Russia: December 23, 2000


Just as they did in World War II, the Russians learned from their mistakes in Chechnya. While they rushed in with tanks in 1994, and got clobbered, in 1999 they used their heads. The Chechen tactics of using a machinegun to keep Russian infantry in hiding while Chechen with RPGs (portable anti-tank rockets) moved up close and destroyed armored vehicles, were countered with well thought out Russian "Assault Detachments." These units are infantry companies (a hundred or so troops) plus a tank platoon (three tanks) and a squad or two (10-20 men) of engineers to clear mines, booby traps and roadblocks. The detachments were given special training and new organization. A dozen or so infantry were assigned to each armored vehicle. There only job was to keep the Chechen RPG teams away. These "blocking group" troops were drilled intensively on how to respond to someone trying to sneak up on their tank in a bombed out urban environment. The offensive clout is provided by special combat teams equipped with a light machine-gun, an RPG (good for blasting people out of buildings) and a sniper of flame-thrower. The engineers use one of their armored engineer vehicles, which is adept at clearing debris out of the way. The Russians are also using a Tank Support Combat Vehicle (TSCV), which is a more heavily armored APC with more machine-guns and a low velocity cannon. Current TSCVs are improvised, but it would appear that the Russians would design and build a vehicle just for this type of urban warfare and offer it for export. The new Russian tactics proved very effective. Other army's should take note.


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