An interesting interview given by a junta sniper on the topic of fighting for Saur-Mogila, which is easily captured in Facebooks and Twitters, but in no way is an easy catch in reality.
Saur-Mogila: chronicles of an unsuccessful assault
There is a new fashion in the Ukrainian army – at the charges of deserting and avoiding executing orders and so on. Less often it is spoken about theoretically correct but deeply impossible to carry out orders.
On Wednesday a battalion tactical group commander of the 51-st SMBr Pavel Protsyuk was suspended. His is guilty of not capturing Saur-Mogila. The fighters protect the battalion commander: they say that in that situation this strategic high point could be captured but keeping it under dense artillery fire was simply unreal.
Lib.ua talked to a subordinate of Protsyuk, who told, that in Kiev the capture of Saur-Mogila was announced even before than the 51-st managed to get there.
- They charge our commander of not executing the order – capture Saur-Mogila at any price...
Nobody provided a straight task for us. They only told us – you have a mission for two days. We took dry rations for two days, but we only drove there for two days.
The reconnaissance reports: from one side of Saur-Mogila there are "unknown people", from the other side – a checkpoint with red flag. You make your own conclusions. But our commander says that over the radio they told him that these are ours. Right after we drove to the foot – the "unknown people" immediately fired at us. "Ours" shouldn't shoot from a mortar, a machine gun, and sniper rifles. Immediately there were a couple of wounded and the chief of communications major Khmelnitsky was killed. To summarize, we retreated.
Requested artillery. But nobody gave us nothing. This was on July 28th.
And the commander is told this: if in the next hour you won't capture the high point – you'll be tried.
Whatever. We ungrouped and took to a perimeter defense near the foot. Their grey UAZ was driving, probably reconnaissance. Saw us, turned around, and ran. And then a khaki UAZ was driving. There was a guy there, a 17-year old from Kharkov, the driver, and a man of 45 years. We also took two more as prisoners, they went "for oxygen" for welding, and they told, that this was their field commander, apparently, a tactics colonel from Russia, he was wounded into an arm. They told us that there are sniper-girls. I showed them my SVD rifle, and he says: "Our guys have a different one, bigger by itself and better optics". So I figured you out...
And how did you manage to take prisoners?
When our guys started to shoot at their car, they ran away and hid in the field. And then instead of a white flag they tied either a sock or something else and started waving it.
Their own didn't try to fire at them in revenge?
Snipers impeded us capturing the colonel and the driver. They drove out somehow unexpectedly. Perhaps, they didn't expect to see us alive. Our guys also gave a warning shot up, and they opened deadly fire. So, then we... There was a full UAZ of ammunition there. It later started to explode. There were grenades there, not like our RGD-5, but round with a plastic lid.
...At 5pm we requested help to evacuate our "wounded" – 18 people, the major, and two separatists. And at 8pm the commander sent an assault group to Saur-Mogila – three IFVs, three tanks, and infantry. We report to the general staff: Saur-Mogila is ours. The commander orders everybody to deploy to the high point and establish perimeter defense. Right after we reported that the high-point is ours, from the side of the "checkpoint with a red flag" (although we destroyed it in advance) there was a machine gun burst at us – by "tracers" and by armor-piercing rounds. Overall, they "urged" us to Saur-Mogila. And simultaneously, when the convoy at full speed was climbing at the hight, they shelled us from self-propelled cannons. But we drove up without losses. Established perimeter defense. Three IFVs stood at the very peak, a tank stood nearby.
Right after we did this, there was a minor mortar shelling and then their howitzers started working, with HE-fragmentation shells. The shrapnel there was the size of my hand. They bombarded us from 9:30pm to 4am. People hid where possible. Somebody – into craters, somebody hid under the burned IFVs, which remained since after 30-th or the 95-th brigade. Many panicked. Dropped vehicles with ammunition. Told to the commander: "We need to retreat, because they'll kill us all here". The commander gathered everybody and returned them to the vehicles. But! IFV cannons jammed due to frequent fire – only one was still operational, three tanks were damaged. The fuel was running out: we transfused it from the damaged machines into the working ones.
If their infantry would come at us in the morning – we would all be lying there now.
We retreated, and the commander gets another order to capture the high point. The whole battalion may perish, but the high point must be captured...
So, in the end we retreated even further, and ours "showered" Saur-Mogila with for the whole day – from "Grad", from howitzers.
And why? There was nobody there.
Kind of yes. But still they crawled out from somewhere and kept shelling us. There is a forest there, that's where they hit from...
And the commander is now charged with being a liar, a coward, and not executing the order.
"The whole battalion will stand for the battalion commander. And without him nobody will go anywhere!"
So who captured Saur-Mogila in the end?
Nobody! But on July 27th, when we didn't even make it there, they announced that our brigade captured Saur-Mogila. And nobody can capture it for two months now. At that they bombed out already the 30-th brigade, the 95-th brigade (there's nobody left to serve there, 150 people, maybe, left), 72-nd, our 51-st, yesterday the 3-rd regiment was there. They were also bombed out, they returned and drove back. Our brigade now from the side of Snezhnoye is every day "sprinkled", already started to shoot in from "Grads". The guys demand rotation, they already fight for the fifth month.
