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    In January 1995, the Russians invaded Chechnya and learnt the following;

    1. You need to culturally educate your troops, so that you don't become your own worst enemy, simply out of ignorance. Russian soldiers made serious cultural errors in dealing with the Chechen civilians. Once mistreated or abused, they became active fighters or supported the active fighters. Russians admit they underestimated the affect of Religion and culture on the conflict.

    2,You need a method of sorting the Civveis from the fighters. Soldiers were forced to searching, checking shoulders for weapons bruising, checking forearms for powder burns, and sniffing them for small arms residue,

    3. They did not keep a large reserve, allowing a rotation of troops. Once the troops were used up, the experience was gone.

    4. Maintain discipline. You can achieve nothing without it.Once it starts to slip, the results are disasterous.

    5.The Russians lost the 'Information War' almost immediately, and never regained it. They were surprised by the use of Cellphones , the use of improvised TV stations, Motorola radios, video cameras and the Internet. They vowed never again to lose the information war.

    6.The proliferation of Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers surprised the Russians, as well as the diversity of uses to which they were put. RPGs were shot at evreything that moved.They were fired at high angle over low buildings as mortars, and were also used as 'area weapons' against advancing infantry,antitank weapons and, on occasions, as air defence weapons.They were sometimes fired in disciplined volleys and were the weapon of choice for the Chechens , along with the Sniper rifle. Not only were the Russians faced with weel trained, well equipped Chechen military snipers , there were also large numbers of designated marksmen who were very good shots just using AKs. These were very hard to deal with and usually required massive firepower to overcome.The Chechen Hunter-killer team consisted of an RPG gunner , machine gunner and sniper.
    Each area was divided into sectors, and three to five teams would work one sector.

    7. You need large amounts of Infantry.

    8.The Chechens exploited the boundaries , which they found to be weak points, and this wasn't just horizontal ones (oo-er!), In some cases the Chechens held the third floor and above, while the Russians held the first two floors and the roof.

    9.Ambushes were common. Sometimes they had three tiers. The Chechens would be underground, on the ground floor and the roofThe ambushers would concentrate fire were possible. Multiple RPGs were different heights and directions limited the AFV crews' response. The ambusher's always had pre determined escape routes.

    10. The Chechens would hug the Russian unit if it came under superior Russian artillery or from its Close air support. This forced the Russians to either check fire, or be hit by their own side. If checked, it became a Section and Platoon level commander's battle, at which the Russians are weakest.

    11. The physical and mental health of the Russian troops suffered immediately.Hepatitus, lice and bowel infections were common place. There was no clean drinking or washing water. Almost all had some sort of mental probelems, ie were nervous wrecks, were neurotic, had exaggerated startle response or had acute emotional reactions.

    12.Chechens were not afraid of Tanks or BMPs . They just picked off the front and rear vehicles , and then the others one by one, moving along the column. In the first three days fighting, they lost 20 out of 26 tanks, 102 out of 120 BMPs and all 6 ZSU-23-4s . The Chechens chose fire postions above or below the AFV's field of fire.Many Russian infantry conscripts simply refused to dismount and died in their vehicles without firing a shot.

    13.Russian dead and wounded were hung upside down in windows of defended Chechen postions , so that the Russians could only return fire through their comrades. Russian prisoners wer decapitated and their heads placed on the curb stones where Russian replacements travelled. Both sides' bodies were routinely boobytrapped.

    14.Russian were not surprised by the ferocity or brutality of the Chechens. They were surprised at their sophistication of mines and boobytraps. They boobytrapped everything, and showed an excellent insight in the action and reaction of the average Russian soldier.

    15. The Russians were happy with most of their weapons. BMPs and assault guns ,as well as the older model of tank perfomed better then general armour, but needed protection from infantry.
    Various types of non lethal gas was recommended. The flame thrower and thermobaric round were very useful.

    The main theme was a flexible strong combined arms team.


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