May 30, 2023
Specialcor "Komsomol members" visited the place of deployment of the Separate reconnaissance battalion of the 19th motorized rifle division.

A special correspondent of Komsomolskaya Pravda visited the place of deployment of the Separate reconnaissance battalion of the 19th motorized rifle division.

Photo: Alexander KOTS


– And the enemy in what direction? – I carefully pretend that I am not tired, for the second hour stomping with rubber boots on the champing clay in absolute darkness – no one will see my crimson face and sweat flowing from under the helmet right into my eyes.

– So right on the course, – I hear in my voice – a big man, senior sergeant Max, walking in the lead, is smiling.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

I squint forward, the horizon is suddenly cut by a bright stripe that separated the scout’s friend the night from her morning rival – a direct line of sight to the observation device. A chain of fighters, pressed to the ground with ammunition, backpacks with food, eggplants with water on a makeshift “yoke” made of rope, speeds up. To the forest belt, behind which you can hide from prying eyes, turning to the side, is another kilometer. There, birds are already singing with a flute, and somewhere in the north-west, mines are beginning to “buzz”. The pre-dawn morning of the next battle day was colored by cloudy contrast and the heavy, but rhythmic breathing of my companions. Having turned from the field for a thin landing, we sit down to rest.

Photo: Alexander KOTS


My acquaintance with the Separate Reconnaissance Battalion of the 19th Motorized Rifle Division was typical of a Special Military Operation. The guys asked if it was possible to help them with the necessary devices along the line project of the Popular Front “Everything for Victory”. And I went from Lugansk to the Zaporozhye region to make sure that I was not dealing with scammers, of whom there were a huge number of divorced in the humanitarian field.

On VKontakte, for example, someone through an allegedly my (and not only mine) fake account collects money for operations on refugee children, and the administration of the resource does not respond to numerous complaints to the support service. Other volunteers tell how the “night lights” and drones for the front they handed over to incomprehensible people suddenly surface on Avito or Gorbushka. Therefore, the principle of “trust, but verify” has not been canceled. “Advance” brought the scouts a pair of copters and a thermal imager.

“Tomorrow we’ll test it,” they pack up for the exit.

Food and ammunition are placed in backpacks. The sapper of the group with the call sign “Hunter” packs his household in a bag from under a gas mask:

– A homemade probe, homemade meat skewers: this color is for marking mines, this one is for setting along a safe path. This is a homemade…

Photo: Alexander KOTS

– Wait, not home-made, do you have something regular?

– But what about – a coil, a blasting machine, TNT again. Here, by the way, to him a homemade detonator from a grenade fuse … Do you want a sandwich? Homemade! – Hunter laughs.

And gives out a field culinary masterpiece with sausage and melted cheese. After school, at the insistence of his uncle, the chef of an Italian restaurant, he studied as a confectioner. Then he went to the “urgent” in the army and dragged on. Signed a contract, 7.5 years of service in special forces. Resigned. And then there’s mobilization. He waited and waited for the summons, could not stand it and went to the military enlistment office himself: “Have you forgotten about me or something?” They looked at his soldier and called.


At nine in the evening, lights out, at two in the morning – rise, at three – departure. First, on the 3-STS Akhmat armored vehicle based on KamAZ, then on the Loaf, which was breathing heavily, but stubbornly crawling off-road. And then on foot. Until that halt in the landing, where I continue to get acquainted with the scouts. One of those mobilized in civilian life was a machine operator. In the NWO, he first served as a mechanic, and then retrained as a signalman. But with his connected suitcase, he stomps to the task along with everyone else. Behind the field in the air, something begins to spark and burst.

– This forest belt is behind the enemy, – the signalman says. – That’s where it turns perpendicular to our landing and they are trying to dig through it to us.

We barely had time to go down into the dugout when a strange sound was heard from outside, similar to the operation of the Grad. A few seconds later, the dugout jumped from many gaps, generously pouring damp earth into her collar. We even squat in surprise. Although how can this “maneuver” help in the event of a direct hit?

– Aviation worked out, – someone guesses.

Later it turns out that an enemy helicopter fired at our positions with unguided rockets. But almost all of them exploded in the field before reaching our forest belt.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

Zaporozhye is one of the most probable directions of the enemy’s counteroffensive. There are no Russian positions behind our point, only Ukrainian ones – he can try to break through the defense and go to Tokmok. Although you look at these endless fields, cut by liquid forest belts, and you don’t understand: how will they go?! The fields are mined, the artillery is “on the lookout”, our aircraft can now strike without entering the enemy’s kill zone …

– Yes, they will go along these “forest belts”, – the fighters on the front line state. – That’s why they are trying to dig trenches closer to us. And we try to stop them from doing it.

– Our stronghold for them is like a bone in the throat, – says the commander of the grenade launcher squad of the 503rd regiment with the call sign “Foreigner”. – Periodically, we are probed by DRGs (sabotage and reconnaissance groups. – Ed.), A mortar is working – he himself received a shell shock here in February. Scouts – three people were killed.

“Foreigner” – from Donetsk, he fought in the militia. After the second “Minsk”, he returned to work in metallurgy. Then he received citizenship, went to live in Russia, but the special operation caught up with the agenda for mobilization. He didn’t mow.

– It is noticeable that the enemy has recently become more active. There is an accumulation of manpower in the rear zones, equipment appears here more often. Yes, literally in the morning today you saw gaps opposite? It was they who landed 25 people, on whom we, together with our neighbors, worked out crossfire from grenade launchers. And the enemy quickly disappeared. And this is how cannon artillery and infantry fighting vehicles work here. Most likely this is reconnaissance in combat. It doesn’t look like an attempt to attack or capture the opornik – the wrong forces. They jump out, work out, get a hat and roll back.


