Grozny 1994, a diorama from modelling friend Tomasz Janiszewski
On 22 November, the Provisional Council began preparing their final assault on Grozny. A large group of Russian officers led Chief of General Staff, Mikhail Kolesnikov, flew from Moscow to Mozdok, and the direct supervision of combat operations was entrusted to the deputy commander of Russia's 8th Guards Army Corps from Volgograd, General Gennady Zhukov. A convoy of Russian armoured vehicles entered the territory of Chechnya. The first clash took place 10 kilometres from the border near Tolstoi-Yurt, when a small group of Dudayev's supporters ambushed the convoy and disabled two tanks. On the following day, en route towards Urus-Martan, the convoy was again attacked near the settlement of Alkhan-Kala (Yermolovka) resulting in a loss of another tank.
In spite of this, the pro-Dudayev's forces in Grozny were believed to be unable to organize resistance to such a large-scale attack.
On the morning of 26 November, the Russian and their Chechen allies entered the capital in the motorised columns advancing from two directions, Nadterechny District and Urus-Martanovsky District, supported by several unmarked federal attack aircraft. According to Chechen commander Dalkhan Khozhaev, the coup force in Grozny numbered 42 T-72 main battle tanks, eight BTR-80 armoured personnel carriers, various other vehicles, a number of aircraft, and more than 3,000 men. Russian sources give similar figures of about 40–42 tanks (by one count, 14 of them manned by the Chechen opposition and the rest by Russians), supported from air by six helicopters and six Sukhoi Su-27 air superiority fighters, but give much lower figures of no more than 1,000–1,500 allied Chechen militiamen (including Labazanov's 30 remaining fighters after his militia was defeated at Argun). The attack was met with an improvised but fierce defence by the Chechen government forces and loyalist militias (prominently the battle-hardened Abkhaz Battalion made of veterans of the War in Abkhazia and led by Shamil Basayev) in the city centre, including an ambush near the Chechen presidential palace and the fighting at the State Security headquarters, the railway station and the television centre. Soon the assault turned into a disaster as the defenders burned or captured most of the attacking armoured vehicles, capturing scores of Russian servicemen in the process (mostly after having trapped a large group of them in Kirov Park, Leninsky district), and completely routed the opposition.