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Friday, March 23, 2018

Undeclared war: how Georgia gave the Russian peacekeepers, Ossetian “Stalingrad”

On the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia was fired from rocket launchers “Grad” of South Ossetia. And then began the assault on Tskhinvali with tanks. Under fire appeared and the Upper town of the Russian peacekeepers, located on the southern edge of the city.

The Georgians had arranged for a peacekeeping battalion real Stalingrad.

Intelligence, grenade launcher and two rifle platoon — about 200 people — were opposed by a battalion of Georgian troops.

Armed mainly with small arms, Russian peacekeepers, under a barrage of fire for almost two days kept the defense and not give the enemy immediately go to Tskhinvali.

To encircle the base of the peacekeepers managed to get only Panzer group captain Yuri Yakovlev.

Two days of violent confrontation between the five-day war after 9 years told “MK” the commander of the Russian peacekeeping battalion Konstantin Timerman and Yuri Yakovlev, whose tank company went on alert in South Ossetia directly with tactical exercises.

For bravery and courage they were awarded the title hero of Russia.

photo: Mikhail Kovalev

“My squad shot, burned alive two of the crew”

The situation in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict began to escalate in early summer of 2008. In the border villages there were constant shootings, fire attacks; sabotage groups blocked and mined roads.

Security in the region was designed to support the Mixed peacekeeping force, which was established in accordance with the Dagomys agreement of 1992 between Russia and Georgia.

The upper base of the Russian peacekeepers was on the outskirts of Tskhinvali, just 500 metres from the Georgian border. The task of the peacekeepers were part of the separation of conflicting sides. In a specially dug caponiers were driven several BMP-1. Several armored combat vehicles was exposed to observation posts along the border, on the outskirts of the base.

May the duties of the commander of the peacekeeping battalion in South Ossetia played Colonel Konstantin Timerman. Subordinates were proud of their military commander. He is a native of Siberia, he graduated from the Novosibirsk military command school. He volunteered to serve in the North Caucasian military district, where was stationed the 205th motorized rifle brigade. Was the commander of the grenade launcher platoon. Baptism of fire Lieutenant Timerman took in August of 1999 in Botlikh. Their brigade repelled the attack of the troops of Basayev and Khattab into Dagestan. Then was Karamakhi. On mission in Chechnya, Konstantin A. held a total of 6 years. He was awarded the medal “For courage” and the order of Courage. Later he commanded a mechanized infantry battalion of the 71st regiment of the 42nd motorized rifle division. All titles received ahead of schedule. Without cronyism, the “hairy hand” and military in the family.

In December of 2007 I transferred to the 135th regiment of 58th army, which was stationed in the village Cool under Nalchik. I summoned the commander of the regiment, — has shared with “MK” Konstantin Timerman. — Six months at the training center of Sernovodsk on the ground I was preparing the so-called “tangerine” peacekeeping battalion. In may there was a rotation. We changed in Tskhinvali, the 1st battalion of our regiment. Took the security zone.

The commander understood how explosive the situation in the region. Therefore, on arrival to base camp, he began to strengthen the position in engineering terms. Around the perimeter, dug trenches and ditches.

In a full-scale military adventure to the end is not believed, but the battalion was ready for any eventuality.

7 August everything was going normally.

In Beijing just started the Olympic games. I remember the statement of Saakashvili on Georgian television, which said that Georgia unilaterally cease provocations on the border. Believe in it with difficulty, — says Konstantin. Before going to sleep I decided once again to climb onto the roof, where we had an observation post, which we called “the eye”. The clock was 00.15, when the part of Georgia on Tskhinvali flew rockets. I could not believe my eyes. The city beat “Grad”, and aiming for the square that housed the residential quarters…

In my eyes, collapsed wall of the barracks. I ran to his headquarters, contacted senior military observer, reported about the situation. Moved the unit in battle mode. In two hours the shelling stopped. All night I with posts conveyed about the promotion of Georgian military equipment to the villages of Migracii, Nikozi, Zemo Nikozi. I knew that at dawn they will trample…

At five in the morning began to beat heavy cannon artillery. The battalion commander and staff, in accordance with the mandate of the peacekeeping forces, tried to avoid clashes. An hour to the base of peacekeepers violating all norms of international law, with the support of the infantry went Georgian tanks. Aimed fire was laid “eyes” — observation post. The peacekeepers suffered their first casualties. Massive bombardment is also high iron observation tower at the base.

On the way up Georgian tanks infantry fighting vehicles of the peacekeepers.

