Chechnya 1994-Russia’s first experience in war against militants

Chechnya 1994-Russia’s first experience in war against militants

Introduction:

First confrontation between Muslim independence ambitions and conservation of territorial continuity by ruling state occurred during the period of the 90s in Russia. Russian Federation was the first state encountered in a “clash of civilizations”.

In this article I will analyze the start of the war between Russia and Chechnya in 1994.

Background:

In December 1994 Russian troops entered Chechnya in order to prevent the separation of Chechnya province from Russia and to fight the Islamists who ruled it.

The armed forces:

Ickeriya.jpgArmed units of Chechen Republic of “Ichkeria”:

Approximately 10,000 troops defended Grozny city. Not including Militants and Arab clans who were under self-command.

42 T-62 and T-72 Tanks; 34 BMP-1 and -2; 30 BTR-70 and BRDM-2; 44 MT-LB, 942 cars. 18 MLRS “Grad” systems. 139 artillery systems, including 30 122 mm howitzer, 2S1 self-propelled guns and 24 thousand shells for them; 2S3 self-propelled guns and anti-tank guns MT-12. 5 SAM, 88 MANPADS. 590 units of anti-tank weapons, including two anti-tank systems “Contest”, 24 anti-tank complex “Fagot”, 51 anti-tank complex “Matis”, 113 RPG-7 complexes.

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Russian attack forces were a bit beyond 15,000 Russian soldiers, 200 Tanks, 500 BTR/BMP & 200 artillery pieces. It is estimated that Russian operation would take no more than a few days.

“We will take Grozny with only two airborne regiments”-Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, (before the introduction of troops in Chechnya).

*According to the theory of military education, attacking forces must be ahead of the 7 to 1 in number (Russian forces needed amount of 50 thousand troops at least).

Defense Preparations:

Visible military knowledge among the Chechen forces in design of the defense of Grozny, the defenders split their forces into 3 security straps, turned the basements to weapon warehouses and Command centers which were connected by underground passages. It is important to note that “Sunja” River divides the city into two parts making it a natural barrier. The main streets were mined. The Chechens were divided into squads of 3 soldiers only, which were divided into sniper, gunner and a soldier who was armed with RPG. Squad’s main task was to make momentary contact and disappear. Fighting deliberately designed to be dense to prevent cover of the Russian Air Force. In addition, The Chechens destroyed all the tables with the names of the streets in order to create confusion among the Russian soldiers. Also Russian troops didn’t have topographic maps of the city.

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Grozny Assault:

When Russian forces began to move into Grozny the Chechens didn’t open fire, they allowed to the Russian forces enter between two strips of defense. Chechen captured the Russian convoys and disconnect them from reinforcement. Reinforcement convoys encountered strong resistance (During the first attack wave Russian troops have lost 20 tanks, 112 BMP’s & 6 AA systems).

An aerial view of Russian armor casualties

Psychological warfare, was a big part of the battle, Chechens were equipped with advanced communications devices and disrupted the communications between Russian forces and talked to them Non-stop in order to affect there morals. The city was covered with signs and inscriptions in Russian, “Welcome to hell” to effect the troops psychologically.

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“Russians, surrender. you surrounded by mines, Resistance is pointless!”

b8454d2bd6e01daca1f530c2f8b3c96f.jpg“It is better to have terrible nightmare than a never-ending nightmare”

Fighting was so crowded so that Russian air cover was paralyzed and sometimes Russian artillery performed friendly fire. Buildings were changing hands several times a day. At night the fighting were become heavier. In the morning fighting was weakened and immediately after the morning prayers the “meat grinder” renewed.

The turning point came when Russian forces have changed their tactics in the city Instead of sending convoys of armored, Russian forces copied the Chechen method and formed squads of 3 soldiers only. When Russian forces have already begun to move forward to the city center the Chechen found it difficult to hold the assault force but, still fought for every floor in the buildings. Russian forces progress stopped by of talks about a ceasefire. Militants took advantage of the situation and brought new forces into the city.

When the ceasefire ended the battles become more intensive. With Russian forces advanced into the city they faced the even toughest resistance. Surrounded militants, not surrendered but, tried to break out.

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Only on 19 January 1995, Russian forces managed to take control of the city center but, the fighting in the city lasted until 26 February 1995.

