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Крым
Северный Кипр недвижимость. Купи себе место под Солнцем!

Viktor Suvorov. Spetsnaz
Chapter 1. Spades and Men

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     Translated from the Russian by David Floyd
     First published in Great Britain 1987 by Hamish Hamilton Ltd
     ISBN 0-241-11961-8
     OCR: 28 Dec 2001 by MadMax
     Origin: http://www.geocities.com/Suvorov_book/
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Viktor Suvorov. Spetsnaz.
The Inside Story of the Soviet Special Forces



                           To Natasha and Alexander







     Every  infantryman in the Soviet  Army  carries with him a small spade.
When he is given the order to halt he  immediately  lies flat  and starts to
dig a hole in  the ground beside  him. In three minutes he will have  dug  a
little trench 15 centimetres deep, in which  he can lie  stretched out flat,
so that bullets can  whistle harmlessly over his head. The earth he has  dug
out forms a  breastwork in  front and at  the side  to  act as an additional
cover. If a tank drives over such a trench the soldier has a 50% chance that
it will do him no harm. At any moment the soldier  may be ordered to advance
again and, shouting at the top  of his voice, will rush ahead.  If he is not
ordered to advance, he digs in deeper and deeper. At first his trench can be
used for firing in the lying position. Later  it becomes a trench from which
to  fire  in  the kneeling  position,  and  later  still,  when  it  is  110
centimetres  deep, it can  be used for firing  in the standing position. The
earth that has been dug out protects the soldier from bullets and fragments.
He makes an embrasure in this breastwork into which he positions the  barrel
of his gun. In  the absence of  any further commands he continues to work on
his trench. He camouflages it. He starts to dig a trench to connect with his
comrades to the left of him. He always digs from right to left, and in a few
hours  the unit has a  trench linking all the riflemen's trenches  together.
The unit's  trenches are linked with  the trenches of  other units. Dug-outs
are built and communication trenches are added at the rear. The trenches are
made deeper,  covered over, camouflaged and reinforced. Then,  suddenly, the
order  to advance comes again. The soldier emerges, shouting and swearing as
loudly as he can.
     The  infantryman uses the  same spade for digging graves for his fallen
comrades. If he doesn't have  an axe to hand he uses  the spade  to chop his
bread when it is frozen hard as granite. He uses it as a paddle as he floats
across wide rivers on  a telegraph pole under enemy  fire. And  when he gets
the order to halt, he again builds his impregnable  fortress around himself.
He knows how to dig the earth efficiently. He builds his fortress exactly as
it  should be. The spade is not just an instrument for digging:  it can also
be used for measuring.  It is  50 centimetres long.  Two spade lengths are a
metre. The blade is 15 centimetres wide and 18 centimetres long.  With these
measurements in mind the soldier can measure anything he wishes.
     The infantry spade does not have a folding handle,  and this is  a very
important feature. It has to be a single monolithic object. All three of its
edges are as sharp as a knife.  It is painted with a green matt paint so  as
not to reflect the strong sunlight.
     The spade  is not only a tool and a measure. It is also a  guarantee of
the steadfastness of the infantry  in the  most difficult situations. If the
infantry have a few hours to dig themselves in, it could  take years to  get
them  out  of their  holes and trenches, whatever  modern weapons  are  used
against them.

        ___

     In this book we are not talking about  the infantry  but about soldiers
belonging to  other units,  known  as  spetsnaz.  These  soldiers  never dig
trenches; in fact they never take up defensive positions. They either launch
a  sudden  attack on an  enemy or, if they meet with  resistance or superior
enemy forces, they  disappear  as quickly  as they appeared  and  attack the
enemy again where and when the enemy least expects them to appear.
     Surprisingly, the  spetsnaz  soldiers  also carry the  little  infantry
spades.  Why do they need them?  It is practically impossible to describe in
words  how  they use their spades. You really have to see what they  do with
them. In  the hands  of a spetsnaz soldier the spade is a terrible noiseless
weapon and every  member of spetsnaz  gets much  more training in the use of
his spade then does the infantryman. The first thing he has to teach himself
is precision: to split little  slivers of wood with the edge of the spade or
to cut off the neck of a  bottle so that the bottle remains whole. He has to
learn to love his spade and have faith in its accuracy. To do that he places
his hand on the  stump of a tree with the fingers spread out and takes a big
swing at the stump with his right hand using the edge of the spade.  Once he
has learnt  to  use the spade  well  and truly as an axe he  is  taught more
complicated things.  The little  spade can be used in  hand-to-hand fighting
against blows from  a bayonet, a knife, a fist or another  spade.  A soldier
armed  with nothing  but the spade  is shut in a  room without windows along
with a mad dog, which makes for an interesting contest. Finally a soldier is
taught  to throw the spade  as  accurately  as  he would  use a  sword  or a
battle-axe. It is a  wonderful weapon for throwing, a single,  well-balanced
object, whose 32-centimetre handle acts as a lever for throwing. As it spins
in flight  it gives  the spade accuracy and thrust. It becomes  a terrifying
weapon. If it lands in a tree it is not so  easy to pull out again. Far more
serious is it if it hits someone's skull, although spetsnaz members  usually
do not aim at the enemy's face but at his back. He will rarely see the blade
coming, before it lands in the back  of  his  neck or between  his  shoulder
blades, smashing the bones.
     The  spetsnaz  soldier  loves  his  spade. He  has  more faith  in  its
reliability  and  accuracy than  he  has  in  his Kalashnikov  automatic. An
interesting  psychological   detail  has  been  observed  in  the   kind  of
hand-to-hand  confrontations which are  the stock in trade of spetsnaz. If a
soldier fires  at an enemy armed with an automatic, the enemy also shoots at
him. But if he doesn't fire at the enemy but throws a  spade at him instead,
the enemy simply drops his gun and jumps to one side.
     This is a  book about people who  throw  spades  and about soldiers who
work with spades more surely and more accurately than they do with spoons at
a table. They do, of course, have other weapons besides their spades.

Next: Chapter 2

All books by Viktor Suvorov
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