While on Vostok base we lived in the car repair bay (the “barracks” of the training company). The conditions there were such that many of us were ill and couldn’t do their duty. As a result we started to think, “How can we move to a place with no dampness, fungi, dust?” I remember Mars joking, “When we bring so many recruits to the battalion that there won’t any place to house them, then the base (residential quarters) will become bigger.” Two weeks later we moved to new barracks.
But we had no time to enjoy the “comfortable” conditions (having beds and having no fungi on the walls). Drills from morning to evening. First combat missions — a ride to find enemy’s mortar squad. Every day brought new experience and impressions.
Two-three weeks later all of our combat group (a total of 9 people back then) moved out to the newly liberated Yasinovataya village. We continued intensive drills, got shelled by mortars, did guard duties, settled in new conditions.
I remember once, during one of my first guard duties, a saw a volley of “Grad” multiple rocket launcher and the memory lane took me to my childhood. I was 9-10 years old. I walked through the meadow with my grandfather near my home village. It was getting dark. And suddenly far ahead a lightning flashed. My grandfather started to count aloud: and one, and two, and three… He counted to eight — the thunder rolled. After which he said, “It will soon rain — we have to hurry up, because it is dangerous to be in open terrain during a thuderstorm.” The lighting flashed another several times and my grandpa was counting again and again, “And one, and two, and three…” But each time he stopped counting sooner and sooner, which made us hurry up even more each time. And as soon as we closed the gates behind us, the heavy rain started pouring.
Back then I was amazed by the accuracy with which we made it home before the rain. I realized that he was counting aloud for a reason, he was a practical man and did nothing without a reason. I gave him a questioning look and he started his lesson, “The thing is that lightning and thunder occur simultaneously, but we see and hear them at different time. This happens because light and sound have different speed,” he explained. “The speed of light can be considered instant, while sound moves 330 meters per one second. Having counted the number of seconds from the moment when you saw the lightning to the moment when you hear thunder, you can calculate how far the thunderstorm is away from us.”
Back on that evening I was sitting by the window for a while, counting seconds — learning the lesson in practice. Who would have known that it will help me not only earn my first “A” in physics class, but also determine the distance to the enemy’s artillery!
The unit was growing, just like the experience and the number of tasks we completed. Here’s my first combat operation — Mineralny village. My first use of a medic kit — a brick fell on Filolog’s head. First night alarms and raids, every one of which was memorized as a guidance-lesson — what is to be done in one or another situation and how.
Once at approximately 2:00 in the night our guard post didn’t respond. The commander alerted us, the combat unit moved out. In situations like these I always was observing how Volga acted, trying to remember his every move, choice of positions, maneuver. He was very concentrated, walked carefully, but at the same time swiftly. We didn’t cease the attempts to contact the guards. And somewhere midway the guard responded. I caught myself thinking: thank God, everything is well! And the inner mobilization (tension, attention) disappeared. But I noticed that the commander remains vigilant and moves at the same pace as before.
On that night we learned a lot of lessons: regularly check the functioning condition of your walkie-talkie, its battery life, get it prepared for night work (turn off the backlight, put the headset on), never relax or lose vigilance, even if you receive a signal that everything is fine — it could have been sent at gun point…
In the first large offensive of DPR on enemy’s positions in Vasilevka, Lebyazhie and Panteleimonovka we, a total of 30 people, participated as tank-borne infantry. But we didn’t had the chance to ride on tanks for a long time. As soon as we approached the enemy’s positions we were hit by a “Grad” volley. We got on our feet. The rest of the offensive we continued walking on foot. It was unbearably hot. We were moving forward under the burning sun and never-ceasing shelling. On the second day, having liberated Panteleimonovka, we took up duty as tank guards, which were hidden in the foliage. That’s when it started. First an enemy jet flew in the skies above us, a little later mortars started firing. Since I had a small infantry spade, I had dug a little trench in a depression in the ground. Even though the mortar shells were flying really near (we were finding the shrapnel in cans of stewed meat, which stood near the place where we slept), but we had no one killed or injured. God was saving us for something bigger.
No further offensive was in sight and we started to get settled in the new positions. The unit grew in numbers. Our level of training grew as well. The exercises didn’t cease, despite the tasks and duties. Soon the unit became so big that we were able to do rotations between our base in Yasinovataya and positions in Panteleimonovka. This allowed us to increase the intensity and quality of trainings, preparing to new combats and tasks. Which were soon to follow.
And that’s when we were leaving Panteleimonovka and getting ready to enter Donetsk airport…
Other stories of “Essence of Time” unit soldiers: “Essence of Time” unit in Donbass
Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/?p=9336