The head of the Ministry of Defense announced a number of changes in the structure of the Airborne Forces. In particular, we are talking about the movement of an entire airborne assault brigade from Volgograd to Feodosia. Why is this unit being transferred to Crimea, what tasks will it solve on the peninsula – and how is this connected with the changes taking place in the Russian Airborne Forces as a whole?
As follows from the message of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, this year the 56th Airborne Assault Brigade, with its last stationing in the city of Kamyshin, Volgograd Region, will be reorganized into a regiment with a permanent base in Feodosia in Crimea. Most likely, it will become part of the 7th Novorossiysk Airborne Assault Division of the Airborne Forces. Thus, all airborne divisions will receive a three-regiment base (plus an artillery regiment).
Note that the difference between a division and a brigade lies not only in the number of personnel. Although the size does matter here.
The division is 13-15 thousand “bayonets” according to the wartime state, six regiments (three motorized rifle, tank, artillery, anti-aircraft missile), plus separate units: anti-tank battalion, reconnaissance battalion, communications battalions, engineer-sapper, material support, medical , repair and restoration, separate companies of chemists (RChBZ), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), “listeners” (EW) and, of course, the “commandant” company. In the Airborne Forces, these are four regiments – three airborne and artillery regiments, the rest of the battalions.
The division has its own artillery and food depots. A division is such a mini-army, capable of acting independently, even in isolation from the main forces. The presence of such compounds, in contrast to more compact and mobile teams, indicates the possibility of their use in serious operations.
It would seem, what’s the difference – a division or a brigade? The main thing is that the soldiers shoot accurately, the paratroopers boldly make parachute jumps, the equipment travels quickly, and the officers skillfully command. For peacetime, such a scheme is quite acceptable. And for the military? Here one cannot do without full-fledged divisions. The division is a real force.
In the state of the Airborne Forces, in addition to four separate airborne assault brigades (11th – in Ulan-Uda, 31st – in Ulyanovsk, 83rd – in Ussuriisk, 56th – in Kamyshin), there are also four divisions. Two airborne (98th – Ivanovo, 106th – Tula) and two airborne assault (7th – Novorossiysk, 76th – Pskov).
All of them cannot be called full-blooded. In Soviet times, all seven divisions (even the training one in Gaijunai) had three PDPs (airborne regiment), an artillery regiment and support units each. In the current composition, such a structure has survived only in the Pskov airborne division, which includes three airborne assault regiments – the 104th (the first in the Airborne Forces to switch to a contract basis), the 234th and 237th Airborne Assault Regiments, as well as the 1140th artillery regiment. and special parts.
Back in 2015, Vladimir Shamanov, commander of the Airborne Forces, spoke about the need to bring the staff of the airborne divisions to a three-regimental composition (plus artillery) back in 2015.
Referring to the 7th Novorossiysk Airborne Assault Regiment, with locations in Novorossiysk itself, Stavropol and Anapa, the current Chairman of the State Duma for Defense assumed the deployment of the previously existing 97th Airborne Assault Regiment, which was supposed to be located in Dzhankoy. As a result, in the Crimea, in Feodosia, a separate 171st airborne assault battalion of the 7th division is now deployed. And the 56th brigade will now be located there (now as the 56th airborne assault regiment).
“The 56th brigade has a difficult fate,” Colonel Nikolai Bragin, a former assistant to the commander of the Airborne Forces, told the VZGLYAD newspaper. – Its final formation took place literally on the eve of the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan in December 1979. There, the paratroopers first controlled the Salang Pass, then were stationed in Gardez, in the corridor to the Khost province. Then the brigade shook in Turkmenistan, then in Karachay-Cherkessia, she fought in Chechnya, and settled already in Kamyshin. It was reformed into a regiment, then again into a brigade, while the number never exceeded three thousand people with a three-battalion formation, and this is precisely the state of the regiment. It is not surprising that now it will be a regiment in the G7, and this military unit No. 74507 will not lose its affiliation with the Airborne Forces. “
It can be assumed that in the foreseeable future all the airborne divisions will switch to regimental recruitment according to the 3 + 1 scheme, which will ensure the full combat status of the airborne forces. It was not by chance that they started with the Novorossiysk division – it has a special direction in the south of Russia. Here are the Crimea, the Caucasus, and Turkey (well, you never know what).
“The strengthening of the Novorossiysk airborne division with another regiment has been brewing for a long time, therefore the current decision to introduce the 56th airborne assault brigade within the regiment is not accidental,” Alexander Sherin, deputy chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee (a graduate of the Ryazan Airborne School 2000 of the year). – Crimea is considered a special destination. The presence of a rapid reaction force there, to which airborne units can certainly be attributed, is necessary.
It can be noted that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made such a decision shortly after the last exercises of the 7th Airborne Assault Division, which were held in the northeast of Crimea. The paratroopers were transferred there by BTA aircraft and large landing ships. Fast, but not as fast as we would like. An additional airborne assault regiment will be able to reach any point in Crimea, including on the border with troubled Ukraine, literally in a matter of hours.
If we talk about the introduction of three specialized regiments into the divisional staff of the airborne troops, then this is an obvious necessity in the conduct of operational combat operations.
And, say, the same 7th Airborne Assault Division has a wide spread in the geography of the location of its units, where each of them must have an impressive potential with real strength, which will allow to conduct operations before the arrival of the main forces. Plus the high interchangeability of Airborne Forces units in different theaters of warfare. Crimeans can at any time strengthen the grouping both in Syria and in the Arctic. This is a feature of the troops, which are not accidentally considered the reserve of the Commander-in-Chief. “
The Airborne Forces have indeed more than once been the reserve of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Now they are also in this status, but not only because of their professional characteristics. In recent years, the “winged troops” have been transformed into a force capable of solving tasks of a high degree of responsibility. Now shock units have appeared in the troops – these are those airborne formations that, in addition to being equipped with modern weapons and equipment, show excellent results in combat training.
The title of “drums” is given not for involvement, but for merit. This is the incentive to which every unit or military unit of the Airborne Forces strives. The first to receive this title were the paratroopers of the 104th Airborne Assault Regiment of the Pskov 76th Airborne Division, as well as three airborne battalions and two airborne companies. Among the candidates – almost the entire composition of the formations and units of the Airborne Forces.
Paratroopers are universal in nature – they can be anyone. For example, tankmen – in 2016, tank companies were formed in six airborne assault formations (three of them were converted into battalions), or artillerymen – in addition to regular battalions and batteries, an artillery brigade is being created in the Airborne Forces. There are also mountain climbers – in Novorossiysk there are airborne mountain units, as well as divers – in the Ryazan Airborne School in a special diving complex they train underwater saboteurs. They are also experts in electronic warfare – in the Airborne Forces, there are companies of electronic warfare and companies of unmanned aerial vehicles. In general, perhaps they did not get to the naval specialties. Enough paratroopers and standard equipment and weapons – from BMD-4M, BTR-MDM “Shell” and ending with shooting knives.