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    Mobile Mortars

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    GarryB
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    Mobile Mortars

    Post  GarryB on Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:16 am

    PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - An innovative team of armaments engineers here has successfully designed and tested a mortar that fires from a military HMMWV, a technical breakthrough never before achieved.

    WOW!

    Utilizing a foreign-made 82mm auto-fire weapon that Franchino came across while working on another program, the team began the project.

    Hang on... I thought that mortar looked familiar.


    Check out this thread for the story:

    http://www.rdecom.army.mil/rdemagazine/200409/itf_mortar.html

    It seems that these gifted engineers took a 2B9 Vasilek 82mm automatic mortar and fitted it to the rear of a Humvee and the result is a technical breakthrough because the Vasilek has never been fired from a Humvee before!!!

    Look up Youtube for the Scorpion and you will find videos of this amazing American invention...

    What you don't see in any of these links is the fact that the 2B9 Vasilek 82mm automatic mortar is a Soviet design.

    Kysusha
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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:22 am

    Observant of you. I venture to suggest that most of the 82mm morat options are Ex Soivet. The rationale was that they could utilise over run HATO 81mm ammunition while HATO could not reciprocate.

    Check the vehicle mounting of mortars - I think you may find the some enterprising Kiwi had grafted a motar to a vehicle some time before. [Like the claim as to who was first to fly - Yanks say the Wright Brothers but history if read correctly, shows that Richard Pearse; The first flight was by a twenty-five year old New Zealander, Richard Pearse on March 31, 1902. Pearse, (1877 - 1953).

    We just have to accept that everything is bigger and better in American - and they are always first.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  GarryB on Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:49 am

    They aren't the only offenders... it was a British expedition that conquered Everest the first time. Twisted Evil

    I guess their claim that they were the first to fit a Vasilek Automatic mortar onto a Humvee is technically correct... just as impressive as if I put a 7.62 x 54R calibre Kalashnikov machine gun on an Abrams I could probably claim it as a first too.

    During their time in Afghanistan it was quite normal for the VDV units to lash a Vasilek to the back of a MT-LB for mobility (it was mainly a VDV operated weapon AFAIK).

    Vladimir79
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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Vladimir79 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:51 am

    Here is video of your Scorpion mortar...



    They never did come up with an FCS for it and reloading is completely out in the open. Based on the time stamp, it took them 23 minutes to reload. Not very promising which is why it was dropped. You need a heavier chassis to carry mortar systems. The French have the better idea with Dragonfire.


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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:55 am

    The first serious development in mobile mortar systems came from the Soviet Union, in the immediate post WW2 era. During the war years, the Russians showed little interest in mobile mortars, in fact, on dedicated SP artillery, the main focus being on ad-hoc anti-armour solutions against the overwhelming German panzers. But painful battlefield experience placed self propelled artillery high on the Russian national priority and the results were some interesting solutions, which remain significant technological highlights even today. The traditional smooth-bore barrels mounted on recoil-absorbing base plates and relatively uncomplicated supports have limited the size, which a mobile platform could support, without collapsing. The German Wehrmacht actually fielded the first mobile mortar, mounting an 8cm infantry mortar on a its SdKfz 250-7 which saw action in Russia in WW2.

    First to enter service in the early Sixties, was the huge SM-240 (2S4 Tyulpan) mechanised mortar system, mounting a breech-loaded 240mm heavy mortar, firing a power assisted loaded 130kg shell at 1-2 rpm to 12.5km range. The weapon was fired to the rear, the base plate lowered hydraulically from by special device. Another breech loaded mortar, was the Russian 2B9 82mm Vasilyek Automatic Mortar system, which represented a clear break-through in post-war mortar technology. The Vasilyek was recoil operated, munitions fed by four-round clips into the breech, achieving cyclic rate of fire 40-60 rpm in two seconds mounted on a tracked MT-LBu light armoured vehicle. Several derivatives were modified by foreign armies, one of the most interesting, an Iraqi version mounting four rear firing 120mm mortar tubes on a common rear-lowered base.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  GarryB on Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:55 am

    Mortars were apparently popular in mountainous areas because of their steep trajectories and the fact that with the nose fuse and the tail fins the best fragmentation came sideways so landing nearly vertically meant a much better circular fragmentation pattern than the shell from a higher velocity direct fire weapon.

    The Vasilek looks rather promising but at the end of the day if you are going to vehicle mount it... going to a 120mm mortar greatly reduces rate of fire but also greatly increases the size of the bomb and adds the possibility of a guided shell design.
    The 2S9 and the many other related vehicles with 120mm gun mortars seem to be the weapon of choice for the Russian airborne forces.

