Theories Discussion > Murdered

Army Tactician - Definitely Ambush, potential events

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armyeng:

--- Quote from: RMK on March 18, 2021, 11:08:56 AM ---Welcome to the Pass, armyeng.  Homicide theories of the Incident are certainly popular with some members of this community.  I consider homicide a credible possibility, but I have some misgivings about homicide theories myself, discussed in another thread, in which some homicide-theory proponents also make their case.

FWIW, my currently preferred theory is that the campsite that the search party found was staged...


--- Quote from: armyeng on March 18, 2021, 06:24:19 AM ---Likely that at this point they could have been shot 'at' which would have forced them to stay low and kept them pinned down and unable to move for fear of being shot, or attackers were near and searching for them. Likely that they slipped into hypothermia at that point and lost strength to do anything.

--- End quote ---
Most details of the scenario you propose have been proposed and discussed before, but I have to admit that this idea, that the hikers who froze to death were lying on the ground snow to stay out of the line of fire, is a new one to me.


--- Quote from: armyeng on March 18, 2021, 06:24:19 AM ---2. Gulag guards: Motives = mistaken identify of escaped prisoners and cover up

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Just FYI, there weren't any escaped prisoners in the Ivdel region at the presumed time of the Incident.

--- End quote ---

I was thinking hardened gulag guards or security patrols could have easily mistaken them for escapees/enemies (either political or military) - or perhaps there was concern of spies or other political elements documenting the gulags for political/military propaganda. Because the camp site wasn’t ransacked the attackers were definitely well equipped, also gulag type clothing found on location.

If you were getting shot at, you hunker down, if your attackers were pursuing you with rifles you would know if you got up and ran you would be shot, so this could explain why the hikers death locations are in a very straight line pretty close to the tent. Staying pinned down too long could lead to hypothermia. If it was dark and the attackers were pursuing and/or nearby (few hundred meters or less) a very frightened hiker/scared might just lay down and remain still until they left, which might have not happened.

armyeng:

--- Quote from: sarapuk on March 18, 2021, 12:09:10 PM ---
--- Quote from: armyeng on March 18, 2021, 06:24:19 AM ---Army tactician here, this screams of classic ambush tactics used throughout most armies and offers the highest probability theory because this is how small armed tactics play out. The boiled down synopsis:

Likely sequence:

1. Hikers were under observation or pursuit by a hostile local group or had a negative interaction with them previously along their route (see motive below). Likely that hikers (college/military age males) could have gotten into mischief or had aggressive interaction between the local groups, initial scuffle and were concerned about being pursued later on. 

2. Hikers pitched tent in a tactically reasonable location with clear lines of sight all around tent to be able to observe another potential group approaching from a distance. The forest would not work, anyone looking for them would be able to follow tracks and sneak up on them easily. This is very important. hikers posted guards on shift (fully clothed) while the rest of the group remained in the tent to rest. Concern of being pursued might not have been extremely high at this point. 

3. Small group of ambushers (likely a smaller group than the hikers) captured guards, and surrounded the tent, or surrounded the tent when guards were inside at night during low visibility.

4. KEY - Ambushers used rifle butts, blunt objects to beat the hikers while they were inside the tent. The hikers would be most vulnerable at this point, and it would be very easy to inflict substantial damage similar to the evidence if all hikers were struggling inside the tent while attackers beat them. Attackers would have the advantage even if they didn't have the numbers. Intent was not to kill, but to beat them - I would suspect that this would be similar to a 'college type bar brawl' or 'crime of hatred' or 'domination to capture' versus an execution. Hikers frantically had no choice but to cut out of the tent.

5. Hostilities continued outside the tent, HOWEVER the attackers motives were clearly to "Beat/teach them a lesson and kick them out of the area" or to "Get something back/retrieve or neutralize evidence or possible reporting" and not to obviously execute/kill or steal. This makes sense because there was a relatively orderly departure from the camp by the hikers. Likely once the hikers burst out of the tent there was shouting back and forth, some fighting, the hikers grabbed or were allowed to recover their wounded before being forced off site in a hurry and under threat of being killed. Attackers likely understood hikers would perish and never be recovered. The attackers likely did not want to kill them, or they would be shot or beatings would continue in the tent until all were dead. The attackers likely were not thieves which implies they were well sustained/equipped. The attackers objectives were to beat them, flush them into the cold to die. This implies a attackers didn't want it to be obvious murder, or they couldn't bring themselves to directly murder. Could also imply they mistakenly took them for the wrong group and then flushed them out to die to cover their crime.

6. Under threat of being pursued and killed hikers recovered wounded all the way to the den area first and immediately began treating badly wounded. One collapsed from head injury and died on the way, two might have remained while being pursued (in darkness) to see if they could get back to the tent quickly to recover gear. Likely that at this point they could have been shot 'at' which would have forced them to stay low and kept them pinned down and unable to move for fear of being shot, or attackers were near and searching for them. Likely that they slipped into hypothermia at that point and lost strength to do anything. Two strong males were posted at the cedar tree to look for pursuers and keep watch/pre warning for members at the den. They would be able to see anyone coming and alert the others, while also keeping an eye out for the three pinned down near the tent. They were forced to start a fire to survive. 1.5km away is far enough to be able to return quickly and also observe the attackers.

