By Efim Sandler
After a declaration of independence and the seizure of military assets located in the self-proclaimed Republic of Ichkeria, Chechen influence in the Northern Caucuses region was rapidly growing.
By 1994 the Russian leadership became very concerned about the situation when, in addition to the other issues, Dzhokhar Dudaev took control of the oil and gas pipelines. After a series of unsuccessful attempts by Yeltsin and his government to reshuffle the situation it was decided to launch a limited armed action targeted upon the overthrow Dudaev at the hands of Russian-sponsored opposition. The opposition eventually failed and a large military operation by Russian forces was launched on 9 December 1994.
From the first days, Russian troops, totally unprepared for the tough resistance encountered found themselves in a bloody fight against Dudaev’s well-trained and heavily-armed militants. Grozny was the major objective as the Russian command considered that taking over the city would break Chechen resistance at once. To pave the way to the city the Russians had to secure Khankala airfield as it was the major aerial hub of the area. The fight for Khankala became the first major engagement between Russian and Chechen forces.
On 30 December 1994, Russian forces received orders to enter Grozny and take control of key objectives, eliminating the opposition. In the second half of 31 December, Russian armoured convoys started to enter the city from four directions, what was to come next became the most horrible night in modern Russian military history.
Battle for Grozny Volume 1 is based on the numerous little known publications and veteran accounts from both sides, extensive pictorial and video footage, and focuses upon the reconstruction of events that happened prior to and during the New Year of 1994-1995