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"FM 100-2-2
Field Manual Department of the Army
No. 100-2-2 Wash~ngton,DC, 16 July 1984


Specialized Warfare and Rear Area Support


This field manual is part of FM series 100-2, The SotrietAmy. The other volumes are
FM 100-2-1, m e Sozriet Army: O p a t i o r z s and Tactics, and FM 100-2-3, The SorMet
A m y : Troops, Organization atzd Equipnzent. These manuals cannot stand alone but
should be used interchangeably.
These field manuals serve as the definitive source of unclassified information on
Soviet ground forces and their interaction with other services in combined arnls
warfare. These manuals represent the most current unclassified information and they
will be updated periodically. More information would become a.railable in the event of
war or national emergency.
Users of this publication are encouraged to recommend changes and submit
comments for its improvement. Key comments to the specific page and paragraph in
which the change is recommended. Provide a reason for each comment to insure
understanding and complete evaluation. To send changes or comments, prepare DA
Form 2028 (Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms) and fomard it
to Deputy Commander, USA CACDA, ATTN: ATZL-CAT,Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027.
The cover design is an adaptation of this patch which
is worn by Soviet motorized rifle troops, whose organiza-
tion is representativeof the Soviet combined arms theme.

Quick Reference


INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 DESERT WARFARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
AIRBORNE OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 COMBAT I N EXTREME COLD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
HELIBORNE OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 COMBAT I N CITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 0
AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 NIGHT COMBAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 CONTROL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
RIVER CROSSINGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
MOUNTAIN WARFARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 REAR AREA PROTECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 Communications ................... 3-3
AIRBORNE OPERATIONS ............. 1-1 Loading ........................... 3 - 3
AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 Landing Zones ..................... 3 - 3
SPECIAL OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 The Objective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 - 4

2 AIRBORNE OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . 2-1 4 AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . 4-1

DOCTRINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1 DOCTRINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-1
MISSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 2 MISSIONS AND OPERATING FORCES . 4-1
Strategic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 2 Amphibious Landings .............. 4-1
Operational . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 2 Soviet Naval Infantry ............... 4-1
Tactical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 2 CONDUCT OF THE AMPHIBIOUS
Special . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-3 ASSAULT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 - 5
ORGANIZATION AND EQUIPMENT . . . . 2 - 3 Phases of the Assault .............. 4 - 6
Airborne Units . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-3 Assault Formations ................ 4 - 7
Air Delivery Capabilities ............ 2-3 Weaknesses ....................... 4 - 8
TRAINING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 4
OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-5 OPERATIONS ...................... 5-1
Planning and Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . 2-5 DOCTRINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-1
Air Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 6 MISSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-1
Airdrops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-6 Strategic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-1
Drop Zone Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 7 Operational . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-2
Movement to the Objective . . . . . . . . . 2 - 7 Tactical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-2
The Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 8 UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE
The Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 9 FORCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-2
Linkup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1 0 Agents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-2
Personnel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-3
3 HFLIBORNE OPERATIONS .......... 3-1 EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-3
DOCTRINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-1 TRAINING AND PREPARATION ........ 5-3
MISSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-1 AN UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE
ORGANIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-1 SCENARIO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-3
TRAINING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-2
CONDUCT OF OPERATIONS .......... 3-2 6 RIVER CROSSINGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-1
Planning Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-2 EQUIPMENT AND ORGANIZATION . . . . 6-1
Command and Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-2 TACTICAL RIVER CROSSINGS . . . . . . . . 6-3


Assault Crossing From t h e M a r c h . . . 6 - 3 Tactical .......................... 12-1

Prepared River Crossings . . . . . . . . . . . 6 - 8 CHIEF OF THE REAR AND THEIR
COMMANDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-1
MOUNTAIN WARFARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 1 LEVELS OF COMMAND AND
OFFENSIVE ACTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 1 CONTROL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-2
DEFENSIVE ACTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 2 Strategic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-2
ARTILLERY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 2 Operational . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-2
HELICOPTER EMPLOYMENT . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 3 Tactical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-3
ENGINEER SUPPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 3
LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 3 LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-1
COMMAND AND CONTROL . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 4 CONCEPT AND PRINCIPLES . . . . . . . . . 13-1
AIR DEFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 4 Centralized Planning .............. 13-1
NBC EFFECTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 4 Tailoring of Logistic Units . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 1
MOVEMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 5 Fixed Supply Priorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-1
CONCLUSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 5 Delivery Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-1
Continuous Supply Base Support . . . 13-1
DESERT WARFARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 - 1 Standardization of Equipment . . . . . . 13-1
THE OFFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 - 1 Supply Accountability and Resource
THE DEFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 - 2 Conservation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-1
CAMOUFLAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 - 2 Complete Use of Transportation .... 1 3 - 2
HELICOPTER EMPLOYMENT . . . . . . . . . . 8 - 2 Complete Mobile Support . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 2
LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 - 2 Forward Positioning of Support
NBC EFFECTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 - 2 Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 2
Use of A l l Possible Resources ...... 1 3 - 2
9 COMBAT I N EXTREME COLD . . . . . . . 9 - 1 CENTRAL-LEVEL LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 2
PLANNING AND PREPARATION . . . . . . . 9 - 1 Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 2
THE OFFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 - 1 Resource Management . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 2
THE DEFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 - 1 Logistic Stockpiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 4
LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 - 2 OPERATIONAL LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 4
FIRE SUPPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 - 2 TACTICAL LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 4
ENGINEER SUPPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 - 2 SUPPLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 7
Ammunition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 9
10 COMBAT I N CITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 - 1 POL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 10
DOCTRINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-1 Rations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 1 1
THE OFFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 - 3 Clothing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-1 1
THE DEFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 - 5 Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-1 1
Water Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 12
11 NIGHT COMBAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 -1 Engineer. Signal. Chemical. and
CONDITIONS AFFECTING NIGHT Medical Items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-12
COMBAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 - 1 Supply Distribution System ....... 13-12
EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 - 2 TRANSPORTATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 13
THE MARCH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 - 3 Traffic Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 13
THE OFFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 - 4 Rail Transport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-13
THE DEFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 - 5 Motor Transport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 1 4
TRAINING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 - 6 Weaknesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 - 1 4
12 REAR A R E A C O M M A N D A N D Maintenance Facilities . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 16
CONTROL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 - 1 Vehicle Repair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 16
THE REAR AREA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 - 1 Technical Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 16
Strategic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 - 1 Organizational Maintenance
Operational . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 - 1 Capabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 16
Maintenance Responsibilities . . . . . 13-16 Prisoners of War and Civilian
Recovery and Repair During Detainees ....................... 13-23
Combat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-17 DEVELOPMENTAL TRENDS . . . . . . . . . 13-23
Weaknesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13-1 7
MEDICAL SUPPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-17 14 REAR AREA PROTECTION . . . . . . . . 14-1
Doctrine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13-18 UNIT SECURITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-1
Company and Battalion Medical KGB TROOPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-1
Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13-18 MVD TROOPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-1
Regimental M e d ~ c aSupport l . . . . . . 13-20 MILITARY DISTRICTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-1
Division Medical Support . . . . . . . . . 13-21 CIVIL DEFENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4 - 2
Army-Level Medical Support . . . . . . 13-21 RESERVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-2
REAR AREA SERVICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-22 INDUSTRIAL SURVIVAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-2
Personnel Replacements . . . . . . . . . 1 3 - 2 2 DOSAAF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-3
Civil Affairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-23 GLOSSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Glossary-1
Military Police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-23


This field manual is part of FM series 100.2. T i k amphibious assault operations like those conducted by
.W)zr'et.3nr!1~.It should be i l x d with the other manuals the ITSin the Pacitic and the Allies in North Africa and
in this series, FM 100-2-1 , Thr.W)z$rtAn~(~*: 0pratiorz.q Europe during W'orld K'ar 11. 111recent years, the Soviet
and tactic.^, and FM 1 00-2-3, 7he .Sor r'rtAn?qt: troop.^, naval infantq has been revitalized and reequipped. It
Oq~lizjz~ltzorl ~ i t z f E~izdiptric~t~t.
/ currently has three independent regiments ;tnd one
The term "specialized ~.arfare,"L I X ~in the title of ~lnclerstrengthdivision and is supported by :I growing
this FM, is intended to b e an abbreviated, collective fleet of amphibious ships and small aircraft carriers.
description of combat actions ~vhich,in ITS termi- This elite force trains in joint esercises with airborne
nolog): may be described as "special operations" o r ilnits, and it undoubtedly has an intemention o r pourer
"operations in special conditions." These are arbitrar) projection mission.
categorizations used onljr to describe combat actions t s a varieh of special purpose iulits
The S o ~ ~ i ehave
other than those general forms of Soviet ground forces chat are trained and eqiripped for unconventional
operations and tactics discussed in FM 100-2-1 . I k e of u.arfarc ( I AX') missions. Recause of their political sen-
the tern1 "special" does not imply that the combat sitivih. I'W' activities are managecl at the highest level
;ictions discussed in this FM represent abnormal fonns of govemmel-tt authority. They are directed by the
of operations or tactics. They are all an integral part of Committee for State Securih ( K G B ) and the General
Soviet military doctrine. Special operations include Staffs &lain Intelligence Ilirectorate (CiRIr).
airborne, heliborne, and amphibious operations, and
unconventional Lmrfilre in the enemy rear.
Special operations certainly ~villbe conducted in
AIRBORNE OPERATIONS wartime, atld some of these will play important roles in
During W'orlci War 11, the Soviets gained some peacetime i n t e n t m i o n and power projection beyond
experience with airborne operations in combat. Soviet borclers.
Because they lacked the transport aircraft required for Operations in special conditions include river
large-scale operations. they employed the airborne crossings, mountain and desert \\w-kire, and combat in
troops mainly as infiintr). Since the war, the Soviets extreme colcl, in cities, and at night.
have completely reequipped their large airborne force Soviet ground forces are well equipped and trained
and built a large f e e t of transport aircraft to support it. for river crossings.The Soviets consider the capability
Airborne units played key roles in Soviet intemention to cross water barriers from the march o n a broad
in Czechoslovakia ( 1968 ) and Afghanistan ( 19'9 ). front with minimal delays an essential element in
The airborne force currently consists of seven maintaining a rapid rate of advance in an offensive.
divisions. River crossings are a consistent feature of Soviet field
Heliborne operations are relatively new to the exercises.
Soviets. They ha\,e built an impressive fleet of transport 'VZhile no particular Soviet divisions are identified as
and gunship helicopters and have trained assault being tailored or trained specificalljr for mountain or
troops. Ho~vever.until the Afghanistan intervention. desert ~mrf'are.some di\.isions are suited for combat in
they lacked actual cornkit experience \vith this h p e of these envirolltnents as a result of their base locations.
operation. Motorized rifle o r airborne troops o r ;in air The Soviets undoubtedly are gaining more experience

~ assault brigade assigned to a ,f?orzt, could conduct

heliborne opperations.
in mountain \\.arfare from their increased use of
military force in po\ver projection, such as in
Soviet ground forces also are well prepared for
AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS combat in estremc cold. The majorit). of Soviet
Amphibious operations are primarily the respon- diirisions are located in areas ~ v i t hharsh lvinters.
sibilih of the Soviet naval infantq ( nlarines), a small Rased on their W'orld War I1 experience and
but growing force. Di~rillgWorld War 11, the Soviet recognition of the ~lrbanizltionof Europe, the Soviets
Army and Na\y conducted many amphibious opera- realize that combat in cities \vould be common to most
tions, mainly on river and inland seas within the Soviet militar) operations. 'fheir training reflects this
Union. They have never conducted massive realization.
One of the principles of Soviet operational art ancl Soviet "rear." (;ollecti\.el~~, these elements pro~ride
tactics is the prosecution of combat relentlessl~~, itndcr \vhat, in ITS t e r n ~ i n o l o p ,is called comh;~t senrice
all conditions of ~ ~ i s i b i l i With
h. this principle, the support.
Soviets strive to be capable of continuous combat, Soviet logistics have been inacci~ratelydescribed as
during daylight, o r at night. The Soviets concluct much ;I major ~veaknessin Solriet militar). pow'cr. Soviet
of their training during hours of darkness. forces d o receive effective logistic support, but it is
The last part of this FM dc-als with the organization different in concept and organization from I[S Amqr
and fittlctions of the elenlents which constitute the logistic support.


Since the 19(10s, the So\.iets h;tire given increased Solutions resulted primarily from the Soviet decision
attention to the devclopnient of their airborne cap;[- to deploy nonstrategic nuclear wrapons. Nuclear
bilities. Extensive reequipment of the Soviet airborne strikes \vould pernmit I;~rgeground force formations to
forces has given them increased mobility and fire- 111o\.e rapidlj. into tlie enemy's depth. Today, the
po\\,er. i ; r o ~ ~ nassault
d tactics also have changecl. Once Soviets' huge buildup of conventional weapons has
landed, airborne units can operate as motorized also made possible a massive conventional air, missile,
rifle units. Soviet air transport capabilities have also and artillen. strike to make linkup easier in a non-
been greatly improved. ni~clearivar.
This moclernization prograni is based on tlie Soviet l'lie resolution of the linkup problem resulted in a
principles of tmmobilitj; surprise, and combat activeness. niajor program to reequip airborne units. The 120-mm
Tlmc So\icts view their air1,orne forces as a means t o mortar, the 122-mrnhowitzer. modern antitank and air
carry the into the depths of the enemy's position. defense \\,capons, rocket launchers, and the airborne
'T1icjr believe that :tirhorne forces can and must be ~tscci amphibious iimhtmtr). combat vehicle (BMI)) \vere
\viclely on tlie moclern battletield. added to equipment inventories. The BMD is of par-
The Soviets h;c\,e long recognized the value of an ticular importance. With its deployment in the 1970s.
airborne force. Sovict nmilitiuq, planners, such as airhorne units made significant gains in mobility and
Gener;cl Tukhachevsh~~, foresa\v the value of troops firelx)\\~er.Today airborne units can conduct a broad
lvho could he deployed by air as e;~rlyas the 1920s. On range of combat missions to include many nornmally
August 2. 1950-the otficial "birthday" of the Soviet associated with nmotorized rifle or light armor units.
Airborne-the first airborne exercise i n ~ o l \ ~ i nI2 g The present S n i e t airborne force is formidable. It
men \ras conducteel. Within 0 years, tlie Soviets \\.ere can be delivered to great distances. It is highly mobile,
fielding indepenclent ;cirborne brigades \\hich and can assault a prepared position or a well-armed
included x t i l l e q . armor, antitimk, reconn:ciss;tnce. enemy force. It is also an excellent force to use for
and air transport subunits. HI, the beginning of \Yforlcl power projection.
War 11, the Soviets had 1 i independent airhorne
'l'he Soviets' use of their airl~ornetroops during DOCTRINE
Wforld Wr:cr 11 isas se\.erely restricted for lack of Soviet military doctrine calls for using airborne
aviation assets. Nevertheless, nlore than 50 Soviet forces in both conventional and nuclear environments.
airborne operations \yere conducted during the \ Airborne units are an integral part o f many operations
Most of tlmese operations were stmmall in scale. The large- at army and .fiu)jlt levels. Aerial en\relopment of the
scale oper;ctio& that \vere conclucted Lvere m;crkedhj. enemy has become an important maneuver in modern
poor planning and execution. Questions of theor) and offensive operations. The primary theater \varFxe role
execution concerned Soviet militan' planners for tlie of airhorne units is to support the rapid adlance of a
next LO years. Attention \vas centered o n tlie problenm large conmhinecl arms force deep into the enemy's
of linkup bet~veenairborne units operating in rear depth. Airborne
ol,c~rntiotitil o r o/,c.t-rrtiotz~I-strc~tc~~~ic
areas and advancing ground force ~ttmits. units may be uscd in coi~junctionwith an operational
In an effort to find solutions to the problems of maneuver group ( Obi(; ) during offensive operations.
emplo)ment, the?, s\\.itched control of the airborne Tlme OhlG is a combined arms formation employed in
forces from one conimand organization to another and ;irmy- and,@otrt-level offensive operations to raid deep
increased the available tirepmver. In 19+6, conmmand into the enemy's rear area. The Soviets conducted their
of tlme airborne \%is s\vitclm& from tlme Air Forces to the military cxercise ZAPAIl-8 1 to test "new concepts of
Ministy of I>efcnse, in 1956 to the Soviet (irouncl military science and art." Il~lringthese exercises,
Forces, anti finally in 196i, Iwck to the Mitlistq. of airborne units \vere used extensively in support of an
Ilefense. Tlmc principal \veapons added t o the airborne olxrational timaneuver group.
in\,entoq during the tirst LO post\\,ar years kvere the Tile Soviets also use airborne forces as a means of
A S : - i 7 self-propelled assault gun ( 1955 )and thc ASIT- projecting po\lrer. This \vas demonstrated by their
X i self-propelled ;issaitlt gun ( 1900 ). inmsions of i:zcchoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in
Hou,ever, it is not until the 1900s that the Soviet 1 Y79. In both instances, a major portion o f the Soviet
military bcg;un to x)l\,e the problenms o f force linkup. invasion force consisted of airborne units. Airborne
trOOJ>b;ire \\,ell s ~ ~ i t e cforl s11c11roles. 'Ilie!~ train for Str;itc.gic. m i s s i o n ;ire condi~ctccl against deep
oper;itions in a \,ariet\ of geograpllicd en\,irotlments. t;lrgets I>!. a n airl)orne elitision o r rqirilent. Forces
The). are speciall!. trained to estal,lisli, defend, and from otlier arms ancl scn.ic.cs \\.ill most likely Ix-
expand an ;tirheael. 'Ilicir c q i ~ i p ~ n e nist all air trans- in\,ol\'ecl. linkirp it11 ;icl\'aticing groc~nclforces ma)
portithle. Airborne troops ; ~ l s oli;i\.c lligli political not h e achic\ccl for evcr;tl cl;t!,s. t3ec;urse of the wolx.
reliabilit!.. and clcptli of a str;itegic niission, sill,stantial air c o n ~ b ; ~ t
'To allo\v flexibility in emplo!mcnt, during \\.artimc :und tr;inslx)rt is rccli~irecl.Supplies maiy be air-droplwd
Soviet airborne forces \\.ill be directly s~tborclinateto o r ;iirliftecl to troops o n thc groilncl.
the Su1>remetligh (;om~iiand.\\.ith operiitional control Ohjccti\.es of str;itegic ~l~issiotls ~ O L I I C I I x 11ittio1lal
exercised 1,). the % ) \ k t C;encral Stiiff. Sonic ;iirl>orne capit;ils o r other ;tdn~inistr;~ti\,c-politicalcenters,
units \~.oLIIcI I>e;IIIoc~;I~ccI t o Smriet tl)e;~tcrsof~liilit;in. inclc~stri;il o r economic centers, ports o r maritime
operations ( ' l l l > s ) for .str.rrtc:yir- oper;ttions. Also, units s t n i t s o r air fields. Strategic missions also may IK.
u~oulrlb e allocated tcmporaril! t o So\,ict ,/i'o/l/.s :irid irnclcrt;~kento est;il>lisli ;I ncn. the;iter of operations o r
combined ;w~ils;md tank armies for specific o/)cl)rr- to n e i ~ t r ; i l i ~oen e menlbcr of ;w cncni!. ctulition.
tioruil depth nlissior~s.Other airhorne units \vould b e
retained i~tidertlie c o ~ i t r oof l the Sor'iet Supreme tiigh
(;omtirand for contingencies. Operational
The present locations of four % \ k t airborne Ojxr;ttiot~altnissiotis ;ire controllecl I>!~,f,*o)1t.s;und
divisions generall). correspond t o St)\.iet ~jrartirnc ;trmics. An airborne t,att:~lion, reginlent, o r di\.ision
Europea11 ancl Near Eastern 'Illl)s. h fifth di\,ision is conclucts these missions in conjunction \\ith,/i~))lto r
stationed in tlie vicitlit!, of 3losco\v iund a sixth clivision arm). ojxr;itions. ,4irl>orneunits ancl aviation assets ilre
serves ;LS a triiif-tit~gdivision. ~\dditio~l;iII!,,;in ;iirborfie alloc;ited to tlie ,/ir)ilt o r arm!. from the T\1) o r
division is operating in AfgI1;inistan. S u ~ x e ~ iliigli
~ e (:o~nmancl. I,i~ik~ip \\'it11 acI\.a~icing
Soviet militar). p l a n ~ ~ c consider
rs ;iirborne units to groi~nclforces \\,oc~ld1)e e x j > ~ c t e \\.ithill
d sc\,eral days
b e an extremely valuahle resoilrev t o h e used o r less. 0per;ltional mission ol>jccti\,ca include:
judiciously. (1st. of airborne forces in an operatio11 en en^! tactic;tl nircle;tr \\.c;q,ons and deliver).
depends upon \\.tiether that \voulcl enh;ince the likeli- means.
hcxxi of surl>rise,deep pcnetr;ttion, a11drapid exploita- tl'aclcjuarters o r conlmat-td posts.
tion. These criteria, together \vith the :tchie\.ement of 1,ogistic kicilitics.
at least tcrnporaqr local air superiori t!. and tlie ;r\,aila- (:oii1ln~rnic~;1tio1iht;~cilitics.
b i l i v of airborne and airlift assets, constiti~tetlie main Airfields.
elements in a Soviet planner's decision to conduct an Ports.
airborne operation. Hridgca and otlicr \\.;ttt.r o r gap crossing sites.
X1olrnt;lin p;i.sscs.
0peration;il ~niasions;ilso III;~!. I>e ~111~1ertaken to
MISSIONS block o r to ncirtr;ilizt. enern!. rcscnvs, o r to Idock a
The Soviets categorize airborne missions based o n \\,irhclra\\.ing cllenl),.
t h e depth and importance of t h e objective and the size
of forces involved. There are four categories of 3

