Skip to main content

Russian Paratroopers on the Waves


For the last three centuries the Naval Infantry was the sole force in Russia trained to conduct forced landings to seashores. In 2017 the Russian military reforms reached a point that more amphibious landing capable forces were needed. In a surprising moment of military insight, they begun training the VDV airborne forces to conduct amphibious landings on their own.
BTR-82A making a landfall

The 2017 test runs were followed up with joint exercises between the Naval Infantry and the VDV. The VDV brings some unique capabilities to the table, as it’s a service that is specialized in expeditionary operations. The combined air and naval landings also allow the Russian armed forces to move in significantly more men and machines that either of the branches could ferry on their own.

In the beginning of the February 2019 the Russian marines based in the occupied Ukrainian territory of Crimea conducted a routine landing drill to an unprepared beachhead. The Russian armed forces TV-channel provided an interesting insight into this exercise.
Mi-8 and VDV scouts

The combined arms operation included Mi-8 helicopters landing VDV scout squads to secure the beachhead. The Ka-52 attack helicopters and armed Mi-8 variants also provided over-watch for the operation.
Ropucha-class landing ship unloading BTR-82As
Alligator-class landing ship
A VDV BMD-2 unloading from a Ondatra-class landing craft

The initial landing force swam to shore from the Alligator- and Ropucha-class landing ships with the Naval Infantry BTR-82A infantry fighting vehicles. These spearhead platoons then moved further inland as the landing ships and smaller landing crafts begun to unload the rest of the naval infantry battalion and the supporting VDV formation.
2S1 SPGs

It’s also noteworthy that the landing force included organic self-propelled artillery in the form of 2S1 howitzer battery, that had landed before all of the infantry companies had reached the shore. This combined with the mortar units of the VDV allow a beachhead to support its push inland even without air support.
Go-fast goggles, BMD-2 and BAT-2

Even as the beachhead was still forming, the BAT-2 tracklayers were building a ramp from the beach to the higher ground to allow the flow of supply from the ships to the troops fighting inland.

Grisha V-class rear deck

An interesting part of the footage was also a Grisha-class corvette that provided close cover for the landing force with its 76 mm AK-176 and 30 mm AK-630 guns. The naval assets focused on defending the force from hostile UAVs trying to interfere with the landing.

While the video doesn’t clearly show the presence of main battle tanks, other sources revealed that the training operation was supported by the T-72B1 and T-72B3 tanks of the Crimean Naval Infantry.

Is this a game changing capability? Probably not. 

It does however tell that Russia still puts a high priority to amphibious operations, that are too large for the naval infantry alone. At the same time, the parachute battalions attached to the Naval Infantry brigades ae training to support VDV airborne landings if needed. 

There are viable targets for these types of operations from the Arctic islands, through the Baltic Sea all the way to the Ukrainian coastline. 

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quick guide to identifying the Russian tanks Part 1: main platforms and T-72 variants

As most of the western nations have reduced their inventories to a few or mostly one type of main battle tank model in their active inventories, the myriad of tank platforms and distinct versions employed by the Russian armed forces may feel overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to identifying Russian MBTs. When you come across an image (or the actual thing), follow the steps to identify it properly.



Family of the tankRussian Armed Forces currently operates, or at least storage, the following tank platforms/families: -T-55 (<2000 in storage) -T-62 (2000 in storage) -T-64 (2000 in storage) -T-72 (2000 active duty, 8000 in storage) -T-80 (2000 active duty, 5000 in storage) -T-90 (350 active duty, 600 in storage) -T-14 (20 in field testing)
So how can you identify what type of a tank are you looking at?
There are two features that can be used to distinguishing the tank families: The roadwheel placement and the exhaust ports. The older and smaller T-55 and T-62 have five roadwheels in their suspe…

9000 Tons of Steel: Russian Tank Drills in the Urals

After a flurry of rather disinformative “Tank Carousel” news from Russia the latest reportage from the Russian armed force tank exercise is much more interesting. At the beginning of August the handily named 90th Guards Vitebsk-Novgorod twice Red Banner Tank Division held it’s first divisional sized combat and live fire exercise at Cherbakul in the Chelyabinsk region.
The 90th division, that is stationed in the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions, was founded in 2016 and is one of the heaviest hitting Russian formations around. It has a similar structure as the 4th Kantemirovskaya Tank Division that is part of the 1st Guards Tank Army.
The 90th Tank Division consists of the following units: •Headquarters •6th Guards Lvov Tank Regiment  •80th Tank Regiment •239th Guards Tank Regiment •228th Motorized Rifle Regiment •400th Transylvania Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment  •Anti-Aircraft Regiment •30th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion •351st Separate Engineer Sapper Battalion •33rd Separa…

Commandos in the Northern Wind 2019

There have been very few times in history, when a peacetime military training exercise of a non-aligned country has carried as much weight as the recent Swedish Northern Wind 2019. The 10 000-soldier exercise was the biggest showcase of interoperability and co-operation the region has seen.
The unscripted force on force exercise provided a perfect platform for two separate integration experiments. A Swedish/Finnish brigade was formed around a Swedish mechanized battalion. The joint brigade contained a 1500-man Finnish contingent. This was the largest military force Finland has sent beyond its borders since 1944, and it was gathered from several Finnish brigades and consisted mostly of conscripts. The combined Finnish and Swedish force with their heavy armor and artillery assets were assigned to delay and defend the northern Sweden from the other joint force coming from the north west.
Norwegian army gathered up a combined arms brigade, which was then reinforced by United States Marine C…