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Naval Infantry - Organization and Equipment

The naval infantry force employed normally would be a battalion, company, or platoon. The Naval Infantry can be expanded quickly in wartime by mobilizing trained reservists and reserve equipment. The Naval Infantry is organized into units which are subordinate operationally to fleet commanders. The organization of naval infantry units is similar to that of motorized rifle units.

A Naval Infantry Regiment, equipped with the PT-76 and BRDM-2, consists of 1 Tank Battalion and 3 Naval Infantry Battalions. A Naval Infantry Brigade, equipped with the PT-76 or T-80 and BRDM-2, consists of 2 Tank Battalions, and 4 to 5 Naval Infantry Battalions. A Tank Battalion had 9 PT-76 or 6 PT-76 plus 3 MBT. A Naval Infantry Battalion has 9 BTR-60/706, 9 Infantry, 1 120mm Mortar w //truck, 1 AT-4 stand w //BTR. At least one infantry battalion is parachute trained, while all of the remaining infantry battalions are trained to be able to carry out air assault missions. Russian naval infantry no longer uses PT-76 amphibious tanks, but has not yet received a large number of T-80s. A full-strength Naval Infantry Brigade may have up to 70-80 MBTs. APCs are BTR-80s (in Assault Landing Battalions) or MT-LBs (in Naval Infantry Battalions). While the Naval Infantry was supposed to receive BMP-3 IFVs, few had been delivered, and it was far from certain such re-arming will take place. BMP-3s may equip one company per battalion.

Naval Infantry Regiment. The naval infantry regiment consists of three naval infantry battalions, a tank battalion, and several specialized support companies. It has a strength of about 2,000 men. Its organization is similar to the motorized rifle regiment except that the tank battalion has a mix of medium tanks and PT-76 amphibious light tanks. the naval infantry regiment does not have an organic artillery battalion, but does have a multiple rocket launcher battery. It also receives artillery support from the naval gunfire ships of the amphibious task force.

Naval Infantry Battalion. The basic unit of the naval infantry regiment is the naval infantry battalion. The battalion is made up of three naval infantry companies, a mortar platoon, an antitank platoon, and supporting supply and maintenance, medical, and communications units. In all, the battalion numbers about 400 men. This unit, reinforced, constitutes the basic amphibious attack force in the assault landing-the battalion assault force (BAF).

Naval Infantry Company. The naval infantry company is made up of a small company headquarters and three naval infantry platoons. The company headquarters consists of the company commander, political officer, technical officer. first sergeant, messenger/clerk, medic, three SA-7 gunners, and the driver and gunner of their BTR-60 armored personnel carrier. Each platoon consists of three squads of ten men each. Each squad consists of the squad leader, a machine gunner, an RPG gunner, an assistant RPG gunner/rifleman, four riflemen, the APC machine gunner, and the APC driver.

Tank Battalion. The naval infantry tank battalion has a mix of PT-76 light amphibious tanks and medium tanks. Each of the tank companies has three platoons of four tanks each with the company commander's tank bringing the total to 13 tanks. While the medium tanks are not amphibious, they can disembark in shallow water as a follow-on landing force behind the PT-76 and BTR-60 first or second wave. In task organizing a landing force, one platoon of tanks normally supports a naval infantry company.

Reconnaissance Company. The reconnaissance company may be task organized to provide a platoon of at least one PT-76 and three BRDMs to the battalion assault force for the amphibious landing. The Soviets consider this platoon to be one of their amphibious assault advance teams. These teams also include combat engineers and hydrographic personnel who report beach conditions. In certain instances, reconnaissance vehicles may swim to shore under their own power. Conditions permitting, they may he landed by air cushion vehicles. Some reconnaissance teams also may be air-landed by helicopter or dropped by parachute behind defended positions. The reconnaissance platoon has two objectives: To provide information to the main landing force about enemy defensive positions and enemy reinforcements on the march toward the beach. To screen forward and to the flank of the amphibious landing teams.

Multiple Rocket Launcher Battery. With the exception of the three mortars organic to each naval infantry battalion, the regiment's six BM-21 multiple rocket launchers constitute the sole organic artillery assets of the naval infantry regiment. BM-21s provide fire support for amphibious landings and also may be used by the naval infantry in a coastal defense role. Each launcher can deliver considerable firepower with its forty 122-mmhigh-explosive rockets.

