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Russian Battalion Tactical Group southbound from Saint Petersburg

  A social media video of a Russian train loaded with military vehicles surfaced 20.8.2020. The video was supposedly filmed south of Saint Petersburg. While videos of Russian convoys and trains laden with tanks are not rare, there are some interesting features in this one. It seems to feature a fully functional Russian battalion tactical group. The maneuver unit is clearly based around a motorized rifle battalion that is equipped with the venerable MT-LB tracked armored personnel carriers. In the Russian system a Motorized Rifle unit can be classified as either mechanized or motorized in the west depending on the set of vehicles it is equipped with. This battalion has at least 35 baseline MT-LBs, which is consistent with the 3 vehicles per platoon and 3 platoons + ATGM-section per company structure that is typical with the battalions of the motorized rifle brigades.   The battalion also has its integral command and communications assets in the form of two R-149 unified command
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Russian Robots: From combat to engineering

BMR-3M For the past ten years the Russian army has been boasting about it’s upcoming combat robots, or  unmanned ground vehicles, UGV:s, as the parlance goes in the west. The focus has been on the swanky looking combat robots bristling with weapon stations and missiles. The idea of a remotely operated tank for attack operations isn’t exactly new in the Russian army. The Soviet Red Army studied and tested radio controlled teletanks already in the 1930’s. These were simple remotely operated versions of the existing T-18, T-26, T-38, BT-5 and BT-7 tanks. These early UGVs couldn’t share any sensor data with their controllers, who were traveling in the accompanying regular tanks. This resulted in aiming problems, that were solved by arming the teletanks mainly with flamethrowers, machine guns and demolition charges that didn’t rely on precision aiming.  T-26 Teletank The teletanks saw their combat debut during the Winter War in 1939-40, but the success of the units were minimal, with many

SRA – The Finnish 4-gun shooting for the reservists

SRA competitor with a tst-class equipment (Photo by: Heli Soini) I’ve been shooting the Practical Shooting aka. IPSC for the past 15 years and unlike most of my peers, I haven’t competed in its Finnish cousin SRA or Sovellettu Reservilaisammunta, that is roughly translated as Applied Reservist Shooting. This weekend I finally managed to schedule the mandatory safety course for the SRA. But what actually is the SRA? To understand the sport, we have to first take a short hike across the Atlantic in to the USA, where Practical Shooting was formed. It’s, as the name implies, a shooting sport that focuses on the practical and efficient use of modern self-defense and law enforcement style firearms. The competitions consist of a number of stages that pit the shooter against a scenario with multiple targets. T he stage is timed with a shot timer and the targets are scored. The final result is a hit factor that is calculated by dividing the score with the time used. While t

The End of the Winter War: Sacrifice Instead of Genocide

By the beginning of the March 1940 the Finnish leadership knew that the end was near. Both frontline troops and logistics were on the brink of a collapse. Standing alone against the Soviet giant was impossible without reinforcements and supplies from abroad. The massed assaults by tanks and infantry were preceded by artillery barrages on the scale of the WW1 western front that simply turned all defensive positions into gravel. A memorial service that was held on May 1940 for the 26 000 fallen Finns   The Soviet demands for a peace treaty were staggering. Finland was expected to hand over the homes of 400 000 of its citizens, including the second largest city Viipuri. The new border would also be much more difficult to defend in the future and the USSR would get a naval base in Hanko at the South Western coast. The western allies kept promising help through Norway and Sweden, but both nations refused to allow troops to transit. While Finland used the Western support as a

Fiery Flowers: The New Russian Self Propelled Guns

Drok The Russian army has relied on its Soviet-era artillery systems, that have been modernized with new communications and fire control equipment and refined ammunition. The only system that is currently under production is the very capable 152 mm MSTA-SM2, that is based on the chassis of the T-80 MBT. The biggest issue with MSTA-S variants is its complexity and weight. At 42 tons it has some logistical challenges and it’s not exactly cheap to manufacture either. Its proposed successor the T-90/Armata based 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV isn’t exactly cheaper, nor lighter. SV-Koalitsiya on a T-90 chassis The lighter and cheaper SPGs in Russian service, like the 152 mm 2S3 Akatsiya and 122 mm 2S1 Gvozdika are basically sixties technology and they have reached the end of their life-cycle. The Russian army has been painfully aware of this and there has been several programs to replace the ageing systems that bridge the gap between the mortars/122 mm towed guns and the top tier MSTA-S

Battle of Kämärä – Russian arms to revolutionaries

White Guards at Lemi In January 1918 Finland was in turmoil. While the nation had mostly avoided the horrors of the Great War and successfully declared itself independent in December of 1917, the population was divided between socialists and the rest, the Reds and the Whites. After mid January both the Red Guards and the Suojeluskunta, also known as White Guards, began to clash, especially in Karelia. The Imperial Russian army was still occupying Finland and the White Guards managed to disarm the passive Russian forces in Sortavala, Antrea and Joensuu. On the 26th the socialist Red Guards begun an open revolution. In January 26th the Suojeluskunta Battalion from Viipuri, that had regrouped at Venäjänsaari after communists took over the city, began to march, mostly on skis, towards the railway stations at Kämärä and Säiniö in order to disrupt the vital railway line between Petrograd and Vyborg. The battalion had roughly 500 white guards and its forward elements managed to capt

Upgunning: Russian tracked IFV:s in 2020

Kurganets-25 prototype The Russian army has three different types of motorized infantry formations. The new and experimental light ones ride on 4x4 MRAPs and Pickup-trucks. The wheeled ones are now mostly equipped with BTR-82A 8x8 IFV:s, while the tracked ones have more varied equipment including the BMP-2, BMP-3, BMP-4 and MT-LB. The tracked platforms were supposed to be replaced with the new Armata family vehicles the heavy T-15 and the lighter Kurganets-25. Both the T-15 and Kurganets-25 have had serious development delays and the Kurganets-project has on several occasions been labeled as abandoned. While the new vehicles are troublesome, their turret development seems to have been more successful. T-15 with the 57mm AU-220 turret The “Epoch” turret, that was developed for the Kurganets-25 has been up-gunned with a medium velocity 57mm gun. The resulting turret has been integrated with BMP-3 IFV and several of the new vehicles are entering service trials in the fi