Russian Airborne Forces

  (Redirected from Russian Airborne Troops)

The Russian Airborne Forces or VDV (from Vozdushno-desantnye voyska Rossii, Russian: Воздушно-десантные войска России, ВДВ; Air-landing Forces) is a separate troops branch of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. First formed before World War II, the force undertook two significant airborne operations and a number of smaller jumps during the war and for many years after 1945 was the largest airborne force in the world.[5] The force was split after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, losing divisions to Belarus and Ukraine, and has been reduced in size.

Russian Airborne Forces
Воздушно-десантные войска России
Vozdushno-desantnye voyska Rossii
Great emblem of the Russian Airborne Troops.svg
Greater emblem of the Russian Airborne Forces
Active1930s–present
Country Russia[a]
BranchBanner of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (obverse).svg Russian Armed Forces
TypeParatrooper
RoleAir assault
Airborne forces
Anti-aircraft warfare
Asymmetric warfare
Close-quarters combat
Cold-weather warfare
Combined arms
Counter-insurgency
Counter-terrorism
Desert warfare
Direct action
Forward observer
Long-range penetration
Maneuver warfare
Mountain warfare
Raiding
Reconnaissance
Special operations
Special reconnaissance
Unconventional warfare
Urban warfare
Size72,000+ paratroopers [1]
Nickname(s)Blue Berets, Winged Infantry
PatronSaint Elijah the Prophet[2]
Motto(s)Никто, кроме нас! (Nobody, but us!)
Color of BeretSky Blue  
March"The blue" (Синева, unofficial hymn)
[3][circular reference]
"We Need One Victory (Our 10th Parachute Battalion)" (Нам нужна одна победа (10-й наш десантный батальон), service march past)
Anniversaries2 August — Paratroopers' Day
EngagementsBattle of Lake Khasan
Battles of Khalkhin Gol
World War II
First Nagorno-Karabakh War
Soviet–Afghan War
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
Russo-Georgian War
Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation
Operation Grand Dawn (allegedly)[4]
Commanders
Current
commander
Col. Gen. Andrey Serdyukov
Chief of Staff and First Deputy commander Col. Gen. Evgeniy Ustinov [ru]
Notable
commanders
Gen. Vasily Margelov
Gen. Georgy Shpak
Insignia
Flag of the Airborne ForcesFlag of the Russian Airborne Troops.svg
PatchAirborne Troops sleeve badge of the Russian Federation-1.svg
Medium emblemMedium emblem of the Воздушно-десантные войска Российской Федерации.svg
InsigniaМалая эмблема Воздушно-десантных войск России.png

Troops of the Russian Airborne Forces have traditionally worn a sky blue beret and blue-striped telnyashka and are called desant (Russian: Десант) from the French Descente.[6]

The Russian Airborne Forces are well known for their mobility, utilizing a large amount of specifically designed vehicles built for airborne transport, as such, they are fully mechanized and traditionally have a larger complement of heavy weaponry than most contemporary airborne forces.[7]

Interwar and World War IIEdit

 
Soviet paratroopers deploy from a Tupolev TB-3 in 1930

The first airborne forces parachute jump is dated to 2 August 1930, taking place in the Moscow Military District. Airborne landing detachments were established after the initial 1930 experimental jump, but creation of larger units had to wait until 1932–33. On 11 December 1932, a Revolutionary Military Council order established an airborne brigade from the existing detachment in the Leningrad Military District.[8] To implement the order, a directive of the Commissariat of Military and Naval Affairs transformed the Leningrad Military District's 3rd Motorised Airborne Landing Detachment into the 3rd Airborne Brigade (Special Purpose) commanded by M.V. Boytsov. Two further airborne brigades (the 13th and 47th) and three airborne regiments (the 1st, 2nd, and 5th, all in the Far East) were created in 1936.[9] In March and April 1941, five Airborne Corps (divisions) were established on the basis of the existing 201st, 204th, 211th, 212th, and 214th Airborne Brigades.[10] The number of Airborne Corps rose from five to ten in late 1941, but then all the airborne corps were converted into "Guards" Rifle Divisions in the northern hemisphere summer of 1942.[11]

The Soviet airborne forces were mostly used as 'foot' infantry during the war. Only a few small airborne drops were carried out in the first desperate days of Operation Barbarossa, in the vicinity of Kiev, Odessa, and the Kerch peninsula.[12] The two significant airborne operations of the war were the Vyazma operation of February–March 1942, involving 4th Airborne Corps, and the Dnepr/Kiev operation of September 1943, involving a temporary corps formation consisting of 1st, 3rd, and 5th Airborne Brigades.[13]

The Stavka still foresaw the necessity of conducting actual airborne operations later during the war. To have such a force, the Stavka created eight new airborne corps (1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th) in the fall of 1942. Beginning in December 1942, these corps became ten guards airborne divisions (numbered 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (formed from 9th Airborne Corps (2nd formation)), 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, two formed from the 1st Airborne Corps and the three existing separate maneuver airborne brigades). The new guards airborne divisions trained in airborne techniques, and all personnel jumped three to ten times during training, though many were from jump towers.[14]

After the defeat of German forces at Kursk, the bulk of the airborne divisions joined in the pursuit of German forces to the Dnepr River. Even as ten guards airborne divisions fought at the front, new airborne brigades formed in the rear areas. In April and May 1943, twenty brigades formed and trained for future airborne operations. Most of these brigades had become six new guards airborne divisions (11th through 16th) by September 1943.[15] The Stavka however, earmarked three of these airborne brigades for use in an airborne operation to cross the Dnepr River, which was unsuccessful.[16]

David Glantz wrote in 1984:[17]

In August [1944], the Stavka formed the 37th, 38th, and 39th Guards Airborne Corps. By October, the newly formed corps had combined into a separate airborne army under Maj. Gen. I. I. Zatevakhin. However, because of the growing need for well-trained ground units, the new army did not endure long as an airborne unit. In December,the Stavka reorganized the separate airborne army into the 9th Guards Army of Col. Gen. V. V. Glagolev, and all divisions were renumbered as guards rifle divisions. As testimony to the elite nature of airborne-trained units, the Stavka held the 9th Guards Army out of defensive actions, using it only for exploitation during offensives.

