Battle of Grozny (1994–95)
|1994-95 First Battle of Grozny|
|Part of the First Chechen War|
A Chechen militia fighter takes cover behind a burned-out Russian BMP-2 armoured vehicle. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev
|Russia||Chechen Republic of Ichkeria|
|Commanders and leaders|
Ivan Savin †
38,000 men total (6,000–10,000 entering Grozny)
Officially up to 1,000 (5,000 according to Western estimates)
|Casualties and losses|
96 captured (official figure)
62 tanks destroyed
163 other armored vehicles destroyed
471 captured (Russian claim)
|35,000 civilians, including 5,000 children.|
The First Battle of Grozny was the Russian Army's invasion and subsequent conquest of the Chechen capital, Grozny, during the early months of the First Chechen War. The attack lasted from December 1994 to March 1995, resulted in the military occupation of the city by the Russian Army and rallied most of the Chechen nation around the separatist government of Dzhokhar Dudayev.
The initial assault resulted in very high Russian Army casualties and an almost complete breakdown of morale in the Russian forces. It took them another two months of heavy fighting, and a change in their tactics, before they were able to capture Grozny. The battle caused enormous destruction and casualties amongst the civilian population and saw the heaviest bombing campaign in Europe since the end of World War II. Chechen separatist forces recaptured the city in August 1996, ending the war.
- 1 Tactics
- 2 Battle
- 2.1 New Year's Eve assault
- 2.2 Russian Federal Forces
- 2.3 Northern and central Grozny
- 2.4 Southern Grozny
- 2.5 Southern outskirts and mopping-up
- 3 Casualties
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The Chechen fighters had the advantage in that they were highly motivated and familiar with the terrain. As Soviet citizens, they spoke and were educated in Russian and had served in the Soviet armed forces. Many (like their Russian adversaries) had Soviet uniforms. Chechen units were divided into combat groups consisting of 15 to 20 personnel, subdivided into three or four-man fire teams. A fire team consisted of an anti-tank gunner, usually armed with Russian-made RPG-7s or RPG-18s, as well as a machine gunner and a rifleman. To destroy Russian armoured vehicles in Grozny, five or six hunter-killer fire teams deployed at ground level, in second and third stories, and in basements. The snipers and machine gunners would pin down the supporting infantry while the antitank gunners would engage the armoured vehicle aiming at the top, rear and sides of vehicles.
Most of the Chechen fighters, however, were either undisciplined militiamen with no authority or answering only to orders coming only from their immediate field commander (often just a warlord), which made effective battle co-ordination extremely difficult for Grozny's Chief of Staff, Colonel Aslan Maskhadov. The Chechen forces (which included a number of foreign volunteers, among them a group of Ukrainian nationalists) had a limited number of heavy weapons, including a handful of T-62 and T-72 tanks. Most of the heavy weapons were at disposal of the regular forces.
Initially the Russians were taken by surprise, and their armoured columns – which were supposed to take the city without difficulty, as Soviet forces had taken Budapest in 1956 – were decimated in fighting more reminiscent of the Battle of Budapest in late 1944. As a short-term measure, the Russians deployed self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (ZSU-23-4 and 9K22 Tunguska) to engage the Chechen combat groups, as the main gun of the tanks they used could not elevate and depress enough to engage the fire teams, and the armoured vehicle's machine gun could not suppress the fire of several different fire teams simultaneously.
In the long term, the Russians brought in more infantry and began a systematic advance through the city, house by house and block by block with dismounted Russian infantry moving in support of armour. In proactive moves, the Russians started to set up ambush points of their own and then move armour towards them to lure the Chechen combat groups into ambushes. As with the Soviet tank crews in the Battle in Berlin in 1945, some of the Russian armour was fitted quickly with a cage of wire mesh mounted some 25–30 centimetres away from the hull armor to defeat the shaped charges of the Chechen RPGs.
New Year's Eve assault
The city was awoken at 5 A.M. on New Year's Eve from a Russian bombardment. Bombs and shells hit oil tanks on the western side of the city, creating black smoke that spread around the city. The Oil Institute, in the center of the city, was also set ablaze after coming under fire, which created more smoke. Pamphlets urging the Chechens to surrender were distributed. The Russian Defense Minister, General Pavel Grachev, had infamously boasted earlier that month that he could seize Grozny in two hours with just one airborne regiment. Before the battle, Grachev said:
It is not a question of an assault in the classic sense of the word. What does an assault on a city mean? It means the use of all the forces and weapons in the country's arsenal. It primarily means heavy rocket preparation lasting several hours. It means heavy bombing raids on the whole city with the aim of disabling 60% of the defenders and demoralizing the rest.
