- From The Fly tank beat, ”exhaled Pevtsov, when, bouncing over the“ seventy-two, ”we fell to the ground. A minute later, forgetting about the danger, he, leaning out from behind the tank, continued to adjust the fire.
According to the unwritten canons of military science, armor in urban combat is covered by infantry. But the company of internal troops was a hundred meters behind, and without a cover in the center of the Komsomolsk tank, and at the same time Pevtsov and I were a good target for the militants who had climbed out of the basements after the bombings. Those who did not hurry could be understood: the two-week street battles greatly thinned their battle formations - some detachments were already short of every second fighter. Or the Singers are in a hurry ...
Not a whole house and wood cut by fragments, mountains of broken bricks, corpses of militants, piles of tank shells, continuous firing and clubs of red - from brick chips - smoke after tank shots at houses occupied by militants - this was what Komsomolsky looked like caterpillars of the "seventy-two" company of captain Alexander Pevtsov. Gelaev’s gang, surrounded by Shamanov in Komsomol’s, the last surviving large detachment of militants, fought to the last. The Chechens who had previously buried themselves had nowhere to retreat, but nothing to lose. The fate of the last battle of the campaign was decided by infantry and tanks - aviation with artillery bandits did not reach in deep concrete cellars. The tension of street fighting in Komsomolsky has probably reached the greatest intensity in the entire war. The ruins of almost every house became a small fortress, in which the next bunch of martyrs took the last battle. After the losses suffered, our prisoners did not take and fought, it seemed, also with some particular cruelty.
... It was the tenth day of the fighting in Komsomolsk. One day was like the other. In the morning the village was ironed by the aircraft, then the assault detachments of the internal troops went on the attack. The army team blocked the village around the perimeter. The company’s headquarters, which the thinned Pevtsov company shared with infantrymen and tankmen from other regiments, was on the southern approaches to Komsomolskoye - between the gorge, through which the Gelayevtsy passed, and the overgrown bushes with a ravine. The "spirits" firmly pressed in the village, judging by radio interceptions, were in despair ready to break into the mountains. Going to dinner at Pevtsov’s tent, the officers thought how they would act if the people of Gelaev went to their battle formations. With the onset of darkness, they diverged in positions — they waited for a breakthrough at night. All night the gorge was illuminated by lighting projectiles and shook from the cod of gunfire. Continuously firing Zelenka at the bottom of the gorge, they did not spare the ammunition - so that not a single fighter, running from bush to bush in the pauses between the illuminators, escaped to the mountains.
The tenth day of the Singers did not find a place. The last words of the platoon commander, who, along with five soldiers, he lost on March 5, did not come out of his memory:
- Singing, do something, get me out of here!
... It seemed to Pevtsov that already years separated him from the day when the order had arrived in their regiment for three months to send a tank company commander and several infantry platoon commanders to the warring Dagestan. The singers volunteered.
His father and grandfather were tankers. Both fought: grandfather on the legendary "thirty-four", father - on T-62 in Afghanistan. Therefore, as a child, Pevtsov knew who he would be - military guests, military conversations ... After graduating from Chelyabinsk tank in 96, he fell under Yekaterinburg. A year later, moving the platoon to the best, I got a company. Soon the company became the best, and the Pevtsov - the senior lieutenant ahead of schedule.
When at the division headquarters it turned out that it was not about a business trip, but about being transferred to the North Caucasus Military District, the Singers were hesitating to change the Urals to the Caucasus, refusing to have the positions of the zamkombat ... But there was a war in Dagestan and that the army would soon be Chechen trails there was no doubt. Board on Rostov flew the next day.
Another unpleasant surprise awaited at the SKVO headquarters - an appointment to the 503 Motorized Rifle Regiment, the city of Vladikavkaz. It turned out that all the vacant officer posts in Dagestan, the district was staffed with its own, the "Varangians" needed to patch the holes. There was no offense on the North Caucasian Military District, it was a shame that, while performing the distribution list, they deceived their own people and, for the sake of plausibility, also issued a bullet-proof vest and helmet to everyone.
- Where are you from? - the ensign was surprised when Pevtsov came to hand over this dowry to a ware warehouse.
- From the Urals.
- Do you have anything there, in the Urals, wearing helmets and bronikakh?