From 1944 the airborne divisions were reconstituted as Guards Rifle Divisions.[16]

During the invasion of Manchuria and the South Sakhalin Operation, airborne units were used to seize airfields and city centers in advance of the land forces, and to ferry fuel to those units that had outrun their supply lines.[citation needed]

PostwarEdit

 
Shoulder sleeve insignia of the Soviet Airborne Forces
 
A mechanical watch featuring an insigna of the Desant
 
Soviet paratroopers on a BMD-1 vehicle in Afghanistan, March 25th, 1986

The HQ 9th Guards Army was redesignated Headquarters Airborne Forces in June 1946 after the war ended.[18] The units of the army were removed from the order of battle of the Air Forces of the USSR and assigned directly to the Ministry of the Armed Forces of the USSR.

In 1946 the force consisted of five corps (the 8th and 15th had been added) and ten divisions:[19]

In the summer of 1948, five more Guards Airborne Divisions were created. The 7th (Lithuania, 8th Airborne Corps), the 11th (activated 1 October 1948 in Ryazan, Moscow Oblast, from the 347th Guards Air Landing Regiment, 38th Airborne Corps),[20] the 13th Guards (at Galenki, Primorskiy Kray, with the 37th Airborne Corps), the 21st Guards (Estonia, Valga, with the 15th Airborne Corps), and the 31st Guards (Carpathians, 39th Airborne Corps). At the end of 1955 and the beginning of 1956 the 11th Guards, 21st, 100th and 114th Guards Airborne Divisions were disbanded as well as all the airborne corps headquarters.[19] The number of divisions, thus, decreased to 11. In April 1955 the transport aircraft were separated from the VDV and the Air Force Military Transport Aviation was created. In 1959 the 31st and 107th Guards Airborne Divisions were disbanded, but in October 1960 the 44th Training Airborne Division was formed. In 1964 the Soviet Airborne Forces were directly subordinated to the Ministry of Defence.

The creation of the post-war Soviet Airborne Forces owe much to the efforts of one man, Army General Vasily Margelov, so much so that the abbreviation of VDV in the Airborne Forces is sometimes waggishly interpreted as Войска дяди Васи or "Uncle Vasya's Forces".

Airborne units of two divisions (7th and 31st Guards) were used during Soviet operations in Hungary during 1956, and the 7th Guards division was used again during the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. The first experimental air assault brigade – the 1st Airborne Brigade – was apparently activated in 1967/1968 from parts of the 51st Guards Parachute Landing Regiment (PDP) (Tula), after the Soviets had been impressed by the American experiences in Vietnam.[21][22] In 1973 the 13th and 99th Airborne Divisions were reorganised as air assault brigades, and thus the number of divisions dropped to eight.[19] There were also independent regiments and battalions. However, even by the 1980s only two divisions were capable of being deployed for combat operations in the first wave against NATO using Air Force Military Transport Aviation and Aeroflot aircraft.[23]

Airborne Forces Commander-in-Chief Vasily Margelov had continued to wear the Telnyashka blue-and-white striped shirt commemorating an earlier moment in his career, from his wartime Naval Infantry service in the Baltic Fleet. In 1970, the telnyashka became an official part of the uniform.[24]

In accordance with a directive of the General Staff, from August 3, 1979, to December 1, 1979, the 105th Guards Vienna Airborne Division was disbanded.[25] From the division remained in the city of Fergana the 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment (much stronger than the usual regimental size) with the separate 115th military-transport aviation squadron. The rest of the personnel of the division were reassigned to fill out other incomplete airborne units and formations and to the newly formed air assault brigades. Based on the division's 351st Guards Parachute Regiment, the 56th Guards Separate Air Assault Brigade was formed in Azadbash, (Chirchiq district) Tashkent Oblast, Uzbek SSR. Meanwhile, the 111th Guards Parachute Regiment became the 35th Separate Guards Air Assault Brigade.

 
An Ilyushin Il-76 "Candid" loading VDV personnel in 1984

However, there was also a mistaken Western belief, either intentional Soviet deception or stemming from confusion in the West, that an Airborne Division, reported as the 6th, was being maintained at Belogorsk in the Far East in the 1980s.[26] This maskirovka division was then 'disbanded' later in the 1980s, causing comment within Western professional journals that another division was likely to be reformed so that the Far East had an airborne presence.[27]

The 103rd Guards Airborne Division, 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment and the 56th Air Assault Brigade fought in the Soviet–Afghan War.

Airborne Forces organizationEdit

The Airborne Forces (Воздушно-десантные войска (ВДВ), literal translation: Air-Landing Troops) of the Soviet Union and their present-day Russian Federation successor are a separate combat service directly subordinated to the General Staff. Their combat doctrine establishes their role as a highly mobile operational reserve of the armed forces, the last remaining Reserve of the Supreme High Command (Резерв главного командования (РГК)).

In 1989 a Soviet Air-Landing Division (Воздушно-десантная дивизия (вдд)) was organized into a division HQ, three Parachute Landing Regiments (sing. Парашютно-десантный полк (пдп)) and various combat and service support units. V. I. Shaykin's historic study of the Airborne Forces lists the following force structure in 1989 (Military Detachment number (в/ч) given in brackets):[28]

Directorate of the Commander of the Airborne Troops (Управление командующего ВДВ)(25953), Moscow, RSFSR