    The early light mortars like the 50mm weapon the Soviets used in WWII have been largely replaced by 30mm automatic grenade launchers.
    The light 82mm mortars have the virtue of man pack mobility but lack a little in bomb weight, while the 107mm mortars have not been used by the Soviets/Russians for a while... the 120mm has become very popular as a self propelled model. There was a larger model that was a 160mm model for mountain use that I think the Israelis copied and put on an APC chassis because its 41kg bombwas quite effective, but my favourite Soviet/Russian Mortar is the Tulip at 240mm with a shell in the weight range of about 130kgs it is a sight to behold.


    When they fire it sounds like a bell ringing...

    The laser guided shells for 120mm Russian mortars is the GRAN, while for the 240mm mortar it is the Smelchak.
    Note for the 122mm howitzers there is the Santimetr and the 152mm guns is the Krasnopol.
    The Kranopol-M1 is the 155mm laser guided shell the French have bought from Russia to use in their artillery.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:33 am

    GaryB, I'd have serious reservations over the effectiveness of this weapon in a combat zone. The rate of fire looks far too slow and loading is very fiddly. Imagine the grime, dirt, blood and sweat of an operational setting and imagine going through the proceedure to fire - against a comparable emeny [not an irregular force]. Your fire position would be plotted before you could fire off your second salvo and the incoming would simply add to your mysery. Much and all as the weapon is formidable - when it lands - the application sets it out as a target before it is effective.

    The Soviet artillery has been and is, the best in the world - give me a howizter over this any day. Hell, I'd probably even setle for the 120mm mortar.


    Last edited by Kysusha on Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:35 am; edited 1 time in total

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  GarryB on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:44 am

    The Czech 122mm rocket launcher has always been held in the west as superior to the Soviet model because the Czech model has a full reload on the back of the truck and can be reloaded in about 3 minutes.
    The simple fact of the matter is that it is not superior because that 3 minutes should be used to reposition the unit for the second shot.
    After firing the first salvo if the enemy has any counter battery capability the mortar would be tucked up and the unit moved for every shot... so rate of fire would not be so important.

    The Tulip was absolutely loved in Afghanistan because it was the only weapon that could clear mountains and hit mountain caves with enough HE to have an effect.
    Even without guided rounds its accuracy was good enough to be a very effective weapon.

    There was a habit of the Muj and therefore western services to call any Soviet effective weapon a devils chariot. The Mi-24, the Su-25 (also called the german jet), the ZSU-23-4, BM-21.
    They didn't call the Tulip anything because they had no idea what hit them.

    In a shoot and scoot environment having 6 x 130kg HE rounds falling up to 19km away from the mortar the effect on target is similar to an airstrike but at a fraction of the cost and all weather day or night... something that wasn't an option at the time for the Soviets.
    Now they are adding GLONASS guided bombs and digital fire control systems they are just getting more accurate which means rate of fire becomes less important.

    The rate of fire issue is directly related to shell weight and that is probably what killed the 160mm mortar with its 41kg shells which were effective but required a vehicle to operate properly.

    The 120mm is on the border in that a vehicle is not absolutely necessary but improves performance and accuracy and rate of fire and crew protection and mobility.

    For the 240mm is is necessary because although it does not improve crew protection it improves mobility so it can be shoot and scoot.
    For guided shells the laser marking component is seperate from the firing component so the laser marking could be done by a UAV almost 20km away from the battery that fires and then moves.
    A 120mm battery could do the same but over less than half the distance.
    The effect would also be quite different as a 16kg shell does not have the same effect on target as a 130kg shell.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:03 am

    GaryB,

    I guess it boils down to what role you are looking for your support weapons to provide. Granted if you are employing them in and H+I role – a shoot and scoot option probably will save them.

    Being an Infantry guy, I like my support under command and at priority call. When I call it, it comes and for as long as I need it. That was what was so good about Bn mortars – if the CO gave them to you and you then had the MFC – you had HE to get you out of the shit. Silent register on your route, designated DF’s and you felt confident to face the world. You could even have FPF in danger close in real tight spots. Often you would have 105mm as at priority call – so if they were available, you got them too – that way you could get the FO to rotate the fire missions so that you could move the firing lines.

    But to call in that support, you needed to be sure that when you wanted it – it wasn’t mobile! A hell of a lot can happen in the time taken for a mobile unit to get into action! Whereas, the 81mm and 120mm mortars were there and basically only time of flight away – splash over!