7. Attackers likely at this point did not bother continuing pursuit or search (at night), but waited at or near the camp site for them to try and return, the group knew this, and this is why they did not move back and re-occupy the camp. Attackers knew by morning they would likely be all dead, would be forced to return due to cold. Likely in the morning attackers visited a few of the nearest bodies.

8. Attackers exited and cleared up their tracks.

Likely culprits:
1. Locals: Motives = cultural anger, encroachment on territory, mistaken identity, retaliation for potential previous conflict with hikers, response to theft?
2. Gulag guards: Motives = mistaken identify of escaped prisoners and cover up, hikers could have potentially interacted with them earlier and witnessed atrocities fears of witnessing/reporting crimes grew, retaliation for potential previous conflict with hikers. Guards could have suspected they were spies recording propaganda.
3. Military Patrols: Motives= mistaken identity and cover up, area denial, spy fear, retaliation for potential previous conflict with hikers

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Rubbish

--- End quote ---

Your take - UFO?

Manti:
I think the argument against an attack is the sheer remoteness of the area, that it can only be reached via a multi-day ski trip or aircraft, and the presumed white-out conditions that evening/night which would make it harder to find them, at least from the air.

But it does seem to fit the scene, though not really the injuries: some of them were uninjured, other had major trauma that would require more force than being hit with a rifle (Semyon, Lyuda, and to a certain extent Nikolai).However the documents found on the hikers like a passport, or the letter from the trade union... do make me wonder... Did they always carry those in their pockets? Or did they expect to have to "prove" to someone who they are and aren't?

KFinn:

--- Quote from: Manti on March 18, 2021, 07:42:42 PM ---I think the argument against an attack is the sheer remoteness of the area, that it can only be reached via a multi-day ski trip or aircraft, and the presumed white-out conditions that evening/night which would make it harder to find them, at least from the air.

But it does seem to fit the scene, though not really the injuries: some of them were uninjured, other had major trauma that would require more force than being hit with a rifle (Semyon, Lyuda, and to a certain extent Nikolai).However the documents found on the hikers like a passport, or the letter from the trade union... do make me wonder... Did they always carry those in their pockets? Or did they expect to have to "prove" to someone who they are and aren't?

--- End quote ---

They were supposed to register at various places before the actual trek began (I believe at least Ivdel, but I need to check whether they were supposed to register in every town or just there.)  The passports may have been for that purpose.   They did not register, as they should have, however.  I think that had much to do with complacency, similar to Dyatlov not filing the route book with the sports club and committee as he was supposed to before the trek began.  At the time, a lot of policies were changing; Kruschev had begun decentralizing power, trying to make the regional parties take on more responsibilities however, that caused a lot of confusion (and never actually happened because like many things, Kruschev enacted a policy but then worked against implementing it.)  There was a lot of confusion at the time over who was actually in charge of what and where and that bled into almost every facet of life.

As to the trade union letter, are you referring to the one for Rustem for him to be released from work to go on the trip?  Yuri Yudin had talked about that they dedicated the hike to the twenty a first Congress in order to get the guys off of work but it resulted in them having a letter with them that indicated everyone was to help ensure the hike went without a hitch, lol.  That one makes me giggle because it is something I think most young twenty somethings would try to do to get off work and go spend time having fun. 

armyeng:

--- Quote from: Manti on March 18, 2021, 07:42:42 PM ---I think the argument against an attack is the sheer remoteness of the area, that it can only be reached via a multi-day ski trip or aircraft, and the presumed white-out conditions that evening/night which would make it harder to find them, at least from the air.

But it does seem to fit the scene, though not really the injuries: some of them were uninjured, other had major trauma that would require more force than being hit with a rifle (Semyon, Lyuda, and to a certain extent Nikolai).However the documents found on the hikers like a passport, or the letter from the trade union... do make me wonder... Did they always carry those in their pockets? Or did they expect to have to "prove" to someone who they are and aren't?

--- End quote ---

I disagree - these types of injuries could easily be inflicted by a few men with rifles or batons stomping/beating. Multiple men stomping or hitting a young female would certainly inflict large damage, break ribs. It would be easy to hit the men who probably stood up in the tent to try and escape in the head because their heads would be poking up.

I dont think this area is as remote as we suppose it is. There were local towns nearby or at least settlements as well as gulags. They were also traveling along the main known access ‘route’. If they were being followed or tracked, attackers could have come from any of these settlements with the attack occurring where the hikers were located that night. 

Because it was an ambush on the tent, it might have only been a few men who took advantage of their best opportunity to maximize injury. The somewhat orderly departure from the camp site seems to suggest the attackers didn’t have the numbers to fully control the group in an open fight. Likely they had rifles which gave them the ultimate advantage when the hikers burst out of the tent to confront their opponents. Likely that some hikers might have slipped away in the dark while only a few continued confronting the attackers. If it was a case of mistaken identify on behalf of the attackers an arguement could have ensued once the attackers realized they attacked the wrong group, which might have given enough time for them to recover their wounded and get away. If the conflict then increased once communication was happening between the attackers and the few hikers in dialogue with them  this could have lead to the last three being ‘pinned down’ near the tent facing back towards the aggressors- if the attackers began shooting at them or decided in the moment to pursue them once they were slipping away.

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