  • units and establishments directly subordinated to the Directorate:
    • 879th Signals Nod (879-й узел связи)
    • 196th Signals Regiment of the Airborne Troops (196-й полк связи ВДВ)(54164), Medvezhie Ozera, Moscow Oblast, RSFSR
    • 899th Separate Spetsnaz Company (899-я отдельная рота специального назначения)(54766)
    • 387th Separate Parachute-Landing Regiment (387-й отдельный парашютно-десантный полк) (Fergana, Uzbek SSR);
    • 58th Separate Military Transport Aviation Squadron (58-я отдельная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья)(03417), Ryazan, Dyagilevo Airfield
    • 78th Separate Military Transport Aviation Squadron (78-я отдельная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья), Klin Airfield
    • Ryazan Higher Air-Landing, twice awarded the Order of the Red Banner, named after the Lenin Comsomol Command School (Рязанское высшее воздушно-десантное командное дважды Краснознаменное училище имени Ленинского Комсомола), Ryazan, RSFSR
    • 332nd NCO School of the Airborne Troops (332-я школа прапорщиков ВДВ), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
    • 2356th Central Automobile Storage of the Airborne Troops (2356-й центральный автомобильный склад ВДВ), Kubinka, Moscow Oblast, RSFSR
    • 3104th Central Base for Armament and Equipment Reserve of the Airborne Troops (3104-я центральная база резерва вооружения и техники ВДВ), Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Moscow Oblast, RSFSR
    • 5730th Central Base for Armored Vehicles of the Airborne Troops (5730-я центральная база бронетанкового имущества ВДВ), Naro-Fominsk, Moscow Oblast, RSFSR
    • 3370th Central Storage for Air-Landing Equipment of the Airborne Troops (3370-й центральный склад воздушно-десантной техники и имущества), Kolomna, Moscow Oblast, RSFSR
    • 1029th Central Military Hospital of the Airborne Troops (1029-й центральный военный госпиталь ВДВ)(52203), Tula, RSFSR
    • 984th Center for Sanitary-Epidemiological Oversight of the Airborne Troops (984-й центр государственного санитарно-эпидемиологического надзора ВДВ)(48837), Ivanovo, RSFSR
    • 176th Central Sanitary-Epidemiological Detachment (176-й центральный санитарно-эпидемиологический отряд)
    • Military Sanatorium "Gudautskiy" (Военный санаторий «Гудаутский»)
    • Military Sanatorium "Airborne Trooper" (Военный санаторий «Десантник»)
    • 47th Singing and Dancing Ensemble of the Airborne Troops (47-й ансамбль песни и пляски ВДВ)
    • 242nd Training Centre of the Airborne Troops (242-й учебный центр Воздушно-десантных войск), created from the 44th Training Airborne Division. However, the divisional banner was retained.[29][30] The division was established in Ostrov in September 1960 as the 44th Training Airborne Division. In September 1961 it was transferred to the Lithuanian SSR.[31]
      • Center HQ (управление центра)(20192), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 300th Separate Training Signals Battalion (300-й отдельный учебный батальон связи)(63295), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 226th Training Parachute-Landing Regiment (226-й учебный парашютно-десантный полк)(11929), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 285th Training Parachute-Landing Regiment (285-й учебный парашютно-десантный полк)(74995), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 301st Training Parachute-Landing Regiment (301-й учебный парашютно-десантный полк)(42227), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 743rd Separate Training Parachute-Landing Battalion (743-й отдельный учебный парашютно-десантный батальон), Karmėlava, Lithuanian SSR
      • 1120th Training Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment (1120-й учебный самоходно-артиллерийский полк)(61222), Prienai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 367th Separate Training Air Defence Missile and Artillery Battalion (367-й отдельный учебный зенитный ракетно-артиллерийский дивизион)(33817), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 113th Separate Training Combat Engineer Battalion (113-й отдельный учебный инженерно-саперный батальон)(63291), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 340th Separate Training Military Transport Aviation Squadron (340-я отдельная учебная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья), Pociūnai Airfield (near Prienai), Lithuanian SSR
      • 148th Separate Training Battalion for Heavy Air Landing Vehicles Familiarization (148-й отдельный учебный батальон тяжелой воздушно-десантной техники)(74163), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 45th Separate Training Repair and Overhaul Battalion (45-й отдельный учебный ремонтно-восстановительный батальон)(59356), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 184th Separate Training Medical Battalion (184-й отдельный учебный медицинский батальон) (42235), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 373rd Separate Training Automobile Battalion (373-й отдельный учебный автомобильный батальон), Gaižiūnai, Lithuanian SSR
      • 214th Training Range (214-й полигон)
      • 2945th Unified Storage (2945-й объединенный склад)
      • 51518th Field Branch of Gosbank (51518-е полевое учреждение госбанка)
  • 7th Guards Cherkasskaya, awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Kutuzov Air-Landing Division (7-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная Краснознамённая ордена Кутузова дивизия)
    • Division Command and Staff (штаб дивизии), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 743rd Separate Signals Battalion (743-й отдельный батальон связи)(02050), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 97th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (97-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(10999), Alytus, Lithuanian SSR
    • 108th Guards, Kuban Cossack, awarded the Order of the Red Star Parachute-Landing Regiment (108-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный Кубанский казачий ордена Красной Звезды полк)(02291), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 119th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (119-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(10075), Marijampolė, Lithuanian SSR
    • 1141st Guards Artillery Regiment (1141-й гвардейский артиллерийский полк)(02207), Kalvarija, Lithuanian SSR
    • 744th Separate Air Defence Missile and Artillery Battalion (744-й отдельный зенитный ракетно-артиллерийский дивизион)(33817), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 72nd Separate Reconnaissance Company (72-я отдельная разведывательная рота)(86788), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 143rd Separate Combat Engineer Battalion (143-й отдельный инженерно-саперный батальон) Kazlų Rūda, Lithuanian SSR
    • 185th Separate Military Transport Aviation Squadron (185-я отдельная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 1692nd Separate Air-Landing Equipment Maintenance Battalion (1692-й отдельный батальон десантного обеспечения)(96536), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 1681st Separate Supply Battalion (1681-й отдельный батальон материального обеспечения), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 6th Separate Repair and Overhaul Battalion (6-й отдельный ремонтно-восстановительный батальон)(58356), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 313th Separate Medical Battalion (313-й отдельный медицинский батальон), Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR
    • 286th Station of the Field Courier Service (286-я станция фельдъегерьско-почтовой связи)
    • 215th Training Range (215-й полигон)(63319), Kazlų Rūda, Lithuanian SSR
    • 51502nd Field Branch of Gosbank (51502-е полевое учреждение госбанка)
  • 76th Guards Chernigovskaya, awarded the Order of the Red Banner Air-Landing Division (76-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная Черниговская Краснознаменная дивизия)
    • Division Command and Staff (штаб дивизии), Pskov, RSFSR
    • 728th Separate Guards Signals Battalion (728-й отдельный гвардейский батальон связи)(24538)
    • 104th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (104-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(32515), Cheryokha, suburb of Pskov, RSFSR
    • 234th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (234-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(74268), Pskov, RSFSR
    • 237th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (237-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(56264), Pskov, RSFSR
    • 1140th Guards, twice awarded the Order of the Red Banner Artillery Regiment (1140-й гвардейский артиллерийский дважды Краснознаменный полк)(45377)
