In 1987, in the location of the 173 squad of GRU special forces in Kandahar province, a monument to the dead was erected on a dusty parade ground by the hands of the battalion fighters.
On the two-meter rectangular pedestal mounted tower infantry fighting vehicle. At the base of the monument, a star is carved, along the granite rays of which water flows - a symbol of life in waterless deserts and the mountains of Kandahar ...
I could see the monument only in the photograph, but I was a direct participant in the events after which it was installed.
In the autumn of 1986, the number of rocket attacks on the Kandahar garrison increased dramatically. To avoid losses, the command of the 173 squad ordered each unit to open a shelter. The battalion miners, in order to make their work easier, decided to use their professional skills: in solid, cast-iron earth, shallow holes were punched with crowbars, laid trotyl drafts in them and undermined them. Then the crushed rock with a shovel shovel raked on the parapet. It went faster, but this speed of work did not suit the quick decision-making and fast in company affairs. Without further ado, he chose the most powerful charge in the engineering warehouse, capable of piercing up to one and a half meters of reinforced concrete, installed it in the center of a pit dug in human height and blew up. An explosion of tremendous power, magnified many times by the walls of a closed loop, escaping to the surface, knocking out all the glass in nearby buildings.
Combat, alarmed by the explosion at the location of the unit, prepared to listen to the loss report. But when he was convinced that he had done everything without victims, he ordered that the cost of broken glass, which was imported from the Union with such difficulty, simply be calculated from the payroll of Lieutenant Mikhailov. Therefore, returning from the meeting, the enraged Mikhailov demanded Shipunova to himself ...
- Get ready, tomorrow you go to war with Klochko, the commander of the group Gugin. Free
At the same moment, Sanya abruptly turned and ran out the door. Pleased that he got off lightly, he sighed with relief. Fifteen days later, the order of the Minister of Defense was discharged. News I didn’t scare about the combat exit, but on the contrary, I was pleased. A simple Soviet lad, brought up on the examples of the friendship of the heroes of the books of Dumas, who grew up in a working-class area on the outskirts of the city, he had a clear idea of what honor means. A year ago, having lost his best friend in these deadlands, he lived with a thirst for revenge until the last day of his life in this war. Therefore, there was no event more pleasant for him than leisurely collecting his backpack, considering the upcoming ambush.
So this time I took it apart and, having carefully cleaned it, filled up machine-gun shops with cartridges, carefully prepared the mines, put the rations in habitual movements, and then went to the storeroom. Seeing the confused face of Vladimir Klochko, he thought: “He already knows.”
Vova was wildly afraid of war. A native of Western Ukrainian Exactly, in the company Klochko led a quiet and inconspicuous life, trying not to stick out, so as not to irritate the belligerent colleagues with his, as he thought, a privileged position.
But he was scared even in the battalion. Waiting for the order: “Klochko, get ready,” filled his life with horror, made the service unbearable. He early began to count the days to its end.
Every time when he had to give out equipment to his fellow soldiers who went to war, he mentally repeated his prayer, "Not me, not me ...".
But, despite the plea, these terrible words were still uttered ...
Ignoring the capter’s dismay, Alexander clearly explained the task, distributed the responsibilities and went to his communication friends.
Passing through a dusty wasteland, Sanya went to the barracks of the communications company.
- Hello, who is going with Gugina tomorrow?
- Have you seen healthier! I! - Eduard Komkin, a fiery red-haired big guy, a Vyatka kachok, answered affably smiling. They were familiar with Chirchik, together in the same party arrived in the squad last fall. Sanya smiled in response:
- Edik, will there be enough bread in addition to the biscuits for three loaves?
Komkin, a big guy, not a fool to eat, hesitated:
- Maybe four?
- Let's push?
- And Niya for what? - Edik answered with a rhetorical question and immediately, without turning around, looking at Sanya, he rumbled: - Nei-ia!
At the call of Komkin, a young signalman approached them with a strange moon gait. Seregu Pakhno, who served in the communication group for the first months, was nicknamed “Niya - an artificial person” for his striking appearance of the heroine of the fantastic film “Through thorns to the stars”, which hadn’t left 1982 for a year. A native of Krasnodar, not a coward, at the exits he has established himself as a good signalman-weakman. Sergey, being well-educated, had a great sense of humor, so he did not take offense at the nickname, and sometimes even played along with the jokers: catching curious glances on himself, he unexpectedly, to the general delight, began to make a knee of a break in civilian style.
