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The tactics of small groups
Material posted: Valetskiy OlegPublication date: 03-06-2013

The term "battle group" was not included yet in existing field manuals. But practice always makes its own adjustments in the theory: under the influence of various factors, new forms and methods of actions of troops.


Some of these are described in the article. Its author, major General retired Ivan Nikolayevich Vorobyev - doctor of military Sciences, Professor, honored scientist of the Russian Federation was born in 1922.

From 1940 to 1987 served in the Soviet Army. In the war he commanded a platoon, company, motorized rifle battalions. Long time worked in the Ministry of defence. Has several scientific works on the problems of tactics and operational art.

Please first consult the experience of fighting in Afghanistan. It is known that this war has brought us many surprises.

We had to decisively break the current tactical stereotypes, to act not according to the classical canons of positional warfare, as was the case in the two world wars, and in conditions when fighting with the enemy occasionally appeared in one or another place and just as suddenly stopped as it started. In this situation (when the "front everywhere") and was developed unconventional tactics "squad actions".

Its essence is that for each combat mission tactical plan was created its grouping of forces and means, which core is most often comprised reinforced motorized rifle battalion with attached tanks, artillery and sappers. It was either going around, or RAID, or shock assault force the target destination. No matter how different the techniques of our troops in Afghanistan from the fighting in the North Caucasus, they are largely similar in the forms and methods of solving problems. The same "patchwork-focal" nature of warfare, the same nonlinear, expanded battlefield with blurred boundaries between the front and rear, same tactic of "raids" and regularnych groups, the same basically and they applied the techniques of guerrilla warfare - dagger fire strikes from close range, the bandit attack on a military convoy, military outposts, garrisons, ambushes on roads, mass mining, the use of snipers...

It is quite natural that the squadron tactics and the first and the second Chechen campaign, became applicable for the regimental (brigade) and battalion tactical groups. But unlike Afghanistan, Chechnya, troops had to deal with more complex and diverse tactical tasks in specific conditions.

Changed, improved, become more sophisticated ways of militants. Large, institutionalized at the beginning of the invasion of Dagestan illegal armed groups after the defeat inflicted on them switched to the tactic of "flea bites", were more likely to operate small, fragmented groups within the applying mostly sabotage and terrorist acts - sudden "attacks" on the principle of "swoop - waste", fire raids, ambush actions, sniper fire, a mass of mines-"surprises".

Group tactics used by the Federal forces in counter-terrorism operations, emerged as a response to changing conditions of the operational-tactical situation and actions of illegal armed groups. It found its concrete expression in the creation part of the motorized rifle, and airborne divisions improvised battle groups in the form of "twos", "threes" and larger formations, consisting of various experts - infantry-submachine gunners, machine gunners, grenadiers, which are enhanced by sappers, and sometimes a flame thrower.

The purpose of forming such groups is to create a more flexible, decentralized order of battle of divisions, which would be more suited to fight small bandit groups, including in the mountains, settlements, provide more efficient use of combat skills, each type of small arms. In this case, of course, increase the role of Junior leaders and older groups and in General the autonomy and responsibility of each soldier for the task. One of the prerequisites to the creation of battle groups was the fact that during the fighting in Chechnya occupied a special place sniper confrontation.

In some cases, especially when the action in the city, in the mountains, the sniper becomes, one might say, the key actor: hitting important targets, it is often largely determines the success of the division. Unfortunately, quite a long time, the use of snipers (although in the army there were more) did not bring the desired effect, because they operated as normal motorized infantry: commanders were not trained to tactically determine their place in the order of battle platoon, company. The situation significantly changed when the sniper began to turn on the group and operating in tandem with it submachine gunners, machine gunners, grenade throwers began to help him in the search for purpose, to ensure his security, the choice of position, camouflage it.

The result is greater efficiency, not only snipers, but also of militant groups. Although the command of the United group of troops (forces) quickly appreciated the benefits of group tactics and troops were sent detailed guidelines on their application, in practice to master this seemingly not so complicated science, proved to be difficult. Combat pairs, triples, groups ("Rifleman-Grenadier, machine gunner-machine gunner-sniper") in the beginning was a formal one. It was especially difficult to achieve combat coherence, the synchrony of actions of groups, their mutual support, without which lost the meaning of their creation. Motorized infantry were often dismounted at a great distance from the positions of militants, the group proceeded piecemeal, inconsistent, not supported by fire of the relationship, making it easy for the enemy attack. Difficult to make the engagement of combat groups and support with firepower.

So, infantry fighting vehicles was carried out by fire support by following at some distance from the attacking groups at a distance up to 1,000 m, and the tanks even further - up to 1-4 km, and it was not possible to achieve rapid and effective suppression of weapon emplacements of fighters were violated tactical interaction in the division, and battle groups essentially deprived of fire support. Command the GB(C) has adopted effective measures to eliminate these shortcomings, to teach the officers, Junior commanders, senior military groups rationally combining fire, movement and maneuver. The creation of combat groups of Federal troops, according to experts, in General, justified. Practice has shown that with proper training and comprehensive ensuring they can successfully act in offense and defense in the combat guard, guard outposts, when holding block, search, patrolling, assault actions in the village and in the mountains.