— My squad shot, burned alive two of the crew, which were exhibited on the road. They died snapping, having to do two shots and hitting the Georgian tanks. Learning about the losses, the other two platoons I commanded to catch up to the base. We took a defensive perimeter.

To assess the situation and encourage subordinates, Lieutenant Colonel Konstantin Timerman decided to make a sortie along the front edge. Is moved along the trenches, which he ordered to dig upon arrival at the base. Covered the battalion commander of the reconnaissance platoon of senior Lieutenant Sergey Shevelev.

— Just at this time, one of the Georgian tanks attacked our barracks. I had a damaged leg, and Sergey Shevelev got a splinter in the neck — he died instantly. The guy is a spy was a difficult fate. In one of his trips he caught a cold, he started a cancer of the lymphatic system. Had to go through several courses of chemotherapy. Our wives were friends. I knew that her family difficult financial situation. Said Sergei, “Come on, if you get well, to me the peacekeeping battalion”. He arrived in Tskhinvali August 1, substituting another of the commander of the reconnaissance platoon. And ended up in this batch…

When the battalion commander burned my leg, he thought that he severed limb. Got in touch with the chief of staff captain Alexander Bagram, said: “I’m hooked, while I take care of, take command”. The orderly pulled the battalion commander to the bath, cut his leg — it became clear that the bone and tendons are intact, shrapnel tore part of the muscle. When Konstantin Timerman was tied up and put on his tourniquet, he contacted his headquarters and was told: “Everything is normal”. Just then a shell hit the roof of the boiler room they were almost filled up…

Georgian tanks were hit point-blank range. The number of wounded grew. All of them were transferred to the basement. Upstairs takes some beating. The Georgians had arranged for a peacekeeping battalion real Stalingrad. Intelligence, grenade launcher and two rifle platoon — a little more than a hundred people — were opposed by a battalion of Georgian troops. Enemy tanks, equipped with modern Israeli electronic stuffing, aimed shot base peacekeepers. Direct hit destroyed a specialized machine is operating. The soldier, who was in it, burned.

Georgian tanks viciously smashes through the building, over which flew a flag with a red cross. Destroyed all medicines and anesthetic drugs. For the seriously wounded did not have enough drugs. All that physicians could do for them is to get a tourniquet and a bandage. At any moment the wounded could die from blood loss.

— By the time we were already surrounded. I called the commander, said, “we Will take any measures to evacuate the wounded?” He said, “I can’t do anything. Make a decision for myself.” I had one whole armored “Ural”. Overlaid box mattresses, loaded him into the 16 wounded soldiers. On the white sheet painted with the red cross, stuck the flag between the body and the cab. Opened the gate, I crossed the car, and they rushed at your own risk… They immediately began firing rocket-propelled grenades. 90% that they will not break. But someone more than they saved. They were able to go on the bypass ZAR road and get to the hospital. All survived.

“Thought that started the Third world war”

And the peacekeepers continued to hold the Fort. During the day, they managed to destroy 6 of the Georgian tanks, 4 armored cars, about 50 Marines.

On 9 August the shelling of the base intensified.

— Over Tskhinvali was already in the air battles. Connection we had. We thought that the Third world war… this time saw that the us rod bare tanks, ready to shoot at them with rocket-propelled grenades. But I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s our tanks. Very cheerfully, they moved to the base, — said Konstantin Timerman.

But soon has not come out of Yuri Yakovlev, reported: “the commander of the tank company, 141st tank battalion of the 19th motorized rifle division of the 58th army.” And spoke about the two days of fighting.

On 7 August they stood at Mamison pass on the border of Georgia, South Ossetia and Russia.

— We got in 2006 was held battalion tactical exercises, repeats the story of Yuri. — Completed all tasks, was to return home, ordered the train platform, and then the war began. On the night of 7 to 8 August, was blown up three red rockets — it was the alarm. When took their places in the combat vehicles, they returned and reported that the commander of the regiment gathers the commanders. At the meeting we learned that the Russian peacekeeping base came under massive artillery fire, we were handed packets and was told what to do the alarm.

In the morning, two battalion tactical group of 693rd and 135th motorized rifle regiments of the 19th motorized rifle division, stationed at military sites in the immediate vicinity of the border with South Ossetia, had been ordered to advance in the direction of the Roki tunnel. They needed to block the highway in front of Gutinskim bridge and the bypass ZAR road.

— Drove through the road tunnel through the Main Caucasus ridge, which is located at the 93rd kilometer of the TRANS-Caucasian highway. Crossed the border with South Ossetia. My tank company of seven machines worked together with the infantry battalion of the 135th regiment.

