After about two weeks spent in “Vostok” training company with regular duties, and irregular training, those who decided to join the combat group started to be trained properly. Pyatnica, quiet and modest, but very charismatic and charming, helped the commander with that. He implicitly became the leader of the unit and a role model. The commander focused on psychophysics in his exercises. The specialists in sniping, demolition techniques, and close quarters combat he invited trained us in special skills. Pyatnica was in charge of physical exercises, tactics, trying to learn every action until it becomes automatic. The training was intense, in the evening everyone was ready to drop, fell asleep in any position at the slightest opportunity.
We started to master weapons with the arrival at the base in Yasinovataya in September 2014. The first floor of a two-storeyed administrative building was destroyed by junta’s artillery shells, so despite the safety requirements we lived on the ground floor. It was our good luck that it was rarely raining, and we were not much flooded.
Another piece of luck was the arrival of comrade Iris to our unit. He sparkled with experience, determination and energy. In no time he established a desk to bring weapons to a normal combat condition, found the place and organized the work on equipping a training ground, which allowed us to work with all types of small arms and even RPGs. Although there was not enough ammunition, but thanks to the arranged theoretical work, reading combat shooting manuals, and advice of experienced mentors, guys, who had never previously fired a single bullet, demonstrated good results from first attempts.
A memorable stage of psycho-physical training was being buried under the ground. Three pits were dug out – true graves. By the way, they made a very strong impression on the guests who visited our disposition. The purpose: a soldier with a breathing tube in his mouth was put in a pit and buried approximately 50-60 cm under the ground, with only the tube sticking out above the surface, allowing to breathe. The point is to cope with fear, learn to remain calm, understand what it feels under the rubble, control breath and movements. (Note: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME, the procedure described was done under supervision of professionals and doctors – Editor).
To tell the truth, I’m not the biggest fan of confined spaces, but seeing how the first three people – Pyatnica, Feldsher and Iris – managed the task, I realized that I would also do it. As a matter of fact, a team is an amazing thing! It seems that the task is impossible to do, but comrades begin and you realize that everything is doable, nothing is impossible for a cohesive community.
So I calmly lay down on the bottom of the pit, closed my eyes and nose with my hands and only felt the increasing weight of the ground on me. To calm down entirely and to control the lapse of time I began to sing songs in my mind. It was hard twice – at the beginning when I wanted to move, but only made things worse and more inconvenient, and in the middle, when I seemed to have calmed down and just lay there, and suddenly felt a panic attack. I lost my breath, my heart throbbed. What’s most important in such a situation is to force oneself to calm down. If one can cope with it, then the rest of the time he can enjoy complete silence and a pleasant cool (it was above 30 degrees Celsius that day). So I laid there for about 20 or 30 minutes. I even got used to it somehow, but it was much more pleasant to get back to the surface, though not so easy – we were just a little dug out, and then we had to get out by ourselves (at the same time the commander explained how to do it correctly). We learned to set ourselves free from under the trench or shelter buried under earth. Except for one, all the guys have managed with the task.
Then there was the liberation of Yasinovka, Lebyazhie and Panteleimonovka. I participated in the first day of that campaign, although it was not somehow special for us. We covered T-72 tank which, in its turn, covered one of the areas and served as reserve for the main attack group. In the morning we were equipped, briefed, climbed on the tank and arrived at the site. I acted as one of the regular camera operators, that day was my shift. But there were no events that required involvement of our group, and we returned to the disposition by the evening. The next day it was Bolgarin’s turn to shoot videos, and that was he who filmed, as much as our equipment allowed, both our column being attacked by “Grad” multiple rocket launchers of the Ukrainian army (an unsuccessful attack, I must say), and the response of our tanks, unfolding of infantry in a chain, and villages liberated from the enemy. Igor filmed a lot of good shots, eternal memory to him!
Liberation of Panteleimonovka:
I’ll tell a funny story. I arrived to the frontline in the evening of the next day and replaced Bolgarin after Panteleimonovka was liberated. The Independent Tactical Group “Essence of Time” (ITG “EoT”) acted as a tank-borne infantry. Having come out on the route Donetsk – Gorlovka and taken it under control, ITG “EoT” dug in the “green” nearby. Tanks were concealed in dense foliage and, despite the fact that it seemed strange for such large objects, were not visible starting from 15 meters.
Everyone who were not patrolling, were already asleep, and I also began to look for a flat place among the bushes and trees. I spread out a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag (thanks to the members of the “Essence of Time” movement for our equipment!) and almost settled, as I heard salvos and the typical whizzing of mortar shells in the distance. Those few who were not lying on the ground, immediately did so, I rolled over on to my front, covered my head with my hands, and began to wait and wonder where the shells would fall. They were falling behind me. A shell falling near you whizzes typically and for a long time, as if giving time to find a shelter. And you have time to think about so many things – just amazing.
So I was lying and tried to identify by whizzing and air vibration where would it hit – closer or farther. A minute passed, explosions seemed to approach. An eternity passed – they definitely approached. The earth began to fall on top of our camp. Thoughts were rushing through my head – maybe we should do something? And the guys, judging by the fidgeting on their sleeping bags, had the same thoughts. They started to whisper: “It’s closer”, etc. Finally Matros – the commander of the squad, member of the “Essence of Time” cell in Donetsk – apparently decided to calm the personnel and express the general opinion. He addressed the commander of the unit who was lying near us: “Commander… Volga! Maybe we should move?”
I listened as best as I could, so as not to miss valuable instructions that were to follow. The commander immediately said: “Move… for what purpose?!”
Those who were closer and heard this dialogue through the noise of explosions, lay as I did, covering their heads, and laughed aloud. I thought at that moment that it’s good when a commander can in one sentence bolster morale, showing that everything is under control, to reassure and cheer at the same time.
Most likely it seems to you not that fun, but the event has engraved in my memory that way. A minute later the attack ended. No one was hurt. And in the morning we found a shell splinter stuck in a jar of stew, which was among other food in the center of the camp.
We received the order to stop the offensive. Everyday work began: we guarded our tanks, arranged the camp, prepared firing and support positions, escape routes, observation points. Our unit came on duty for a week, and then there was rotation. We had some rest on the base for a day, and then there was exercising, training, shooting ground.
We slept on the floor, placing doors or pallets under our sleeping pads. There was no water neither on the base in Yasinovataya nor in the camp in Pantekha, as we called Panteleimonovka. Bath house and fire department, respectively, helped us. Pantekha residents were very kind, they gave us what they could – kitchenware, tools, food products. We are grateful to them for this. We only started to collect and deliver humanitarian aid from Russia to Donbass, nevertheless we managed to deliver some medicine and candies for kids for the First Bell (start of the school year); we also delivered products to old people who lived alone and had nothing left to survive.
We stayed in Panteleimonovka for about two months. The front stabilized. We were taken to our disposition in Yasinovataya. Everyone wanted to work, to move forward or at least to stay at the forward positions. According to the commanders of “Vostok” battalion, ITG “EoT” militiamen proved themselves with dignity. It was not very clear what we were to do now.
But very soon the word “airport” began to sound more often in our unit…
Other stories of “Essence of Time” unit soldiers: “Essence of Time” unit in Donbass
Source (for copy): https://eu.eot.su/?p=9080