missions: Tactical
Strategic. 'f'actical missions ;ire controlled ;it division Ie\,el. hn
Operational. airclrop of ;tirl,or~it troops 111;1!. be ~rsedin a tactical
Tactical. mission, but ;I hclil>ortlc ;isx;ti~lt is preferred. A
Special. helil>ornc force norm:rlly is cotiiprisccl of troops from a
n-totorizecl ritlc I,attalion of the di\.ison. !fo\vevcr,
;iirl>ornc troops alloc;tted from,fir)i~to r ;trm), may be
Strategic i~scclo n r;irc occ;isions. Ilithcr ;I rcinforc.ed company o r
Strategic 11iissions arc cstal,lislied in \\,artinre h!, the ;I Ixittalion co~-tcliictst:ictic;il n~issiona.
Soviet Srlprcmt. tligh (:on>mand ; I I I ~controllecl h?. the 7'.,,c.t'IC.;il ol,jecti\es are:
General Staft l'lie outcome of ;I strategic mission is Nucle;ir \\capons ;111c1cIeli\.eq. IIIC;IIIS.
expected to ha1.c signiticant imp;~ct o n a \\;ir o r (:orn~ll;~~~cl p"ts.
campaign. The use of ;iirborne h r c c s in a po\vcr I.ogistic b;lscs.
projection role is also a strategic mission. (:ornrn~rnic.atiorli r e s .
Airkields. The Airborne Division. Each airborne division has
Kej. terrain such as high ground, bridges, gap three BMD-equipped airborne regiments. Division-
crossings. road junctions, or pasWs. level support elements include an artillery regiment,
Tactical missions also may be ilndertaken to block or an air defense battalion, an assault gun battalion, an
neutralize enem!. reserves, to hlock ;1 withdrabving engineer battalion, a signal battalion, a transportation
enemy, or to attack enernj.forces from the rear or flank. and maintenance battalion, a parachute rigging and
resupply battalion, a medical battalion, a chemical
defense company, and a reconnaissance company.
Special missions, or unconventional \varfare (lJW:) The Airborne Regiment. Each airborne regiment
missions, are probably established by the Soviet consists of three BMD-equipped airborne battalions, a
Supreme High Co~nmandand controlled by,fio)lt and mortar battery, an antiaircraft battery, and an antitank
army con~manders.Company or smaller size units battery. Regimental support elements include an
conduct S L I C ~ missions. Special ( I N ) missions engineer company, a signal company, a transport and
include: maintenance company, a parachute rigging and
Reconnaissance. resupply company, a medical platoon, and a chemical
Neutralization of nuclear \ireapons and delivery defense platoon, and a supply and service platoon.
Sabotage. The Airborne Battalion. Each airborne battalionhas
Deception. three airborne companies. Equipping airborne
Creation of panic in enemy rear. companies with BMDs has eliminated the need for a
Not all airborne units are designated and trained to battalion-lwel antitank battery. Furthermore, the wide
carry out ITW missions. Furthermore, not all I . N distribution of man-portable, surface-to-air missiles
missions are carried out hy airborne units. The KGB, has eliminated the need for a battalion air defense
the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRCI) of the Soviet section. The airborne battalion is designed to provide
armed forces, the g r o ~ ~ nforces,
d and the naval forces command, control, and limited communication,
all have "special purpose" troops trained to carry out supply, and medical support.
lJW missions. ( IM' is discussed in Chapter 5 . )
The Airborne Company. The airborne company
consists of three platoons of BMDs. There are three
I ORGANIZATION A N D EQUIPMENT BMDs in each platoon (one per squad). Besides the
The modernization program has transformed .%\kt heavily-armed BMD, basic weapons of the airborne
airborne divisions into mechanized infantry forces company include modern assault rifles, light machine
capable of seizing defended objectives and of attacking guns, automatic grenade launchers, ATGMs, and
well-armed enemy forces deep in the enerny rear. All numerous RPGs and shoulder-fired surface-to-air
combat equipment of an airborne division is air- missiles. (For more information on organization and
droppable. The BMI) is responsible for the greatest equipment, see FM 100-2-3.)
improvement in airborne combat capability. The BMD
is an air-droppable, amphibious as,uult vehicle with
armament similar to that of the BMP found in Air Delivery Capabilities
motorized rifle units. Ho~vever, some older The Soviet Air Forces Military Transport Aviation
equipment, such as the ASIT-5': assaillt gun and SD-44 (VTA) provides airlift service for Soviet airborne units
antitank feld gun, may still be found in some airborne and air assault brigades. The VTA has a fleet of over 600
units. medium- and long-range cargo transport planes
assigned full-time use. This fleet includes about 370
AN- 12/ClJBs (similar to the US C-130/Hercules), over
Airborne Units 170 IL-76/CANDIDs (similar to the US C- 14 1/Star-
The Soviets perceive enemy tanks and aircraft to be lifter), and over 50AN-22/COCKs (similar to the US C-
the tw.0 major threats to airborne units after landing. 5A).
Accordinglj: all airborne units contain numerous anti- The older, medium-range AN- 12 is the mainstay of
tank and air defense \veapons. The exceptional the WA. This four-engine turbo-prop aircraft can airlift
mobiliq and firepokver of Sioviet airborne units rnake 90 troops or can drop GO paratroopers from two exits.
them a formidable threat to an enemy's rear. It can carry up to 20 metric tons of cargo, but some
large items such as engineer equipment uill not tit in The personnel assigned to airborne units enhance
its cargo area. Each AN-12 can carry two BMDs. the quality of training in those units. Airborne
Transporting a BMD-equipped airborne regiment personnel are carefully selected. Most of them are two-
requires 90 to 1 15 AN- 12s. The AN- 12 can operate on year conscripts who are put through a rigorous
unimproved runways. Its range with maxirnum screening process which emphasizes a high level of
payload is 1400 kilometers. physical conditioning, education and training, and
The AN-12 aircraft are being r t ~ l a c e dby IL-76long- political reliability.
range, four-engine jet transports. The IL-76 can carry Because parachute jumping is a major sport in the
120 paratrtxlpers \vho can jump from four exits, one Soviet Union, many new conscripts are already
exit on each side and hvo exits in the rear. The 1L.-76, experienced parachutists at the time of induction. Pre-
\vith a cargo capacity of 1 0 metric tons, can carry all induction parachute training is atailable through
combat equipment normally assigned to airborne sports clubs and premilitary school programs
forces. Each IL-76 can carry three BMDs. Transporting conducted throughout the Soviet Union by the Volun-
a BMLI equipped airborne regiment requires 50 to 65 tary Society for Cooperation with the Arm): Aviation,
IL-76s. The IL-76 can operate from unimproved and Navy (DOSAAF). Most inductees selected for
runways. Its range u~it1-lmaximum payload is 5300 senice in the airborne forces are sent directly to the
kilometers. regular airborne divisions. 1
The AN-22 is a long-range, turbo-prop. heavy The majority of Soviet airborne officen: are
transport aircraft used mainly for airlandings, as graduates of the Ryazan Higher Airborne Command
opposed to airdrops. The AN-22 can carry 175 troops School near Moscow. Junior oficers are also provided
or SO metric tons of cargo, to a range of 4200 by other higher command (four-year) schools, higher
kilometers. Each AN-22 can carry four BMDs. This technical (three-year) schc~>ls,and civilian univer- f
aircraft is used mainly to transport large items such as sities with r e x n r e officer commissioning programs.
self-propelled artillery, medium tanks, surface-to-air Commissioned graduates of the Ryazan Higher
missile (SAM) launchers, or engneer equipment. It is Airborne Command School usually spend their entire
well suited for strategic operations. senice career in the airborne forces. Active duty
Most \TA aircraft are based in the western USSR senice begins in September or October following
Some AN- 12 units are based along the southern and far their summer graduation and commissioning.
eastern borders of the Soviet Union. The concentration Like warrant officers throughout the Soviet armed
of aircraft in the western LJSSR places the main VTA forces, warrant officers in the airborne forces are
assets near the airborne divisions they would support, selected and sent to warrant officer training schools
as well as positions the force opposite NATO. Never- after being trained and having senred as -noncom-
theless, the VTA is capable of quickly concentrating its missioned officers. Warrant officers serve as platoon
aircraft to support an operation anywhere along the leaders; company technicians, or company first
Soviet borders. sergeants.
During times of military emergent-, aircraft of ~ i r t u a l l yall airborne noncommissioned officers - 1
Soviet civil aviation, Aerrjfi'ot can augment VTA capa- began their senriceas two-year conscripts who demon-
bilities. The civil fleet is equipped with about 1 , 1 0 0 strated high motivation and political reliability. Many
medium- and long-range passenger transports, about are selected for noncommissioned officer training by - 1
2(X) AN- 12s and IL-76s, and several thousand short- the district military registration office at the time of
range transports and helicopters. Am(?flr,t aircraft induction. They are then assigned directly to the
could be used extensively for the airlanding of troops airborne training division for at least 6 months of
once airheads are established. speciali~edtraining. Upon completion of this training,
they are awarded an NCO rank and are assigned to one
of the regular airborne divisions
TRAINING All enlisted conscripts in airborne units ( like almost
Soviet airborne troops are among the best-trained all Soviets youths) have undergone at least 140 hours
soldiers in the Soviet anned forces. The training that of IIOSAAF-sponsored premilitary training either
they receive is physically rigorous and mentally during their last 2 years of formal schooling, or at their
demanding. It is conducted under conditions jobs. Most have undergone DOSAAF premilitary
simulating actual combat. including extensive NBC parachute training, thus reducing the training that
training. Airborne training integrates special airborne conscripts need. <:onscripts receive 4 weeks of basic
techniques with basic motorized rifle tactics. training after which they receim additional instruction
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Drop zones are as close t o objectives aspossible. The Loading is accomplished so that lead aircraft over a
Soviets prefer that DZs be within 30 kilometers of the drop zone carry reconnaissance and securih troops to
final objective. If circurnstancespernlit, drop zones are secure the I>%.The security force is armed to defend
o n the objective itself. against enerny air and armor attack. Main assault forces
The first element is a securit). element and is respon- are loaded so that platoons, companies, ; ~ n dbattalions
sible for eliminating enemy resistance in the DZ. The land with as much unit integritj. as possible.
Soviets try t o conlplete the operation in one flight. For securit) rcasons, airdrops are planned to take
However, if more than one flight is used, the first place at night, whenever possible. llnits normally move
assault wave will contain forward command posts and to departure areas after nightfall. Radio silence is
crew-served air defense and antitank weapons, as well obsemed in marshaling areas and while en route to and
as maneuver units. The second wave will consist at departure airfields.
primarily of support elements. Normally, more than one airfield will be used if more
than one regiment is involved in an operation. Ft-orztcill
aviation and,porzt and army air defense weapons may
Airborne Assault provide air defense for both the marshaling and
departure areas. In an emergency, close-in air defense
Assaults can be conducted up to 500 km from the
FEBA ~n support of Army or front operations could be provided by the airborne unit's \ileapons.
- . -
As a minimum, aviation, rockets and missiles, ground
Preferred b o p zones are w~thin30 km forces incursions, unconventional ~varfare, o r naval fire
of final objective support must gain local air superiority for the
f operation. Recognizing that local air superiority may
DROP ZONE b T v ~ ~ c dror,
a l zones mea- be achitlred for only a short period of time, Soviets
s&e 3 km b y 4 km. prefer to accomplish the airdrop in one flight.
Regiment is allocated
one or two drop zones-
If two drop zones are Air Movement
used, battalion integrity During the flight to the drop zone (DZ) o r landing
will be maintained. zone (LZ), aircraft fly in a formation that insurzs the
proper jump sequence. Commanders and their chiefs
Division uses 4 to 6 drop
of sta@ at battalion level and above are in separate
aircraft to insure that a unit's entire command
structure would not b e lost if one plane were shot
Alternate zones designated for down.
emergency use. The Soi~ietsconsider the air movement phase of an
If circumstances permit, drop zones are on me airborne operation to b e its most \.ulnerable phase.
objective itself They emphasize the necessity for creating a threat-free
ALTERNATE ZONES flight corridor from the departure area to the DZ or LZ.
All along the flight path, fire support assets are targeted i
Flight routes are chosen to minimize flight time to against enemy air defenses. Fighters and fighter- - 1
the drop zone. They also are planned to minimize the bombers escort transport aircraft to protect them from
threat of aerial intercept and ground air defense. enemy fighters and ground fires. Protection of the air
Airborne unit marshaling areas are dispersed to movement phase will be carefully coordinated.
prevent detection of an imminent operation and to Passive defense measures taken during the air
reduce vulnerabilih to nuclear strikes. Conversely, movement phase include conducting movement
marshaling areas must be close enough to departure during hours of darkness, using more than one flight
airfields to make loading on aircraft easier. Normally, route, maintaining radio silence. ar.d flying at low
no more than a company can be expected in any one altitudes. The Soviets also may use electronic warfare
area. measures during air movement.
Airborne troops scheduled for an operation are
strictly segregated from the surrounding population.
Units receive their rnissions in the marshaling areas. Airdrops 9
Having received their missions, unit commanders The Soviets attempt to complete their airdrops
organize their units for loading on aircraft. before dawn. To sirnplifi the airdrop, the Soviets
probably emplo!. only one t?pe of riircr;tft for each 11Z. areas. fio\\.ever, if the airdrop is condt~ctedat night,
The Soviets normall! conduct con11,;1t airdrops at an personnel assemble before occupying predesignated
altit~ldeof 150 to $00 meters. 'lliey cniphasize the attack positions. If the drop zone is not on the ohjec-
necessity to drop at lo\\, ;~ltitutleto t-ninimize the tive, personnel dropped during the hours of darkness
amount of time indivicluals are in the air. I,o\v altitucle :~sscmhleas companies and tnove to battalion assembly
drops also increase the likelihood that ;I n nit's 3reas.
personnel and equipment \\,ill I;lnd close together. If the 11% is unclcr strong enern! attack, personnel
During some training exercises, the Soviets have assemble and move immediately to the I)Z perimeter
conducted personnel clrops as low as 100 meters. but to establish ciefensi\.e positions. I'ersonnel i ~ s eany
there is no indication that such lo\\ altitudes are a\xilahlc H,1.111 to reinforce defensive positions. and do
standarcl. I h e Soviets also h:lvc used stcerithle not sort out the Bhll>suntil after the enemy attack has
parachutes in an effort to increase tiit it integrit).cluring been repelletl.
airdrops. If the I>% is not o n the objecti\,e and battalions
The tirst element to be dropped is a srn;lll reconnais- assemble first, they t q pt o avoid combat \vith enemy
sance and security force. *She main assault force is units. They attempt to evade enemy groutid forces and
dropped at Ic-ast 15 minutes filter. 'Ihe I1MI>sand crc.n,- hide from an air thrcat. If required to actively defend
s e n e d \vc;ipons precede their respective personnel against an air attack, at least one entire platoon per
during the ;tirdrop. company o r one company per battalion is assigneti the
The Soviets li;~\,eseveral rnetliods for dropping c;irgo mission.
by p a r a c h ~ ~ t eEquipment
. ~vcigliing less than $0 The Soviet5 consicicr ;in enemy air attack to he a
kilognmls ( 6 6 p o ~ ~ n d sis) clropped in paddecl serious threat to ;I landed ;tirlrorne force. Hesides the
containers. Equipment \\.cighing up to 1,000 regiment's cre\~.-scrvedarid shoulder-fireel stir defense
kilograms ( 2,200 poirncls ) is securecl to stanclard cargo \\.eaipons, the S o ~ i e t sw.oitld use small arms fire. and
p1;ttforms. Rhll1s. motor vehicles, self-propelled guns. even KPCts, .YT(;IZts, anel the HMI)'s miin gun against air
and other he;ny items rna!Ire s e c ~ ~ r toc dspeci:~Ishock- attack.
ahsor1,ing pl;~tforms;tnci clroppecl !,.;I niulti-par;~chute M'lien an enemy threat against the I)% h;is been suc-
system. Tlie Soviets also use. notishock-;~bsorl,ing cessfully neutralized or suppressed, units move to
platforms \vi th a retro-rocket britking. p;tr;ichu.
te battalion i~ssen11>1!' are;^^ Ioc;~ted either at tlic 11%
I system. ' f i e retro-rocket s?.stem, ~ t s e dextensively to boundaq. or a k \ v h~tndredmeters o~ttsiclethe 11%.
drop Bbll)s, is supposed to ;illon, its cargo to descend If a follorv-on air laneling is planned, the regiment's
five to six times ktster than the multi-parachute system. initial assault force leaves a rear detachment at the I>Z
TLVOground probes, mounted o n diagonal corners of to provide sec~~rit!.and to ;~ssistin the landing of the
the cargo platform, elcctric;~llytire the retro-rocket follo~\.-onforce.
system's explosive charge. 7'he explosive charge The airclrop and reorg;uiizatior~ph;ise ;it the I>% is
detonates \vlien the sensors toc1c.11 the ground and considerecl to I,e the second-most \vlnerable period in
close the electricill circuit an airborne operation follo\ving the air movement
phase. All actions taken at tlic I)% are to clear the I>Z
before ;un enem\. fi)rce arrives.
Drop Zone Procedures
The reconnaiw;lncc :mcl security force's imt-nedi;ttr
mission is t o secure the 11%before the main body lands. Movement to the Objective
'Iliis force, ~vhichcould be up to a company for each A regimental-sized :~irbortieoperation uses three
drop zone ~ ~ s ine da regimental :~irdrop,takes itp defen- predesignatecl batt:~lionassetnhlj. areas o n o r near the
sive positions around the I)%'s perinieter. Of sr)eci;ll b o u n d ; ~ qof the I)%. hlovernent to the final objective
concern are the main enem!. ;ivenues of appro;ich into, most often is niadc in h;~tt;ilionm:lrcli columns along
the I>%. The force also est:ihlisIies listening ancl obser- parallel routes. Battalions may he assigned separate
vation posts tw!vnd the 11% to provide e;lrly \\-arningof final objectives. (:or-npanics and pl;ltoons are often
an appr(~~c11ing enctny. Antitank and air d e f e n x assigned interniediate missions ( r a i d s ) t o he
weapons itre integrated into the perinietcr clefense. accomplished during their niovement to the final
If the main bod!. is airrlroppcci during da!,liglit objecti\,e.
hours, personnel rrio\.e directly t o their predesignatecl Speed and security are the primal?, concerns during
attack positions. Iwt if the drop zone is not o n tfic rnovet-nent to the ol,jecti\-c. Hatt:tlions ~iio\,ein a
objective, personnel assemble in battalion assembly tactical marcll formation as long ;IS possible. Ttiis
formation ;~llo\vsthe battalion t o move s\vikl!. :und still clcdicatcd rcc,orinaiss;~ticc~ l l l i [;lssigncd t o : I I ~ ;lirl,ornc
maintain securit).. A unit in tactical march formation force is the rcconn;lis~uicccornpan). ;kt cli\.isior~le\.el.
establishes f o w a r d , flank. and rear security elerncnts. 'Ihercforc. ;un :tirl>orne I,;itt;llion cleplo!~~ o n c of its
A batt;llion advance guard coulcl b e itp t o ;I rei~lforcecl organic pl;~toons ;ls a rcconn:tiss;tncc ~xltrol.7llis
company in strength. In the m;dn body of any march platoon tn;l!, I1a1.e cngincer o r cltcmical clefensc
formation. attached artillery elements are Ioc;~tedat elerncnts :tttachccl.
the head of the column to a l l o ~ v immecliate 71'l~ereconnaissance patrol in\.estigatcs the trafica-
deployqnent. Antitank weapons a r e Itxated behind the bility of routes, ; ~ n dpossible ambush and ri\,er crossing
;trtillery follo\ved by any attached ere\\.-seneel anti- sites. In the objecti\v area, the reconnaissatlce p;~trol
aircraft \freapons. tries to loc;~tegood battalion assembly arc-as. The
The airborne force tries t o maintain mo\.cment to reconnaissance patrol also ; ~ t t e n i p t s t o gain
the objective even if an enemy force is encoilntcred infortnation o n enetny security outposts, fortifications.
during the march. If possible, they evade enem!forces tank and antit:uik \Yeapons disposition. ancl resemcs.
during the march. If not, they attack the enemjr forcc It1 general, the reconnaissance cletncnt moves
\vith the f o n ~ t r c lsecurity element of the advance i ~ n d e rcover of clarkness using the NiZ.II)'s onboard
guard, but not necessarily \\,it11 the main body. The navigation equipment to assist its movement. It may
decision to deploy the main body depends o n the size operate up to I 5 kilometers in front of the main body.
of t h e enemy force. If tlie force is t o o large t o he Reconnaissance patrols seek t o avoid combat nit11 the
I~anclledsuccessfully bj, the ad\ance guard but small enemy. If ;ttt;~ckedby ;In enemy force, they attempt to
enough to be destroyed quickly by the main body, then break cont;ict and t o continue t o move fon\,arcl.
t h e commander prob;~blp\vill use the main body to Companies o r platoons that have accomplished
attack the enemy. 13owe\,er, if the enemy force is s o intern1edi;ite missions (raids), march to b a t t1' I'1011
large that the commander believes the main body itssembly areas near their hattalion's final ol>jective.
would become decisively engaged in an attack. then h e There they join their battalions in the assa~tlt.
\vould attetnpt to avoid contact and lead the main boclj,
o n an alternate route t o the objective. In this case, the
advance girard \vould b e left in contact \vith the The Attack
enemy. Time spent in hatt;~lionassembly areas is kept t o a
If t h e airborne force is mo\.ing at night, established minimum. Battalion commanders confirm their unit
road netnrorks are used to reach the objective quickl?. strength :&er the road march and raids. and receive
before dakvn. If movement is during the day, the unit enelny situation reports from their reconnaissance
moves cross-country using terrain features to provide patrols. Becailse airborne operations are conducted
concealment i ~ h e n e v e rpossible. Ilitring movement, \vitllin enemy territory ;mci require speed and surprise,
the airborne force keeps t h e radios in t h e "recei\.e Soviet commanclers plan t o conduct operations
only" mode until contact is made with the enem).. In \vithout fit11 personal reconnaissance. After com-
the "receive only" mode, only the commander manders have been itpdated on the situation, they
transmits messages. reline the rnissions of their subordinate and attached
During t h e rnarch, the unit maintains $00-degree units. Plans of attack almost al~vaysinvolve ; ~ envelop-n
acrid ssun.eillance. BMI) anci antiaircraft (,M) gut1 ment o r llanli ;rtt;lck.
cre\vs are given ;in air sector t o keep under constant Offensi\,e tactics of ;tirhome forces are similar t o
sun.eillance. Visit;d sun.eillance is required Ixcaitsc those of Soviet motorized rifle forces. I:nlike raids, the
there is no air defense rad;~rin Soviet airborne units. If ;I attack at the tinal objective usually is conducted to
unit corncs under a strong air attack, the commander ovenvlielm the enemy and t o gain control of an cnemy-
deploys the AA guns. If the air attack is not repillsed held areit o r fr~cilit),.Final objectives most common in
immcdi;~tely.then t h e AA element may b e left in p1;lc.e % ) \ k t airborne esercises a r e river crossing sites, air-
to provide coverage ~ v h i l cthe main body contitli~esits fields, ;lnd mountain passes.
movement to the objecti\re. Before the att;~ck.supporting units are deployed t o
Reconnaissance missions during t h e ground pn)\~icie~ n ; ~ x i r n i support.
ln~ Attachecl ;~rtilIer)supports
movement phase are extremely important, sirice the the airborne imit as it closes in on :In objective.
information rccei\.ed before departure may h e limi ted Engineer elements arc positioned t o niove in quickly
o r perishable. For inliwn~ationon tlie routes of march ; ~ n ds\veep the area of obstacles. Air clefense sections
and enemy fi)rces in the area, the ;iirborne comnl:under are ~ x ~ s i t i o n ew'lierc.
d they can engage attackingenemy
scncls out his reconnaissance teitlns. Ho\vevcr, the only aircraft o r helicopters.
Hatt;~lionsnormall!. depart assembl!, areas in pre- :u-rcl r e s e n c securit). eletnents as well as any air defense
battle formation. 71'l~isconsists of three compvnics cre\+,s situ;ited around the airfield. The engineer
arrayed in a line, \+.eclge, or echelon. (:ompan) ;~ttachment clears the airfield of enemy-emplaced
prebattle formation consists of three platoon columns mines. Iluring the attack, the main force takes the
1vitI-r 150 to LOO meters bet~veencolumns. control tower ;ind destroys the airfield security force.
Attack formation norm;~llyis assumed within 1000 In securing a mountain pass, the airborne unit
meters of the objective, b ~ s~lbullits
~ t try to get 21s close designates as its objective the key terrain surrounding
as possible before dep1o)ing. A b o ~ LOO ~ t fneters is tl-re the pass. Soviet commanders tailor their force size and
n-rinimum distance for deployment into attack composition to the size and availability of drop zones,
formation. as \%,ell as to the difficulty of movement on
Platoons in a company attack formation deploy wit11 mountainous terrain. The Soviets plan t o drop only a
a 50-meter i n t e n d between squad RMl)s, and a 50- to battalion o r smaller-sized i~t-riton each DZ in the
I o h n e t e r i n t e n d bet\veen platoons. The maximum mountains. They also expect more injuries due to the
attack frontage for at1 airborne company would be 500 ruggeclness of the terrain. In some areas, BMDs will not
meters. he used in the airborne operation. Also, the Soviets d o
Before receiving the signal to attack, BMD radios are not plan on using attached :irtillery in every mountain
in the "recei\,e only" n-rode. Only the company com- operation.
mander and platoon leacler can transmit messages. I)rop zones may be closer to the objective and
Once the attack begins. :ill radios can transmit and located o n several sides of an objective to compensate
receive messages. for the decreased speed of movement in the
If the enemy is estimated to be weak-especially in n-rountains. If the IlZs are not Itxated near the
antitank \veapons-the airborne force may attack in objective, the S o ~ i e t splan to move only o n roads to
one echelon \\it11 personnel nloi~ntecfin their RMIIs. reach the objective area. Finally, the Soviets rely more
Ho~vever.if the enemy is considered to be strong, the 011 radio c o r n m u ~ c ; ~ t i o nin
s the mountains even
airborne force most likely \voi~ld attack in hvo though radios are less reliable in such regions.
echelons Fvit1-r personnel dismounted. Ilismounted
personnel adwnce between the HMIls and could
either precede or follo\v them. The I3MDs fire from The Defense
short halts. Once a Soviet airborne regiment o r battalion has
In a night attack, the company commander gives the seized an objective, its mission is to defend the
platoon leaders an azimuth upon \vhicI-r to advance to ol>jective ~lntilthe arrival of Soviet forces advancing
h be set on the direc-
the objective. The. a z i r n ~ ~ twill from the front line. In almost all cases, they use a 360-
tional gyrocompass onboard the BMDs to guide each degree perimeter ctefense. Whether the defense is
platoon o n its direction of attack. establishecl in depth o r with all unitsfonvard, depends
k i z u r c of a river crossing site hpicall). takesplace in upon the enemy threat and the terrain. If the com-
the same manner. Hokvever, the commander adjusts mander puts maximum po\ver fornard, he maintains a
his plans to ;~ccountfor the peculiarities of the mission. small t-r-robile resene. For a regiment, this reserve
' f i e reconnaissance patrol's mission is modified to would l x no more than a company. A b a t ~ d i o ndefense
include fincling s~litablecrossing sites so that units can d n o more than :I platoon-sized element in
\ v o ~ ~ lkeep
be deployed to seize key terrain on both sides of the reseme.
river. <:omhat engineers also scout the riirer to deter- 1)efensii.e positions are built on a series of subunit
mine its depth ancl u.icitl-r, speed of the current, river strong points. A company is assigned a strongpoint
bottom characteristics, existence of floating obstacles \\+thin ;I hi~ttaliondefensive position. The company
and rnines, riverbank composition and slope, and ma! establish a defense in depth or a defense with all
approaches on the ri\,er's far hank. Subunits also ;ire platoons f o r \ ~ i r d .The company commander designs
designated to prc\.cnt the enemy's destruction of the cfefensive position so that groi~nd;ivenues of
bridges or ferries during the attack. :~p~xo;~cl-r ;ire hea\.il!. defended by antitank weapons.
An airfield protx~blywould be seized using two He places shoulder-fired air defense \veapons forward
directions of att;~ck.IIuring the attack, ~lnitsremain of the perimeter. The air defense sections are located
mounted in HhII>s as long as possible. In the attack o n high ground so that an enemy air threat can be
plm. commanders designate units to seize the control challenged before it reaches the company's position,
to\ver. I>( )I. storage are;ls, ancl any radio beacon to\+.ers. or in the case of helicopter gi~nships.\\.hilt. it is firing
In addition, designated ~lnitsattack the enemy's main frorn a dist;~nce.'The company commander places
obstacles anci ;untit;rnk \\,e;ipons in inten.als het\\,een 1)uring the dcfensi\.e bi~ttle,enem). tanks are gi\,en
plattx)ns as \vet1 as het\veen his comp;tny ;tnd ;ldj;tcent target priority. The Soviets engage arrilor at ~ n ; ~ s i r n i ~ m
companies. ranges \vith all a\,~tilableitntitank \\~eapons.The SojFiets
A coml>;~n)~'sciefensc is built ;tround a series of seek to awid having a BMI) engage a tiink one-on-one.
phttxm strongpoints. These strongpoints are q7proxi- The individual Soviet soldier is trained to conduct
matcly -tOO meter:, across. H!kiI)s ;we placed LOO "11:und-to-hand combat" against tanks. Firing from
meters apart kvitl~in e;tcIi platoon position. For prone positions, soldiers i ~ s cautomatic \ve:pons fire
protection, are p1;tccd in hi111 clcfilade o n the to destroy an enetny tank's ohsenation devices. U h e n
reverse side of hill slopes. <;olnp:rn!~ commanders a tank comes within 8 to I 0 meters, a soldier jumps up
clesignate both priman. and alternate platoon and throws a grenade at the tank. If the tank is
defensive positions. In turn. platoon ci)ml-uanders damaged, he shoots the crew as they exit the vehicle.
designate both prim;tn and alternate positions fbr Ambush sites may be created o n primar). avenues of
their squads. approach approximately 5 kilome&rs from the main
The company commander prepares a company fire clefensive perimeter. Platoon-sized rtmbushes may be
plan that insures the entire company defensive arca is em~>loyedin a role similar to that of a con~eringforce.
covered by interlocking tires. Intenxls hct\\.een the The location of an ;~mbushis chosen to facilitate
company and flanking companies arc also covered by attacking an enemy as it crosses :I naturitl defile. The
fire. *lbeplan inclt~desprim;tr). ;uld alterlute ;~zimuths enemy route into the ambush is mined so that 1e;td and
of fire for the platoon's prim;^ ;tnd alternate positions. rear elements of the enemy march ti)rtnation are
In the fire plan, sqrlads are numlwred from 1 throi~gh9 destroyed so as to block exits from the dcfi le. Mine
so that the company commander can control his ~lnit's explosions are the signal to open tire. Lead tanks are
defensive fires dojvn to squad level. the prin.~ar).targets in the ambush.
The c o n ~ ~ a commander
nf may s p e c i e one platoon The unit conducting it11 anibush a\,oids decisive
to provide air defense coverage for the company. If a engagement wTiththe enemy. Once the commander
platoon receives such a mission, it concentrates all of has made the decision to \\.ithdran., the unit moves to
its weapons on an air threat ~ v h e ndirected to d o so by its previously p r q a r e d defensive position on the
the company commander. This platoon eflfort supple- objective.
ments the air defense tires of the SAM section.
IJpon receiving the prirnar).azimuths of fire from the
company co~nm;tnder,platoon commanders lay each Linkup
BMD using the onboard directional g?rocompass. 'nle Airborne units either await a linkup \vith friendly
platoon comtnander indicates terrain features to be forces o r Aght their ~ v a yback to friendly lines. 7'0
used as the RhlD's lateral limits. The RMDs are placed accomplish linkup, the airborne unit sends its recon-
in hull defi1;ide approximatel!, LOO meters apart and 50 naissance element to meet advancing ground force
to 100 meters to the rear of squad personnel. Squad units. T h e reconnaissance e l e m e n t provides
l n e l n k r s prepare prone firing positions to raakc them- information o n the best ;tppro;tches into the area, the
selves less \ulnerable to enemy or friendl!, tire. ' f i e security situation on the objecti\,e, and the enemy
platoon co~nrnancferlocates MY; ;tntit;lnk gren;~de situation. Once linkup has been completed.
launchers benveen the BX11)s. The Kl'Gs are also oper;~tionalcontrol o f tile airborne unit returns to the
assigned sectors of fire. fi.otlt o r n11.


Helibome operations have been a part of Soviet objecti\res are mountain passes, bench exits. desert
m i l i t q doctrine since the 1900s. 711e I T S airmobile oases, crossroads, or other featitres ~vhosedenial to the
experience in Vietnam incre;aed Soviet interest in the enemy will make the overall maneuver plan eilsier.
combat uses of the helicopter. Heliborne operations in ffeliborne units also can block enemy attempts to
Soviet ground force maneuvers increased during the break out of an encirclement or to reinforce a meeting
1970s. Such operations now are standard in military eng;tgement.
exercises. Since early 1980, Soviet forces in tfeliborne units also can he inserted into the enemy
Afghanistan have been conducting heliborne rear area for reconnaiss;lnce ~nissions.Small reconnais-
operations in combat. sance units may he inserted with light arr-nored
The Soviets appreciate the tactical advantage of vehicles. In the Soviet rear area, heliborne units can
heliborne operations-rapid nuneuver of combat perfornm rear area securih missions. lliey can screen,
tr(n)ps, ~lnconstrainedby obstacles on the ground. delay, o r defend against ;in enemy approach to a
When compared to parachute drops as a means of \.~~lnerableflank.
inserting troops, heliborne operations require less Ambushes, raids, sabotage, and d e c e p t i o n
training and can penetrate enemy air space at a low operations are exarnples of other missions suited to
level. On the other hand, availabiliqand capabilities of heliborne opentions. Ilelibome units also can lay and
helicopters limit the size, scope, and frequency of clear mines in the enemy rear. In World War 11 during
heliborne operations. the forcing of the enemy Dnieper river defenses, Soviet
forces inserted company-sized units by parachute into
German division rear areas on the f;~rside of the river.
DOCTRINE On the Ihieper, the enemy was hard-presseci from the
Theoretically, by day o r night, Soviet heliborne units front and was iinable to provide adequate rear area
are inserted in enemy territory, 50 kilometers or more security. The result was that enemy combat support
forward of the line of contact. How7ever,Soviet descrip- activities were disrupted at small cost to the St)\iets.
tions of practice operations imply that the -assaultforce On other occasions, a disproportionately large enemy
is iauillly of battalion size or smaller, is assigned an force was diverted from the front to deal with a rear
objecthrewithin range of Soviet divisional artillery ( i.e., area threat. In comparable situations today,
within about 15 kilometers of the line of contact ), helicopters could be L I ~ W to ~insert combat units into
operates in daylight, and links up with an advancing the enenly rear area rather than parachute drops. In
friendly force within hours. support of deception operations, helibome units can
Battalions of motorized rifle regiments are trained be ilsecl to represent larger fi)rn~ationsin feints,
for helibome operations employing helicopters from demonstrations, and ruses.
arniy o r .fir>r?thelicopter regiments.

MISSIONS Motorized rifle battalions are tailored for heliborne
Typical rnissions for a heliborne operation are operations and probably ~ ~ o be~ selected ~ l d from a
neutralization of enemy command, control, and division's second echelon o r combined arms reserve.
conlmunications facilities; seizure of critical terrain The tailoring eliminates asscts not mission-essential.
such as an opposite shore of a river crossing site; The battalion antitank platoon may be augmented. A
pursuit of a withdrawing enemy; attack enernydefense sapper company, an anti;~ircraftbattery, and a battery
positions from the rear; neutralization o r disruption of of tokved artillery may be attached. Rear service
tnemy combat support o r combat semice support personnel rnay be attached to the force to deal with
elements; or deception. The Soviets expect the supply of a n ~ n ~ u n i t i omedical
n, supplies and treatment.
helibome force to be threatened by superior enemy and any special problems for a giwn operation, s i ~ c has
tirepower and mobility after landing in the enemy rear. supply of drinking water.
Therefore, the assault force generally requires external Some light armored or ~vheelcd\sehicles can be
fire support and early linkup if it is to Ix recovered. included in the force for use as missile carriers and
A typical helihorne mission is the seizure of a bridge- reconnaissance vehicles A1 hli-(>/HOOK l ~ e a \ y
h a d in support of a river crossing. Other possible transport helicopter is required to lift most of these
vehicles. 'lhe number ofhli-0 sorties ;t\ailal>le\\-ill liriiit mission. 'l'he lift c;tp;tl>ility is degr;tcJecl seriously as
the number of \,chicles. U'itll all aitgmentations ancl temlwrature or ;tltitttdc ittcreases.
deletions cotlsidered (particularl!. cleletion of AI'(:s W'c;tlx)tis, supplies, ;tncl key personnel arc spread
and most other battalion t.chicles), the battalion throitghoitt the l ~ ~ l i c o p ttei ~
r r c eso that the oper;ltion
heliborne force could contaiti o \ r r 500 troops. \\.ill not bil hecause of;( fen. unlitck~.losses among the
'Transport helicopters from either the ;tssault helicopters.
helicopter regiment or the tr;tnsport helicopter An ;ws;iitlt itnit once or1 the groiund in the enemy rear
regiment can be usecl for helibome operations. HINI) area rn;i!. I>e att;tckecl from ;in!. tlirection by sitperior
attack helicopters are capable of c : ~ r ~ ) . isotile
t ~ g troops enemy forces. It is likel! to require more external Are
but are nornmlly not i ~ s e din that role. sitp1x)rt than a motorizccl rifle unit of similar size in
st;tnclard configuration. 'llic groitt~cl force is in a
tet~i~oits siti~;itioticoncerning resuppl!,. 1)ilring heavy
TRAINING cngagemcnt at close qit;trters. t l ~ ebasic load of
Soviet motorized rifle troops require a minimum of ammunition can be cshausted \.eg. quickl!:
one day's training in prepar;~tion for helibornc
operations. Individual companies require 2 to -t hours
t o practice loading and unloading procedures. Six or Command and Control
stTen hours are required to re11e;trsc the actions in the A division commander is the lokvest ranking ground
departure area before embarkation ancl those :actiotls force oficer likely to order :1 helihonle operation.
required after landing. Training stresses antitank I+-otit o r army cotnrnanders may order ;I heliborne
tactics and other pertinent aspects of dismounted operation dralving o n the assets of a motorized rifle or
combat as well as set routines for troops in aticl around airborne division. In 311). case, ;irnly and ,f,r)tzt will
aircraft. Mockup helicopter fuselages may be used and know of and appro\.e tile operation in advance.
certain individuals may receive :tdditional specialized 'The comtnander of the Iielihorne force \vill Ix the
training in tlie tasks of loading ;itid secilring t)i~lky comm;~nderof the battalion. comp;tn!?, o r other units
items in the helicopter. forming the Ixtsis for the ass:lult force. The gn,und
A battalion or company helihorne ;wsault is a h r c e comm;lnder is responsible h)r preparation and
standard practice in field training exercises at di\ision positioning the trtnlps ii)r lo;~ding.He shares with the
level and above. In 1978,Exercise HEREZINA inclucied aviation comnlander the decision to proceed with the
a heliborne operation that employed :I mix of Mi-WHIP landing, based o n their assessment of tlie situation at
and Mi-(,/HOOK helicopters to land a motorized rifle the landing zone. After the landing is made, the ground
battalion in the enemy's re;tr. force commatlder is solely responsible for conducting
the operation.
W'hile the grouncl force commander may be able to
CONDUCT OF OPERATIONS refine the .scheme of tn;ttleitr,er, most of the decisions
required for the operation ;is ;I \vliole \+.ill have been
Planning Considerations made by higher authorit). The operations plan is
Helibome operations in the otfense exploit fleeting followed as closely as possible.
opportunities. In the defense, they counter t11re;its >lost helibome operations require at least a
\vhich suddenly materialize. I-ieliborne pl;innitig has to squadron and possihly a regiment of transport
b e rapid, thorough, and flexible. Planning begins with helicopters. Tl-tese units belong to either the army or
the selection of the objective. The responsible com- fiurrt. The ;t\.iation conim;lnder's responsibilities
mander designates the objectives, one or more inclitde proper 1o;iding of troops and c;irgo in the pick
helicopter landing zones at o r near the objective, and a it17 zone and navigation and tactics in the air. The
departure area for the force. ground and air cotnmander for the operation nornlally
1)uring the oper;ttions, helicopters shoitld spencl ride in the same helicopter. ~vhiletheir respective
only a minimum of time in any one place. They Ltre par- deputies ride in another helicopter. Ground and air
ticularly tv1ner;ible \+.hen stationar),, either o n the officers work o ~ t tcotlflicts in the mission planning
ground o r hovering in the air. The pickitp ;111t11;tncling process by negotiation. \vitli appeal to higher authority
of the assault force must he accomplished quickl!.. in case of disputes. Air liaison officers in ground units
withoitt cotlfusiot~. help the aviation commander to identify the best
The lift capabilih. of t-acli helicopter is a v;triahle approach and departure routes, and coordinate the
depending on air density encottntrred during the helicopter activity with ground force air defenses.
The gmuncl force radio net interlocks \vith the cargo is placed 1 0 to 15 meters from the expected
aviation net. An airborne command post may be used position of the helicopter receiving cioor. I'ersonnel to
to relay cornmunic;~tionsfrom the assault unit on the be loaded form in a single colunln at a similar distance.
g r o ~ ~ nhack
d to its parent itnit. Minimal radio trans- The senior man present, normally ;I s q i ~ a dleader
missions :we ;I standard So\.iet procedure. Prearranged sergeant, identifies hirnself;~ndthe cargo to be loaded.
code v+.ords keep transmissions short and uninfor- He provides a ~vrittenrnanifest sho\ving the helicopter
mative to the enemy. Color coded signal flares and number and the cargo \\.eight by item. ffelicopters
smoke are ~ ~ s e d . designated for the most time-consuming loading
olxrations land first.
If the cargo consists of equipment or supplies, the
Loading helicopter commander checks the rnanifest and
The departure ;uea is located approximately 2 0 orders, "Begin loading." \Y'hen he has inspected and
kilometers behind the line of contact to avoid enemy approved the positioning of the cargo inside the
artillery fire. The departure area is large enough to aircraft, he orders, "Begin lashing." Personnel to be
allow troop dispersal. It contains subareas for transported are marchect into the aircraft and are
helicopter pickup, disposition of troops, and itnits checked for proper seating by the senior ground force
preparing to embark. The departure area is located repre.wntative and the helicopter cre\v. While in the
where it can be ni;akecl from enemy observation by helicopter, the ground forces personnel follow the
protective features of the terrain, and by camouflage instructions of the helicopter commander.
and dispersal. Units which cannot be completely
hidden from enemy reconnaissance should appear as
snlall reserve or second echelon units. Landing Zones
The pickup zone is located as close as possible to the The heliborne force lands on its objecti\re if l>ossible.
disposition area to minilnize delay and confusion en If not o n the objective, the landing zone should be as
route to the helicopters. A unit may move from its close and as advantageo~~sly placed ;LS possible, but
disposition area to a short-term waiting area closer to outside direct fire range of a clefended objective. There
the pickup zone. The waiting area also is canlouflaged will be at least one alternate landing zone and possibly
and allows for troop dispersal. It can be used to m~tltiplelanding zones for subunits of the force.
distribute special equiplnent and to receive specialist The heliborne force commander is limited in his
personnel attached to the force for the operation. ability t o reconnoiter lanciing zones and routes to the
The force is prepared to load before the helicopters objective. Ilsually he must depend on maps, aerial
arrive. While waiting for the helicopters, the com- reconnaissance. and human sources such as prisoners
mander briefs his subordinates and joins the political o r line crossers. The terrain in question is likely to be
deputy in exhorting the troops. The commander's final beyond reach of ground reconnaissance patrols. Too
briefing includes recognition signals to be used o b v i o ~ ;in
~ s air reconnaissance jeopardizes the chance
hetween subunits and the plan for linking up with of surprise. Minutes before the landing, an armed
friendly forces. Staff officers responsible for communi- helicopter or otlier aircraft perfornis a final reconnais-
cations and other services brief the force chief of s t s . sance of the landing site.
The chief of staff has prepared and coordinated a In selecting the landing zone. there are hazards to
detailed list, approved by higher authority, ofu~liatwill consider \vhich may not he reflected on maps or aerial
be loaded into each helicopter. photography. The greatest danger is that the enemy,
The helicopter crew, having prepared the aircraft in either through a c l ~ l n c lino\\,ledge
e oftllc mission o r by
advance t o receive its assigned load, supervises the chance, u7illb e in position to defeat the operation and
loading process. For palletized cargo, the center of \vill exploit his advantage hilly. Another hazard may be
gravity is chalk-marked o n the cabin floor. For bulky undetected changes in the NH<: situation in the
items such as artillery pieces. unnecessary obstruc- landing zone and the objective. L i ~ ~ s epacked
ly snow,
tions are removed from the cabin of the helicopter. sand, or dust driven by rotor \msh can obstruct pilot
The helicopter crew provides the \\,inches, booms, vision. Snow can hide hazards such as boulders and
ladders, ramps, chocks, lashing material, and any other cre\.;lsses in the landing zone. The firmness of the
items required for loading. grounci, o n \vhich the force artillen. ciepioyrnent may
'The ground forces provide the labor for loading depend, can change rapidly \vith precipitation o r
cargo into the helicopters. Specialists of the rear tempcraturc cl~ilnges.In thc tundr;~.thaving creates a
services attached for the mission may be used. The bog on top of the penii;ifrost \ rock-hard soil
existed ;i short time 1,efi)rc. If ;I sllortagc of suitable the I;~irncIiers ~uncl giricl:~ni.c\,c.hicles from ;uml>ilsh
terrain for I;unding exists, troops ciun I,e unlo;~dccl1,). \\itIiout attacking the enel~ly'sgarrihon fitcilit!.. 'l'hc
~aing rope ladders, 1)). rappelling, or I,).simpl!, jumping schelne of nn;ineln,cr \\-ill I x ;q>pro\,ecl,if not clict;~tcd.
from ;I Ino\.ering helicopter. I>! higher autliorit]\~.0nc.e the oper;~tionbegins, the
While the operation as a whole may rely heavily on heliborne ti)rce cotnm;~nclcrma!. retine t lie sclie~iicof
air and artillery support, the assault force primarily m;incu\.er if necess;lr!., I>ilt m;~kes;is feu. clialiges as
suppresses the enemy forces in the landing area. ~~ossil,le. In exercises, the mission ends \\,it11 the :irri\.;~l
Helicopters at the landing zone c w e r the off-loading of ;I tiiendl!, groilncl forcc. t;s;~mplehsuggest tli;tt the
operation with antitank guided missiles, free flight s ~ ~ n ~ i01'\ ~the
a l ;iss;~i~lt
force m;i!. not I,e rcclirirecl for
rockets (both antipersonnel and antiarmor), and s~~cccssf'i~l ;~ccomplishnlc.ntof tlic tilission.
machine gun and small arms fire. \Yrhile c;~cIiphase o f the oper;~tionis b~rilto n the
Iroops le;ive the helicopter on order of the success o f the pre\.ious phase, the most critical
helicopter cre\s commancler. I'roccdi~res are tightly ~ ~ ~ o m eoecirr
n t s in the nlo\,ement from the 1;uncling
regimentetl to get the troops ;inel cargo ;I\KI!. ti-om the zonc to the ol,jective. It1 man) sitil;itions, c\~er?-tliing is
aircraft and a\\.;~yfrom the 1;uncling zonc n.itlioi~tdel;~).. st;tked o n the success of the initial assaitlt on the objcc-
ti\.c, made bcforc the enemy re;tcts to tlic p r e c n c c of
the Iteliborne force. 1
The Objective After seizing its ol)jc.cti\,e, t l ~ eassault fi)rcc est;ih-
'The objective normally is cspressecl in term5 of lislles :I perimeter defense to i t \ ~ t ilinktlp.
t A motorized
terrain to 1,e secured o r ;ui enemy ~ l n i tto I,e neutm- rifle hattalion in helihorne ; ~ s s i ~ ioperations
~lt cannot
Iized. Ideally, it sho~rldhe rel;itivcly sm;~lland lightl), he self-sustaining. Tlie plannecl time to linkup tlorm;ill!.
defended, and lni~\~c easy access. For cx;umple, ;m enem), is 2 t o 3 ho~lrs.
tactical missile ~ l n i ma),
t be ncutralizccl by destroying


Soviet military strategy currently recognizes the inflicting loss or damage in enemy rear area facilities
importance and complexity of amphibious operations. Itxated near a coast, and for diversionary operations.
During the 1950s, the Sovietsdenied the militaryvalue The mval infantry force employed normally would be a
of amphibious assaults because of the potential effect battalion, company, o r platoon.
of nuclear weapons on an assault force. The Soviets re-
evaluated their position in the early 1960s and re-
activated the Soviet Naval Infantry in 1964,which now Soviet Naval Infantry
consists of approximately 12,000 men. It has the crpa- The Soviet Naval Infantry can be expanded quickly in
bility to conduct tactical landings with highly mobile wartime by mobilizing trained re~ervistsand reserve
forces, air cushion vehicles, and landing ships. equipment. The Naval Infantry is organized into units
which are subordinate operationally to fleet com-
manders. The organization of naval infantry units is
MISSIONS A N D OPERATING FORCES similar to that of motorized rifle units. There are cur-
rently three naval infantry regiments and one division.
Amphibious Landings
The Soviets categorize amphibious landings
depending on the scale of the landing. The&

categories are strategic, operational, tactical, and ,
reconnaissance and 'ahot& landings. Secondary
missions, such as coastal defense, may also be assigned. FLEET
Northern 1 regiment
Strategic Landings. Strategic landings support
theater forces in opening up a new area of military Baltic 1 regiment
operations. This landing would call for the employ- Black Sea 1 regiment
ment of a multidivision force, with appropriate naval
and air support. The Soviets have never conducted a Pacific Ocean 1 division
strategic landing.

