"Partisan" hunting for occupiers, or Why reward been announced for murder of assault company commander and artillery unit

How the combat team of a portable rocket launcher works on "Zero"

A year ago, during the fighting in Donbas, the military captured a tripod for an artillery launcher from the occupiers. They repaired it, added a few modifications, and created a kind of improved "Partisan" capable of hitting a target at a distance of up to 36 kilometers.

To see how the trophy gun works, we are going to visit one of the terrorist defense brigades. For the sake of the military's safety, we are not naming the locality where they are shooting at the enemy. We will only add that the occupier is within easy reach from there.


We arrived at the moment when our guys were unloading the ammunition. We are "met" by enemy artillery. We hear the "exit", quickly crouch down and in a few seconds we hear a loud "bang" very close by. And so on all the time. The guys ask us to hide, but they continue to unload the boxes. All actions are automated, everyone knows exactly what they have to do.

"Is it often as loud as today?" I ask one of the soldiers from the assault unit.

"Two weeks ago, the enemy started shelling us more intensively, almost around the clock. We have liberated one settlement, our fighters are constantly repelling subversive groups. We should not get used to the explosions, but we are getting used to it," says a soldier with the call sign «Chizh".

"What do they shoot with?" I asked.

"Guided aerial bombs, S-300, artillery, Pion, Msta-S. Russian marines used to fight against us, but now they are on rotation," he says.

"Exit, explosion, exit, explosion - and so on 24 hours a day and every day," another soldier adds. We talk loudly, because we can't hear anything at all because of the constant "bang".


The commander of an assault squad and a "Partisan" artillery unit, call sign "Khokhol", joins the conversation. He says that the "Partisan" is, so to speak, a smaller version of the conventional "Grad" multiple rocket launcher system, with fewer tubes and the ability to hit a target at a longer distance.

"When we hunted it down, it was slightly damaged, and we repaired it. We took the pipes for the installation from trophy BM-21 Grads and welded the frame ourselves. "Partisan" is designed for 122 caliber and its main advantage is that we can hit a target at a distance of up to 36 km," says the source.

The artillery system operates remotely. It can be operated from a distance of up to 5 kilometers using a remote control. The military explains that the Partizan was developed in Soviet times and used by the Russians. Ukrainian soldiers have improved the trophy weapon.

"In the Zaporizhzhia sector, a convoy of fuel trucks, infantry fighting vehicles, and vehicles have already been hit by this system, and the 120th mortar unit and its mortar were completely hit. Our "eyes" in the sky helped," says "Khokhol".


"Chizh", mentioned above, is the driver of the vehicle with the "Partisan" installed. He has been with the unit since February of this year, and used to be in intelligence. He says that all crew members, which can range from three to nine, have been trained. He assures that it is not difficult to operate the "Partisan".

"The main thing is to work in a coordinated and fast manner: the installation must be disassembled in 25 seconds, then a shot is fired and then it is necessary to quickly reassemble. The orcs have set a reward for our commander. They are hunting for us. We've been giving them nightmares for three months now, we've covered a lot of targets, and that's why they're hunting," says "Chizh".

The reward for "Khokhol" is 20,000 dollars. At first, he was reluctant to talk about it.

"I'm like a bone in the enemy's throat. Why? Because many of them have been shot. They felt very arrogant: they were walking around without armor, digging, and knew that nothing could reach them on this part of the front. And here we are with "Partisan". They're all on heartburn," says "Khokhol".

The enemy artillery is behind the currently occupied areas, and a shell from there takes 34 seconds to reach the Ukrainian territory. The military say they have counted it more than once.

"We are living on "zero" and working from "zero", because conventional "Grad" does not come this close," the commander adds.

"Chizh" also talks about the "slowness" of the occupier. He recalls that one night an enemy vehicle was delivering ammunition with its headlights on.

"It was driving like it should, on our land. We hit a car with an ammunition. In 15 seconds, we got ready and left, because the enemy has a system that can calculate where the shot came from," says the driver.

His fiancée is waiting for him at home. He says he will definitely get married after the war.


When the shelling subsided a bit, the crew and I quickly went to the firing position.

The gunner of the unit, a 36-year-old soldier with the call sign "Professor," calls himself the "brain center" of any operation. He says that his task is to receive coordinates, calculate them, calculate the target, and aim the weapon.

"Today we will work on the enemy artillery, which does not allow us to cook borscht in peace," he says.

The enemy artillery is less than 20 kilometers away from the firing position. The guys have six shells to hit it.

"Professor" has been at war for six months. He wanted to go to the front earlier, but he was working as a technical director of a company and they wouldn't let him go.

"I had 'armor'. But I quit my job, sold my car and went to the front," the man says.

When asked if he has already worked on many goals, he says: "For the first three months you are still counting, and then you just get the coordinates and work day and night. We are saving the lives of our guys with this device.»

Having practiced their artillery, the men share that they would like to "catch up" with the enemy's Sushka (Su-25), which bombs their positions every day. Then, they say, it will be a little easier for them and other units to fight.

Olga Kudria

Photo by Dmytro Smolenko

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