Russian Federal Forces
The initial plan for the Russian Federal Forces was to advance into the city in three columns: "Northern group", Western group" and "Eastern group"
This was later modified, and the Russian Federal Forces were deployed into four columns:
- "Group North" (Север) – commanded by General Konstantin Pulykovskiy (Константин Пуликовский)
- Staging area – in the foothills 3–5 km beyond "Severny" (northern) airfield on the northern outskirts of Grozny
- Objective – "Severny" (northern) airfield and Maskhadov's "Presidential Palace"
- Approach route – Altayskaya street to Staropromishlovskoye highway to Mayakovskogo street (for 131st MR Br); Khmel'nitzkogo to Pervomayskaya to Ordzhenekitze streets (81st Gd MR Regt.), with the two units converging in the Palace/Railway station area of the east Zavodskoy Rayon (Industrial Suburb)
- 81st Guards Samara Motor-Rifle Regiment (1st and 2nd battalions, Guards Subcolonels Perepelkin and Shilovsky commanding), 90th Guards Tank Division (Commander Colonel Yaroslavetz, Chief of Staff Colonel Burlakov)
- 3rd battalion, 6th Guards Tank Regiment, Commander Guards Major Zakhryapin
- 7th tank company – Commander Guards Senior Lieutenant Kovdrya
- 8th tank company – Commander Guards Captain Vechkanov
- 9th tank company – Commander Guards Captain Batretdinov
- Personnel and equipment: 157 officers and 1174 enlisted, 96 BMPs, two BREM-1 recovery vehicles, four pontoon vehicles, five BRM-1Ks, four BRDM-2s, 31 T-80BV tanks, four Tunguska SP AA vehicles, and 24 guns. The regiment was at 50% strength, and lacked the riflemen. One third of its officers and half of its enlisted personnel were reserve, and had not had significant training in preparation for the operation.
- 3rd battalion, 6th Guards Tank Regiment, Commander Guards Major Zakhryapin
- elements 131st Maikop Motor-Rifle Brigade (1st and 2nd battalions) (Colonel Savin)
- Personnel and equipment: 1469 officers and enlisted personnel, 42 BMPs, 20 tanks and 16 guns.
- 276th Motor-Rifle Regiment (Colonel Bunin)
- Personnel and equipment: 1297 officers and enlisted, 73 BMPs, 31 tanks, 24 guns.
- 81st Guards Samara Motor-Rifle Regiment (1st and 2nd battalions, Guards Subcolonels Perepelkin and Shilovsky commanding), 90th Guards Tank Division (Commander Colonel Yaroslavetz, Chief of Staff Colonel Burlakov)
- "Group West" (Запад) – commanded by General Ivan Babichev (Иван Бабичев)
- Objectives – M-29 highway approach to the city, "Lenin Park", and Grozny Railway Central Station
- Approach route – Industrialnaya street into Mayakovskogo street
- 693rd Motor-Rifle Regiment
- 503rd Motor-Rifle Regiment
- 237th Parachute Regiment
- "Group North-East" (Северо-Восток) – commanded by General Lev Rokhlin (Лев Рохлин)
- Objective – Central Hospital Complex
- Approach route – Petropavlovskoye highway
- 255th Guards Motor-Rifle Regiment
- 74th Independent Motor-Rifle Brigade
- 33rd Motor-Rifle Regiment
- "Group East" (Восток) – commanded by General-Major Nikolay Stas'kov (Николай Стаськов)
- Objectives – Grozny Airport and covering R-305/R-306 highway junctions
- Approach routes – Gudermesskaya street and Khankal'skaya street
- 129th Guards Motor-Rifle Regiment
- 133rd Guards Independent Tank Battalion
- 98th Guards Parachute Regiment
All the units were composed of volunteers, and therefore not at full strength.
