Soviet Border Troops

The Karpov frontier post
Former Soviet Border Guard observation post in Estonia

Soviet Border Troops (Russian: Пограничные войска СССР, Pograníchnyye Voiská SSSR) were the militarized border guard of the Soviet Union, subordinated to its subsequently reorganized state security agency: first to Cheka/OGPU, then to NKVD/MGB and, finally, to KGB. Accordingly, they were known as NKVD Border Troops and KGB Border Troops (with Russian abbreviations – НКВД СССР/- КГБ СССР added on the end of official names). Unlike border guards of many other countries, Soviet Border Troops also included the maritime border guarding units (i.e., a coast guard).

The mission of the Border Troops included repulsing armed incursions into Soviet territory; preventing illegal crossings of the border or the transport of weapons, explosives, contraband or subversive literature across the border; monitoring the observance of established procedures at border crossing points; monitoring the observance by Soviet and foreign ships of navigation procedures in Soviet territorial waters; and assisting state agencies in the preservation of natural resources and the protection of the environment from pollution. Border guards were authorized to examine documents and possessions of persons crossing the borders and to confiscate articles; to conduct inquiries in cases of violations of the state border; and to take such actions as arrest, search and interrogation of individuals suspected of border violations.

They became the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation on December 30, 1993.

HistoryEdit

In 1934, under the NKVD, Border Troops were immediately subordinated to the GUPVO (abbreviated "Chief Directorate of Border and Internal Guard"). In 1939 they were reorganized into the GUPV ("Chief Directorate of Border Troops").

NKVD Border Troops consisted of infantry, cavalry, reconnaissance, naval and airforce units.

Since the 1920s, the distinctive part of Soviet Border Troops uniform was the medium-green colored parts of headwear and insignia (Russian Empire's Separate Corps of the Border Guard has it distinction since 1893). The color is also present on a maritime Border Troops ensign.

World War IIEdit

After the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the Border Troops assisted the pacification of the newly acquired Soviet territory adjoining the state border. The mass execution of Romanian civilians known as the Fântâna Albă massacre happened at this time.

Border Troops units on the western USSR frontier saw particularly fierce combat in the first weeks of the German invasion of the USSR (June–July 1941). They bore the brunt of the initial German assault, and due to this, suffered high casualty rates. Border Troop servicemen were among the defenders of the Brest Fortress.

On June 22, 1941, border guards of the NKVD of the BSSR entered into battle with the forces of Nazi Germany, which began the war with the USSR. For the courage and heroism shown in the battles for Belarus, thousands of border guards were awarded orders and medals, and 66 became Heroes of the Soviet Union, including six Belarus border guards.

The first border battles of June 22–23 were extremely fierce. The border guards had to fight with superior enemy forces, which possessed absolute superiority in military equipment, but not a single outpost departed without an order. The newspaper Pravda on the third day of the war, June 24, 1941, wrote: “Like lions, the Soviet border guards fought, taking the first sudden blow of a vile enemy. Chekist fighters have covered themselves with immortal glory. They fought hand-to-hand, and only through their dead bodies could the enemy advance an inch”. Georgy Zhukov said: “I do not believe in gods, but if they exist, then they are border guards. They performed a miracle”.

Defenders of the Brest Fortress covered themselves with unfading glory, where the personnel of the 17th (Brest) detachment fought together with the soldiers of the Red Army.

The feat of the border guards of the 9th outpost under the command of Lieutenant Kizhevatov A.M. The 3rd outpost of the 86th Augustovski Detachment (Russian: 86-й Августовский пограничный отряд), commanded by Lieutenant Usov was also involved in heavy fighting for nine hours. Three artillery attacks and seven violent attacks were repelled by border guards. And only when the Soviet soldiers ran of armory, the Nazis were able to capture the trenches. In the last hand-to-hand fight, Lieutenant Usov was also killed.

Border troops from other parts of the Soviet border were also involved in the fighting of the war. Notably, the 105th, 157th, and 333rd Border Troops regiments (operating like regular army units) took part in the Battle for Berlin in 1945.

During and after the war, 150 border guards were awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union and over 13,000 of them were decorated with different orders and medals.

Post-War historyEdit

 
KGB Border Troops wearing the Spetsodezhda at the Khorgos Soviet-Chinese frontier post
 
Ploughed trace-control strip with a security electric fence KS-185

In wartime, the Border Troops would become a frontline combat service. The Border Troops also saw combat in 1969 in border clashes with Chinese soldiers on islands in the Ussuri River.

After the formation of the KGB, Soviet Border Troops became subordinated to this agency and remained so until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. As such, the Troops were concentrating on the tasks of preventing espionage infiltrations. The Border Guards were involved in the Soviet–Afghan War and a number of them were even awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union for their bravery during these conflicts.

The Soviet border was the longest in the world and it comprised harsh terrain and climates; accordingly the Border Troops employed significant manpower, intensive maritime presence, and a dense and sophisticated system of field engineering devices. The most notable in that system was the trace-control strip (Russian: контрольно-следовая полоса) - a primitive labour-demanding method making surface crossing virtually impossible.[citation needed]

The Border Troops consisted of conscripts drafted by the same system as for the Soviet Army, and a small number of professional enlistees. Officers were trained in specialized academies. Both conscripts and officer candidates for Border Troops were carefully selected and checked by the KGB. This made service in the troops privileged.

