The despondent battle for Hill 3234

Bogdan U. March 5, 2019 0
The despondent battle for Hill 3234

The battle for Hill 3234 was a significant performance completed by the brave 9th Company of the 345th Soviet Independent Guards Airborne Regiment. It is also known as the decisive operation „Magistral,” performed by 39 courageous soldiers of the Soviet Union Army, landed in the middle of the blazing point.


The prelude of the operation

By the end of 1987, the URSS army, under the authority of Mikhail Gorbachev was performing the Afghan War. The town of Khost and the route “Khost-Gardez” were important strategic points. Khost was suspended from getting supplies from the government. It was taken in the hands of the Mujahideen – Muslims who proclaimed themselves warriors for the faith, under the control of Jalaluddin Haqqani.

To maintain control, the URSS Government decided to perform the ”Magistral” operation, that would discharge the Mujahideen control over the town and the route.

They were only 39 

They were told to hold the line.

In control 

Lieutenant Viktor Gagarin was the one who led the 9th Parachute Company of the 345th Regiment on the 7th of January, 1988. To ensure safety on the road, they landed on the top of the Hill 3234. In the short term, they were attacked by the mortars of the Afghan enemy, who also used recoilless guns and RPGs unleashing the whole firepower. Their Russian platoon lost the radio, being unable to communicate.

Supported by mercenaries, Pakistan troopers and “Black storks” ( an independent specialized division trained by US and Pakistan specialists), the Mujahideen attacked from one side at about three o’clock.

The second and third waves of the foe barraged later and were confronted by the Soviet paratroopers. The Soviet side suffered heavy losses, wasting a few key commanders of large-caliber machine guns: Sergent Vyacheslav Aleksandrov and soldier Anatoly Kuznetsov.

The next few attacks were the most intense ones. Late in the night, the fearless Mujahideen charged the Soviet lines from 3 directions, showing absolute insanity and breaking solid defenses.

The next raids of Muslim troopers were less organized and performed arbitrarily.

There were counted about 12 attacks, as Sergeant Vladimir Shchigolev later confirmed for a Russian edition of a newspaper.

The bullets and grenades almost ran low, and the Soviet paratroopers were exhausted. About six Russian soldiers were killed. Only 28 injured paratroopers and five healthy ones remained to hold the line. They looked into the face of death. But the escape was here…

Just before dawn on January 8, a Russian scout crew, led by Alexei Smirnov arrived. They performed a cruel strike over the enemy’s heads. By the morning, there were found about 200 enemy corpses on the footing of Hill 3234. Later,  two of the dead officers,  Andrey Alexandrovich Melnikov, and Vyacheslav Alexandrovich Alexandrov were posthumously awarded the prestigious golden star of the Hero of the Soviet Union.

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