“One among us was a good killer. He saved a lot of our lives. Psychologically, I believe something was wrong with him; but none of us cared. He was an excellent marksman. Most of us were just conscripts only 6 months into our conscription, but he knew the art of war and how to fight well.
You must understand, the Russian forces back then were not what they used to be, or what they are now. It was very disorganized. This left our Solider to go off on his own sometimes and exact his personal revenge on the Chechens.
I once went with him on one of these individual self-assigned missions. He took with him a marksmans rifle, a smock, and a pork sandwich. We sat on the fourth or fifth floor of an apartment building and observed the street below us.
He moved a table to the edge of a window, and sat down at the end of it in an armchair, while his rifle rested on the table, pointed toward the window. He sat and watched and ate his pork sandwich.
A few hours later, we observed three Chechen fighters exit a building a few blocks down the road and walk toward us. Our Soldier aimed his rifle, still chewing his pork sandwich, and fired.
One of the Chechens fell in the street. A shot to his pelvis. He writhed and squirmed on the wet ground and we could barely make out his moans from where we were.
‘You missed.’ I told him. Meaning that he failed to kill the Chechen. ‘No, wait for the others.’ Our Soldier replied.
I suddenly knew what he meant. The wounded Chechen was bait.
A few moments later, the second Chechen ran into the road with his rifle slung on his back and tried to drag away his wounded comrade. Our Soldier fired again. And again, wounded another Chechen.
He went on like this for weeks, and I never went with him for another individual mission.”
– Alexei Yermolov, Russian Army. First Chechen War. Chechnya, 1995
This interview was conducted by Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.