Motorized Rifle Troops
The German and Soviet battle for Stalingrad in late 1942 and into early 1943 illustrates how a tactical urban area defense integrates into a larger mobile defense. An encirclement requires an initial penetration of the enemy defense, exploitation of success, and subsequent link up of the exploitation forces to complete the circle. The Soviets set the conditions for a mobile defense by positioning powerful Soviet armor forces in open terrain outside the urban area against quantitatively inferior German allied forces. In OPERATION URANUS, the mobile defense's strike force destroyed the enemy outside the urban area and trapped the greater part of the best enemy formations inside the urban area. In Operation URANUS the Red Army relied heavily upon its tank forces. However, it is significant that URANUS saw the first employment of the new mechanized corps, containing three mechanized brigades and a tank brigade. This represented a more balanced approach to the force structure, and one that exhibited a better distribution of mechanized infantry able to operate effectively with armor.
Armored personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles are either tracked or wheeled vehicles that are designed to transport soldiers to the battlefield and support them with a range of weaponry including heavy machine guns, guns, and anti rockets. They differ significantly in design from "armored cars". During World War II, "half-track" vehicles were widely used. However, by the late 1960's, half-track vehicles became obsolete and were replaced by more efficiently designed tracked and road-wheel type vehicles.
After World War II, the Soviet Union began to mechanize their entire army. Infantry began to ride in armored personnel carriers. The first carrier was a six-wheeled armored truck that entered service in 1950. It was open-topped, lightly armored, sluggish, and had limited cross-country mobility. The BTR-152A eventually carried dual-mounted 14.5mm heavy machine guns - though more for antiaircraft fire than for tank support. Production of the BTR-152 series ceased in 1959.
In 1959, the Soviets decided to develop two types of infantry personnel carriers: tracked infantry fighting vehicles that would serve in tank divisions and cheaper wheeled armored infantry personnel carriers that would serve in the more numerous motorized rifle divisions. The tracked chassis of the BMP offered better mobility and a better chance to keep up with the tanks. However, the tracked vehicles were more expensive to produce, operate, and maintain.
The BMP was designed to serve as more than a mere battle taxi. Its armor protected the crew and infantry from bullets and radiation and its armaments and firing ports effectively without dismounting the infantry squad. The BMP allowed the tanks and mechanized infantry to function as a mutually supporting team. There were three main types of Soviet BMP produced between 1966 and 1991. The basic BMP-1 is armed with a 73mm low-pressure cannon, an AT-3 Sagger antitank guided missile launch rail, and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. It has a one-man turret and all weapons can be reloaded from inside the vehicle. The BMP-2 entered service in 1980. The basic model has a two-man turret and is armed with a 30mm automatic cannon, a 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun, and a launch rail for either the AT-4 Spigot or AT-5 Spandrel antitank missiles. The BMP-3 entered service in 1987 and has a 30mm automatic cannon, a 100mm cannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and two 7.62mm bow-mounted machine guns. The BMP-2 and BMP-3 have a significant antiaircraft capability against helicopters and low-flying, fixed-wing aircraft.
After the Soviet tank divisions were equipped with the BMP, the Soviets examined the composition of their motorized rifle divisions. The wheeled BTR infantry personnel carriers were lightly armored and only carried a 14.5mm heavy machine gun. Clearly, they were not the optimum vehicles to fight in coordination with tanks, and each motorized rifle division had a regiment of tanks. To upgrade the capability of the motorized rifle division, each division was re-equipped so that one of the three motorized rifle regiments had BMPs in lieu of BTRs. The tanks and BMPs always fought together on the main attack. Self-propelled artillery and self-propelled antiaircraft weapons, such as the ZSU 23-4, accompanied the tanks and BMPs to provide a lethal, integrated combat team where each system provided mutual support.
Lightly armored vehicles (LAVs) are intended for a wide range of combat missions and engagement of a variety of targets. Along with a necessity to transport the assault landing groups and weight limitations, this determines specific requirements to the armament. However, a wide variety of missions can not be accomplished by a single weapon type. This accounts for equipping the LAVs with complex armament: 20-30 mm cannons and guided weapon systems (Russian BMP-2 and Bradley, USA).
Being a developer of weapon systems for BMP-1, BMP-2 and BMP-3, KBP is a world leading company in the sphere of LAVs armament, offering various in terms of weight and weapon composition combat modules based on a uniform day-night fire control system. The automatic fire control system ensures high-precision day and night firing with all types of ammunition, including the newly developed ones, both from stationary position, and on the move. Further development of BMP-3 product line resulted in the "Bakcha" combat module created by KBP and weighing 3.2-4.0 tons, designed for installation on the 13 tons or heavier vehicles (BMP-3, BMD-3). The combat module is equipped with satellite navigation system, allowing for firing from indirect firing positions.
The guided missile of increased lethality with tandem warhead and firing range up to 5.5 km effectively engages armored and soft-skinned ground and low-altitude targets. The 100 mm HEF projectiles of increased lethality with precise ballistics successively engage personnel armed with anti-tank weapons, as well as materiel and fortifications by direct and indirect firing from the range up to 7.0 km. The 30-mm automatic gun ammunition can effectively engage lightly armored and soft-skinned vehicles, air targets. Due to such composition of the weapon system the motorised infantry and landing troops can act in combat missions without employing artillery and tanks.
The combination of gun projectiles' flat trajectory and lofted trajectory of grenade launcher serves for successful engagement of personnel armed with anti-tank weapons, soft-skinned vehicles. Armored targets are engaged with a single launch of Kornet-E ATGM within the range up to 5.5 km.
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