"During this operation all 17 of my soldiers were awarded orders of the red Star"
- Why you never became hero of the Soviet Union?
- It is necessary to ask the superiors. Later I found out that my order got someone at the top — whether the chief of intelligence of the army, or someone else. In the end, for this operation I was awarded the order of the red Star. For Afghanistan, I was awarded order of the red banner and three red Stars.
- Probably, the operation will remember for a lifetime?
- To the smallest detail! It was June 3, 1987. We've managed to catch a huge caravan of weapons — more than 200 camels. It later turned out that it was one of the largest liquidated caravans in the entire history of the Afghan war. To be honest, we ran into him almost by accident. And it was so. One type of hostilities was the so-called inspection helicopters — for the study of a land area, clearance of vehicles and peace caravans, moving day. And that's just flying in front of the exit of the gorge by a group of Mi-8 helicopters, which were called "bees", and two cover helicopters Mi-24, nicknamed "crocodiles", we've spotted a moving caravan.
I gave the order to put the helicopter to inspect the caravan. One helicopter touched down near the head of the caravan, but mine is closer to the middle. When soldiers approached the caravan, he immediately saw that he was loaded with guns. The camels were strapped recoilless rifles, anti-aircraft installations mountain, mortars and rockets (the Rockets)... just Imagine a string of camels, and a single person. All drivers-spooks, barely seeing our helicopters, scattered. But the camel kept on walking.
And now my task is — how to stop the camels, do not let them leave the gun... the Answer is — to eliminate. And quickly, until the "spirits" came to his senses and rushed to hit the caravan. I gave the order to destroy camels. Of course, at first glance, this may seem cruel, but you have to understand that we simply had no right to leave the spooks weapons and animals: they again would use them to transport weapons, while the weapons would be turned against us. At this time our helicopters fly to the base for help. And as soon as "bees" and "crocodiles" out of sight, "spirits" rushed to the attack. The situation is a stalemate: we have only 17 people, and no air cover. Taking perimeter defense, we began to shoot.
While with binoculars I examined one part of the territory, from the "green stuff" as we called green spaces in me from the shelter aimed two spooks. Of course, I couldn't see them. But Vladimir Bondar, Deputy officers of the company, they took notice. He pushed me back, and he fell: machine gun he pierced both his legs, broke the bones. So, if not be, that fight would be my last. And Volodya then cancelled, and, unfortunately, he became an invalid of the second group. Now lives under the town.
But back to that memorable day. We barely managed to tie Volodya, and began what is called hell. The fact that there was a village where just expect the caravan with weapons. And they realized that the caravan captured the "shuravi" (Soviet soldiers, from the Arabic "Shura" Council. — Ed.). So when our helicopters flew, "spirits" from the village have moved to recapture the caravan. On the other hand, from the side of the pass, approached by a group of spooks who were guarding the caravan. In General, squeezed us from both sides.In a nutshell, to convey the state is impossible, I can only say that we barely have time to reload. When our helicopters flew with a support group to pick up weapons from the caravan and give us ammunition, spooks abated and we had a little breath. As soon as the choppers flew away, and again began shooting.
- How long did the fight?
- From half past five in the morning until 13 o'clock in the afternoon. Only hours 14 the evacuation began. I remember when our group was loaded into the helicopter, one soldier said: "See how many sheep!" Look: on the mountain a huge number moving in our favor points. And I realize it's not sheep, but "spirits". Realizing that we were about to leave, they again decided to attack us. And began again...
But the operation did bring to the end: all the weapons were evacuated, but the caravan was destroyed. Then the whole parade ground in the location of the battalion was Packed with weapons: mortars, grenade launchers, recoilless rifles. And mountain anti-aircraft installations and about 500 rockets 12-barrel rocket launcher and new at that time jet-setting for the shooting of 17 kilometers. During this operation, all 17 of my fighters received the order of the red Star. And Volodya Cooper, who saved my life, was awarded the order of the red banner.
- A lot of people you that battle is lost?
- I have all my life killed any soldiers. Once the guys got blown up by armored personnel carriers (armored personnel carrier. — Ed.) exploding mines, but alive. This figure, which I, as a commander of the group can be proud of. My soldiers said I was lucky, lucky.
February 15, 1989, when from Afghanistan the withdrawal of the last of our soldiers did not hear a single shot...
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