- Why did the storming of the Terrible again come on the New Year? In many mass media there is a version that the leadership of the joint grouping of troops (forces) and the Ministry of Defense sought to please the Kremlin.
“It’s just a coincidence, nobody has driven us.” Troops reached Grozny at the end of October. It took us time to clarify the situation, make a decision, regroup and train the troops to perform combat missions, so as not to repeat the mistakes of 1994 of the year.
Photo: Vladimir Velengurin ("Komsomolskaya Pravda")
Preparing seriously. First, the battle in the city has its own characteristics, especially since we knew that the militants were relying on the retention of the city. Terrible for them was the main stronghold of organized resistance. They prepared for the defense of the city in advance, thoroughly, and hoped that the federal troops would suffer great losses. That is why at the approaches to the city and in the city itself everything was full of posters “Welcome to hell. Part II. Taking the city had a great moral and political, one might even say, of strategic importance. This was supposed to be a turning point in the CTO. Everyone understood this. On the other hand, to crawl through is to incur heavy losses, to repeat the mistakes of the previous assault. Therefore, all preparatory activities took time and were completed by the end of December. Secondly, these activities were carried out in the course of hostilities to destroy gangs in the lowland, foothill areas and the acquisition of tactically important points on the outskirts of the city.
Thirdly, it was very important to free the city before the beginning of February, since the EU summit was supposed to be held in February, where they would certainly touch on the events in Chechnya. Therefore, it was necessary before the start of the summit to end active operations and go to operations to stabilize the situation. All this taken together determined the start date of the operation. Therefore, all versions of servility are conjectures. The time of the start of the operation was determined by the situation.
- Did the leadership of the Ministry of Defense hurry?
- Defense Minister Marshal Sergeyev owned the situation and understood the situation perfectly. One day, during a regular visit to my KP, he asked Army General Kazantsev and me: “Do we have time?”. I replied: "We can make it in time, but in that case we can put a lot of people in." The commander of the Army Group (s) supported me. Sergeev thought and said: “No need for victims. Act as appropriate. The task must be completed with minimal losses. ” Thus, he gave the right to independent action. Of course, the political situation hung over us. We must pay tribute to the commander of the UGV (s) Kazantsev. He protected me from external influence during the operation. Therefore, the actions of the troops were in fact, that is, in the prevailing situation, without any race.
- What was your intention as the commander of the assault?
- The plan of the operation envisaged a simultaneous strike from four sides in the direction of the Old Crafts - the Plant. Lenin, the Dynamo stadium - the station, Staraya Sunzha - the station, the district hospital - the station to split the grouping of gangsters into isolated groups with their subsequent destruction. On the basis of the intention he built and the order of battle, taking into account the specifics of the purpose of the forces and means that make up the group.
- And how much was the situation explored, were the defense units, supply routes of the militants revealed?
- Intelligence compared to the previous operation worked well. All types of intelligence worked before and during the operation. Many objects were opened - especially bases, control points, places for laying mines, including chemical ones, this allowed them to be neutralized during the battles. And the whole city was prepared for the defense, all the buildings, not to mention the dominant ones. I will not reveal all the specifics of the work of intelligence officers. True, reconnaissance units of military intelligence must not be trained as regular infantry. When preparing intelligence units, the emphasis should be placed on tactical, special, psychological training. Scouts must be taught to act in the enemy's rear, apart from the main forces, independently. Yes, and the selection of personnel must be special. Success depends on the actions of the scouts. Alas, unfortunately, given these shortcomings, we did not dare to let the reconnaissance groups into the city for fear of losing them. Therefore, many tasks were assigned to other types of intelligence.
- How were EW funds used?
- This question has been worked out. Specialists of EW services conducted reconnaissance, interception, which made it possible to open many of the militants' facilities. Successfully went disruption management by suppressing communication channels. And speaking of intelligence in general, EW, it must be said that the commander will be provided with accurate intelligence, if there is a good analytical team, staffed by highly trained specialists.
- How dense was the environment of Grozny? It is often said that militants were free to enter and exit.
- You will not put a soldier on every meter. Knowing the terrain, you can always find a gap. Recall the stories of the scouts, as they penetrated into the rear of the enemy through its leading edge. The task of the ring around the city was not to allow the militants to go to the mountains and prevent the reserves from entering the city, delivering ammunition, food, etc.