Operational Landings. Operational landings are Naval lnfantry Regiment. The naval infantry
made to assist ground or naval forces in a coastal region regiment consists of three naml infantry battalions, a
to surround and destroy enemy ground or naval units tank battalion, and several specialized support
in that area. The Soviets call this a "maritime front." companies. It has a strength of about 2,000 men. Its
Landings of this scale might entail the landing ofa naval organization is similar to the motorized ritle regiment
infantry regiment as the first echelon. Other missions except that the tank battalion has a mix of medium
would include the seizure of major islands or a group tanks and PT-76 amphibious light tanks. The naval
of islands, naval bases, and other important coastal infantry regiment does not have an organic artillery
objectives. This is believed to be the primary role of the battalion, but does have a multiple rocket launcher
Soviet Naval Infantry today. battery. It also receives artillery support from the naval
gunfire ships of the amphibious task force.
Tactical Landings. Tactical landings are conducted
to strike at the rear area or flank of any enemy force Naval Infantry Battalion. The basic unit of the
along a coastline, o r for seizing islands, naval bases, naval infantry regiment is the naval infantry battalion.
coastal airfields, ports, and other objectives on an The battalion is made up of three naval infantry
enemy-held coastline. The naval infantry force companies, a mortar platoon, an antitank platoon, and
employed could be a battalion or larger, operating supporting supply and maintenance, medical, and
indenendentlv or with ground force units.
con~municationsunits. In all, the battalion numbers
about 1 0 0 men. This unit, reinforced, constitutes the
Reconnaissance and Sabotage Landings. These basic amphibious attack force in the assault landing-
landings are conducted for reconnaissance, for the battalion assault force (BAF).
Soviet Naval Infantry Regiment 1

I I i
58 70 57 36
4 x ,2511-23-4 3 x K-61 2 x BTR-6OPA/B 3 x BRDM-2CBR Recon
4 x SA-SIGASKIN 63 x AKM 53 x AKM 3 x ARS-12U Decon
52 x AKM I 3 4 x AKM

74 39 57 27
60 x AKM 38 x AKM 3 4 x AKM 23 x AKM

*Total Personnel (Approx~mate) 1

Equipment Total Equipment Total
T-54/55 Medium Tank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 4 ARS-12U CBR Decontamination Vehicle.. . . . . . . . . . .. 3
PT-76 Amphibious Light Tank .................. . 4 4 82/120-mm Mortar .......................... . 9
BTR-6OPA/B Amphibious APC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I 1 1 RPG-7 Antitank Grenade Launcher.. . . . . . . . . . . . . ..90
BROM Reconnaissance Vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 SA-7/GRAIL SAM Launcher ................... .27
AT-3/SAGGER BROM ATGM Launcher. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 SPG-9 73-mm Recoilless Antitank Gun . . . . . . . . . . . .. 9
BRDM-2 C8R Reconnaissance Vehicle .......,..... . 3 AT-3/SAGGER Manpack ATGM S e t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 9
BM-21 122-mm Multiple Rocket Launcher.. . . . . . . . . . 6 RPK 7.62-mm Light Machine Gun ............... .90
2811-23-4 SP Quad 23-rnm AA Gun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 AKM 7.62-mm Rifle ....................... . I 5 2 1
SA-9/GASKIN SAM Launcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 SVD 7.62-mm Sniper Rifle .................... . 2 7
K-61 Tracked Amphibian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
NOTE: The AKM rifles and the RPK light niach~neguns have now been replaced by the new AK-74 and
RPK-74 5 45-mm weapons
Soviet Naval lnfantrv Battalion - --

409 *

t I I 1
12 5 16 27
1 x BTR 6OPA/B 5 x AKM 16 x AKM 26 x AKM
3 x AKM
103 - 3 x
82/120-mm Mortar
2 x BTR 6OPA/B
10 x BTR 6OPA/B
3 x SA-7/GRAIL 1 x BTR 6OPA/B 3 x AT-3 SAGGER Manpack
9 x RPG 7 9 x AKM 3 x SPG 9
3 x SVO 19 x AKM
9 x RPK
68 x AKM
'Total Personnel (Approximate)


Equ~pment Total Equipment Total

BTR 6OPA/B Amphibious APC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 3 4 SPG-9 73-mm Recoilless Antitank Gun ............ . 3
82/120-mm Mortar ........................... 3 SVD 7.62-mm Sniper Rifle ...................... 9
SA-7/GRAIL SAM Launcher ..................... 9 RPK 7.62-mm Light Machine Gun ................27
RPG-7 Antitank Grenade Launcher. ............... 2 7 AKM 7.62-mm Rifle ......................... 2 8 2
AT-3/SAGGER Manpack ATGM Set.. .............. 3
NOTE: The AKM rifles and the RPK light machine guns have now been replaced by the new AK-74 and
RPK-74 5.45-mm weapons.

Soviet Naval Infantry Company


INFANTRY Equipment Total
BTR-6OPA/B Amphibious APC ................. .10
SA-7/GRAIL SAM Launcher ..................... 3
RPG-7 Antitank Grenade Launcher. ................ 9
NAVAL SVD 7.62-mm Sniper Rifle ...................... 3
INFANTRY RPK 7.62-mm Light Machine Gun ................. 9
AKM 7.62-mm Rifle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..68
3 x BTR 6OPA/B
3 x SA-7/GRAIL 3 x RPG 7
5 x AKM NOTE: The AKM rifles and the RPK light machine guns have now been replaced
1 x SVD
by the AK-74 and RPK-74 5.45-mm weapons.
3 x RPK
21 x AKM

'Total Personnel (Approximate)

Naval Infantry Company. The naval infantry Antitank Battery. The naval infantry regiment's six
company is made up of a small company headquarters BRDMs of its antitank battery are fornlidable antitank
and three naval infantry platoons. The company head- weapon systems. These weapons augment the man-
quarters consistsof the company commander, political pack antitank guided missiles (ATGMs) and SPG-9
officer, technical officer, first sergeant, mes- recoilless guns employed at battalion level and
senger/clerk, medic, three SA-7 gunners, and the generally constitute the regimental antitank reserve.
driver and gunner of their BTR-60 armored personnel The ATGM/BRDMs normally are employed t o protect
carrier. Each platoon consists of three squads of ten the flanks of the landing force from counterattacking
men each. Each squad consists of the squad leader, a tanks and against enemy weapons emplacements.
machine gunner, an RPG gunner, an assistant RPG
gunner/rifleman, four riflemen, the APC machine Air Defense Battery. Besides the three SA-7s at
gunner, and the APC driver. company level, air defense is provided to regimental
units by the four ZSU-23-4 self-propelled antiaircraft
Tank Battalion. The naval infantry tank battalion has guns and four amphibious SA-9 surface-to-air missiles
a mix of PT-76 light amphibious tanks and medium (SAMs) of the air defense batter): Supporting naval
tanks. Each of the tank companies has three platoons of ships provide air defense throughout all phases of the
four tanks each with the company commander's tank landing operation.
bringing the total to 1 3 tanks. While the medium tanks
are not amphibious, they can disembark in shallow Engineer Company. The engineer company
water as a follow-on landing force behind the PT-76 contains three combat engineer platoons. Normally, a
and BTR-60 first o r second wave. In task organizing a combat engineer platoon is provided to support each
landing force, one platoon of tanks normally supports a battalion assault force. It clears obstacles and mine-
naval infantry company. fields along the approaches to the shore, on the
beaches, and on routes leading inland from the
Reconnaissance Company. The reconnaissance beaches.
company may be task organized t o provide a platoon of
at least one PT-76 and three BRDMs t o the battalion Signal Company. The signal company of the naval
assault force for the amphibious landing. The Soviets infantry regiment consists of a headquarters and
consider this platoon to be one of their amphibious s e n l c e section, a radio platoon, and a wire/telephone
assault advance teams. These teams also include platoon. The headquarters and service section
combat engineers and hydrographic personnel who provides courier senrice and limited signal and vehicle
report beach conditions. In certain instances, recon- maintenance support for the company. The radio
naissance vehicles may swim to shore under their own platoon provides vehicles, radios, and operators for the
power. Conditions permitting, they may b e landed by regimental commander and staff. The Pr.ire/telephone
air cushion vehicles. Some reconnaissance teams also platoon installs and operates switchboards for com-
may b e airlanded by helicopter or dropped by para- mand posts and the message center, and lays wire
chute behind defended positions. The reconnaissance when directed.
platoon has two objectives:
To provide information to the main landing force Chemical Defense Company. The regimental
about enemy defensive positions and enemy reinforce- chemical defense company consists of a company
ments on the march toward the beach. headquarters, a decontamination platoon, and a
T o screen forward and to the flank of the amphib- chemical and radiologcal reconnaissance platoon.
ious landing teams. The decontamination platoon is organized into three
squads with one ARS decontamination vehicle each.
Multiple Rocket Launcher Battery. With the The chemical and radiological reconnaissance platoon
exception of the three mortars organic t o each naval consists of three squads with o n e BRDM rkh in each
infantry battalion, the regiment's six BM-21 multiple squad.
rocket launchers constitute the sole organic artillery The chemical defense company of the regiment
assets of the naval infantry regiment. BM-21s provide normally provides o n e reconnaissance squad to the
fire support for amphibious landings and also may be battalion assault force to determine and report levels
used by the naval infantry in a coastal defense role. and types of contamination in the landing area and to
Each launcher can deliver considerable firepower with mark cleared lanes for advance of the main force. If the
its forty 1 22-mm high-explosive rockets. regiment is not conducting similar landings elsewhere,
the remaining t ~ . reconnaissance
o .yu;tds also can Ix embarkation. sea passage, deb;trkation, and shore
emploj,ed to check alternate a d n n c e routes. I>econ- combat operations. nlissile and artillery units strike
tanination vehicles normally set up on the fir sicle of beach defense forces and wrapon systems.
the contaminilted areas to spray the adrzncing naval
infantry \,chicles 011 the march. One or more squads Soviet Ground Forces. The Soviets consider
can be employed, depending o n regimental motorized rifle troops of the ground forces to be
requirements. potential participants in amphibious operations.
Ground forces will probably conduct an amphibious
Rear Service Units. Rrar s e n i c e units (trans- operation with naval infantry troops. The naval
portation, supply, maintenance, ancl rnedical ) are small infantry's special skills are utilized to the maximum to
in keeping \vith the limited scope and clumtion of insure success of the assault landing.
mission assigncd to n a n l infant?. Principal supply is N;tval infantr). landing teams probably lead the
from the ships offshore. Senice units may provide assault. 'lhey have responsibility for breitching anti-
platoon-sized units to support battalion assault forces. landing obstacles ill the urater and on the shore, for
Casuitlties are evacuated in r e t ~ ~ r n i nempty
g supply seizing a beachhead, and for securing the approach of
trucks and other s e n i c e vehicles. the main force to the landing area. The mitin hody,
With the Soviet N a y playing the dominant role. consisting largely of motorized rifle troops, follo\vs.
units of all branches of the armed forces may provide Naval infantn personnel m;ly b e attached to motorized
support for amphibious landings. The na1-y transports rifle subunits to assist in overcoming the special
the naml infantn* to the enemy-held shore; provides problems of an assault landing.
gunfire; sweeps offshore minefields; protects the
landing with rnissile ships, gunboats, and anti-
submarine warfare ships; and provides logistic CONDUCT OF THE
Naval aviation and the Soviet Air Force provide air The Soviets maintain that anlphibious assaults can be
support on the beach. They also attack enemy ships conducted both day and night, in inclement \.eather,
hindering the advance of the amphibious assault force, and under radio silence until successful landing.
and conduct aerial reconnaissance. Air defense units Airborne, heliborne, air, ground. and naval forces have
protect the ;tmphibious force against air attack during participated jointly in such landings.

Soviet Amphibious Force Organization


b 1

Phases of the Assault
The five phases in a Soviet amphibious assault are: A h;~tt:tlionassault force ( BAF) ccinmmander usually
Preparing of equipment and amphibious units. is assigned an immediate mission, a direction of attack,
Loading of personnel and equipment on ships and and ;he overall landing objective. Normally the
transports. immediate mission is to destroy personnel and
Moving by sea t o the objective area and Fveapons in the enemfs tirst line of defense and to
debarkation. capture shore terrain fi)r the landing and deployment
Battle for the beachhead by the amphibious units. of follo\v-on grotlnd forces. 'l'he depth of the BAF's
Landing of ground forces and withdnwal of the i~nnlediatemission depends upon the strength and
naval infantry. disposition of the enemy defenses.
The naval infantry is trained to commence opera- A company landing as part ofa RAF isgiven an imme-
tions either while at sea o r from an alert status at their diate mission. normally t o seize a strongpoint in the
land bases. When alerted. an amphibious assault force enemy's defenses and t o protect the landing and
mans its equipment and moves out to its embarkation deployment o f follow-on forces. The company also is
points for loading aboard landing ships. The landing given ;I direction for further advance. A plitoon is
ships ideally arrive at the embarkation points shortly assigned an attack objcctivc and a direction for further
before o r at the same time as the arrival of the assault a&ance.
forces. This precludes congestion of the anlphibious The battle for the beachhead begins with naval gun-
force at the embarkation point awaiting transport. fire on coastal targets. Fires are concentrated on
The vehicles are loaded on in reverse order so that enemy artillery, obstacles, and troop concentrations.
the assault vehicles can disembark first at the taxget AII ;~irborncor helibortle as.sault inland t o block
area. Vehicles are then tied down for the movenlent by enemy resenes heading to the beachhead may support - -

sea. After loading, the ships form a cowo). under the the amphibious assault forces. Naval infantry units may
protection of combat ships and aircraft. conduct this type of airborne o r heliborne operation.
The amphibious landing ma!. take place in conjunc- W'hile naval gi~rlfircand air strikes suppress enemy
tion with a ground force battle underaay near the sea- tire, mines\veepers clear paths through offshore mine-
coast. In this case, the supported ground force usually fields for passage of the landing ships. Destroyers and
sends a reconnaissance party of up to a motorized rifle other antisubmarine uarfare (ASW') ships protect the
company with engineers attached t o reconnoiter the amphibious force from a t t a c h by submarines and
landing area. The information from this reconnais- other warships. When approach lanes are cleared, the
sance party is passect to the amphibious force and tirst \Give of a m p h i b i o ~ ~tanks
s disembarks and swims
supporting air forces. The enemy defenses them nu). toward the shore. ' f i e amphibious tanks commence
be fired upon by aircraft, naval gun ships, and ground firing with their main guns at targets of opportunity
force artiller).. while in the surf.

Soviet Naval Infantry Battalion Assault Force (BAF)



"Can include any or all of the followrng elements med~urntank reconnaissance, mult~plerocketlauncher,
antitank, arr defense, engrneer, signal, chemical defense, transportatran, supply, maintenance. medical
The follo~vingwave is made up of RTR-60s. Recent Amphibious Assault Landing
amphibious exercises in the Raltic have employed air
cushion whicles to c a r p aportion of the assault forces
to the shore.
Troops d o not dismount from their BTR-(10s after
reaching the shore irnless the bealch is defended.
Normally, in the ;tbsence of defenses or in the face of
lightly defended positions, cornhat vehicles continue
f o m a r d to seize the objectives. They t h e while on the
move, maitltaining the momentum of the attack, and
pushing o n to link up \vith a n airborne or heliborne
force o r ground force ti) secure the beachhead for the
follon.-on forces.
In the Face of determined resistance, the natal
infantry troops dismount to seize their objectives, to
secure the beachhead, and to provide cover for the
main force landing o n the beachhead behind them.
The follow-on groilnd force units disembark, move
t o shore, and continue the battle inlmd ~vhilethe natal
infantry unit is mit11dr:twn. Writhdra\val of the naval
infantry terminates the :irnphibioils assault phase of the
operations. .lORED
Assault Formations
The formation of the b:tttalion assault force is
variable. A first xvave force may contain an amphibious
tank lat to on as the lead clement xvith one or Gvo of the
naval infantry comp;mics, supporting engineers. and a
chemical defense platoon. A second Ivave ma), consist
of the remaining tl&talirdtntncortlpan),or companies.
led by a platoon of amphibious tanks.
The entire nax;ll infantn battalion could deploy in
c o l u m ~ line,
, \veilgr, or other \ariation in a single
wave. Ground force units such as a motorized rifle
battalion deploy :is a second uave.
The diagram at the right shows the assault of a naval
infantq batt:ilion clepl&yed in line in a single uave.
Amphibioits lalnding ships h3t.c launched the APCs and
amphibious tanks. Tank fire is directed at antitank
weapons. artillen, tn)oq> strongpoints, bunkers and
troop concentrations. The Sot.iets train to f re their
weapons while afloat.
For a regimental operz~tion,a naial infantn battalion
attacking in line ti)nnation coirld constitute the first
wave. 'Ihe renraining b;lttalions ;ire held back for the
second and possibl!: third lvaves o r echelons.
If offshore ohst;tcles are present, the combat
engineers clear thret. t o six lancs for the battalion. On
wide frontages xvith feu. or no obstacles, the battalion
/? may adopt ;I line h)r:rx~ti<)n.\;~m)ivfront:~gesnlaycall A SOVIET NAVAL INFANTRY BATTALION, LINE FORMATION,
for cornpan!,-sized a\\atilts either o n line or in coliirnn IN A SINGLE-WAVE AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT LANDING WITH
Surprise. If the ships of the amphibious force are Rates of Advance. If the first m ;c\.es arc pre\rnted
detected en route, the defenders have time to fro111 moving inland from the Iwachhcad, massing of
reinforce likely landing areas with troops, artillen, and troops, vehicles, and Lveapons can occur. The Soviets
air support. The anlphibious force also may be attacked plan for rapid advance inland of the naval intintry to
by enemy naval forces. follow up \vith a large ground force with supporting
artiller) and staying po\\.er. 1Ipsetting the timetable by
Air Cover. If the amphibious landing force does not forcing the naval inf;~ntq.units to stop or slow down
have tactical air superiorit)., the assault force woi~ldbe would not only reduce the momentum of the attack
vulnerable to air strikes at sea and on the beaches. SA- but u.ould subject t r o o l ~concentrations to enemyrtire.
7s, ZSU-L3--is,and SA-9scan be fired from the decks of
the landing ships and ashore. 'These weapons coni- Marking of Lanes. The orderly procession of the
plement naval antiaircraft fire, but might not b e suf- assault columns depends on cleared lanes being
ficient to insure success of the rtssault. marked clearly ~ v i t hbuoys or panels. If these were
destroyed or moved, the columns might deviate from
Weather. Fog, hea\y rain, or other periods of the cleared lanes to the shore anci could be destroyed
reduced visibiliq could cause disorientation of the by obstacles or mines.
assault force. Such disorientation could cau.w
elements of the units to be dispersed beyond the Communications. 'I'he Soviets rely hca\~ilyon pyro-
control of the unit conlmanders and even outside the technics. panels, and other forms o f n o n - r1' d 10
' com-
objective area altogether. munications before the assai~lt. Rapidly changing
tactical sit~mtionsma). make raclio communications
Sea Conditions. Hemy surf could capsize vehicles essential. Enemy janlnjing or inteticring ~ v i t hradio
and break up the assault fornlation. Troops inside the comnlunications could seriousl!~degrade the assault's
vehicles would not have stable platforn~sfrom which SLIcceSS.
to tire. Fire from amphibious tanks in the water wouid
be useless in any but the calmest conditions. Sea- Airborne Landings. The Soviets often cotiduct
sickness could become a problem and decrease the anlpliibious exercises in conjunction ~ v i t hairborne or
effectiveness of assault troops. heliborne landings. The airborne or heliborne forces
attelilpt to keep reinforcements from reaching the
Enemy Obstacles. A well-prepared s)stem of amphibious Iimding area. If these troops land in the
obstacles and mines could slow or stop an :lss;~itlt wrong area or are othemise prevented from landing
landing. Air cushion \,chicles may skill1 s u c c e s s l i ~ l l ~ ~successfillly, the na\,al illfantry could face stiffened
o v a submerged obstacles, but passage of amphibious resistance.
vehicles could be blocked.
Beach Conditions. Not all shorelines are suitable
Enemy Armor. Enemy tarks or guns could destroy for landing of amphibious vehicles or 1;lnding ships. If
the assault force. Amphibious vehicles are lightly Stwiet beach reconnaissance teams rue prevented from
armored ;ind estrcmely. ~ulnerableto niost t!.pes of accurate1~-ahcertaining l>e;ich gradients, soil con-
enemy fire. ditions, and other landing sitc factors, the alnphibious
assault could fail.


Soviet unconventional warfare ( U W ) consists of a (GRU) of the General Statfare the most Likely agencies
variety of military and paramilitary operations. UW to screen, recruit, select, and train CJW personnel.
includes partisan warfare, subversion, and sabotage, These agencies also can be assumed to plan and
conducted during periods of peace and war. It also execute Soviet UW operations. liW activities are pro-
includes other operations of a covert or clandestine tected by stringent security measures.
- nature. Soviet writings point out the effectiveness of UW
units and boast of their accomplishments in World

Past Examples of Unconventional Warfare - War 11:

During the war, the partisans killed, wounded,

or took prisoner hundreds of thousands of
Bolsheviks employed partisan guerrilla units German troops, collaborators, and officials of
against the Czarists and other opponents during the occupation administration. They derailed
the Russian Civil War of 191 7-20. more than 1 8 , 0 0 0 trains, and destroyed or
Soviet partisan forces were used extensively damaged thousands of locomotives and tens of
agahst the Germans during World War 11. thousands of railway cars and cisterns. The
Special purpose troops were used to crush partisan war affected the morale of the German
resistance to Soviet domination over Eastern Army, keeping the German troops in a constant
Europe. state of fear.
Soviet special purpose forces were used in the
Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1 968 to Pospelov
arrest Czech leadership and secure key objec- Great Patriotic War of the
tives in Prague. Soviet Union, 194 7 - 1945.
Soviet special purpose forces played an
important role in the invasion of Afghanistan
and the elimination of President Amin.
Soviet unconventional warfare missions are divided
into three basic categories: strategic, operational, and
DOCTRINE tactical. The principal differences in the missions are
Unconventional warfare ( U W ) is a key element of the level of command and control used and the nature
Soviet doctrine. Soviet UW capabilities constitute a for- of the targets engaged. The overall objectives are
midable threat. UW forces conduct reconnaissance, similar:
espionage, sabotage, assassination, and interdiczion of Weaken military capabilities of target country.
lines of communications. Support follow-on conventional military
Soviet unconventional warfare is designed primarily operations.
to support a surprise attack Before the start of
hostilities, clandestine operations in the target area
increase the probability of destruction of key targets Strategic
well before enemy rear area security measures are Strategic UW missions are controlled by the KGB.
heightened. UW forces conduct strategic missions in the enemy's
The Soviets also appreciate the important role that heartland to reduce the enemy's ability to continue the
UW can play in support of a main offensive. Even if war. Strategic missions include efforts to:
there is success in on@part of the planned UW opera- Intimidate and demoralize the population.
tions, it may be enough to disorganize the enemy and Create chaos and disrupt public services.
to insure that Soviet forces can seize and maintain the Undermine national resistance.
initiative. Selected regular airborne forces also may perform
Soviet UW activities are managed at the highest level strategic UW missions. These are not normal airborne
- of government authority. The Committee for State
Security (KGB) and the Main Intelligence Division
missions which generally require coordination with
front-line operations. Rather, small elite airborne
5- 1
groups operate at great depths behind enemy lines. sector. Their tasks would he to create general panic
Their basic objectives are to nrakcn enemy opera- among the ckilian population, to disrupt civil govern-
tional readiness and combat effectiveness. Their ment and public utilities, and to damage or destroy key
missions could include: production facilities.
Neutralization of major enemy headquarters. The regular Soviet Armed Forces maintain elite air-
Destruction of enemy nuclear weapons. borne units, special sabotage and reconnaissance
Sabotage to support disruption of enemy com- units, and special long-range reconnaissance units for
munications and key logistics. UW missions. The most powerful and numerous are
the airborne troops under the direct control of the
General Staff in Moscow. Some of these airborne units
Operational are designated as "special purpose" troops. They
Operational CW missions in support of the fmwtand operate in small groups against key political, military,
subordinate armies are carried out under the control command and control, and transportation and indus-
of thefront commander. Airborne forces, GRU special trial targets in the enemy rear area.
purpose units, and army sabotage or reconnaissance The Soviet potential for UW is not limited to special
units may perform these missions. Theirprimary objec- KGB and elite airborne units. Within the USSR, the
tive is to destroy or neutralize enemy nuclear means General StafYs GRU maintains a number of small
within the frotzt's area of operation, to a depth of 350 special purpose units. These units are concerned pri-
to 1,000 kilometers. Additional missions include: marily with UW activities in direct support of combat
Destruction of enemy nuclear weapons and operations. Their main tasks include preparing for the
associated qsterns. landing of airborne units behind enemy lines, recon-
Preparation and security of landing sites for naissance and intelligence reporting on nuclear
regular airborne forces. delivery means and other vital military targets,
Intelligence on location and strength of enemy sabotage, disruption, neutralization of key political and
forces. military personnel, and possibly the use of nuclear,
Sabotage operations against airfields, railway lines, chemical and biological weapons.
road and rail bridges, and communications systems. A Soviet special purpose brigade is assigned to and
The use of terror to intimidate the population. controlled at front level. Soviet armies and divisions
Organization of local guerrilla or partisan groups. also have groups vithin their reconnaissance units that
Operating in the enemy rear areas, these units try to are capable of conducting long-range LrW operations.
prevent effective and timely employment of reserves.
They generally disrupt the enemy offensive and defen-
sive capabilities. Agents
Agent networks in the target country support Soviet
unconventional warfare operations The KGB and GRU
Tactical recruit agents in vital areas of the enemy's social
Tactical UW' missions are conducted in support of structure-in political circles, in his intelligence
divisions and are similar to the operational missions services, at all levels of the military, within key
described. Tactical missions are carried out on a industries, in a variety of academic institutions, and in
smaller scale and directed at targets in the division's the media-press, radio, and telebision Some of these
area. The Soblet divisional reconnaissance battalion agents actively engage in subversion, while others are
has a limited capabilih to perform raids to a depth of "sleepers," prepared to act on call Agents are trained ?
100 kilometers. to operate as political agitators, intelligence collectors, I
and saboteurs The GRLT recniits agents in the vicinity
of military targets-airports, missile bases, arsenals,
UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE FORCES communication centers, tank dispersal centers, and
The Soviet leadership has a variety of elite forces for also on routes used for troop movements. Just before
conducting UW missions: special units of the KGB, the beginning of hostilities, Soviet special purpose air-
GRU, airborne, and ground and naval forces. The KGB borne troops, GRU special purpose units. and special
is probably responsible for the overall planning and long-range reconnaissance units could deploy and
coordination of sabotage actions in peace and war. The link-up with KGB or GRll agents already operating in
KGB special purpose units have a sabotage mission and the target area Also. local communist and other leftist
are thought to be targeted primarily against the civilian groups may provide support
Soviet uncotiventional warfare personnel are Imguage and customs of target country.
specially screened and selected. The specialized Survival behind enemy lines.
nature of their missions requires individuals (both Identifjhg and locating targets.
officers and enlisted) to have the following qualities: To make training as realistic as possible, the Soviet
youth, above average intelligence, abilih to learn LW training centers are equipped with realistic
foreign languages, excellent overall physical con- models of key targets such as enemy facilities and
dition, and health. ffowever, the paramount pre- we'apon systems.
requisite for selection is political reliability. Individual LW missions require intensive training and
reliability is assessed in part based on a spotless record preparation. The Soviets emphasize the following
of participation in young communist organizations, factors when preparing for special missions:
such as the Young, Pioneers, the kotnsonlol and Absolute secrecy.
DOSAAF. The final approval rests with the KGB. Detailed planning and coordination.
Unitv of command.
~ e s " ~ from
~ l y enemy stocks.
EQUIPMENT Detailed target lists with alternate objectives.
All varieties of Soviet and enemy weapons and equip- Multiple destruction methods.
ment are available to Soviet lJWpersonnel depending Effective, secure communications.
on their mission. Because of the clandestine nature of
these missions and the distances behind enemy lines at
which they plan to operate, LJWforces normally d o not AN UNCONVENTIONAL
use Soviet combat vehicles during a mission. Instead, WARFARE SCENARIO
their small teams are outfitted with the best man- The following hypothetical scenario illustrates the
portable and air-drop and demolition o r incendiary employment concept for the full exploitation of Sovjet
devices. Additional equipment can be air-dropped into LW assets.
the area and retrieved later by means of homing In support of a coordinated attack, GRU special
devices. purpose teams are airdropped or air-landed into their
In most cases, these personnel would be dressed in respective target areas some days before H-Hour.
foreign uniforms or civilian clothes and equippped Special KGB sabotage teams have been infiltrated over
with weapons of the target country. They could use a longer period of time by clahdestine methods to
indigenous civilian or military vehicles for trans- include international commercial travel. These
portation. Soviet ITW' teams could be infiltrated by sabotage teams could be prepared to begin their
parachute, sea, or air landings, or penetrate borders operations well before the enemy's rear security
disguised as civilians. apparatus can be fully alerted. In the prewar period,
some KGB personnel seek to undermine national
resistance through political measures, while sabotage
TRAINING A N D PREPARATION teams begin isolated acts of sabotage, such as
Soviet unconventional warfare units receive inten- destroying a key bridge. KGB teams also attempt to
sive training. Small groups of men are trained as teams. create chaos at major ports and to disrupt
Each team has an officer in charge who speaks the communications.
language of the target country fluently; a senior ser- Shortly before D-Day, additional sabotage teams are
geant serves as second in command. Other members of inserted and the majority of "sleeper agents" are
the group are trained as radio operators, and weapon activated.
and demolition experts. Besides the normal military Sabotage equipment can be smuggled into a country
training, the folloaring special skills are emphasized: by any number of secret methods and stored in hidden,
'Tactics of infiltrating and exfiltrating the target but easily accessible caches. Smuggling techniques
area. may include dropping waterproof containers offshore
Night operational linkups. from ships and submarines. On prearranged signals,
Sabotage methods using explosives, incendiaries, the containers are recovered and stored by clandestine
acids, and abrasives. support personnel.
Parachute training. Sensitive or fragile equipment, such as detonators or
Clandestine con~munications. electronics material, can be brought into the country
Hand-to-hand combat and silent killing by diplomatic pouch and made acailable to the teams
techniques. through established procedures.
Teatlls attempt t o place their explosives and At H-Hour, a wide spectrum of sabotage actions are
incendiary devices on the targets and set them to initiated simultancously to weaken the military capa-
detonate at H-Hour. All efforts are made to prevent bilities of the enemy. This sudden coordinated assault
association of these acts with the LESR and to maintain will have serious and inmediate effects on enemy
the element of surprise for the main attack. offensive capabilities. Special units of the regular air-
Immediately before 13-Hour, the LW teams locate borne forces are tasked to destroy nuclear depots,
targets and prepare to: installations, missile units, and nuclear-associated air-
Destroy nuclear capable Iveaponry. fields. Also, GRlJ special purpose units and sabotage
Jam radar installations. and recotlnaissance units of .front, army, and division
Disrupt enemy command, control and communi- are fully operative behind enemy lines. Their primary
cations ( C 3). missions ar eto neutrdlize enemy nuclear systems. But
Kidnap o r assassinate key political-militaq secondary missions include disrupting communi-
leadership. cations, sabotage of airfields, depots, air defense, key
.Seize o r destroy radio and W broadcasting headquarters, and logistic centers. Destruction of
facilities. these targets will greatly assist the main offensive, as
the enemy will find it more difficult to organize his
defenses, or t o plan, effective counterattacks.