In such seemingly senseless attacks, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are trying to open our defense system, the speed of reaction to threats, the time it takes for commands to pass. This is important when planning a counteroffensive and looking for weaknesses. At the same time, they are constantly trying to get closer to our positions, tearing off new trenches along the forest belts leading to our trenches. In order to detect such impudent activity in time and stop it, the motorized riflemen are given scouts, with whom I stomped into positions.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

A drone operator unpacks his suitcase, taking out an FPV sports drone. Recently, they have been talked about a lot as a kamikaze UAV capable of carrying a combat charge. Here I use it for primary reconnaissance. It is impossible for ordinary drones to fly over the enemy’s forest sheds – they will suppress them. Flying from above, from the sides – all this at great speed, sharply maneuvering and struggling with communication breaks. They land a drone according to a cunning algorithm so that the enemy cannot figure out our location. After that, the scouts in slow motion view the footage, outlining a target in the corner of the forest belt.

– And now it’s the turn of your present, – Den conducts pre-flight preparation.

The drone from my subscribers has a powerful zoom, and it doesn’t have to fly to the enemy, just point the camera closer. In civilian life, the copter operator had his own business. He ran several liquor stores, plus the fish he caught, dried, and sold for bubbly. He knows firsthand about unmanned aircraft. Even participated in competitions.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

– It was a hobby at home, I like to be taller, – the fighter smiles under the mask. – I studied on the “citizen” myself. FPV drones are the most difficult to control. But they are very fast and difficult to suppress by electronic warfare (electronic warfare system. – Ed.). Ordinary copters are stuffed with stabilization systems, the control is intuitively convenient. It’s like learning how to drive a bad car and then getting into an automatic. Everyone relaxes from work differently. Someone collects coins, and we had our own FPV drone club. We got up and flew.

– How did you get here?

– Many of my friends, classmates have already fought here, it was not comfortable to sit at home. Yes, and my grandfather fought with the Nazis, and for me it is a matter of honor and duty. The most important thing is to protect your family. Walking away from it, saying it’s none of my business is to cover up my own fears. And they need to fight and move forward. If you retreat here, they will knock on your door. I felt that I could help the front and went. At that time, few people knew what an FPV drone was. I bought a drone for myself and trained people.

– Do you help with reconnaissance?

– Drones in our realities have completely changed the tactics of reconnaissance. Modern technology allows you to do this without risking human life. And this is the highest value. And let’s take kamikaze. A missile for a modern ATGM (anti-tank guided missile. – Ed.) Can cost up to two million rubles. While an attack drone can be assembled for 50 thousand. In skillful hands, such a drone turns into a pocket ATGM with the same defeat of equipment and manpower. But this must be learned. And regardless of the situation in the world, use today’s experience to develop drones.

Photo: Alexander KOTS


Somewhere from the flank a shot is fired, followed by the rumble of a shell and a gap just beyond the forest belt. In the case of cannon shells, undershoot is better than overshoot. Because the fragments go straight to the target. Although, of course, the goal is better. It only takes a few shots to find her. The gun is then camouflaged again to avoid return fire. However, it is almost impossible to calculate the Rapier cannon – the projectile flight path is too low. In order to get acquainted with the calculation, at dusk I move back the same way and in the morning I go out to the artillery position.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

The commander of the fire support group, senior lieutenant with the call sign “Motor”, in fact, a graduate of the Ryazan Airborne School. And the faculty of special forces. And here he steers a cannon.

– In February last year, I performed tasks in Ingushetia. As the SVO began, I asked with my unit to come here, but they didn’t let me in, ”Motor” recalls. – It turned out only at the end of May. I got through the training camp and I was sent to the infantry. There was no mortar battery commander. As a result, I formed a mortar battery as part of a motorized rifle battalion. We worked actively in it for six months, and then a fire support group appeared at the base of my native reconnaissance battalion, and I went back to my regular position. My father is an artilleryman, so the genes have done their job.

Starley makes adjustments and gives the command: “Weapon!” “Rapier” bangs and from this side the projectile has a whistling sound. Another UAV operator gives an adjustment: “North – 1”. That is, the correction is only one meter! I frankly go nuts from such pedantry of the gunner.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

“He never tells me what is on target,” Motor laughs.

And then the walkie-talkie, after the next shot, gives out a hazing: “In the bull’s-eye!”

– Is the enemy very active here?

– No offensive action yet. Suppression of firing positions, batteries, command posts… Moreover, it gradually transfers strikes both to the second line and to the depth of our defense. This is one of the signs of the upcoming counter-offensive. Technique is picking up. We reveal it, we strike.

– Can we say that on the example of your fire support group, the notorious reconnaissance and strike contour – RUK was formed? When both reconnaissance, and adjustment, and artillery directly operate in a dense soldering.

– We talked a lot in peacetime about the development of HANDS. As a result, shortcomings were identified in combat conditions. Now some of the sound ideas are being put into practice, as in other intelligence units throughout the NVO zone. And it turns out quite effectively.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

The calculation again masks the gun and from the outside it does not stand out in any way. Another routine combat day is over. On the scale of the entire NWO, the actions of a separate reconnaissance battalion of an uninitiated person may not impress. But a military conflict is not only constant exploits and spectacular tank attacks. This is a daily routine combat work. Which is helped by those who support our guys at the front in the rear.

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