This short piece is about the hardest thing at the front.
About the shelling.
When you lie under fire, time flows in intervals; it is measured by segments from one arrival to another.
You think: here you have lived this distance between the previous and the present mine; this one didn’t hit – so you’ll live until the next one, and so on.
If the shelling is heavy enough, it makes no sense to run. All you have to do is lie where you lie.
These are the moments when you think a lot.
The explosions nearby turn the space for a second into a chaotic mixture. It consists of fire, dust, razor-sharp steel, and what has just been walls, trees, and cars. Then each of the components of this mixture goes its own way.
Shards fly with a soft whistle as far as possible, the fire goes out, the dust stays for a while, and then it is blown away by the wind.
Garbage and earth are pouring from above for some time.
If you lie down and look at the sky during the shelling, gunpowder smoke with its specific color and smell will float before your eyes.
Branches cut off by fragments fall from above. Trees lose their greenery. Some leaves are torn by explosions, others are burned, and they are twisted into tubes.
The sky is becoming more visible.
While you are lying down, you think, for example, about who is there, from the other end of the projectile’s flight trajectory. Can you imagine when he will stop sending these terrible blows again and again? When is he tired, or when will he receive the “enough” order?
Despite the fact that explosive matter prevails here in the midst of shelling, for the gunner it is in most cases routine work.
I don’t think any person can feel as much rage as a volley of weapons brings them to the enemy.
The gunner also wants to live, to finish sooner, because they are about to start firing back.
The specificity of the current war, described above, is the reality in which infantry sometimes have to live and fight for weeks.
Since the Russians still have much more guns and other artillery than we do, the enemy can afford to conduct artillery duels at the same time and at the same time tightly “process” our front line.
The Soviet Union was well aware of the shortcomings of its artillery, namely, lack of accuracy. And he tried to compensate the quality of his fire with quantity. The arsenals that the Muscovites inherited with the collapse of the USSR look truly bottomless.
It is rumored that our spies overheard the head of the enemy battery complaining that he had almost no shells left, and asked to bring more urgently. “Almost” is a few hundred, about a hundred for each barrel …
Russia has such a strong barrel force that it can afford to fire on all places where Ukrainian forces can POTENTIALLY be located.
If you need to take the settlement, it is systematically destroyed in a few days to the foundations. If the houses there are stronger, they use king-guns like the “2S7 Pion”, which are generally designed for firing nuclear munitions.
They shoot at forests – there may be infantry, and therefore, the shelling is carried out throughout the forest area.
Almost all more or less dense forest strips along roads and railways are thinned by artillery fire.
Even though Russia is said to have a limited supply of cruise and ballistic missiles, these weapons are still being used extensively. In the front line even places relatively far from the front line are regularly fired.
A tactical missile is capable of collapsing a high-rise building, and cities in the Donbas, such as Kostiantynivka, Bakhmut, or Kramatorsk, can receive several such missiles every day.
They aim at the locations of military units – again, in potential locations rather than real ones.
The shelling is different. Mortar, cannon, tank. Fast and slow, designed to exhaust nerves.
Worse than cannon fire is the cannon fire with adjustment. As a rule, they adjust with the help of a drone.
Worse than corrected shelling is firing from a helicopter or airplane, because then the shooter sees with his own eyes, in real-time, where his missiles or shells hit, and instantly makes corrections.
Recently, the Minister of Defense announced the figure of 100 dead every day. It is possible to assume that 90 of them are from artillery fire.
But the numbers will not tell.
Shells, missiles, and mines not only kill and injure. The psyche is still traumatized.
One of the dangerous effects of being under constant fire is the loss of a sense of danger, which is combined with a clouding of consciousness.
Some people simply stop reacting to explosions, walking like sleepwalkers, not bending down and ignoring the danger.
It may well be easier to heal from physical injuries.
Outwardly, such a person is (so far) unharmed, but if you talk to him – it becomes clear that he is no longer a fighter.
Such are the invisible wounds from the shelling.