Commanders of the Soviet Border GuardsEdit

Legal authorityEdit

 
KGB border Troops dog in training exercise

The legal status, duties, and rights of the Border Troops were set forth in the Law on the State Border, confirmed by the Supreme Soviet on November 24, 1982. Article 28 defined the basic duties of the Border Troops. Their duties included repulsing armed incursions into Soviet territory; preventing illegal crossings of the border or the transport of weapons, explosives, contraband, or subversive literature across the border; monitoring the observance of established procedures at border crossing points; monitoring the observance by Soviet and foreign ships of navigation procedures in Soviet territorial waters; and assisting state agencies in the preservation of natural resources and the protection of the environment from pollution. Border guards were authorized to examine documents and possessions of persons crossing the borders and to confiscate articles; to conduct inquiries in cases of violations of the state border; and to take such actions as arrest, search, and interrogation of individuals suspected of border violations.

StructureEdit

The Border Troops strength was estimated in 1989 to be in the range of 230,000 men. Although under the operational authority of the KGB, the Border Troops were conscripted as part of the biannual call-up of the Ministry of Defense, and their induction and discharge were regulated by the 1967 Law on Universal Military Service, which covered all armed forces of the Soviet Union.[1]

On top of the Border Troops stood the Main Directorate of the Border Troops (MDBT, Russian: Главное управление пограничных войск), which played a role similar to that of the General Staff for the armed forces. The Main Directorate was subordinated to the First Deputy Chairman of the KGB (the second highest ranking official in the Committee). The Commander of the Border Troops normally held the rank of Lieutenant general when he took over the position and later was promoted to Colonel general. Out of the three officers who commanded the troops the second one (Vadim Alexandrovich Matrosov) has reached the rank of Army general at that position. The Commander had several Lieutenant generals and Major generals as his deputies. The Main Directorate administered approximately nine border districts (pogranichnye okruga), which covered the nearly 63,000 kilometers of the state border and additional smaller formations and independent units. Border district boundaries were distinct from civil or military district boundaries.[2] At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Border Troops included the following operational forces:

Main Directorate of the Border TroopsEdit

Main Directorate of the Border TroopsEdit

Main Directorate of the Border Troops (Главное управление пограничных войск)

Under the Main Directorate was the

Border Troops StaffEdit

Border Troops Staff (Штаб пограничных войск)

  • Chief of Staff / 1st Deputy Commander of the Border Troops - Lieutenant general
  • 1st Directorate (Operations) (1-е Управление (оперативное)) - Major general / Lieutenant general
  • Directorate of Organization and Mobilization (Организационно-мобилизационное управление) - Major general
  • 3rd Department (Signals and Warning Systems) (3-й отдел (связи и сигнализации) - Major general
  • Department of Information and Analysis (Информационно-аналитический отдел) - Major general
  • Directorate of Border-crossing Checkpoints (Управление КПП) - Major general
  • Department of Programs in Planning (Отдел программ планирования) - Major general

Directly subordinated to the MDBTEdit

Border DistrictsEdit

The Border Districts were combined arms formations of the KGB, which included border guards similar to motor-rifle infantry, border crossings and their organic aviation units (air regiments, squadrons and flights), signals (battalions and companies), combat engineers, construction engineers (battalions and companies), medical, repair and supply units. The districts bordering oceans and seas also included brigades of guard ships (сторожевые корабли (СКР) - patrol frigates, corvettes and boats, which next to their patrol tasks also had substantial anti-submarine role). The personnel of the Naval Service within the Border Troops held navy style ranks. The Chief of the Naval Directorate within the Main Directorate of the Border Troops was the highest ranking officer in the service with the rank of Rear admiral / Vice admiral. The Maritime Border Troops of the Russian Border Troops (Ru:Морские части Пограничных Войск КГБ СССР) operated within the twelve-mile limit of Soviet territorial waters. It was equipped with frigates and corvettes, fast patrol boats, hydrofoils, helicopters, and light aircraft.[3] In 1991 the Border Troops numbered ten Border Districts (singular: Пограничный округ, abbr. ПО):[4]

Note: The border districts and their subordinated formations are listed clockwise, starting with the easternmost area of the Soviet Union.

Northeastern Border DistrictEdit

The Northeastern Border District (Russian: Северо-Восточный пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It guarded the easternmost territories of the Soviet Union from Wrangel Island and Mys Shmidta on the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait, the coastline of the Chukotka and Kamchatka Peninsulas to the island of Simushir, where it met the Pacific Border District's AOR. The security of the Sea of Okhotsk was also within the tasks of the NEBD and from Simushir its AOR ran in a strait line to the northern tip of Sakhalin and from there it continued to the mainland and the village of Ayan, Russia.

Land units:

Naval units:

  • 1st Red Banner Division of Border Guard Ships (1-я КДПСКР) — Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
    • 1st Brigade of Border Guard Ships (1-я БрПСКР)
    • 2nd Brigade of Border Guard Ships (2-я БрПСКР)
    • Supply Ships Battalion (ДнКО) (some sources list the battalion ('divizyon' (дивизион)) as a unit of the 1st Brigade)

Air units:

Red Banner Pacific Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Pacific Border District (Russian: Краснознамённый Тихоокеанский пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Vladivostok. It guarded the coastline of the larger southern Kuril Islands from Simushir to Kunashir, through the southern tip of Sakhalin it reached the Asian mainland at the border between the Khabarovsk Krai and Primorsky Krai. From there the district's AOR followed the coastline, the border with North Korea and the border with China to the place where the territory of the Primorsky Krai met the territory of the Khabarovsk Krai and the AOR of the Red Banner Far Eastern Border District.

Land units:

Naval units:

Air units:

Red Banner Far Eastern Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Far Eastern Border District (Russian: Краснознамённый Дальневосточный пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Khabarovsk. It guarded the Chinese border in the Amur Oblast from the Primorsky Krai to the Zabaykalsky Krai where it met the AOR of the Red Banner Trans-Baikal Border District.

