Art of War II.
This is coolbert:
Motto of the Siberians - - "Siberians do not surrender, and do not take prisoners".
During the Afghan War, the Soviet Army suffered about 20,000 battlefield casualties and also about 300,000 non-battlefield casualties!! That latter figure, casualties from non-combat sources, is just astounding. My intuitive response is that this was primarily hepatitis from drinking bad water.
It seems that my suspicions and intuition were pretty much right on the money?
These anecdotal accounts [thanks to the ArtofWar web site] from the Afghan war and the First Chechen War seem to indicate that this is so!
EITHER DRINKING BAD WATER OR COOKS NOT WASHING THEIR HANDS PRIOR TO FOOD PREPARATION WAS THE SOURCE OF A WHOLE LOT OF HEPATITIS THAT INFECTED THE RED ARMY!!
(1) From the accounts of Sergey Shumskikh , Spetsnaz troop who served in Afghan:
Question - "What was the most difficult thing for you during the war?"
Answer - ". . . Hepatitis, and other infection diseases . . . We took restricted amount of water so everybody lost a lot of weight under the heat."
The response of the Soviet Army to the clean water problem during the Afghan campaign was to limit THE AMOUNT OF WATER CARRIED ON AN OPERATION!! You became less dependent on the water to begin with, carried less weight, required less resupply, and were less inclined to find sources of water that were suspect.
(2) From the writings of Vyacheslav Mironov. "Assault on Grozny Downtown"
"By now Com-batt [Russian battalion commander] poured out Vodka [the alcohol] and Ivan and myself settled down too. If anybody tells you that we fought here intoxicated, - spit him in his face. At war, people drink for disinfection. Not often you can boil your water or wash your hands properly. Our corpsmen's motto is: "Red eyes never go yellow" [red eyes from drinking booze - - yellow eyes from jaundice/contaminated liver]. As for the drinking water, we had to get it from the Sunzha River - a tiny river that flows thought the whole of Chechnya and, of coarse, through the Grozny. Only no one could possible tell how many human and animal corpses drifted in there, which meant we could forget about the proper hygiene."
Suvorov does state that each Spetsnaz trooper did have a means available to decontaminate potentially infectious and dirty water:
"Wherever a Spetsnaz soldier has to go he takes with him one flask of water with him - - 810 grams. Apart from that he has a little bottle of small brown disinfecting tablets. You throw one of the tablets into watter polluted with oil, dysentery bacillae and soap suds, and in one minute all the filth falls to the bottom and you can pour off the top and drink it. Pure water produced in this way has a revolting taste and a strong smell of chlorine . . . Anyone who knows what real thirst is like will drink this treated water with the greatest of pleasure."
Historically, the two biggest killers in wartime have always been and probably always will be water and feet!! NOT enough water to drink or drinking bad water kills a lot more troops than bullets on the battlefield!!