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Separate Mechanized Brigade

Typical staff mobile brigade
3 x mobile battalion (BMD or BTR)
self-propelled artillery battalion
anti-aircraft battalion (ZU-24-2, Igla)
anti-tank battery (BTR-D w/ Fagot ATGM)
communications battalion
reconnaissance and landing company
engineer-sapper company
RChBZ platoon
security and maintenance company
repair company
material support company
medical company
airborne defense platoon
Motorized rifle troops generally parallel the infantry and mechanized infantry of other armies. These troops constitute the basic arm of the ground forces; therefore, various agencies under the Ground Forces, rather than one special organization, administer their affairs. The Soviet Union fielded a medium-armored vehicle in the BTR and began to develop the motor-rifle regiment concept circa 1961. The Soviet concept is distinctly different from World War II-era medium-armored vehicles. Some World War II-era armored vehicles and mobile guns can be said to be medium platforms, but these vehicles were always task-organized with heavier platforms. In contrast, the Soviet motor-rifle regiment was the first mechanized force organized to take advantage of the unique abilities that are afforded unilaterally by a medium force. Though the motor-rifle regiment may be involved in operations with heavy armored forces, it is considered distinct and separate from those forces.

The Motorized Rifle Regiment (BTR) was the basic combined arms organiization and most common maneuver element of the Soviet ground forces. Motorized rifle, tank, artillery, antiaircraft, antitank, engineer, signal, and CSS assets are organic to the MRR. The regiment is the smallest organization which bas all of these elements. Although the regiment normally operated as part of the division, it is capable of short-term independent operations. It has the assets to react independently to changes in the combat situation. Much of its equipment is amphibious.

Regimental organization includes three Motorized Rifle Battalions [MRB] and one Tank Battalion [TB]. A 122-mm howitzer battalion and three 120mm mortar batteries or 82-mm automatic mortar batteries provide fire support. While battalion-sized elements support the division, corresponding company-sized units support MRRs.

The MRRs have either the BMP amphibious infantry combat vehicle (AICV) or one of the BTR series of APCs as the primary troop-carrying vehicle. Another key difference between the two types of MRRs has been that BMP-equipped regments had an organic battalion of 122-mm SP howitzers (2S1s), while BTR-equipped regiments had a battalion of 122-mm towed howitzers (D-30s). However, some BTR regiments, especially those in the forward area, now have the 2S1. Also, BTR regiments had antitank platoons within the MRBs, a feature not found in the BMP regiments. The TBs of both BMP- and BTR-equipped MRRs had 31 T-64/72/80 medium tanks, but older types were often present outside the Western TVD.

The true strength of the MRR organizational structure lies in the fact that all of the assets of the regiment are organic. Therefore, the habitual relationships between the motorized rifle, tank, artillery, air defense and other forces facilitate a coordinated and cohesive effort toward the accomplishment of the MRR mission.

The main body of a first-echelon reinforced motorized rifle regiment in an approach march formation moving toward Blue forces is in two columns on parallel road nets 3-5 km apart. A third motorized rifle battalions is acting as the advance guard for the regiment. The advance guard would be 5-30 km ahead of the main body, depending on the proximity of the FLOT and the type of offensive mission.

The two columns are approximately 23 km in length, thus the distances between the vehicles in the graphics are not to scale. The normal interval between vehicles is 25-50 meters but may be extended to 100 meters if it appears that the Blue forces are preparing to resort to nuclear weapons. The interval between vehicles is a variable dependent upon the combat situation, condition of the road nets and degree of visibility. Under the cover of darkness the distance may close to 25 meters. An extended interval of 3-5 km exists between battalion-sized forces in column. This interval serves two purposes; first, as a reduction in loss from a surprise nuclear attack and secondly, to reduce telescoping of the column.

The speed of a column in an approach march varies from 5 km/hr to 30 km/hr. The column reduces speed as it approaches the battle area. For illustration, some Soviet writings suggest a speed of 12 km/hr when the main body of the regiment gets within 10-15 km of the Blue force. This reduced speed provides time for the artillery to place fires on the Blue forces. If a march column moves cross country, its speed would vary from 5 to 15 km/hr.

The main combat power of each column is a motorized rifle battalion, reinforced with a tank company and a self-propelled howitzer battalion. A tank platoon accompanies each motorized rifle company to maintain a combined-arms balance. The tanks are positioned forward in the column in order that their fire power and mobility can be fully used. Instead of this configuration of tanks and BMP's, there could be a tank company leading a motorized rifle battalion.

Normally the 122mm and 152mm artillery units are forward in the column in order that they can quickly move out of the column and into firing positions. They may form part of a regimental artillery group (RAG) in order to destroy targets that affect the advance of the unit. The ammunition aboard the self-propelled howitzer, its ammunition truck and 2-axle trailer provides the howitzer with enough ammunition to fire three thirty- minute barrages. Additional supporting fires are provided by an attached battery of 122mmi multiple rocket launchers positioned in the left column. When the battery prepares to fire, the unit's ammunition trucks and trailers are positioned to the rear of the launcher vehicles. The multiple rocket launcher unit provides area saturation fires.

A divisional SA-8 missile battery is providing air defense for this area of the motorized rifle division. The battery's four TELs, command and control vehicle and two transloaders are interspersed in the column. The SA-9 platoon concentrates on close-in protection of the regimental main command post and its supporting signal company.

Motorized Rifle Regiment (BTR)

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Page last modified: 23-08-2020 17:07:04 ZULU