The mood, in general, was not to hell.
Everything changed abruptly at the end of September, when the regiment was transferred to the Chechen border. With a light hand who invented him a radio call sign commander, the Singers “Singing” became. Preparation for hostilities began - service in the Caucasus began to acquire the desired meaning.
In mid-October, crossed the border of the rebellious republic. The most difficult were two weeks of standing under Bamut. Oppression of waiting for the first battle, and, to be honest, were afraid of this place covered with legends. In the first campaign, our three times unsuccessfully stormed Bamut, taking him only in June, 96-th. This time, the symbol of the Chechen resistance fell after a month of hostilities. And the first to enter Bamut Pevtsov tank. Battle baptism was successful. Storming the town of rocket men - one of the Bamut fortifications, the Singer did not lose a single tank, not a single soldier. The war clearly developed further: moving into the depths of Chechnya, the Singers confidently commanded a company, and enemy ATGMs and Flies sided out his tanks. And it was not just luck. Singers quickly learned the main axiom of survival - it’s not the one who, having discovered the target, wins back the fire, but the one who, not yet seeing this goal, will be able to feel and hit it first, wins. Using the capabilities of technology, you can crush the "darlings" without paying for the Chechen hills with soldiers' lives, I realized the Singers under Bamut.
- What are the boxes under the bed? - He asked one evening in the tent of the commander of a motorized rifle company with whom he divided the defense area.
- Imposed from the division, - he replied, - could not get out of it. Unnecessary, but expensive thing - answer now for her. RRF is called a near-intelligence station.
- And let's collect it! - wound up the singers.
Out on the position. Darkness - even prick out the eye. Highlight flashlight instructions collected. Launched, the thing immediately squeak.
- People there! - realized Pevtsov.
- They do not turn up from there, rather, were mistaken in the assembly.
Five minutes later, the signal mines, which flew into the sky, judged the dispute. More SBR under the bed is not gathering dust. On one of the following nights, striking her testimony from tanks and machine guns, piled a dozen "spirits."
The songwriter is a real fanat with the technique - even the selikogel was drying. There is such a powder in tank sights - for collecting condensate from the sighting net. So that the optics do not sweat. The probability of this, however, is extremely small - therefore, very few people dry it in a peaceful life. The military literacy of Pevtsov, who for some reason ignited Gel in a skillet, was appreciated by his colleagues near Urus-Martan. When several tanks of another company in the midst of battle blurred sights ...
The war not only did not Pevtsov, but even inspired him, adding confidence in herself every day. Singer caught himself thinking that in war he felt even more comfortable than in all other periods of his service. When would he have joked with the regimental commander, as under the same Urus-Martan?
Due to the lack of ammunition, the combat mission was disrupted. And then a car passes by the bored tank of Pevtsov.
- Do not need, captain, shells? - asks some lieutenant colonel.
- Of course, needed!
- You just do not leave - now we will bring, we will even unload ourselves - you will take it under painting, - the officer was delighted. “For two days we don’t know where to put them — even if you’ve been back to Vladik ...”
"Miracles, and only", thought Singer, when an hour later a mountain of shells grew in front of him. Signed - and ran to the staff tent. And there the regiment commander heats the walkie-talkie - he demands ammunition from the armed forces. He sat down next to him and, after a good pause, asked:
- And what, comrade colonel, do not occur?
- What are you, Singer, are you kidding me? - with a half-turn wound up does not fit in the timing of the onslaught of the regiment.
- If you're talking about ammunition ... shells in general, there is ...
- ??? ...
- Good people drove past, helped.
- It does not happen ... - was taken aback by the regiment.
- It happens, Comrade Colonel. So, can we start the offensive? ..
In a word, Pevtsov was at war. How dreamed, as taught: "seventy-twos" crushed "spirits", without entering their defeat zone weapons. So it was until March 5. So far, his tank company and several other units of the 503 regiment were not in the way of the two-thousand gang of Gelayev. Having collected the remains and the mutilated bodies of his fighters, the Singer learned then the most important lesson of the war - if you were at least seven spans in your forehead, you go to God every day in the war. That day Sankina's short youth ended ...
