No soldier should be afraid of blood

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

No soldier should be afraid of blood — especially not a spetsnaz commando:

It used to be thought that a soldier could be accustomed to the sight of blood gradually — first a little blood and then more day by day. But experts have thrown out this view. The spetsnaz soldier’s first encounter with blood should be, they argue, quite unexpected and in copious quantities. In the course of his career as a fighting man there will be a whole lot of monstrous things which will spring up in front of him without any warning at all. So he should get used to being unsurprised at anything and afraid of nothing.

A group of young spetsnaz soldiers are hauled out of bed at night because of an emergency, and sent in pursuit of a ‘spy’. The worse the weather the better. Best of all when there is torrential rain, a gusty wind, mud and slush. Many kilometres of obstacles — broken-down stairs, holes in walls, ropes across holes and ditches. The platoon of young soldiers are completely out of breath, their hearts beating fast. Their feet slip, their hands are scratched and bruised. Forward! Everyone is bad-tempered — the officers and especially the men. The soldier can give vent to his anger only by punching some weaker fellow-sufferer in the face and maybe getting a kick in the ribs in reply. The area is dotted with ruined houses, everything is smashed, ripped apart, and there’s broken glass everywhere. Everything is wet and slippery, and there are never-ending obstacles with searchlights trained on them. But they don’t help: they only hinder, blinding the men as they scramble over.

Now they come to a dark cellar, with the doors ripped off the hinges. Everybody down. Along the corridor. Then there’s water ahead. The whole group running at full tilt without slowing down rushes straight into some sticky liquid. A blinding light flashes on. It’s not water they are in — it’s blood. Blood up to the knees, the waist, the chest. On the walls and the ceiling are chunks of rotten flesh, piles of bleeding entrails. The steps are slippery from slimy bits of brain. Undecided, the young soldiers jam the corridor.

Then somebody in the darkness lets a huge dog off its chain. There is only one way out — through the blood. Only forwards, where there is a wide passageway and a staircase upwards. Where on earth could they get so much blood? From the slaughter-house, of course. It is not so difficult to make the tank of blood. It can be narrow and not very deep, but it must be twisting and there must be a very low ceiling over it. The building in which the tank of blood is arranged can be quite small, but piles of rotten boards, beams and concrete slabs must be tipped into it. Even in very limited space it is possible to create the impression that you are in an endless labyrinth overflowing with blood. The most important thing is to have plenty of twists and turns, holes, gaps, dead ends and doors.
And there’s something else: the tank of blood must not be the final obstacle that night. The greatest mistake is to drive the men through the tank and then bring the exercise to an end, leaving them to clean themselves up and go to bed. In that case the blood will only appear to them as a terrible dream. Keep driving them on over more and more obstacles.


  1. Sam J. says:

    Suvorov’s Ice Breaker is very interesting. His follow up, The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World is much better but covers the same subject matter and isn’t free.

  2. Slovenian Guest says:

    Sam: Check, and bookmark, Library Genesis.

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