Of course, their use is not a panacea. We cannot ignore the fact that their creation comes into a certain contradiction with the fundamental principle of the battle-the concentration of forces and means on the important front, and not against each enemy group tactics acceptable - it does not replace, but merely adds to the shock tactics. Moreover, as noted, tactically clever use of battle groups requires commanders considerable art. However, the introduction of group tactics in military tactics has changed the "face of battle": he began to disintegrate into smaller foci, which largely complicates the work of the platoon commanders, mouth, battalions - became harder to keep threads of control in their hands, to organize reconnaissance, protection, protection. Had to make adjustments to work methods for the preparation of hostilities.

The center of gravity of efforts of commanders increasingly shifted to grassroots tactical link - directly in platoons, divisions, battle groups, calculations, crews of skilled action which crucially depends on the outcome of the battle. During the counterterrorist operation in the GB (C) has accumulated a considerable experience in organizing combat groups in various conditions. Central to the work of the commanders, as experience has shown, must take the organization of interaction both within the groups and between them, and support them with firepower.

The most effective method is to conduct tactical combat training, tactical and fire training on terrain similar to the area of the upcoming action. During these sessions the subject easier to explain to each soldier individually and the group as a whole their place in the order of battle platoon, company what the task is and how they should perform, how they should interact with neighbors, supporting firepower, the engineers, the flamethrower.

Special attention should be paid to ensuring that all the clear warning signals, identification, call transfer and ceasefire. Special difficulties of the command of the state body encountered in the use of battle groups in the mountainous areas of Chechnya. The fact that many entities who arrived in the composition of the groups was not possible for the locations to undergo mountain training. If during the war in Afghanistan is once received on the replenishment of the 40 th army personnel 3-4 months were trained in special training centers of the Turkestan military district and then was sent to the area of hostilities, during counter-terrorism operations possible for such a long period of training of the troops was not. To master the methods of action in the mountains had, unfortunately, mostly during the fighting.

The personnel of each military group should have to pass a special mountain training, including physical training and exercise in the technique of overcoming a mountain of obstacles, learning to navigate the mountains, especially at night, in fog, the determination of distances.

Submachine gunners, machine gunners, snipers learned to shoot at high angles of elevation in adverse weather conditions, sudden changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure. All military servicemen were mastered in engineering, had to be able to lay mines, to demine and to carry out blasting, and quickly and skillfully to fit rocks, caves and other natural shelters in the mountains for combat, use them for protection, and masking. The focus was on harmonization between the groups in acquisition of dominant height, when advancing in the valleys, the canyons, overcoming obstacles and barriers. Here each warrior required mutual revenue and mutual support.

The strong interaction has appointed the most simple, easy to remember and clearly distinguished from each other. Experience shows also that every soldier that is part of the combat group, regardless of specialty, should be trained in methods of conducting reconnaissance in the mountains, know the tactics of the enemy. Senior militant groups should be able to choose the site of the ambush - near roads, trails along the ledges and gorges, on slopes of heights, adjacent to the road (trail) or forming the entrance to the gorge, in settlements, etc.

In a grid search, it is important that the engagement of combat groups provided the alternation they move from milestone to milestone. For example, in a time when one group inspect the area, interacting groups are located at the favorable turn at a distance of 25-30 meters from the object (the grove, a ravine, a building) and keep him covered. A particular challenge is the detection of enemy snipers, which are carefully masked. To detect them in combat pairs (triples) it is advisable to have ad hoc observers.

In preparation for attack actions in localities during counter-terrorism operations with combat groups worked out the order of their interaction during the movement along the streets, overcoming blockages, obstacles, when fighting inside buildings, the use of the fumes to ensure a stealth maneuver, blinding firing points of militants were selected objects to the destruction of their fire-throwing means.

Practice has shown that providing fire support for battle groups, especially when operating in a closed, steep terrain, in the village, is complicated because it is difficult to monitor their activities. This requires selectivity in the defeat of the purposes on each direction. In particular, it is acceptable here may be zonal-objective method of fire support, in which the commanders of motorized rifle, tank, airborne units have a greater opportunity to participate in the management of artillery fire, coordinate fire and maneuver battle groups. So, in the implementation of the blocking action of bandit groups in Chechnya used the fire edges, and when carrying out the search - fire method combing.

Special requirements for group tactics - to control system. In particular, during the fighting in Chechnya, the difficulty was the fact that battle groups were not provided with radio communication and filing them commands a platoon commander, company has carried out sound and light signals that in combat conditions, especially on rough terrain, very difficult.

Rate in this setting was done on the independence, ingenuity, initiative squad commanders, calculations, crews, senior militant groups. On the whole, the experience of counter-terrorist operations have shown that the success of militant groups largely depends on their ability to act unconventionally, unexpectedly for the enemy.


Vorobiev Ivan

Source: Krasnaya Zvezda, September 20, 2000.

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