Airsoft Action 07 - Mar 2012 - Page 50

SOVIET MOTOR RIFLES OF THE 3RD SHOCK ARMY 1980 The Russian 3rd Shock Army sacrificed training and marksmanship for overwhelming numerical superiority. Gareth Harvey takes a look at the Soviet war machine W ith the ability to put a staggering four million men in the field the Cold War Red Army and its vast resource of men and materials was the stuff of nightmares for allied planners. Stalin once said that quantity had a quality all of its own, and this was typified in Soviet milit ary formations of the time. In contrast to the small, professio nal and motivated forces of NAT O, the Soviet Army was a blunt sledgeha mmer – an unstoppable steamro ller of heavy armour and automatic fire. Had a European land war began the1980s NATO strategists pred icted the Russian 3rd Shock Army wou ld thunder across the plains of the West German ‘Fulda Gap’. The shock armi es were formations conceived durin g WWII that endowed armoured ‘mot or rifle’ infantry and tank divisions with a greater than usual allocation of supporting equipment and artillery. This allowed them to entirely annihilat e key opposing formations. Comprising three tank divisions and one motor rifles division; the 3rd Shock army (actually renamed in Soviet parlance as the 3rd Assault Arm y but still referred to by NATO by its old title) could field an impressive 40,000 men at full ‘paper’ stren gth. (Around 1,000 main battle tank s, 10,000 men per tank division and 12,000 men in the motor rifles divis ion. In contrast a UK infantry division numbered about 3,000 men.) The Motor Rifles Soldier Our soldier here wears the 1969 modernised hebe or Rubashka combat uniform which replaced the long serving gymnastiorka tunic and breeches of WWII vintage. Membership of the ‘motor rifles’ branch of serv ice (Soviet infantry formations were in effect entirely armoured mot or rifles 050 March 2012 boards red shoulder noted by the de is s) e red 80 th 19 in the t Army’ and CA for ‘Sovie rs tte le seen e th es g bearin ere sometim ough these w th al s, he as fl collar aki versions. far from in subdued kh the 1980s was ed forces of m ar et vi come So be The ian Amy has rce the Russ fo d se ni as still er w the mod e infantryman ot wear for th fo rd ewed da ch an es St today. soldiers still ot, and many bo ck the ja r g de -le un the high nd the feet ’ bound arou ps ra w ot st ‘fo po r socks fo is the Soviet chaic design ar r ila of m nt si ce a is f boots. O 80s. Remin until the late ed us rap st ar Yge d an eb WWII w mble of belt bing this ense eb w , II ic W br W ed fa German own rubberis from a dark br pouches ry lla ci is constructed an d munition an am al du vi di in l fittings. with the her and stee nvas with leat ca m fro to his ed on construct ht in comparis r travelled lig ie ld so squads’ et e vi The so rried upon th ost kit was ca M t. ar rp sacks te ck ru NATO coun ms such as carrier and ite l ne on ere rs w pe gs armoured sleeping ba xuries such as Lu . dard on m an m st were unco r ranks. The ide the office ts ou an nt of te is ly near non-ex consist pure ldiers would so y an r m ei th of r combat load magazines fo three to four r fo h a uc d po an versack ammunition respirator ha soldier e, a bayonet, buckle). Our of ft Kalashnikov rifl (le h uc po n io cont aminat medical or de