“One time, during a fight in a depression things got pretty hectic. We had started out on top of this bowl like depression, but we slowly worked our way down into the centre of it all. There was a thick patch of woods it was suspected that an enemy cache was present.

It was real early in the morning, there was a thick fog that rolled all around us and the air was heavy from the previous days rain.

This would be the worst day of my life as I knew it. We lost three people and almost every single one of us were injured in some way. I think that event singularly made me a different person.

As we reached the thickest part of the forest, we started receiving small arms fire from the trees. We expected this and didn’t suspect anything strange about it. However, as we chased these two riflemen down, we started receiving more fire from different parts of the forest. Maybe 5-8 guys shooting at us from all around. A 12 man squad can handle that, but walking into an ambush that surrounded us had us worried.

Then the mortars started happening. Luckily, I don’t think those guys had the location pre designated for fire. But they started walking rounds on us, and then it started pouring. I’m talking about thunder clapping above us, with thick heavy rain drenching every part of your body.

As they walked rounds on us, we pushed outward and to the NW, as that was where there seemed to be the least amount of fire. We tried breaking contact but we realized too late that we had run up into a clearing in the woods.

This was visible from the edge of the bowl and not even 300m away we had insurgents firing at us from the top. We took cover and me and my buddy laid down behind a felled tree. It was a fairly large tree but we were basically laying prone with our backs to the tree as bullets zipped past our heads.

He stood up to take a shot and all I remember seeing was him stumble back. He fell over on his ass and wheezed. I saw what had hit him, a VOG-25 (grenade launcher round)had hit him square in the chest and was stopped by his body armor.

He seemed fine but as I went over to him a burst cut through his body and one specifically had punctured his throat. I pulled his legs to drag his body back over to me and by the time I had pulled him back he was already dead.

I turned around to tell my squad leader but instead was met with a flash of light and a red spray. Our RTO had taken a direct hit from an RPG-7, and had now become a red paste and bone fragments on the ground. I actually don’t remember much after this. I don’t remember fighting back and I’m pretty sure I just sat there behind that tree. But I’m here. No one talked about it. No one explained to me what happened. Honestly, I don’t know if I want to know.

– Anonymous Former Russian Soldier. Beta Company, 218th Battalion, 45th Independent Guard Brigade. VDV. Chechnya 2008.


This story was documented by Battles and Beers. Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.