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  IronsightSniper on Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:10 am

    Yeah, I agree, rate of fire looks horrible, any numbers regarding that? Also, would thermobaric warheads be avalible? Very Happy

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:31 am

    I don’t think that is an issue Ironsightsniper – thermobaric is great for one off and area suppression/neutralisation, but quite hopeless when you’re in a fire fight and calling support. For example, VC would get so close as to hug you – the closer in he got the harder it was to bring fire on him – firstly, he got inside your arming range for the M79 so you couldn’t grenade him and at that range, you needed pin-point accuracy from your support weapons – mortars preferably as they “dropped” on him rather than a more gradual trajectory of artillery which may detonate in the trees over your position – something you want to avoid! Whatever you are calling in though, it is danger close and the 81mm mortar allows accuracy and a reasonable bang for your buck; certainly enough to put your adversary off his coffee.

    Thermobaric would be useful in the H+I role as used by the mobile launchers – shoot and scoot guys. [And for large area targets]. I’m unsure as to the effectiveness against caves/tunnels – I imagine that there is substantial oxygen depletion in the detonation so it might work well against creatures in the caves/tunnels. This weapon came along long after I got out – maybe there are others out there with some info on this.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  IronsightSniper on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:15 am

    God save the queen!


    Back on topic-1 round a minute, Surprised

    I suppose, 1 or 2 of these along with Smelchak and a UAV w/ designator would work well for fire support if Su-25s aren't airborne, but highly mobile, rapid fire and precision guided 122 mm rounds would work better IMO.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:35 am

    Hard to say - horses for courses as we say. Nothing seems to kill troopies better than Artillery and howitzers would offer the benefits of mortar with the advantaces of artillery. But with almost any system, there is a counter-system [you just hope "he" hasn't deployed it in your sector!]. Because of the Hoz's short range per sae - it is very vunerable to CB fire and as soon as they start getting in-coming, you got a good chance of loosing your fire support.

    What's the options then? As many assests as you can get your hands on and use them all!

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Vladimir79 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:39 am

    Kysusha wrote:I don’t think that is an issue Ironsightsniper – thermobaric is great for one off and area suppression/neutralisation, but quite hopeless when you’re in a fire fight and calling support. For example, VC would get so close as to hug you – the closer in he got the harder it was to bring fire on him – firstly, he got inside your arming range for the M79 so you couldn’t grenade him and at that range, you needed pin-point accuracy from your support weapons – mortars preferably as they “dropped” on him rather than a more gradual trajectory of artillery which may detonate in the trees over your position – something you want to avoid! Whatever you are calling in though, it is danger close and the 81mm mortar allows accuracy and a reasonable bang for your buck; certainly enough to put your adversary off his coffee.


    If they get that close, there isn't much point in calling for fire support anyway. Pull out the RPGs...

    I witnessed Buratinos used in Chechnya to clear rebel positions, it was quite effective even if you missed the target. One barrage wiped out an entire block.

    Thermobaric would be useful in the H+I role as used by the mobile launchers – shoot and scoot guys. [And for large area targets]. I’m unsure as to the effectiveness against caves/tunnels – I imagine that there is substantial oxygen depletion in the detonation so it might work well against creatures in the caves/tunnels. This weapon came along long after I got out – maybe there are others out there with some info on this.

    Thermobaric by its very nature sucks the oxygen out of the environment, stick one at the mouth of a cave and everyone will burn their lungs taking a breath.



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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:31 am

    Tough - we didn't have [don't have] RPG's. VC and the RNVA got in very close. For them it was simply survival! Fire power that could be called in on them was far greater than anything they could muster. Hand-to-hand reduced the odds considerably as support had to stand off. Claymore mines were very useful - 700 aimed ballbearings with about .7kg of plastic behind them.

    BTW, contact ranges could be as close as handgrenade range and the problem with them in a jungle setting is they often hit vines etc and would bounce back! The M79 at least had an arming range which ment that any rebound was usually not armed.


    Last edited by Kysusha on Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:03 am; edited 1 time in total

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  GarryB on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:39 am

    I guess it boils down to what role you are looking for your support weapons to provide. Granted if you are employing them in and H+I role – a shoot and scoot option probably will save them.

    The point is that the Tulip is not a take everywhere do everything tool.
    Like I said it is most effective in the mountains and while it is probably better in a more one sided conflict like Afghanistan it is certainly able to hold its own in a conventional war... dropping shells beside tall buildings would be a forte that would otherwise be in the artillery shadow of a gun.