Later it became known that the Georgians were going to blow up the Roki tunnel…

— He was well protected. The Georgians there would not be approached. A tunnel length of about 4 kilometres slipped quickly. Left the March to the village of Java. Moved on and concentrated in the village of Khetagurovo, which was already occupied by Georgian troops. We drove up to three more tanks of the army of South Ossetia. Together with them we moved forward to investigate. Identified enemy firing points around the village were Georgian tanks, infantry fighting vehicles.

Night attack struck Georgian troops in shock. Russians tanks came to them in the rear, without any fear. Shooting began, in fact, a duel. Swept armored vehicles and destroyed the ammunition depot of the Georgian troops in Khetagurov, a few battalion-size tactical group of the 135th motorized rifle regiment began to move towards Tskhinvali. But suddenly was attacked by Georgian troops. To the column of the Russian troops were able to get out of the fire, occupy a favorable turn and go to the counter, the captain Yakovlev, to the point of battle has put forward its four tanks. And no wonder the 1st company separate 141-Panzer battalion Yury Yakovlev’s four years in a row was recognized as the best combat training in the 58-th army. In the encounter battle, combining maneuver and fire, they managed to destroy 7 Georgian tanks and armored vehicles.

And then there was street fighting. The tankers broke through the fortified Georgian positions. With the expenditure of ammunition, risking his life, attacked the enemy… And still went to the base of peacekeepers. EN route with them motorized infantry was cut off by the fire.

“I counted four direct hits to the frontal armor of the tank”

The Georgians did not expect to see us in the area, — says Yuri. — The operation was designed to lead the enemy astray. The main forces went on the same road, and we were visiting from Shanghai, where the Georgians were the rear.

At the approach to the base of the Russian peacekeepers tankers realized that it hit his own. Peacekeeping battalion they were taken for the Georgian unit.

— We were lucky that they did not have serious anti-tank weapons. Seeing that is hitting us with mortars, I’m on the radio reported that we own. And soon we flew to them behind the gate, — says Yuri. — Peacekeepers were delighted, cheered: him for a long time nobody could break through, and then the power came. Konstantin Timerman, we conducted a small meeting. Distributed five tanks to the Georgians broke through the base.

And soon Russian tanks entered the battle. One Georgian tank shell immediately demolished the tower, a second tank was blown up on the outskirts of the base, two infantry fighting vehicles caught fire and turned into torches. Another APC our tank just knocked over a bump in the ditch.

Breaking the peacekeepers, the tankers spent most of the ammunition. This, apparently, is soon realized and the Georgians. To 17 hours, regrouped, they went back on the attack.

— When the shoot was nothing, and the Georgians began to move to the gate of garrison, I asked Yura: “Popped, lean on their “armor” — and back”. At this time, we planned to take position at the gates with rocket-propelled grenades. Wanted to knock out “Flies” one of the Georgian tanks, so he got up and blocked the entrance to other machines, — says Konstantin Timerman.

Outside the gates clang of caterpillars and the roar of the engines mixed with the roar of gunfire… the commander of the peacekeepers asked Yuri Yakovlev only to pop up and fight off the Georgian tanks, and he manned the machine without ammunition, drove under the fire of Georgian tanks about 15 minutes.

— I’m ashamed to think that they will die, — says Konstantin Timerman. — The heart was relieved when I saw that they flew back, put a stripped car across the gates…

Peacekeepers counted four direct hits to the frontal armor of the tank.

— Had to go outside the gate, to create the effect of attacks on Georgians, — says, in turn, Yuri. — We had the only machine gun bullets. Let the enemy at a distance of about 50 meters, was set up under fire frontal armor, which is almost impossible to break. Be wrong had no right — otherwise we would be burned. The crew I was the senior Sergeant Sergey Mylnikov from Yekaterinburg, which I believed to be his right hand. He came to me with a conscript after school, so the whole period and served in my unit. Sergey all the time eager to fight, asked me: “Comrade captain, what should I do to become a Hero of Russia?” But in times of war this, of course, not thinking — just doing their duty. I initially had 7 tanks we destroyed a total of 19 armored vehicles of the enemy.

Several times the Georgian infantry tried to infiltrate the base through the checkpoint, but every time its cut off by fire. By the evening it became clear that the battalion-size tactical group of the 135th regiment to the base camp of peacekeepers to break can not. Ammunition was running low. The peacekeepers were willing to fight hand to hand.

— No white flag to throw out a thought. Not for our guys fell we gave up — hard-says Konstantin Timerman.