    • 165th Separate Air Defence Missile and Artillery Battalion (165-й отдельный зенитный ракетно-артиллерийский дивизион)(81430)
    • 175th Separate Guards Reconnaissance Company (175-я отдельная гвардейская разведывательная рота)(64004)
    • 656th Separate Combat Engineer Battalion (656-й отдельный гвардейский инженерно-сапёрный батальон)(45293)
    • 242nd Separate Military Transport Aviation Squadron (242-я отдельная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья)(06776), Cheryokha, suburb of Pskov, RSFSR
    • 608th Separate Air-Landing Equipment Maintenance Battalion (608-й отдельный батальон десантного обеспечения)(77011)
    • 1682nd Separate Supply Battalion (1682-й отдельный батальон материального обеспечения)(42689)
    • 7th Separate Repair and Overhaul Battalion (7-й отдельный ремонтно-восстановительный батальон)
    • 586th Separate Medical Battalion (586-й отдельный медицинский батальон)
  • 98th Guards Svirskaya, awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Kutuzov Air-Landing Division (98-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная Свирская Краснознаменная ордена Кутузова дивизия)
    • Division Command and Staff (штаб дивизии), Bolgrad, Odessa Oblast, Ukrainian SSR
    • 674th Separate Guards Signals Battalion (674-й отдельный гвардейский батальон связи)(89592), Bolgrad
    • 217th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (217-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(42246), Bolgrad
    • 299th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (299-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(52432), Bolgrad
    • 300th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (300-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(40390), Kishinev, Moldovan SSR
    • 1065th Guards Artillery Regiment (1065-й гвардейский артиллерийский полк)(31539), Vessyolliy Kut, Odessa Oblast, Ukrainian SSR
    • 100th Separate Air Defence Missile and Artillery Battalion (100-й отдельный зенитный ракетно-артиллерийский дивизион)(73512), Bolgrad
    • 215th Separate Guards Reconnaissance Company (215-я отдельная гвардейская разведывательная рота)(03391)
    • 112th Separate Combat Engineer Battalion (112-й отдельный инженерно-саперный батальон)
    • 243rd Separate Military Transport Aviation Squadron (243-я отдельная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья)(68226)
    • 613th Separate Air-Landing Equipment Maintenance Battalion (613-й отдельный батальон десантного обеспечения)
    • 1683rd Separate Supply Battalion (1683-й отдельный батальон материального обеспечения)
    • 15th Separate Repair and Overhaul Battalion (15-й отдельный ремонтно-восстановительный батальон)
    • 176th Separate Medical Battalion (176-й отдельный медицинский батальон)
    • 728th Station of the Field Courier Service (728-я станция фельдъегерьско-почтовой связи)(36477)
    • ? Training Range (? полигон), Tarutino, Odessa Oblast, Ukrainian SSR
  • 103rd Guards, awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Combat Red Banner, the Order of Kutuzov II class Air-Landing Division "60th Anniversary of the USSR" (103-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная ордена Ленина, Боевого Красного Знамени, Кутузова 2-й степени дивизия им. 60-ти летия СССР)
    • Division Command and Staff (штаб дивизии)(07197), Vitebsk, Belorussian SSR
    • 742nd Separate Signals Battalion (742-й отдельный батальон связи)
    • 317th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (317-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(52287, г. Витебск), Vitebsk, Belarussian SSR
    • 350th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (350-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(64222, г. Полоцк), Polotsk, Vitebsk Oblast, Belarussian SSR
    • 357th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (357-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(93684, г. Полоцк), Polotsk ,Vitebsk Oblast, Belarussian SSR
    • 62nd Separate Tank Battalion (62-й отдельный танковый батальон)
    • 1179th Separate Artillery Regiment (1179-й гвардейский артиллерийский полк)
    • 133th Separate Anti-Tank Artillery Battalion (133-й отдельный противотанковый артиллерийский дивизион)
    • 105th Separate Air Defence Missile and Artillery Battalion (105-й отдельный зенитный ракетно-артиллерийский дивизион)
    • 80th Separate Reconnaissance Company (80-я отдельная разведывательная рота)(86793)
    • 130th Separate Combat Engineer Battalion (130-й отдельный инженерно-саперный батальон)
    • 210th Separate Military Transport Aviation Squadron (210-я отдельная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья)
    • 1388th Separate Supply Battalion (1388-й отдельный батальон материального обеспечения)
    • 20th Separate Repair and Overhaul Battalion (20-й отдельный ремонтно-восстановительный батальон)(59318)
    • 175th Separate Medical Battalion (175-й отдельный медицинский батальон)
    • 274th Separate Automobile Company (274-я отдельная автомобильная рота)
  • 104th Guards, awarded the Order of the Combat Red Banner and the Order of Kutuzov II class Air-Landing Division (104-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная ордена Боевого Красного Знамени, Кутузова 2-й степени дивизия)
    • Division Command and Staff (штаб дивизии), Kirovabad, Azerbaijan SSR
    • 729th Separate Signals Battalion (729-й отдельный батальон связи)(12192), Kirovabad, Azerbaijan SSR
    • 328th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (328-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(93626), Kirovabad, Azerbaijan SSR
    • 337th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (337-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк), Kirovabad, Azerbaijan SSR
    • (345th Separate Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (345-й отдельный гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк), Kirovabad, Azerbaijan SSR
    • 1080th Guards Artillery Regiment (1080-й гвардейский артиллерийский полк)(73598), Şəmkir, Azerbaijan SSR
    • 103rd Separate Air Defence Missile and Artillery Battalion (103-й отдельный зенитный ракетно-артиллерийский дивизион)
    • 110th Separate Reconnaissance Company (110-я отдельная разведывательная рота)(64009), Kirovabad, Azerbaijan SSR
    • 132nd Separate Combat Engineer Battalion (132-й отдельный инженерно-саперный батальон)(71296), Kirovabad, Azerbaijan SSR
    • 116th Separate Military Transport Aviation Squadron (116-я отдельная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья)
    • 611th Separate Air-Landing Equipment Maintenance Battalion (611-й отдельный батальон десантного обеспечения)
    • 1684th Separate Supply Battalion (1684-й отдельный батальон материального обеспечения)
    • 24th Separate Repair and Overhaul Battalion (24-й отдельный ремонтно-восстановительный батальон)
    • 180th Separate Medical Battalion (180-й отдельный медицинский батальон)
    • 422nd Station of the Field Courier Service (422-я станция фельдъегерьско-почтовой связи)
  • 106th Guards, awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Kutuzov Air-Landing Division (106-я гвардейская воздушно-десантная Краснознаменная ордена Кутузова дивизия)
    • Division Command and Staff (штаб дивизии)(55599), Tula, RSFSR
    • 731st Separate Signals Battalion (731-й отдельный батальон связи)(93687)
    • 51st Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (51-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(в/ч 33842), Tula, RSFSR
    • 137th Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (137-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк)(в/ч 41450), Ryazan, RSFSR
    • 331st Guards Parachute-Landing Regiment (331-й гвардейский парашютно-десантный полк), Kostroma, RSFSR
    • 1182nd Guards Artillery Regiment (1182-й гвардейский артиллерийский полк)(93723), Efremov, Tula Oblast, RSFSR
    • 107th Separate Air Defence Missile and Artillery Battalion (107-й отдельный зенитный ракетно-артиллерийский дивизион)(71298)
    • 181st Separate Reconnaissance Company (181-я отдельная разведывательная рота)(86800)
    • 139th Separate Combat Engineer Battalion (139-й отдельный инженерно-саперный батальон)(12159)
    • 110th Separate Military Transport Aviation Squadron (110-я отдельная военно-транспортная авиационная эскадрилья)(25500)
    • 610th Separate Air-Landing Equipment Maintenance Battalion (610-й отдельный батальон десантного обеспечения)(64024)
    • 1060th Separate Supply Battalion (1060-й отдельный батальон материального обеспечения)(14403)
    • 43rd Separate Repair and Overhaul Battalion (43-й отдельный ремонтно-восстановительный батальон)(28393)
    • 234th Separate Medical Battalion (234-й отдельный медицинский батальон)(52296)
    • 1883rd Station of the Field Courier Service (1883-я станция фельдъегерьско-почтовой связи)(54235)

