The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan (Les Grau)

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This book was written by Soviet officers who had served in Afghanistan and returned for the extensive Command and Staff course at the Frunze Combined Arms Academy in Moscow. While they were at the Academy, the History of the Military Art Department had the Afghanistan veterans write vignettes of their experience. They analyzed these, edited the best and added commentary as lessons learned for future war in mountain-desert terrain. The department published them as an in-house a book in 1991. The book was intended for internal use only, and, as such, shows both the good and the bad. Mistakes and successes both illustrate the hard lessons learned in fighting guerrillas on rough terrain. It is not a history of the Soviet-Afghan War, rather it is a series of snapshots of combat as witnessed by young platoon leaders, company commanders, battalion commanders, staff officers and advisers to the Afghan government force. It is not a book about right and wrong, rather it is a book about survival and adaptation as young men come to terms with a harsh, boring and brutal existence punctuated by times of heady excitement and terror. This book was part of a US/Russian military exchange following the collapse of the Soviet Union.