necessarily represent the official policy or position of the Department of the Army,
Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
The God of War' crosses into Afghanistan
Support of large-scale operations
Support of tactical units
Support of battalion and company raids
Breaking contact and withdrawal
Figure 1 - Artillery Ambush. The Russians used the Realii-U seismic motion sensor to detect unobserved targets. Shown here is an actual plan for such an ambush. Fire concentrations were plotted (110, 111 and 112) along a Mujahideen supply trail out of view from the observation post (OP). When the Realii-U detected enemy movement, the Russians fired the concentrations.
1. Aleksandr A. Lyakhovskiy, Tragediya I doblest' Afghana [The tragedy and valor of the veterans of Afghanistan], Moscow: Iskona, 1995, 116. General Lyakhovskiy served with the General Staff Operations Group supporting the Soviet 40th Army during 1987-1989.BACK
2. Normative fires are the number of expended rounds required to guarantee mission accomplishment. These are mathematically and field-test proven and are expressed as the numbers of rounds fired by type of artillery system within a specified period of time to produce a guaranteed percentage of kill. Soviet artillery missions are assigned in terms of annihilation, destruction, neutralization and harassment fires. The first three missions are given in normative fire terms. Annihilation [unichtozheniye] consists of inflicting such losses or damage on a target that it completely loses its combat effectiveness. In the annihilation of unobserved targets, fire is conducted until a designated number of shells is expended which assures a 70-90% kill probability of individual targets or the mathematical expectation of 50-60% of targets destroyed in a group target. (The implication is that the target is so damaged that it cannot be reconstituted and is incapable of even token resistance).
5. Soviet-style normative fires proved very effective when the Mujahideen reverted to conventional tactics. After the Soviet withdrawal, the communist Afghan government forces unexpectedly held on for several years. The Mujahideen guerrillas adopted conventional linear tactics to attempt to take the cities of Kabul and Jalalabad. The communist forces, using normative artillery fires, decimated the Mujahideen and delayed a Mujahideen victory by at least a year. See Makhmut Akhmetovich Gareev, Moya poslednyaya voyna [My final war], Moscow: Insan, 1996, 232-233, 248.BACK
6. Nomographs are planning charts showing numerical relationships. The Soviets had literally hundreds of tactical nomographs which allowed commanders or staffs to make rapid determinations of march times, the most effective systems for rapid artillery annihilation of an area target, the length of time a firing position can be safely occupied during a firing mission, etc. Most of the nomographs changed due to the terrain of Afghanistan.BACK
7. Grau, The Bear...., 20, 37, 50, 61, 68, 79, 82, and 90. Occasionally, due to terrain or range considerations, artillery groups would split--an uncommon occurrence for regular Soviet forces in Europe, but a common one for US artillery. BACK
9. M. I. Karatuev, V. A. Dreshchinskiy, "Primenenie artillerii v lokal'nykh voynakh I vooruzhennykh konfliktakh" [Employment of artillery in local wars and military conflicts], Voennaya mysl' [Military thought], May-June 1996, 26-27. BACK
12. In the Soviet Ground Forces, mortars, antitank guns and antitank guided missiles were artillery weapons. Artillerymen were integrated into motorized rifle battalions to operate the organic mortars and antitank systems.BACK
16. Sweeping fire is an offensive rolling barrage with lessened densities of frontage. In a regular offensive rolling barrage, the Soviets used one artillery piece of 100mm or larger for every 25 meters of frontage for the rolling barrage. Sweeping fire could double or triple that frontage.BACK
19. Boris V. Gromov, Ogranichennyy kontingent [Limited contingent], Moscow: Progress, 1994, 186-187. General Gromov served three two-year tours in Afghanistan, the last as Commander, 40th Army during its withdrawal.BACK
21. Viktor Litvinenko, "Novo to, chto khorosho zabyto" [What is completely forgotten is brand new], Armeiskiy sbornik [Army digest], September 1996, 46. Colonel Litvinenko commanded an artillery regiment and was the chief of the 201st Motorized Rifle Division artillery during 1984-1986 in Afghanistan.BACK