At the end of January, a tank company of Captain Pevtsov, reinforced by an infantry armored group, was rummaging on the southern approaches to Komsomolskoye with the task of preventing the bandit groups from descending to the plain in the controlled area. The month passed quietly. But tensions grew every day, intelligence and EW warned of a possible breakthrough. The forecasts came true on the night of February 29. Noticing the movement at the bottom of the gorge, they opened fire. The acting regiment commander, Lieutenant Colonel Shadrin slid down with the armored group and followed the bloody trail, having overtaken in one of the houses of five hastily disguised gangsters. The result of the battle - 5 killed and 10 wounded captured militants. Passing through the village that day, Pevtsov counted about a dozen open gates and saw many women in black headscarves. So, they didn’t take everyone, - the Singer realized, - someone, having left the pursuit, nevertheless reported to the village about the dead.
In order to more reliably close the gorge, at the end of which the village began, the regiment lowered down the grenade launcher platoon. They will turn up again - it will be easier to find the bandits, and even the FGUs will blow the “spirits” to shreds. At the same time, the operators of the group headquarters stopped by to inspect the gorge. “We’ll output here?” - Far away, the Pevtsov talked. Only then he will understand that it was not a special forces group ...
The morning of March 5 was no different from other hours before dawn: it was cold, foggy and damn sleepy.
In the morning 4 from the mountains, where the company of lieutenant Vershinin kept their defenses, the shooting came. “Mutual,” Pevtsov realized from the cod of the gunfire, “it’s not in the dark that we shoot - the battle is on!” The dream took off like a hand. Pulling the earpiece off the radio operator, the Singers heard Vershinin’s report to the regimental commander:
- I fight, “spirits” Nemer, some go to me, others canyons.
Bringing the company "to battle" - Pevtsov's stronghold was separated from the "ghosts" less than a kilometer, Singer again clung to the radio. But there was no connection with Vershinin. Instead, one of his fighters went on the air:
- Mouth died. The platoon officer died, many were killed, the contract soldiers fled ...
Explaining to the soldier how to act, Shadrin tried in vain, at least through him, to retain control of the company. The singers no longer heard the end of their conversation - a grenade launcher platoon sitting in a canyon under his trenches entered the battle.
Still not seeing the "spirits", the Singers gave the order to open fire on green light. The gorge began to shake from the explosions of tank shells, anti-personnel fireworks and continuous crackling of machine guns. But despite the density of fire, from the bushes, where nothing seemed to be left alive, the "spirits" tumbled down. The tension of the battle and the intensity of enemy shooting increased with every minute. Militants really was Nemer. “I am fighting, but they go further,” the commander of the grenade platoon reported to the regiment commander. “Hang on, sending out an armored group,” answered Shadrin. Having moved from the opposite bank of the gorge through the village on two armored personnel carriers, two dozen scouts led by the reconnaissance commander, Senior Lieutenant Deev, took up defensive positions on the outskirts of the village and engaged in battle. But it did not become easier, “spirits”, on the contrary, became more and more. The density of fire from the gorge in Pevtsov’s trenches was already crazy. The foreman of ensigned infantrymen Ensign Evstratov will remember for the rest of his life how three bullets pierced the fur collar of his jacket, and the fourth one was stuck in the sub-gadget of an automaton ... For those who were below, it was even harder. The situation became critical - all were blocked: the remnants of the Vershinin company in the mountains, the grenade launcher platoon. The sniper fire from the neighboring mountain did not allow Pevtsov to reload the tanks - bullets clicked through the opening hatches. The scouts at the edge of the village sent armored personnel carriers back so that the militants, who had come very close, did not set them on fire from grenade launchers.
Nor did the turntables patrolling in the sky, firing at the militants who did not manage to get close to our combat formations. Komsomolskoye not hold, understood the Singer. The stream of gangsters crumpled up the grenade throwers rushed into the village.
In the midst of the battle, Major Izmailov, the commander of the divisional intelligence battalion, ran up to Pevtsov and said that he and the armored group had been sent to the mountains to collect the remnants of the Vershinin company. I asked for a tank. By contacting the regimental commander, Singer was instructed to go with Izmailov, but convinced Shadrin that he could not leave the battle, and his platoon would handle the cover of the scouts. Had time gone back ...
