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Old 04-10-2024, 07:04 PM
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Raellus Raellus is online now
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Default Soviet Light Division c. 1987

I'd never heard of this experiment before. Video bro does a good job of breaking its TOE, task, and purpose down, but doesn't cite his sources.

https://www.battleorder.org/post/ussr-light

I did a bit of poking around on the interwebs and have been unable to find corroborating sources, so far.

Nevertheless, it's an interesting concept. From a T2k POV, I wonder if the Soviets, as the Twilight War grinded on, might have adopted a similar divisional TOE, at least in part, to account for a growing deficit of AFVs.

As always, I'm interested as to your thoughts on this topic.

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Old 04-10-2024, 09:38 PM
Vespers War Vespers War is offline
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The video on YouTube lists a Russian-language source. I tried running it through Google Translate, but it didn't come out very legible.

Looking through my copy of Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army for comparisons, it almost felt like a heavy airborne formation. Take an airborne unit, add about 33% more artillery and air defense and more trucks to replace the BMDs, and you've pretty much got the equivalent light motor rifle unit.

I can't help but feel that they'd sorely miss the organic fire support from having IFVs replaced by unarmed trucks. The added artillery might offset that somewhat, especially with Russia's love of using artillery against any target they can, but this is going to be a force whose mobility drops way off once it's in contact with an enemy, because soft trucks can't be used the same way as even lightly armored IFVs.

Overall, I agree with the conclusion that there's not much point to this unit in a European war, at least not the one the Soviet Union expected to fight. As a defensive unit in mountains or urban environments it could serve about as well as a standard rifle division. On the offensive or defending flanks during a thrust towards Western Europe, I'm more skeptical of its utility.
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Old 04-22-2024, 02:42 AM
Eukie Eukie is offline
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The desantura article is pretty long and seems to meander a bit, though in full it's a pretty good overview of a lot of gritty details of Soviet air-landing operations.
Quote:
In August 1987, exercises were held in the Kiev Military District with a new experimental structure - a light motorized rifle division, numbering 10,099 people. A light mechanized infantry division is a highly mobile unit with light weapons and support equipment, organizationally including, in addition to motorized rifle units, units and subunits of military branches and special forces, adapted for long-distance airlift with half the number of transport aircraft required for airlift an ordinary motorized rifle division. LMSD met the following requirements: to be air transportable; have high tactical mobility (maneuverability and mobility); ability to operate in difficult physical and geographical conditions and urban areas; conduct autonomous combat operations in isolated (remote) areas; have the most unified weapons and equipment; be conveniently manageable. Heavy weapons and equipment were removed from her staff. The number of portable (transportable) weapons and equipment in the division was increased. It was intended to use such divisions to capture and hold advantageous positions until the main forces arrived, using their maneuverability and speed of movement. The light motorized infantry division could be deployed to the theater of operations and to remote areas for various political and military purposes. Compared to a conventional MSD, it had both sufficient firepower and great maneuverability, as well as great air transportability. To transport units of a light motorized infantry division with standard weapons and equipment on one flight, 670 military transport aircraft of the An-12, Il-76 type and 39 An-22 aircraft were required, which is approximately 440 aircraft less than required for the transport of a conventional motorized infantry division. It could also be transported by 14 transport aviation regiments in two flights within 1.3-1.5 days.

During the ongoing exercises, units of the 48th Guards were identified as the mock enemy. KVO tank training division. The task was set to check the feasibility of creating this organizational structure and its capabilities when carrying out long marches, including off-road ones, and conducting combat operations, mainly of a defensive nature. The first stage of the exercises - the march - showed the superiority of the marching capabilities of the experimental (light) division over the divisions of the existing states. However, during combat operations, not having the ability to hit the enemy at distant approaches, and also due to a decrease in its anti-tank capabilities, the division was doomed to defeat. The conclusion was not new. The possibility of using light divisions was not excluded in theaters with mountainous terrain, where the use of heavy equipment is difficult and where defense is in most cases focal in nature. By the decision of the USSR Ministry of Defense, the experiment ended there.
Conceptually it's somewhat similar to the US Light and Motorized formations, which also cut down on heavy vehicles in order to be rapidly deployable by airlift, and had similar problems with being minced should they ever face an enemy mechanised formation (though 9ID tried very hard to compensate with speed and ATGMs).

For my own project, I took the line "The possibility of using light divisions was not excluded in theatres with mountainous terrain" to heart and wrote up an army list for the Northern Norway/North Cape Strategic Area, where the second-line formations are already down to a battalion of T-55s, three companies of PT-76s, and GT-S and GT-T all-terrain tractors in place of armoured personnel carriers. Replace the battalion of T-55s with a battalion of BMD-1s and it's already 90% of the way to a Light Motor-Rifle Division.
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Old 04-22-2024, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eukie View Post
For my own project, I took the line "The possibility of using light divisions was not excluded in theatres with mountainous terrain" to heart and wrote up an army list for the Northern Norway/North Cape Strategic Area, where the second-line formations are already down to a battalion of T-55s, three companies of PT-76s, and GT-S and GT-T all-terrain tractors in place of armoured personnel carriers. Replace the battalion of T-55s with a battalion of BMD-1s and it's already 90% of the way to a Light Motor-Rifle Division.
That's a clever application of the concept. Mountainous regions in Iran (1e) would also be an appropriate setting for LMR operations.

Another use for Soviet-style light divisions would be performing occupation duty in territory that isn't being actively disputed by peer-level OPFOR- for example, in parts of Romania (1e).

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https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...--Rooks-Gambit
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ula-Sourcebook
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...nia-Sourcebook
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...liate_id=61048
https://preview.drivethrurpg.com/en/...-waters-module
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