Land units:

Naval units:

  • 14th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (14-я ОБрПСКР) — Kazakevichevo, Khabarovsk Krai [river patrol]
  • 13th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (13-я ОБрПСКР) — Leninskoye, Jewish Autonomous Oblast [river patrol]
  • 12th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (12-я ОБрПСКР) — Blagoveshchensk [river patrol]
  • 11th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (11-я ОБрПСКР) — Dzhalinda [river patrol]

Air units:

Red Banner Trans-Baikal Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Trans-Baikal Border District (Russian: Краснознамённый Забайкальский пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Chita, Zabaykalsky Krai. It guarded the eastern part of the Soviet-Chinese border from the Amur Oblast to Mongolia and the Mongol-Soviet border. At the Chinese-Mongol-Soviet border three-point in the Gorno-Altai Autonomous Oblast near Khüiten Peak its AOR met the AOR of the Red Banner Eastern Border District.

Land units:

Naval units:

  • mostly land border, no naval units

Air units:

Red Banner Eastern Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Eastern Border District (Russian: Краснознамённый Восточный пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Almaty. It guarded the western part of the Chinese-Soviet border and a small section of the Afghan-Soviet border along the Wakhan District, after which began the AOR of the Red Banner Central Asian Border District.

Land units:

Naval units:

  • mostly land border, no naval units

Air units:

  • 10th Separate Aviation Regiment (10-й ОАП) — Almaty – Burunday Airfield
  • 22nd Separate Aviation Squadron (22-я ОАЭ) — Usharal Airfield
Red Banner Central Asian Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Central Asian Border District (Russian: Краснознамённый Среднеазиатский пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Ashgabad. It guarded the Afghan-Soviet (without the strip along the Wakhan District) and the Iranian-Soviet border. The sea border of the district extended halfway along the southern line of Soviet territorial waters in the Caspian Sea until it met the AOR of the Red Banner Trans-Caucasus Border District.

Land units:

Naval units:

  • 22nd Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (22-я ОБрПСКР) — Termez, Uzbek SSR [river patrol]
  • 46th Separate Battalion of Border Guard Ships (46-й ОДнПСКР) — Krasnovodsk, Turkmen SSR

Air units:

Red Banner Trans-Caucasus Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Trans-Caucasus Border District (Russian: Краснознамённый Закавказский пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Tbilisi. It guarded the western half of the Caspian Sea section of the Iranian-Soviet border, the western Iranian-Soviet land border, the Turkish-Soviet border and the Black Sea coastline from the Turkish border to the Kerch Strait, where the Red Banner Western Border District took over.

Land units:

Naval units:

  • 6th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (6-я ОБрПСКР) — Ochamchire, Georgian SSR
  • 17th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (17-я ОБрПСКР) — Baku, Azeri SSR
  • 21st Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (21-я ОБрПСКР) — Poti, Georgian SSR

Air units:

Red Banner Western Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Western Border District (Russian: Краснознамённый Западный пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Kiev. It guarded the Black Sea coastline to the west of the Kerch Strait, the borders with Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the Ukrainian and Belarussian sections of the Polish-Soviet border. To the north began the AOR of the Red Banner Baltic Border District.

Land units:

Naval units:

Air units:

Red Banner Baltic Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Baltic Border District (Russian: Краснознамённый Прибалтийский пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Riga. It guarded the Lithuanian and Kaliningrad sections of the Polish-Soviet border and the Kaliningrad, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian sections of the Baltic Sea Soviet coastline.

Red Banner Northwestern Border DistrictEdit

The Red Banner Northwestern Border District (Краснознамённый Северо-Западный пограничный округ) had its headquarters in Leningrad. It guarded the Russian section of the Baltic coastline, the Finnish-Soviet border, the Barents Sea, White Sea and the Kanin Peninsula coastline.

Separate Border DetachmentsEdit

The main forces of a border district were organised in formations called Border Detachments (singular: Пограничный отряд, abbr. ПОГО). These formations roughly corresponded to separate motor-rifle brigades in the Soviet Army Ground Forces. However, unlike army motor-rifle brigades, which were commanded by Major-generals, the Border Detachments were commanded by Colonels. Four of the border detachments were separate from the districts and reported directly to the Main Directorate:

  • 4th Arkhangelsk Border Detachment (4-й Архангельский ПОГО)
  • Separate Arctic Border Detachment (Отдельный Арктический ПОГО)
  • The Separate Arctic Border Detachment (Russian: Отдельный Арктический пограничный отряд) had its headquarters in Vorkuta. The district did not have naval units. It had border outposts from Kolguyev Island to Mys Shmidta and a separate arctic aviation regiment.
  • Separate Detachment for Border Control "Moscow" (Отдельный отряд пограничного контроля «Москва») - The detachment carried out border control duties at the major Moscow airports - 12 border control sections operated at Sheremetyevo-2 Airport and one section each at Sheremetyevo-1 Airport cargo terminal, Vnukovo Airport, Domodedovo Airport and Chkalovsky Airport.
  • 105th Separate Red Banner Detachment Spetsnaz (105-й отдельный Краснознаменный отряд СпН) - The detachment was previously the sole Regiment of the Border Troops, legacy from the time when it belonged to the Soviet Ministry of the Interior. It consisted of one battalion, four separate companies and assorted support units and carried out security tasks at the Soviet embassy in East Germany, the main HQ of the KGB in East Germany and several field offices spread across the country. In 1989 the regiment was upgraded to a border detachment. With this its battalion was upgraded to a Motor-Maneuver Group (мото-маневренная группа) and the companies were upgraded to Border Outposts (singular: застава) in line with KGB Border Troops nomenclature.