Seeing the platoon officer - Lieutenant Alexander Lutsenko, the Singer several times ordered him not to drive in front of the column in any way: “You are firepower, not an armor shield”.
Having sent the tank, the singers returned to battle. With the arrival of snipers from Alpha, it became noticeably easier. For an hour, our pros flipped the Chechen snipers working from the nearby mountain, and Pevtsov was already firing in combat formations only from below. Tanks could be recharged, no longer rolling out of the caponiers. Only here the shells melted in front of their eyes, and the militants, having dried up a small river with corpses, all went and went to Komsomolskoye. Only a month later, the Singers and those who survive, learn that the plan of the commander of the group, General Vladimir Shamanov, was precisely to drive the militants from the mountains into one of the piedmont villages, surround them there and destroy them with artillery and aviation. Without inevitable losses during a long mountain war.
“The fact that the militants trapped in the mountains will try to break into one of the piedmont villages, so that, disguised, spread across the plain and dissolve among the population, there was no doubt,” recalled Shamanov two months later.
Then I directly asked the general why the grenade throwers on the way of the Gelayevites did not receive the command to leave? I could not believe that for the success of the operation Shamanov, as a chess piece, sacrificed a platoon. “The commanders of the divisional and regimental level did not work,” answered Shamanov. Just how did they know about the intentions of the commander, who, I think, was then a secret even for most of the officers of his closest circle.
“Shamanov waited for the Gelayevites to come out not to Komsomolskoye, but to neighboring Alkhazurovo, the path to which was generally free,” one of the officers would then say. - Gelaev, suspecting something was wrong, went to Komsomolskoye, not being afraid to substitute his native village.
One way or another, surrounding the two thousand gang of Gelayevs in Komsomolsk and not letting the militants spread across the plain, Shamanov actually decided the fate of the second Chechen campaign. There were no longer any large gangs and armed clashes that the insurgents would have marched on themselves. But another thing is also obvious: if the units of the 503 of the motorized rifle regiment of the Gelayev division, which had been put to death, were not delayed, Shamanov might not have time to surround Komsomolsk.
... By seven in the morning the battle began to subside. The remnants of the company Vershinin dispersed in the woods, fourteen of the eighteen grenade throwers were killed, four were captured. Until recently, the scouts who were on the edge of the village did not share their fate only thanks to the “borrowed” cars from the local population. The last on the broken-down red "Zhiguli" to the camp returned to Senior Lieutenant Deev with five soldiers. When he was not there waiting. Artillery and helicopters were working with might and main in the southern part of Komsomolsk, and the stream of militants going through the gorge did not stop.
The noise of the working engines of the returning column pulled Pevtsov from the battlefield. There was no tank in the column ...
- Where is the tank? !! - Shouted singers Izmailov.
At the same second, a radio operator ran up to him: on the link of Lutsenko:
- Singing, I’m hit, walk for me ...
From what she heard Pevtsov threw in sweat. Lutsenko, contrary to his orders, nevertheless went ahead of the column. After a kilometer of way, the armored group was ambushed. The wrecked tank lost its course and in the heat of battle it was thrown by scouts saving their wounded. There was no time to find out the relationship with Izmailov. We had to save the crew. Having heard the categorical "no" of the regimental commander - the new raid in the mountains inevitably threatened with new losses, Pevtsov decided to act on his own. He could not do otherwise. I went to the reconnaissance platoon commander, Senior Lieutenant Rustam Khanakov, who came to his senses after the battle. He grimaced, but did not refuse. Having put a dozen scouts on the tank, they moved the same way. The tank below, the scouts with Pevtsov - over the mountains, covering it from above. “Cool places for an ambush,” barely managed to think of the Singers, immediately seeing hundreds of “spirits” sitting on the ridge a hundred meters ahead. Human 50-60.
- Box, waste! Shouted Singer into the radio, but it was too late. The mountains were shaken by a deafening explosion — letting the “seventy-twenty-two” hanging forward with active armor hit the “spirits” with a grenade launcher. Several grenades lay exactly in the transmission. Sdetonirovanny ammunition. From the tank tore the tower.