The Russian armored columns that moved on Grozny on December 31, 1994 were hurriedly amalgamated from different army units, including many badly trained conscripted soldiers. The force's columns aimed to provide blunt firepower and also to intimidate the Chechens through the sheer scale of the armored operation. However, all armored and mechanized units were understaffed, and undertrained for urban combat. Although the Russian forces enjoyed total air superiority, day weather prevented flight operations and the advancing troops were supported only by Mi-24 attack helicopters, with the group "East" reportedly hit by a Russian air strike, losing five vehicles. The previous day the Russian Air Force had begun bombing the nearby villages, even those who were anti-Dudayev and potentially pro-Russian. At the same time, Moscow claimed that Chechens had blown up buildings in Grozny to simulate bomb damage by Russian warplanes. From the ground, the attackers were supported by the hundreds of artillery pieces positioned in the hills near Grozny, including rocket artillery batteries such as BM-27 Uragan and BM-21 Grad.
Four Russian armored columns were originally meant to move in a sudden and co-ordinated attack and, having defeated any hostile forces, were to meet at the Presidential Palace in the center of the city. The key to the plan was that all four columns would reach the center of the city simultaneously. However, the 19th Motorized Rifle Division (MRD) was late on arrival to the group West, commanded by Major General Ivan Babichev, and the column barely moved at all. In the east, units of Major General Vadim Orlov's 104th Airborne Division did not join the 129th MRR from the Leningrad Military District when it moved in on Grozny; subsequently, the 129th regiment was defeated and retreated the next day, without accomplishing its mission. Only Lieutenant General Lev Rokhlin's forces of the 8th Corps from the city of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) moved deeper into the city, attacking from the northern direction.
As a result, the Chechen command was able to concentrate almost all its forces against the Russian Main Assault Force commanded by Lieutenant General Anatoly Kvashin. The MAF comprised the 131st Motorized Rifle Brigade (MRB) and the 81st MRR from the city of Samara. The 131st brigade's job was to move into the city from the north at dawn and move towards the train station. On the brigade's left flank, the 81st regiment drove down Pervomaiskaya Street.
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One of the two assault groups of the 81st regiment drove towards Pervomaiskaya Street, stretching out along the road for a mile. There was a temporary delay while the advanced detachment removed demolition charges at the River Neftyanka bridge along its route of advance. The first casualty was a T-72 tank attached to the reconnaissance platoon at the crossroads of the Mayakovskogo and Khmel'nitzkogo streets just before the Pervomaiskaya street, with the gunner and driver killed instantly from multiple RPG hits and internal ammunition detonation, while the commander survived. Small arms fire was also received, and one of the reconnaissance vehicles was disabled. Another was then attacked from the school building at the start of the Pervomaiskaya street, while a third reconnaissance vehicle had to be abandoned later due to extensive damage from heavy machine gun fire. As the reconnaissance platoon retreated into the column, there was some confusion because it was being followed up by a truck, and there was hesitation to fire on it as the Russian troops had orders only to return fire. However, it was evident that the truck was approaching the leading tank platoon at very high speed, and was engaged by the accompanying Tunguska, causing a huge detonation from which it was deduced that this was a suicide truck. Accompanying artillery fired into the area around the school building for about 45 minutes, and all incoming fire ceased. At 2pm the leading assault group reached the Mayakovskogo street objective as planned. However, while the first echelon was conducting artillery fire the 1st echelon vehicles (81st Gd MR Regt.) were stationary, and this caused the leading vehicles of the second echelon (2nd bn., 131st IMR Br.) to become intermingled with them due to lack of coordination. This lack of experience, including by the individual vehicle drivers, caused a considerable traffic jam at the Mayakovskogo and Khmelnitzkogo intersection for about 30 minutes. The intersection however represented the objective initially set for the first day of operation, and both battalion commanders commenced preparing their respective command for a defensive position in case of night attacks by Chechens. Suddenly an order from Pulikovsky was transmitted to resume the advance. Later Captain Arkhangelov, 81st Regiment's deputy for training colocated with the 1st Company, 1st Motor Rifle Battalion, reported call sign "Mramor" ordering a further advance due to the lack of significant opposition. It is thought that this call sign belonged to General Shevtzov, Chief of Staff of the Combined Group of Forces in the Chechen Republic.
At this point the advance guard of the "North" Group had reached its 1st day of operation objective, and the columns of the two battalions of the 81st Guards Motor-Rifle Regiment continued to arrive and assume a generally defensive position, not encountering much enemy fire. Supporting artillery was tasked with firing on the few origins of enemy fire. No operational plan existed for a further advance that day, so when the order from "Mramor" came to continue the advance towards the Presidential Palace, the formation of the advancing column was undertaken hurriedly, and subject to the confusion which still existed in the Mayakovskogo and Khmelnitzkogo intersection. The elements of 1st battalion departed first, but with them departed elements of the 2nd battalion and some vehicles from supporting sub-units. Meanwhile, yet more vehicles continued to arrive in the intersection, mostly stray detachments left to guard the route earlier, and single vehicles that had suffered breakdowns during the advance march, and were catching up with their commands.