Soviet military theorists place great emphasis on Extensive tank snorkeling training is conducted.
high advance rates by armor-heavy columns in the Tank crews train for up to 2 months before their first
offense. The Soviets stress that this high advance rate underwater crossing. Tanks cross underwater in first
would be important in the European theater with its gear and follow a predetermined azimuth with the aid
"relatively small" operational depth. Such an offensive of the on-board gyrocompass. This direction can be
would be impossible without overcoming Europe's altered by instructions radioed to the tanks from the
many north-south water obstacles. A 1965 Soviet study unit commander. lfa tank stalls on the bottom, it must
revealed that in the European theater, forces would be flooded before crew members using their breathing
encounter water obstacles up to 100 meters wide apparatus can open the hatches and escape.
every 35 to 6 0 kilometers, between 100 and 300 A snorkeling tank cannot cross a water obstacle if
meters wide every 100 to 150 kilometers, and greater the entry slope exceeds 47 percent (25 degrees), if the
than 300 meters wide, every 250 to 300 kilometers. exit slope is greater than 27 percent ( 15 degrees), or if
In response to these challenges, Soviet planners have the current velocity is more than about 3 meters per
devoted tremendous resources to improving the river second. Snorkeling is not feasible during winter,
crossing capabilities of their combat equipment. They because drifting or unbroken ice could rip away the
have provided their ground forces with large stocks of snorkel. It is also impossible if the water is deeper than
specialized bridging and assault crossing equipment. 5.5 meters, if there are craters o r large boulders on the
River crossing figures prominently in most Soviet river bottom, o r if the bottom is too soft.
exercises. Unmanned tanks can be moved across a river by
means of a winch system. This system permits a tank
company of 10 tanks to be moved across a river up to
Keys to successful river crossings 200 meters wide in about 35 minutes (excluding
preparation). One pulley block and an anchoring unit
Reconnaissance. are transported to the far bank in a tracked amphibian,
Early planning and thorough organization. armored personnel cxrrier (APC), or power boat. It
Destruction of the enemy in the area of the must be installed 30 to 1 5 meters from the water's
water obstacles. edge if three tanks cross simultaneously or 10 to 15
Speed and surprise. meters for a single tank. After tanks are prepared for
Broad front crossings. underwater crossing, they are pulled across by two
Swift development of the attack on the far armored recovery vehicles while their crews cross in
bank. APCs or tracked amphibians.
Continuation of the attack throughout the 7Be Sozriets estinzate that &out 60 percent of all
crossing. obstacles they ufould encozrnter in Eumpe aw less
Skillful and rapid engineer employment. tbarz 20 meters riide. Accordingly, there are several
Air defense. mcxiels of both tank- and truck-launched gap bridges
for rapidly crossing ravines, partially blown bridges,
antitank ditches, road craters, and similar obstacles.
EQUIPMENT A N D ORGANIZATION Gap bridging is used frequently in combination with
To insure a rapid advance, the Soviets have built river ponton bridges to provide shore-connecting spans or
crossing capabilities into numerous types of ground to extend the bridge to sacient length.
force equipment. All Soviet armored personnel Each Soviet motorized rifle and tank regiment has
carriers, infantry and airborne fighting vehicles, and one tank-launched bridge (M'ITJ) per tank battalion;
x o u t vehicles produced since the 1960s are amphib- i.e., one M T per nlotorized rifle regiment and three
ious, as are some self-propelled (SP) artillery and per tank regiment. Mounted on a T-54/55 tankchassis,
tactical surface-to-air missile (SAM) carriers. Soviet the MTU assault bridge is 12.3 meters long. The folded
medium tanks have been provided with snorkels for ramp sections of the new MTU-20 (which hasbecome
crossing obstacles up to 5.5 meters in depth. As little as the Soviet standard) extend the bridges length 20
15 minutes are required to prepare some Soviet tanks meters. Both spans have a 50-ton carrying capacityand
for underwater fording, although up to a half hour is can be launched in 3 to 5 minutes without crew
required for older tanks. exposure.
Some Soviet regiments may have received a Czech- If the water obstacle is wider than the unit's organic
designed scissors bridge ( MT-55 ) with an electro- bridging capability, or if the site is not secure enough
hydraulic control system that permits bridge emplace- to build a bridge, a PMP company also can form either
ment in 1.5 minutes. The MT-55 span is 17 meters long eight 40-ton d t s , five rafts of 60-ton capacity, four rafts
and can support loads up to 50 tons. The launcher has a of 80-ton capacity, three 1 10-ton rafts, or two 170-ton
g@-measuring device and infrared equipment for rafts. Configured as three 1 10-ton platforms, the PMP
bridge laying at night. company can accon~plishthe simultaneous lift of nine
Each motorized rifle and tank regiment also has a set medium tanks (three platoons). The PMP bridging
of four truck- launched scissors spans (TMM). The company has six BMK power boats to assist in bridge
TMM set, with its four 10.5-meter spans, can erect 42 enlplacement o r raft propulsion. Models ranging from
meters of class 60 (capable of supporting 60 tons) 75 to 180 horsepower are in use, most of which are
bridging in 20 to 40 mintues. transported on retractable wheeled struts. The newest
The engineer battalion organic to each Soviet tank model, BMK-T, is transported and launched from the
and motorized rifle division provides the division com- same truck that transports the PMP. AIl Soviet power
mander with flexible river-crossing support. Equip- boats are compartmented for bouyancy. Even if two of
ment organic to the battalion includes PMP ponton the BMK-T's four compartments areflooded, it will not
bridging (frequently used to make ferries), power sink.
boats, GSP self-propelled ferries, tracked amphibious A PIMPbridge permits crossing by tanks at speeds up
transporters, tank- and truck-launched gap bridging, to 30 kilometers per hour. Speeds for wheeled vehicles
and limited stocks of fixed wooden bridges. are greater. The bridge can be built in water having a
The assault crossing company of a Soviet division's current velocity up to 2 meters per second. By
engineer battalion has GSP tracked ferries and K-6 1 or attaching bow and stern shields to PMP sections, the
PTS tracked amphibians. PKP amphibious trailers may crew can emplace the bridge in currents of up to 2.5 or
be assigned to units equipped with PTS. Tracked 3 meters per second without loss of stability.
amphibians are used primarily to transport artillery, air Army and front have river crossing capabilities in
defense, or logistical elements across mater barriers. their organic engineer regiments or brigade. Ponton
( ' f i e Soviet 122-mm SP howitzer is amphibious.) brigade regiments and assault crossing battalions also
The assault crossing company" GSP ferries are used provide river crossing support.
to transport armor across water obstacles that are Each Soviet combined arms or tank army has one
impossible to ford or snorkel. Missile units and other ponton brigade regiment, while two may be subor-
organizations with heavy equipment also rely on the dinate to a fm~zt.Most PMP regiments are organized
GSP. into two battalions of three companies each and have a
The Soviet PMP ribbon bridge is revolutionary both total of 108 PRlP pontons capable of bridging 681
in its simplicity and rapid emplacement time. Its meters. l'he regiment also has eight tracked
accordion-like pontons are launched arhen the trucks amphibians (K-61 or ITS) or GSP ferries.
on which they are transported are braked at the water's Assault crossing battalions that provide amphibious
edge. They are opened automatically by a torsion bar transport and ferry support to m y orfmtat elements
mechanism, rotated manually 90 degrees, and quickly can be allocated to divisions to speed up crossing
joined to form a continuous strip of floating roadway. operations. There is one battalion in each army, with
Soviet motorized rifle and tank divisions have a half set up to three in a f m ~ t If. equipped with the PTS and
of 16 PMP and two end (ramp) sections in their PKP trailer, the battalion's two tracked amphibious
engineer battalion. companies are able to transport m o towed artillery
The engineer battalion's PMP ponton bridge battalions simultaneously. Each GSP ferry can
company can construct 1 19 meters of 60-ton bridging transport one Soviet medium tank.
at a speed of 7 meters per minute. PMP pontons also To provide the logistic support necessary for
may be split in half to form 28 1 meters of 3.27-meter- planned rapid offensiwres, the Soviets have expended
wide, class 20 bridging. Bank preparation is the critical considerable resources to field a variety of line of com-
factor for bridging operations. Erection times lary munications ( LOC) bridgng. LOC bridges are essen-
depending on enemy resistance, crew training, and tial for the orderly introduction of divisions and
conditions at each site. PMP pontons can be retrieved combat forces of successive echelons, as well as un-
in about twice the time required to emplace them. interrupted resupply of combat units. They are
Each ponton carrier has a jib, winch, and roller system emplaced by troops of the Military Transportation
to accomplish this. Service. In anticipation of wartime interdiction of
existing bridges, the Soviets and their allies have stock- gence to determine the following:
piled obsolescent bridging and prefabricated bridge River width, depth, and current.
sections near strategic crossings. Entry and exit gradients.
The NZhM-56, a combination railroad and vehicular Composition of river bottom.
floating bridge, has an estimated carrying capacity of Bank composition and height.
120 tons. Soviet engineers have designed three new Obstacles on banks.
types of sectional bridging: MARM, SAW$,and BARh4 Approach and exit routes.
(Soviet acronyms for small, medium, and large high- Critical terrain features overlt>oking both banks.
way sectional bridge ). The major discdtlantrzge of sec- Possible fording, ferrying, bridging, and snorkeling
tiomll hridgirzg is its sloz~l erection process. The sites.
average rate of construction is 20 meters per hour if Information on enemy defenses.
the bridge is built from a single bankor 30 to 35 meters 'Ihe number of reconnaissance patrols depends on
per hour if the engineers start fi-om both banks. Sec- the width of the river and the number of required
tional bridging frees tactical bridging for further use by crossing sites; patrols can vary from squad to platoon
combat forces. MARM is also used to create overpasses size. Reconnaissance patrols operate up to 50
over key road junctions, thus alleviating congestion. kilometers forward of a division's main body.
River barges are also used for LOC bridging. Large Engineer reconnaissance units are equipped with
numbers of 600-ton barges are available throughout tracked amphibians, scout cars, or APCs. They often
central Europe. They are placed end to end and con- mount a profilograph ( a device used to determine
nected with special ramps to form a "ribbon" bridge. width and depth of rivers) or the newer echo depth
Seven such barges would span a 400-meter-wide river finder. Although such equipment significantlyreduces
and would take about 24 hours to construct. (For exposure and reconnaissance time, it appears that
more information on engineer organization and equip- most Soviet engineers use less sophisticated gear-a
ment see FM 100-2-3.) variety of bottom probes, rangefinders, and hydro-
metric propellers or simply floats of some type and a
stopwatch for measuring velocity. A sapper platoon
There are two basic types of Soviet tactical river
assigned a reconnaissance mission would also typically
have six mine detectors, grapnels with cables,
crossings, the assault crossing from the march and the radiation detectors, and light diving equipment.
prepared river crossing. The Soviets prefer the Armored personnel carriers, preferably BMPs, make
crossing from the march, which is often the expected a rapid amphibious crossing to seize a bridgehead on
method. Normally, the Soviets only conduct the pre- the far shore. Their crossing normally is covered by
pared crossing out of necessity within direct enemy smoke and supported from the rear shore by all avail-
contact. able fires. Heliborne or, less probably, airborne forces,
may be used to seize and hold a bridgehead on the far
I shore. Once the bridgehead is established, tanks cross
Assault Crossing from the March by ferry, by fording. or by snorkeling. Artillery and
An assault crossing from the march is conducted other combat support equipment crosses on tracked
with forces moving-toward the river in dispersed, amphibians. Later, tactical bridging is emplaced for
normally march, formation, across a wide frontage, at follow-on forces.
top speed. Fomrard detachments or airborne or heli- The Soviets consider units engaged in a river
borne forces may seize favorable crossing sites in crossing to be especially vulnerable to enemy aviation.
advance. All measures are taken to insure that crossing They emphasize the need for tactical air defense at
is conducted as swiftly as possible and that the offen- river crossing sites before a crossing is attempted. In
sive is continued on the opposite shore. some tactical situations they may choose to move part
A decision to conduct a crossing from the march is of their air defense assets across first to maximize the
made as early as possible to allow maximum time for range of these weapons in protecting subsequent units
appropriate organization of forces and crossing equip- making the crossing. Placement and movement
ment, and for reconnaissance of crossing sites. sequence of air defense assets will wry as the Soviet
The Soviets prefer crossing sites with gently sloping commander each new tactical situation.
banks, fords, and a bend towards the attackers. Soviet Subunits acting as forward detachments advance as
commanders use maps, aerial photognphs, en&' meer quickly as possible to the river, bypassing enemy forces
and combat patrols, radar, signal, and hunian intelli- whenever possible, to seize near-shore crossing sites
or to swim the river to seize a far-shore bridgehead. A A motorized rifle battalion acting as a forward
forward detachment differs from an advance guard, detachment usually is reinforced with a tank company,
which has the responsibility of clearing a route for an artillery battalion, ferry and tracked amphibians, and
advancement of its main force. Forward detachments air defense, antitank, and chemical defense subunits
attempt to slip through enemy iines to force and hold ranging from squad to company size. When acting as a
crossing sites. Advance guards follow and fight through forward detachment, a motorized rifle battalion would
any enemy encountered to make way for the main be 2 or 3 hours in front of the main body.
forces. Advance guards destroy enemy forces to insure
Based on reconnaissance, the Soviet commander unhindered advance by the main force. As they
organizes his unit to insure the most expedient approach the water barrier, advance guards exploit the
crossing and continuation of the offense. 7 k Sozriets success of forward detachments or air landed
stess that tactical air support is more critical during elements, forcing the obstacle from the march and
rizm crossing operations than during other t@es of developing the attack into the depth of enemy defenses
ground operations. when possible.

Motorized Rifle Battalion Assault Crossing



GSP ferry and PTS amphibian platoons have been Crossing times for a motorized rifle battalion vary
attached to the motorized rifle battalion from depending on the width and velocity of the river, time
regiment and division. The battalion deploys into required to prepare embankments, enemy acthit):
company columns about 5 kilometers from the water, visibility, and equipment available. Motorized rifle
and the APCs of the motorized rifle conlpanies deploy battalion crossings have been described as lasting from
on line in three separate sectors about 400 to 500 1 5 minutes t o an hour and a half. The first figure
meters from the bank. The attached tank company and probably considers only combat elements, excluding
artillery support the crossing by fire. Few tanks are support and logistic elements.
transported in the first wave. Artillery, ATGMs, anti- Tank unit crossings are more complicated than
tank reserves, and mobile obstacle detachments motorized ritle assaults. Although tanks may he
(possibly equipped with mechanized minelayers) attached to support motorized rifle assault crossings, a
cross immediately after the first echelon. tank battalion usually crosses in the second echelon.
Another variant is shown below which depicts an However, a tank battalion could cross in the first
assault crossing 13). two motorized rifle companies echelon in a weakly defended sector.
while the third company and support elements cross A tank battalion crosses a river by fording, by going
over a ponton bridge. Bridges are erected only after the over bridges, by being tratlsported aboard ferries or on
far shore has been secured to a depth precluding direct tactical ponton bridging, or by snorkeling. Although
enemy fire on the crossing site. However, if the enemy Soviet tank crews receive periodic underwater
defense has been neutralized by fire or the opposite training, snorkeling is the least-preferred option. Some
bank has been seized by airborne or heliborne forces, elements snorkel across at one site while others cross
bridge construction may begin along with tlle assault elsewhere by other means. Sealing areas are selected
- near concealed routes about 3 to 5 kilometers from the

Engineer Support of Motorized Rifle Battalion Crossing


--- @
Assistant Crossing Commander

Englneer Reyulat~nyPolnt
Assault Crossing (APC Mounted)

GSP Ferry Site

@ Traff~cRegulators a Tracked Amphib~anStte

river. Snorkels are installed about 1 to 2 kilometers first echelon. Once PMP bridging hay been erected,
from the water barrier. second echelon motorized rifle or tank regiments
Some tanks provide fire support for the crossing, and normally can cross in less than an hour.
artillery is used for both direct and indirect fire. The far Depending on the tactical situation, a division
bank must be secured before tank snorkeling starts. crosses a major water barrier with one, two, or three
Efpcient traffic co~ztmlis essentinl. If the traffic regiments in the first echelon in a zone 20 to 30
controller permits tank formations to mass, they kilometers vide. A division's combat elements can
become a lucrative target for enemy aviation and cross a 200-meter-wide river in approximately 5 or 6
artillery. T a n k cross under Rater in column formation hours, using equipment organic to the division. If
ar approximate$. 30 meter intervals. They cross at low reconnaissance and site preparation time is included, a
speeds without shifting gears or halting. The tank must division's tctal crossing time may approximate 9 hours.
be halted to remove waterproofing before the turret A di~isionmight receive reinforcement from army or
can traverse and the main gun can fire. front engineer units.
Once motorized rifle and some tank elements have The Soviets believe river crossings can be managed
crossed, artillery and air defense elements are crossed successfully with equipment presently organic to their
on tracked amphibians. maneinrer units. However, some Soviet theorists
A typical regimental crossing sector would be 10 express concern that present levels may prove inade-
kilometers wide, with two to three battalions crossing quate to conduct successive crossings of two or more
in the first echelon. Regiments will be allocated major water obstacles. One way to solve this problem
tracked an~phibians,GSP ferries, and ponton bridging is to leapfrog divisions. Army- and,flu)rzt-level engineer
from division, army, or.front organizations mission units have augmentation potential sufticient to estab-
and resources dictate. Tracked amphibians carry lish a significant number of ponton bridges.
artillery, air defense, and support units, while GSP Combat bridging is fiirther supplemented by LOC
ferries transport tanks. With engineer support, a sectional bridging. According to Soviet estimates, LOC
motorized ritle regiment can cross a river 200 meters bridging can be erected by road construction troops in
wide with a current of 2 meters per second in 2 or 3 as little as 8 hours after the initial assault crossing. It is
hours. A tank regiment normally does not cross in the left in place for subsequent use by,froizt -level units.

Tank Underwater Crossing Site 1

($Equipment inspectton Post 74 Road S~gns

& Eng~neerRegulattng Point R e s c ~ eSquad m Tracked

@ Trafftc Regulators
Evawation Squad
p Al~gnmentStgns 0 Tank
f' Crossing Border lndtcators Tank Retriever
Tracked Amphibian Crossing Site


1K Kl/PTS Tracked Amphcbrans

@ Traffic Regulators P Crossing Border lndlcator

@ Englneer Regulatlng Polnt 799 Road Signs

@ Asscstant Crosslng Commander

Ponton Bridge Crossing Site



7 P
0 / -

0 1

6 CC Cross~ngCommander @ Engcneer Regulating Pocnt

@ Assstant Crossing Commander 7 Road Signs
ALTERNATE @ Bndge Team ~ o u t p ~ s t s
@ Shore Guard A t d g e Guard

@ Traffic Regulator
Prepared River Crossings
Apparently because they expect to cross most rivers are assembly areas and artillery positions. Such work is
from the march at lightly defended or unoccupied performed at night under the guise of improving the
sites, the Soviets devote considerably less attention to defense.
the enemy-opposed prepared crossing. Such a crossing Twice as many troops as had occupied defensive
requires detailed planning and preparation, cen- positions normally launched the initial assault in a pre-
tralized control, and massive suppression of enemy pared river crossing. It generally takes place either at
fires. They conduct a prepared crossing from a position night or under a smoke screen. An artillery preparation
in contact. The prepared crossing is used as a last is fired against enemy strongpoints. Airborne or
resort, when an assault crossing from the march fails or heliborne forces may be used to block enemy
is not possible. reinforcements. Some artillery is employed in the
A prepared crossing requires intensive reconnais- direct fire role to neutralize enemy weapons
sance. By day. troops observe enemy defensive remaining in the enemy defensive sector.
positions and activity. Under cover of darkness The prepared crossing is conducted similarly to the
engineer and reconnaissance patrols measure the assault crossing. Numerous APC's swim across on a
river, inspect obstacles, and pinpoint crossing areas. broad frontage supported by all available direct and
During preparation, troops make maximum use of indirect fires. Tanks and other heavy weapons and
existing fortfication as well as cover and concealment equipment follow. Bridging is emplaced only when
of personnel and equipment. They prepare roads and bridge sites are secure from enemy observation and
cross-country routes for movement to crossing sites, a s direct fire.


Mountain environments \.aq widely according to Special training emphasis includes overcoming
soil composition, surhce configuration, altitude, obstacles, weapons firing in adverse weather, and the
latitude, and clinlatic pattern. The Soviets consider any use of natural cover.
relief feature rising 200 meters above the surrounding Drivers receive special instruction in ascending and
area to be a mountain. As a result, combat in mountains descending steep slopes and fording mountain rivers.
is hampered by: Particular attention is paid to personnel being able to
The number and condition of roads. orient themselves.
The screening effect of mountains on electronic Special equipment necessary for mountain warfare
equipment. includes blocks, spades, and towing cables for tracked
Fluctuations in weather. vehicles and lighter indirect fire weapons, such as the
Increased wear and tear on equipment, increased 76-mm mountain gun and the 160-mm mortar, for
fuel consumption, and logistical requirements. division and regimental artillery.
Reduced rates of advance. Tanks are used in the mountains mainly as mobile
Slides and floods. armored artiller).. Hon~ever, mountainous terrain
Difficulty of bypassing NBC contaminated zones. restricts tank use to roads and ridges. Tanks are vul-
Limited maneuwr space for troops and vehicles. nerable to mines and plunging fire in narrow defiles
Masking of artillery fires. and may be unable to elevate their main guns suf-

Requirement for special training and equipment. ficiently to engage targets above them. In narrow

The nature of the terrain governs offensive action in
defiles, a single knocked-out tank is likely to block the
entire defile.
Use of tanks in the mountains also poses special
problems with regard to maintenance and logistics.


the mountains. The goals of offensive actions are to Tracks are thrown and clutches burn more readiky, and
control passes, road junctions, built-up areas, and overheating may occur. Tanks operating in the
adjacent high ground mountains need 30 to 50 percent more fuel and addi-
Soviet tactics in the mountains are planned to bypass tional coolant.
enemy defensive positions, attack the enemy from the Extensive reconnaissance is required at all times to
flanks and rear, and break up coordination bemeen avoid enemy antitank ambushes. During mountain
I defending units. warfare, tanks may double their march and prebattle
Specially tailored regimental and/or battalion formation intervals.
groups launch attacks on several axes (mainly in Tanks may precede infantry attacks but more often
valleys and along roads and bridges). Conlpanies attack will support ground attach by fire. Tanks may be
o n one axis, battalions usually on one, and regiments attached to platoon level, one tank per motorized rifle
along two or three. Specially equipped helicopters are platoon.
employed to assist in communications. Extensive use is Mountain warfare requires additional radios -aswell
made of combat engineers, who may be attached down as numerous retransmission sites. Troops may receive
to platoon level. special clothing and rations. NBC equipment is
No specific mountain divisions have been identified increased, and each soldier receives a second decon-
in the Soviet Army h r many years. A few divisions tamination kit.
located in or near mountainoils areas d o receive some Marksmanship and gunnery pose several problems
mountain warfare training, but the majority do not. in the mountains; for example, firing uphill, downhill,
Airborne forces are considered to be the best suited and on the slant. This is particularly important for tank
troops to fight in the mountains. Since the invasion of gunnery, since accuracy is so dependent on flat tra-
Afghanistan, Soviet military literature has devoted jectory firing.
increased attention to mountain warfare problems Motorized rifle battalions often attack inde-
and training for all combat arms. Recent open source pendently, in .separate zones, because of the limited
articles state that some military districts have estab- numher of routes in mountainous terrain. Battalion
lished mountain training centers to rotate combat commanders are assigned missions lasting longer than
battalions and regiments, as u~ellas combat support usual and receive attachments of artillery, mortars,
units, for field training in mountain warfare. tanks, engineers, and NRC subunits. The amount and
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ftelicopters may b e employed in the nlountains for Helicopter target priorities include the following:
the following missions: Enemy strongpoints on the axis of advance.
Reconnaissance. Mortars, antitank weapons, and artillery
Communications, comn~and,and control. threatening the advance.
Resupply. <:oilnterattack forces and reserves.
Air defense, particularly against enemy 'Targets on the reverse side of slopes screened
helicopters. from attacking ground forces.
Evacuation. Close air support in mountains is less rigidly
Artillen adjustment. controlled than over flat battlefields. Roving search-
Close air support. and-destroy missions are more common particularly
Troop lift. on the reverse sides of slopes. 'Ibis is a departure from
Mountainous terrain degrades ground-to-air con]- the more rigid control maintained at lower altitudes.
munication. Also, evasive flight techniques are ilsed to
avoid radar and visilal detection. 'Illis flight method
often degrades FM transmissions and reirlforces the ENGINEER SUPPORT
requirement for radio relay or retransmission sites. Engineer support in the mountains will require a
Mountain weather tentis to change rapidly and greater than normal range of assets and will be more
severely. Fog, frontal systems, wind, icing, and storms extensive and dacult to perform than over more
can easily disrupt or delay helicopter operations. normal terrain:
Changes in temperature, relative humidity, and air Mountain roads and trails may require extensive
pressure, affect lift capability. Increases in any of these construction, improvement, maintenance, and repair
factors plus higher altitudes mean decrased lift capa- to withstand militan tr&~c and xvere weather
bility. For a given load, the helicopter must produce conditions.
extra pourer, which requires more fuel and incrc-dses landing strips and helipads must be cleared.
engine strain. Preparation of cold weather shelters is necessary.
Mountain winds are almost inlpossible to predict. Greater time and equipment are required t o con-
On the windward side of mountains, air flow normally struct anything in rock.
is steady. But on the leeward side, winds are turbulent, Materials may be d81cult to obtain in the
with strong vertical currents. Turbulence, even from mountaim, adding to the logistics burden.
moderate winds (10 to 12 knots), can seriously Combat engineers (sappers) are attached to units
hamper helicopter operations. Aircrews thus require attacking independently as well as to flanking detach-
special training to minimize the hazards of strong ments and heliborne assault forces. A motorized rifle
winds. Turbulence may preclilde helicopter usage or battalion employed as a flanking detachment receives
require that helicopters be f l o w at greater altitudes, one or ~o engineer platoons. A motorized rifle
increasing the risk of detection and enemy fire. company with a similar mission receives one or two
Besides limited visibility, low clouds and fog may engineer squads. These engineers support recomais-
cause helicopters to ice up. ice o n rotor blades results sance, obstacle clearance, and water and dry gap
in significant loss of lift. And since ice does not break crossing.
off rotor blades uniformly, severe rotor blade
imbalance can occur.
Mountain terrain con~plicatesflight route selection. LOGISTICS
Routes may not always be the most direct nor provide Mountainous terrain severely handicaps all logistic
the best cover and concealn~ent.Space for maneuver operations. Road networks normally are few and in
may be very limited and formation flying impossible. poor condition and require extensive engineer
Landing zones also may be lin~itedboth in number and support. Supply routes are major targets, and
suitability. These factors can increase the amount o f ~nountaitls afford excellent opportunities for
time necessary for a helicopter operation, increasing ambushes and attacks.
the chance for enemy obsewation and enemy fire. The combined problems of terrain, cold, ice, and
Greater intervals between aircraft also mean an dampness make rapid and reliable con~munications
additional navigational load on a c h aircrew and may extremely difficult in the mountains. Not only are
reduce mutual support. Mountain flying puts a greater operational problems increased but so are problems of
strain on helicopter crews, tiring them Inore and faster nlaintenance and supply of communication
than usual. equipment.
Mountain Logistics Considerations degree of decentralization. This f l e c t s fire control
Rations. Caloric requirement increases due to down to section level. As a result, the inlportance of
more strenuous activity. shoulder-fired surface-to-airmissiles ( SAMs) is greatly
Cold-weather gear. increased, as is the antiaircraft role of small arms fire.
Fuel. While limited road nets andsteepslopes 5lobile air defense systems may b e unable to
probably reduce the number of vehicles accompany maneuver elements. Instead they move
operating i n the mountains, the vehicles that from high point to high point along the best available
are employed use more fuel. Aviation fuel routes of advance to obtain the best radar coverage,
requirements increase as the use of helicopters obsenation, and fields of fire.
Ammunition. Indirect fire expenditures
increase, largely because of difficulty in N B C EFFECTS
adjusting fire o n steep slopes and because of the Nuclear, biological, and chemical ( NRC) effects are
decreased bursting radius caused by firing i n reduced significantly in mountain warfare because of
snow or forested areas. Quantities of explosives terrain and the more rapid t~aturaldecontamination
used in obstacle reduction may increase as caused by changing weather conditions and constant
much as tenfold. winds. Terrain and minds hamper accurate prediction
Spare parts. High consumption-rate spare of downwind toxic agent travel. Generally, cool
parts include tires, tracks and pads, fuel pumps, daytime temperatures s l o u the evaporation process,
brake shoes, tie rods, and transmissions. permitting a contamination hazard to remain longer.
However, mountain winds may nulli@ this feature.
Mountain winds and stable atmospheric conditions
enhance downwind coverage of chemical and bio-
C O M M A N D A N D CONTROL logical agents. Temperature and humidity also altect
Since mountainous terrain restricts line-of-sight their sunival>ilit).. Cool temperatures generally favor
communication such as FM and multichannel radio, survival of chemical and biological agents, and higher
extensive use is made of relay and retransmission sites. humidit). increases effectiveness. Snow deposited on
However, siting communication facilities on high top of a contaminated area can increase the hazard's
ground has its own problems. These include duration. Sunlight, however, destroy3 most chernical
difficulties in establishing the sites, loss of communi- and biological agents. With little protection from the
cation mobility, and increased likelihotxi of locations sun available above the timberline, the effectiveness of
being predicted or discovered and then destroyed. chemical and biological agents is reduced at high
Wire may be used extensively, but because of rnoun- altitudes.
tainous areas installation and maintenance effort is The following bctors influence the effectiveness of
greater than normal, especially in deep sno\v and nuclear strikes in the mountains.
extreme cold. Mountain terrain reduces the casualty zone of a
In general. Soviet command elements are echeloned nuclear weapon.
in depth and dispersed over the entire frontage. They Shock m ~ v epropagation is intensified in narrow
also locate as near as possible to the troops, nearer than valleys and defiles o p e n k g in the direction of the burst.
they would be on flat terrain. For exanlple, division Casualties may result from rockfalls, avalanches,
main command posts may b e as close as 3 kilometers and landslides, which may occur at considerable
from the f i ~ m a r dedge of the battle area ( FERA). T t ~ e y distances from ground zero.
move, at least daily, with divisional f o w a r d command Reverse slopes greatly attenuate the shock wave
elenlellts moving every 2 hours. Division headquarters e k c t when the height of burst does not exceed the
deploy on the main axis of advance. height of the ridge.
h nuclear weapon may be used only when the
burst wrill not impede the advance of friendly forces by
AIR DEFENSE causing rockfalls, landslides, and destruction of roads.
In mountains, air defense is more difficult because of Ix,w-yield air bursts are considered to be the best
problen~sin maintaining unit integrity of both maneu- choice of nuclear firepower,
ver and air defense units. Comprehensive air sumeil- Irregular terrain patterns reduce the accuracy of
lance and air defense fire support is more tiifficult. Air collateral damage prediction, damage estimation, and
defense units operate iinder a greater than normal \ulnerability analysis.
Snow melted by thermal radiation may cause flash h e a ~ yair or artillery support if it is not supported by
flooding. diversionary attacks.
Thermal radiation also may be reflected by snow Attacking directly from the march is possible only
and the thinner atmosphere of higher elevation, when routes and space permit combined arms deploy-
thereby arnpllfylng its effects. ment. Since room for maneuver and fire support, and
Fallout prediction is unreliable because of the detailed knowledge of the terrain and enemy defenses
strong winds varying in speed and direction. are required, attacking directly from the march will
Melting snow will contribute to the residual radia- not occur often.
tion pattern, possibly polluting water and bathing Attacking from positions in direct contact provides
sources. the time for Soviet commanders to make personal
reconnaissance, to develop fire support plans, and to
plan flanking and enveloping attacks. However, the fact
MOVEMENT that attacking forces are vulnerable to enemy fire while
Mountain marches are always carried out along the in their static positions is a great disadvantage.
most accessible routes into the area. The rate of
advance in low mountains and hills may be halved,
even without the additionally slowing effect of enemy CONCLUSIONS
action, poor weather, or natural obstacles. Soviet military doctrine stresses speed, firepower,
Terrain restrictions often make deploying from the and shock action at all levels. However, mountain
march impossible. Security measures are of greater climate and terrain seldom permit even one of these
concern, and surprise is more dacult to achieve. In offensive features, let alone ail three. As a result, the
the Soviet view, well-prepared defenders generally Soviets have had to adjust their offensive doctrine to
have several advantages over attacking units: the mountain environment. These modifications
The defender probably is more familiar with the include the following:
terrain. Limiting the use of nuclear firepower. Since
The defender can achieve surprise more readily. nuclear weapons create extra obstacles in the
The defender is more mobile. mountains, the Soviets stress the use of small-yield air
Attacks are more vulnerable. bursts.
In the offense, Soviet forces attempt to locate breaks, Increasing the role of the helicopter for command,
gaps, and breaches in the enemy's defenses and seek control, and communications, evacuation, resupply,
dead space and covert approaches to the enemy's close air support, artillery adjustment, and troop lift,
position. Approaches may be created by reducing one particularly for troop placement behind enemy lines.
or two defensive strongpoints by the heaviest available Placing greater emphasis on initiative and self-
fire support and following this with a smokescreen. sufficiency of units operating in the mountains.
Flank attacks and envelopments take on even greater Combat actions are much more decentralized. Sub-
importance in mountains. Frontal attacks rarely are units are reinforced and task organized at lower levels.
conducted without coordinated diversionary attacks Placing artillery and mortars close to the FEBA
on the flanks or rear. The frontal attack must have very since mountains considerably restrict their mobility.
Desert terrain and its environment have the The difficulty of orientation and navigation in open
following characteristics: terrain with few landmarks, further complicated by
Primarily sandy or rocky desert soil. reduced visibility, requires marking routes with stable
A shortage or complete lack of water. signs that have good day and night visibility. Signs
Extremely sparse vegetation. indicate the route and also warn of dangerous areas.
A small population and poorly developed road Combat actions are characterized by:
nets. Wide frontages.
Less than 10 percent natural masking by relief, Wide gaps between units.
with up to 75 percent of a given area observable from Frequent independent operations by regiments or
heights. battalions.
Sudden and extreme fluctuations of temperature. Increased logistic requirements.
Absence of landmarks for orientation and land The need to control (in both offense and defense)
navigation. water sources, inhabited areas, developed roads,
Strong winds which blow sand and dust, resulting railways, and particularly junctions and airfields.
in decreased visibility; communications degradation;
and increased maintenance problems and require-
ments for engines, running gear, and all types of THE OFFENSE
weapons. The 1973 Arab-Israeli War impressed on the Soviets
Lack of developed roads normally forces military the need for full combined arms cooperation in desert
movements onto open terrain. Trafficability depends warfare. They pay particular attention to suppression
primarily on the nature and condition of the ground of enemy antitank and air defense weapons.
and its use rate. While dry, loose, sandy soil can hinder Reconnaissance is conducted across a broad front,
cross- country movement, it can be adequate-to-good on many axes, and in depth. It must identtfy gaps in
when wet. Saline soil may be rock-hard when dry but enemy defenses, and the best directions of attack.
very difficult to negotiate when wet. Soil traflicablefor Maintaining orientation in the desert is a special
a few vehicles may not hold up for entire columns. problem. The basic method of off-road navigation is
Columns may have to disperse over a 200- to 300- movement on an assigned azimuth. This is supple-
meter width. Moving sands create the most unfavor- mented when possible by reference points, elevations,
able movement conditions, as traction (even on foot), and rare identifiable features such as wells, canals, and
is often almost impossible to obtain. Moving sands buildings.
affect trafficability, visibility, navigation, and par- Control measures for movement normally include
ticularly orientation. detailed designation of:
Other factors influencing movement rates are Routes and marking methods.
visibility, state of driver training, eficiency of route Available landmarks.
marking, and greater need for maintenance halts. The Formations to insure security for flanks and rear.
planning and preparation of movement and combat Added communications to support wide dispersal.
under desert conditions are particularly critical. Location of water, fuel, and supply points.
Movement planning includes reconnaissance, obstacle Axes of attack and march routes.
identification, route marking, and grading of elevations Some Soviet vehicles are equipped with directional
and descents. gyroscope systems that permit holding the required