In war as in war
Group landed with armor in Argastan. This mountain-desert terrain, being a part of the Kandahar-Ghazni plateau, was so named after the river that flowed along it. From the north and south, the area was covered by mountain ranges. The isolation and absence of large settlements and garrisons of the Soviet troops made it possible for the rebels to manage here with impunity until the special forces took over. Now, in these places forgotten by God, the scouts of the detachment regularly beat "spiritual" gangs.
For Lieutenant Gugin, who commanded the special forces, it was one of the first independent exits. Already during the first night transition, it became clear that he had an unstable knowledge of topography. Sanya, seeing how uncertainly he was leading the group, was frankly angry. The extra kilometers with a load on the shoulders equal to the weight of his own body, with each step mercilessly took power. After leaving Edik at the tail of the group, they saw how the core of a stretching group was torn along as it moved forward. Waiting for her to describe a long arc, cut straight, making your way shorter. Fortunately, Gugin had a competent castle platoon, a sergeant from Samara. Outwardly inconspicuous, of medium height and of the same build, red-haired, with a freckled ingenuous face, he had a strong, inflexible character. He deserved the sergeant's patches with military labor in the war, and not with the desire to please the commander. Therefore, the group submitted to him without question. The rich experience of his numerous exits helped him confidently navigate in a well-known area. On the second night, seeing that the commander frankly wanders, the sergeant, at stops, began to look more and more insistently at his map and gradually began to set the direction of movement.
On the third night there was a full moon. The plain of Argastan was flooded with the phosphoric glow of the moon. While walking in the rear guard at a considerable distance from the group, Sasha and Edik missed the moment when the commandos ahead of them stopped and abruptly began to land on the ground. Not seeing where the danger was coming from, and not understanding what was happening, but in obedience to the general movement, the guys fell to the side. Sanya quickly freed his hands from the straps of his backpack, dragged him to his head, using him as a shelter. Without taking off the ground, raising only his hand, he pulled several packs of cartridges from the side pocket of the knapsack and hastily shoved them into his pockets. Premonition of danger forced him to peer intensely into the darkness. Waiting for the start of the battle, he looked around with anguish, anxiously thought: “Damn, how the palm of your hand! Where is the commander?
Suddenly, frozen on the ground, similar to the big coolies, the fighters jerked off their bodies and, rushing, jerked sideways. Sasha and Edik rushed after them. Running up, heard the dull sounds of blows. The group later discovered a caravan of ten donkeys and several drovers. She had to stand still to attack, letting them close to him. Taking advantage of the suddenness and numerical superiority, the scouts knocked their drivers down with their fists and immediately twisted their hands. During the interrogation, the Tajik machine-gunner of the group translated the words of frightened travelers: "We are peasants, we are going to the wedding in the village, through which the road you need passes." Their words confirmed the search and inspection of the torb, strapped to the donkeys. Weapons did not have. The commandoes tied their backpacks in pairs for the straps and hung them on the backs of obedient animals. Those taking a hard burden, shuddered all over, snorting displeasure. Having unwound the drovers of the drovers, they tied their hands, the loose ends were tied to the harness of donkeys, and the small pack caravan in the new lineup moved forward. Less than an hour, as the head patrol reported that he had gone to the road and the car was moving on them. Gugin's short exclamation: “Let's go on the run” - sounded for everyone a signal to action. Without taking backpacks, most of the fighters rushed after him to the road. Sasha hastily began to remove the backpack from the donkey.
- Do not rush, here, too, need someone to stay, - said in a half-whisper red-haired castle platoon, pointing with a nod to the loaded caravan. With a worried look, he led the fleeing group.
The headlights of the car appeared in the night. She walked quickly, not reducing speed.
The scouts returned to the caravan. Gugin, furious with the pursuit of passion, blurted out: “Three hundred meters did not reach the road. It was empty, it will go back soon. ”
The caravan, consisting of laden donkeys, their owners, driven by kicks scouts, hurriedly seeded to the road. Plateau Argastan abounded in small hills. A well-rolled road skirted one of them at the very base, then went one hundred meters from the second and went to a village far from them, not more than a kilometer away, sprawled on the spurs of a small mountain range. On these two hills, dividing the scouts, the commander and put the group.
- Miners! Where are the miners ?!
Sanya pulled away from digging a trench, crouched close to him and sat down on one knee.
- Put the mines.
- Where? - Alexander tried to clarify the problem. Gugin vaguely waved his hand in the direction of the black haze:
The scout, returning to his trench, briefly threw Klochko:
- Get ready. - Quickly gutted the contents of the backpack on the "rain", began to lay in it only what was needed: mines, detonating cords, wires.