And our commander is tried. But the whole battalion will stand for him! And nobody will go anywhere without him. And THERE people won't go even under the barrel of an automatic rifle. Everything is exposed to fire there.
I'm not a tactician, I'm just a soldier, but I understand why we need this Saur-Mogila – so that there would be no passage of heavy artillery to Snezhnoye, the road is passing nearby. But I don't understand one thing: where do the separatists get so much ammunition – they "sprinkled" us for three days. And if only us.
But there's no sense to go on Saur-Mogila, because artillery is working against it. And when the "Grad" is working then everybody is lying because there is nowhere to hide!
And the one who said on live air that Saur-Mogila is "ours" now wants to cover his ass. Maybe it is not "theirs", but definitely not ours.
Is the stella itself standing yet?
It is standing! Shells hit it, sparks fly, the stones scatter, but it stands. It is strong. You can see everything from there. I managed to study every bush there.
Two of our snipers had to stay there, they sat for a day during the heat, without water. They hid in a narrow rainwater pipe. And one of them was bitten by a copperhead snake. I later drew a map for them, how to get to our own in the best way: where it is best to crawl, through which foliage to retreat, through which field.
Did you "lay" many already?
I can't say... I don't even know... I don't count them and I don't even want to remember it. When they make marks on the rifle – this is some sort of posturing.
Do you see the faces at night?
And now the faces are not even visible – everybody wears a mask. And I didn't kill all that many... I didn't understand why they sent a whole sniper company to Saur-Mogila. Fighting against artillery is not our task. The enemy is beyond the line of sight.
And at how many meters does your rifle hit?
To actually hit a person – at 800 meters. And there is a special Russian rifle – "Vykhlop", which has a sighting range of 1.5km and it actually shoots even further. And with high caliber – 12.7mm. And it also shoots with a bullet–"sharpened pencil" – and passes through a 50cm wall and a man in body armor of 6-th class.
I think that they simply steal money in this war. Because I still didn't get anything from our state, only from volunteers – night sights, for example. Maybe I wasn't lucky enough.
You know that the captured snipers are executed on the spot?
I don't carry my military certificate with me on the mission. But instead I take the "fly" – RPG-18, two grenades, up to a hundred cartridges.
For a hundred enemies?
If I have to. Actually, the sniper works only on the "required person" and then immediately takes off. Because if you are noticed, then you can assume that you don't exist anymore. I have a rifle from 1988, after it the sound can be heard and the flame can be seen at night. And their rifles cannot be heard or seen. So after shooting you have to run from that place. At least by 10km. Or if you have a good spot. In this case: shoot – hide, shoot – hide. But I wasn't lucky enough for this yet.
I want all of this to end already. This is not an anti-terrorist operation, this is war. In the beginning we thought that we're going to be "guerillaing". People tore shirts on themselves, but once that thing happened under Volnovakha, then they started to ask to be brought back to the training grounds, in order to run home later.
Many thing don't go like they're supposed to. Because of miscommunication there is friendly fire. That's how we "met" the 30-th brigade. They are coming from Saur-Mogila, bombed out, and we go to there. And their tank shoot in front of our tank. Then we saw the banner, figured things out.
Two convoys met, it is hard to avoid each other, and the separatists stated shelling us too.
And another case: we were transferring the wounded at night. So two APCs from another brigade with lights out jumped ahead, and our "Ural" was behind. The driver says: they abandoned me, I don't know the road, turned back into the brigade. And he had one heavily wounded, and others couldn't even jump. And they were also with us on Saur-Mogila for six hours under shelling. It was freaking scary.
When they say that we have 380 dead over the whole time of ATO, can we believe it?
And how many times more?
I don't know, but definitely not 380.
Because only at your own eyes...
On my own eyes not so many. But here is a life example. I managed to talk to one pilot who was moving the dead. Together with the wounded he moved 64 people. But the corpses among them were the majority! They had no black bags, so they just piled the bodies right there. He said that he barely managed to wash the blood away from the airplane. And on TV they said that during that day there were only 10 dead.
And during the scary shelling on Saur-Mogila you lost only one person?
And now we are blamed for that: saying that you weren't there, too few dead, few wounded. I think that we should be glad. That's how it was there: the commander sees that the snipers hit at the stella – this means that the howitzers will do likewise. And we regroup the people and vehicles. Their cannons covered us in "checkerboard". They "play" chess, and we play with them. And thanks our commander for that! Each our fighter will sign for him.
...Yesterday our group drove to Saur-Mogila with the 8-th regiment. My friend perished there. A piece of shrapnel hit him in the head. He was a machine gunner on the IFV. When we still stood under Ugledar, he met a local girl. And, apparently, she's pregnant from him. And now the parents of my friend want to bring her to their home, so that at least some memory is left of their son.
Original article: http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/1716174.html (in Russian)