When 39 Soviet Commandos Won Against Hundreds Of Mujahideen in Afghanistan


Mujahideen, the ones involved in Jihad; the terrorist group that scares everyone was left beaten after the battle for Hill 3234 with around 200 dead and wounded.

Yes, this goes back to the time Soviet- Afghan War, or the Soviet Vietnam as people call it. It was a time that everyone calculates as the demise of the superpower. Starting in December 1979 and continuing for almost ten years, the conflict however dried down the Soviet’s economy, it turned out to be victorious for them.

When and how: Battle of the Hill 3234 

Battle of hill 3234
A view of Khost, Afghanistan.

The city of Khost, the one that was partially besieged by Mujahideen forces. The Soviet in 1980 shielded the entire town and used its airstrip to the fullest during the 8- year long battle. The city was grasped in the clasps of Mujahideen forces that were operated by ISI (Pakistani Secret Services.)

The Soviet trained and supplied guerrilla tactics to overcome an enemy as super as the Mujahideen. They were drained, and in the last months of 1987, the blockade became unbearable as the Soviets in the city were completely detached from the rest of the army.

Battle of hill 3234
Mujahideen in Kunar, Afghanistan

The first operation that was successful was Operation Magistral that involved the Soviets driving all stranded men out of the city. All roads connected to the city were closed, and the city was dependent on helicopters as their lifelines. The Mujahideen moved to the hills and guarded the city for attacks. They were well hidden in the hills but were always ready with ideal shooting positions. One of the other main advantages the Soviets possessed was the stinger missiles that the CIA supplied. They were well equipped with an infrared homing system.

Battle of hill 3234
The transport aircraft loading paratroops.

The next trick was the Mannequin tactic. To draw the fire, the Soviets tried to trick Mujahideen by conducting a false flag operation. They sent a normal transport plane which appeared to be carrying paratroopers. They sent a reconnaissance aircraft above the plane of carriage which was to be used for photographing the locations. The Soviets even threw a couple of mannequins that in the first look will seem like paratroopers. The Afghans on the site quickly opened fire and tried to kill as many as possible. As it was planned, the plane sent the coordinates of Mujahid position to the Soviet, and the Soviet began a devastating barrage.

The final and the Soviet Union’s own FSB Ripcord was the taking of the hill. The hill was the highest there with an altitude of over 3234 meters. On January 7, 1988, 39 members of the 9th Company of the 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment were dropped by a helicopter at the hill. The same day that is Christmas for all Russian Orthodox Christians. Their sole mission was to dig in, hold the hill (the hill could be a great observatory point.)

Battle of hill 3234
View from the Hill 3234

The 39 soldiers landed in the middle of the territory of Jalaluddin Haqqani. His troops were known for their cruelty. By the time these soldiers established themselves, they had faced a harsh firing. The Soviet army as they were made up of veteran fighters were well equipped with all knowledge and the tactics used by the Mujahideen. Even though they lacked heavy weaponry, they did not lose their grip. They kept on fighting on the forefront. As the first fire was over, an infantry assault was pretty obvious. The Mujahideen attacked from both the sides with a quantity of over 200- 250 fighters. Despite all the efforts done by the Mujahideen, the Soviet did not back down. They were always getting all the help that they needed from the headquarters. That included everything; from artillery support, ammunition, reinforcements to helicopter evacuation of the wounded.

Battle of hill 3234
A Soviet group prepares for a mission in Afghanistan.

The Soviet commandos successfully repelled 12 attacks, and the fight ended at the dawn of the next day. It was only when the Mujahideen forces were tired of fighting. Soviet losses were in any case low, just 6 out of 39 were dead, and also 28 out of the remaining 33 were injured. On the other hand, Mujahideen casualties were almost 200, dead and wounded.

This victory became a legacy ever since, and the relation between the two states has deteriorated, reached its lowest level after the battle for hill 3234.

Related Content