As a high readiness and long range main operational reserve of the General Staff the Airborne Troops could rely on the support of the whole Military Transport Aviation and Aeroflot aircraft mobilized for military service. The Airborne Troops also had their own organic aviation assets, but these had very limited airlift capabilities (Antonov An-2s and Mil Mi-8s) and were used for parachute training and liaison flights between the various units.

Commanders of the Soviet Airborne Forces and Russian Airborne ForcesEdit

 
Flag of Russia's Commander-in-Chief of the Airborne Troops

After the Fall of the Soviet UnionEdit

 
Structure of the Russian Airborne Forces

With the demise of the Soviet Union, the number of VDV divisions has shrunk from seven to four, as well as four brigades and the brigade-sized training center.[32] In October 2013, Shamanov announced that a new air assault brigade would be formed in Voronezh in 2016 with the number of the 345th Separate Guards Airborne Regiment.[33] The establishment of the brigade was postponed to 2017–18, according to a June 2015 announcement.[34] It was announced in July 2015 that plans called for the 31st Airborne Brigade to be expanded into the 104th Guards Airborne Division by 2023,[35] and for an additional airborne regiment to be attached to each division.[36]

 
Russian paratroopers during an exercise in Kazakhstan in 2006
 
Paratroopers of the 83rd Airborne Brigade preparing for jump drills in 2017

On July 30, 2015, the Airborne Forces Commander-in-Chief announced that there were plans to reform the 104th Guards Airborne Division from the 31st Guards Airborne Brigade in Ulyanovsk.[36][citation needed]

The 11th Air Assault Brigade in the Central Military District (formerly the Siberian Military District) and the 56th Air Assault Brigade in the Southern Military District (formerly the North Caucasus Military District) were partially infantry formations reporting directly to the military districts they are stationed in.[38] The VDV's training institute is the Ryazan Institute for the Airborne Forces named for General of the Army V.F. Margelov.[39] In addition, in the mid-late 1990s, the former 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment was stationed in Gudauta, Abkhazia AR, Georgia. It later became the 10th Independent Peacekeeping Airborne Regiment. The unit was further designated the 50th Military Base.

In the early 1990s, General Pavel Grachev, the first Russian Defence Minister, planned for the VDV to form the core of the planned Mobile Forces. This was announced in Krasnaya Zvezda, the Ministry of Defence's daily newspaper, in July 1992. However, the Mobile Forces plan never eventuated. The number of formations available for the force was far less than anticipated, since much of the Airborne Forces had been 'nationalised' by the republics their units had been previously based in, and other arms of service, such as the GRU and Military Transport Aviation, who were to provide the airlift component, were adamantly opposed to ceding control of their forces.[40]

From 1996 the VDV dispatched the 1st Separate Airborne Brigade to Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of IFOR's Multi-National Division North. The brigade, unusually, used Russian Ground Forces equipment such as BTR-80s.

After an experimental period, the 104th Parachute Regiment of 76th Airborne Division became the first Russian Ground Forces regiment that was fully composed of professional soldiers (and not of srochniki – conscripted soldiers aged eighteen). It was announced that the 98th Airborne Division is also earmarked for contract manning, and by September 2006, it was confirmed that 95% of the units of the 98th Division had shifted to contract manning.[41]

 
Older sleeve ensign version of a Russian Airborne field uniform

The VDV divisions are equipped with armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and anti-aircraft guns, trucks and jeeps.[citation needed] Thus VDV units possess superior mobility and firepower with these vehicles. Each division has both regiments equipped with them and their derivatives. (Each division used to have three regiments, but the 106th was the last, and lost its third regiment in 2006.) With the reduction in forces after 1991, the 61st Air Army, Russia's military air transport force, has enough operational heavy transport aircraft to move one airborne division, manned at peacetime standards, in two-and-a-half lifts.[42] The single independent brigade, the 31st at Ulyanovsk, however, is not equipped with its own armor or artillery and may be equivalent to Western airborne troops, in that it functions as light infantry and must walk when reaching their destination. The 31st was the former 104th Guards Airborne Division.

VDV troops participated in the rapid deployment of Russian forces stationed in Bosnian city Ugljevik, in and around Pristina Airport during the Kosovo War. They also were deployed in Chechnya as an active bridgehead for other forces to follow.

Russian airborne troops had their own holiday during the Soviet era, which continues to be celebrated on 2 August. Their most emblematic mark of distinction is a blue beret. VDV soldiers are often called "blue berets". Each year, current and former paratroopers, often in an inebriated state, celebrate by meeting up and wandering city streets and parks. The day is notorious for two common sights: paratroopers frolicking in fountains and picking fights with hapless passers-by.[43]

 
President Vladimir Putin at a ceremony unveiling a memorial erected to paratroopers of the 6th Company, 76th Air Assault Division

Notable former Airborne Forces officers include Aleksandr Lebed, who was involved in responses to disorder in the Caucasus republics in the last years of the Soviet Union, and Pavel Grachev who went on to become the first Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation. PRIDE heavyweight mixed martial arts fighter Sergei Kharitonov, went to the Airborne Forces academy in Ryazan', and remains on active duty with the Russian Airborne Forces.

Since 2008, women have been allowed to serve in the VDV, as officers, after finishing studies in the academy.