One rush of adrenaline immediately changed to another - the militants moved to the Pevtsov group. Ours - to carry away the legs. Overcome a bunch of gangsters was not a chance. They ran away quickly - where only forces were taken from. The branches whipped across their faces, but they did not feel pain. Stopping at profitable frontiers, shot back. Saved, that no one hurt, with the "three hundredth" would not have gone.
Having run about five hundred meters, they finally broke away from the chase. But they stopped only after meeting a group of Izmailov, again directed to gather in the mountains the remnants of the Vershinin company. Got dead. The heart seemed Pevtsov, about to jump out of my chest. “They did it, for the first time in the whole war,“ spirits ”made me,” Singer closed his eyes with his hand. From impotence wanted to cry.
Recovering, the singers went to Lutsenko.
- I'm still alive, Singer, “spirits” are trying to open the hatches.
“I was walking, I could not,” answered the Singers in a murdered voice.
- Where is the "bumblebee fifth"? - asked Lutsenko about the tank going to his rescue.
“The Fifth Bumblebee is no more,” answered the Singers.
And deathly - more eloquent than any words - silence on the air.
- I heard everything.
Gathering his strength, Singer went to the regimental commander:
- I'm in the mountains. I lost the tank ...
In response - mat remat.
Going out on one of his bosses, Izmailov requested reinforcements and an armored group. To go to the damaged tank with the available forces, no one, except for the already feeling no fear, and in general, it seemed, Pevtsov did not feel anything, there was no desire.
“To drive the militants away from mine!” It dawned on Pevtsov. Fatherly regimental artillery chiefs would not refuse.
“Now, Sanya, now,” the lieutenant colonel put the approximate coordinates on the map. - Let Lutsenko correct the mines by the sun.
- Singing, mines close lie down. "Perfume" dumped from the tank, gone! - In Lutsenko's voice, hope appeared.
So lasted about an hour. Until the mines ran out. The infuriated militants "blinded" the tank, smashing the triplexes, and started shooting the "seventy-two" grenades laden with boxes of active armor.
- Singing, for me "flies" hammering. Singing, do something, please, get me out of here. Everything, Singing, farewell ... - killing with every phrase, repeated Lutsenko.
It seemed to Pevtsov that it was he, and not Lutsenko, who was dying in that tank. But the armored group with the help of everything did not go and did not go. And then fate gave them with Lutsenko another chance. Kompolka was finally able to beg aviation:
- Singing, turntables can not detect the tank, tell me more precisely the coordinates!
If he knew them! But the solution seems to be there!
“The spinners do not see you, designate yourself as a“ cloud, ”he almost shouted on the air.
Having set off camouflage smokes, the "seventy-two" finally became visible from the air. Having entered it several times, the helicopters treated the forest around the tank with unguided rockets. And flew away. Five minutes later, the connection with Lutsenko was cut off ...
Finally came the armored group. The 80 man on five BMPs - with such forces it was already possible to move into the mountains. Let's go. Not having met militants, got to the goal. A terrible, incomprehensible sight. It seemed to the singer that all this was not happening to him. The 815 tank with a detached turret and the 816 th ... torn apart by an explosion ... "seventy-two war" shot with "flies" with broken triplexes, cut off by an antenna and undermined grenades. On the armor there are two bodies - Sergeant Oleg Ischenko's gunner with a head shot through and the rest, Lieutenant Alexander Lutsenko - without a single scratch. And without a head ... Mechanics - there was no private Denis Nadtoko. In the same place on the armor, apparently, for the edification of the Russians, the murder weapon was also lying around - a bloodstained Chechen dagger.
“This is mine,” Sungary, who was about to raise his officer, stopped ...
Having loaded bodies on armor and having removed a machine gun from the tank, they moved to the second mass grave. From the crew of the 815 th "seventy doubles" - junior sergeant Sergey Korkin and private soldiers Roman Petrov and Eldus Sharipov were only fragments of bodies. Having stopped the infantry soldiers who had moved to help him, the Singer himself carefully collected their remains in the UZK. What at that moment was happening in the soul of a twenty-four year old captain cannot be described in a thousand words. Bitter commander's share ...
On the way back, they again fought with the militants. “How many of them are there still in these forests?” Thought Pevtsov, removing Lutsenko’s body shot from the armor in ten places along the way.
