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TRN-089 The Soviet armored machines in the Afghanistan war book
TRN-089 The Soviet armored machines in the Afghanistan war book
Contents That book includes the unique illustrated round-up of one of the most blackout wars of the last ten years, the Soviet Afghanistan war. The significant part of that war was poorly cross-lighted by the official press. And it was the unprecentented case when the press started to cross-light that war regularly.
That book contents the interesting seria of photos taken from three main sources. One of the authors was Polish reporter Voicekh Lushack who visited Afghanistan a few times. During that visits he was lucky to get from the initial sources both photos of Soviet and Afghanistan military equipment. Using his contacts with Soviet ex-servicemen Voicekh had a possibility to make a raise for generous amount of the official Soviet war photos that were not publish not in Soviet Union nor anywhere. The third source includes the United Nations' materials that are associated with United Nations' tracking of the Soviet troops' pull-back from Afghanistan. That photos were received by D.M.Mair.
The main idea of that book is the using of armored machines. As if Afghasnistan was not the battle-field for tanks, but this book aimed for modellers and military historians who are interested in the modern methods of the tank battles. It's important to mark that rebel forces used very unsignificant amount of the armored machines. Because Soviet Army that was equipped for the continental prosecution of war in Central Europe, it was fully based at armored machines using. Soviet tactics was grounded on the armored machines using despite the fact that such armament sometimes did not fully suit the war conditions. The Soviet Army had got several years to change the orientation for European way of tactics for others and to concentrate on the prosecution regarding the highland environment and on the tactics of the light infantry and mobile air operations. But the operations with the using of the armored machines were still the important element for the Soviet Army and co-belligerent Army of Afghanistan Democratic Republic. The main purpose of using armored machines was to provide the defence of the key communications between Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and distantly located within the country battle stations. The battle actions of the armored machines in Afghanistan were not the classical battles between two mechanized units but the sequence of the daily encounters carried on by Soviet and Afghanistan Armies for road deterrence and free motorcade movements. Sometimes Soviet Army executed the full-scale combat operations on the Pakistan or Iran border for counteraction of the own troops siege.
The Soviet Army in Afghanistan, rather the 40th Army, in Soviet press called as "Restricted Contingent of Soviet Army in Afghanistan", or OKSVA (RCSAA). As it was that named so the actions of Soviet Forces in both strategic and material ways were limited. The armament used in the Afghanistan War was not as modern as those military machines that were located in Eastern Germany. Mainly it was used the same old equipment that was typical for Turkestan Military Region. Most of the combat units were redeployed from that region. The main military tank used in Afghanistan did not look like powerful T-80 or T-72. It was hoary tank T-62 what was manufactured in the first time in 1959. The Soviet General Staff did not find any reasons to use expensive new tanks in that war. It assumed that T-62 tank seemed to be rather combatant valued.
If the old T-62 tank was more or less suitable for participation in that war but the old-fashioned infantry armored carriers BTR-60, BMP-1 and BMD-1 were are not so applicable. BTR-60 was old and secondrate model. The main source of trouble was 2-engine configuration that was faulty design and often lead to unexpected breakdowns. The gasoline engine was not approved by soldiers. BTR-60 had a thin armour and if a shell or a bullet hit in the back engine cell then gasoline often got fired. BTR-60 sometimes was called as "a coffin on the wheels". Finally it was changed for BTR-70 with an diesel engine that was less flammable. And in 1987 it was also changed for personnel carrier BTR-80 that was equipped by single diesel engine instead of two engines' tandem configuration. Another weak point of BTR-60 was the low angle elevation of cannon barrel. It turned to be a serious problem in Afghanistan because mojaheds often attacked from elevated points of highlands. That lead to development new model of the turret that set up on BTR-79 and later on BTR-80. Eventually the bigger angle elevation of cannon barrel was used.
More expensive and complicated fighting machine of infantry BMP-1 was armoured plating in a better and more reliable way than for BTR-60. The main weak point of BMP-1 was not longranged 73mm cannon named "Grom" (The Thunder). That cannon did not obtain enough firepower for counter Afghanistan partisans attacking from highland covers and rifts. The new BMP-2 was in the stage of design. The project of BMP-2 was based on the western type of design and it was projected the 30-mm cannon instead of previous model. The Afghanistan War experience made the developers to complete design of the mechanism of bigger angle elevation of cannon barrel. Later BMP-2 became the best fighting machine for highland fighting action prosecution in Afghanistan.
The Airborne Forces, named VDV, was the most insignificant part of the units. But they might be characterized by the higher level of training and good moral spirit. But they were not equipped good enough for Afghanistan War as well. Their fighting machines of paratroopers, BMD-1, were too confined for the continuous battle actions at the fields. BMD-1 had got the same defects as BMP-1 as it was used the same turret for both ones. VDV could not allow to develop the new machine in a short period of time that's why the paratroop forces were completed by the machines of the regular army like BMP-2 and BTR-70.
To help readers to clarify their vision of that war the authors decided to include the photos not only of the armored machines but the regular forces with its equipment as well for book to be finished. The description of the changes in the uniform of the Soviet infantry during the war stays beyond the frames of this book but the authors hope that the pictures published might give a right vision on the unique examples of the forces evolution during the mentioned war.
66 pages, 199 photos
1. Some units of ADR Army were equipped by the old types of the Soviet armored machines like BTR-152. On the photo they were captured by modjakheds
2. The exhibition of ADR armament in Kabul in 1987. On the front is the launcher 5P73 for the four types of missiles C-125(Sa-3 Goa).On the back is ZSY-23-4 Shilka
3. The armored machines like the type of that BREM what was based on T-55 tank model were modified for mine-detectors. They fulfilled the most important tasks in mine-clearing during the war. Those machines were equipped by the usual mine exploding rollers KTM. On the photo the rollers are dismounted
4. The BMP-2 is camouflaged and equipped with gun mounted on the tripod machine
5. The closed-up view of 122 mm BM-21 launcher that has 40 barrels