Desert Movement


Sandy hills, loose sand, shale 7-8 kmph 5-6 kmph
Sandy valleys 10-12 kmph 8 - 1 0 kmph
Clay-surfaced desert 24-26 kmph 22-24 kmph
direction for 1.5 hours with no greater than a 2 degree Due to sparse vegetation, deserts generally afford
error. With careful adjustment, these systems can be little natural concealment and even less means for
used up to 5 hours without orientation. camouflage. Forces are particularly vulnerable to
Since the desert offers few handicaps to maneuver, observation, especially from aircraft, radar, and heat
attacks normally are carried out from the march and at detection. As a result, camouflage in the desert is of
high speed. In general, offensive tactics are the same as increased importance but is also much more difficult
described in FM 100-2-1. However, frontages normally to accomplish.
are wider, with gaps being accepted, and objectives are The Soviets use camouflage paint designed to blend
at greater depth. Regiments attack on separate axes. equipment and vehicles in with their background and
They are reinforced with sufficient support assets to to break up outlines. The following measures are used
allow independent action. Motorized rifle battalions to screen movement and attacks:
also may operate independently. Cover of darkness.
Forward detachments are employed to penetrate Bad weather, especially sandstorms.
gaps in enemy defenses and carry out harassing attacks Smoke.
in enemy rear areas. Airborne or airmobile forces may Smoke also may be used to conceal firing positions.
seize objectives in depth, normally at night. A supported unit sometimes uses smoke as reference
Frontal attacks in the desert against prepared points in artillery adjustment and control of
defenses historically have proven unsuccessful. There- movement. (For more information on smoke, see FM
fore, the Soviets generally conduct mounted attacks 100-2-1.)
against the flanks o r rear of enemy defenses. When this
is not possible, dismounted infantry may be used to
create gaps, which then are exploited by tanks. HELICOPTER EMPLOYMENT
Helicopter employment in the desert is hindered by:
Increased maintenance requirements.
THE DEFENSE Lack of cover and concealment.
Defense in the desert is difticult due to open terrain, Low air density.
lack of cover and concealment, wide frontages, gaps Higher degree of pilot training required.
between defending units, and reliance on local water Low-level navigation is more difficult in the desert
sources. The attacker probably will probe constantly since reference points are few.
and attack when visibility is reduced.
Soviet defenses are organized in greater depth.
Distances between echelons are greater and forces LOGISTICS
more dispersed. Reserves, mainly tank-heavy, are held Desert operations place special strains on logistics
in greater depth than usual and may be employed to due to:
counter enemy enveloping and encircling movement. Great dispersion of supported units.
Motorized rifle company and battalion frontages in the Greater maintenance requirements.
forward area are similar to those in the normal defense. Limited concealment and toter, making logistic
Motorized rifle companies normally organize in a facilities easier targets.
single echelon. Divisions and regiments may defend Increased requirement for water and fuel.
independently. Mined sectors, and areas of limited traf- Soviet commanders operate well forward and are
ficability may be lightly defended. They may be highly mobile. Communications may be affected by
covered only by mobile patrols or outposts. desert weather and atmospheric conditions. Artillery
Since the possibility of a night attack is greater in the units must be highly mobile to keep up with support
desert, the night defense requires: units and to reduce their own vulnerability.
Maximum use of night-vision devices and elec-
tronic surveillance.
Forward repositioning of tanks after dark, with NBC EFFECTS
tank fires and antitank weapons fires concentrated on Desert terrain affects the behaklor and influences
roads and likely avenues of approach. the deployment of nuclear, biological, and chemical
Intensive patrolling and many observation and weapons. Because of the relative flatness and lack of
listening posts. vegetation, chemical and radiological effects are
Carefully prepared counterattack plans and routes. comparatively even and steady in all directions.
Nuclear weapons employnent norlnally results in atmospheric disturbance caused, are particular threats
considerable dust clouds which remain in upper air to helicopters.
levels for many hours. High tenlpentures decrease air Nuclcqr radiation patterns vary widely depending on
density, enabling nuclear blast waves to move faster. weapon yield, wind, and the magnesium, sodium, salt,
Greater levels of perspiration map increase the effec- and silicon content of the terrain. Thermal radiation
tiveness of some chemical agents. effects are greater than normal since there is usually
Air instability ( a result of tenlperature variations at less terrain masking in the desert than elsewhere.
various levels of the air ) greatly affects all NBC agents. High desert temperatures increase the i~lcapaci-
As a general rule, the air is more stable and more suit- tating effects of liquid agents close to the target. Air
able for NBC employment during the cool of desert instability, wind, and faster evaporatio~lrates cause
nighttime than during the heat of the afternoon. most chemical agents to dissipate relatively quickly
During the afternoon, for example, the instability of and irregularly. High desert temperatures may kill
the air may cause rapid and irregular dissipation of most biological agents.
chemical or radioactive clouds. High desert \vivinds may Individual protective clothing can be worn in high
&ect the distribution patterns of chemical and nuclear temperatures for only short periods of time without
clouds as well as dissipate their effects. risking heat illnesses and dehydration. Wearing tif indi-
Nuclear blasts, even from air bursts, raise con- vidual protective clothing also results in less efficient
siderable quantities of sand and dirt which inhibit physical activity. Rest breaks become more important,
obsenration and maneuver. This effect and the and water consumption increases.
The Soviet Army is well prepared to operate under add to over-the-snow capability. Tanks carry logs or
extremely cold conditions. Because of Soviet beams for use as traction aids. Wheeled vehicle tire
geography and climate, over 60 percent of Soviet pressure is reduced to aid mobility. March columns
divisions are located in and train in areas subject to include tanks with dozer blades, snow-moving equip-
extreme cold at least part of the year. ment, and road graders.
The Soviets recognize the following effects of No special organizations for winter or arctic warfare
extreme cold on military operations: are known to exist in the Soviet Army. However, for at
Tactics must be modified to accornmodate restric- least part of the year, most Soviet divisions train in cold
tions on movement. or extremely cold conditions. Individual training
Human and mechanical eficiency are reduced stresses ski-drawn movement behind tanks and APC's,
considerably. cold injury prevention, equipment care and cleaning
The importance of shelters is increased. (especially weapons), and camouflage. Skiing is par-
Construction of defenses is hindered by frozen ticularly stressed.
Swamps and rivers become passable.
Deep snow reduces the effectiveness of high- THE OFFENSE
explosive shells, mines, and nonpersistent gas while Attack frontages are probably larger in snow
increasing the thermal radiation effects of nuclear because of the difficulty in maneuvering. Reserves are
explosions. also probably larger than normal.
Vehicles are more difficult to operate and Troops may attack on skis or sleds towed behind
maintain. tanks. On reaching the assault line, troops release tow
Electromagnetic anomalies and storms disrupt cables or ropes and form an assault line, making a
communications. coordinated attack with the tanks. When tracked
Deep snow makes orientation difficult. vehicles are used to tow infantry on skis, tanks can tow
* The range of bullets and shells is reduced. two squads and APCs can tow one. Soldiers are
Fluid medical supplies, such as plasma and expected to be able to fire their weapons while being
morphine, will freeze if not well protected. towed.
Air support is restricted. In deep snow (defined as I .5 to 2 times the ground
clearance of vehicles), troops may attack mounted on
tanks. Pursuit may be conducted by tank-borne
PLANNING A N D PREPARATION infantry (if snow conditions or lack of roads preclude
Soviet preparations for operations in extreme cold use of APCS) or on skis.
' . include:
Special clothing and equipment,particularly heavy
In cold weather, attack assembly areas are located
closer to the enemy than usual. This lessens approach
winter overcoats, hats, fur-lined mittens, and felt boots. distances and therefore minimizes fatigue and cold-
An enriched, high.calorie diet with hot food and injury exposure time. Second echelon and reserve
drink provided as often as possible. forces follow closer than normal to reduce com-
Warming tents and shelters provided whenever mitment time.
Special oils and lubricants for vehicles and crew-
served and individual weapons. THE DEFENSE
In extremely cold weather, the Soviets use special The Soviets attempt to use adverse weather to their
fuel mixtures, oils, and lubricants. Vehicles also are advantage. They delay the attacking enemy and deny
fitted with special winterized couplings on fuel pumps. him shelter, thus prolonging his exposure to the cold.
engine heating and cooling systems, and exhaust Populated areas and forests provide shelter and
systems. Batteries also receive special attention. often are used as strongpoints. The strongest defensive
Heaters and warming covers aid in starting vehicles. positions are located along most likely avenues of
Wheeled ~ e h i c l e s ' c a r rchains
~ and are positioned approach --roads and areas of light snow. Snow is used
behind tracked vehicles in march columns whenever to conceal strongpoints as much as possible. Parxpets
possible. Sandbags, mats, cables, and pioneer tools also of packed snow are built around weapons and vehicles.
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Although their doctrine stresses speed and dynamic Soviet principles for offensive combat in cities at
maneuver, the Soviets fully realize that movement division level are:
through urban areas may result in greater ammunition Conduct initial attacks from the march, after
expenditures and casualties and slower rates of reconnaissance.
advance. The Soviets have long acknowledged that Launch attacks from positions in contact with the
combat in cities will be unavoidable at times. Given enemy if initial operations fail to make progress.
urbanization trends in Western Europe, combat in Decentralize command and control to the maxi-
cities could be more the rule than the exception in that mum possible extent.
area. Maintain continuous pressure on the enemy
Soviet ground forces consider combat in cities to through day and night combat.
consist of only those missions conducted in heavily Conceal movement through the use of smoke,
populated cities and towns. Combat in isolated villages darkness, or low ~lsibility.
or groups of buildings along roads in agricultural or Integrate company-sized tank, motorized rifle, and
open areas are considered actions in or against strong- combat engineer assault groups with the direct sup-
points and are outside the scope of this chapter. port of antitank guns and the direct and indirect
The Soviets classify towns and cities according to support of artillery and mortars.
shape, population, and perimeter. The Soviets calcu- While combined arms assault groups provide the
late that in Europe there are one or two small cities for main effort during combat in cities, heliborne assaults
every 200 to 300 square kilometers of terrain. In a on key points may be used. Helicopters may lift
European conflict, there is potential for involvement in motorized rifle troops to key points in the battle area.
combat in cities on the average of every 40 to 60 During combat in cities, a Soviet division normally
kilometers. attacks in two echelons at each level of command with
The decision to attack a city or town may be politi- the following frontages:
cally, strategically, or tactically motivated and normally Diin'sion 4 to 6 kilometers
is made at army level or above. Tactical reasons for Regiment 2 to 3 kilometers
attack may include: Battalion 400 to 600 meters
The city or town is key terrain. Company 200 to 300 meters
The area encompasses vital communications Main axes are along major roads to capture key areas,
crossings. to disrupt the defense, and to cross the area in the
It is necessary to protect an exposed flank. shortest possible time. Division and regimental axes
It serves as a diversionary operation. are major roads. A battalion might advance on two or
It would tie down enemy troops and reserves. three parallel streets, with one company axis per
The built-up area is unavoidable due to the extent street.
of urbanization. Combat on such restricted frontages and axes of
In the offense, the Soviets plan for their lead advance, results in the following sigtllficant control
echelons to cut off and to destroy enemyforces before problems:
they can occupy cities. Ifthis is not possible, the Soviets Difficulty in coordinating attacks progressing at
plan to bypass pockets of resistance with leading dBerent rates with fire support.
echelons and continue the advance. Bypassed enemy- Communications problems caused by a large
held areas are sealed off and may be neutralized by number of VHF radios operating in close proximity and
following echelons. being screened by buildings.

Soviet Classification of Urban Areas


100,000 or more Large More than 25 kilometers
50,000 to 100,000 Average 15 to 25 kilometers
Less than 50,000 Small Less than 15 kilometers
Identification of targets and coordination of fire street patterns as well a s the strength of defending
against targets in depth. forces. Attacking forces are not evenly distributed
Logistic problems, particularly the resupply of around the built-up area. They are employed over the
ammunition, which may be used at an extremely high most favorable avenues of approach. Because of the
rate in intense combat. manpower-intensive, close-combat nature of combat
The commander determines force size and compo- in cities, motorized rifle rather than tank units are pre-
sition based on the area's size, shape, building type, and ferred. Normally, regiments coordinate the attacks and

Tactics and Analvnis



(Main Force bypasses. Second echelon

forces execute frontal holding attack and
attack from rear.)

1. Forward detachment operating in advance to
seize critical bridges, junctions, or installations
2. "Reconnaissance by battle." Probing attacksto
determine defensive positions.
3. Withdrawal routes blocked by tankelementsor
airlanded forces.
Mobile obstacle detachments block withdrawal
8routes and protect main force flanks.

- r
- - \ Ip-. . , . . A
-- Z"
..-7 .1. -2

battalions conduct them. Division and regimental counterbattery tasks. Preparatory fires are shorter than
resources reinforce the battalions as required. Indi- normal, 5 to 20 minutes being the historical
vidual battalions may have a variety of missions,. precedent.
depending on the situation. Reserves are created at The missions of engineer subunits accompanying
regimental rather than division level. assault groups are engineer reconnaissance, destruc-
Motorized rifle battalions maybe employed in either tion of buildings, mine clearance, and clearing routes
the first or second echelons of an assault on a city or of rubble to allow movement of tanks, APCs, and
town. In either case, their organization, tasks, and artillery.
assault tactics are probably the same. Antiaircraft weapons, both handheld and crew-
In combat in cities, the Soviets call their assault served, are used to cover artillery firing positions and
battalions "assault detachments." They are organized commanders' observation posts against low-flying
into two echelons. Each company is formed into an aircraft and helicopters. When not engaged in this
"assault group." A typical combat organization for an primafy role, they suppress enemy ground fire.
assault group is: Unlike combat in more open terrain, the Soviet
A motorized rifle company. doctrine stresses decentralized control in combat in
One or two tank platoons. cities. This puts a heavy burden on the battalion's com-
Antitank guns. munication systems. However, only through decen-
An artillery battery, in the direct fire role. tralization can they cope with the tactical problems of
A combat engineer platoon. controlling troops fighting in close quarters.
Flamethrower and chemical specialists. It is unlikely that nuclear weapons would be used
Besides the fire support on hand at company level, within a city. Extensive destruction and contamination
the battalion commander normally has artillery and would only hinder offensive progress. 7bey mu?), how
mortar units under his control to give indirect fire ever, use norpersistent chemical uleapons because of
support to his assault groups. Indirect fire weapons are their potential for human destruction uttbout
employed to destroy enemy strongpoints and to neu- causing material damage.
trafize enemy reserves. The Soviets can be expected to use psychological
Assault groups are task organized. A representative warfare, including threats, promises, misinformation,
assault group may include: and rumors. These would be directed against both
Attack or seizure groups consisting of a motorized military defenders and the civilian population.
rifle platoon reinforced by tanks.
A covering and holding group consisting of up to a
motorized rifle platoon reinforced by antitank guns. THE OFFENSE
A fire support group which includes attached Combat in the cities imposes demands for a slower
artillery in the direct fire role and flamethrowers. pace and tempo of attacks; longer duration of commit-
A group of combat engineers equipped with ment; shorter, intense preparatory fires; and specially
bangalore torpedoes and mineclearing devices. tailored forces. Soviet tactics reflect these concepts.
One or two motorized rifle squads may be used as a Initial reconnaissance of a target urban area is made
resenre force to either strengthen attacking or holding following stucty of large-scale maps, aerial photo-
groups or to carry out a contingency task. Tank units graphs, and background intelligence reports. Tactical
are used to: intelligence will update such background data from
Senre, with combined arms reinforcement, as an long-range reconnaissance patrols, agent reports,
advance guard in the approach to the city. aerial reconnaissance, and signal intelligence. When
Cut off or envelop the enemybefore he reaches the required, task-organized reconnaissance groups
built-up area. drawn from motorized rifle and tank units reinforce
Envelop the city. divisional and regimental reconnaissance.
Reinforce infantry in street fighting. The specific mission of reconnaissance units and
Serve as a mobile reserve. groups from division and regiment is to identify:
Artillery is decentralized during offensive combat in Enemy deployments outside the built-up area.
cities. The commander may attach up to 50 percent of Strongpoints within the city.
available artillery to assault groups to be used in the Command posts and communications centers.
direct fire role. The remainder is organized into an Reserves.
artillery group to provide on-call indirect and counter- Enemy withdrawal routes and successive defen-
battery fire. Howitzers and mortars are used for sive positions.

-0-.-Regimental boundary Mortar battery (120mm) *> Mined barracade

I ---Battalion boundary -. Truck-mounted bridge -X-X- Portable obstacle

I BQ Motor~zedr ~ f l ecompany
re~nforcedby tanks ~n the attack
Mine-sweeping tank equ~ppedwlth
mine-cleanng roller
& Blockhouse

Motorized r ~ f l eplatoon ~n the attack

Battallon commander's command post

Company commanders command post

Anlllery battery In flrtng pos~tton

- - - -(
Battallon commander

Control llne

Mlxed rnlnefteld
(ant1 personnel and antitank)

Concertina wlre obstacle

l: S: t X

Destroyed bridge

Barbed wlre barr~er


-- --..- Build~ngs (most structures

are of stone)
On receiving his orders from the regimental com- artillery fire is shifted to the enemy rear. Smoke is used
mander, a battalion commander clarifi&his mission by to conceal approach routes.
studying his superior's concept of attack. He imme- Canals and rivers that flow through cities pose
diately gives his subordinates a warning order con- significant obstacles to the attacker. Accordingly,
taining the battalion's mission, with his guidelines for reconnaissance elements identlfy likely crossing
its completion. The battalion commander then makes areas and standing bridges which are designated as
his estimate of the situation. He assesses the enemy, the priority objectives. Assault crossing parties with
need for reconnaissance missions, the battalion's tank-launched bridges may be positioned well forward
combat organizations, tasks for his own troops, and in attack units.
terrain. Using large-scale maps and aerial photographs, After destroying strongpoints at the edge of the cit),
the battalion commander studies the objective area assault groups move forwarti on major roads to~vard
and assigns tasks to individual assault groups. the center of the city. Smoke may be used to cover
If' time and situation allow. the battalion commander flanks or conceal forward movement. Infantqnlen
conducts a terrain reconnaissance of his objective, carry up to twice the normal allocation of ammunition
from a suitable vantage point. The assault group com- to compensate for high intensity of fire. If resistance is
manders accompany him, and they coordinate on-the- light, the Soviets may move illfantry fonv;ird by
ground reference points and targets for supporting mounting them either in APCs or on tanks. Most
weapons. During this reconnaissance, the commander common, however, is for infantry subunits to move on
selects and defines departure lines and unit foot along streets, clearing buildings one b!. one.
boundaries. Where necessay, they clear houses by simultaneous
The battalion commander and his statTprepare the assaults from roof and ground floor. They also iise
attack order, which includes: automatic weapons and grenades extensively. Colnbat
Objectives to be seized. engineers attached to assault groups make e n t n and
Approach routes, lines of departure, and phases exit holes through masonry u~alls. They make
(lines) for assault. maximum made of underground passages. Specially
Method of assault of individual buildings and assigned teams follow up assault groups to clestroy
blocks. small enemy parties that survive the initial ;tssaults.
Actions of flanking units. Tanks are used to support infantry and t o neutralize
Method of destroying bypassed groups of enemy. enemy strongpoints. Soviet doctrine calls for strong
Details of fire and movement. reserves of tanks at both battalion and regimental
Details of smoke, chemical, and flamethrower use. levels.
Locations of command posts and control points Tactics for fighting at night remain basically the
and the procedure for moving them forward during same as those used by day. The Soviets try to maintain
the attack. the same attack intensity at night. Illurnination is iised
Control of battalion offensive tactics in cities differs both as an aid to their own troops as well as a means to
significantly from combat in open terrain. Company- blind the enemy.
sized assault groups
- -
attack concurrently and inde- The battalion second echelon is used to exploit thc
pendently. A major reason for decentralization is the success of first echelon assault groups. Normally, the
greatly restricted area of observation and radio trans- regimental commander gives the order to commit the
mission range. The Soviets pay particular attention to battalion second echelon to the assault. It may leapfrog
the difficulties of coordinating indirect artillery fire. through first echelon subunits already in contact ~ v i t h
The battalion command observation post is located the enemy. Occasionally, the second echelon n~ust
200 to 300 meters behind the assault groups. The complete the task of first echelon subunits.
battalion commander personally assigns indirect fire
missions to the artillery commander, who is collocated
with him. The Soviets believe that the battalion com- THE DEFENSE
mander, by staying as far forward as possible, can The Soviets regard cities as military, political, and
personally influence the conduct of an attack economic centers that are probable targets for an
Preparatory indirect artillery fire against urban enemy nuclear strike. Accordingly, they plan t o
targets is intensive but short, normally lasting only 5 to establish their defensive positions on the approLIC.I~ e s
20 minutes. Tactical aircraft attack enemy resenre to the city whenever possible. This allo\~sthe Soviets
positions, artillery emplacenlents, and communica- to use ordinar). field defensive tactics, which are more
tions centers. As assault units reach a safety line. economical in manpower and equiptnent. Homc~er.
there are circumstances that may dictate defense the built-up area. In the second echelon, its mission is
within a city. They are: to contain an enemy penetration and restore first
To stop an enemy offensive in which a city is the echelon positions. There is a degree of tactical flexi-
objective. bility within these missions in that battalions may find
To defend a port or naval base. that the direction of enemy assault has changed a
To defend a key political or economic base. primary approach into a secondary one, or vice versa.
Soviet troops in contact with the enemy are most Battalions positioned on primary approaches have
likely to set up the defense of a city after an unsuc- smaller frontages than those placed on secondary ones.
cessful meeting engagement or attack, during a with- The mission of a reserve battalion is to reinforce or
drawal, or when a tactical stalemate has been reached. replace battalions in the first or second echelons or to
The Soviets regard such a forced defense as a critical c&er gaps created in the defense by enemy use of
point in combat that could cause the transition from nuclear weapons.
nonnuclear to nuclear warfare. A motorized rifle battalion usually holds a number of
Defense of a city when not in contact with the company strongpoints. It is reinforced by tanks, anti-
enemy gives time for reconnaissance and building of tarkguns, and artillery employed in the direct fire role.
fortifications. Units operating well beyond the out- Other artillery and mortar units also provide indirect
skirts of the city protect the preparations. A defense of fire support.
this type may be set up to protect a military base, aport, The defense in both the first and second echelons
or an economic, political, or transportation center. consists of a series of company-sized strongpoints.
Rear echelon units or reserves usually accomplish the Each company is reinforced by tanks and artillery
defense of such areas. according to its mission and the tactical situation.
The Soviets consider the city's layout and types of Although the maximum frontage of a strongpoint is
structures, the time of year, and the climate important about 200 meters, the exact frontage and depth of the
in the planning of the defense. The Soviets experi- battalion depend on:
enced these factors in World War 11, and they are a The echelon.
pervasive influence in current Soviet military theory The combat strength of the battalion.
and practice. The estimated strength of the enemy.
The Soviet concept of defense in cities is to draw The layout of the city and the types of buildings.
enemy manpower and equipment into kU zones and to A company of tanks normally is attached to a
destroy them. The tactics and weapon systems used motorized rifle battalion defending in a city. The
depend on the situation and terrain. A key principle at company is employed either as platoons or as single
the operational level is to include an urban area in a tanks set in ambush positions. Tanks may be used in a
larger zone of defense. In this way, the Soviets hope to mobile role with two or three alternate positions for
give commanders suficient maneuver room to each tank, or they may be employed in a stationary role
maximize the delivery of firepower-especially that of to reinforce the antitank defense. On the outskirts of
tanks-and so to inflict the heaviest possible casualties the city, tank units channel enemy forces into the kill
on the enemy. zone or conduct counterattacks to slow the enemy
The Soviets try to canalize enemy movement into the rate of advance. Tank ambush positions are set up in
defended zone of a city by strongly held positions on the villages beyond the city limits as well as on the
the flanks. The use of nuclear and chemical weapons to outskirt; of the city proper.
create contaminated areas on the flanks can achieve Motorized rifle battalions receive up to 50 percent
the same ends as phpically occupying positions and of divisional artillery, including heavy artillery, to be
expending enormous amounts of conventional used in a direct fire role. Artillery pieces are emplaced
firepower. Soviet doctrine calls for control of the rate either singly or as platoons and come under the com-
of enemy advance by launching local counterattacks. nund of the motorized rifle company commander.
The enemy is to be defeated and repulsed on the ~ a c hgun has two or three positions. The artillery
outskirts, if possible. The Soviets plan to allow the remaining under direct control of the regiment o r
enemy to engage in close combat in the center of the division is emplaced in covered positions outside the
city only as a last resort. city and delivers indirect fire on request. Antitankguns
A motorized rifle battalion normally defends as part are under the direct command of the motorized rifle
of a regiment. The battalion may be placed in either the battalion comn~ander.Smoke conceals the movement
regimental first or second echelon of defense. In the of troops and equipment within strongpoints and the
first echelon, its mission is to prevent penetration of movement of reserves between them.
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A combat engineer platoon may be attached to a Boundaries and detiiil of flank protection.
txtttalion and normally remains ~ l n d e the r cetitralized Kcsene responsibilities.
control of the battalion conlmander. Engineer duties Tasks of supporting tanks and artillery.
;re: Engineer duties.
To lay mines and prepare obstacles. Security arrangements.
1'0 p r e ~ a r efor the tlcmolition of buildings and Defense lneasiires and warnings against nilclear
clc;tr fields of fire. *and chemical weapons. The battalion commander
'1'0 create passages through buildings for covered ends his order with details of tire coordination.
movement in and between strongpoints. In organizing the fire plan, the battalion commander
To carry o i ~ emergency
t rescue work. positions his tanks and antitank weapons at the edge of
<:hemic;tl defense specialists are attached to the ;he town. After the initial antitank- battle. remaking
hatt;~lion to monitor chemical and radiological weapons are ~vithdrawnto prepared positions within
1laz;rds. 'n'hey also perform decontamination after the built-up area. A few antitank guided missiles
nuclear or chemical attack. (ATGMs) may he relocated to successive firing
Abiation is used in ground attack to destroy enemy positions within the city. ATGMs are not suited for
nuclear deliver). systems, break up enemy attacks, and firing at close-range targets because of their nlinirnun~
neutralize enemy forces attempting to bypass the city. range limitations. Tanks and antitank weapons cover
In addition, aviation has the mission to destroy enemy major roads, parks, and squares. Artillery and mortars
aircraft ~ ~ s in e dclose support of ground combat. cover possible enemy approaches. k l e c t e d artillery
According to Soviet sources, tactical air defense alternate positions allow the guns to b e used in the
requirements for cornbat in cities include a much direct tire role. The guns cover lines or areas in natural
more restricted use of air defense weapons due to the o r engineer ohstaclis. Besides the firepower under the
close, confined nature of combat in a built-up area. direct c o ~ n m a n dof the battalion commander, the
Smaller, lighter antiaircraft artillery can be deployed in regiment also has an indirect fire si1ppor.t plan. The
open spaces such as parks, major intersections and on weapons remaining under division and higher control
tlat roofed buildings. Manportable surface-to-air are located outside the city fo facilitate their redeploy.
missiles (SAiMs) can be used in a sinlilar role. But the ment. Air strikes from tactical aviation, including both
larger SA'LIs, which depend on their engagement fixed-wing and helicopters will also support ground
radars, may find the built-up area highly restrictive o r forces.
irnpossihle to operate in effectively. Air defense assets A reinforced motorized rifle battalion deploys in one
may be deployed on the more open, peripheral areas of or two echelons, depending on the size and layout of
cities along likely avenues of approach by hostile its assigned sector. A r e s e n e of one or two platm)ils
aircraft. noimallyr is created when the battalion deploys in a
Hefore establishing a battalion defense, the battalion single echelon. W%en the battalion deploys in two
commancler conducts an estimate of the situation echelons, the mission of its second echelon is to hold a
including the following: position and to destroy by counterattack any pene-
Enern) maneuver areas and approaches to his tration of the battalion's first echelon. Such counter-
~mhition. attacks may be carried out in conjunction with either
Probable e n e ~ n ynuclear and conventional targets. battalion o r regimental reserves.
Length of projectecf stay in the defensive position. Thc company creates strongpoints in buildings and
Support required from attached and flanking -prepares
- for all-around defense. Doors and windows
forces. that are not required for use are filled lvith bricks or
Stockpiling anmmunition, food, medical supplies, sandbags. Holes for firing handheld weapons are
and mrater. knocked through walls. 'The troops mine, barricade, or
'Ike structure of buildings and likely areas of destroy stairnays. Access between floors is achieved by
defense. cutting holes through the floors and using ropes or
'The batt'tlion commander then locates the ladders. <;overed communication routes by under-
clefencling con~panies'strongpoints and supportirig ground passage connect the strongpoints. Food and
detachments, o b s e m t i o n posts, and kill zones. The irater are stored in strongpoints in places where they
battalion commander's order contains the following will be protected from nuclear o r chemical contami-
basic elements: nation. Weapon systems locate on different floor levels
The mission and reinforcement of each company. to cover dead space. Snipers are positioned o n roofs
Sectors of fire and areas of concentrated fire. and in attics.
The gaps bet\veen strongpoints, streets, and open A mobile covering force engages enemy reconnais-
areas & m i n e d and obstacles set up. Bridges over sance and lead units before they reach the edge of the
rivers and canals are either destroyed or prepared for built-up area. The covering force maneuvers to meet
demolition. Buildings are blo\vn down both to clear the enemy threat as it dc~~elops, while combat remains
sectors of fire ant1 to create obstacles for enemy armor. on the outskirts of the built-up area. Once enemy
The Soviets stress the importance of fire fighting pressure intensifies, the covering force withdraws and
during combat in cities. They point out that com- takes up a prepared defensive position.
bustible material should be removed from strong- Once the enemy reaches the edge of the built-up
points, as it can lead to gaps being made in the area, the Soviets recognize that combat will break
defense. Besides the fire hazard, continuous down to a series of small-unit engagements at the
monitoring is kept of the chenlical and biological company strongpoints. These engagements are fought
hazard. Layers of warning systems encompass all means at close range with both heavy and handheld weapons.
of communication within the company strongpoints. When enemy infantry and tanks attack together, Soviet
Chemical specialists also acconlpany patrols forward defenders try to destroy the infantry first. This makes
of the main defense. the unsupported tanks an easier target in the city.
Battalions obtain intelligence from observation and
If the enemy succeeds in penetrating a company
listening posts, adjacent units, and the regimental staff. strongpoint, the Soviets plan immediately to call in a
While in defensive positions on the outskirts of the heavy volume of artillery and mortar frre to prevent
city, APC-mounted reconnaissance patrols are sent out enemy advancement into the sector. Battalion
to maintain contact with the enemy. When combat resources-second echelon companies of the
moves into the city, foot patrols remain in contact with battalion reserve-conduct the counterattack along
the advancing enemy. Ambushes are prepared on the planned routes. If the battalion deploys in a single
most likely enem). approaches to maintain securih and e c h e l o n , t h e battalion r e s e r v e makes t h e
to gain tactical information. counterattack.
The defensive fire plan is designed to separate The Soviets pay considerable attention to the design
enemy infantry and tanks. Artillery breaks up enemy and use of mock-ups and ranges for training in street
formations approaching the built-up area. Fires are fighting. Much of the training is carried out to achieve
used on the enemy's flanks to canalize movement into physical fitness. There are indications that motorized
kill zones. rifle troops learn the skills of combat in built-up areas
under simulated battle conditions.
In the Soviet view, night cannot be a reason for The lack of convection (vertical streams of air) also
decreasing activity. On the contrary, they use the dark affects night combat, since the persistence of gas, fog,
of night to achieve surprise, to increase the rate of or smoke is considerably increased in the absence of
advance, and to win time. The Soviets consider vertical air streams.
darkness to be more of an advantage and an oppor- Night combat also is aEected by the physical and
tunity than a rmson for interruption of combat. psychological conditions of the troops. Darkness
Combat at night is normally an extension of combat stimulates the imagination and a feeling of insecurity
actions begun during the day. The battle may be
carried on into the night to retain the initiative with a
high offensive tempo.
The Soviets recognize that darkness favors the per- Night Factors
formance of marches and maneuvers; makes it easier to
concentrate men and materiel in a decisive direction;
hampers enemy use of most weapons, airborne troops, DISTANCES AT WHICH LIGHT SOURCES
and aviation; and provides favorable conditions for CAN BE OBSERVED AT NIGHT WITH THE NAKED EYE
achieving surprise. By skillfully employing the advan- SOURCE DISTANCES
tages of night conditions, attacking units can fulfill Vehicle headlights 4-8 km
their mission with smaller losses in personnel and Muzzle flashes from single cannons 4-5 km
equipment. Muzzle flashes from small arms 1.5-2 km
Night also presents problems. It is more difficult to Bonfire 6-8 km
orient oneself at night and to maintain direction of Flashlight up to 1.5-2 km
movement. Effectiveness of aimed fire is reduced, and Lighted match up to 1.5 km
reconnaissance and selection of targets become more Lighted cigarette .5-.8 km
difficult. The Soviets feel, however, that these negative
factors can be successfully overcome through frequent NOTE: For observation from the air, these distances are ~ncreased2 to 3
and careful training.
Soviet doctrine states that thedifficultyinherent in a
night attack aids the soldier in the defense and that the
defender is more c o d d e n t . However, they also recog-
nizes that a well-organized surprise attack has a strong SOURCE DISTANCES
negative psychological effect on the defender. Cannon shot up to 15 km
Single shot from a rifle 2-3 krn
Automatic weapons fire 3-4 krn
CONDITIONS Tank movement
AFFECTING NIGHT COMBAT -on a dirt road up to 1.2 km
Darkness modifies the outline, shape, and coloring -on a highway 3-4 km
of local objects and distorts separation distances. Dark Motor vehicle movement
objects seem farther away than they really are, while -on a dirt road up to 500 m
lighter ones appear to be closer. According to the -on a highway up to 1 km
Soviets, on a clear night one can recognize land relief Movement of troops on foot
and coloration up to 400 meters with the naked eye. -on a dirt road up to 300 m
Under a high moon, one can spot a moving man at 240 -on a highway up to 600 m
meters, and using binoculars, at 700 meters. Small arms loading up to 500 m
Sound is another factor that changes at night and Metal on metal up to 300 m
leads to both physical and psychological distortion. At Conversation of a few men up to 300 m
night, sounds seem louder and carry farther. Direc- Steps of a single man up to 4 0 m
tions from which sounds originate cannot always be Axe blow, sound of a saw up to 500 m
determined. Weather conditions such as rain can affect Blows of shovels and pickaxes up to 1,000 m
both audibility and visibility and serve as a definite Screams up to 1,500 m
advantage for the attacker. Oars on water up to 2,000 rn
that might eventually lead to panic. Nights normally are resistance or fortified areas or for repulsing
resenred for rest. Fatigue and symptoms of exhaustion cou~lterattacks.
may affect those \I.ho have to stay alvake. 7;he h~zsicpt7'izct~Iesiii the ettzploj~ttieilto f illutrzi-
Darkness reduces the effectiveness of all types of iwtio~irler~icesare striprise avzd ~rzassiilg.Massing is
fires. Effective fires are almost impossible \vithout achieved through a consecuti\,e concentration of
night-vision equipment or illumination. Soviet artiller). illumination equipment. The Soviets consider radius,
and aviation make \vide use of illumination but still intensity, and duration important in determining
encounter difficulties in spotting rounds and in con- which particular dekice to use.
ducting artillery reconnaissance. Darkness severely Aerial flares producing one million candlepower of
hampers visual identification and ;tcquisition of enemy illumination burn 3 to 6 minutes and provide a circle of
aircraft by regimental air defense elements. Night illumination .5 to 4 kilometers in diameter, depending
conditions can increase the morale of tank troops by on their height above the ground. An artillery star shell
lessening the possibility of their tanks being destroyed illuniinates the ground for 30 seconds over a circle 500
by antitank artillery. Ho\velrer, orientation, location, to 1,500 meters in diameter. Illuminating cartridges
maintaining direction of movement, and the general with a range of 200 to 250 meters burn for 7 seconds
difficulty of operating vehicles in darkness can com- and illuminate an area with a diameter of 200 to 240
plicate the employment of tanks. Coordination rvith meters.
other units is also d81cult. On flat terrain or terrain sloping upwards toward the
First echelon engineer support is Illore important enemy, targets are illuminated from behind. Targets on
during combat at night. Soviet engineers are trained to terrain slanting downhill tonard the attackers are
use illuminating signs and markers to designate direc- illuminated from the front. Illuminating devices are
tion of movement, destroyed areas, and passages employed so as not to reveal the location and dispo-
through obstacles. sition of friendly troops, to blind them, or to impair
Chemical weapons have a greater effect on rnan- their night \ision.
power at night due to atmospheric conditions. Con- Illumination of the terrain usually is effected
sequently, Soviet commanders are urged to increase according to the senior commander's plan. He defines
chemical and radiation reconnaissance at night. illumil~ationsupport missions, including the general
However, monitoring devices are difficult to read and order for terrain illumination, intensity and duration of
NBC reconnaissance is considerably complicated. the mission, disposition of the enemy's defense and key
Notifying the troops of contaminated areas is more objectives, measures for disorienting and blinding the
difficult in darkness, and commanders are advised to enemy, and measures for countering the enemy's
appoint more observers than during the day to provide illumination and night vision devices. The commander
a timely warning of the contaminated area. Voice also decides how illumination will be used to control
signals are used to warn persortnel. Signal tlashes are and maintain coordination among his subunits. He
not used as a warning because they reveal friendly defines signals for target designation and specifies
locations. combat illumination equipment reserves and how they
will be used.
Illun~inationsupport also may be used in other ways
EQUIPMENT in the conduct of night combat. Searchlights can be
Illumination devices i n c l u d e illuminating used to blind the enemy, thus making it difficult for
cartridges, rockets, shells. aerial bombs, searchlights, him to deliver aimed fires. During the march, illumi-
mines, mortars, tracer shells, and flares. nation orients subunits advancing to deployment lines.
They are employed to: This prevents confusion in combat formations, and
Improve visibility of the ground and of enemy insures precise coordination. Luminous markers along
targets. the routes of advance facilitate the rapid advancement
Observe the battle area. of second echelon units and resenre forces. Such
Orient troops during the course of battle. markers are used to identiQ concentration areas.
Support the conduct of aimed fire. Luminous distance indicators also are attached to a
Blind the enemy and to combat his illumination vehicle's rear light. The driver can determine the
wpport equipment. distance to the vehicle in front of him based on the
Issue commands. number of red stripes he can see (e.g., one continuous
Illumination may be periodic or continuous. The red stripe is visible at 50 meters, nvo red rectangles
latter is reserved for a major attack against centers of can be seen at 30 meters). Knowing thest: distances,
the driver can adjust his spacing and speed tronic transmitters, and d o not require space on the
accordingly. radio wive band. They are not susceptible to intercept,
InFrared night vision sighting devices include infra- jamming, or other electronic measures.
red binoculars, drivers' indirect vision devices, and The GPK-48 and GPK-59 navigation systems are
searchlights installed on vehicles. Radar could be installed in some T-55 and T-62 tanks. The driver only
included in this grouping since it is used to conduct has to w i t c h the instrument on, give it time to warm
reconnaissance and to adjust fire. Reportedly the up, and set his heading. The GPK-I8 was designed to
Soviets also have passive infrared vision devices. give direction in snorkeling operations but has no
While these instruments permit better obsercation, built-in compensation to allow for the earth's rotation.
they do have range limitations. At longer ranges they The instrument is accurate only for periods of 15
are limited to defining the form, silhouette, and degree minutes without resetting. The more recently
of contrast of an object. Active infrared devices operate developed GPK-59 has a compensating mechanism
on the principle of "illuminating" the ground object by and can operate accurately for up to 90 minutes.
means of infrared rays and converting the reflection of A computer and display navigation system known as
targets into a visible image. The enemy can detect the "the coordinator" is installed in some command tanks.
emissions of active devices easily and for that reason The system consists of six components, three ofwhich
they are used sparingly. Passive devices d o not emit require no access by the crew except for inspection.
rays and therefore cannot be detected. The infrared The system displays map coordinates in northings and
night observation system, NSP-2, and the infrared eastings rounded off to the nearest 10 meters. The
night-driving device, TVN-2, can be used either vehicle heading displayed is in Soviet mils on coarse
actively or passively. In complete darkness, it is and fine scales. The instrument is 90 percent accurate.
possible with these devices to identrfy local features Once set, it can be used to navigate within a 100-
and engineer construction, to maintain observation of kilometer grid square.
activities, to conduct aimed fire, and to drive vehicles Another Soviet navigation system has a map plotter.
without headlights. However, night vision devices are This is not installed in tanks but may be used by some
not effective in healy fog or during heavy rains. motorized ritle units.
Tanks also have infrared (IR) sighting equipment for There is also evidence of a new navigation system. It
the main armanlent and searchlights that can be appears to be an improved version of "the coordi-
equipped with an IR filter. Targets can be identified up nator." The newer system permits operation within a
to 800 meters. Nez~wtheless,actiz~eIR can betray the 100-kilometer grid square without resetting. The
exact position of the user i f the enenzy is using IR instrument displays plus and minus coordinates on 1-
sensors. This hazatd is readily appreciated by- the kilometer and 200-meter scales from the present
Soviets in their night combat. Tank drivers use IR location. Bearing to the destination is shown on a
binoculars regularly in night training. Tank com- separate dial.
manders use binocular-type passive IR sensors.
Sound-monitoring devices can provide observation
of the enemy when night vision devices are ineffective THE MARCH
or cannot be used for security reasons. The monitoring The night march is an essential element of night
devices can pick up noises made by the movement of combat. The Soviets learned the importance of night
personnel and vehicles and by the firing of various marches during World War I1 when many of their
types of weapons. Enemy activities can be determined important operations began with long night marches.
based on the sound detected. Heat detection devices Regardless of their difXculty, night marches are a
also are used in defining the direction to a target. In the necessity. Their preparation, organization, security,
future, the Soviets expect to be able to use heat and execution require a great deal of attention. The
detection instruments to determine not onlv the successful execution of a night march depends to a
location of arms and equipment but also the location of large degree on the general maintenance, organi-
personnel. zation, concealment, and rapid movement of all units.
'fiere are three types of land navigation systems The commander must identrfy areas that will
used in the Soviet ground forces. All three systems present difticulties for concealment and provide
depend on a directional gyroscope, an instrument instructions for the use of night vision devices, illumi-
designed to accurately preserve an initial reference nation instruments, and communications. Extensive
bearing during movement. The three systems are self- use is made of light-signaling equipment (flashlights,
contained, d o not depend on emissions from elec- signal lights, etc.). By means of these devices, signals
may be transmitted indicating the start or finish of an) without a break so that the enemy will not have time to
activit), changes in direction of nio\.ement, positionh. bring up his reserve or to regroup. An artilleryprepara-
requests for fire support, ancl other tasks. tion usually precedes the night attack. However, to
Strict light and sound disciplil-te is paramount and avhieve surprise, an attack may be launched without
must be maintained at all times, particularly \vhen preparatory fires, tanks, or the use of illumination.
passing through open areas. Active infrared night Nlght attacks are most often launched 2 or 3 hours
\.ision devices are used \vhen approvecl by the march before da\vn to permit daylight exploitation of success.
comnunder. 111e success of a night attack ultimately depends on
Comn~unicationsbetween platoons and companies precise organization, concealment of preparations.
can be conducted by messengers or betlveen surprise, control and coordination of combat and sup-
battalions by messengers using motorcycles. Short porting units, fire support, and illun~inatingand night
radio transmissions can be employed for comniuni- \,ision d c ~ i c e s .
cations between regiments. I h r i n g the night march, The commander plans illumination of the objective,
security elements are located closer t o the main Iwdy light signals for coordination. boundary lines for
than during the day. attitcking units, the means of destroying enemy illumi-
Reconnaissance is conducted before and during the nating devices, and the assignment of reference points.
night march. Reconnaissance elements d o not range 'lhe battalion commamier locates himself where he
out as far during the night as they d o during the day. can obsewe both enemy and friendly forces. The com-
Resides enemy information, Soviet reconnaissance nunder of supporting artiller) ~tsi~ally is located with
units collect information on the condition of the the battalion comnlancler.
march route, existence of bypsses. favorable locations Another control measure is the assignment of
for Lvater crossings, and obstacles. The number and :ui~nuthsto each unit. The Soviets depend o n the use of
strength of reconnais.sance units are increased at night azimuths imd consider them a valuable supplement to
on both the flanks and the head of the column. reference points.
Chemical radiation reconnaissance patrols are Control is exercised further by designating guide
provided with infrared devices, illun~inatingmarkers, ~lnits.Each battalion designates a guide conlpany; each
contaminated sector boundary ~liarkers,and signs to company, a guide platoon; and each platoon, a guide
define contaminated sectors. squad. Guide subunits are centrally located and
Concealment from enemy radar is aided by traveling provided lvith night visio11 devices and illumination
near population centers, near railroads, and o n roads in means.
forests. In an attack from a position in direct contact with
Normally, long halts are not made at night hecausc the enerny, subunit directions of attack and passages
the hours of darkness must be ~ ~ s to e dthe maximum thro~tghminetields o r obstacles may b e designated by
extent for movement. During short sunlnler nights. one-way glo\ving m a k e r s emplaced in the ground.
troops are given only a 5 - to 10-minute rest at each rest Markers for difierent subunits may have distinctive
stop. Rest stops are taken at sources of \\ater or fitel. s h a l x s o r colors.
Rest stops must not be made near large population If the attack is made from the march, subunits may
centers, railroad stations, bridges, and other objects of be assigned an azimuth of attack. Locations for deploy-
possible enemy interest. Rest stops are never taken in ment from march formation to prebattle formation and
open areas or near ravines or defiles. Strict blackout then to attack formation may k designated by ground
and noise discipline are maintained. The use of light markers, signal lights. o r tlares. The depths of subunit
and the building of fires are prohibited. objecti\,es in a night attack \vould probably be reduced
Senior commanders organize traffic control service. from da).time depths.
Subordinate commanders are infonned as to h o ~ v (;omplicated maneuvers are avoided because of dif-
tr&lc control is organized, where trait control posts ficulties of control at night. A short halt at an assault
have been set up, and ho\v b~p; and difficult line may be ordered to orient subunits and to clarify
sectors of the route are marked. the missions. Thc Itrosl cottrrtzor~rrtl~ick fomzatiotl a1
rziglb is tbc. litle .fi)?-ttzrrtiotl.
motorized rifle subunits usually attack dismounted
THE OFFENSE at night. They niay conduct a mounted attack if the
A night attack may be the continuation of daytime terrain is ver). open, if enemy defenses have k e n
combat, or it may be the start of a new attack. A con- successfiill~~neiitralized hyrcombatsupport means, and
tinuation of a daytime attack must be carried through if illumination is abundant.
Within the attack formation, distances bc.t\xreen recognition signals. ' m e comrnander plans the number
tanks, dismounted riflemen. and APCs is reduced. and location of illumination posts, the amount and type
Riflemen probably attack o n line with o r immediately of illu~ninatingequipment to allocate to units, the
behind the tanks. APCs prob;tbly follo\v at :I distance of reserve to be retained for his own disposal, target
approximately 100 meters. indication procedures. and illumination readiness
E illumination is abundant, subunit attack frontages time. Incendiary shells may be employed to start fires
are probably the same as those for an attack in daylight. to blind o r illun~inatethe enemy.
Lf little or no illumination is available or used, or if dif- Planning for a counterattack begins with the
ficult terrain must be crossed, attack frontages prob- preparation and organization of a night defense. The
ably are reduced. As in a daylight attack, the Soviet night counterattack must be simple and carried out
commander tailors his forces and tactics to the quickly. A determined surprise night counterattack,
situation. even by a small force, could have considerable impact
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact location of o n the enemy's night attack because of its psycho-
artillery bursts and to conduct artillery reconnaissance logical impact.
during periods of artificial illumination and \%hennight Artiller)., mortars, and tanks are given preparatory
vision devices are used. Consequently, maneuver sub- fire missions against any enemy penetration and in
units are assigned more supporting direct fire weapons support of the counterattack. The unit commander
at night. Supporting lveapons either move separately allocates tasks to the artillery and mortars to prepare
from the maneuver subunits, nlove several hundred concentrated fire in the area of probable enemy
meters to their rear, or move directly on line with penetration.
them. Some artillen may remain at the line of depar- A night counterattack usually is conducted in one
ture to support the.attack \%.hensubunits move out to echelon. With a single-echelon combat formation,
the attack. conlbined amls cooperation and control are con-
Illumination assures effective artillery fire to siderably sinlplified.
distances of not more than 3,000 meters. The closest
line of illumination (when illuminating shells are used
in windless weather) is fixed at no less than 500 THE DEFENSE
meters from the guns detailed to carry out direct tire. Night creates Inany difticulties for the attacking
The targets to be destroyed by direct fire should be forces but offers considerable advantage to the
l ~ c a t e d a p ~ r o x i m a t ein
l ythe center of the illuminated defender. Darkness reduces the effectiveness of an
zone. attacker's reconnaissance, observation, and aimed
Illumination by searchligllt is periodic. Searchlights fires. Darkness also provides the defender with better
are turned o n for 10 or 15-seconds and then switched concealment than the attacker. It is more difficult at
off for the same period of time. Illun~inatiot~is night for the attacker to maneuver and control his
employed in a manner to hinder the etiemy's activity forces. The defender, o n the other hand, can move
but not dixlose the objective of Soviet activity. forces under the cover of darkness from the FEBA or
Each artillery battalion designates one platoon for from areas threatened by the enemy before the attack
illumination missions. Illumination can be either begins, thus conseming his forces and causing the
periodic o r continuous. In the latter case, illuminating enemy to attack areas of little value.
rounds are fired every 2 0 to 30 seconds, 5 to 1 0 The difficiilties in organizing a night defense require
seconds less than the full burning time of one round. a comprehensive defense operation order. Tl1e more
The most important tasks of reconnaissance iniportant items of an order are:
elements in a night defense are titnely detection of Possible enemy night activities.
enemy preparation for a night attack, location of Reference points.
enemy illumination equipment, and detection of Tasks for reconnaissance.
enemy engineers penetrating obstacles. Ambushes kids.
may be s e h p , and friendly patrols may be sent out at Location of observation and listerring posts.
night to reconnoiter gaps between stron@oints o r on Security.
exposed flanks. I-:tilization of night vision devices.
One of the most important measures in night The fire plan.
defense is illumination s~ipport. This includes An illumination plan.
illuminating the ground area, blinding the enemy, Signals for \%,arning,control, and identif cation.
setting up marker lights, and determining mutual Camouflage.
In a night defense, the command obsenation post is and to develop initiative and resourcefulness. 'The
located near the FEBA so the commander can conduct problems are based as much as possible on actual
his own battle surveillance using night 1-isiondevices combat conditions. Psychological training is expected
and illumination equipment. Additional observation to develop confidence and a feeling of superiority.
posts can be established in the forward area if required. Some physical training is conducted at night.
It may be necessary to reinforce night defenses and Soldiers run through a conventional 200-meter
to increase the density of fire in front of the fonvard obstacle course at night, crossing obstacles such as
area as well as in sectors not occupied by friendly units. ditches, bomb craters, fences, palisades, lvalls,
Reserves or second echelon forces may be moved up to trenches, pits, streams, and ravines under combat
the forward area for the night. conditions.
Although the Soviets devote a great deal of time to
TRAINING night training, indications are that for the most part the
Since the Soviets consider night operations to be a training is stereotyped, unrealistic, and frequently
normal activity, their training patterns reflect this noncombat-related. Soviet night training reflects the
attitude. The Soviets claim to devote about 5 0 percent fact that they plan to move a lot at night. Thus, night
of training time to night training. marches and related activities (reorganization, mainte-
The Soviets begin their training for nigh:h:conibat nance, and preparations for a daylight attack) compose
with the individual soldier and then progress to unit the bulk of Soviet night training.
training. The soldier learns to select and reccynize Training for movement at night also indicates a
orientation points that may escape his attention during discrepancy between doctrine and practice. Despite a
the daytime. He is trained tu ~ecognizedifferent variety of available night vision devices, vehicular head-
sounds and to estimate their rangc :tnd direction. He lights and flashlights are used often to help maintain
also learns to use night vision deviLt.s and artificial control and orientation.
illumination. He is taught night tiring techniques. A great deal of night movement and training takes
Special training is set aside for night tank and truck place only after thorough reconnaissance, planning,
driving. and rehearsal are conducted during daylight hours.
' f i e Soviet soldier is given a number of training Soviet night training is directed more at movement,
problems that he must solve in total darkness, without preparation for daylight attacks, construction of field
the aid of night vision or illun~inationdevices. This is fortifications, and resupply than at preparation for
done to prepare him psychologically for night combat large-scale night combat.


