Saturday, 28 April 2012

9th Company Movie

No apologies for this off topic post. I've just watched '9th Company, a Finnish-Ukrainian production loosely based on a real-life battle that took place at Hill 3234 in early 1988, during the last large-scale Soviet  military operation in Afghanistan.

Whilst on one level it's just another derivative war film it has a number of attractions on other levels.
  • Numerous Soviet armored vehicles and aircraft appear in the film which are rarely seen or depicted in Western films - in particular some great shots of Hind gunships and BTR 60s and BMP APCs
  • A very 'warts and all depiction of Soviet military training with its peculiar combination of sophistication and casual brutality. Contrast a briefing from an intellectual intelligence officer with preparing recruits to fight tanks by 'ironing' their foxholes.
  • Theer is a focus on the ethos of the Soviet Airborne forces. Their elite volunteer status, the pride in their unit and one another is well shown. Of course, western elite units display similar characteristics, it's just refreshing to see an honest potrayal of the tyoung Soviet soldiers that were fundamentally no different to their counterparts in the west.
The film follows a band of young recruits from a farewell ceremony with friends and family their arrival at Baghram air base and subsequent fighting in the mountains The story climaxes with a bloody battle on a mountain top in Afghanistan against the mujahideen.

According to Wikipedia

'in the film, only one soldier from the company survives unscathed and the company is said to have been "forgotten" by the military command because of the Soviet withdrawal. In reality, the 9th Company, 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment was pinned down under heavy fire on Hill 3234 between the 7th and 8th of January 1988. They managed to stop 3 attacks by an estimated 200-250 mujahideen. The company lost a total of 6 men. Another 28 out of the total 39 were wounded seriously. Four of the killed soldiers were posthumously awarded the golden star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. The unit was in constant communication with headquarters and got everything the regimental commander, Colonel Valery Vostrotin, could provide in terms of rations, ammunition, reinforcements, and helicopter evacuation of the wounded.'

In short, well worth a watch.

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