Antitank Battery. The naval infantry regiment's six BRDMs of its antitank battery are formidable antitank weapon systems. These weapons augment the man-pack antitank guided missiles (ATGMs) and SPG-9 recoilless guns employed at battalion level and generally constitute the regimental antitank reserve. The ATGM / BRDMs normally are employed to protect the flanks of the landing force from counter attacking tanks and against enemy weapons emplacements.

Air Defense Battery. Besides the three SA-7s at infantry battalion headquarters, air defense is provided to regimental units by the four ZSU-23-4 self-propelled antiaircraft guns and four amphibious SA-9 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) of the air defense battery. Supporting naval ships provide air defense throughout all phases of the landing operation.

Engineer Company. The engineer company contains three combat engineer platoons. Normally, a combat engineer platoon is provided to support each battalion assault force. It clears obstacles and mine-fields along the approaches to the shore, on the beaches, and on routes leading inland from the beaches.

Signal Company. The signal company of the naval infantry regiment consists of a headquarters and service section, a radio platoon, and a wire/telephone platoon. The headquarters and service section provides courier service and limited signal and vehicle maintenance support for the company The radio platoon provides vehicles, radios, and operators for the regimental commander and staff. The wire/telephone platoon installs and operates switchboards for command posts and the message center, and lays wire when directed.

Chemical Defense Company. The regimental chemical defense company consists of a company headquarters, a decontamination platoon, and a chemical and radiological reconnaissance platoon. The decontamination platoon is organized into three squads with one ARS decontamination vehicle each. The chemical and radiological reconnaissance platoon consists of three squads with one BRDM in each squad. The chemical defense company of the regiment normally provides one reconnaissance squad to the battalion assault force to determine and report levels and types of contamination in the landing area and to mark cleared lanes for advance of the main force. If the regiment is not conducting similar landings elsewhere, the remaining two reconnaissance squads also can be employed to check alternate advance routes. Decontamination vehicles normally set up on the far side of the contaminated areas to spray the advancing naval infantry vehicles on the march. One or more squads can be employed, depending on regimental requirements.

Rear Service Units. Rear service units (transportation, supply, maintenance, and medical) are small in keeping with the limited scope and duration of mission assigned to naval infantry. Principal supply is from the ships offshore. Service units may provide platoon-sized units to support battalion assault forces. Casualties are evacuated in returning empty supply trucks and other service vehicles.

NAVAL INFANTRY COMBAT FORMATIONS

  • Naval Infantry Regiment1: (1 recon PT-76, 1 recon BRDM-2): 1 Tank Battalion, 3 Naval Infantry Battalions, Naval Infantry AT Coy
  • Naval Infantry Brigade: (1 recon PT-76, 1 recon BRDM-2, ): 2 Tank Battalions, 4 to 5 Naval Infantry Battalions, Naval Infantry AT Coy

 

NAVAL INFANTRY SUPPORT UNITS

  • Naval Infantry Artillery Battalion2: 3 Batteries, each 1 2S1 122mm SP HOW
  • Naval Infantry AA Battery3: 1 ZSU-23-4; 1 SA-9/13

 

NAVAL INFANTRY COMBAT UNIT TO&E

  • Tank Battalion4: 9 PT-76 or 6 PT-76 + 3 MBT
  • Naval Infantry Battalion5: 9 BTR-60/706, 9 Infantry, 1 120mm Mortar w //truck, 1 AT-4 stand w //BTR
  • Naval Infantry AT Coy: 2 BRDM-2 w / /AT-5

1 A Naval Infantry Regiment is very similar to a BTR Regiment of a Motorized Rifle Division, while a Naval Infantry Brigade has two additional infantry battalions, one additional tank battalion, and Rocket Launcher Battalion.

2 A Naval Infantry Regiment has 1 Artillery Battalion. A Naval Infantry Brigade also has a Battalion of BM-21Rocket Launchers (3 Batteries, each 1 BM-21)

3 There is only one AA Battery per Naval Infantry Regt or Brigade

4 In the Tank Battalion, the MBT Company is either a T-55 or a T-72. If the T-55 company is present, one tank is equipped as a flamethrower.

5 At least one infantry battalion is parachute trained, while all of the remaining infantry battalions are trained to be able to carry out air assault missions.

6 The Soviet Naval Infantry has not yet been equipped with the BTR-80.




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