The situation was exacerbated by the elements of the 255th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment which began to arrive as the second echelon of the "North" Group. This supported the decision for the first echelon to recommence movement. the 255th then proceeded to the Central Hospital Complex located east of the Central Railway.
Dzerzhinsky and Ordzhinekadze squares
From the Mayakovskogo and Khmelnitzkogo intersection the 1st battalion advanced towards the Dzerzhinskogo square via Dzerzhinskogo street and parallel streets to reduce congestion in the column, lead elements reaching the railway station by 12:30 in the afternoon. This column included the 3rd company of the 1st battalion with Colonel Perepelkin commanding in person, soon joined by the 4th company from the 2nd battalion, and the 7th tank company. On reaching Dzerzhinskogo square, the 7th tank company was tasked with guarding the bridge from Krasnikh Frontovikov street. This column included about 40 BMPs, 9-12 tanks (including several 'strays') and at least one anti-aircraft vehicle. From there, the column attempted to reach the Ordzhenikidze square, but came under intense fire, and Colonel Yaroslavtzev commanding the 81st regiment ordered all units to return to the Dzerzhinskogo square as it was starting to become dark. At this time though all units in the Ordzhenekidze square began to receive fire from all types of weapons from different directions, resulting in several vehicles, including tanks becoming disabled. The regimental and battalion nets were now being jammed, and the two battalion commanders now present in the square were reduced to driving around in order to redeploy their vehicles and coordinate returned fire.
When the first vehicles reached the Presidential Palace, the leading column was ambushed and came under heavy fire from Chechen small arms and rockets, directed from the roofs and basements along the street. The Chechen ambush would typically funnel the Russian armored columns into "killing fields", and then the RPG gunners would knock out the first and last vehicles in the line, thereby trapping the rest of both battalions in the middle. Almost useless in urban combat, Russian tanks were unable to elevate their tank barrels high enough to engage the top floors of many buildings, or low enough to fire into the basements.
The brigade's deputy commander for training, Colonel Stankevich, took command of the largest group of the regiment's survivors, as the bulk of the unit's armor was destroyed in the street; joined by some paratroopers, they eventually fought their way back to Russian lines. Having obliterated most of the 81st, the Chechen fighters then moved in search of more tanks, after plundering what was not on fire for weapons and ammunition. By the evening, they gathered in the center of Grozny, regrouping around the city's main marketplace and moving towards the main train station.
Central Railway Station
By mid-afternoon, the first battalion of the 131st MRB occupied the train station, unaware of the 81st MRR's situation and separated from the second battalion which reached the freight station further to the west, and from the third battalion on the outskirts of the city. The unit parked its tanks and armored personnel carriers around the station and awaited further orders. Somewhere within that period of time, a Russian communications officer heard the words, "Welcome to Hell," on his headset. Shortly after, Chechen fighters, hiding in the depot buildings, the post office, and the five-story building surrounding the station, opened devastating automatic and anti-tank weapons fire. The surviving Russian soldiers took cover inside the station, which the Chechens soon set ablaze. Russian commanding officer, Colonel Ivan Savin, radioed for help and artillery fire, which never came.
Most distress calls from the 131st went unanswered, as other army groups were either unprepared or, strangely, celebrating the New Year. The second and third battalions of the brigade responded to the call for help, but were blasted at close quarters before even reaching the station. Both battalions were ordered to stay away from the Presidential Palace; this only added more to the trouble as the armored columns tried cutting down alleyways, only to be further cut down. When a small element of the 503rd Motor Rifle Regiment finally received their orders to move in during the early hours of the day, they immediately came under friendly fire from the other Russian forces already bogged down under heavy fire; they fought each other for six hours (there were more such incidents reported, some of them actually prepared by the Chechens). The 8th Corps reached the city center from the north but was unable to save the units that had fallen into the trap because of stiff resistance. No reinforcements ever reached the railway station.