Combined Arms troopsEdit

In times when the border troops were facing increased external threat or actual local conflict, they were reinforced with conventional units from the Soviet Ground Forces, which were directly integrated in their structure. Such example were tank and artillery battalions during the period of increased hostility during and immediately after the Sino-Soviet border conflict. In the final years of the USSR due to the mounting instability in the Caucasus region the Border Troops took over from the Armed Forces:

District forcesEdit

The main forces of the border districts were the Border Detachments (Russian: Пограничный отряд, abbr. ПОГО (singular)). Each detachment covered a specific section of the border and had a Colonel as its commanding officer. The territorial waters were patrolled by brigades of guard ships (Russian: Бригада сторожевых кораблей, abbr. БСКР (singular)) and were commanded by Captains 1st rank. All the guard ship brigades were separate, except for the 1st and the 2nd, which formed the 1st Division of Guard Ships (Russian: 1-я Дивизия сторожевых кораблей) in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, due to the vastness of the assigned area of operations in the Pacific Ocean.

The border detachments consisted of Border Command Posts (or Commandatures) (Russian: Пограничная командатура (singular)), Separate Bordercrossing Control Points (Russian: Отдельный контрольно-пропускной пункт, abbr. ОККП (singular)) and various combat support and combat service support units.[5] A Border Command Post consisted of several Border Outposts and corresponded roughly to a battalion of the armed forces and was therefore commanded by a Lieutenant colonel. The main forces of a BCP accounted several regular Border Outposts (Russian: Пограничная застава, abbr. ПОГЗ (singular)), also informally called Line Border Outposts, as each had a section of the state border assigned to it. In the rear area of the BCP there was also a Reserve Border Outpost acting as the operational reserve of the commander. It had the same structure as the line Border Outposts, but was not permanently deployed at the border. In a situation of increased threat its function was to take over the threatened section of the border, thus becoming a line outpost itself. The equivalent of a BCP in the naval service of the Border Troops was a Battalion of Guard Ships (Russian: Дивизион сторожевых кораблей), commanded by a Captain 2nd rank.

The Border Outpost (Russian: Пограничная застава, abbr. ПОГЗ) was the smallest unit of the Border Troops, which was directly involved in the task of securing the state border. The TO&E called for 41 officers, NCOs, Sergeants and border guards, organised in a staff group, 2 rifle sections, a service canine section and a signals and remote sensoring section. Around the time of the Sino-Soviet border conflict a reinforced TO&E with an additional rifle section (50 men in total) was introduced and later, during the Soviet–Afghan War a new TO&E with a fourth rifle section was introduced, increasing the manpower to 64 men. The border outposts were equal in status to separate combat companies of the Ground Forces, with a Major as the CO.

A specific operational reserve unit was the Motor Maneuver Group (Russian: Мото-маневренная группа (ММГ)). As the name implied, this was a maneuver element, organized similarly to an army motor rifle battalion, with its own infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, mortars and anti-tank weapons. The MMG was a temporary task force fielded by the border detachment by combining personnel from its various units. On an operational deployment an MMG could act both as a classic BCP or as a mechanized warfare unit, the Soviet–Afghan War being the perfect example for this versatility. A typical example for a motor maneuver group was the MMG-1 (AKA the "Transcaucasus", later "Mazar-i-Sharif", later the "Marmoly" MMG) of the Termez Border Detachment, deployed to Afghanistan. It had:[6]

  • command section with one BTR-60 and one UAZ-469
  • 3 border outposts, each consisting of 50 men, including three officers, two Sergeant-Majors and seven Sergeants, further divided into
    • 5 sections with one BTR-60 each
  • mortar battery of 64 men, including five officers and a Sergeant-Major. The battery had one BTR-60 (R-145BM "Chayka" command variant) and fifteen GAZ-66 trucks.
  • 6 mortar sections, each armed with one PM-120 (120-mm) and one BM-82 (82-mm) mortar
  • reconnaissance platoon of 13 men, including one officer and two Sergeants. It had two sections - the first was armed with a BRM-1, the second - with a BTR-60
  • anti-tank platoon of 18 men, including one officer and three Sergeants. The platoon had 4 SPG-9 and 4 GAZ-66 in two sections of two AT teams each.
  • combat engineer platoon of 20 men, including one officer, one Sergeant-Major and five Sergeants. The platoon had BTR-60, ZIL-131, GAZ-66 and heavy engineering machinery divided among two sapper sections and one engineering section
  • signals platoon with two BTR-60s (R-145BM "Chayka" command variant) and an R-140 radio mounted on a ZIL-157
  • medical aid post with a medical officer, a Sergeant-Major and an ambulance driver. Each of the three border outposts and the mortar battery had a paramedic, operationally subordinated to the medical officer
  • logistical platioon of 29 men, including two Sergeant-Majors and three Sergeants. The platoon was subdivided into
    • a supply, a transport and a repair sections

The MMG numbered a total personnel of ca. 300 men. In case the area of operation covered mountainous terrain the border detachments could form heliborne task forces called Air Assault Maneuver Groups (Russian: Десантно-штурмовая маневренная группа, abbr. ДШМГ (singular)). The personnel received parachute and helicopter assault training and adopted Soviet Airborne Forces and Ground Forces Air Assault Troops tactics, weapons and equipment to such an extend, that these units used the traditional VDV patch of two cargo airplanes, a parachute and a red star. These units utilized the organic Mi-8 helicopters of the Border Troops aviation branch. Due to their airborne role and the restricted cargo capacity of their aviation assets (as compared to the mechanized MMGs), these units normally counted ca. 120 men. An example for such a unit is the

AAMG formed by the same Termez Border Detachment for operations in Afghanistan. It had:[7]

  • command section
  • 3 air assault border outposts
  • mortar platoon
  • AGS-17 grenade launcher platoon
  • grenade launcher / flamethrower platoon
  • combat engineer platoon
  • signals platoon