True, at first we could not understand how the evacuation of the wounded and the replenishment of personnel and material and technical means go. Judging by the radio interception, all applications blocked blocked. Sealed the ring, took on the strict control of the organization of service in the fog, at night. The result is not in our favor. And the casket opened simply. It turned out that the militants use sewers. Scouts discovered this. Urgently began to collect material on the underground communications of the city. It was possible to draw up a diagram of these communications, especially their outskirts of the city, which were carefully camouflaged and guarded by militant groups. After their blocking, the resistance began to weaken, because the feeding groups in the city stopped. From radio interceptions, it became clear that the militants had problems with ammunition, food, medicines, etc.
- Why did you decide at the first stage to storm the city with the forces of operational brigades of internal troops? Were they ready to perform such a task? How well were the officers prepared, because many of them served as commanders of convoy units and subunits, and this is their specificity?
- First, during this period, parts of the East and West groups carried out combat missions to destroy gangs in the foothill and mountainous areas, to block the city. Part of the troops provided the construction of a road along the border with Georgia from Ingushetia to Dagestan. The Zapad group was preparing the landing of theaters in the Itum-Kale area with the task of cutting the road and trails leading to Georgia.
Secondly, for execution of tasks in the city, the command of the OGV (s) chose those units that successfully acted in previous battles, that is, were the most prepared, and their commanders could make competent, reasonable decisions in difficult situations. I emphasize in a difficult situation. Fighting in the city is the most complex variety. Grozny is a large settlement, carefully and competently prepared for defense, with surprises and traps. This is a “tough nut” that should have been taken with minimal losses.
By their capabilities, operational teams are able to perform the tasks of urban combat, which they proved.
By training officers can say the following. Some of the officers studied at the time in the general army of the Frunze Academy, some of the officers came from parts of the Ministry of Defense, most of the officers of brigades and battalions had combat experience after passing hot spots in the Caucasus.
The first stage of the fighting showed that it was necessary to have more powerful assault detachments with independent actions.
Before embarking on the main phase of the assault on the city, with all the detachments, they conducted training sessions, taking into account the experience of the actions of the 62 Army’s assault groups in Stalingrad. Yes, they brought from the archives the leaflets published in 62 A, and studied them. Based on the experience of previous battles made adjustments on the composition and objectives. Officers and organizations of battlefield studied, management of subordinates and attached forces and means, special attention was paid to the organization of interaction not only within groups and detachments, but also with neighbors. Refined control system vertically.
Having ascertained that all personnel know specifically their functional duties and the order of the task, they proceeded to the assault.
The officers wanted and sought to complete the task, and we always helped them, prompted and taught, if necessary. To the extent that they asked: "How do you understand the task and how will you carry it out?" They sought to make the commander clear in his head. Such training was carried out with units of the Ministry of Defense and BB. The first and subsequent battles showed that the preparation of assault detachments was not a waste of time, and it contributed to the successful accomplishment of the task, and most importantly - saved many lives of our officers and soldiers.
- In the New Year's assault on 1994, our troops used artillery in a very limited way. And how during the second assault?
- Artillery was used as necessary to solve the following tasks: suppressing fire weapons and identified militant groups, destroying the enemy in the nodes of resistance, firing the assault detachments, prohibiting movement and maneuvering reserves. Proceeding from the tasks, the artillery made fire raids or fired direct fire.
Applied to the WTO type "Daredevil" and "Tochka-U". At the expense of mobile direction finders and artillery, they created a reconnaissance-fire complex, which allowed real-time destruction of militant command and control points. It got to the point that they were shouting on the air to each other: “Don't talk for a long time, the Americans are dropping the coordinates to the Russians!” Radio fear has appeared, and the effectiveness of defeating command and control centers has increased.
- And what about enemy snipers?
- It was our disaster. In the city of a sniper is very difficult to detect. Many positions were prepared in advance and very inventive. Compared to 1994 – 1995 over the years, it can be said that the level of training of snipers and their number among militants have become much higher. They were created mobile groups that threw snipers to areas where there was a threat of a breakthrough. They saved the smoke, which they initially neglected, but then they realized that smoke still saves snipers from accurate fire. But it was a passive struggle, active to organize more difficult. Our army snipers were very poorly trained. Only after the opening of the courses did more or less normal snipers appear in the troops. But that later, and at that time we could not organize the anti-sniper struggle, suffered losses. After the report of the current situation, the chief of the General Staff received practical assistance. Professionals arrived extra-class snipers from other departments. With their competent and productive actions, they nullified the problem and cleared the way for motorized riflemen.
- Where did you decide to focus on the first stage?
- According to the plan of the operation, the main attack was delivered from the side of Khankala towards the station. In this case, all bridges and maneuvering routes located in the Minutka Square and the city center were taken under control. A regiment of Colonel Gusev and a group of Colonel Kukarin acted in this direction. A group of Colonel Grudnov acted through the cannery. The remaining units delivered auxiliary strikes, tying the militants into battle.