The Soviet concept of the "rear area" visualizes Soviet rear area support has a dual task: peacetime
modern war in an unprecedented spatial scope. This support and wartime support. In peacetime, rear area
rear area concept stretches from the forward edge of support maintains the Soviet armed forces in a high
the battle area (FEBA) back to the national capital. state of preparedness for commitment on short notice.
To the Soviets, there are two aspects of the rear area Soviet military doctrine requires that the armed forces
concept: broad and narrow. The broad aspect includes and the entire population constantly be prepared for
the entire country, its population, economy, govern- the sudden outbreak of a major war. In wartime, rear
ment, and its political structure. It is the production area support provides technical, materiel, and medical
base for necessary war materiel, the mobilization base support to forces engaged in combat. The Soviets think
for personnel replacements, and the control center for a major war in Europe is likely to be a short, highly
the complete war effort. The narrow aspect includes intense conflict with conventional or nuclear weapons
the activities of all military units that supply technical, disrupting the flow of service support. They expect
materiel, and medical support to combat forces in logistic requirements to be quite large when their
established theaters of military operations (TVD). offensive is in the initial stage. After the penetration,
Soviet rear area support is organized on three logistic requirements will lessen because attacking
different levels: strategic, operational, and tactical. forces will encounter less organized resistance deep in
the enemy's rear.
The Soviets also recognize the need to prepare for a
Strategic long c o a c t and to support combat forces that attain
Strategic rear area operations are conducted at the and hold deep objectives. Service support units in the
national level by the Ministry of Defense. They extend operational (army and front) rear and the Soviet
into the theater of combat operations during wartime. central logistic system provide this in-depth,follow-on
Strategic rear area operations procure personnel, support. Service support is organized to keep pace
materiel, and services needed by the military. These with rapidly advancing frontal forces (mechanized
operations prepare the Soviet economy and the Soviet and armored units supported by aviation). l h e central
people to provide sustained support in case of war. logistic system may deploy to theaters of military
Also, central rear services, which is the highest logistic operations (TVDs) and directly support operational
organization of the armed forces,serve both to link the forces if required.
national economy and the armed forces and to directly
support operational forces.
Operational The overall system of rear area support is the respon-
Operational rear area functions are conducted by sibility of the Chief of the Rear of the Soviet Armed
front and army rear area support elements. Military Forces. He is also one of the Deputy Ministers of
districts, groups of forces, and army support elements Defense. He is the principal controller and coordinator
are the principal points of delivery for materiel and of the many logistic organizations and assets which
equipment contracted by the Ministry of Defense. make up the central rear services.However, the organi-
Most items are received, stored, and prepared for zation of specific rear area operations is the respon-
release to combat units directly from industry.Support sibility of each individual unit commander.
activities in the operational rear area are conducted The Soviets emphasize the commander's respon-
mainly from fured or semifixed installations. sibility to organize his own rear area operations at
every level of command The commander delegates
this responsibility to his deputy commander of the rear
I Tactical also known as the chief of the rear.
The tactical rear is at division and lower. Tactical The Soviets stress the important role played by the
rear area operations meet the immediate combat chief of the rear. He is a rear services officer who is
needs of supported units. Divisions carry about 3 to 5 directly subordinate to his commander. There is a rear
days of supplies. services officer at every level of command down to
regiment. He assumes responsibility for rear area maintain continuous rear area command and control
details, which permits the commander to devote his during redeployment of the main rear area CP. The
full energies to combat operations. operations group consists of a few rear area staff
The rear area command and control is based on the officers with limited communications who tem-
commander's operational decisions. The commander porarily can maintain command and control of rear
may make these decisions or delegate this resq~on- area operations while the command post relocates.
sibility to his chief of the rear. Specific rear area
decisions include designating deployment areas and
direction of movement for rear service elements; LEVELS OF C O M M A N D A N D CONTROL
determining supply and evacuation points, size of Soviet rear area support is controlled at three levels:
necessary reserve units, and the periods of their forma- strategic, operational, and tactical.
tion; speclfylng medical and technical support; estab-
lishing rear area security measures; and designating
initial and subsequent locations of the rear area Strategic
command post. At the strategic level, the Ministry of Defense is
Each chief of the rear has a staff to assist in planning responsible for all rear area activities of the armed
and providing rear area support. The staff coordinates forces. Within the Ministry of Defense, the Chief of the
with arms and services tasked with logistic functions Rear of the Soviet Armed Forces accomplishes central
and responsibilities. The chief of the rear, together coordination of all support activities. He and the rear
with arms and services representatives, develops both services staff coordinate support operations of the
a rear area support plan based on the commander's deputy commanders for the rear of the service
decision and any instructions from the chief of the rear components and troop branches, the sixteen military
of the next-higher level. This plan contains speciftc districts within the USSR, and the groups of Soviet
deployment and movement schedules for rear area forces deployed outside the USSR.
elements, control and coordination measures for their Directly subordinate to the Chief of the Rear are the
activities, and measures for rear area security. support directorates common to all services and
The chief of the rear coordinates basic rear support branches (food, clothing, POL, medical, and veterinary
matters with the unit's chief of staff and arms and services). The Chief of the Rear coordinates with the
services representatives. He keeps them updated on service branch directorates as well as with special
the equipment status, the availability of reserves, and troop directorates on matters falling within their
the medical support. The chief of staff, in turn, provides jurisdiction.
the chief of the rear with timely information regarding In wartime, central logistics units, resources, and
the mission and the commander's decisions. command and control elements may deploy to a
Rear area command posts (CPs) are established at theater of military operations (TVD). The functions of
all echelons from front to regiment. A rear CP must be these elements would be to support operational
able to communicate with the parent unit and with formations and to organize the use of theater
subordinate, adjacent, and higher rear area command resources.
posts. CP personnel include the chief of the rear, his
staff, and the communications, transportation,
security, and traffic control troops. Operational
Rear area communications are guided by the same The highest level administrative headquarters in
basic principles that are applied to all Soviet communi- peacetime are the military districts in the USSR and
cations: continuity, mobility, and redundancy. Com- groups of forces outside the country. In wartime, both
munication means include messengers, wire, and radio have sufficient communications and staff elements to
(single-channel, multi-channel, tropospheric scatter). form fronts. There are no fmnts as such in peacetime.
Radio links are supported by airborne, ground-based, The military district is a high-level military territorial
and sateuite relays. Data links extend from the Ministry administrative command. It includes military areas,
of Defense to at least front rear area command posts. recruiting districts, military schools, installations, and
Secure voice communications are established down to garrisons. W'hen units in a military district are formed
regmental rear. into a wartime front, elements of the military district
The rear area command post's mobility and sunri\a- staff may provide the basis for the front rear area staff.
bility are improved by employing an "operations The military district continues to provide command
group." The functions of the operations group are to and control for assigned central rear senices missions
and other support functions. The peacetime rear area weapons and associated equipment is the respon-
support organization of a group of forces can quickly sibility of the deputy commander for armaments.
assume command and control of front rear area These activities are coordinated with the chief of the
operations. rear.
The wartime operational combined arms formations Chiefs of the rear at regiment and division have small
are fronts and armies. The rear area operations for statfs to coordinate the activities of all combat service
these formations is accomplished by a chief of the rear, support elements at their respective levels. However,
(also called the deputy commander for the rear) and their basic command responsibility changes for rear
his support units. area security. If requirements dictate, tactical units can
Command and control of rear area operations are be rear area security missions under the
conducted from rear area command posts. The f?r,rzf operational control of the chief of the rear.
establishes its rear arca command post 150 to 2 0 km Division and regiment rear area command posts are
behind the FEBA. The army locates its rear area com- equipped with fully mobile communications facilities.
mand post about 100 km behind the FEBA. In high Division rear area command posts will be about 30 krn
tempo offensive operations, rear area command posts behind the line of contact; regiment rear area com-
move frequently. mand posts will be about 15 krn behind the line of
At front and army, the chief of the rear has varying contact.
degrees of authority for accomplishing the following There is no chief of the rear (deputy commander for
rear area functions: the rear) lower than regtment. The unit commander
Controlling rear area security, including control of below regiment is his own manager of rear area
combat elements tasked to provide rear area security. operations.
Tasking directorates with specific support At tank and motorized rifle battalion level, the com-
missions. mander is assisted by the following personnel:
Assigning deployment areas to support units in the Chief of battalion staff (similar to US battalion
rear area. executive officer) is the principal assistant for
Coordinating with chiefs of service troops, tank, organizing and administering battalion rear area
rocket troops and artillery, and the Central Military operations.
Transportation Directorate (VOSO ) for rear area sup- Buttalion technical officer is responsible for
port in their respective areas. organization and control of maintenance, repair, and
Issuing instructions to subordinate chiefs of the salvage of both combat and noncombat vehicles.
rear about the administration of support activities. Buttalion s14pp[y platoon commnn&r orders,
stores, and distributes all supplies and equipment. He
commands a supply platoon consisting of a supply
Tactical section and an ammunition and motor transport
At regiment and division, the chief of the rear section. The ammunition and motor transport section
(deputy commander for the rear) supenrises a staff operates the battalion's cargo and POL trucks.
which includes deputies for food; petroleum, oils, and At company level, a company technical officer assists
lubricants (POL); and clothing. Coordination is made the commander in logistics. The company technical
with engineer, signal, transportation, chemical, and officer supenrises weapons crews in field maintenance
ammunition directorates. Vehicle maintenance, and light repair. He also is assisted by a company first
repair, and recovery is the responsibility of the deputy sergeant who is accountable for company-level supply.
commander for technical affairs. The repair of onboard
Comparison of US and Soviet military elements has Higher headquarters handle supply requirements
led to the incorrect view that the Soviet logistic struc- for their subordinate units. Supplies and services are
ture is austere and inadequate to support their combat delivered directly to subordinate units using the
forces. Because of differences in concept and organi- organic transportation assets of the higher head-
zation, Soviet logistic operations have been falsely quarters. For example, an army headquarters uses its
referred to as the "Achilles' heel" of Soviet military own trucks to deliver supplies to its subordinate
power. However, Soviet military forces do receive divisions. In emergencies, one level may be bypassed in
effective logistic support. The Soviets have spent supply delivery.A division may deliver supplies directly
enormous sums of money to develop a modern and to subordinate battalions, or a regiment may deliver
highly mechanized logistic support system. Materiel- directly to subordinate companies. This concept does
handling equipment is increasing in both quantity and not prevent a subordinate unit from using its assets to
quality. The use ofpallets, containers, and packages has obtain supplies from its superior headquarters,
greatly improved the efficiency of Soviet logistic especially in critical situations.
efforts. The Soviets have increased the depth and range
of forward service areas and increased the mobility and
range of logistic formations in support of frontline Continuous Supply Base Support
forces. They have developed a tactical pipeline Supply bases and repair facilities are established as
capability and introduced improved transportation far forward as possible to insure the flow of supplies
assets in great numbers. Also, Soviet capabilities for air from the central logistics level directly to combat
delivery to forward areas and the use of helicopters for units. These echelons of bases from the homeland to
resupply have shown marked improvements. deployed battalions assure continuous support for
tactical elements.

I Centralized Planning
Standardization of Equipment
This principle requires concurrent tactical and
logistical planning as well as coordination with civilian The Soviet system of standardization is both exten-
industry and transportation. Centralized planning sive and effective. For example, of the 3,544 parts that
insures coordination of civilian war production with make up the ZIL- 131 3 11'2-ton truck, 45 percent may
military requirements. be used on other ZIL-produced vehicles, and 23
percent may be used on other trucks of the same
weight class. A T-62 tank and the MAZ 537 tank trans-
I - Tailoring of Logistic Units porter share a common power plant. The chassis used'
This principle allows allocation of logistic resources for the amphibious PT-76 light tank has been adapted
to the combat elements most essential to the success for BTR-50 armored personnel carriers, SA-6 and
of the mission. Tailoring allows the Soviet military to FROG-2, -3, -4 and -5 TELs, the GSP amphibious ferry,
assign priorities for logistic support. the GT-T amphibious tractor, the ASU-85 airborne SP
gun, and the ZSU-23-4 SP AA gun. Extensive standardi-
zation has reduced the volume of repair parts and
Fixed Supply Priorities improved the Soviets' ability to repair forward through
The Soviet logistic system operates on the following cannibalization. Also, obsolete vehicles and weapons
sequence of priorities: can be retained for training purposes without having to
1. Ammunition of all types. keep a large stockpile of repair parts.
2. POL.
3. Technical supplies.
4. Rations and clothing. Supply Accountability
However, these priorities can change with the and Resource Conservation
combat situation. For example, a unit advancing The Soviet system is stringent in these areas, and
rapidly with no opposition has a greater need for POL penalties for unnecessary waste generally are severe.
than for ammunition. Soviet military publications continually stress resource
conservation and honor personnel who effectively Supply and service functions common to all military
conserve supplies. units and personnel for which the Chief of the Rear has
responsibility include: food, clothing, personal
equipment, fuel and lubricants, medical andveterinary
Complete Use of Transportation services, post exchange, transportation planning, and
The Soviet logistic system uses rail transport when- research and development, procurement, storage,
ever possible to move supplies from the Soviet Union issue, and maintenance of common-use items. While
to j h n t or army level depots. Other transportation these areas are the direct responsibility of the Chief of
assets, primarily motor assets, are used from that point the Rear, other troop component items are the respon-
forward. The Soviet military has three separate groups sibilities of other directorates and troop commands.
of transportation personnel-railroad troops, motor Force components, troop commands, and military
transport troops, and pipeline troops. Soviet doctrine districts have rear service directorates. The deputy
calls for using tactical combat vehicles to move addi- commander for the rear is responsible for movement
tional POL and ammunition stocks, especially in the of supplies and troop units, and evacuation of
preparation phase before offensive action. casualties and materiel. Under his control, motor
transport assets are centralized for operational
employment, especially in a preoffensive buildup and
Complete Mobile Support for resupply of advancing elements. Centralized
From division to company, materiel and servicing control allows use of motor transport assets from
facilities operate from wheeled vehicles. Critical second echelon units in frontline operations.
supplies such as ammunition are boxed and uploaded
o n , support and combat vehicles. These measures
support a continuous, rapid offensive. Resources Management
The total amount of resources allocated to the
military is a political decision. The Politburo of the
Forward Positioning of Support Elements Central Committee of the Communist Party probably
Soviet maintenance and medical facilities operate determines the amount of yearly production allocated
under similar procedures. Both attempt to locate in to the armed forces for current consumption, and the
areas of greatest need with emphasis on quickly allocation to be held in reserve. The Council of
returning lightly wounded personnel and repairable Ministers (of which the Minister of Defense is a
equipment to the combat elements. Personnel and primary participant), and its subordinate agencies
equipment requiring additional atteotion are work out the details of the allocation plans.
evacuated to the next-level facility. The Ministry of Defense (MOD) prepares its budget
proposal in conjunction with other agencies of the
state. The General Staffpreparespreliminaryestimates
Use of All Possible Resources of armed forces requirements. The State Planning
Soviet troops are taught to forage for food in local Commission reviews and modifies these estimates in
areas and to use captured stocks of food, ammunition, the light of priorities assigned to other government
and equipment. While food preparation and clothing agencies and the resources available. The MOD then
supply procedures have improved, the supply submits the estimates to the Council of Ministers for
priorities discussed above may require the use of approval as a part of the annual state budget. The
enemy materiel. General St&, with the State Planning Commission,
further defines the military requirements and directs
its various headquarters and directorates to prepare a
CENTRAL-LEVEL LOGISTICS detailed procurement program. This program then
provides the data needed for the arms and services and
Organization the subordinate elements of the Chief of the Rear to
The joint policy and control agency in charge of prepare their own specific procurement programs.
logistics support for the armed forces is the Office of Other agencies of the MOD have specialized
the Chief of the Rear within Ministry of Defense procurement responsibilities that are not delegated to
(MOD). The Chief of the Rear, a deputy Minister of the Chief of the Rear. The Main Rocket and Artillery
Defense, provides logisticalinput to plans developed at Directorate is responsible for development and
the highest levels of Soviet government. procurement of self-propelled and towed artillery,
mortars, tank guns, antitank guided missiles, air Preparation and placement of orders require close
defense guns, small arms, and all types of ammunition, coordination between the MOD, the State Planning
lubricants, and cleaning materials for weapon Commission,and the economic ministries responsible
maintenance. The Main Armor Directorate is respon- for executing the military requirements. Representa-
sible for development and procurement of tanks, tives of the major force components and of the direc-
infantry fighting vehicles, and certain other armored torates and troop commands perform the function for
combat vehicles. ?he Central Auto-Tractor Direc- the MOD under the supervision of the Chief of the
torate is responsible for developing and procuring Rear.
wheeled and tracked prime movers, military trucks Accountability is extremely important in the
and trailers, adverse-terrain vehicles, fuels and lubri- procurement process. The Communist Party and the
cants, and for repair and maintenance of vehicles, Military Industrial Commission oversee the entire
except for tanks and other armored combat vehicles. research, development,and acquisition process. MOD
Agencies of the Ministry of Defense have special Central Finance Directorate maintains fiscal control.
troop resource management responsibilities for the Representatives of MOD main technical directorates
armed forces. The Chief of Engineer Troops is respon- are stationed at factories to inspect finished materiel.
sible for supply, storage, and maintenance of engineer The MOD directb tasks military industry research
equipment and materiel. The Chief of Chemical institutes, munitions plants, shipyards, and other
Troops is responsible for supply, storage, and mainte- production facilities, as well as non-military research
nance of chemical equipment and materiel. ?he Chief institutes, and design and production facilitiesof other
of Signal troops is responsible for supply, storage, and industrial ministries to develop and produce military
maintenance of signal equipment and materiel. items.

