurred, I was the only officer at the location of the mangroup. By order, he raised the mangroup on anxiety, sat behind the wheel of the head machine, replacing the driver from the young, and after 15 – 20 minutes the column of armored personnel carriers was already at the event site, where we turned into battle formation in order to curb the expansion of provocation.
The head of the detachment, Lieutenant Colonel A. Ya. Pashentsev, and the Deputy Chief of the District Troops, Major General B. M. Golubev, arrived at the scene by helicopter. A subsequent survey of the site of the collision confirmed that the provocateurs had prepared an ambush before a flock of sheep was driven into our territory. Only the vigilance of Sergeant V. Mashtatsa and the high proficiency of the border guards made it possible to avoid more serious losses and expel provocateurs from Soviet territory.
It rained at night. General Golubev remained with us at the SNP, who led the preparations for repelling a possible re-invasion at dawn, especially since four trucks were seen arriving at the opposing border checkpoint, most likely with reinforcements. But the provocateurs understood our determination and confined themselves only to some gatherings at their frontier post.
Soon, in this direction, a new outpost “Burgon” was put on an emergency order, at which I later had the opportunity to become a political commissar.
In the future, the adjacent side suffered a surge of tension in the region of the 39 and 40 signs in the area of the neighboring Uch-Aral detachment. An example for all was the courageous actions of the border guards to repel the armed invasion of 13 in August of 1969 in the area of Lake Zhalanashkol. The border guards of the “Zhalanashkol” outpost, together with the reinforcement from the mangroup, utterly defeated, and without army support, the sabotage detachment of about 80 men who had invaded our territory, seized several prisoners and many trophies. Uch-Aral junior sergeant Mikhail Dulepov and Private Vitaly Ryazanov died heroically in battle. It may be noted that the squad interaction worked out during the Dulatin operation also manifested itself during the fighting at the Zhalanashkol. The units of our mangroup, together with the right-wing outpost of the Rodnikovaya detachment, provided military support to the teachers, and then introduced enhanced border security along the right flank of our detachment. Of the 35 frontier guards awarded for courage in the Zhavankol battle, four from our squad: Sergeant G. Uzhegov, Private N. Faustov, V. Temnikov, V. Shekhovtsev.
Further events became part of stories. And although negotiations and disputes on border issues between the two powers continued for many years, serious armed clashes ceased.