Monday, August 11, 2008

Something I Noticed

I've noticed in this series of photos that the Russians are still using seriously outdated armored vehicles in their invasion of Georgia.

The first photo here shows an old Soviet Army T-62 tank, which was second line equipment when I was in the US Army 25 years ago.

Photo number 82 here shows an old Soviet Army BMP-1 infantry carrier which was first deployed in 1967. If I recall correctly.



Ms. Missive said...

Maybe Russia wants to prove they can beat Georgia with old Tonka Trucks.... they're thinking to themselves, "Why waste the good stuff?".

Mark said...

It could also be that this what the Russian Army can field reliably.

One of the lessons learned from the Cold War is that the teeth of the Russian Bear are not as sharp or as numerous as tell you they are.

On the other hand, what they are fielding is enough to hand a serious beating to the Georgians.

The Russians are firm believers in Stalin's old quote: "Quantity has quality all its own."

Sornie said...

I'm surprised that the Russians can find parts to keep those relics running.

Mark said...

Hell, they can probably produce the parts for those museum pieces in a machine shop. Which is cheaper than having to maintain newer equipment.

I still say that Russia is spilling Georgian Blood for Oil. Threatening the Georgian oil pipelines is pushing the price of oil up, increasing the value of Russian reserves.

Leslie Bates said...

Russians tend to build a lot of tanks, put most of them into storage, and use only a handful to do the minimal amount of training that their troops actually receive. So it's not a surprise that they still have a bunch of old machines like the T-62 in running order.

HTRN said...

Are you sure this is the Russian Military proper? I heard this is largely being carried out by Russian Militia, who get the hand me downs..

Even the latest and greatest Russian Technology is largely a joke against run of the mill Western gear.

Anonymous said...

As a crusty old wargamer who used to pore over the yearly CIA threat assessments that were published, I offer these observations:

The Sovs in the late 1980s were manufacturing modest numbers of T80s and upgraded T72s, and their front-line units in GSFG and the various occupied Eastern European nations were indeed equipped with T72/T64/T80 and BMP2s or better throughout, even the divisional tank battalions of the motorized rifle divisions, traditionally a dumping ground for obsolescent tanks.


The Soviet Army proper, and we are talking about all of it, including the reservists and the Category III/"mobilization only" divisions that made up the vast preponderance of their paper strength, was by around 1990 still equipped with a tank force that was 85%+ T54/T55/T62s, and still mostly using a mixture of obsolete cheap wheeled and tracked APCs like the old MTLB and BTR60.

It is still not widely understood how badly they ran their economy into the ground post-1980 trying to maintain an army of 200+ motorized and armored divisions while simultaneously building up a serious blue-water navy. An economy can only be run on a total war footing so long.

I seriously, seriously doubt they've been buying significant amounts of new equipment post-1991. I know about the T90 and "Black Eagle" tanks. I know about the BMP3M with its reactive armor and laser ATGM blinder, the "fearsomely advanced" Su-33, etc., etc. I also strongly suspect that far fewer than 100 of any of those actually exists anywhere but on paper. They just don't have the funds for it. All this stuff costs money they don't have.

I am not at all surprised to see T62s and BMP1s. I am a bit surprised the T62 doesn't have reactive armor tiles on the turret and glacis plate, but it costs money, and those raggedy-ass steel slats someone hung on the sides work almost as well.