If it were not for the expectation of a new battle, the Singers, probably, would have gone mad from what they had experienced on that day, being surrounded, and in the village and in the forest there were "spirits", ours took all-round defense. After a few days, the Singers and other lower-level commanders who were here would understand that it was not their Chechens, but the troops who surrounded the Gelayevs in Komsomolsk, and their strong point was only one of the links of this battle formation. In the meantime, they were surrounded. A total of 80 man, four tanks, five infantry fighting vehicles gathered on the hill. In principle, power. Yes, only five shells remained for each seventy-two warheads, and the cartridges, when the remainder were divided, went out to the store for a brother. Go these days, the "spirits" on their military order - it would have come to hand-to-hand. So more than a day - without ammunition and even without water (they drank all the puddles on the hill) and stayed surrounded. Only in the evening of the next day came the help. Chief of Staff of the 160 Tank Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Fedorov with his tank crews.
And soon, the acting commander of the 503 regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Shadrin moved to their slide. Evil at disobeying his Pevtsov, he did not hold. In war as in war: according to the unwritten laws of the martial fraternity of the Singers, risking other people, did everything he could, saving his crew. But some officers from the headquarters of the 58 Army were of a different opinion.
- Hands to tear off this captain who killed people, - one of them will say.
Pevtsov, who did not find a place for himself, was then supported by Yuri Budanov, who arrived later. Who in the grouping did not hear about the commander of the only tank regiment who, with artillery strikes, congratulated the “spirits” on Christmas during the Christmas truce and who went with the Mujahideen hand to hand.
- So you are the Singer? - Budanov patted Pevtsov on the shoulder.
“Singer snapped, lost two tanks,” answered the Singers.
“Do not worry, Singer,” the colonel hugged the captain fatherly, “this is our job.”
For three months he fought without loss and lost in one battle, when his tankers, in an infantry manner, confronted a five-fold superior enemy in the mountains, eleven people at once, Budanov, probably as nobody else, understood Pevtsov.
The tenth day was the "Komsomol" operation. The tenth day of the Singers lived by the thought of revenge. But in the village, the veveshniki fought with the residents of Gelaev, while the army team still only blocked Komsomolskoye. Turning the ruins of each house into a fortress, the militants died, but did not surrender. Without losses, it was possible to crush them in these ruins only with the help of army tanks called in for help, some of which were inevitably set on fire by the gangsters with the Flies. Two days after they shot down Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Arzumanyan, who had gone to Komsomolskoye from our T-62 slide, they sent a tank to Pevtsov's company at last to send the tank to the village. Do I have to say who drove it? Looking at how Pevtsov’s seventy-two-dvd, hiding between houses, went to this hellish meat grinder in which our tanks were burning and our soldiers were dying, I mentally said goodbye to my friend Pevtsov during this time.
An hour later, Singer returned. He said that the next day we will go to Komsomolskoye together. Hanging over the walkie-talkie, the Pevtsov was driving to adjust the fire of his tank crews - in a city battle it is difficult to determine from where the danger comes from.
“Wait, you have forgotten the kladenets sword,” the Singers tank stopped when we were already on armor.
A soldier carried a blade with an elbow length from the tent - the same one that killed Lutsenko. The dagger was thrown into the tank, and the Singers drove their seventy-two war to the village. Leaning out from behind the tank, the Singers clearly adjusted the fire, one by one suppressing the militants ’current and potential weapon emplacements. And I caught myself thinking that I had not seen Sanka so happy for the two and a half weeks spent with him near Komsomolsk.
Only then I find out that the day before, when I first went to Komsomolskoye, I saw the watch of Lieutenant Lutsenko at one of the dead “spirits” of the Singers ...
R.S. Alas, the harsh truth of life - none of the heroes of the essay received for Komsomolsk even a medal. The fate of those with whom the author had a chance to come together in a war was different. Singers, without making a special career, still serves in the North Caucasian Military District. The Russ was transferred to the Far East - closer to home. He sent me a letter in which he said that Makhmutov, like him, deprived of awards, left the army, moved to another power structure. The shamans, who did not get along with the command of the North Caucasus Military District, went to the governors and, they say, greatly nostalgic about the army’s past. Budanov is in prison. But one thing unites them all - in spite of everything, for some reason, they regard war as the happiest time in life. Why? I also can not answer this question.