    But to call in that support, you needed to be sure that when you wanted it – it wasn’t mobile! A hell of a lot can happen in the time taken for a mobile unit to get into action! Whereas, the 81mm and 120mm mortars were there and basically only time of flight away – splash over!

    Well if you are on foot patrol it could probably cover you without moving.

    Yeah, I agree, rate of fire looks horrible, any numbers regarding that? Also, would thermobaric warheads be avalible? Very Happy

    Rate of fire is given as one round per minute per gun, so a battery will land 6 shells per minute. I don't know of any thermobaric rounds, but cluster munition rounds, HE rounds and laser guided shells are known to be in the inventory. I understand the nuclear bomb shell has been withdrawn from service and the chemical and bio weapon shells are probably withdrawn too.
    A Thermobaric round is probably likely as they have thermobaric warheads on their ATGMs as HE options.
    To be most effective however thermobaric warheads work better in large volleys like with the TOS.

    I’m unsure as to the effectiveness against caves/tunnels – I imagine that there is substantial oxygen depletion in the detonation so it might work well against creatures in the caves/tunnels.

    A Soviet favourite. Kills creatures underground in bunkers and tunnels by suffocation and heat... they burn real hot.

    I suppose, 1 or 2 of these along with Smelchak and a UAV w/ designator would work well for fire support if Su-25s aren't airborne, but highly mobile, rapid fire and precision guided 122 mm rounds would work better IMO.

    A guy operating in front of the Russian army will have quite a few options from 82mm mortars and 30mm grenade launchers, to 120mm mortars, 122mm rockets, 240mm mortars, 240mm rockets, 300mm rockets out to 90km, then you have the tube artillery of 122mm, 152mm, 203mm (the 203mm fires a 110kg shell BTW compared to Tulips 130kg), and then you have the tactical guided weapons like Tochka and Iskander... and that is not including tank guns and MIFV guns.
    Fire power is not something in short supply.

    Hard to say - horses for courses as we say. Nothing seems to kill troopies better than Artillery and howitzers would offer the benefits of mortar with the advantaces of artillery. But with almost any system, there is a counter-system [you just hope "he" hasn't deployed it in your sector!]. Because of the Hoz's short range per sae - it is very vunerable to CB fire and as soon as they start getting in-coming, you got a good chance of loosing your fire support.

    The standard counter battery fire weapon the Russians use is the 300mm SMERCH. It can launch a UAV from a rocket tube that can fly 120km to the target area and find targets and then assess damage.
    The standard anti enemy battery round would be the 9N176 rocket which contains 646 HEAT fragmentation minelets, range is 90kms, but they are working on a model with a range of 150km. The current rockets have gyroscopes to stabilise the rockets in flight and to ensure tighter groups on target, but they are set for a slight diversion when used in roles with minelet warheads to spread the love so to speak.

    Tough - we didn't have [don't have] RPG's. VC and the RNVA got in very close. For them it was simply survival! Fire power that could be called in on them was far greater than anything they could muster. Hand-to-hand reduced the odds considerably as support had to stand off. Claymore mines were very useful - 700 aimed ballbearings with about .7kg of plastic behind them.

    I am sure the VC and NVA would have changed tactics and fought fair if you promised not to use all your overwhelming military superiority on them... Smile

    BTW the Russians have a series of claymore like weapons called the MON series. The MON-50 is rather like the Claymore, but the MON-100, MON-200 and MON-300 have no western equivelents AFAIK.

    Hard to say - horses for courses as we say. Nothing seems to kill troopies better than Artillery and howitzers would offer the benefits of mortar with the advantaces of artillery.

    Like I said, sometimes the steep terrain makes a mortar better.
    The Soviet forces liked the 120mm mortar because they took it with them so it was always available to support them... unlike their airforce that took a beating to start off with and didn't really recover till about '43.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:49 am

    [quote="GarryB"][quote]


    Like I said, sometimes the steep terrain makes a mortar better.
    The Soviet forces liked the 120mm mortar because they took it with them so it was always available to support them... unlike their airforce that took a beating to start off with and didn't really recover till about '43.

    Spoken like an Infantry man! Your house is on your back and your support is what YOU carry. If it's not in your possession, don't count on it.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  GarryB on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:56 am

    I should point out that for the "coming over the fence" at the firebase type situation the standard Soviet response in Afghanistan was 30mm automatic grenade launchers as well as RPG-18s (ie LAWs).
    Bases often had weapons like the ZU-23-2 towed 23mm anti aircraft guns sighted around a base for protection and they would often use the SPG-9 recoilless rifle to engage targets beyond small arms fire range.
    And of course land mines around the place seem to be effective too.
    Many bases were on hilltops and supplied by helo so there was no (Safe) foot access.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:57 pm

    The major problem with both the US and Soviet response to insurgents was to adopt static bases and then patrol from them. I reckon fewer bases were the answer and much more mobile patrolling – on foot should have been undertaken. Utilise the air superiority and have an aerial strike capacity always up and an air mobile reaction force on stand-by.