The border area was divided into a border zone, which included the territory of the district and settlements adjacent to the state border, and the border strip, which was approximately two kilometers in depth, running directly along the border. Only permanent residents or those who had obtained special permission from the MVD could enter the border zone. Entry into the border strip was forbidden without special permission from the Border Troops.[8]

Border Troops Naval ServiceEdit

The Border Troops had their own naval assets. They were subordinated administratively to the Sea Directorate of the Border Troops (Морское управление пограничных войск), headed by a Rear admiral / Vice admiral. Operationally the naval units were subordinated to the border districts. The patrol ships of the naval service were much heavier armed than similar-sized ships of coast guards around the world. They lacked the sophisticated anti-air and anti-ship missile systems, but were armed with artillery as heavy as the AK-100 and for their ASW they carried anti-submarine mortars, torpedoes and even anti-submarine missile systems. Soviet and Russian naval classification did not follow Western convention for smaller major surface combatants. While Western navies use classification based on the ship's size (aviso, corvette, frigate, destroyer), the Soviet Navy (and by extension the KGB's naval service) used classification based on the ship's function. Thus the corvette and frigate-sized warships of the Navy and the Naval Service were classified as guard ships (sing. сторожевой корабль, abbreviated SKR (СКР)). To distinguish the ships of the border troops from those of the navy, the former are classified as border guard ships (sing. пограничный сторожевой корабль, abbreviated PSKR (ПСКР)) and to distinguish between the larger and smaller units in their fleet the corvette and frigate-sized units were classified as ships (sing. корабль, abbreviated KR (КР)), while the smaller patrol craft were classified as cutters (sing. катер, abbreviated KA (КА)). The types of ships in the Border Troops fleet included:

  • border guard ship (пограничный сторожевой корабль (ПСКР)) - patrol corvettes and frigates
  • border guard cutter (пограничный сторожевой катер (ПСКА)) - patrol craft
  • border support ship (пограничный корабль обеспечения (ПКО)) - replenishment ships
  • patrol vessel (патрульный суд (ПС)) - fishery patrol ships
  • border ship in special service (пограничный корабль специальной службы (ПКСС)) - corvette / frigate-sized official government yachts
  • border cutter in special service (пограничный катер специальной службы (ПКАСС)) - small guard craft, used for the security of coastal areas of official government sea residences and government yachts

Note: The border districts and their subordinated formations are listed clockwise, starting with the easternmost area of the Soviet Union.

Naval Service fleet:[9]

Northeastern Border District (СВПО) - HQ in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

  • 1st Red Banner Division of Border Guard Ships (1-я КДПСКР) — Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
    • 1st Brigade of Border Guard Ships (1-я БрПСКР)
      • single ship project 52K - PSKR-010 "Purga" (retired on 16.03.1990.)
      • patrol icebreakers of project 97P "Iceberg" - PSKR-161 "Aysberg", PSKR-083 "Dunay"
      • patrol tugboats of project 745P - PSKR-135 "Brest", PSKR-081 "Sakhalin", PSKR-070 "Kamchatka"
    • 2nd Brigade of Border Guard Ships (2-я БрПСКР)
      • patrol frigates of project 11351 - PSKR-097 "Dzerzhinskiy", PSKR-059 "Vorovskiy", PSKR-103 "Kedrov", PSKR-060 "Imeni 70-letiya Pogranvoisk", PSKR-077 "Imeni 70-letiya VChK—KGB"
      • patrol corvettes of project 1124M - PSKR-055 "Bditelniy", PSKR-014 "Bezuprechniy", PSKR-058 "Zorkiy", PSKR-067 "Reshitelniy", PSKR-052 "Smeliy"
      • former navy minesweepers of project 264А[10] - PSKR-035 "Vorovskiy", PSKR-066 "Dzerzhinskiy", PSKR-046 "Menzhinskiy", PSKR-032 "Kirov", PSKR-015 "Kedrov", PSKR-010 "Hokhryakov", PSKR-105 "Starshiy leytenant Lekarev", PSKR-083 "Fyodor Mitrofanov", PSKR-059 "Vasiliy Gromov", PSKR-080 "Malakhit", PSKR- 076 "Korund"
    • Supply Ships Battalion (ДнКО)
      • 3 sealift ships of project 1595 "Pevek"[11] - PKO-063 "Nikolay Sipyagin", PKO-071 "Sergey Sudeyskiy", PKO-016 "Nikolay Starshinov"

