The Russian military is actively studying and employing the experience gained during the military operation on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. The Russian Ministry of Defense’s newspaper Zvezda Weekly collected information about some methods of warfare that are now being studied by current and future Russian servicemen. The tex below is based on the article of Zvezda Weekly.
“The Syrian Rampart”
This is a new tactical method of military operations for the Russian troops, the meaning of which is to conduct fire on stationary enemy targets while the Russian troops are protected through a sort of moving embankment.
First, to shelter the offensive units, engineering units create a mound of soil several meters high.
“Then this shaft is gradually moved forward by heavy engineering equipment – armored bulldozers, and fighters of the offensive units move behind the shelter. The moving embankment allows personnel and military equipment to come closer to enemy positions with minimal loss.”
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) began using this strategy while fighting against terrorist groups.
At the beginning of the war, while approaching the strongholds of the militants, the SAA suffered heavy losses.
The “current” strategy that has been utilized since the Second World War proved to be impossible to use in the conditions of the appearance of new weapons and a massive saturation of heavy weapons on the battlefield. The attacking SAA was suffering heavy casualties.
Thus, the Syrians began to look for new tactics.
It turned out that the sand shaft moving forward towards the enemy’s positions not only ensures the safety of its fighters and it conceals the actions of the offensive units, but also allows them to fire through gaps in the embankment. In addition, the sand of the Syrian deserts proved to be a reliable barrier against modern laser and infrared guidance systems.
“The offensive, of course, does not go as fast as in war movies, where the “soldiers” run at full speed, and at full height, and with assault rifles at the ready. But the combat mission is carried out and is carried out without loss.”
Syrian soldiers use conventional industrial bulldozers, protected with iron plates, to create ramparts. Powerful special equipment, which is now being supplied to the engineering troops of Russia, is capable of moving any soil, with the exception, perhaps, of rock, in front of the advancing soldiers.
Russian Aerospace Forces at a new height
“States that do not have reliable aerospace defense run the risk of ceasing to exist. This is evidenced by the analysis of modern armed conflicts. Sad examples are Yugoslavia and Libya. Syria, naturally, was on the verge of this, if not for military assistance from Russia,” said Russian Minister of Defense Army General Sergei Shoigu at a recent meeting of the Board of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
As the head of the Russian military department noted, the special operation of the Russian Aerospace Forces was a serious test for the majority of the flight and engineering personnel.
The skills and knowledge acquired during the Syrian operation are systematized and are already used today in the preparation of troops and military command and control bodies. Taking into account the Syrian experience, a number of decisions were made to improve the military personnel and military infrastructure of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
In particular, the collection and analysis of information on the results of the combat use in Syria of more than 60 serially-produced and prototype weapons and military equipment of the aerospace forces continues.
Based on the data obtained, 11 types of aircraft and helicopters are being modernized.
To evaluate the declared capabilities of the developed military equipment in a combat situation, in February 2018 practical launches of prototype operational-tactical cruise missiles from a fifth-generation Su-57 aircraft were carried out.
In general, according to Sergei Shoigu, the combat capabilities of the aerospace forces increased by 11.7%.
More than 600 new and modernized units and complexes of armaments and military equipment were delivered to the units and subunits of the aerospace forces.
“The Tank Carousel”
During test-firing exercises throughout the past year, the tank crews of the motorized rifle division of the 58th combined arms army of the Southern Military District, stationed in Chechnya, were exercising in a new manner – at night, drilling the “tank carousel.”
“The principle of this tactical method is as following: the first tank fires from the halt while the second is loading its allowance of ammunition. As the first tank advances to a position for firing from behind the flanks, the second one occupies a position for fire from the halt. The tank crews do not know the sectors of fire, the sequence of raising targets and the distance to them in advance.”
The “tank carousel” makes it possible to deliver fire at a high rate and keep the conditional adversary under the impact of 125-mm guns non-stop. This tactic immobilizes enemy maneuvers on the battlefield; drives the adversary into “fire pockets” and suppresses promptly the most dangerous targets,” the Russian Ministry of Defense describes it.
As a result of the new tactic, the command of the tank units of the Southern Military District increased the maximum range of the 125-mm guns mounted on the T-72B3 battle tanks by 200 meters up to 2,200 meters.