Khankala was taken during the night battle, but it was not possible to break into the private sector. If earlier the militants did not conduct combat operations in the private sector, now they have understood the advantage of dense buildings, the presence of dense gardens and a maze of narrow streets. All this, plus the presence of trenches and communications between the houses made it difficult for the troops. The militants put up stubborn resistance in other directions. The tasks were partially completed. The greatest success was achieved by the group of Colonel Grudnov and the units operating in the Old Fields. Therefore, the first stage was reconnaissance in force. It was decided to consolidate on the achieved lines and clarify the plan of the operation.
- What changes have you made to the plans?
- Changes, or rather, the clarification of the decision took place during all the hostilities, depending on the prevailing situation, that is, as we said, in fact. Changed the direction of strikes, carried out maneuver parts, strengthened the direction where success was planned, strikes were made simultaneously from all sides or spread over time, forcing the militants to move reserves from one direction to another.
And we kept the maneuvering routes under fire control. We must pay tribute to the precise and competent actions of the artillerymen who were controlled, I believe, the most prepared and experienced in the Armed Forces, General Bokovikov. The fact that the attackers suffered minimal losses was the merit of the artillerymen and himself.
But back to your question. The fighting revealed nodal strong points, without the destruction of which the tasks would not be completed. This is a district hospital, the 15 military camp, a cannery, a group of buildings in the area of the Dynamo stadium. Based on this, the tasks were clarified to the parts and regrouped.
The group of Colonel Fomenko remained the same task - to seize the buildings in the stadium and continue to advance in the direction of the station. The gain was given tank company, which with its direct fire was supposed to destroy the firing points of the militants.
The group operating in the Old Fields was strengthened by the motorized rifle battalion of the 205-I MSSR. General leadership in this area was assigned to Lieutenant Colonel Stogov. The main task of this group was to secure the left flank of the Fomenko group and the right flank of the units operating in the cannery, forcing the militants and stripping the Old Crafts.
In the interval between the groups of Lieutenant Colonel Stogov and Colonel Grudnov, a part of Colonel Sidorov was introduced. The task is in cooperation with the group of Colonel Grudnov to seize the cannery and neighborhood near the plant, seize the bridge and continue to advance in the direction of the presidential palace and station.
Colonel Kukarin's group shifted to Khankala in the strip of Colonel Gusev's regiment. A regiment of Colonel Yudin was also introduced into this lane. The task is to destroy the militants in the private sector, moving in the direction of Minute, to promote the regiment of Gusev in the capture of the 15-th military town. Gusev's regiment took the district hospital with its main forces, and part of the forces, in cooperation with Yudin, captured the 15 military town.
The battle formations included strong assault detachments, reconnaissance and destruction of land mines, especially chemical, as well as reconnaissance and blocking sewers and other wells associated with underground utilities.
All this work has brought positive results.
- How was the second stage of the assault?
- Changing the direction of strikes and the different times of their direction, the constant fire impact, anti-sniper struggle complicated the actions of the defenders. They rushed about, not knowing what to do. We were moving from turn to turn, fixed and, having specified the tasks, developed success. Our will was imposed on the enemy. He was not ready for this, although he snapped desperately, it was felt that the matter was heading towards a denouement.
Assault troops proved to be a powerful tool for independent combat. Their commanders had the reserves and fire means for solving any problems that suddenly arose. In each detachment, next to the commander, there was an aeronautical engineer and an artillery spotter, which made it possible at the right moment to connect the means of the senior commander.
Considering that the militants' favorite method of action was penetration, going out to the flanks and rear of the attackers, and delivering surprise attacks, we conducted assault detachments in firing artillery edging. For militants, this was a surprise.
Another surprise was that a small number of armored vehicles for direct fire, which was heavily guarded by infantry from all sides, took part in street battles.
They thought that we would use all the equipment and would burn it with impunity on the streets of the city. Did not work out.
And after taking the nodal support points, the defense of the militants collapsed as an organized resistance. Focal fighting has already begun. Victory was our common. And the army team, and veveshniki made their contribution. The experience of hostilities has shown that such a complex task as the assault of a city can be carried out by united groups with the proper organization of the operation. Commanders in their areas acted competently, led the troops confidently. Each of them performed the tasks. I would be wrong if I did not say that victory can be achieved with little blood and great losses. Therefore, its price depends on the training of those who directly solve problems on the battlefield, on the training of a soldier.
- And how did the militants break through from Grozny?
“Through the minefields to which they were taken out after conducting a special operation.” They suffered heavy losses, and the remnants that leaped were finished off by the troops of the "West" group.