Going down from the hill, passing by the extreme trench, Sanya stopped, sat down near the machine gunner, told him:
- We went to the road, we will climb the glen at you, look not soak.
“Understood, come on,” he replied, digging deep, without looking at them.
- Well, with God.
The bombers, laden with their deadly cargo, moved cautiously into the night. When the commander seated the group, Sasha already knew where to put the mines. Where, where, and in war, he felt like a fish in water. Natural intelligence, well-developed intuition, multiplied by combat experience, helped him to choose a good position. Descending into the decay between the two hills, the miners stopped. Knowing that Vova was weak in mine-explosive business, not wanting to lose time, Sasha did everything himself. Installing three mines, I wondered to myself: “So I will raise the first“ bush ”- the car will rise. Here is the most convenient place to go. If they break here, we all put it all at once. The low banks of the river will limit their maneuver, which means that the angle of the sector of destruction is made sharper, I increase the firepower ”. His movements were adjusted and clear. Having installed the mines, he inserted the detonators, pointed Klochko with a nod of his head:
- See the hollow ahead? I put the rest there. Cling the coil with wires and a bullet up. Connect the blasting machine and jump to me.
Vova, hastily unwinding the wires, dissolved in the dark. Sanya moved on. To his left, a few dozen meters, he heard a soft rustling, sometimes a slight tinkling. This dug the second part of the group. “Now they are closer to them than to their trench,” a thought flashed through his mind. Headlights flashed in the foothills on the outskirts of the village. There was a rustle from the back - this is Klochko. Vova, caught for the first time in his life in a serious mess, was not seriously scared.
- Take the coil, drag upstairs, if I do not have time to rise first, pick up this "bush." The car will rise. If you run on the razadku - second! Got it?
Klochko, realizing what was going on, was indignantly indignant: “No, I won't go without you!”
At the same instant, Sanya threw his arm forward, struck him with a strong blow with his fist to the head. Hanging over him, bubbling with rage, hissed: "Crawl, bitch!"
Klochko, skewing, squishing his nose, grabbed the coil and, hurriedly unwinding it, crawled up. Annoyed that he had to spend precious seconds to eliminate the game of nobility, Sasha hurriedly assessed the situation. Nodding up and down on the bumps of headlights, the car was on a dirt road. Already distinctly heard the straining roar of the engine. “I don’t have time, I don’t have time to move away,” he pounded hard in his mind, “a safe distance from the mines at the back five meters, damn!” Sasha threw down the unwound wires, grabbed the machine gun. The body, carried away by the instinct of self-preservation, twitched to the side. But at that very moment, a powerful, powerful force forced him to stop and turn around on the spot at one hundred and eighty degrees. The brain worked like a well-tuned machine. A meter away, seeing a shallow gully in the ground, instantly appreciated: “The body will not enter everything, I will fall on my stomach, I will cover my head with an automatic weapon”. At that very second, the fingers twisted the wires of an electric detonator: “I would die, but I would not run!” The power unknown to him until now had forced him to mortally risk. The car, not having reached him a hundred meters, suddenly stopped. The doors of the cabin were slammed, the feet were heard hitting the ground of dushmans jumping from the sides. Covering the bodies with light from non-switched-off headlights and casting fancy shadows, they crowded in front of the cabin. Some, talking loudly, headed forward along the road. "And you went, bitches ... - the miner thought already with anger, screwing the detonator into the mine - Everything is ready!" In one motion he threw a piece of a camouflage net onto the mines, he slipped into the ravine. Pulling his backpack to him, covering his chest. The machine gun pressed to his head, holding the store in the ground. Squeezed into the bottom of a shallow shelter. From the car there was a loud guttural shout. The "spirits," walking along the road, stopped. Exchanging a couple of phrases between them, they turned around and went back. “Come on! - mentally Sanya ordered himself, slipped out of unreliable cover and quickly crawled along the gang. “They will reach the car for ten seconds, they will sit down - another ten,” he thought, working with his elbows. Seeing a pile of stones on the left, he crawled over them, hiding. “Everybody, their mines are no longer dangerous here, fu ... How will Klochko work there?” - he thought, preparing for the battle, trying not to rattle, attaching the machine gun among the stones. Restoring his breath, he looked around, decided to crawl away more. A jerk again, and a new position. "Perfume" blithely croaked to the whole district, huddled up at the hood. The scout, after waiting for the moment, squatting, not unbending, rushed to the mound, flying upstairs, plopped into a small trench. Vova obligingly handed him a flask of water. The "spirits" did not move for another half an hour. The gang was large, apparently not having a combat experience, recently formed. Their minds didn’t fit into the idea that the у Shuravi ’dares to attack them at night tens of kilometers from their garrisons, that they were separated from the deadly squall of fire by moments. Having plunged into the car, they set off to meet with eternity ... Having agreed in advance with Gugin that he would lift the charges without a command, Sanya was watching the car expectantly, placing a palm over the subversive machine.
