Analysis and Observation of Russian Army in Georgia by Colin Bennett
Is Russian Army Low Quality??
A military observation ...Many journalists reporting on the present situation in Georgia use standard phrases expressing Russian "power" and "might" etc. But if the photographs show the present state of the Russian army, then it is not in a good state at all.
For first-class Russian frontline units, there is strange mixture of obsolete and semi-obsolete armoured vehicles, with tanks in particular ranging from truly ancient T-54s to mid-life T-70s smothered in reactive armour. The use of this appliqui armour alone shows somewhat primitive tank thinking as compare to up-to-date Western models.
Reactive armour is a cheap and cheerful form interim anti-tank protection pending the arrival of new tank models, and never used on Western tanks. Ceramic Cobham armour is used on Challenger 2 and Abrahams tanks, and the Russians appear not to have developed this.
Also, it is surprising for a first-class tank unit to have some of its vehicles show appliqui armour whilst others show no such things. Also there appears to have been no attempt by lackadaisical tank crews to camouflage their vehicles and break up profiles.
The Russian transport, mainly, 1960s-design Ural trucks, is equally as ancient, and their thinly-armoured BTR armoured personnel carriers are of a model which hardly compares as with such advanced vehicles as the British Warrior, the US Bradley, or the US state-of-the-art Stryker vehicles, all of which which sprout multi-tasking aerials all over the place. On the Russian BTRs, here is no sign of anti-RPG bar armour, and absolutely no sign of mine-protected vehicles which have proved so necessary in Iraq.
The Russians columns appear not to be alert as concerns mines or possible ambushes.
The single aerials installed on all vehicles show that the internal VHF communications suites are almost of 1960s standard.The state of the Russian infantry as observed is even more worrying. Their uniforms are not standard, their vehicle discipline looks casual, and the foot deployment of infantry is sloppy, with rifle and kit not properly adjusted, with Kalshnikovs pointing all over the place.
Frankly, it is enough to make a British Sergeant-Major go apeshit. Also, the infantry have no body armour (or even steel helmets), and lacking man pack aerials, appear to have no good communications kit at all.
The age range of some of the Russian infantry must also be worrying to Russian trainers and instructors. I have seen men of well over thirty in infantry sections, and any number of over-plump tummies on display. There is also a racial mix which must present problems to any basic training programme as concerns language difficulties.
Infantry appear in particular are drawn from every conceivable area in Russia, which must make for training and co-ordination difficulties.Frankly, on detailed technical observation, this display the Russian army shows it appearing to have sunk to a third-world standard which only succeeded in this case by confronting a numerically inferior force.
If the Russians had any alert propaganda sense at all, on this spotlight occasion, they would have fielded a modern elite force instead of the dog's breakfast as observed. On this evidence, goodness only knows what their second line units are like.
Colin BennettAuthor, LondonThe New Fortean Timeswww.com bat-diaries.co.uk