Russian forces after the occupation of the city center

Loses:

Russian federation: killed – 1,426 people; wounded – 4 630 people; prisoners – 96 people; missing – about 500 people. All Russian soldiers who were taken prisoner badly abused. Later many committed suicide or hospitalized in a mental hospitals.

Military equipment losses: Destroyed – 225 units (including 62 tank); damaged (repairable) – over 450 units

Chechen armed groups lost: Killed – 6900 people; the number of injured is unknown. Prisoners – 471 people.

Military equipment losses: Tanks – 78 units (64 destroyed and 14 captured), BMP – 132 units (71 destroyed and 61 capturedcaptured). guns and mortars – 253 units destroyed, almost all MLRS BM-21 “Grad”.

Civilians Casualties: There is no exact number but, estimated around 27,000.

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Russian army forces invaded Grozny in 1994 but, after two years of intense fighting, the Russian troops eventually withdrew from Chechnya. Chechnya preserved its de facto independence until the second war broke out in 1999. In 1999, the Russian government forces again invaded Chechnya.

instead of Epilogue..

The shadow war between Israel and Hezbollah

The shadow war between Israel and Hezbollah

This is not the first time that foreign reports attribute to Israel attacks on Hezbollah forces in Syria, Including Attack on convoys and elimination of senior Hezbollah members.

hezbollah_flag.jpgHezbollah (Arabic for “Party of Allah”) is a Shiite group that was founded in 1982 after Israel’s intervention during the Lebanese civil war. Closely aligned with the Iranian theocracy and functioning as a “state within a state” in Leabanon. Hezbollah has infantry force numbers about 10,000 full-time fighters and some other reserves. Hezbollah fighters armed with Kalashnikovs, machine guns, grenades and all standard equipment it needs warrior infantry.

Which units are under the Israeli intelligence radar?

Transport units-Because of the difficulty and risk, these units are considered as Special Forces.

The 108 missile Smuggling unit. 108 unit’s mission is to deliver weapons from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah logistics bases located along the border of Syria and Lebanon. 108 Unit was involved in transferring the Fateh-110 missiles to Lebanon. In Lebanon the Weapons transferred by unit 112, this unit transporting weapons to Hezbollah bases inside Lebanon. It does it with convoys of trucks with fake license plates. Unit 110, responsible for leading Hezbollah fighters and Iranian advisors from the countries involved. According to various estimates Hezbollah smuggled 40,000 missiles into Lebanon since 2006.

469303pic_C (1).jpg         Haji Hassan Mansour, Hezbollah 112 unit commander killed in Lebanon.

Elite units

This units trained in Iran and specialize in close fighting combat and use of special measures. In addition Hezbollah has “1800” unit that responsible for recruiting agents and quality attacks against Israel. This unit also operates outside Lebanon. Hezbollah have three main intelligence systems that include preventive intelligence and unit for collecting intelligence.

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Air-Force/Drone forces

According to foreign reports it estimated that the organization has a number of individual drones designed to collect some intelligence, Hezbollah has drones that able to return to Lebanon after performing a task. This is a unit develops in recent years and receives the best equipment that Iran can provide with vocational training as well.

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Custom action units

Hezbollah has a special unit for each type of action, such as firing anti-tank missiles, Mortars, explosives etc… Past events indicate that if necessary several units can to carry out joint action. Rockets units are divided into two divisions, “Nasr” short-term and the other “strategic” operating long-range rockets.

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Nature reserves and well-hidden bunkers

As part of learning the lessons of the Second Lebanon War Hezbollah has strengthened and improved the Nature reserves. Within these reserves could be found rocket launchers and infantry fighters that able to fight independently for days without supplies. The organization Equip stored quantities of water, food, ammunition and command and control posts.

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“Red Lines” and “Tie-breakers”

Hezbollah maintained to get the weapon and improve his capabilities, long-range or more accurate missiles. Israel defines those weapons as “Tie-breakers”, In other words, measures that could hurt Israeli Air Force, Navy and strategic installations and cities deep inside Israel territory. The main source of weapons is Iran, although there is security agencies estimate that some weapons also comes from North Korea, which recently revealed that she is involved in the fighting in Syria. According to foreign reports, Israel launched six attacks on Syria and Lebanon to prevent those weapons to get into the hands of Hezbollah organization.

