The 3 th Omsb is the conditional closed name of the 173 th separate special forces unit that entered the DRA in February 1984.
I served in the mining company of the detachment and I want to tell you about it.
About the mining company and its role
A mining company was formed in the summer of 1985. Before that, there was a mining group in the detachment. Due to the increased volume of tasks related to the demining of transport routes, a special engineer platoon was brought into the staff of the special forces detachments that fought in Afghanistan, and then it was decided to bring both platoons into the company.
The main type of combat activity of the detachment was ambush. The main task of the miners during ambush operations is to increase the firepower of the group. As the effective work of the miners in ambush increased the capabilities of the group, so the competent work of the mining company increased the effectiveness of the entire detachment.
The area of responsibility of the 173 squad had geographical features that made it possible to carry out an ambush in its classic form, which enabled the detachment's minerals to fully demonstrate their professionalism. A competent miner could stop several cars at the same time by blowing up groups of mines, set the direction of the enemy's withdrawal and destroy him.
A scout-miner in special forces is a fighter who has additionally received in-depth training in a mine-disruptive case.
The winding path to the squad
For six months I learned the military specialty of a reconnaissance miner in the 1071-th special-purpose training regiment in the town of Pechora, Pskov, on the border with Estonia.
This science was given easily, I studied with interest. Therefore, the commander of the training platoon, Senior Lieutenant Pavlov decided to leave me in the company as a sergeant. Many have dreamed of such a proposal. But not me. I myself come from Khabarovsk. At the time of the call had 1 sports category and more than two hundred parachute jumps. Therefore, my desire was to get into the Ussuriysky brigade closest to the home of the special forces, where I expected to continue my career as an athlete-parachutist. At the interview at the battalion commander, as they say, “turned on the fool”. After that, the battalion commander expressed his sincere surprise that the commander of the training company, Senior Lieutenant Dikarev, wanted to appoint a person who was either stupid or unwilling to fulfill his duties. Both the first and the second commander of the training battalion were surprising and unnecessary.
Debt good turn deserves another. And now I am waiting for my flight to Tashkent at Pulkovo airport.
The question of why not one of the ten Uzbeks of the training company went with us, has ceased to be a mystery on arrival in Chirchik. Here was formed a new 467-th separate training regiment of special forces, the sergeant of the mining training company of which I became.
The creation of a training regiment in Chirchik for the special forces who fought in Afghanistan in the spring of 1985 was an important event. The great advantage was that from the first days the fighters served in climatic conditions as close as possible to the Afghan ones. The regiment was stationed in the barracks of the 15 Brigade, which had gone to Jalalabad. The spirit of "real" war was felt from the first minutes of being in it. Commanded part of the gentleman of the Order of Lenin, the commander of the legendary Muslim battalion, who stormed the palace of Amin, Colonel Holbaev. The regiment worked like a well-established mechanism.
But, despite the fact that Senior Lieutenant Dikarev ensured that I would become a sergeant of a training company, “be patient and love” is not about me. Peace did not give the idea that a few guys of my call, with whom I managed to become friends, in turn went to the 154 th Jalalabad squad. Therefore, I began to “terrorize” the commander of the training company with official reports with a request to send me to Afghanistan. The company captain Smazhny, the cavalier of the two orders of the Red Star, who had himself fully eaten from the “Afghan bowl” in full, tried to make me understand: “Where are you going to climb?”. But did not reach. To vegetate in the "study", while my comrades are doing history?! The spirit of military romance drove me forward: “Again, anxiety, again we are in battle at night! ..”
I "flew in a big way" and was sent "over the river."
When the content does not match the title
The company I got into was unpleasantly surprised. First of all, what I saw did not meet my expectations. And that's why. By the fall of 1985, there was not a single specialist in the company who had graduated from a spetsnaz educational institution in the specialty "reconnaissance miner". The overwhelming majority are graduates of general training regiments. "Special Forces" and "specialists" they became upon admission to the state. Arrived in the squad - commando! Got into a mining company - a miner! Their level of training was low. Most did not know the basic things: the tactical and technical characteristics of the main mines, the rules for their installation and use. A little later, I learned that the detachment mining group at the time of entry into Afghanistan was staffed by reconnaissance miners of the 173 squad and 12 brigades that had the appropriate training and special forces spirit. The commanders of the groups repeatedly tried to use mines, but they had to work under the noses of the "spirits", and therefore every time the miners came out to the road, they were found. As a result, the group commanders gradually abandoned the idea of using mines in ambush.
