Skip to main content

Maskirovka buildup by Russia

Maskirovka buildup by Russia

31st Air Assault Brigade has brand new BMD-4M IFVs.
Exactly a year ago I wrote about the Russian Maskirovka mobilizations that are also known as “snap drills” or “readiness inspections”. Some of these drills have been massive and enough troops were set in motion, that the forces could’ve invaded a small nation.
While the snap drills of various units of the Russian Armed Forces and the Russian National Guard have continued, the scale has been smaller. Most analysts are looking towards the well published Zapad 2017 exercise as the next possible window for a Russian aggression.
However there is an ongoing, slow and creeping, buildup at the western border of Russia. Several combat units have been enlarged during the recent intakes of new recruits and conscripts. More importantly troops move around long distances in seemingly scheduled exercises, which are announced a day or few hours before they commence. These allow Russia to concentrate forces close to its borders and these troops can then be augmented for example by larger forces called in during a snap drill.
Good example of a creeping buildup is the current situation in Pskov that is situated right east of the Estonian border. Are normally holds the elite 76th Air Assault Division of the Russia’s airborne forces the VDV. On August 7th Russia announced that one of its heavy artillery brigades had marched a battalion of 2S4 Tulip 240mm mortars to the area near Pskov. These are specialty weapons meant for breaking fortifications or defenses in urban areas.
2S4 Tyulpan is the heaviest mortar in use
Today the 31st Air Assault Brigade from Ulyanovsk parachuted into the same region to train with the local VDV forces. A small region suddenly had an additional brigade with heavy fire support in addition to the usual division.
At the same time the Russian naval forces had moved heavy surface combatants into the Baltic Sea for the navy day parade from the Northern Fleet. ASlava-class cruiser didn’t return to the North Sea with the rest of the Northern Fleet ships and instead stayed in the Baltic theater. The cruiser is more than capable of changing the local balance of power, should Russia began hostilities with any of the Baltic States, Finland or Sweden.
Naturally all of this falls within normal training regime and most likely nothing nefarious will happen. But this kind of a force structure would be very suitable for an operation against any of the strategic islands in the Baltic Sea, such as Gotland in Sweden or Åland islands in Finland.
Interestingly most of the VDV airborne and air-assault units have conducted amphibious landing and naval transport training drills this year.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Russian Oktoberfest - the Activation of the entire Russian army

Even though the Zapad2017 drill, that rehearsed assault through the Baltics to relieve the Kaliningrad enclave, has ended, the Russian armed forces are not resting on their laurels. Today Russia announced that it will begin a control check that will include all military units in all of the military branches.

The control checks will be conducted in two phases. During the first phase of the tests over 300 active duty formations will be brought to combat readiness and tested by the inspectors. These checks will happen before the 15th of October. The checks will be held in 120 training areas across the Russian federation. There will be a significant number of tactical level exercises with troops relocating from their bases to the training areas. The amount of ground forces combat units involved can reach up to 120 000 soldiers.
The only exception to this rule are the units that participated in the Zapad2017 exercise, these units will be inspected by the respective unit commanders and t…

Steel quartet: the Russian tank programs

The Russian military modernization program has two superstars that have been grabbing the headlines, the T-50 Pak-Fa 5th generation fighter and the T-14 Armata main battle tank. The Armata has been dubbed as a wonder weapon that will make all other main battle tanks obsolete. The published plan was to phase out all other tracked platforms and gradually replace them with Armata variants. The T-14 Armata was supposed to be produced in great numbers.
The delayed development of the Armata platform has been evident, not only by it’s failure in the Victory Day parade at the Red Square, but also by the fact that the advanced T-72B3 variant has been produced in large numbers and an additional upgrade package has been applied to it in 2016.

In addition to the T-72B3M, two other Russian main battle tank upgrade programs are currently underway and the overall number of the modernized tanks will rise to thousands. It is remarkable that the Russian armed forces are committing to four separate tan…

Russia practices for an Iceland invasion

The Russian Northern Fleet has been very active lately, in addition to the usual landing drills close to the fleets home ports in the Kola peninsula, the fleet has been roaming the Russian northern coast with a landing squadron that carries a mix of marines and Arctic brigade specialists from the Alakurtti military base.
This unit has now made a landing drill at the remote island of Kotelny that sits between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea. The squadrons last supply point, where the crews and troops were allowed to rest and refit was in Dudinka. The distance from Dudinka to Kotelny is roughly 2000 km. This distance corresponds closely to the distance between the fleets home base in Kola and Iceland. The geography and the size of the islands are also very similar.

It is very important to test these kind of long distance naval operations in advance as the troops and the vehicles on board, must remain combat worthy all the way to the target. And the seas up north can be extr…