    Move out into the insurgent’s domain, move with him, interdict him, make contact with him and then use superiority of firepower and mobility to defeat him.

    Setting up a fire base and trying to secure it only presented a target and obstacle to manoeuvre. I read America fired something like 250,000 rounds for every hit – that is not KIA – simply a causality. I’m all for getting out there, more stealth, lees shooting and an aimed shot every time.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:02 pm

    Vladimir79:

    Have you read the book "One Soldier's War In Chechnya" by Arkady Babchenko? If you have, I'd be interested in your opinion of it.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  GarryB on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:50 pm

    Regarding rate of fire per casualty they did do a lot of suppressing fire that certainly suppressed... the most heavily bombed countries in the world are not in Europe, despite WWI and WWII, they are in Asia.
    The most effective tactic the Soviets applied was small teams of special forces heli lifted to ambush positions to hit the supply columns that supported the insurgency.
    By about 1985 the rebels were broken and on the verge of giving up when the US introduced through Pakistan the Stinger missile.
    The man portable shoulder launched missile with training of how to use it made them revert to less accurate artillery strikes to achieve the same result. The problem was that mistakes led to more recruits for the enemy.
    The irony of hindsight is that if the US had simply ignored the Soviets installing a pro Soviet regime in their own backyard (much the way the Soviets ignored the US doing the same in its backyard) then 1990 and the fall of communism would have led to Afghanistan perhaps being more stable where women would have rights instead of being hidden and ignored.
    The US/NATO force in Afghanistan have the huge advantage that their enemy is not supported by a superpower. Their only problem is that their enemy is supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
    Of course if Israel or the US are dumb enough to attack Iran then of course Iran will likely retaliate by flooding its borders with ATGMs and MANPADS which will make land and air movement very difficult and costly in Afghanistan and probably Iraq too.

    Move out into the insurgent’s domain, move with him, interdict him, make contact with him and then use superiority of firepower and mobility to defeat him.

    The US tactic of using the northern alliance bunnys to attack Taleban positions was a good one. The Taleban could either group up and face them... in which case they could be smashed with airpower, or they could disperse and the NA could mop them up in little groups.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Vladimir79 on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:06 am

    Kysusha wrote:Vladimir79:

    Have you read the book "One Soldier's War In Chechnya" by Arkady Babchenko? If you have, I'd be interested in your opinion of it.

    Pretty boring book, lacks insight and no storyline into anything more than his daily drudgery. Arkady is actually a military fiction writer, he has 5 books out about Chechnya in that genre then he has his supposed biographical account. They all read the same, sensationalised experiences blowing up the bad into the worst. If his first experience was so bad, WTH would he re-up to go back into the same situation? Makes you wonder what his real motivations are... like selling books.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:20 am

    Vlad,

    Very interesting – mirrors my thoughts. I stopped reading half way through as it seemed to lack credibility; like the guys was some sort of masochist.

    It read a bit like a Russian version of Andy McNabs books on the SAS; written for an audience.

    Спасибо бльшое для информации

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Vladimir79 on Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:05 am

    I was an Army conscript, then contract VDV fighting in Dagestan and the 2nd Chechen Campaign. I had bad times and good times... most of it was like camping with my buddies. Life in the Russian Army is not easy, physical demands are high and pampering is none existent. There is no whining. You show weakness people will prey on you. Life in an American chain gang would probably be easier than being a first rank conscript. But this isn't America, it is Russia where suffering builds the national character. It gets easier as you become the grandfather and continue the tradition. I am not saying it was right, but that is the way it was. For your first few months, you either adapt, desert or you will end up hanging yourself. It is a test of personal fortitude to forge you into a ruthless killing machine.

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    Re: Mobile Mortars

    Post  Kysusha on Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:06 am

    The old Chinese Gernral said "As you train, so shall you fight". Never a truer word spoken.

    Problem with most "Western" [NZ included] Armys these days is they have become soft. Realism is removed from training because of the possibility of injury and subsequent claim. All modern comforts have to be provided instread of the soldier having to carry for himself or improvise. Seems that they all want a lift to the action rather than foot slogging.

    This attitude and the determination of the enemy is what is going to cost America the war in Afghanistan.

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