Yesterday was a long day. 30 hours stuck in a foxhole getting slammed by artillery.
Was clusterbombed the whole 2k hike into our observation post which is 250 meters from a Russian occupied village. On arrival to the OP we took continuous artillery all night. There wasn’t any more than a 5 min lull between blast. Russia had our spot dialed in.
Morning starts to come and I can hear a drone through my amplified headphones. Directly above my hole I can see a drone hovering over me. The mortars then begin to absolutely nail my position. The first three hit within 20 yards of my spot and then they just start walking them down our line of people. Very good mortarmen. All hit occupied positions within the casualty radius of the blast. Luckily none fell into one of our holes.
After the mortars the drone drops a VOG grenade on me. It misses my hole by 5ft. I hate drones. The sound they make is like a mosquito in your ear and you know each one of them carried a little grenade you can’t do much about. You can try and shoot the drone, but that will probably just get an artillery attack called directly onto your position, a heavy one too.
Then come more cluster bombs. A cluster bomb is an artillery shell that explodes open in mid air and then you hear this terrible sizzle type noise as they fall to your area. Once they hit the ground they explode. Again they walk them up and down our position. The bombs fall all around my position and a dud lands so close to my hole I can hear it hit the dirt uphill with a sticky thud. These bombs can sometimes explode well after they should so I couldn’t peek my head out for quite a while because of this.
Next begins the 152mm high explosive. Again, they just absolutely have our position locked in. Everything hits on target but luckily we are all dug in. These hit so hard they rattle your insides even when they are a safe distance away.
We finally get some relief when a Ukrainian T72 tank starts lobbing shells into the village that calling in the strikes on us. Once the tank is done, the shelling starts again but towards the area the tank was in. Russia is firing cluster, HE, and MLRS all into the tanks treeline.
MLRS are usually fired in an arching long distance manner, but they are now firing them horizontally straight into the treeline at the tank. These things hit HARD. The explosion is greater than a 152 HE shell and they are firing them directly over my position. Sometimes Russian equipment explodes prematurely or not at all. I’ve heard tons of HE rounds hit the dirt with a thud and not explode. There are also mlrs rockets sticking up out of the ground not exploded all over the battlefield. But this time one decided to explode prematurely right over my position. It rattled me hard. It felt like my insides jolted around and the concussion from the blast knocked up all sorts of dust and debris around me.
The Russians ended up clearing the treeline where the tank was an took it over. That also almost cut off our exfil point. If Russia was able to have taken another 200 yards of ground, we would have been trapped. 200 more yards is a lot out there though. It isn’t easy to clear and control 100 yards of treeline.
From the newly occupied Russian position their tanks begin to fire on us. These things hit hard as hell and there is little warning. With artillery you hear the shot, hear the round flying in the air, and have several seconds to take cover. With a tank you have maybe one second from the time you hear the shot.
We just stay down and wait for it to end.
We are now about 30 hours into a 24 hour post when we get the orders that we are leaving. You can hear a Russian drone flying over us… we hike out and experience three cluster bombs fired somewhat in our area but they weren’t very close. Either there were better targets out there or the A squad was getting a rest and the new conscripts we grtting a chance to work the guns.
We arrive at the exfil point and the truck isn’t there to pick us up. You can hear another Russian drone working the area. We have ZERO cover here and the night time drones are 100% using IR or thermal imaging. Our translator says we can’t call the truck for exfil because nobody has cell service. (Wtf for so many reasons)
About an hour later the truck picks us up. We take some more indirect fire on the way out, but made it. I was afraid of the Russians new treeline having a direct shot at us with their tank on the way out, but they must have been not paying attention.
Me and the guy in the hole next to me likely have concussions from the MLRS rocket. Two Ukrainians took minor shrapnel damage…both to the ass.
One American was injured his foot on our hike in and had to lay and wait for the team we were reliving to pick him up. While he was waiting a drone dropped a grenade on him. It blew off his ear pro and helmet, caused some bruising, and a concussion. He’s lucky he didn’t take shrap and that they didn’t just rain artillery on him.
We all got quite lucky. I’m going to take some time off. My head hurts and I have the brain scramblies. I got two job offers recently. One to train Ukrainian troops and another to hunt wildlife poachers in Africa. Both are a lot safer than getting shelled all day. Will probably be flying back to the states to see the family and cleanup the hurricane damage that’s possibly going to flood my house soon. Just waiting to see what happens with Hurricane Ivan before I solidify any plans.
I also want to say that the Ukrainians I’ve been with here are brave as hell and fight well. I don’t often agree with their tactics, but they have been doing a great job of kicking Russian ass lately.