Red Banner Pacific Border District (КТПО) - HQ in Vladivostok

  • 8th Awarded the Order of the Red Star Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (8-я ОБрПСКР) — Malokurilskoye, Shikotan, Kuril Islands
    • patrol tugboats of project 745P - "Chukotka", "Neman", "Amur", "Bug"
    • patrol tugboat of project 733 - PSKR-467, PSKR-482
    • patrol boats of project 10410 - PSKR-907, PSKR-908, PSKR-914
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-675, 677, 678, 679, 682, 685, 686, 687, 688, 689, 691,
    • tugboats of project 1496 - 2 units
    • fast patrol boats of project 1408.1 - 3 units
    • liaison boats of project 371U - 1 unit
  • 9th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (9-я ОБрПСКР) — Korsakov, Sakhalin
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-673, 680, 681, 683, 687, 690
  • 19th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (19-я ОБрПСКР) — Nevelsk, Sakhalin
    • patrol tugboats of project 745P - "Забайкалье"
    • patrol boats of project 10410 - PSKR-903 "Holmsk", PSKR-907, PSKR-915 "Nevelsk"
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-672, 674(?), 680, 681, 683, 684, 692, 693, 694
    • tugboats of project 1496 - PSKA-277
  • 16th Sakhalinskaya Red Banner Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (16-я ОБрПСКР) — Nakhodka
    • patrol frigates of project 11351 - PSKR- "Menzhinskiy", "Imeni XXVII Syezda KPSS"
    • patrol tugboats of project 745P - "Приморье"
    • fast patrol craft (corvettes) of project 12412 - PSKR-800 "Беркут", PSKR-801 "Ворон", PSKR-803 "Кондор", PSKR-805 "Коршун", PSKR-807 "Кобчик", PSKR-809 "Кречет", PSKR-812 "Сокол", PSKR-816 "Ястреб", PSKR-818 "Находка" (собственные имена получили в 1996 г.)
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-670, PSKR-674(?), PSKR-676, PSKR-678
    • tugboats of project 1496 - PSKA-580, PSKA-582, PSKA-586, PSKA-587, PSKA-590, PSKA-591, PSKA-592(?), PSKA-594
    • liaison boats of project 371 - 1 unit
    • liaison boats of project 343 - 1 unit
  • 10th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (10-я ОБрПСКР) — Vladivostok
    • ПКО проект 1595 - "Ivan Lednyov", "Mikhail Konovalov", "Vyacheslav Denisov", "Ivan Evteev", "Neon Antonov",
    • ПКО project 1545- PKO- "Ivan Golubets", PKO- "Sovetskiy Pogranichnik"
    • fishery patrol vessels of project 850285  - "Командор", "Хеолуф Бидструп", "Манчжур", "Шкипер Гек"
    • fast patrol boats of project 1400 - PSKA-110
  • 15th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (15-я ОБрПСКР) — Dalnerechensk [river patrol]
    • riverine monitors of project 1249 - PSKR- (used as command ship)
    • riverine monitors of project 1204 - 325
    • liaison boats of project 371 - no less than 9 units

Red Banner Far Eastern Border District (КДПО) - HQ in Khabarovsk

  • 14th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (14-я ОБрПСКР) — Kazakevichevo, Khabarovsk Krai [river patrol]
    • riverine monitors of project 1249 - PSKR-52, PSKR-58 (used as command ship)
    • riverine monitors of project 1248 - PSKR-313, PSKR-314
    • riverine monitors of project 1208 - "им. 60-летия ВЧК", "им. 60-летя Октября", "им 60-летия погранвойск", "Вьюга"
    • riverine monitors of project 1204 - 313, 332, 336, 337, 350, 351, 354, 359, 360, 376, 378, 382,
    • riverine patrol boats of project 1408.1
    • liaison boats of project 371
  • 13th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (13-я ОБрПСКР) — Leninskoye, Jewish Autonomous Oblast [river patrol]
    • riverine monitors of project 1249 - 1 unit used as command ship
    • riverine monitors of project 1248 - PSKR-300, PSKR-301, PSKR-302, PSKR-303, PSKR-304, PSKR-305, PSKR-306, PSKR-308, PSKR-311
  • 12th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (12-я ОБрПСКР) — Blagoveshchensk [river patrol]
    • riverine monitors of project 1249 - 1 unit used as command ship
    • riverine monitors of project 1248
    • riverine monitors of project 1204 - 330, 333, 340, 341, 348, 349, 353, 355, 356, 357, 362, 365, 367, 369, 370, 372, 380, 386,
    • riverine patrol boats of project 1408.1
    • liaison boats of project 371
  • 11th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (11-я ОБрПСКР) — Dzhalinda [river patrol]
    • riverine monitors of project 1204 - unknown quantity

Red Banner Trans-Baikal Border District (КЗабПО) - HQ in Chita

  • mostly land border, no naval units

Red Banner Eastern Border District (СВПО) - HQ in Almaty

  • mostly land border, no naval units

Red Banner Central Asian Border District (КСАПО) - HQ in Ashgabat

  • 22nd Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (22-я ОБрПСКР) — Termez, Uzbek SSR [river patrol]
    • riverine monitors of project 1204 - unknown quantity
  • 46th Separate Battalion of Border Guard Ships (46-й ОДнПСКР) — Krasnovodsk, Turkmen SSR

Red Banner Trans-Caucasus Border District (КЗакПО) - HQ in Tbilisi

  • 6th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (6-я ОБрПСКР) — Ochamchire, Georgian SSR
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-616, PSKR-631, PSKR-638, PSKR-641, PSKR-644, PSKR-649, PSKR-657, PSKR-659, PSKR-721, PSKR-723
    • fast patrol craft of project 201 - PSKR-252, PSKR-261
    • fast patrol craft of project 125А - PSKR-152, PSKR-162, PSKR-163, PSKR-165
    • fast patrol craft of project 133 - PSKR-100, PSKR-101, PSKR-102
    • fast patrol boats of project 1400 - PSKA-275,  PSKA-510, PSKA-520, PSKA-525, PSKA-559, PSKA-576, PSKA-577
    • Battalion ГУК (Group of Training Cutters) - fast patrol boats of project 1400 - PSKA-500, PSKA-501, PSKA-502, PSKA-503
  • 17th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (17-я ОБрПСКР) — Baku, Azeri SSR
    • fast patrol craft of project 10410 - PSKR-902, PSKR-905
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-603, PSKR-605, PSKR-609, PSKR-610, PSKR-617, PSKR-618, PSKR-624, PSKR-625, PSKR-656, PSKR-658, PSKR-664, PSKR-666, PSKR-669
    • fast patrol boats of project 1400 - 6 unknown units
    • former Navy minesweepers of 264 - 2 unknown units
  • 21st Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (21-я ОБрПСКР) — Poti, Georgian SSR
    • fast patrol craft (corvettes) of project 12412 - PSKR-808 "Grif", PSKR-811 "Orlan", PSKR-814 "Sarych", PSKR-291 "Novorossiysk" (formerly Navy MPK-291 (small ASW ship)), PSKR-292 "Kuban" (formerly Navy MPK-292 (small ASW ship))
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKA-651, PSKA-660, PSKA-665, PSKA-695, PSKA-700, PSKA-715
    • fast patrol craft of project 133 - PSKR-109, PSKR-110
    • fast patrol boats of project 1400 - PSKA-513, PSKA-516, PSKA-553, PSKA-554, PSKA-563

