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Coldwarcartoon

Political Cartoon of Kennedy and Khrushchev illustrating the Cold War and perhaps the Cuban Missile Crisis. This also perhaps mocks the principle of 'Mutually Assured Destruction' via nuclear arms that dominated much of the Cold War period, especially in the 20th Century.

«Нравится вам или нет, но история на нашей стороне. Мы вас закопаем.» [Nravitsya vam ili net, no istoriya na nashey storone. My vas zakopayem.] "Whether you like it or not, History is on our side. We will bury you."

- Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to a delegation of Western ambassadors in a reception at Poland's Moscow Embassy, 1956


Although modern developments in defensive technology have, by the middle of the 21st Century, rendered long-range strategic ballistic missiles essentially obscelete, the threat of war between NATO and the USSR - a fabled and long-dreaded World War III - remains very real. This clash of titanic arms would almost certainly, despite the elimination of ICBMs and global nuclear holocaust as a possibility, almost certainly involve an exchange of atomic firepower and lead to more deaths than any previous global clash.

By the modern era, however, the nature of the century-old Cold War has fundamentally shifted. The rise of the USSR to economic and military pre-eminance - following its absorbtion of almost all of the continent of Asia earlier in the 21st Century - has completely altered the balance of power. For the U.S., it is no longer a question of ideology and individual liberty, but of survival. For the Soviets, the arms race has become a moral and philosophical crusade to bring collective equality and the benefits of the planet's wealth to all of mankind: America is no longer a mysterious foreign land to be quietly envied, but a bastion of repression standing in the way of human progress.

The Fundamental DifferencesEdit

«Если оппозиция обезоруживает, все хорошо, и хорошо. Если он отказывается разоружиться, мы будем разоружить его сами.» [Yesli oppozitsiya obezoruzhivayet, vse khorosho, i khorosho. Yesli on otkazyvayetsya razoruzhit'sya, my budem razoruzhit' yego sami.] "If the Opposition disarms, all is well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves." - Josef Stalin





The Soviet Motor-Rifle DivisionEdit

The Soviet Motor-Rifle Division [MRD] is the lynchpin and the body of the Soviet ground forces. Approximately 3/4ths of Soviet main-line Divisions are MRDs; the others are Tank Divisions [TDs] (this is not counting Airborne Divisions or other specialized formations which fall outside the normal Corps -> Army -> Front structure).

Despite the conflict having ended more than a century ago, Soviet conceptions on the conduct of warfare remain heavily influenced by their experiences on the Eastern Front of World War II [known as the 'Great Patriotic War' within the USSR]. Valuable lessons were taught by subsequent involvement in other, smaller-scale conflicts - namely, Afgahnistan, the Soviet Civil War and the various wars throughout asia during the period of Soviet territorial expansion. The fundamentals of their thinking, however, remain more-or-less entirely dictated by their conflict with Nazi Germany.

In the mind of the planners behind the Soviet Army, the only effective defense against NATO is a massive, overwhelming, rapid and unstoppable offense. The structure of their divisions, therefore, is tailored around that very thing with an obsessive degree of consistency. They are built for violent, sustained and deep offensive action. Conduct of combat maneuvers at all levels involves three main principles: Overwhelming combined arms firepower (reflected in the presence of tank elements among infantry formations and the large quantities of artillery at all levels of command), rapid advance (reflected in the complete motorization / mechanization of the entire ground forces, even airborne units) and the prosecution of continuous attack against all levels of the enemy fighting forces rather than simply the front line. As such, the structure of a Soviet Motor-Rifle Division is very different from the NATO Brigades opposing it.

The most obvious, fundamental difference - irrespective of structure - is the sheer size of the MRD. A NATO Infantry Brigade Combat Team (or BCT), the equivalent formation in terms of tactical and operational employment to a Soviet MRD, consists of roughly 4,000 troops, depending on the country of origin (the names also vary, but the organizational structure is essentially the same and the American term BCT is used as the generic). By contrast, the Motor-Rifle Division has a strength exceeding 52,000, although with a much higher absolute number, as well as ratio / percentage, of combat support and "rear" personnel.

A BCT is defined as a 'combined arms' formation, but only the Armored BCT contains any significant quantities of tanks - even though their structure is modular and allows for the addition of such units, there are simply not enough armored battalions to go around. A Soviet MRD, on the other hand, contains not only a large quantity of tanks deeply integrated with the infantry formations, but air assets in the form of helicopters and airmobile assault troops to accompany them.