At nightfall, Colonel Savin decided to evacuate the wounded via the only working armored personnel carrier available. After loading 40 wounded soldiers on board, the APC moved in the wrong direction (toward the center of the city). It turned around and was ambushed by Chechen anti-tank gunners; only 13 soldiers survived to be taken prisoner. On January 2, Colonel Savin and his remaining officers abandoned the railway station. They found some abandoned armored personnel carriers and attempted to escape the area, but were attacked by Chechen fighters and Savin died on the street from shrapnel wounds beside his wrecked vehicle. By January 3, the 131st Brigade had lost nearly 789 men killed (further 75 were captured, and only 160 reached safety), including almost all of its officers. In addition, 20 of 26 tanks and 102 of 120 other armored vehicles were lost as well. The entire Maikop Brigade of over 1000 men had been wiped out in sixty hours.
At the same time, Gen. Grachev announced that "the entire city centre and several districts of the city and its outskirts are under complete control of Russian forces".
The end results of the New Year's Eve battle were devastating for the Russian side, with the first Russian armored column alone losing 105 of its 120 tanks and armored personnel carriers. The entire first battalion of the Maikop Brigade, more than 50% of the 81st Regiment, and hundreds of men from the remaining units had been killed. A high-ranking Russian General Staff officer later said "On January 2nd, we lost contact with our forward units." According to Maskhadov, some 400 Russian tanks and APCs in all were destroyed. Russian Colonel General A. Galkin reported 225 armored vehicles lost during the first month and a half of the war, including 62 tanks.
Most of the Spetsnaz detachment troops surrendered to the Chechens, "after wandering about hopelessly for three days without food, let alone any clear idea of what they were supposed to do." A Russian Lieutenant Colonel was quoted when he returned from Chechen captivity as saying, "the only order was to go forward, without explanations as to what they should do, where they should go, and whom they should capture." Meanwhile, highly mobile Chechens attacked even the Russian second-echelon forces outside the city, raiding an artillery battalion.
Russian soldiers who were taken prisoner did not even know where and why they were there; some had been told that their mission would be to "protect roads," while others asked the reporters "who is fighting whom". When more captured Russian soldiers were shown on TV, the mothers of some went to Grozny to negotiate release their sons. Those negotiations took place in the center of the city without Russian government assistance and while under Russian artillery bombardment; some of the prisoners were released on the promise they would never fight the Chechens again.
Already during New Year's battle Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev had moved his headquarters to Shali, 25 kilometres south of Grozny. The Russian forces pulled back, leaving isolated pockets of men behind in the process to resist on their own. Morale dropped so low that units of the Interior Ministry and OMON forces outside town departed without orders. Several Russian generals and commanders were sacked for their poor performance in conducting the assault.
Northern and central Grozny
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In the first days of January, Chechen forces not dealing with the remnants of the destroyed Russian units counterattacked against General Rokhlin's army group of some 5,000 men (now hastily entrenched in the north as the only organized Russian forces in Grozny at the time), unsuccessfully trying to drive it from the city.
On January 4 and January 5, the Chechens began retreating to villages south of Grozny with whatever combat vehicles they had at their disposal. These convoys were bombed by Russian air attacks. Though the Chechens were on the retreat, they still controlled much of the center of the city. Reinforcements from both sides arrived, including Chechen volunteers from the villages outside of Grozny and Russian Naval Infantry.
The Russians proceeded to bombard Grozny with artillery, tank, and rocket fire as the rest of the battle centered on new tactics in which the Russians proceeded to destroy the city block by block. White phosphorus rounds and fuel-air explosive Shmel rockets were used by the Russian forces. They would then send in small groups of men sometimes spearheaded by special forces, making effective use of sniper teams. Two long weeks of costly bitter fighting ensued as the Russians moved to take the Presidential Palace.
On January 7, Orthodox Christmas, the Russians concentrated their assault on the Chechen Presidential Palace, a large, concrete structure built in Soviet times as the local Chechen Communist party headquarters, including a blast shelter underneath. It was defended by 350 Chechen full-time fighters and an estimated 150 part-time militiamen.
The Russians launched heavy volleys of artillery and Grad rockets, setting buildings and the oil refinery ablaze. The Chechens held the Russians back, though the upper floors of the building caught fire. Russian Major General Viktor Vorobyov was killed by a mortar shell on the same day, becoming the first on a long list of Russian generals to be killed in Chechnya.
On January 9, the Russians declared a ceasefire which proved to be a lie. Two hours after the ceasefire started, on January 10, the Russians launched a heavy bombardment of the Presidential Palace and managed to position three tanks around the building, firing at point blank range. Towards the middle of January, there was heavy fighting within 100–200 meters of the palace. As the Chechen resistance fell low on ammunition, food, and water, resistance proved ever more difficult for them.
