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Vasiliev Alexey
The story of how useful is to be lazy

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  While withdrawing Soviet Army from Afghanistan battle units were supposed to provide additional sentry posts along the main road to make withdrawing of forces more secure. Our company was separated on three groups - one on the Gelek mountain, close to the road, the other one to Gerat directions, five kilometres away, my group further to foothills. So somebody just poked his finger at the hill on the map (they are all clever in the headquarters) - that is your position. I took two, remaining available towards that time, armoured carriers, they gave me a tank in addition and I went on. Approaching mountain I saw a dry river bed, only mandekhs (gully in foothills) around, I was just lazy to climb the mountain, besides being on mountain it was impossible to get to the road very fast, in case of emergency. I thought I wouldn-t go to the hill, I would have more space for manoeuvring at foothill, it was hardly possible they could reach us with the SPG (heavy grenade launcher) from there, on the other hand if it would be necessary we could reach the hill with he tank gun very easy. We were staying that way for a day, the second one. It was hot ... Columns were passing by to the North direction, we were eating canned meat, and watching green bushes in the dry river bed and hares running there. So my soldiers said let-s have some hare meat. So we were chasing hares on the armoured carriers about forty minutes - looked like in the cinema when a Mercedes outstrips its pursuer - you saw it I guess. We shot a couple of hares, they were small like jerboa, but it was fresh meat. Getting dark towards that time.
  I thought as we were not in an ambush so could make a fire. We made a fire near the armoured carrier, put a ground sheet above - it was almost not seen. It only began to boil - the meat smell went around ... Bang! Burst - very close and heavy calibre. So, just imagine, I was, wearing a swimming trunks, with an APSB (Stechkin hand gun with a suppressor), helmet with earphones on the head, sitting on the armoured carrier. I was thinking somebody was shooting on the bonfire from a mortar, no doubt - the sup in the bonfire. I was watching in the night binocular - burst and a lot of sparks, like somebody from the hill is shooting from the machine gun. Then I put a binocular out - silence, no shooting only bursts at the distance 200 - 300 metres at intervals about 10 seconds (only later I got that I saw hot fragments in the binocular). The commander of the company connected me over the radio, asked what was wrong there. I answered that I didn-t know and understood it wasn-t a mortar, and see a battalion ten kilometres away. They got a flash I got a burst. Then I found it, they were shooting from the self-propelled gun. I shot a flare for correcting their fire. No reaction. Nothing on the radio on the artillery frequency. What was I supposed to do? They just went on shooting, all my soldiers under armoured carriers. Too sad ...
  I called for the commander of the tank and asked him to shoot to their direction, not to hit them but close to. No problem - bang! They got a burst which didn-t look like from mortar. The communication with the artillery appeared immediately. They asked what stupid bustards were shooting to the unit. So it is impossible to translate all what was said into Russian, but as I found out they just had the plan of shooting to some hills and one of them was that I was supposed to be on, according to the order. No doubt they didn-t know I could be there. And they shot very good at that.
  The only problem we didn-t eat hares that time:
   (c) Alexey Vasiliev, 1998

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