Due to the reduced time needed to aim at a target, the rate of fire was also increased.
It is also important that a dynamically changing tactical and target situation develops an operational reaction and the ability to act non-standardly when solving a combat mission for all tank crew members.
“Hunting in the Mountains”
During fighting in the mountains, there are, obviously, various tactics being utilized and new techniques are constantly being invented. The snipers of the motorized rifle compound of the Southern Military District stationed in Dagestan recently successfully worked out the “hunting in the mountains” tactics aimed at neutralizing the command staff of a potential enemy.
To do this, sniper couples, silently bypassing the outposts, made hidden crossings tens of kilometers through unfamiliar terrain. One task was performed by several sniper pairs at once. The competitive element helped all participants to complete the tasks in a short time.
During the training, snipers paid great attention to disguise. After the “liquidation” of the commanders of the “enemy” units, they trained to “disappear” in the mountain’s environment, in the forest and grass.
In addition, in the highlands, tactics of combating reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of a conditional enemy were worked out.
In case of a threat of allied shooters being detected by enemy drones, regular unit snipers fired at the UAVs, as such they were shooting down dynamic air targets.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, back on November 19th, 2018 underlined several areas of importance for the Russian Armed Forces, dictated by the necessities presented by the new global situation.
“We see that in recent years the situation on the planet has not become calmer, unfortunately. In some regions, it even worsened … In these conditions, not allowing us to be drawn into the militarist race, due to flexible, not wasteful for the budget, but effective decisions, we are obliged to ensure the progressive and balanced development of the army and navy so that they can neutralize any potential threats. The results of recent years convincingly show that this is how we learned to work.
What tasks in this regard do I consider a priority:
Firstly, the combat training of troops should be improved, including taking into account the experience of the operation in Syria. In the course of maneuvers, command-and-staff exercises, sea voyages, more and more complex, unconventional, non-standard tasks must be worked out, the practice of sudden inspections of units and formations should be developed, and the mobilization readiness of federal and regional executive bodies, as well as defense industry enterprises, should be constantly monitored complex and other sectors of the economy…”
In addition to future servicemen, military commanders in all Russian military districts are also undergoing training and being educated on the updated tactics and realities following the Syrian conflict.
Russian troops in Syria gained experience in tunneling and counter-tunneling. Militants actively used underground passages for covert movement in large cities – Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. Making their way through specially dug tunnels, bandits fled to the rear of the Syrian government troops, laid high-explosive bombs, and simply hid underground from artillery raids and bombardments.
To inspect the tunnels, the Russian servicemen used an intelligence kit dubbed the “Sphere.”
Developed by specialists of one of the innovative Moscow companies, “Sphere” weighs 640 grams, and the information is guaranteed to transmit over 50 meters.
Equipped with a stabilization device, when casting into the tunnel, the “Sphere” confidently, like a tumbler, occupies a fighting position and carefully inspects the room with four “eye” cameras, providing a 360-degree view.
Information is immediately transmitted to the operator on the monitor of the remote control.
Urban combat: anti-sabotage wires and mine barriers
During actions in the city, the offensive units have to act in an unfamiliar territory, against an enemy who is well oriented in the area, with reinforced firing positions, hidden and camouflaged.
The troops operating in an urban environment with hardware are forced to move along the streets, which dramatically reduces their ability to maneuver. Buildings are good shelters for personnel, but they reduce the surveillance sector and the range of fire, which is also reduced due to dust from destroyed buildings, smoke and fire from burning buildings, ammunition ruptures and usually only provide about 100 – 200 square meters of area.
The military commanders were provided with information about the experience gained by Russian military advisers in Syria without taking possession of a large settlement, how to study approaches and capture individual buildings, and about options for equipping a unit’s position using new anti-terrorist engineering protection “systems.”
These, for example, include anti-sabotage wires for various purposes, camouflaged ditches with traps, mine barriers and others.
Since 2018, grenade launcher units from the Guards Tank Army of the Western Military District have been exercising how to destroy moving targets such as the vehicles used by suicide bombers.
Finally, humanitarian operations are also being improved, to protect both the servicemen assisting the civilians, as well as the civilians themselves.
All of these information is also being shared with Russia’s partners to improve the fight against militants and any other potential enemy.
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