On January 18, Russian forces launched a massive air and artillery attack; by Chechen estimation, rockets were hitting the palace at a rate of one per second. Sukhoi Su-25 fighter aircraft dropped two bunker busters into the Palace. The bombs fell through all 11 floors and fell into the reinforced bunker below the building; one landed 20 meters from the HQ of General Maskhadov, miraculously not exploding. Before midnight, the Chechen command left the Palace in three groups, Maskhadov being among the last to leave. These groups retreated to a hospital on the south side of the Sunzha River, while Russian helicopters flew over the city calling on Chechens to surrender with no effect. According to elements of the Chechen command, Russian snipers had Chechens in full sight but were too exhausted to continue fighting.
For the next two days, the Russians lulled their bombardment to collect the dead and wounded in the streets. Russian President Boris Yeltsin prematurely declared that the "military stage of the operation" was over. Gen. Rokhlin, the commander of the unit that seized the palace was offered to be decorated with the order of the Hero of the Russian Federation, but he refused saying he saw nothing glorious in "fighting a war on my own land."
After losing so many men when taking the northern part of Grozny, the Russians concentrated their artillery heavily on the southern half, firing over 30,000 shells each day. For a time being there was no close combat, with the Chechen using mainly sniper rifles. After blowing up most of the bridges the Chechens used the Sunzha River as a newly established front line as all but the southern part of Grozny was now in the Russian control. The city, however, was not completely sealed off until February 22, 1995, and the Chechens routinely resupplied their forces through the corridor from Shali.
Eventually, Russians advanced within 200 meters of Maskhadov's HQ. Though he threw all his available forces against them, including the remaining three tanks, he could not manage to stop the offensive. It was at this point that they decided to move to abandon the positions along the Sunzha and retreat to the third line of defense along the mountain ridges that skirt Grozny.
Southern outskirts and mopping-up
On January 25, 1995, the Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev said that no more Russian prisoners of war would be released until a ceasefire was signed. On February 8, a truce was announced and most of the remaining Chechen forces, including all heavy equipment, withdrew from the devastated city. They moved their headquarters to the town of Novogroznensk, the first of several temporary capitals to follow.
On February 13, 1995, Russian and Chechen forces reached another ceasefire agreement limiting the use of heavy weapons, covering the use of aviation, artillery and mortars (however, the Russians returned to the large-scale artillery and aviation attacks in Chechnya a week later on February 21). As late February approached, Shamil Basayev and his men were reduced to using small-scale hit and run tactics until they too finally pulled out.
Military casualties are unknown, but are estimated to run into the thousands of killed and wounded on both sides. The officially released figures on the Russian losses were 1,376 killed in action and 408 missing in action, yet the actual figure could be higher. According to Dudayev, 4,000 Russian soldiers died in the New Year's Eve attack alone (1,500 according to the Russian human rights activists).
As of the civilian casualties, Sergei Kovalev, the Russian Duma's commissioner for human rights, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin's aide on human rights, who had been in Grozny during part of the fighting, estimated 27,000 people, many of them ethnic Russians, died in five weeks of fighting. Anatol Lieven, who was also in Grozny during the battle, in his book Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power put his estimates lower at about 5,000 killed civilians, with some 500 more killed by the Russian air raids prior to the battle.
International monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe described the scenes as "unimaginable catastrophe," while German Chancellor Helmut Kohl described the events as "sheer madness."
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- Colonel Pulikovsky was also the serving commander of the 67 Army Corps
- Each BMP was issued with extra 500 rounds of ammunition stored on the rear decks of the vehicles
- The pontoons were brought in case the two bridges along the route were destroyed
- BRDM-2s were left at staging camp with 17 of their crews
- Note – three tanks were attached to each motor-rifle company, and two Tunguska vehicles were attached to each battalion from the 131st brigade, though one was retained at the brigade headquarters.
- Russians `kill 250 Chechen civilians'
- Chechen president 'flees palace'
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- New Year's Eve
- The Battle(s) of Grozny
- The first bloody battle
- The New Year's Eve Attack on Grozny
- View From the Wolves' Den The Chechens and Urban Operations
- Wounded Bear: The Ongoing Russian Military Operation in Chechnya
- Why It All Went So Very Wrong
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