Armor: November 27, 2002


One of the rebels most effective weapons in Chechnya remains the field-expedient anti-tank Command Detonated Mine (CDM) and Russian forces are now relying on aggressive countermine patrols conducted by combat engineers (known in the Russian forces as "engineer intelligence units"). It would behoove American planners to take notes on this topic, since their forces will probably face this very effective weapon system in the near future. There were at least seven CDM attacks on US forces in Somalia (1992-93).

A powerful homemade landmine was destroyed in Chechnya's Kurchaloi district on 25 November, with the use of the "Anti-Terrorist" electronic anti-landmine system. The Anti-Terrorist determines the frequency of the radio station used to activate the landmine and then prematurely detonate it. During an engineering reconnaissance mission near Bachi- Yurt, the crew noticed a rebel planting a landmine and the Anti-Terrorist system detonated the mine. The rebel who was planting the landmine was also killed.

Russian experts have been praising the potential of the mobile Anti-Terrorist systems (easily mounted on any vehicle), which can record and jam the radio frequencies of radio-controlled explosive devices. The system's range is several kilometers in flat terrain and slightly less in urban areas. The rebels rely on household radios assembled in Southeastern Asia, which means the system is more effective in detecting and destroying their radio-controlled landmines.

Another large-scale terrorist attack was thwarted by sappers in Grozny, where rebels had planted a landmine equivalent to two tons of TNT on a crossroads. The engineer reconnaissance team disarmed the landmine in time. A radio-controlled 120mm shell/landmine was defused in the Gudermes district and three more explosive devices were defused in the Kurchaloi district.

Federal forces in Chechnya found about 40 artillery rounds (along with explosives, antitank and antipersonnel mines) in rebel caches on 23 and 24 November. These were to be made into anti-vehicle mines. During the week prior, above 120 explosives (including 11 landmines) were defused by sappers and four road blocks were cleared.

However, these mines are easy to make and hard to find. Twelve Russian armored vehicles were blown up in Chechnya war zone between 18 to 24 November. Some of the attacks were executed in Agishty and Galashki, across the border in Ingushetia. - Adam Geibel


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