The purpose of the Soviet MRD is to attack against the enemy continuously and relentlessly to punch through the line then drive into the rear to exploit and expand the gap. It functions much like a battering ram, and the arrangement of its forces for an attack reflects this analogy. Initial contact with opposing forces is made by the more heavily-armored [the Mechanized] elements: the Tank Brigade and the BMP-equipped Motor-Rifle Regiments [MRRs] from the Infantry Brigades, a total of 3 Tank Regiments [TRs] (each with an integral BMP Motor-Rifle Battalion) and 3 BMP Motor-Rifle Regiments (each with an integral Tank Battalion [TB]) for a total of approximately 12000 front-line combat troops or roughly three times the strength of a NATO BCT. The BTR-equipped Motor-Rifle Regiments and the Tank Regiments of both Infantry Brigades form two battle-ready lines of reserve comprising 2 BTR MRRs and 1 TR each with a total of 13200 front-line combat troops between them both, ready to reinforce the mechanized thrust, while the combat support elements (artillery and SSM) provide continuous fire support. This formula is, of course, flexible, as the commitment of so many troops to the initial push (approximately half the MRD's frontline combat assets) is often unnecessary and simply exposes the more powerful and experienced Mechanized elements to additional damage. Thus, the initial attack is often to be made by just the Tank Brigade, with the two BMP MRRs acting as the first of three reserve lines. This thrust is, ideally, to be done in tandem with a helicopter-borne airmobile assault into the enemy formation's rear to cut off its line of retreat and prevent the insertion of reinforcements, allowing the Brigade(s) to be trapped and destroyed. NATO doctrine, meanwhile, of course relies on the retention of these capabilities, as the overwhelming Soviet advantage in men & materiel as well as the particular strengths of their organizational patterns essentially guarentee them victory in a 'stand-and-fight' engagement. Subscribe to Noah Ahmad 


Motor-Rifle Division Order of Battle:Edit

(note: personnel strength numbers have been rounded off to the nearest whole)

Divisional Headquarters & HQ Company - 300Edit

Motor-Rifle Brigade - 12500Edit

  • Motor-Rifle Regiment [BMP] - 2400
  • Motor-Rifle Regiment [BTR] - 2500
  • Motor-Rifle Regiment [BTR] - 2500
  • Tank Regiment - 1600
  • Artillery Regiment - 1300
  • Air Defense Regiment - 700
  • Anti-Tank Battalion - 200
  • Reconnaissance Battalion - 300
  • Communications Battalion - 300
  • Materiel Support Battalion - 500

Motor-Rifle Brigade - 12500Edit

  • Motor-Rifle Regiment [BMP] - 2400
  • Motor-Rifle Regiment [BTR] - 2500
  • Motor-Rifle Regiment [BTR] - 2500
  • Tank Regiment - 1600
  • Artillery Regiment - 1000
  • Air Defense Regiment - 700
  • Anti-Tank Battalion - 200
  • Reconnaissance Battalion - 300
  • Communications Battalion - 300
  • Materiel Support Battalion - 400

Tank Brigade - 10300Edit

  • Tank Regiment - 1600
  • Tank Regiment - 1600
  • Tank Regiment - 1600
  • Motor-Rifle Regiment [BMP] - 2400
  • Artillery Regiment - 1000
  • Air Defense Regiment - 700
  • Reconnaissance Battalion - 300
  • Engineer Battalion - 400
  • Maitenance Battalion - 300
  • Materiel Support Battalion - 400

Artillery Brigade - 7800

  • Artillery Regiment [Howitzer] - 1300
  • Artillery Regiment [Howitzer] - 1300
  • Artillery Regiment [Heavy Gun] - 1000
  • Artillery Regiment [Rocket] - 1600
  • Air Defense Regiment - 700
  • Reconnaissance Battalion - 300
  • Spotting Battalion - 200
  • Engineer Battalion - 400
  • Chemical Battalion - 300
  • Maintenance Battalion - 300
  • Materiel Support Battalion - 400

SSM Regiment - 800Edit

Airborne Assault Regiment [transport & attack helicopter] - 1500Edit

Aviation Regiment [attack helicopter] - 800Edit

Heavy Lift Regiment [cargo helicopter] - 900Edit

Assault Crossing Regiment - 900Edit

SAM Regiment [medium-range & long-range SAM] - 1100Edit

Artillery Regiment [heavy artillery] - 1000Edit

Network & Communications Regiment - 600Edit

Medical Regiment - 500Edit

Maitenance Regiment - 700Edit

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