On 26 May 2009 Lieutenant-General Vladimir Anatolevich Shamanov became the new commander of the VDV, replacing Lieutenant-General Valeriy Yevtukhovich who was being discharged to the reserve. Shamanov was decorated as a Hero of Russia for his combat role in the campaigns in Chechnya. His previous posts are the chief of the combat training directorate and commander of the 58th Army. His most recent post was chief of the main combat training directorate.[44] Shamanov and the acting commander of the 106th Airborne Division were severely injured in a car crash on 30 October 2010, with the driver being killed.[45]

On 28 January 2010, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the VDV's air components had been placed under the VVS.[46]

Under the 2008 reform programme, the four existing two-regiment divisions should have been transformed into 7–8 air-assault brigades. However once General Shamanov became commander-in-chief of the Airborne Forces, it was decided to keep the original structure. The divisions have been beefed up and there are now four independent airborne/air-assault brigades, one for each military district.[47] The 332nd School for Praporshchiks of the VDV (Russian: 332 Школа прапорщиков ВДВ) in Moscow was disbanded in December 2009 (also under the 2008 reform programme, all praporshchik (WO) posts in the Russian Armed Forces have been formally abolished).

In October 2013 it was reported that the three airborne brigades under military district control (seemingly the 11th and 83rd (Ulan-Ude and Ussuriysk) in the Eastern Military District and the 56th at Kamyshin in the Southern Military District) would be returned to VDV command.[48] The process was completed as of July 2015.[49]

Elements of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division's 104th Guards Air Assault Regiment allegedly participating in the War in Donbass.[50] These units allegedly have been used as spearhead forces during the August 2014 DPR and LPR counteroffensive.[51] During the August 2014 counteroffensive, battalion tactical groups of the 7th Guards Airborne Division's 247th Guards Air Assault Regiment, the 98th Guards Airborne Division's 331st Guards Airborne Regiment, the 106th Guards Airborne Division's 137th Guards Airborne Regiment, and the 31st Guards Air Assault Brigade allegedly were sent into Ukraine. Reconnaissance teams from the 45th Detached Reconnaissance Brigade and the 106th's 173rd Guards Separate Reconnaissance Company were previously deployed to Ukraine alongside Ground Forces units.[52]

In February 2016, it was reported that an airborne battalion would be deployed to Dzhankoy, Crimea in 2017–18 on a permanent basis and be upgraded to a regiment in 2020.[53] In May 2017, Shamanov announced that the battalion would be formed at Feodosiya by 1 December 2017 as part of the 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division, and would be expanded into the 97th Air Assault Regiment with three battalions by late 2019.[54] Since the 2014 annexation, the status of Crimea is under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community considers Crimea an integral part of Ukraine, while Russia, on the other hand, considers Crimea an integral part of Russia.[55]

In August 2016, Russian paratroopers placed 1st place in the Airborne Platoon competition during the International Army games in Russia. In the process the Russian paratroopers defeated teams from China, Iran, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.[56]

 
Troops of the 137th Airborne Regiment and the Belarusian 38th Air Assault Brigade in 2018. Belarusian and Russian forces maintain a close working relationship.

On 4 October 2016, Colonel General Andrey Serdyukov was appointed new commander of the Russian Airborne Forces, replacing Shamanov, who became chief of the Duma Committee on Defense.[57]

During 2016, three reconnaissance battalions and six tank companies, and two companies of electronic warfare and unmanned aerial vehicles were formed. 188 new and upgraded armored vehicles were also delivered, with the Russian Airborne Forces equipment level of modern weapons at 47%.[citation needed] From 2015–2016 five intelligence units and six tank units have been formed, over 3,000 new pieces of weaponry and special military equipment were supplied, the number of contract servicemen had grown by 1.5 times, while the troops' training intensity had risen by 20 percent.[citation needed]

The Russian Airborne Forces have received over eleven thousand new and upgraded weapons in 2017. The share of modern armaments and hardware comprises 62 percent. In two years four battalion sets of 120 BMD-4M and BTR-MDM Rakushka vehicles were supplied. Besides that, the force received over 100 upgraded weapons, including 2S9-1M self-propelled guns. From 2015–2017 the air defense units received close to 500 modern automated reconnaissance and command complexes, new Verba portable missiles, and over 30 upgraded Strela-10MN missile complexes. On December 1, 2017, the organizational events to create a separate airborne assault battalion in Novorosiisk mountain division deployed in Feodosiya and a separate repairs and maintenance battalion in the Moscow region have been completed. Contracted servicemen comprise over 70 percent of the troops. Barnaul-T R&D produced a planning module paradropped to airborne units to simultaneously track a hundred of air objects and a paradroppable reconnaissance and command module to detect targets in a 40-km range which is deployed in five minutes.[58] State tests of a new Bakhcha-U-PDS parachute platform for the BMD-4M and BTR-MDM vehicles were completed in May 2018.[59] Deliveries of new ‘heavy drop’ systems PBS-950U and PBS-955 began in 2020.[60] In 2019, two battalion sets of BMD-4M airborne combat vehicles and BTR-MDM Rakushka armored personnel carriers, more than 200 units of various automotive equipment, including special armored vehicles, army snowmobiles, four-wheelers and buggies and more than 9 thousand parachute systems D-10 and "Arbalet-2" were delivered to the troops.[61]

 
Personnel of the Airborne Forces (with its commander Andrey Serdyukov in the center) in front of Spasskaya Bashnya on Paratroopers' Day in 2020.

In April 2020, military personnel from the Russian Airborne Forces, performed the world's first HALO paradrop from the lower border of the Arctic stratosphere. The Russian commando group used "next-generation special-purpose parachute system", military tested oxygen equipment, navigation devices, special equipment, and uniforms. This was the first high-altitude landing in the Arctic latitudes over 10km in the history of Russian aviation. The crews of Il-76 aircraft landed at the northernmost airfield of the country on the island of Franz Josef Land. As part of its mission in the Arctic region, the aircrew provided landing of airborne units from altitudes of 10 and 1.8 thousand meters, as well as landing of cargo with a total weight of about 18 tons. After conducting practical combat training, the Il-76 aircrews landed at the Nagurskoe airfield in the northern part of the island of Franz Josef Land. The high-altitude landing was dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic war of 1941-1945 and the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Airborne troops.[62][63]

In 2020, the VDV continued to modernize and re-equip its command posts, started to receive the Stayer high-altitude parachute system which enables airdrops from up to 10 km altitude and completed receiving special purpose controllable parachute systems.[64][65][66][67]

Armament and equipmentEdit

Former sleeve badge of the Russian Airborne Forces
Current sleeve badge of the Russian Airborne Forces

Personal firearms and crew served weapons include:[citation needed]