Although the miners did not give concrete results, the group honestly did its job. But those who were recruited and trained, special forces in the 12 brigade, gradually retired and were replaced by fighters who arrived from ordinary engineering training regiments. This adversely affected the quality of the personnel of the group, and then the company. They were reluctant to take on the “exits” of these “miners”, and their role in the group was reduced to the role of machine gunners who have mines.
The situation in the company was also not healthy. Nobody was eager to “go to war”, and if possible they even avoided it. There were separate "instances" that for one and a half years of service went "to the war" four times. At the same time, the details of each, in my opinion, ordinary “exit” were recalled with holy trepidation.
The mining company looked like a commandant: she participated in the wiring of detachment columns, carried guard-guard duty and was distinguished by maintaining an exemplary internal order. I even remember the attempts to achieve the "repulse of edges on the beds," and this is in tents in the conditions of Afghanistan.
What is pop, is the parish
“What is pop, is the parish,” says a Russian proverb. She fully reflected the state of affairs in the company. The company commander, Senior Lieutenant Kochkin, managed in Afghanistan, without leaving the “war” position, in one of the most militant units of the special forces of the fortieth army to get ahead of schedule the title of “captain” for exemplary internal order. Internal order, drill - it was his fad. He was a typical peacetime officer. And if it were possible, he would not go “to the war” before the replacement, but would do what was close and dear to him. It seems to me that Kochkin later realized that there is no Union here and the officer’s activities are estimated by the results of his unit. And the results of the special forces in this war are crammed caravans and defeated bases of the Mujahideen. Fighters of the 173 squadron detachments solved tasks far more important than sweeping the tracks and aligning them to the beds of soldiers' beds. Kochkin understood that with time they would demand more from him than to shine at the reviews and checks.
Trying to start a war
He tried to raise the combat work in the company to the desired level. He was well prepared professionally, but there was no one to lean on in his company. At the end of November, I learned that my former cadets from the Chirchik regiment were waiting for distribution in brigades on the Kandagar shipment. I offered Kochkina to select the fighters in the company himself, explaining that I was a sergeant in the training company and I know their personal qualities. Kochkin became interested in my proposal and asked for a list. Thus, in the fall, well-trained scout-miners of the first 467 oupspN release arrived in the company.
The first result we received was 13 January 1986. Near Kandahar, the caravan of three vehicles was stopped by the mines, two of them caught fire. Missiles lying in the body, launched and covered the nearby village. The third car, loaded with trophies, under the cover of armor, drove under its own power to the battalion. There were no casualties on the part of the special forces.
Kochkin was overjoyed: "We were the first in special forces who stopped the cars with mines." I do not know how this statement was true, but there was one true thing. Now he could claim a place in the same row with the military officers of the detachment, who, frankly, noticeably avoided him.
Turning "face to war", he began to introduce new tools. The appearance of the PD-430 radio links in service allowed the company to control the detonation from long distances without unmasking the group with wires. But the time for training and coordinating the combat team was spent forever. Despite the "fresh blood", the pacifist spirit in the company prevailed.
As soon as Kochkin began to encroach on the "privileges" of those on whom he relied and who feared war as hell with incense, a group of old-timers wrote a denunciation to a special department. They relied on facts that, in my opinion, do not deserve harsh sanctions. But, despite the pettiness of the charges, the case was given a turn.
Events developed rapidly. In the morning - expelled from the party. At lunch - removed from office ...
My warmest memories are connected with the personality of the political officer of the company Nikolai Sidorenko. He was a kind-hearted man, a devoted and loving person. After serving for a dozen years as an ensign in the Far East, he liked to say: “I became a lieutenant in 34, and therefore I serve not for titles.” He came to the company shortly before the fall of Kochkina. Despite the overbearing nature of the company, he did not "lay down under him", but led his own line. Pretty soon we realized that the company was lucky with the political officer. He cared about the staff, like a good father. The soldiers paid him the same. When Kochkina was removed, he took over the command of the company and "taxied" her before the appointment of a new commander. Wise by experience, he understood that any normal person pays good for good. Now we knew that there was a senior comrade to whom in a difficult moment one could turn for help: he would objectively judge the dispute, give reasonable advice. For most "engineers of human souls," he is an example of how to work. Company officers also respected him.
Relying on his great everyday experience, Sidorenko was able to solve one of the most important tasks - to create a healthy team in a company and rally it.