MOD Logistics Organizations

r I I
Deputy Minister

(Deputy Minister of Defense)


Chief Main Rocket and CHIEF OF REAR TROOPS
Artillery Directorate Main Trade Directorate Chief of Rocket and
Chief Main Armor Directorate Central Finance Directorate Artillery Troops
Chief Central Auto-Tractor Administrative Management Chief of Armored Troops
Directorate Directorate Chief of Engineer Troops
Personnel Directorate Chief of Chemical Troops
Central Food Directorate Chief of Signal Troops
Military Tourism Department Chief of Highway Construction
Clothing Supply Directorate Troops
Fuel Supply Directorate
Central Military
Transportation Directorate
Central Military
Medical Directorate
Chief of Railroad Troops Billeting Directorate

Veterinary Service

Logistic Stockpiles
The logistic storage of war materials consists offour The front is not a fixed organization but is tailored
major categories: state, strategic, mobilization, and to meet specific objectives based on forces available,
mobile reserves. mission requirements, enemy forces, and the physical
geography of the area of operations. Tailoring atTects
State Reserves. Foodstuffs, petroleum products, the number and type of subordinate combat elements
manufactured goods, and other strategic raw materials and the number and type of assigned logistic units. The
are stored in special government warehouses. These logistic operation of the front is extensive and
items can be issued only with the express permission complex, and it serves as the major connecting link
of the State. While these stocks are considered to be between the industrial base of the Soviet Union and
separate from the military items held in strategic forces engaged in combat.
reserve, military use of at least part of these items is Generally located between 150 to 200 kilometers
anticipated. from the FEBA, thefront rear area is served by air, high-
way, rail, and pipeline from the USSR. Rail transport
Strategic Reserves. These reserves are stocks of bears the burden of movement requirements to the
supplies and equipment controlled by the MOD. These m n t . Despite improvements in motor transport, rail
stocks are similar to stocks in State reserves and are not transport is used to carry the majority of Soviet war
planned for early use in a conflict. materiel as far forward as possible.
The front supply complex has a wide range of fixed
Mobilization Reserves. These materials are held for and mobile depots and other facilities such as major
issue to newly activated, large military units and for hospitals and capital maintenance facilities. At this
resupply to combat units in the early stages of a level, depots are administered by each service, special
conflict. One directorate in the MOD determines the troop directorates, and the various subordinate
level and configuration of these stocks. It also is elements under the chief of the rear. When the
responsible for their accountability and maintenance. distance between fmnt and army rear areas is great, a
The military districts coordinate mobilization front logistic base may be formed and located in the
measures between military and civilian sectors. forward portion of the front area This logistic base is
situated along a railroad line when possible and also is
Mobile Reserves. Ammunition, fuel, rations, and supported by highway, air, and pipeline.
equipment are located with deployed ground units The army is the highest-level peacetime combined
and transported by the unit's organic transport. arms formation. It has a permanent staff plus assigned
Ground forces maintain these supplies for use in combat support and combat service support elements.
immediate conduct of ground operations. These With the exception of its reduced size, the army
supplies are distributed throughout the ground forces logistic base is similar to that of the front. Logistic
in both tactical and support elements. Quantities of elements are basically the same for both tank and com-
these supplies are established by published norms. bined arms armies.
They are constantly checked and kept at proper levels. The army logistic base normally is located within
An emergency reserve of supplies is maintained within 100 kilometers of the forward edge of the battle area
these stocks. It can be used only on order of the unit (FEBA). Like t h e m n t , the army rear area is served by
commander. rail, highway, air, and pipeline when possible. If
distances between the army and its subordinate
divisions' rear area become great, or the number of
OPERATIONAL LOGISTICS units to be supported changes, a forward army logistic
Within the Soviet logistic system, the bulk of logistic base is established. Multiple transport modes service
units are concentrated at two levels, pant and army. this forward base as much as possible. From this base
This concentration supports the Soviet philosophy of forward, motor transport is used for the bulk of
streamlined, highly mobile combat elements at materiel movement.
division and below. The responsibility and the primary
means for logistic support are maintained at these
higher levels. Tactical units are free to engage the TACTICAL LOGISTICS
enemy in high-speed and highly mobile action. This At the tactical level, Soviet logistic support is fully
reduction of logistic personnel at the tactical level mobile. Streamlined logistic elements support the
explains how Soviet divisions can be smaller than US respective tactical units with ammunition, POL, and
divisions but have more firepower. rations to insure continuous combat operations.
Front Logistics Elements





I I -


.. .


a aaaa



a L

a k B I





----- When dellvery d~stancesbecome axcess~ve,the
base may be d~splacedforward, or Front Supply
Base Sect~onsmay be establ~shed,or d~splacedto
the rear or Front Base Rear When necessary. MOBILE TANK REPAIR
mob~le Army Advance Supply Bases w ~ l lbe WORKSHOP
establ~shed~mmed~ately beh~ndd~v~sron sectors
Supply elements deliver materials to the rear of combat supply actions. There are no branch depot chiefs at this
elements deployed on the FEBA. Medical and mainte- level to assist him. Maintenance functions are the
nance elements deploy as far forward as possible to responsibility of the deputy commander for technical
accomplish rapid retum of lightly wounded personnel matters. Located up to 20 kilometers from the FEBA,
and lightly damaged equipment to the combat units. these logistic elements directly supply subordinate
Personnel and equipment requiring additional atten- battalions, and also may supply line companies when
tion are evacuated from the battlefield. required.
Divisional combat service support elements are Battalion logistic support is self-contained.Supplies
completely mobile. The division mobile logistic base are maintaineu with the suppiy and maintenance
normally is located approximately 25 to 40 kilometers platoon and transported on battalion vehicles. Pre-
from the FEBA in the offense, and up to 50 kilometers scribed norms of supply are maintained for all classes
in the defense. Logistic elements are organized similar of materiel, with replenishment provided directly by
to logistic elements at army level. The logistic base is regiment or division logistic elements. The battalion
headed by a logistics officer, assisted by branch depot chief of staff is the organizer of rear service functions.
chiefs, and subordinate to the deputy commander for The deputy commander for technical matters is in
the rear. Maintenance operations are the responsibility charge of maintenance support. The supply platoon
of the deputy commander for technical matters. Motor commander is responsible for receipt, storage, and
transport, medical, and field bakery facilities are delivery of supplies to companies. He also deploys and
organic to the division. Supplies are delivered to operates battalion ammunition, fuel, and ration points.
regiments and battalions. The battalionfel'dsher (a physician's assistant) is chief
At regimental level, supplies are loaded on vehicles of the battalion medical section. He is responsible for
to maintain equal mobility with combat elements.The gathering and evacuating woundedpersonnelfrom the
regimental chief of rear services is responsible for all companies and the battlefield.

Locations of Tactical Logistic Elements


COMPANY Ammunition Supply Point 100-150 M
Rations Supply Point UP TO 1 KM
Medical Point 100 M
BATTALION Ammunition Supply Point 4 KM 2-3 KM
Repair Point 5 KM 3-5 KM
Rations Supply Point 5 KM 3-5 KM
Medical Point 1.5-3 KM 1.5-3 KM
REGIMENT Ammunition Supply Point 10-15 KM 10-20 KM
Repair Point UP TO 1 5 KM UP TO 20 KM
POL Supply Point 10-15 KM 10-20 KM
Rations Supply Point 10-15 KM 10-20 KM
Medical Point 5-7 KM 6-10 KM
Damaged Motor Vehicle 5-7 KM 6-10 KM
Collecting Point
DIVISION Supply Dump (Ammunition, 25-30 KM 35-50 KM
POL Rations)
Repair Point (Tanks, 20-40 KM 35-50 KM
Repair Point (Wheeled 10-14 KM UP TO 20 KM
Motor Vehicles)
Medical Point 10-14 KM UP TO 20 KM
The company commander is responsible for organi- elements, warehouses, shops, and other facilities.
zation of his rear services. The deputy commander for Military districts and groups of forces are the principal
technical matters is responsible for organization of points of delivery for material and equipment con-
company-level maintenance. The company first tracted for by the MOD and delivered by industry. The
sergeant, who is a warrant officer or a senior non- weapons, ammunition, and other manufactured goods
commissioned officer, is responsible for accountability are shipped directly to the military district or group of
and maintenance of the unit's weapons, ammunition, forces. They assume full responsibility for storage and
fuel, food, etc. Medical and sanitary matters are super- eventual release of the material to units.
vised by the unit commander and the battalion Below the military district or group of forces, army
fel'ashw. and division st& reflect the organization of the higher
unit in logistic matters. Supply elements at army and
division are subordinate operationally to their
SUPPLY counterparts at the next higher headquarters.
Supply is an operational function of MOD subor- To simphfy logistic planning and to standardize
dinate directorates, of other directorates, and of troop ordering and issuing procedures, the Soviets divide the
commands at MOD level that handle special-purpose major classes of supplies into specific quantities or
equipment and supply. The Organizational and Mobili- distribution lots. These quantities are called "units of
ration Directorate of the General Staff is responsibie fire" for ammunition, "refills" for POL, "daily ration"
for management of the uninterrupted supply of all for food, and "set" for spare parts and accessories.
forces in the initial phases of conflict. These amounts originally are computed based on
Military district commanders have immediate direc- physical conditions or limitations. However, once a
tive and administrative authority for supply matters. specific quantity has been prescribed as the unit of
They exercise these responsibilities through a deputy issue, the quantity itself is no longer referred to, and all
commander for rear services. The deputy commander
directs the operations of the subordinate logistic
future references are given in multiples of the unit of

Motorized Rifle Battalion Rear Service Support Elements During the March
f \


Motorized rifle battalion, reinforced with
Fuel truck Field kitchen
- tanks and artillery in march column (van pak 170/MO)

Battalion ambulance with trailer Fuel truck with trailer Truck with water trailec

@ Battalion ammunition truck tT@ Tack with field kitchen trailer KQ Repair workshop with trailer

1. When there is no enemy threat fuel trucks are often placed at the head of the rear service elements.
2. Distances between rear service vehicles in the march are normally the same as thoseseparatingother
Rear Service S u ~ ~ o r t 1



I MRC Motorized rifle company

p&4 Motorized rifle c0mp.w
by tanks in the attack
nnfn* + E.mpny poi,,,
medim, mruation

IA Battalion technical observation point Regimental commander's command h m p m y ammunition supply point

observation post

IA Battalion medical point

P Battalion commander's command Depresw

observation post
Battalion refueling point
Mixed mine field

IA Battalion food supply point

Battalion ammunition supply point


Regimental boundary

Battalion boundary
(adparmnnrl and antitank)

Mortar (12Omm) in fuing position

The chief of rocket troops and artillery plans priate amounts by type and keeps a running account
the supplies and estimates the expenditure of all of the amounts on hand in units and in depot stocks.
types of ammunition. The ammunition officer or his The chief of rear services integrates the arnrnuni-
staff calculates expected usage. He orders appro- tion order into his supply transport plan. He allocates

Standard Units of Fire for Soviet Weapons

7.62-mm Sniper Rifle, DRAGUNOV 100 .003
I 7.62-mm Assault Rifle, AKM 300 .007
7.62-mm LMG, RPK 1,000 .020
7.62-mm GPMG, PK/PKS 2,500 ,075
12.7-mm HMG, DSHK 120 .020
14.5-mm HMG 100 .06

A/T Rocket Grenade, RPG-7 20 ,110
73-mm A/T Gun, SPG-9 80 .65
ATGM. AT-4 and AT-5 4 .08
I 100-mm A/T Gun, T-12 1 60 1 1.75
I 120-mm Mortar
160-mm Mortar

I 240-mm Mortar
122-mm Howitzer
120 (3 salvos)
130-mm Field Gun 80 6.20
1 152-mm Howitzer 60 3.75
I 240-mm MRL 1 32 8.9
23-mm ZSU-23-4 2,000 1.4
57-mm AAA S-60 200 2.0
FROG-7 1 3.0

T-64/72 Tank, 125-mm 40 1.7
1X 7.62-mm MG 2,500 .075
1X 12.7 MG 200 .035
1X 14.5-mm MG 500 ,145
1X 7.62-mm MG 2,000 ,060

I AT-5
BMP (Troop Carrier Version)


I 1X 73-mm Gun
1X 7.62-mm MG
transportation assets to move ammunition between trailers (4,200 liters), 200-liter drums, and 20-liter
depots and user units. cans for supply. Motorized rifle and tank divisions
Planning is based on the unit of fire for each weapon normally carry sulXcient reserves to refuel their units
Soviet planners use the unit of fire to compute twice.
ammunition and transportation requirements. Computation of fuel requirements is based on
A Soviet unit's basic load is a multiple of the unit of "refills." A unit's refill is the total requirement for all
fire. It includes the amounts hauled in the unit trains vehicles in the unit. For tracked vehicles, one "refill" is
and stored in the depot at the next higher head- that amount carried aboard in integral fuel tanks. For
quarters. It varies with the unit's mission, degree of wheeled vehicles, one refill is equivalent to that
enemy resistance, etc. A multiple of the unit of fire is required for a 500-kilometer range.
assigned for weapons before each major operation or Tactical pipelines may deliver fuel as far forward as
phase. The multiple assigned changes with the situa- division rear areas. Pipeline brigades or battalions may
tion. Assignment is based on the mission, the enemy, be found at front and army levels.
and the availability of ammunition. A brigade can lay about 45 miles of 4-inch pipeline
The chief of rocket troops and artillery computes per day, while a special pipeline battalion can lay up to
the number of rounds by type of weapon needed to 19 miles per day. A recently developed pipelaying
support the commander's operations. The chief of rear machine requires only two operators to lay and couple
services then calculates the weight to determine pipe. Tactical pipelines normally are connected to
transport requirements. portable fuel tanks. When the pipeline extends over
flat terrain, mobile pumping stations are located at
approximately 9 mile intervals. In rough or moun-
POL tainous terrain, the stations would be closer together.
Fuels and lubricants are second only to ammunition A refueling point in rear areas may contain several
to resupply Soviet forces. Rail, pipeline, and waterways rubberized-cloth fuel containers capable of refueling
move POL to Jhnt and army. At front, depots are numerous vehicles simultaneously. It may be estab-
maintained with a 12-day supply. At army level, POL lished along a specific route to refuel all passing
depots maintain a 2- to 3-daysupply.Advance bases are vehicles.
established near division rear boundaries when the Army, division, or regimental fuel service trucks may
distance between army depots and first echelon deliver fuel to battalion refueling points or, possibly,
divisions exceeds 100 kilometers. Divisions carry a 3- directly to vehicles.
to 5-day stock of mobile fuel. Units on the move refuel their vehicles during rest
At front and army POL depots, fuel is stored in tanks. halts, probably firom tanker trucks and trailers.
Oil and lubricants are stored in 150- to 500-liter Wheeled vehicles may refuel from cans carried on
drums. Divisions use fuel tankers (5,000 liters), fuel board.

POL Held in Units 1


Combined Arms Army 5,000 17,500

Tank Army 4,000 1 1,000
Motorized Rifle Division 700 1,450

Motorized Rifle Regiment 90 160

Motorized Rifle Battalion 9 11
Tank Division 800 1,700
Tank Regiment 120 240

Tank Battalions 25 40

NOTE: Motorczed rifle and tank divisions normally carry suffic~entreserves to refuel their units twice.
POL Refill


MRR (BTR EQUIPPED) 67,860 59,990 127,859 ltters
57 7 45 0 102 7 metrlc ton
MRR (BMP EQUIPPED) 101,737 40,896 142,632 l~ters
86 5 30 6 11 7 1 metrlc ton
Tank REGT 115,350 31,763 147,113 l~ters
98 1 23 8 121 9 metrlc ton
INDEP TANK BN (MRD) 53,246 4,636 57,882 liters
45 3 35 48 8 metrtc ton
ANTITANK BN (MRD) 2,835 6,132 8,967 ltters
24 46 7 0 metrtc ton
ARTY REGT (DIV) 2,756 38,472 41,228 llters
23 28 8 31 1 metrlc ton
ARTY REGT (ARMY) 28,010 14,121 42,13 1 ltters
23 8 10 6 3 4 4 metric ton

i 1 NOTE: A unft's refill is the total requirement for allveh~clesin the unit.

Rations are issued based on meals per man per day. have arrived at their unit assignment. Subsequent
The Directorate of Rations Supply of the Ministry of reissues occur at specified intervals. Personnel equip-
Defense develops norms for a day's supply of rations. ment is issued from the unit depot. The depot stamps
Norms are based primarily on expenditure of energy clothing articles with the month and year that the item
for caloric requirements of military personnel. The was issued for wear. Accountable items for group use
I Council of Ministers approve these norms and the (tents, coveralls, sports equipment) are the personal
norms are announced by orders of the Minister of responsibility of the individual who signs the hand
Defense. Basic ration norms determine the amount of receipt.
food products that are issued to feed one man for a 24-
hour period. Supplemental norms determine the
amount of products to be issued in excess of the basic Vehicles
ration norms based on conditions under which the Procurement and resupply of vehicles and end items
men are serving or the nature of their service. Dry are the responsiblity of the various chiefs of service
rations are issued on the basis of 1 kilogram per man arms or technical services. The Soviet system does not
per day while fresh rations are based on 2 kilograms have a resupply procedure foi unit end itemswhile the
per man per day. Divisions cxrry a 5-day food supply. If unit is engaged tactically. The unit in combat is
possible, at least one hot meal is served per day. replaced by another unit when attrition reaches a
The chief of the rear is responsible for all ration certain level.
support. He must provide a timely and uninterrupted Mobile contact teams fix repairable equipment and
supply of rations and technical equipment for the return it to action as soon as possible. This is the only
preparation of food and for baking bread under field way to replace equipment end items. Damaged equip-
conditions. ment is not repaired in the field if it requires more than
a few hours work. (See Maintenance and Recovery.)
A certain number of wheeled and tracked vehicles
Clothing are kept in storage in peacetime to preserve them. A
Enlisted personnel and officers receive military minimum number of vehicles are kept for normal
clothing at the time of induction. Supplementary training and administrative uses, generally from 15 to
clothing including field clothing is issued after they 35 percent of the vehicles authorized
Repair parts and subassemblies are stocked at eliminates use of water for washing, laundry, and
maintenance units fromfmnt through battalion levels. bathing. The absolute minimum allowance of water is
Repair parts supply is accomplished by routine, 3 liters which is for drinking only and normally is not
medium, and capital maintenance units. Repair parts maintained for more than 3 days.
that are stocked and used according to the following
Routine repairs. These include replacement of Engineer, Signal,
tires, windshields, and common fuel and electric items Chemical, and Medical Items
such as fuel pumps and carburetors. These repairs Items peculiar to these services are procured 4
usually are done by units at regimental or division through separate channels under the supervision of
levels. the chiefs of the services from front to regimental
Medium repairs. These rapairs involve replace- levels. Medical supplies are handled through inde-
ment or overhaul of engines or transmissions, usually pendent channels, as a separate function of the chief of
are accomplished by a division, army, or p o n t . the rear.
Capiul *airs. These repairs involve major over-
haul and reassembly of major subcomponents and
repair parts. This activity takes place only at army and Supply Distribution System
above, including evacuation to the industrial base. The peacetime military district, or the wartime
Under this system, the users submit their requests to front, receives its supplies fkom the national storage
the next higher maintenance unit which supplies the depots or in some cases directly from the industrial
item from stocks on hand. Mobile reserve supplies are production line. Fm?zt delivers the items directly to
maintained on trucks fromfront to regimental levels. m y depots. In turn, army delivers equipment to sup-
They are replenished as soon as possible after being ported divisions, and the divisions deliver to the
expended. regiments. If necessary, intermediate echelons may be
bypassed to deliver items directly to the user.

Water Supply
Supply Installations Schematic
The water supply in the field is planned by engineers
in cooperation with the medical service. When time
permits, a water supply plan is drawn up to include a
survey, a water supply chart, and a work schedule. The CENTRAL STORAGE DEPOTS
location of existing water resources in the expected
zone of operations is established for the survey. The
water supply chart indicates which water wells to use,
where to dig new wells. and how to deploy water FRONT FORWARD
supply stations. The work schedule designates water SUPPLY BASE(S)
points and the soldiers assigned to them. The schedule
also shows daily water requirements, transportation I
requirements for hauling the water, and equipment for LII* ARMY MOBILE I
handling it. p r r * r r SUPPLY BASE
Engineers organize water supply points in the rear of m
Jronts and armies. Water supply points for all lower SUPPLY BASE(S)
echelons are organized by organic engineer units or by I --
the soldiers themselves under the direction of the local DIVISION MOBILE
commander. The daily requirements for areas where SUPPLY BASE
water points are widely scattered are carefully
computed to determine the amount of transportation
* NOTE: When dellvery distances
become excessive, the base may
needed. be d~splaced forward. or front
The normal rate of water consumption per man is Supply Base Sectlons may be
about 10 liters per day. This includes water for establtshed When necessary.
mobile Army Advance Supply
drinking, food preparation, washing, laundry, and Bases uvlll be established Im-
bathing. Under restricted water conditions, the daily med~ately beh~ndd ~ v ~ s i o n COMPANY
allowance is reduced to about 5 liters per day which sectors. U
Rail Transport
The front and army logistic bases are large com- The Soviet Union has over 83,000 miles of railway
plexes providing all combat service support needs. At track, of which over 20,000 miles are electric. This
division level, supply bases are as closeto the ongoing system handles from 66 to 85 percent of the freight
battle as possible. Critical ammunition and POL are trattic and 50 percent of the passenger traffic in the
uploaded and sent forward as required. Soviet Union. Railroads are the principal means of
Supplies are moved in bulk m a d y by rail and pipe- transporting military hardware from the USSR Rail
line but also by road from the strategic rear into the transport also may be used to carry fuel from rear areas
operational rear where dumps are established or to the fmnt.
replenished. Fuel is sent to the tactical rear by tanker Rail transport in peacetime fills under the super-
or pipeline, or is held in fuel dumps to replenish vision of the Ministry of Railways. This agency is a
second echelon forces before they are committed. uniformed senice with ranks similar to the military. It
The conditions of the ongoing battle dictate the also operates all civilian railway services within the
location of dumps and stockpiles. Being highly mobile, USSR Military rail forces work with civilians in every-
divisions do not create stockpiles but maintain mobile day operations, but in wartime, the railway system
stocks as far forward as possible. reverts to military control.
At division level, replenishment depots are set up at A Railroad Troops Directorate handles rail construc-
a convenient road junction, but supplies remain tion and maintenance of the MOD-controlled tracks. It
uploaded whenever possible. The replenishment operates trains carrying sensitive military cargo such as
depot is under the command of a deputy commander missiles over the civilian rail system. Also, military
for resupply, who is subordinate to the division chief of railroad troops participate in construction projects in
the rear. Usually, divisional supply points are well the civilian sector.
dispersed. In time of war, the military rail transport staff of the
Air resupply may be considered on a small or m n t chief of the rear plans and directs rail shipments
moderate scale when other methods have failed or and movements. Front logistic bases probably would
when extreme speed is essential. High-value cargo, be located near large rail centers. The chief of rail
such as nuclear warheads or NBC protective clothing, -
have high priority for air supply.
Rail System
I Soviet Union has 83,000 miles of railway track
The various transportation services under MOD are
of which over 20,000 miles are electric.
traffic management, railroad operations, railroad
maintenanceind construction, highway construction Railroads are the principal means of trans-
and maintenance, highway regulation, and operation porting military hardware from the USSR.
of all transport modes including pipelines.
66-85% FREIGHT
Traffic Management
Tr&c management for the MOD is the respon-
sibility of the Central Military Transportation Direc-
torate (VOSO). The VOSO is subordinate at MOD level 50% PASSENGER
to the Chief of the Rear. They are responsible for TRAFFIC
management of defense transportation requirements
using military and civilian resources. The VOSO has Railway system
st& elements down to army level. These elements handles from 66 to
advise chiefs of the rear services on transportation 8 5 percent of the
planning requirements. The VOSO elements collocate freight traffic and 5 0
with civil transport authorities at rail, water, and air percent of the
facilities and assist them in developing transportation passenger traffic.
plans. The VOSO officers at various transport
ierminals, stations, and installations are assigned as In time of war the military rail transport staff of
"military commandants." They exercise garrison com- the front chief of the rear plans and directs rail
manders' functions for the facility. shipments and movements.
transport at front level is responsible, through yard does not have to support itself. Thefmnt or army has
and regulating elements, for dispatch of suppliesfrom the support mission for the divisions.
rail stations to army logistic bases. Besides military transportation,the Soviets intend to
use motor transport vehicles from the civilian sector.
They also mobilize reserve transportation units called
Motor Transport avtokolonnas. The avtokolonnas are drawn from the
Extensive use of motor transport begins at front civilian economy to make up for shortages in military
level. If rail transport facilities are available at m n t , units. The individuals in the avtokolonnas are
they are used with motor transport used at army level. experienced drivers with their own trucks and tool
Motor transport units are organic to Soviet ground kits. They drive their own trucks in the armed forces
forces from front to battalion levels. The normal sizes and return to civilian life following demobilization.
of motor transport units are as follows: Second echelon unit logistic elements support fmt
Front. Motor transport brigade. echelon units. This practice increases the transport
Army. Motor transport regiment. capability for logistic support to the first echelon
Dikision. Motor transport battalion. regiments and divisions. Logistic bases can be located
Regiment. Motor transport company. deeper in the front or army rear areas. This placement
Battalion. Motor transport section with the supply reduces congestion in the main combat area, but
platoon. requires long lines of communication that could be
Company. No specific motor transport section. likely targets for enemy air interdiction strikes.
The primary means of delivery below army level is by To assist in control of their huge numbers of
truck. The priority given to the movement of ammuni- vehicles, the Soviets have special traffic control
tion is shown by the two ammunition transport elements. The personnel of these units are trained
companies in the motor transport battalion at division traffic regulators equipped with black uniforms, white
level. These companies have 60 URAL-375 trucks with belts, gauntlets, helmets, signal flags, and wands. They
each having a 4.5-ton carrying capacity and GO cargo are positioned along march routes at critical points to
trailers with a similar carrying capacity. These trucks direct column movement. Because maps are sensitive,
have all-wheel drive ( 6 X 6), giving them an off-road restricted documents in the Soviet military, traffic
capability that is well suited for frontline ammunition regulators are critical to vehicular movements.
delivery. Demand for POL will not diminish in the future,and
The petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) transport Soviet development of tactical pipeline construction
company has the same basic truck as the ammunition units is designed to meet this need. Construction of
company. The POL version of the URAL-375 has a pipelines as far forward as possible will allow the
5,550-liter tank with a 4,200-liter tank mounted on a Soviets to decrease their reliance on motor transport
trailer. The POL company has 80 trucks and 80 trailers. of POL.
The other company in the battalion is the cargo
transport company. This company has about 60
medium and light cargo trucks. Its mission is to deliver Weaknesses
items of supply other than ammunition and bulk fuel. The Soviet transportation system is not without
A major strength of Soviet motor transport is the weaknesses. Due to differences in rail gauges between
great quantity and extensive use of trailers. Loaded the USSR and Eastern Europe, the Sovietshave to trans-
trailers are pulled forward to fighting units and load at the border. They have organized the necessary
exchanged for empty trailers. The empty trailers are equipment and personnel to conduct transloading
returned to rear logistic bases for reloading. In this operations. However, it is still highly likely that during
manner, fighting units maintain maximum quantities peak trafEc periods delays will be experienced at these
of critical supplies such as ammunition and fuel. border locations.
At army level, the Soviets have one or more motor Traffic congestion also would be intense in the rear
transport regiments, with perhaps 1,000 plus trucks since masses of wheeled vehicles move supplies to the
per regiment that can be used to support subordinate frontline units. Overtaskingofvehiclesis normal under
divisions.This massive amount of transport at army and certain conditions. During the offensive, vehicles
j k n t levels upholds the Soviet concept of "delivery might be overloaded 75 percent for cross-country
forward." This concept allows the chief of the rear at movement and 100 percent on hard-surface roads.
these levels the flexibility to mass logistic support This overtasking leads to rapid vehicle malfunction and
assets to the engaged divisions.As a result, the division breakdown.

Forward positioning of maintenance and recovery on higher-level maintenance units to provide direct responsibility for specific commodities. In many units
operations provides effective support for the high- and backup support. this individual is the deputy commander of technical
speed tempo of Soviet combat operations. Lower-level Maintenance responsibility above battalion level is matters. The arrangement of command and technical
units have limited maintenance capability and depend commodity oriented.A staffofficerat each level has the channels for this system is shown in figure below.

Staff and Repair/Maintenance Unit Responsibilities


Tank/Tracked Vehicle Motor Vehicle/Tractor Missiles/Artillery Engineer Signal Chemical

Maintmancr Maintenance Maintenance Maintenance Maintenance Maintenance
Staff point responsible StaH point responsible Staff point responsible Staff point respomlle Staff point responsible Staff point responsible
of contact units of contact units of contact units of contact units of contact units of contact units

FRONT/ARMY Chief main Armor Chief motor Wheeled vehicle Chief of Artillery Chief of Engineer Chigf of Radio battalion Chief of Chemical
FRONT - Up to 600 km

I tank director
Deputy commander
director (front)
Deputy commander
rocket troops
and artillery
engineers brigade/
Wire battalion

Signal regiment/
signals defense

of technical of technical - brigade
matters (Army) matters (Army)

DlVlSlON Deputy commander Tracked vehicle Deputy commander Wheeled vehicle Chief of rocket Ordnance Division Maintenance Division Supply and Chief of Division
20-70 km of technical maintenance of technical maintenance and artillery maintenance engineer platoon signal maintenance chemicals chemical
From FEBA matters company matters company armament company engineer officer company defense
services battalion battalion
Signal battalion

R EGlMENT Deputy commander Tankhack Deputy commander Motor vehicle Chief of Weapons/ Regimental Engineer ~edrnental Signal company Regimental Chemical
20-70 km of technical repair platoon of technical repair platoon artillery ordnance engineer company chief of chemical defense
From FEBA matters maintenance matters maintenance maintenance signals officer company
company company company
Supply and
section, motor
transport company

BATTALION Deputy commander Battalion repair/ Deputy commander Battalion repair/ Weapons Battalion repair Deputy commander Regimental Communications Comunications Chemical Regimental
20-70 km of technical evacuation group of technical evacuation group maintenance workshop of technical engineer platoon platoon warfare chemical
From FEBA matters matters supervisor matters company leader instructor defense company
Battalion repair Battalion Repair
workshop workshop
Driver/crew Driver/crew
maintenance maintenance
Supply and
section motor
transport Company

COMPANY Deputy commander Battalion repair Deputy commander Battalion repar Deputy commander Battalion repacr Deputy commander Regimental Deputy commander Battalion Deputy commander Regimental
20-70 km of technical workshop of technical workshop of technical workshop of technical engineer of technical communications of technical chemical
From FEBA matters matters matters matters company matters platoon matters defense company
Battalion repair/ Battalion repalrl
evacuation group evacuation group
Driver/crew Oriver/crew
maintenance maintenance
Maintenance Facilities Maintenance Capabilities
Maintenance facilities in the field are provided for Company Level. Only driver and crew preventive
the following items of equipment: maintenance and routine inspections are conducted at
Tracked vehicles. company level.
Wheeled vehicles.
Artillery and ordnance. Battalion Level. The repair workshop contains a
Engineer equipment. shop truck and four mechanics who make routine
Signal equipment. repairs on tracked and wheeled vehicles. In combat,
Chemical equipment. this repair workshop can be reinforced with a vehicle
Service for these items is provided by fvred and recovery section.
mobile repair facilities that extend repair capabilities
forward into the battle area Regimental Level. The maintenance company per-
forms routine and some medium repair functions.
Motorized rifle and tank regiments have both wheeled
Vehicle Repair and tracked vehicle workshops. Each of these elements
The Soviets classify repairs as routine, medium, or may form repair and evacuation groups (REGS) to,
capital. provide support to subordinate battalions.

Routine Repairs. Replacement, adjustment, or Division Level. The maintenance battalion is

repair of individual components that can be made composed of a headquarters company; tracked vehicle
within a short time. Major components are not dis- maintenance company; wheeled vehicle maintenance
assembled. This category is performed at levels below company; ordnance maintenance company; and
division. special task, recovery, and supply and senice platoons.
Within the companies, there are shop vans, supply
Medium Repairs. Major overhaul of at least two trucks, tank retrievers, and tow trucks. Both routine
basic asemblies. This category of maintenance is and medium repairs may be performed. In combat,
performed at regimental or division level. these companies establish damaged vehicle repair and
collection points that are similar to regimental REGS.
Capital Repairs. Major overhaul or complete dis-
assembly of a piece of equipment. This is the most Army Level. Combined arms and tank armies have
extensive category of maintenance and can be their maintenance capabilities augmented by fmnt as
performed at army and front levels. required. Army units can provide mobile detachments
In wartime, the types of repair that are performed at for forward operations if necessary.
each level depend on the tactical situation. Generally,
they are of a lesser degree than in peacetime. Front Level. Fmnt maintenance units are manned
and equipped for capital repairs. These units operate
from fixed facilities or mobile detachments.
Technical Services
The Soviets also use periodic checks of equipment
known as technical services. Examples of a technical Maintenance Responsibilities
senice for a tank are: The chief of missile and artillery armament at
Routine i q e c t w n . Conducted before tank regiment and above is responsible for the maintenance
movement as a preoperational check and takes 40 of small arms, automatic weapons, mortars, artillery,
minutes. and missiles. Motorized rifle and tank regiments
Preuentive maintenance swvice number I . Con- usually have two or three armorers to perform light
ducted after tank movement and at 100- to 150- repair on small arms and on some automatic weapons.
kilometer intervals during a long road march. This Armorers in artillery regiments can do routine mainte-
senice takes between nine-to-twelve hours. nance on artillery pieces as well as on small arms.
Preventive maintenance sewice number 2. A six- Artillery repair in tank regiments is done by the tank
to-seven-hour thorough inspection performed every workshop. At division level, routine-to-mediumrepairs
1,000 kilometers. are made in the artillery maintenance company of the
Preventive muintenanceseruice number3.A nine- maintenance and repair battalion. Artillery repairs at
to-twelve-hour comprehensive inspection of all regiment and division consist primarily of replacing
vehicle systems performed every 2,000 kilometers. parts from available stocks. At army level, there is a
mobile repair shop for maintenance of artillery damaged item, it is evacuated to either army or@nt
weapons. It can perform electrical welding and for necessary maintenance. Higher-level unit transpor-
riveting, disassembly and assembly of mechanical and tation assets accomplish the evacuation.
optical parts, and adjustment of fire control If evacuation from lower to higher echelons is not
equipment. At front level, the artillery repair capability possible, vehicles may be left along specified evacua-
includes complete overhauling of some types and tion routes to await mobile maintenance teams which
capital repairs on the heaviest types of artillery. provide direct or backup support. The higher unit's
A signal company is found at regimental level. The team will remain to complete repairs as the lower units
operators repair signal equipment, when possible. move forward in support of continuing combat opera-
Radio, telephone, and radar units generally have some tions. A major goal of the mcuation process is to clear
testing equipment and spare parts for routine repairs. damaged equipment from avenues of approach of
Medium repairs are done at division level. Signal repair follow-on combat units.
units perform capital repairs at army level and higher.
Engineer and chemical equipment maintenance and
repair are accomplished in the same manner as signal Weaknesses
equipment at division and higher echelons. Anafysis of the Soviet maintenance concept reveals
some possible weaknesses. First, their centralized
control may be a substitute for poor low-level repair
Recovery and Repair During Combat capability.
During battle, a technical observation point (TOP) Second, divisions are heavily dependent on backup
is established in the forward area of each combat maintenance support from higher levels. During
battalion. The purpose is to monitor the battlefield for extended combat engagements, division maintenance
damage, to assist crews, and to call repair and recovery units could not keep up with repair requirements
units forward. without backup support from army or front level.
The TOP is composed of several vehicle operators, Therefore, it is critical to keep the evacuation routes
one or more mechanics, a medic. the battalion NBC and lines of communication open from division to
instructor, and at least one combat engineer. It is higher levels.
supervised by the deputy commander for technical Third, there are no dedicated mechanics at company
matters. The entire g o u p is mounted in an APC with level. Should a damaged vehicle's operator or crew be
radios and night vision devices. The TOP maintains incapacitated, the company must rely totally on
radio contact with the battalion commander and with maintenance support from battalion or higher level.
recovery and repair elements. Company TOPSmay be
established if the battle area is beyond observation
range of the main TOP. MEDICAL SUPPORT
The chief of the TOP will assess the nature of The Soviet military medical system provides support
damage and status of the crew of an out-of-service to the ground forces under the direction of the Central
vehicle and initiate action to recover the vehicle and Military Medical Directorate of the Ministry of
accomplish repairs. Ifrepairs can be made in 5 hours or Defense. The Central Directorate supervises the
less, the battalion repair and evacuation group (REG) supplying of medical equipment and the training of
repairs the vehicle on site or evacuates it to the REG medical personnel. Besides the peace and wartime
repair and evacuation site. A REG usually is composed programs directly related to the active armed forces,
of one tracked recovery vehicle, a tank repair work- the system ties in with the civil sector in screening
shop van, and a parts truck. Regimental REGS may be health records of draft-age youth and in performing
used to support a specitic battalion ifrequired. Repair natural disaster relief functions.
priorities are based on the required repair time, with The two principal missions of the military medical
equipment requiring the least time for repairs being service in combat are the evacuation and treatment of
completed fmt. casualties, and thepreventlon of disease in thearea of
n t requires more than 5 hours to repair
~ q u i ~ m ethat operations. Other missions of the military medical
is taken along an ewcuation route to the regimental service plans for and provides medical support to the
REG. The division evacuates vehicles or equipment armed forces, and supervises troop unit medical
damaged beyond the repair capability or capacity of training programs. They organize and direct military
the regiment to the division's damaged vehicle collec- medical research, and publish articles on military
tion point. If the division is unable to repair the medical subjects. The military medical service also has
responsibility for monitoring and maintaining medical support units of battalions and regiments that
adequate health conditions within the area of combat may redeploy several times during a 24-hour period.
operations. The primary concern of this activity in the Repeated forward redeployment of medical units and
field is the prevention of epidemic disease within the continuous rearward aacuation of casualties demand
ranks. The medical service is further responsible for close cpordination between medical levels and
the combat readiness of the militarymedical staff of the medical and combat commanders.
armed forces. The staff is divided into the following Soviet combat medical doctrine stresses the timely
categories: military physicians, fel'dshers (physicians' return of recuperated sick and wounded to their units.
assistants), pharmacists (technical medical staff), and Consequently,at each stage of evacuation medical per-
medical corpsmen (company medical staff). sonnel- detain and accommodate those casualties
In wartime, each command level of the Soviet Army whose expected recovery period falls within pre-
from company to front has organic medical support scribed limits. Only casualties whose prognoses
units or personnel.At each level, medical support units indicate extended recovery periods reach a front or
are subordinate to both the combat unit commander, home-countryhospital. Medical personnel also super-
or his deputy commander for the rear, and to the next vise the selection and preparation of grave sites topre-
higher level of the military medical service. For clude health hazards. Responsibilities for burial,
example, the battalion fel'dsk is subordinate to both however, fall on other rear Grvices personnel.
the battalion commander and to the regimental senior The basic principle of Soviet combat medical
physician. However, the senior physician at the next support is multistage evacuation with minimum
higher level advises only on questions of medical treatment at each level. From company through front,
support and organization. This system responds to the each level has specific responsibilities for the care of
needs of combat units and allows close coordination the sick and wounded. Besides treating the wounded,
between medical levels for the treatment and evacua- medical personnel handle virtually all of their own
tion of casualties. administration, especially at the lower levels. As
casualties move through the combat evacuation
system, medical personnel at each level make effective
Doctrine use of medical facilities by repeated sorting of the
Soviet doctrine divides the range of medical treat- wounded (triage). They treat the lightly wounded
ment into three categories. The first category of pro- who can be returned to combat and those casualties
cedures includes only mandatory lifesaving measures. who would not survive further evacuation without
The second category includes procedures to prevent immediate medical attention. The Soviets emphasize
severe complications of wounds or injuries. The final that major medical treatment should be performed at
category of treatment includes procedures that will be an army-level mobile field hospital.
accomplished only when there is a low casualty load In combat operations, the military medical service
and reduced enemy activity. recognizes four levels of administration and medical
In anticipation of an overtaxed combat medical care below front level: company and battalion,
support system, Soviet doctrine emphasizes the regiment, division, and army.
importance of "self-help" and mutual aid among indi-
vidual soldiers. Each soldier is equipped with a packet
of field dressings and an NBC protection kit. He also Company and Battalion Medical Support
receives a required number of hours of first-aid Company and battalion medical personnel make up
training each year. The concept of self-helpand mutual the immediate battlefield support. Their primary
aid extends beyond the battlefield to the casualty concerns are locating and collecting casualties and
collection points and the battalion medical point. It is providing first aid before evacuation to the regimental
intended to reduce the demands made on trained medical point. Each company or battery normally has
medical personnel, particularly when the use of NBC one medical corpsman. Afel'dsher may be attached to
weapons results in a sudden and massive influx of the company when heavy casualties are anticipated
casualties. The company commander or platoon leaders,with the
The focus of Soviet combat doctrine on high-speed assistance of the medical corpsman, select and train
offensive operations calls for a highly mobile medical enlisted personnel to serve as orderlies or stretcher
support system. Its component units must be capable bearers. Each platoon has a minimum of two orderlies.
of repeated forward deployment with a minimum loss Medical personnel accompany the combat units in a
of efficiency. Mobility is particularly important for combat vehicle or other available transport. If separate
Schematic of the Soviet Army's Combat Medical Support