  • AK-74M (including upgraded variants with the KM-AK Obves modernization kit)[68] and AKS-74 assault rifles, and AKS-74U special purpose and self-defence carbine (5.45×39mm)
  • AK-12 assault rifles (5.45×39mm)[69]
  • RPK-74, light weight machinegun (5.45×39mm), now largely withdrawn from service and replaced by the PKM/PKP
  • PKM, general purpose machinegun (7.62×54mmR)
  • 6P41 "Pecheneg" (PKP) general purpose machine gun (7.62×54mmR), currently replacing the PKM as the general purpose machine gun throughout the Russian Armed Forces
  • Dragunov SVDS, sniper rifle (7.62×54mmR)
  • Dragunov SVU, modified SVD in bullpup configuration and its variants are in limited use
  • SV-98, main sniper rifle (7.62×54mmR)[70]
  • ASVK-M Kord-M anti-materiel sniper rifle (12.7×108mm)[60]
  • VSS Vintorez, silenced sniper rifle (9×39mm)
  • AS Val special assault rifle[71]
  • MP-443 Grach, semi-automatic pistol (9×19mm Parabellum)
  • Makarov, semi-automatic pistol (9x18mm Mak) & Glock 17, semi-automatic pistol (9x19 Parabellum)
  • GP-25, GP-30 and GP-34, under-barrel 40 mm grenade launchers for fragmentation and gas grenades
  • AGS-17 Plamya (Flame), 30 mm automatic grenade launcher
  • RPO-A Shmel (Bumblebee), infantry rocket flamethrower, currently replacing the older RPO Rys (Lynx)
  • RPG-7D anti-tank rocket launcher, or more modern systems such as the RPG-22 and RPG-26
  • 2B14 Podnos 82 mm mortar or the 120 mm 2S12 Sani on UAZ vehicles
  • 9K38 Igla man-portable SAM system, or the more modern 9K338 Igla-S
  • 9K333 Verba man-portable SAM system, currently entering service[72][73]
  • 9K111 Fagot, 9K115 Metis[74] and 9M133 Kornet[75] man-portable anti-tank systems

VDV are fully equipped with Barmica and Ratnik infantry combat suits as of 2018.[76][77][78] Andromeda-D, Barnaul-T and Dozor automated control systems, AS-1 snowmobiles, four wheelers, a specially-created uniform for hot climates and Nanuk Arctic gear, reconnaissance-control and planning modules and the REX-1 counter-unmanned aerial vehicle rifle-like, man-portable jammer developed by Kalashnikov Group subsidiary ZALA Aero Group are also being introduced into service.[79][80][81][82][83][84][85][60] Portable versions of the Garmony air defence radar, modernized reconnaissance and artillery fire control posts and Aistyonok and Sobolyatnik radars are being supplied to the VDV.[86][87] The Russian Airborne Forces have also received new military binoculars.[citation needed]

Armoured vehiclesEdit

Unlike the rest of the mechanized units, which use a variety of APCs and IFVs such as the BMP series, BTR series, and MT-LB, the VDV uses exclusively BMD family vehicles. There are over 1,800 armored fighting vehicles, mostly BMD-1 (since 1969), of which all but around 100 are in storage,[88] and at least several hundred BMD-2 (since 1985). There are also over 100 BMD-3 (1990) that were partially upgraded to BMD-4 level. All of them are amphibious, moving at around 10 km/h in water. The BMD-4 is also capable of full, continuous fire while in deep water, unlike any other vehicle with such heavy weaponry (100 mm gun and 30 mm auto cannon). However, some units (such as those who served on peacekeeping duties in the Balkans) are known to have used BTR armored personnel carriers rather than BMD's. T-72B3 tanks supplied to the Russian Airborne Forces in 2018 have been upgraded and are equipped with Andromeda automatic control system.[89] As of 2021, the Russian Airborne Forces have 150 T-72B3 and 10 T-72B3 mod. 2016.

There is also a turret-less variant of the BMD-1, the BTR-D, which is used as troop carrier and serves as the basis for specialised versions such as anti-tank, command and signals. The BTR-D will be partially replaced by the new multi-purpose APC BTR-MD "Rakushka" that will also come in several different versions. Approximately 280 vehicles in all BTR-D configurations are in service.[90] As part of the 2011 state defence order (GOZ), 10 BMD-4M and 10 "Rakushka's" have been ordered, but according to the VDV's CinC General Colonel Shamanov, Kurganmashzavod did not give a guarantee it would produce them.[91] The Russian Defense Ministry adopted the BMD-4M in early December 2012. They are planning to receive 10 BMD-4M vehicles and 10 BTR-MD vehicles for final testing by mid-2013, with commissioning by the end of 2013. The Russian Airborne plans to acquire 1,000 BMD-4Ms through 2020.[92] The first production batch of the new armored vehicles BMD-4M and BTR-MDM "Shell" in the amount of 24 units (12 each) transferred to the Russian Airborne Forces in 2015.[93] VDV equipped first regiment with BMD-4Ms and BTR-MDMs in 2016.[94] In 2017, they received two battalion sets of BMD-4M combat airborne vehicles and BTR-MDM APCs, over 80 Rys’ and UAZ Pickup armored automobiles.[95]

 
The new BMD-4M
 
The new BTR-MDM "Shell"

Russian airborne brigade-level units have received SPM-2 GAZ-233036 Tigr armored cars. They have also ordered Kamaz Typhoon armored infantry transports, following modifications to meet the demands of the airborne troops and accepted them for supply in August 2021. The Russian Airborne Forces have received about 100 Tigr and Rys special armored vehicles, 200 Snegohod A-1 snow-going and AM-1 all-terrain vehicles, UAZ Patriot light motor vehicles, Toros 4x4 armored vehicles and Kamaz trucks that can be air-dropped.[96][97][98][99] VDV currently receives Berkyt protected snowmobiles for personnel transportation and fire support in arctic conditions.[100][101] Infauna and Leer-2 EW systems alongside Aileron-3SV UAVs and P-230T command vehicles are also received.[102][103] The RKhM-6 chemical reconnaissance vehicle based on the BTR-80 armored personnel carrier, the BTR-D airborne assault armored personnel carrier with a ZU-23 anti-aircraft gun and the R-149MA1 and the R-142DA command and staff vehicles were demonstrated in August 2021.[104]

On 1 August 2013, it was reported that the Russian Airborne Forces will develop a hybrid combat vehicle that combines features of an airborne infantry fighting vehicle and a helicopter. To meet the demands of future armed conflicts, a combat module that combines a light combat vehicle and an attack helicopter is being considered, with a crew of three-four people. The vehicle will be developed for the VDV by 2030.[105]

ArtilleryEdit

The airborne self-propelled artillery guns ASU-57 and ASU-85 have been withdrawn. They had light armour and limited anti-tank capability, but provided invaluable fire support for paratroopers behind enemy lines (the caliber of the gun in mm is the number next to the ASU designation).