At this time patrol, the group managed to catch entrenched near the base of the Georgian peacekeepers spotter. He said that gave the exact coordinates, and soon the garrison will cover the aircraft and “Grad”. The prisoner confessed: “we Have orders to complete your destruction.”

— Barracks and all the rest of our facilities were destroyed. Left BMP, one of the cars was hit and the other was burned in the carport. In the basement we found shelter the inhabitants of nearby houses — the elderly, women, children… And I made a difficult decision on withdrawal of units, — says Konstantin Timerman. — Destroying secret documents and equipment, under the cover of smoke grenades we began to leave the bed of the river. We were lucky. A month ago there were heavy rains which washed out a hollow. On this ground the course we began to retreat. Three of the wounded were carried. Wanted to go to the bottom of the peacekeeping town, but we were told that there are snipers.

We went under fire after peacekeepers, says in his turn, Yuri Yakovlev. — In our group were civilians and one wounded officer, but it moved independently. Went all night. In the morning went out on the road, the wounded began to pick up in their cars to local residents.

On the morning of 10 August, the peacekeepers and the tankers who crashed into six groups, different routes through the mountains came to Java.

The surgeons, after examining the leg of Colonel Timerman, came to the conclusion that the necrotic tissue. In peacekeeping camp in the basement during the bombing he had his leg stitched up. But as it turned out, this was impossible: if you get a splinter occurs burn, tissue die. And now required emergency surgery.

— By the time I had a fever, they gave me pain medication, had surgery. As a result, the wound increased in size. The night I spent in the school on a stretcher, and in the morning I was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Vladikavkaz, — says Konstantin Timerman. — Then there was the district military hospital in Rostov-on-don, and several operations, including plastic — I had the skin graft on the damaged area of the foot.

That became a Hero of Russia, Constantine learned in the hospital.

Lying in a crowded room, fell asleep after dressing, I open my eyes, and I instructed the television cameras. Ask: “What’s happening?” I say: “Congratulations, you are the Hero of the Russian Federation,” — says Babkin.

I got a call from the main personnel Department, said, “Captain Yuri Pavlovich?” Say: “He is the most” — and I hear: “I Congratulate you with assignment of a military rank of the Hero of Russia”, — says Yuri Yakovlev. The hero has also received the commander of the tank 22-year-old Sergeant Sergei Mylnikov.

Also in the box of the tank of the company Yakovlev was two orders of Courage, two medals “For courage” and three medals of Suvorov. But most importantly, in the opinion of the company commander, which they won, then, without loss. Wounded was only Lieutenant Popov, but he soon returned to service.

Yuri Yakovlev was then 27 years old. In 2002 he graduated from the Chelyabinsk higher tank command school. He wrote a report to be sent in the 503-th motorized rifle regiment of the North Caucasian military district. Three years later he commanded a tank company 141st tank battalion of the 19th motorized rifle division of the 58th army.

The battalion commander Konstantin Timerman in 2008 was 30 years. The commander of the peacekeeping battalion, led his unit from the environment with minimal military standards losses.

Since that terrible August it’s been 9 years. But the pain is subsides. The dead and stand before the commander’s eyes. Reconnaissance commander Sergei Shevelev, who became a Hero of Russia. Sergeant Stas Good, whom the Colonel knew from Chechnya. 20-year-old driver Anton Marchenko from Buzuluksky district that has managed to bring the burning BMP from the position of Russian peacekeepers. Guys saved, but himself to get out of the car did not have time to detonate fuel tanks… Anton was Posthumously awarded the title hero of Russia.

Private Sergei Kononov from Udmurtia, which is 3 hours reflected attacks of the opponent, but never left his post in concrete “a glass” on the watch tower. He was posthumously presented to the Courage award.

23-year-old Junior Sergeant Alexander Korenev’s wife, who is covered co-workers. The peacekeepers then beat 5 hours. Sasha died from multiple shrapnel wounds, before they reach the end of attack of 20 minutes. Posthumously he was awarded the order of Courage.

In a fiery bag killed the driver of Kublan Gimatov of the Volgograd region Vadim Yasko from the Tver region, gunners-operators Alexander Shmyganovskiy of the Kurgan region and 20-year-old Artem Polushkin from Bashkortostan. Became senior Sergeant Vladimir Sinelnikov from the Krasnodar region. Junior Sergeant Sergey Semenenko of Azov have died during the withdrawal of the battalion… In the short but brutal five-day war peacekeeping battalion Konstantin Timerman lost 15 soldiers, with another 49 injured.

In 2015 in the centre of Tskhinvali, the obelisk was erected in memory of those killed in the South Ossetia peacekeepers.


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