I I Treatment I
Collection & first aid First treatment by a by physician and I Specialized medical treatment
physician if necessary !
minor surgery
Supported by: Supported by: Supported by: Supported by. LEGEND:
Feldsher IThree physicians I Medical battalion Hospital base
medical corpsmen 1 Dentist I Independent medical detachments I Frontline transport
ITwo feldshers I from Army I
I Two medical corpsmen I @ Ambulance

/?\ Battalion medical point

Regimental medical point

@ Landing field

Medical clearing point

(Hospital for the lightly wounded

Medical battalion

Division medical point

lndependent medical detachment

(not deployed)

lndependent medical detachment


Mobile field hospital

SS Specialized Surgical
ID Infectious Disease
N Neurological
evacuation hospitals T Therapeutic

I I I NOTE: Soviet symbols used throughout.

medical transport is not available, the medical corps- first aid and the use of their individual medical transport vehicles assigned, several driver and order& evacuation of wounded from the company collection
man accompanies the command element. The soldiers equipment. teams also may senTethe battalion. points.
trained as orderlies travel with their squads or crews. If Before a combat operation, the battalion fel'dshw Battalion medical personnel collect casualties from The battalion medical corpsman's duties are demand-
the regimental senior physician has allocated addi- informs the corpsmen of arrangements for the evacua- the companies and provide minimum treatment ing. He provides medical treatment to the wounded
tional personnel and evacuation transport to a tion of the wounded. This information includes the before evacuation to the regimental medical point. and supervises the orderlies at the battalion medical
battalion, the battalion commander may in turn location of casualty collection points and the coordi- Casualties remain at the battalion medical point for a point. He also participates in medical reconnaissance
augment company medical personnel and transport. nation of available medical evacuation transport. very short time. The battalion fel'dsher serves as the for the battalion, assists in removing the wounded from
Duties of the company medical corpsman include A fel'hher, a medical corpsman, an orderly, and a chief of the battalion medical point and organizes and the battlefield, and monitors radiation levels at the
monitoring personal hygiene, inspecting the company driver form the nucleus of the battalion medical point. supervises battlefield medical operations. Besides battalion medical point. He directs decontamination
area for health hazards, and supervising sanitary and The point is located 1.5 to 3KM behind the FEBA. monitoring the health conditions in the battalion, he operations, carries out antiepidemic measures, and
antiepidemic measures. He also instructs the troops in Depending on the number of additional medical directs ambulance teams manned by orderlies in the distributes supplies under the fel'&ber's direction.
Regimental Medical Support
At regimental medical points, the seriously fel'dsbw may also check dressings and administer
wounded are examined and provisionally treated by a analgesics.
physician. The regimental senior physician is a Each regimental medical point also has an isolation
member of the commander's staff and serves as the section and a decontamination section. ?he isolation
administrative medical officer for the regiment. He section, staffed by an orderly, accommodates those
usually does not practice as a physician at the regi- suspected of having contracted contagious diseases.
mental medical point. The chief of the medical point is Such casualties remain in isolation at the medical point
subordinate directly to the regimental senior until they can be evacuated to a specialized field
physician. He directs and participates in the medical hospital or a higher-level isolation facility.
treatment of casualties. There are two additional
officers, a junior physician and a dentist. Additional
medical personnel assigned to the regimental medical Regimental Medical Treatment
point include twofel'dsbers, two medical corpsmen, a
pharmacist, seven orderlies, and four ambulance
drivers. Support personnel serving the medical point TREATMENT OF
include an electrical mechanic, a radio operator, and a PHYSICAL WOUNDS:
field kitchen staff. Arrest of external bleeding.
The duties of the regimental senior physician before Treatment for shock, including injections.
enemy contact are extensive. He must know the Performance of tracheotomy.
regiment's objective and the desired organization of Closed heart massage and/or intracardial
the rear services. He receives instructions from the injection.
' division senior physician with regard to augmentation Catheterization.
and the replenishment of medical supplies. Emergency amputation.
The major elements of the regimental medical point Primary dressing of burns.
are reception and sorting, dressing, and evacuation. Removal of radioactive substances from
Other elements are a disinfectionldecontamination gastrointestinal tract.
area and an isolation area.
The physician at the receiving and sorting element is TREATMENT OF
usually the chief of the medical point. Medical order- CHEMICAL AGENT CASUALTIES:
lies and a registrar are selected from the lightly lnjection of antidotes.
wounded to assist him. As the chief of the medical Artificial respiration and oxygen therapy.
point receives casualties who have passed through the Treatment for pulmonary edema.
sorting point, he divides them into four categories: lnjection of gastric lavage.
those who require immediate medical attention at the Administration of absorbents.
regimental medical point; those who are to be
evacuated to the next medical echelon with little or no TREATMENT OF
treatment; those who are lightly wounded who will BACTERIOLOGICAL CASUALTIES:
remain at the medical point and return to dutywithin 3 Isolation.
to 5 days; and those for whom medical treatment is Placement of protective mask on each
futile. Within the receiving and sorting element, anti- infected soldier.
biotics, antitoxins, and antidotes are provided only to Administration of antibiotics and sul-
casualties with NBC injuries. fanilamide.
The major part of the medical treatment provided in
the regimental medical point takes place in the TREATMENT OF
dressing area under the direction of the junior regi- LOWEST PRIORITY:
mental physician and dentist. Splint improvement.
The evacuation element of the regimental medical Treatment of extensive soft-tissue wounds
point occupies an area of 15 to 20 square meters. It and injuries to large joints or nerve trunks.
consists of separate holding areas for the stretcher- Provision of novacaine blocks for shock.
borne and for the ambulatory wounded. A fel'dsher lnjection of analgesics.
supervises the evacuation element according to Transfusion therapy for second- and third-
instructions from the medical point chief concerning degree shock.
evacuation priorities and modes of transportation. The lnjection of antibiotics and antitoxins.
Division Medical Support
Xtw primary combat mission of the medicul point deploys approximately 12 kilometers from the
battalion is the akployment and operation of the FEBA during offensive operations or some 20
diuision medical point. Before reaching this level, kilometers when in defense. It normally deploys along
casualties receive only the most basic medical treat- the main supply route and uses existing structures
ment. Even at division level, only minor surgicalopera- when possible. Full deployment of the division medical
tions can be performed due to limited personnel and point requires an area 150 meters square. The
facilities.Any major operations must be deferred until receiving and sorting facilities deploy &itst, closely
the casualty reaches an army-level mobile field followed by the disinfection and decontamination
hospital. facilities and the operating area The dressing station
The division senior physician commands the and hospital accommodations receive the next
medical battalion of each combat division. As with the priority. The evacuation section, the medical supply
regimental physician, the division senior physician point, and the medical personnel accommodations
occupies a primarily administrative post, assuming make up the final stage of deployment. Full deploy-
responsibility for the overall supervision of division ment requires approximately 2 to 3 hours.
medical support. He also serves on the division com- The initial steps of division sorting remain the same
mander's staff. His immediate subordinate, the chief of as at the regimental level. Casualties who present a
the division medical point, serves on the staE of the hazard to others because of NBC contamination are
deputy commander for the rear. sent to the decontamination or isolation area. ?he
The division medical battalion contains the physician at the receiving and sorting area divides the
following elements: patients into the same four general categories as was
Headquarters. done at regimental level. Though the majority of
Medical company, which contains a surgical wounded continue evacuation through the medical
platoon, an internal medicine platoon, a receiving and point with only minimal treatment, more casualties
evacuation platoon, a resuscitation section, a dental remain for treatment and/or convalescence than is the
section, a pharmacy section, a morgue. case at the regimental medical point. The larger staff
Collection and evacuation company. and facilities permit a broader range of medical
Disinfection and decontamination platoon. treatment, but the rate of casualties and the battle
I Transport platoon. conditions determine the extent.
I Supply and service platoon. The Soviets stress the need for rapid and efficient
The medical company forms the operational core of performance of battlefield medicine in the event of
the division medical point. The medical company has mass NBC casualties. ?he facilities and organizational
at least three surgeons, a therapist, and a stomatologist arrangements for the treatment of NBC casualties that
(mouth specialist) on its staff. The disinfection and exist at every command level indicate Soviet antici-
decontamination platoon is staffed with an epi- pation and preparation for combat in an NBC
demiologist and a toxicologist. It supervises the treat- environment.
ment of casualties who have infectious diseases and- As with the battalion and regimental medical points,
with the field laboratory facilities-monitors the bio- the division medical point maintains close contact
logical environment. The personnel of the collection with advancing combat units. Soviet doctrine calls for
and evacuation company are used to augment both movement by echelon to accomplish the necessary
regiment and battalion casualty collection efforts. The forward deployment while still providing an accept-
primary mission of the transport platoon is evacuation able level of care for the incoming wounded and non-
of casualties from the regiment to the division. At the transportable casualties.As many of the personnel and
discretion of the division senior physician, personnel as much equipment as can be spared are moved to the
and vehicles from this section may assist in battlefield next deployment area. The division senior physician
casualty collection and evacuation. The supply and coordinates with the army chief of medical service in
service platoon has responsibility for the reception, arranging for the transfer of the casualty flow to
storage, distribution, and replenishment of medical another division medical point or an independent
and food supplies for the division and subordinate medical detachment.
medical units.
The division medical point is designed to handle up
to 400 casualties per 24-hour period. Casualties are Army-Level Medical Support
expected to reach the division medical point Erom the At army level, there are two types of medical support
battlefield within 12 to 18 hours. The division medical elements: the independent medical detachment and
the mobile field hospital. Independent medical forward of the hospital base. Here physicians examine
detachments are medical battalions under the com- casualties aboard each ambulance and, if the nature of
mand of the army chief of medical service. He uses their injuries permits, routes the ambulance directly to
these units to augment the division medical battalions the appropriate mobile field hospital.
in the event of mass-casualty situations. Independent The evacuation hospital deploys in the rear of the
medical detachments also ease the burden on division hospital base to treat casualties awaiting evacuation to
medical points during forward deployment. When an homecountry hospitals and to receive casualtiesfrom
independent medical detachment deploys, the army the other mobile field hospitals. Aeromedical evacua-
chief of medical service informs the regimental and tion, particularly by helicopter, will probably play an
division senior physicians of the deployment so that important role. Helicopters can evacuate seriously
casualty evacuation can be diverted when necessary. wounded troops directly from the battlefield to the
7;bepnpntnuty medical support unit at army leuel is army hospital base, the lowest level capable of per-
the mobile field hospital. The army-level mobile field forming major surgery.
hospitals form the fourth administrative level of the Soviet doctrine does not call for the frequent
military medical service. This is the first level of the redeployment of hospitals established at the front
combat evaucation system capable of doing major level. These hospitals often are established in existing
surgery and giving extended care. 'Ihese hospitals are military and civilian medical institutions. They receive
mobile and capable of forward deployment. They con- those casualties whose recuperation period exceeds
stitute the largest and most extensive military medical acceptable limits for the mobile field hospital.
facilitywith this capability. These and other army-level
hospitals generally are organized into a hospital base
that deploys along the major evacuation route from the REAR AREA SERVICES
division medical points and independent medical Data available on rear area services are limited. The
detachments. This base may include any or all of the Soviets consider these topics sensitive, and as a result
following types of hospitals: little information is available in open sources.
Mobile field hospitals: infection and disease,
specialized surgical, neurological, therapeutic.
Sorting hospital. Personnel Replacements
Hospital for the lightly wounded. The personnel replacement system is significant to
Evacuation hospital. the Soviets because of the size of their forces. Per-
The hospital base deploys close to the FEBA to allow
casualties to arrive from the battlefield within 24
sonnel replacement during intensive combat opera-
tions in both conventional and nuclear environments
hours. The individual mobile field hospitals deploy no has been the subject of much study by the Soviets.
closer than 5 kilometers to one another to reduce the Soviet personnel replacement procedures are struc-
effect of nuclear attack. Deployment of a specialized tured on four levels: individual, incremental,
mobile field hospital is accomplished within 2 to 4 composite unit, and whole unit.
hours after arrival at the deployment area. It is in these
hospitals that the majority of casualties, having passed Individual Replacements. This system is used in
through subordinate echelons with minimum treat- both peacetime and wartime. It appears to be most
ment, receive specialized and intensive a r e . To make applicable in the officer, some NCO, and specialist
such care easier, there are teams of medical specialists ,assignments. The sources of replacement personnel
with support personnel and equipment that can are school graduates, reserve assignments, medical
augment the normal staff of a mobile field hospital. returnees, and normal reassignments.
These teams usually consist of surgical specialistssuch
as opthalmologists,neurosurgeons, and ear, nose, and Incremental Replacements. This system, dating
throat specialists. from World War 11, replaces entire small units such as
In extreme circumstances, direct evacuation of weapon crews, squads, and platoons. Replacements
casualties is made from regiment, or even battalion, to can be obtained from training units or from follow-on
the hospital base. In this situation, the sorting hospital forces.
deploys in the forward area of the hospital base to
receive, diagnose, and dispatch incoming wounded to Composite Unit Formations. When continuity of
the appropriate mobile field hospital. The sorting the mission is of paramount importance, composite
hospital establishes a medical distribution point units may be formed from other units reduced by
combat operations. Composite units may be con- police. KGB and MVD elements provide some security
stituted up to division or corps level. functions. An element known as the Commandant's
Service, or Komenrlatura, possesses some military
Whole Unit Replacement. Since Soviet planners police-related functions. These functions include
first considered the mass casualties associated with traftic control, enforcement of military discipline, and
nuclear war, this particular method has received some civil affairs actions.
almost continuous study. Within this concept, entire
armies can be brought forward from second echelon
or reserve forces to replace first echelon forces Prisoners of War and Civilian Detainees
rendered ineffective. Passage of large units through This subject is among the most sensitive issues to the
other forces to forward positions is a complex Soviets. Involvement of KGB, MVD, and political
operation that requires detailed planning and effective organs is probable.
control. The Soviets are amrare of the problems
associated with such a maneuver.
Soviet planners realize that personnel replacement DEVELOPMENTAL TRENDS
requirements will encompass all of the above pro- fie main direction of i m v e m e n t s in the Soviet
cedures. The Soviets receive semiannual experience in seruice support system over thepast decade has been
both individual and bulk replacement operations. In to increase mobility, efficiency, and sta&rdization.
their troop rotation exercises, thousands of troops are The Soviets have tried to bring new technology and
moved by both air and rail transport. The Soviet Union improved management techniques into their service
devotes manpower and money to the retention of a support operations. These measures have led to large
large reserve base that is updated constantly by troops increases in the "logistical tail."
released from active duty. The Soviet reserve pool Prepacwng and containerization of supplies into
consists of several million men with relatively recent standard units of issue have been initiated to reduce
training. Finally, the Soviet Army maintains a system of handling and delivery time. Computers have been
training units throughout its forces to train new introduced to allow the chief of the rear at operational
recruits, some reservists, and some specialists. Per- and strategic levels to evaluate his resources and assets
sonnel services and replacement procedures are exer- quickly for a proposed operation. He can formulate
cised and evaluated frequently. support plans which optimally support the com-
mander's concept of operations and respond to the
support requirements generated by rapid changes in
Civil Affairs the battlefield situation.
It is likely that activities involving Soviet forces and Railway facilities have been improved Also,
citizens of other nations, in particular other Warsaw increasing emphasis is being placed on the use of
Pact countries, are administered in wartime by Com- aerial, automotive, and pipeline delivery.
munist Party and Soviet governmental organs, political Some apparent disparities exist between rear area
sections of Soviet military elements, and sections of theory and practice. Soviet doctrine calls for the con-
both the KGB (Committee of State Security) and the tinuation of combat operations at night. It also pre-
MVD (Ministry of Internal AfTairs). scribes nighttime as the primary time for combat units
to replenish their ammunition, fuel, food, and other
supplies. However, Soviet writers frequently note the
Military Police difficulties in accomplishing nighttime link-up
The Soviet armed forces do not have a precise between support and advancing supported units in
military element that would equate to the US military field exercises.

In the Soviet view, rear area protection and security ,* Emergency use of weapons and equipment under-
comprise the comprehensive coordination of more going repair (crews generally remain with equipment
than just the rear of military forces in contact with the during repair).
enemy. The Soviets also believe that general war will Use of convalescent sick and wounded for defense
involve more than the armed forces fighting along during critical situations.
i established front lines. A future large-scale war, At army and front level, electronic warfare and air
whether conventional or nuclear, will include wide- defense elements are located to provide thorough
spread espionage, sabotage, infiltration, airborne and coverage of the entire area of operations. Combat
amphibious operations, and massive destruction that support and combat service support elements also
will occur throughout the nation. So total war will have rear area security responsibilities from the rear
involve the total population. area of units in contact to the rear boundary.
The Soviets have established an extensive and
encompassing program of organizations and pro-
cedures to conduct rear area security. Security and KGB TROOPS
protection of the rear area is critical. It includes Besides its major role in intelligence activities, the
vital installations, airfields, communications and Committee for State Security (KGB) is responsible for
transportation nets, critical industries, strategic border security and special communications. In the
weapons, and large troop formations. In the event event of an enemy invasion, the KGB border guard
of a large-scale general war, this program would detachments would fight delaying actions until
immediately go into operation insuring, among other relieved by ground forces units. Conversely, during a
things, the following: Soviet offensive, border guard missions would include
Rear area security and protection of combat, securing the operational armies' rear, conducting
combat support, and combat service support units and counterespionage, forestalling desertions, thwarting
areas of operation. deep enemy penetrations, and conducting mop-up
Security and protection of lines of communication. operations in the rear area.
Security and protection of borders and coastlines.
Mobilization of reserves.
Civil defense. MVD TROOPS
Suppression of local insurgents. Interior troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Defense against airborne attack. (MVD) are primarily responsible for maintaining
Defense against unconventional warfare domestic security. Missions in the civilian sector
(including saboteurs, partisans, and propaganda). include criminal investigation, motor vehicle inspec-
Damage control. tion and control,and issuance of visas. In wartime, they
also have the missions to suppress insurrection, to
conduct counterespionage,and to transport prisoners.
UNIT SECURITY KGB and MVD troops are organized, equipped, and
All units, fkom the smallest through front level, trained much the same as Soviet ground forces, but
are responsible for-the security of their own rear special attention is given to security functions. In
areas. In larger organizations (regiment and up), general, KGB and MVD troops are considered to be
elements of the second echelon have most of the extremely reliable and are very well trained.
responsibility for security. Organic personnel and
equipment carry out basic security and damage con-
trol in the rear area. Appropriate measures include MILITARY DISTRICTS
the following: The 16 Soviet military districts are administrative
Comprehensive security plans. commands which do not correspond to the political
Locating support units near combat troops for boundaries of the Soviet Union's 15 republics. In
added protection. wartime, the assets of many military districts probably
Temporary assignment of combat units to security would be organized into fronts, providing both the
missions (usually second echelon elements). command and control structure and units for combat
Employment of guards, sentries, and patrols. operations.
Military activity within a military district continues, Civilian civil defense formations insure a potentially
however, w e n when troop units are deployed else- valuable labor force for the Soviets. They are also a
where. Military installations such as schools and source for intelligence gathering, particularly in areas
garrisons, and operations such as logistics and com- threatened by airborne or seaborne attack, guerrilla or
munications would continue to function, and in partisan activity, or large-scale invasion.
certain instances, even be augmented. Civil defense receives extensive propaganda treat-
Military district mobilization plans cover not only ment in the Soviet media. There is civil defense training
units, installations, and activities of the district, but also in schools, for housewives, and for retirees besides the
the call-up of reserves. Reserve call-up is selective to training given in factories and civil defense formations.
permit orderly activation and to insure an adequate However, Soviet civil defense programs have been
labor force for critical civilian occupations. Civil criticized for their lack of imagination, heavy ideolo-
defense activities also are conducted through the gical (rather than practical) emphasis, lack of realism,
military district command structure. poor quality instruction, inadequate planning, and
poor coordination. Many mass evacuation plans have
not been rehearsed for years, if at all. Nevertheless, the
Soviet civil defense program reaches virtually every
Overall civil defense of the Soviet Union is directed citizen in the nation with at least minimal instruction
by a Deputy Minister of Defense. Civil defense troops, and indoctrination. Despite widespread cynicism and
numbering approximately 40,000, are a branch of the apathy, the program is large and growing. It is probably
Soviet military under the command ofthe Chief of Civil the most highly developed civil defense effort in the
Defense. They are subordinate to deputy commanders world.
for civil defense in the 16 military districts.
Most civil defense efforts involve organization and
training for survival, rescue, repair, and restoration. RESERVES
?he intent is to involve the Soviet population. Civil Soviet conscripts have a reserve obligation until age
defense is one of several means of involving the popu- 50. The total Soviet potential reserve manpower pool
lation in disciplined activity and of keeping them aware is estimated to be twenty fwe million men. About 6.8
of the ever-present "threat" posed by the enemies of million of these men are young, recently-trained
the Soviet Union. veterans.
Perhaps 70 percent of workers engaged in vital Soviet reservists are not organized in specific reserve
industry belong to civil defense organizations. Their units. Instead, reservists called up for training report to
principal objectives are: existing active units. In the event of a large-scale
To prevent panic. mobilization, reservists will be assigned where i
To maintain law and order. required. Many would fill out low-strength divisions
To maintain agricultural and industrial and other units.
production. The Soviet reserve system provides a vast resource of
To insure organized decontamination. former servicemen. Younger and more recently
Civil defense activities involve over thirty million trained personnel probably would be mobilized for
people and are closely tied to the overall war and sur- combat service. Older reservists easily could take over
vim1 effort. Organized and trained personnel, con- n u m e r o u s garrison, guard, and rear area
trolled by the government, will be capable of at least responsibilities.
the following activities: Given such vast numbers of men with prior military
Fire fighting. service plus a citizenry which has received consider-
First aid. able exposure to civil defense indoctrination and
Camouflage of industrial targets. training, the Soviets can count on a population that is
Chemical defense and decontamination. potentially more aware and prepared, and that is used
Damage control. to discipline. (For more information on Soviet
Rescue. reserves, see FM 100-2-3).
Public order and safety.
Communication and warning.
Reconnaissance. The Soviets expect to survive and to win any future
Radiological monitoring and decontamination. war. To do this, special attention has been devoted to
protecting the industrial and technological base. Pro- over 14 and the Soviets claim about eighty million
tective measures include dispersion of industrial members. DOSAAF stresseseach citizen's obligation to
facilities, physical hardening of Eactories, stockpiling defend the Soviet Union. Its basic propaganda themes
materials and parts, constructing shelters for workers, are patriotism and the external threat.
and creating evacuation plans. Dispersion reduces Major DOSAAF activities include sports, preinduc-
vulnerability but it also increases the transportation tion military training, and technical specialist training.
problem and the security burden. Many reservists join DOSAAF to take advantage of the
latter activity, as it is a good way to acquire or improve
technical skills. DOSAAF activities are coordinated
DOSAAF with the Komsomol (Young Communist League) and
The Voluntary Society of Assistance to the Army, with civil defense organizations.
Aviation, and the Navy (DOWF) is yet another Soviet In practice, the DOSAAF program sometimesfails to
organization that could play a role in rear area security achieve its goals. It has a large, cumbersome bureau- i
and protection. D O W is a paramilitary organization. cracy. DOSAAF has been aitized in the Soviet press for
Its primary goals are producing a military-conscious indciency, inadequate coordination, and poor
society, preparing the civilian population for military quality instruction. The premilitary training program
emergencies, and preparing preinduction-age youth sometimes is criticized for its lack of quality. (For more
for military service. Membership is open to anyone information on DOSMF, see FM 100-2-3.)


AAA ........ .antiaircraft artillery EMP ........ .electromagnetic pulse
AAG artillery group ESM .........electronic warfare support
AAlCV . . . . . ..airborne amphibious infantry measures (US term)
combat vehicle FAC. ........ .forward air controller
ACRV ....... .artillery command and FEBA ........forward edge of the battle area
reconnaissance vehicle (US acronym used i n this manual
ACV .........armored command vehicle as the equivalent of the Soviet
AGI ......... .auxiliary intelligence gatherers term "forward edge")
AICV ........ .amphibious infantry combat F O P . .........forward observation post
vehicle Frag-HE . . . . . .fragmentation high-explosive i
A M R P . . . . . . . .artillery mobile reconnaissance round
post FROG ....... .free rocket over ground
An-(no.) . . . . . .Soviet designation for aircraft FS .......... .fin-stabilized round
from Antonov design bureau FSE ......... .forward security element
APC-T.. . . . . . .armor piercing capped (of the Advance Guard)
tracer round GAZ-(no.) ... .medium truck produced by
API-T.. ...... .armor piercing incendiary Gorkiy Motor Vehicle Plant
tracer round GRU ........ .general staff's main intelligence
AP-T . . . . . . . . .armor piercing tracer round directorate
APVO ........Aviation of National Air Defense HE ........... high-explosive round
AS-(no.) . . . . . .US designation for Soviet HEAT ........high-explosive antitank round
air-to-surface missile HE1 .......... high-explosive incendiary round
ASC ........ .armored scout car HEP ..........high-explosive plastic round
A S M .........air-to-surface missile HVAP ........ hyper-velocity armor piercing
ASW ........ .antisubmarine warfare round
AT-(no.) . . . . . .US designation for Soviet HVAPFSDS . . hyper-velocity armor piercing
antitank guided missile fin-stabilized discarding Sabot
A T G M . . ..... .antitank guided missile round
BAF ......... .battalion assault force I F V . . ........ .infantry fighting vehicle
(naval infantry) Il-(no.) ....... .Soviet designation for aircraft
BVR . . . . . . . . . .beyond-visual-range from llyushin design bureau
CBU ........ .cluster bomb unit INA ......... .information not available at the
C E S . . . . . . . . . .chief of engineer services UNCLASSIFIED level
C I N C . . . . . . . . .commander-in-chief IR . . . . . . . . . . . .infrared
COMINT . . . . .communications intelligence IRBM ........ intermediate-range ballistic
(US term) missile
COP ........ .command observation post I-T ........... incendiary tracer round
CRP. ........ .combat reconnaissance patrol KamAZ-(no.) .medium truck produced by
CRTA . . . . . . . .chief of rocket troops and Kama River Motor Vehicle Plant
artillery KGB ........ .Committee for State Security
DAG ........ .division artillery group KrAZ-(no.) ... .heavy truck produced by
DF . . . . . . . . . . .direction finding Kremenchug Motor Vehicle Plant
DO1 . . . . . . . . . .date of introduction LMG . . . . . . . . .light machinegun
DOSAAF .... .Voluntary Society of Assistance L O C . . ....... .line of communications
to the Army, Aviation, and Navy L O P . . ....... .lateral observation post
(premilitary training organization) LRA ..........long range aviation
DZ . . . . . . . . . . . drop zone LuAZ-(no.) . . , .light truck produced by
ECM . . . . . . . . . electronic countermeasures Lutsk Motor Vehicle Plant
ELINT . . . . . . . .electronic intelligence (US term) L Z . . ......... .landing zone
MAZ-(no.) ... .heavy truck produced by SACLOS .....semiautomatic-command-to-line-
Minsk Motor Vehicle Plant of-sight guidance
MCLOS ......manual-command-to-line-of- SAM .........surface-to-air missile
sight guidance shp.. .........Shaft horsepower
Mi-(no.) . . . . . .Soviet designation for helicopter SLAR ........side-looking airborne radar
from M i l design bureau SP ...........self-propelled
MiG-(no.) . . . . .Soviet designation for aircraft SPAAG ..... .self-propelled antiaircraft gun
from Mikoyan-Gurevich design SRBM. .......short-range ballistic missile
bureau SRF. .........strategic rocket forces
M O D . . ...... .Ministry of Defense; Minister SS ...........spin-stabilized round 1

of Defense SS-(no.) ..... .US designation for Soviet

M O D . . ...... .Mobile Obstacle Detachment surface-to-surface missile
(Engineer Element) SSM .........surface-to-surface missile A

MOP observation post STOL.. ...... .short takeoff and landing aircraft
MPA .........Main Political Directorate Su-(no.) ..... .Soviet designation for aircraft
MRBM .......medium-range ballistic missile from Sukhoi design bureau
M R D .........motorized rifle division TASM ........ tacttcal air-to-surface missile
MRL .........multiple rocket launcher TD .......... .tank division
MRR .........motorized rifle regiment TEL ..........transporter-erector-launcher
M S D ........ .movement support detachment TELAR .......transporter-erector-launcher-
(engineer element) and-Radar
M V D ........ .Ministry of Internal Affairs TOP. ........ .technical observation point
OMG ........ .operational maneuver group TR ...........tank regiment
POL . . . . . . . . ..petroleum, oils, lubricants Tu-(no.) ......Soviet designation for aircraft
PPO ..........primary party organization from Tupolev design bureau
PGM ......... precision-guided munitions TVD of military operations
P V O . . . . . . . . . .air defense UAZ-(no.).... .light truck produced by
PWP ........ .plasticized white phosphorus Ulyanovsk Motor Vehicle Plant
RAG ........ .regimental artillery group Ural-(no.) ..... medium truck produced by
RAP. .........rocket-assisted projectile Ural Motor Vehicle Plant (not an
RDF. direction finding acronym)
R E C . . ........ radioelectronic combat UW ..........unconventional warfare
REG and evacuation group VOSO ........Central Military Transportation
rkh ...........Russian abbreviation (literally: Directorate
radio-chemical) used as suffix i n VTA ..........military transport aviation
Soviet designations for NBC VTOL.. ..... ..vertical takeoff and landing
reconnaissance vehicles V V S . . ....... .Soviet Air Force
RVGK ....... .Reserve of the Supreme W P . . .........white phosphorus
High Command Yak-(no.) .... .Soviet designation for aircraft
SA-(no.) . . . . ..US designation for Soviet from Yakovlev design bureau *
surface-to-air missile ZIL-(no.) ..... .medium truck from Likhachev
Motor Vehicle Plant

Glossarv- 2
Air-To-Surface Antitank Guided Surface-To-Air
Missiles Missiles Missiles
Aircraft Helicopters
BADGER, Tu- 16 HARE, MI-1 Surf ace-To-Surf ace
BEAR, Tu-95 HARKE, MI-10, MI-1OK Missiles
BLINDER, Tu-22 HIP, MI-8 SCUD A, SS- 1 b
BREWER, Yak-28 HOMER, MI-12 SCUD B, S S - l c
CAMBER, 11-86 HOOK, MI-6
CLINE, An-32 HOUND. M I - 4
COCK, An-22
COOTI 11-18 Radars

Glossary- 3
FM 100-2-2

16 JULY 1984

By Order of the Secretary of the Army:


General. United States Army
Chief of Staff


Major General, United States Army
The Adjutant General

Active Army, ARNG, and USAR: To be distributed i n accordance w i t h DA Form 12-1 1B, Require-
ments for Handbook on Agressor Military Forces (Qty rqr block no. 287); Agressor Order of Battle
Book (Qty rqr block no. 288) and Operations of Army Forces i n t h e Field (Qty rqr block no. 405).

Additional copies may be requisitioned from the US ArmyAdjutant General Publications Center,
2800 Eastern Boulevard, Baltimore, M D 21 220.

* U.S. GOVERNMENT P R I N T I N G O F F I C E : 1984-739-033:212