Red Banner Western Border District (КЗапПО) - HQ in Kiev

  • 5th Separate Red Banner Brigade of Border Guard Ships (5-я ОБрПСКР) — Balaklava, Crimea, Ukrainian SSR
    • fast patrol craft (corvettes) of project 1124P - PSKR- "Dnepr", PSKR- "Izmail"
    • fast patrol craft (corvettes) of project 12412 - PSKR-813 "Гр. Куропятников", PSKR-815 "Гр. Гнатенко"
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-623, PSKR-629, PSKR-630, PSKR-635, PSKR-636, PSKR-637, PSKR-642, PSKR-645, PSKR-722
    • fast patrol craft of project 133 - PSKR-103, PSKR-105, PSKR-108, PSKR-115
    • fast patrol boats of project 1400 - PSKA-125, PSKA-141, PSKA-508, PSKA-510, PSKA-523, PSKA-524, PSKA-525, PSKA-534
  • 18th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (18-я ОБрПСКР) — Odessa, Ukrainian SSR
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-643(?), PSKR-648, PSKR-650, PSKR-652, PSKR-702, PSKR-705, PSKR-709, PSKR-720
    • fast patrol craft of project 125A - PSKR-165
    • fast patrol boats of project 1400 - PSKA-509, PSKA-511, PSKA-512, PSKA-513, PSKA-516, PSKA-517, PSKA-518, PSKA-519, PSKA-520, PSKA-526, PSKA-527, PSKA-528, PSKA-529, PSKA-531, PSKA-546, PSKA-547, PSKA-550, PSKA-555, PSKA-558, PSKA-562, PSKA-574, PSKA-579

Red Banner Baltic Border District (КППО) - HQ in Riga

  • 4th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (4-я ОБрПСКР) — Liepāja, Latvian SSR
    • fast patrol craft (corvettes) of project 1124P - PSKR-626 "Nikolay Kaplunov"
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-600, PSKR-602, PSKR-606(?), PSKR-614, PSKR-615, PSKR-639, PSKR-646, PSKR-663, PSKR-710, PSKR-713, PSKR-717
    • fast patrol craft of project 125A - PSKR-153, PSKR-154
    • patrol tugboat of project 745P - "Yan Berzin"
  • 20th Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (20-я ОБрПСКР) — Ventspils, Latvian SSR
    • fast patrol craft (corvettes) of project 12412 - PSKR-810 "N. Kaplunov", PSKR-815 "Sobol", PSKR-817 "Jaguar"
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-613, PSKR-619, PSKR-620, PSKR-621, PSKR-622, PSKR-634, PSKR-696, PSKR-697, PSKR-698, PSKR-703, PSKR-706, PSKR-714, PSKR-724
    • patrol tugboat of project 745P - "Ural"
  • 3rd Separate Red Banner Brigade of Border Guard Ships (3-я ОБрПСКР) — Tallinn, Estonian SSR
    • fast patrol craft (corvettes) of project 12412 - PSKR-802 "Kunitsa", PSKR-804 "Toliatti", PSKR-806 "Kaliningrad"
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-601, PSKR-608, PSKR-627, PSKR-628, PSKR-632, PSKR-633, PSKR-634, PSKR-640, PSKR-643(?), PSKR-647, PSKR-655, PSKR-708, PSKR-716, PSKR-718, PSKR-719, PSKR-725
    • fast patrol craft of project 201 - PSKR-032, PSKR-071
    • fast patrol craft of project 133 - PSKR-094, PSKR-080, PSKR-072
    • fast patrol craft of project 125A - 2 unknown units
    • fast patrol craft of project 1400 - 2 unknown units
    • patrol tugboat of project 745P - "Viktor Kingisepp"

Red Banner Northwestern Border District (КСЗПО) - HQ in Petrozavodsk

  • 1st Separate Red Banner Brigade of Border Guard Ships (1-я ОБрПСКР) — Kuvshinskaya Salma, Murmansk Oblast, Russian SFSR
    • patrol corvettes of project 1124P - PSKR-015 "Brilliant", PSKR-048 "Zhemchug", PSKR-022 "Izumrud", PSKR-028 "Rubin", PSKR-055 "Ametyst", PSKR-036 "Sapphir", PSKR-097 "Provorniy", PSKR-079 "Predanniy", PSKR-047 "Nadezhdniy", PSKR-066 "Dozorniy"
    • patrol tugboats of project 745P - PSKR- "Karelia", PSKR- "Zapolyarye", PSKR- "Enisey"
    • patrol icebreakers of project 97P "Iceberg" - PSKR-036 "Imeni XXVI syezda KPSS"
    • patrol tugboat of project 733 - PSKR-460[12]
  • 2nd Separate Brigade of Border Guard Ships (2-я ОБрПСКР) — Vysotsk, Leningrad Oblast, Russian SFSR
    • fast patrol craft of project 205P - PSKR-604, PSKR-611, PSKR-612, PSKR-633, PSKR-653, PSKR-654, PSKR-661, PSKR-662, PSKR-667, PSKR-699, PSKR-701, PSKR-704, PSKR-707, PSKR-711, PSKR-712
    • patrol tugboats of project 745P - PSKR- "Ladoga"

