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First Chechen.

If you are thinking of reading my revelations about brutal hand-to-hand combat with Chechen fighters, then you will be disappointed. They were not, and I doubt that anyone had them, but if they will tell you, I will not believe. But in close combat I had a chance to visit more than once.

It is fleeting, unpredictable and extremely dangerous. 99% consists of fire contact and only 1% remains for hand-to-hand combat. I will tell you about all this in detail.

The brigade was alerted, and we, having collected everything necessary for the war, plunged into cars and went to the military airfield in Mozdok, where the primary location of the detachment was determined. Having solved the everyday difficulties of field life, they began training with redoubled zeal. Still would! After all, we had to engage in battle with Chechen militants, and the leadership set everyone up for a quick and easy victory, and all victories in the army were marked with awards. With such propaganda, the zeal and enthusiasm of officers and men has grown more than ever.

We fired day and night, however, in a small quarry on the outskirts of the airfield, practicing special tactical training in all equipment, however, only on the territory of the airfield. Preparing for work in the mountains. The old equipment was prohibitively heavy. A wadded sleeping bag and felt boots strapped to the taxiway made the fighter clumsy, sedentary and slow in movement. I did not understand how one could walk with this in the mountains and asked with a group to go to the landfill in Tarskoye, which is near Vladikavkaz. There are mountains and shooting at real ranges. But they didn’t listen to me. Yes, and it was forbidden to leave the location of the detachment. At that time I didn't even think about hand-to-hand combat.

They didn’t take me to the detachment that went to work in the mountains. This saved me and my group from the sad fate of captivity, which befell the detachment. I described the actions of the detachment in the mountains in the story "Prisoners of the Caucasus", he is on the Internet. Fate decreed that they had to face hostilities in Grozny.

The storming of Grozny met us with night street battles. Fast dynamics of movement from place to place, nervous tension and sleepless nights. During the assault, I had three close fire contacts and one psychological one.

The first fire contact during the assault on the house on the street of the Red Front. The second is on the way to the Dudayevsky Palace. The third in the offensive of a motorized rifle division in the private sector near Sunzha.

All fire contacts were at a distance of 3 to 100 meters.

Psychological contact took place while searching for Marines in the courtyard of one of the houses.

From street battles, I learned that you need to shoot not only accurately, but that it is very important to shoot quickly. A huge number of situations close to dueling proved this.

After another trip to Grozny and the detachment's move to Khankala, we began to make changes in combat training. By this time, I had already been appointed commander of the special operations company, but the street fighting ended and our actions were of a search and ambush nature. In the quarry near the location of the brigade, we practiced various options for shooting and tactics of action. In the summer, they had to fight for the most part in the mountains covered with forest. There, the dynamics of shooting is not the same as in the city, and there is another tactic, more like hunting: come unnoticed, wait quietly and hit accurately. Dueling situations must be avoided. We sometimes recalled hand-to-hand combat as an element of capturing the enemy. We considered the capture of the enemy as a quick immobilization and binding under the threat of the use of weapons.

There were no equipped places for sports. I tried to keep fit for a while, doing sports hand-to-hand combat, but soon the intensity of the fighting deprived us all of this opportunity. Where physical skills were lacking, they relied on technical means and practiced collective actions. We learned how to make good use of mining, night optics and armored vehicles. The whole summer was spent in search and ambush operations, and we considered ourselves sufficiently trained specialists.

At the end of the summer of 1995, specialists from the Krasnodar Special Forces Training Center came to us. Among them were Vishnevetsky, Sergienko and Vedernikov. They were engaged in the implementation of special leadership tasks, and in their free time they conducted classes with the personnel of special forces units. My personal acquaintance with them began with a conflict. One day Sergienko and Vedernikov came with an order to give them Vintorez and a wireless mining kit. The order came from the very top, but it contradicted all the statutory requirements, which is why I began to sabotage its execution. The case ended with a call to the battalion commander and his personal order to issue what was required. I complied with the orders, creaking my heart, but after the conflict between me and the said officers, tensions remained. They changed to the archery side after conducting a series of classes. It is difficult to conduct high-quality training in combat conditions. Fighters tired of physical exertion and stress could not fully master the basics of the proposed methods, although their effectiveness was obvious.

Attempts to learn shooting without traditional aiming were faced with ignorance of movement methods and an unworked stance. It was an unaffordable luxury to practice stance and movement in combat conditions. Nevertheless, the commander of the 173rd special forces detachment, Lieutenant Colonel Yu.A. Mokrov assigned a group of military officers, warrant officers and contract soldiers for training during the week. Having distrust of the newly minted teachers, I decided to take part in the classes. In the classroom, many did not accept the system, but I immediately understood its effectiveness and prospects. This was what I was looking for unsuccessfully over the years of service in combat sports. My attitude towards the officers of the center has changed for the better. During those fragmentary lessons, the level of training required for use in battle was not achieved by any of the students. But in some souls the concept of the existing system of training and a desire to master it in the future arose. My soul belonged to this category.

For some time after the departure of Vishnevetsky, Sergienko and Vedernikov, I continued to try to study on my own, but after a week I gave up. I did not know what I was striving for after mastering the basic skills and was not ready to use them in battle. The unfolding hostilities distracted me from attempts to independently master the skills of the Russian combat system and completely absorbed my attention.

Almost a year has passed in constant combat exits. During this time, we carried out ambushes in the mountains and raids in the city, carried out searches on the terrain of various reliefs. Even in the protection of the Chechen government had to work. I described this in detail in a series of articles ("Grozny 95th", "Two ambushes", "The road to Agishty", "In the lair of the wolf", "Autumn ambush", "Difficult ambush", "Contractors," Hunting the Titanic " ), published in the magazines "Brother" and "Soldier of Fortune". We worked mainly in the old ways, but when carrying out actions to capture or with fire contact in close combat, we clearly lacked the skills that the Russian combat system provided.

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