9th Company – A Film review

So far nobody has tried making a movie version of Howard Coyle’s Team Yankee, and indeed as set piece WW3 battle action films go we really don’t have that many. Clancy’s classic “Red Storm Rising” has never been picked up, though obviously “Hunt for Red October” was.

So for those of us wanting to get inspired by a film to reduce the painting mountain, the Team Yankee period isn’t perhaps the best served.

However if, like me, your an Afgantsy player, then the Russian film 9th Company, might be up your street

The film, directed by Feodor Bondarchuk (who also directed the Russian language film Stalingrad in 2013) depicts the story of a group of recruits through training, arrival in Afghanistan towards the end of the Soviet’s involvement in the country and climaxing with their involvement in Operation Magistral (the operation to open the road from Gardez to Khost). It is loosely based on the actual battle that occurred between January 7th and 8th 1988 on Elevation 3234, in which 39 soldiers of the 9th Company, 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment held off multiple attacks by armed insurgents, losing 6 of their number killed, all the other unit members were wounded, 2 members of the unit Private Andrey Melnikov and Junior Sergeant Vyacheslav Alexandrov were posthumously awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, becoming amongst the last winners of the award in combat. 

Russian Language Poster

The film became the first ever Russian film to gross $25 million, and Bondarchuk says of it “This film is about my generation, about the war and friendship. About men’s love, feat, treason and loyalty. Probably the truth I was trying to show there will not be pleasant to our generals. But Afghan soldiers who were excited after viewing our film is the best proof for me. That is really important”.

The battle scenes are realistic, in particular there are some stunning scenes of Hind attacks in support of the beleaguered detachment 

Krokodil’s incoming

The film doesn’t attempt any serious political narrative about the Soldiers fraternal international duty, though there is some attempt to examine the relationship between Soviet soldiers and the insurgents, though the gulf between them simply remains huge and unbridgeable

The film builds to a climactic ending (which is not the same as the outcome of the Elevation 3234 battle), and the action scenes are very well done. You’ll just have to watch and see what happens.

Given the action takes place in Afghanistan rather than the Central Front it’s not the greatest reference point in terms of painting and uniforms for Team Yankee (though it is likely to be much more useful in the upcoming fictional Oil Wars release, where the climate and terrain is more similar to a dusty hilltop in Afghanistan, than the Hof Corridor)

Definitely worth a watch if you are at all interested in the Afgantsy and Soviet Airborne units of the Cold War period

Category: Flames of War

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2 comments

  1. Plot is rather disappointing, lot’s of unnecessary staff and historical mistakes, author filmed not history, but his own vision of it. But battle scenes and the picture itself is rather nice.

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Article by: Richard Hardy