Border Troops AviationEdit

The Border Troops had their own aviation assets. Administratively they fell under the Aviation Department of the Border Troops (Авиационный отдел пограничных войск), with a Major general / Lieutenant general as its chief. Operationally the aviation units were subordinated to the border districts. Unlike its predecessor - the Border Troops of the NKVD (which fielded their own bombers and ground attack aircraft prior to and during World War II), the air arm of the Border Troops of the KGB played a combat support role to the border guards and the patrol ships. The only purely combat aircraft type in service was the Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter. The mainstay of the BT air fleet - the Mil Mi-8, had limited ground attack capabilities. The Border Troops aviation's main role was to deliver supplies and troops to remote border outposts, to deliver foot patrols in remote areas and to mount heli-borne assaults in combat operations. Kamov Ka-27PS helicopters supported the operations of the Border Troops' naval arm. The service also had a small number of Ilyushin Il-76 heavy troop transport jets, which could deliver reinforcements between the various border districts. The Il-76s, Tu-154s and Yak-40s of the Moscow Special Purpose Aviation Unit were also tasked with rapid deployment of the KGB's special operations units (Alpha Group, Vympel Group, Sigma Group etc.). A secondary role of the service was to provide executive air transport for the KGB as a whole, for which it also had Tupolev Tu-134 (later Tupolev Tu-154) and Yakovlev Yak-40 in its inventory. At the time of the Soviet Union's collapse the Border Troops aviation had the following structure:[13]

Note: The border districts and their subordinated formations are listed clockwise, starting with the easternmost area of the Soviet Union.

Units directly reporting to the Main Directorate of the Border Troops:

Separate Arctic Border Detachment (ОАПО) - HQ in Vorkuta

Northeastern Border District (СВПО) - HQ in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Red Banner Pacific Border District (КТПО) - HQ in Vladivostok

Red Banner Far Eastern Border District (КДПО) - HQ in Khabarovsk

Red Banner Trans-Baikal Border District (КЗабПО) - HQ in Chita

Red Banner Eastern Border District (СВПО) - HQ in Almaty

Red Banner Central Asian Border District (КСАПО) - HQ in Ashgabat

Red Banner Trans-Caucasus Border District (КЗакПО) - HQ in Tbilisi

Red Banner Western Border District (КЗапПО) - HQ in Kiev

Red Banner Baltic Border District (КППО) - HQ in Riga

Red Banner Northwestern Border District (КСЗПО) - HQ in Petrozavodsk

TrainingEdit

Enlisted men were trained with their operational units, whereas officers were trained in special Border Troops schools, such as the Dzerzhinskii Higher Border Command School in Alma-Ata (Kazakh SSR) and the Mossovet Higher Border Command School in Moscow. Military-political officers received training at the Voroshilov Higher Border Military-Political School, founded in the 1930s and located outside Leningrad. In 1972 a higher border military-political school was created in Golytsin, near Moscow. More recently, higher border command faculties were set up at the Frunze Military Academy and the Lenin Military-Political Academy. The period of instruction at the Higher Border Command and Military-Political Schools was four years. Officer candidates, who were screened carefully by their local KGB offices before admittance, took general higher education courses along with specialized military and political studies.

Political ConsiderationsEdit

Soviet sources repeatedly stressed that a border guard was not only a soldier but also a defender of Soviet ideology. His mission entailed sensitive political tasks, such as detecting subversive literature. To ensure a high level of discipline among personnel of the Border Troops, much attention was devoted to political training and indoctrination. For this purpose, a network of political organs, the Political Directorate of the Border Troops, was established within the Border Troops. It had political departments within all the border districts, detachments, and education institutions, and a network of full-time party political officers worked among all troop units. They conducted political study groups, gave propaganda lectures, and worked to increase the level of combat effectiveness among the troops.

Famous former Soviet Border TroopsEdit

Dissolution and legacyEdit

With the fall of Soviet Union, Border Troops formations in most Soviet republics became border guards of the respective independent states. These new guards mostly changed their name and subordination. The new states of Armenia and Tajikistan are unique exceptions. Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan was guarded by the Russian Border Guard (engaging in heavy fighting) until the late 1990s under a special treaty.[citation needed] Armenia's border is still guarded by Russians under similar conditions.[citation needed]

In Russia and some other post-Soviet states, the Border Troops retained some Soviet traditions, most notably the green shoulder boards on their uniforms and "Border Guard's Day" (Russian: День пограничника), an official holiday celebrated both by active service and former border guards.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.

  1. ^ http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+su0535%29
  2. ^ http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+su0535%29
  3. ^ http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+su0535%29
  4. ^ "Пограничные войска". shieldandsword.mozohin.ru. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  5. ^ http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+su0535%29
  6. ^ "ММГ "Закавказская" - "Мазари-Шариф" - "Мармоль" Начало истории - 1981год - История ММГ - Сайт ММГ-1 Мармоль". mmg-marmol.ucoz.ru. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  7. ^ "Cайт Термезской ДШМГ - л/с ДШМГ главная". termez-desant.ucoz.ru. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  8. ^ http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+su0535%29
  9. ^ "Пограничные Сторожевые корабли". russ-flot.narod.ru. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  10. ^ "Морские тральщики, пограничные сторожевые корабли проектов 264, 264А". russianships.info. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  11. ^ "Пограничные сторожевые корабли специального назначения и средние морские сухогрузные транспорты проекта 1595". russianships.info. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  12. ^ http://russ-flot.narod.ru/z-0026_foto-list_pr-733.htm
  13. ^ "Сергей Дроздов. Была такая авиация..." rvsn.ruzhany.info. Retrieved 2019-10-25.

Further readingEdit

  • László Békési, György Török: KGB and Soviet Security Uniforms and Militaria 1917-1991 in Colour Photographs, Ramsbury (UK), 2002, ISBN 1-86126-511-5.

External linksEdit