Thousands of fragments were thrown out of the mines, a bright flash lit up the cabin of the car. The car got up. The "spirits" from behind the car, huddled together in a heap, as it seemed, sideways, seedlessly with their feet, moved into a hollow between the hills, right on the mines.
Sanya, anticipating how ruthlessly a volley of three MON-50 will squint them all, turning to Klochko, commanded: "Lift!"
Seeing that he was lagging, he snatched the blasting machine out of his hands and slapped his palm on the rod. There was no explosion. Looking up at Klochko, he understood the reason immediately.
“I, I,” stuttering, cringing all over, cried Klochko. “I've already picked them up ... sorry,” he said, swallowing tears.
Sanya with a sweep rubanul his head blasting machine. Vova curled up in a trench.
From the next hill in the "spirits" hit the machine gun, the Mujahideen rushed back scattering.
Inflamed with the heat of battle, hastily shooting three stores, Sanya realized that you can not hurry. The car got thorough, and the "spirits" will not go away. Pulling a backpack toward him, his fingers trembling with excitement, he pulled out of his side pocket two equipped shops and several packs of automatic cartridges packed into paper.
The pace of the fight gradually subsided. The turmoil of the first fire flurry subsided. Machine guns stopped choking, beat in short bursts. The scouts, seeing that the "spirits" did not leave, slowly rushing them.
- Turntables! The spinners are coming! - A clear, confident voice of the commander of a combat helicopter flowed through the crack of the radio from “Chamomile”. He asked for your goals.
Gugin did not shoot the whole fight, but lay on his stomach, stretched out into a string, on his arms bent at the elbows and tucked under the chest. Without changing the position of his body, he took two stores and threw them over to Alexander, who was five meters away from him, commanded:
Sanya, clicking on the lock, threw back the store, inserted another one with the tracers, sent the cartridge into the chamber.
Kneeling, I planted a long line into the darkness of the entire store. Falling to the bottom of the trench, he thought with relief: "Alive!"
The helicopters, having worked, are gone. Without waiting for the order, the guys hurriedly dug in. Having calmed down, threes began to inspect the nearby corpses. Edik squeezed his large body into a mine trench, turned to Sana:
- To my right, the two lie. Let's go to watch.
The scouts, crouching, slipped into the darkness. Dushmans lay right in the direction of the car. They turned out to be more than expected - four. Creeping several steps towards them, the scouts made a control shot. After waiting a minute, proceeded to inspection. Edik busily turned out his pockets, took out a knife, began to cut the straps of Chinese breastplates and remove them from the bodies.
“How quickly they become numb,” thought Alexander, squeezing the spreading cold fingers of those killed, in order to pull off the bracelets of the Japanese watches - the coveted trophy.
Crouching low, and where, crawling, the boys went back to the trenches.
The peasants, huddling in a heap near their donkeys, squatted sat through the whole “war” a hundred meters from the epicenter of events. As soon as the shooting subsided, guttural cries were heard: “Dushman - harap! Dushman - Harap! ". When the fight was over, he separated from the crowd alone and, without straightening, quickly climbed on all fours to the mound. Having risen to the summit, in the darkness, he unmistakably found Gugin, sat down on his knees in front of him. Threatening to the sky, and poking his chest with his second hand, he began shouting:
- Harap! Harap!
- It is he who says that now we will have a “harap”. Maybe in the village there are still "spirits"?
The old man was waving his arms excitedly, trying to use gestures to explain to the intelligence officers that they were in danger.
Gugin, tired of his persistent familiarity, dismissed him and shouted: “Yes, go away!” The old man, instantly catching in the intonations of the Shuravi commanders something dear, quickly turned around, rising from his knees, darted down, shouting something go. His fellow countrymen jumped to their feet and, hurriedly pushing the donkeys with a shout of “chu-chu”, drove them away from the ambush site only by their known path into the night.
Even the wind on the slopes subsided
Waiting for the dawn, the special forces proceeded to the inspection of the dead. Those strikingly different from the local peasants captured at night. The clothes they wore were new, from expensive high-quality fabrics, and shoes to match her: leather sandals with high heels were adorned with metal rivets. From the bodies that had already cooled down, a sweetish-luscious smell of death emanated, the fragrance of rose oil, which had not yet been completely interrupted, the smell of "dushman". Time will not erase this smell in the memory of those who have experienced this sickening blend of oriental smells and rose water. It can not be confused with any other flavors.
