Artsakh – Martuni-1994 – We Were Thinking About Dying with Dignity

Artsakh - Martuni-1994Martuni defensive line of the Karabakh troops. The number N battalion, as it is usually denoted for secrecy. After the brave commander Meruzhan Mosiyan died in battle last year, his responsible position was entrusted to his 22-year-old sibling Arthur, a graduate of the pedagogical institute of Stepanakert, a modest young man who had won authority among his subordinates.

The backbone of the battalion was made up of guys who back in 1989 joined the partisan detachments in the forests and mountains. Since then, acting bravely, they haven’t given up a single position in spite of inevitable battle losses.

Recently, the battalion’s fighters managed to destroy the enemy’s large sabotage group consisting of more than a hundred people. This group sought to cut off the highway connecting the Martuni and Hadrut regions, approach Agdam, and attack Stepanakert.

The Karabakh position was occupied by a dozen Armenian fighters (three shifts of four). The saboteurs expected to take this key position, move forward, and take several strategic heights to establish complete control over the area.

The battle began at misty dawn. Taking advantage of the poor visibility and the fact that the neighboring positions were located far away, the enemy attempted to bypass the Armenian position from the rear and block all approaches to it.

A part of the saboteurs was ambushed. However, they were confident that immediately after the first onslaught, the defenders would retreat. Then, it would be easy to kill them with counter fire. But the lightning attack failed.

A squall of rocket launcher fire immediately deprived the guys of communications and ammunition. The wild cries of the attackers were heard. However, the desired effect was not achieved. The defenders did not flinch, did not run: instead, they showed appropriate resistance. Even the seriously wounded continued to hold onto their weapons.

“We still had a handful of cartridges and two armor-piercing shells,” remembers one of them, Vladimir Mirzoyan (his 17-year-old son Arsen died in December of last year).

“We were already thinking about dying with dignity. The saboteurs were well trained and well-armed. They threw grenades with the accuracy of basketball players. Moreover, our position was located on a slope, and the grenades were rolling straight into the trenches. The seconds of waiting for the explosion seemed like an eternity. But we managed to hold out until help arrived.”

Vladimir Mirzoyan cannot say how long they held up – time seemed to stop. It was definitely over an hour though.

The commanders Arthur Sargsyan, Edik Grigoryan, Levon Hakobyan, and Karen Ghaghramanyan died heroically. Others – the wounded and those who were lucky to avoid the enemy bullet – showed no less heroism. They fought to the end without leaving the trench where the bodies of their dead comrades were lying. Twenty saboteurs found their death in the same trench. In the end, the Karabakh units came to the rescue and finished off the enemy group.

On the battlefield, 96 corpses remained, 70 of which were Azerbaijanis. All the Azerbaijanis were young people aged 20-30 who had undergone special training in Mingachevir and Kirovabad under the guidance of Turkish instructors. Prisoner Azerbaijanis told about this.

Once again, special training and modern weapons faced the inflexible will and spirit of a simple Karabakh warrior and failed!

1994, April. Ashot Beglaryan



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