The polar opposite of Captain Kochkin was the commander of the mining group, Lieutenant Mikhailov. The son of a colonel, past the military school, he was very strong and, most importantly, was a special forces soldier in spirit. Thanks to the square shoulders of the bodybuilder, the nickname Rama immediately stuck to him. And since his dad, Michael, and called him also Michael, later, as a sign of respect for him, Raman Mikhalych, Rama and Misha, respectively, began to dignify.
After graduating from the Tyumen Military Engineering School, Mikhailov had an in-depth knowledge of mine explosives and applied them to the full. He loved to fight. He was creative in accomplishing the task: constantly inventing and making new charges, surprise mines, developing and implementing new mine installation patterns. He was a fan of his business. Not a coward, a man capable of action, a strong-willed officer, a romantic at heart, he became the undisputed leader in a company. The company gradually became "cleansed of slag." In the spring, when the last “pacifists” were retired, the morale in the company increased markedly.
In June, Mikhailov was appointed company commander, having served in an officer position for only a year. Becoming a company, he continued to strictly ask for order and discipline, while in the PPD. But at the same time, he was constantly looking for and finding new solutions related to the combat use of the company. We began to act during the installation of mines, not only being in groups, but also acting as part of the mining group of our company. There were cases when we went out in full force to mine certain areas where the caravan routes passed. The company has changed dramatically.
There is no place for “deviationists”
The guys who came in the fall from the “school”, looking at how the senior call was fighting, were dragged behind us. There was excitement, there was an unspoken competition: who comes from the “war” with the result, or even better, he himself will give the result with mines. Our two calls became the backbone of the company. The fighters returning to the company had nowhere to go. They fell on Wednesday, where there was no place for "deviationists." You can catch up a hundred times, fine to poison jokes, wear any stripes on shoulder straps, but if you have not fought, then your voice in the company is the last. And we did not look, from which types of troops came replenishment. The main thing is that they have the desire to honestly do their job - to fight.
The company regularly gave results. Here are just a few examples.
In May, a group of Lieutenant Shishakin scored a car and a tractor, rushing to the rescue. The car and the fleeing enemy were destroyed by mines.
In August, Mikhailov hit the car with mines.
In September, in Argastan, Lieutenant Gugin’s group of mines stopped the car, destroying a group of fourteen dushmans.
So the mining company finally got along with the special forces of our detachment. The commanders of the groups that previously preferred the extra machine gun to the minerals began to change their attitude. Yes, and the detachment command, seeing the results of the “mine war”, insisted on a wider use of mine-explosives in ambushes. As a result, by the fall of 1986, they didn’t go to war without miners.
At the very beginning of my service in Afghanistan, an incident occurred that greatly changed my attitude towards the war. October 27 1985, I lost a friend in battle. His death greatly shook me and defined the goals of MY war, dispelling the myth of "rendering international assistance" in my mind. Now I understood that I was fighting for revenge for the deceased comrade. The officers used my “obsession with war” to manipulate me: “You will not go to war if ...” They knew that exclusion from war was a severe punishment for me.
Since the miners were not assigned to a certain company, I had the opportunity to see in practice almost all the commanders of the detachment groups. I went to an “ambush” thirty-three times, of which seven exits were effective. In three ambushes personally used mines. The final output made at the end of October is 1986. Then the guys of my call in blue berets and dress uniform, on which the military awards glistened, climbed aboard the “demobilization” Ilyushin, and with another group I went to the “Blue mule” (the blue color trophy ZIL-130, in which the groups traveled to the airfield) along the taxiway of the Kandahar airfield to the helicopters. Tears came to my eyes when I thought that after a few minutes my comrades would go home, and I would be in another ambush. But this weakness lasted a second.
Returning from the “war” to the battalion, I flew home on the third day, it seems to me, having settled with the “spirits” for the death of a friend.
2 November 1986 of the year, getting off the plane to our native land, passing through customs inspection at Tuzel airport, we went to the training regiment to visit our comrades. At dusk we reached Chirchik. The city lived its measured peaceful life. Seeing a smoothly rolling trolley, we silently watched him for a long time. Through its huge luminous windows, a saloon filled with light was seen through, in which people sat carefree, without anxiety looking into the darkness of the night. Later, I remember, we stopped near a vending machine that sells soda water. After Kandahar thirst and constant water shortage, the device made an almost magical impression: you throw a penny, press a button, and water flows. Clean, cold and bleach free. And it's up to you to decide how much to drink it - a glass, two or three ...
In the regiment the training company was also commanded by Captain Smazhny. Having met, greeted, were silent for a long time.
- So how? - he was the first to break the silence.
- Nothing to regret.
Prepared by Sergey Kozlov