These were people who well understood that the labor of killing is paid much higher than the daily exhausting peasant flesh. Mercenaries who kill for money. And their God was a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
Seeing where and in what positions the bodies lay, it was possible to understand why they did not offer decent resistance. During the night battle, being in the dead zone under the mound, the "spirits" could take advantage. The scouts lifted each time, firing, from the ground, clearly projecting to the waist against the sky. But an explosion of seven kilograms of TNT at close range, stuffed with chopped steel wire, shocked them. Collecting trophy trunks, counted fourteen corpses. They found a trail of blood, which led to a dried up bed, leaving the road at right angles. Covering it from two sides, like wolves, special forces, sneaking, followed the trail. Soon they saw a man lying on the ground. The machine-gunner took a position in the roots of a stunted tree, prepared to cover his comrades. Not reaching ten paces, the sniper knelt down and carefully aimed at the head lying.
Two scouts crawled close to him. The Mujahid was asleep, wrapped in a cape with his head out of which only his legs were sticking out. One of the calves is blackened and swollen, pierced by a bullet. It became clear why he did not leave. Near the head of the sleeping lay a grenade, the machine gun was on the side. “Here is a bitch!” - the scout thought, having stolen a grenade, and without fear, rose to his feet. Awakened by a kick, the “spirit” yanked the blanket off with a jerk, frantically began to fumble around with his hand. The black-eyed eyes widened in fear. The laughter of “shuravi” caused a wild horror in him, and he screamed. He was a boy; he looked like he was about fourteen. He was not shot on the spot.
- What do we, animals, kill children? - Edik spoke with a wicked grin, cracking the prisoner's hands to the point of crunch.
Road to the squad
All the way back to the battalion, not sparing, will be beaten, taking out his anger on his comrades who died in these wild lands. The intervention of the officers will save him from the final punishment.
Inspired by the success of the scouts, they did not complain that the return to the battalion was being delayed. Something went wrong for the evacuation of the armored group that came in the morning. Here is one armored personnel carrier taken in tow. Stalls every second kilometer. So fidgeting, constantly stopping in order to eliminate the damage, for dinner the armor crawled out onto the plain. Before concrete, leading to Kandahar, remained about a dozen kilometers. The officers, after consulting, contacted the battalion command and control center and requested assistance. The detachment command immediately sent backup armor to them. Five infantry fighting vehicles, grinding the stony ground of Argastan with their tracks, rushed to their comrades. Well, here they are. Tentative roaring, throwing up a black exhaust column from the soot, a fighting machine flew out from behind the hill. A scarlet flag developed on its antenna.
- Hooray!!! - scouts happily shouted, tired of waiting.
To the right and to the left began to let signal flares, saluting friends. Somewhere behind the hill an explosion slammed. There was an alarming silence. The quiet crash of a radio air shook the radio operator’s hysterical cry:
- We are undermining ...
A terrible force explosion of a landmine split the body of the car in half, in the dust blown rollers. The tower with the marching assault force sitting on it was thrown to an enormous height. The dead are already in the air, they fell with her for a hundred meters from the burning frame of the car.
In the afternoon, contacting the detachment, the officer who commanded the stuck armor, assessing the characteristics of the route he traveled, fearing the laying of a mine, warned "to go his way." An instinct is a delicate matter. He was sure that his opinion was heeded. And now was furious.
Armor led the new commander of the first company. Stubborn, arrogant, the captain was substituted. And he was severely punished. Only the price for his obstinacy was the lives of young boys.
When it got dark, the helicopter arrived. Beam landing light for a long time fumbling on the ground, picking up a landing site. Taking the bodies of the dead, whistling blades, tore the wheels from the ground. Leaning to the side, fell into the darkness ... For the last time, he carried the guys into the squad.
When the detachment went to the Union, the tower was removed from the pedestal and taken with them. It was not possible to take it from Azerbaijan. But since then, wherever the squad was located, a monument was erected everywhere, on which the names of the fallen soldiers were carved. This is a tribute to memory. Tradition.
Six months later, the helicopter in which Gugin's group was stationed, as a result of a collision with another helicopter, caught fire in the air and began to fall. They had to accidentally leave the board, dropping with parachutes from a burning car. Gugin badly burned, but left the board last. At the same time, “Niya is an artificial person” - Sergey Pakhno burned down in the second helicopter.
Klochko was awarded the medal “For Courage” for this fight, and twenty years later he became a member of the Rovno Parliament.
And Sanya still does not like the smell of rose oil.