Also withdrawn were the multiple rocket launch systems RPU-14 (8U38) of 140 mm and the BM-21V "Grad-V" (9P125) of 122 mm on GAZ-66, as well as the 85 mm gun SD-44.

Today the VDV operates the following systems:

  • 2S9 Nona and modernized 2S9M[106] 120 mm self-propelled gun-mortar. Currently being replaced by the 2B23 Nona-M1 120 mm towed mortar and 2S31 Vena 120 mm self-propelled gun-mortar/2S12A modernized 120 mm self-propelled mortar[107][108][109][110]
  • 2S25 Sprut-SD 125 mm self-propelled artillery/anti-tank gun based on BMD-3 hull
  • D-30 (2A18) 122 mm howitzer and anti-tank weapon, towed by truck, not amphibious, able to make 360 degree turns as it is deployed on a tripod
  • ZU-23-2 23 mm air-defence gun, is either mounted on the BTR-D, or can be towed by a jeep or truck as it has wheels. Since 2011, some ZU-23s are being replaced by the Strela-10M3/MN and since 2016 by the newest versions of the Buk missile system.[111][112]
  • 2S36 Zauralets-D – future 120 mm self-propelled gun-howitzer based on the BMD-4[113]
  • 2S37 – future 152 mm self-propelled gun-howitzer based on the BMD-4[113]

The VDV is equipped with numerous types of airborne capable trucks and jeeps, for example the Ural-4320, the GAZ-66V and the GAZ-2975 "Tigr" for transporting cargo, specialist crews and equipment (e.g. mortars, ammunitions), but not infantry (all fighting paratroopers are transported in armoured vehicles). Currently, the GAZ-66 is being replaced by the KamAZ-43501.[111][114]

UAVsEdit

 
A Granat-4 UAV of the 56th Separate Guards Air Assault Brigade
  • Compact recon complex "Iskatel" (The Seeker) with 2 UAVs[115]
  • UAV complex Orlan-10[116]
  • UAV complex Granat[117]
  • UAV complex Takhion[118]

Training establishmentsEdit

HigherEdit

Junior and commandEdit

CadetEdit

Ranks and rank insigniaEdit

Officer ranks
Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
  Russian Airborne Forces
No equivalent                        
Army general
генера́л а́рмии
Colonel general
генера́л-полко́вник
Lieutenant general
генера́л-лейтена́нт
Major general
генера́л-майо́р
Colonel
полко́вник
Lieutenant colonel
подполко́вник
Major
майо́р
Captain
капита́н
Senior lieutenant
ста́рший лейтена́нт
Lieutenant
лейтена́нт
Junior lieutenant
мла́дший лейтена́нт
Cadet
Курсант
Other ranks
Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
  Russian Airborne Forces
               
Senior warrant officer
Ста́рший пра́порщик
Warrant officer
Пра́порщик
Master sergeant
Старшина́
Senior sergeant
Ста́рший сержа́нт
Sergeant
Сержа́нт
Junior sergeant
Мла́дший сержа́нт
Corporal
Ефре́йтор
Private
Рядово́й

TraditionsEdit

SymbolsEdit

Service marchEdit

The service march of the airborne forces is We Need One Victory, also known as Our 10th Parachute Battalion.[119] It was made by poet Bulat Okudzhava, written for the feature film Belorussian Station by Andrei Smirnov (1970). It was later adapted by Alfred Schnittke to be performed as a march to be played at the Moscow Victory Day Parade on Victory Day (9 May).

The official lyrics are as follows:[120]

Здесь птицы не поют
Деревья не растут
И только мы, к плечу плечо
Врастаем в землю тут

Горит и кружится планета
Над нашей Родиною дым
И значит, нам нужна одна победа
Одна на всех - мы за ценой не постоим
Одна на всех - мы за ценой не постоим

Припев:
Нас ждет огонь смертельный
И все ж бессилен он
Сомненья прочь, уходит в ночь отдельный
Десятый наш десантный батальон
Десятый наш десантный батальон

Лишь только бой угас
Звучит другой приказ
И почтальон сойдет с ума
Разыскивая нас

Взлетает красная ракета
Бьет пулемет неутомим
И значит нам нужна одна победа
Одна на всех - мы за ценой не постоим
Одна на всех - мы за ценой не постоим

(Припев)

От Курска и Орла
Война нас довела
До самых вражеских ворот
Такие, брат, дела

Когда-нибудь мы вспомним это
И не поверится самим
А нынче нам нужна одна победа
Одна на всех - мы за ценой не постоим
Одна на всех - мы за ценой не постоим

(Припев)

Here birds do not sing
Trees do not grow
And only we, shoulder to shoulder
Grow into the ground here

The planet is burning and spinning
Over our Motherland now smoking
And that means we need one victory
One for all - we will not stand for the price
One for all - we will not stand for the price

Chorus:
Lethal fire awaits us
And yet he is powerless
Undoubtful, he leaves separate in the night
Our 10th airborne battalion
Our 10th airborne battalion

As soon as the battle died down
Another order sounds
And the postman will go crazy
Looking for us

A red rocket launching above
Beats a machine gun tirelessly
And that means we need one victory
One for all - we will not stand the price
One for all - we will not stand for the price

(Chorus)

From Kursk and Orel
The war brought us
to the very enemy gates
Such, brother, things

Someday we will remember this
And we will not believe it ourselves
And now we need one victory
One for all - we will not stand the price
One for all - we will not stand for the price

(Chorus)

Paratroopers' Day celebrationsEdit

On Airborne Forces Day in many Russian cities, it is customary to turn off the fountains and hold veteran reunions near those fountains.[121]

BandsEdit

 
The combined band

The Combined Military Band of the Airborne Forces is an integral part of all the solemn events of the Airborne Forces. Every year, the band's personnel take part in the Victory Parade on Red Square, as well as the opening ceremony of the International Army Games. In the ranks of the combined band are musicians of the military bands of the airborne and assault formations of the Airborne Forces. There are six other military bands in the airborne forces.[122] The Song and Dance Ensemble of the Airborne Forces is the theatrical troupe of the VDV. It began its creative activity in 1937, as the Red Army Song and Dance Ensemble of the Kiev Military District, numbering only 18 people. On 3 May 1945, three days after the signing of the German armistice, the ensemble gave a concert on the steps of the destroyed Reichstag. During the Cold War, the unit was known as the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. During this time, it had participated in concerts in the cities of East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. It gained its current status in 1994. The Song and Dance Ensemble also contains the Blue Berets musical group.[123]

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^   Soviet Union
    (1930–1991)
      CIS (1991–1992)

ReferencesEdit

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SourcesEdit

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External linksEdit