Action against Hezbollah members is also part of Red lines maintenance that requires consistent “brain war” which takes place between Israel and the organization. The hidden war level has its own rules; a Specific attack on Hezbollah in Syria shows to the organization that Israel still watching and won’t allow Planning and operations against it. The wisdom of both sides is not get into the slippery slope. It is necessary to use proportional firepower during attack and during the reaction. During retaliatory actions carried out by Hezbollah against Israel, Hezbollah considering and selecting a retaliatory action which won’t break the balance of the fire on the Lebanese border. Both sides are not interested in escalation.

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Gaza and “Tie break” weapons

While Israel follows the events in Syria, Hamas apparently got those weapons from ISIS extension in Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Video released by Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas organization, it possible to identify 9K32 Strela-2 MANPAD and 9M133 Kornet ATGM.

 

 

 

 

 

The battle at Wadi as-Sulouqi South Lebanon. Summer 2006

The battle at Wadi as-Sulouqi South Lebanon. Summer 2006

The battle in Wadi Sulouqi will be remembered as one of the toughest battles of the war in Lebanon during summer 2006 between the IDF and Hezbollah.

Location: Wadi as-Sulouqi originates in the area of Bint Jubeil and runs north several kilometers west of the Israel-Lebanon border.

IDF purpose was to cross the Sulouqi River and deploy additional forces to the Litani River area from which Hezbollah had fired most of its Katyusha rockets on Israel. Crossing the Sulouqi meant the troops and tanks had to climb a steep hill while exposed to attack from the mountains on every side. In favor of covering the crossing forces, Nahal Brigade were flown by helicopter especially to the Sulouqi area for secure mission of 24 “Merkava-4” column tanks, from the 401st Brigade which advanced westward from the area of Tayyiba.

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Nahal Brigade 931st and 932st Battalions were supposed to capture Ghandouriye and Farun villages, its’ strategic locations above the valley gave the villages control by fire and observation over Wadi Sulouqi. Hezbollah realized that the only way to the Litani River is through Wadi Sulouqi (Both the Israeli invasions in 1978 and 1982 passed through this area). Hezbollah deployed at least 100 fighters and prepared an ambush from hidden positions on the hilltops with their most advanced anti-tank missile the Russian-made ATGM 9M133 “Kornet”.

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On August 12, at 8 p.m. the tank convoy began to move. At that time Nahal Brigade still fought at Ghandouriye and Farun village’s outskirts. The central IDF command didn’t inform Nahal forces that the convoy started to move and left it without cover.

Some of the Merkava-4 tanks were severely damaged by fire of Hezbollah anti-tank missiles. The wounded fighters were rescued by 401st Reconnaissance Unit and combat engineering battalion.

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In order to draw Hezbollah fire from Wadi Sulouqi, IDF Reservists Paratrooper “Black Eagle” Battalion was ordered to capture Al-Qusayr village. In 4 hours the village was captured and the Sulouqi River crossing was finally completed.

Summary,

Seven IDF Soldiers killed and dozens wounded among the infantry, armor and combat engineering. Eleven of the tanks were hit and several went up in flames. Eighty Hezbollah fighters were killed and several were captured in Khanduriyah, Farun and Al-Qusayr villages. Lebanese sources claimed that only nine Hezbollah fighters were killed during the battles and only one wounded fighter was taken prisoner by Israeli soldiers.

The battle was a microcosm which contained all IDF mistakes during the 2006 war in one battle.

  1. -The central command didn’t inform Nahal forces that the armored convoy started to move.
  2. -Nahal forces didn’t know that their main task is to secure the movement of armored forces.
  3. -The command to cross was given through a satellite phone and most of the troops used Radio Controls.
  4. -The tanks convoy made critical mistake when moved in a different direction than the IDF expected, Additionally The passage is small and doesn’t allow the armoured force to manoeuvre in case of attack.
  5. -Crossing task could be canceled; at that point the UN Council conducted intensive efforts to end the fighting. Basically there was no need to move troops toward the Litani River.
  6. Intelligence service failed to inform the military command about Hezbollah procession of the ATGM 9M133 “Kornet”.
  7. -Equally important, infantry suffered from lack of updated maps, low supplies and old equipment.
  8. Photos by IDF from Ghandouriye, Farun and Al-Qusayr villages, South Lebanon. Summer 2006.