KGB Alpha team training manual

KGB Alpha team training manual

(Parte 2 de 8)

With the division of the NKVD, its various special assignment units landed either under MVD or KGB control, depending on their roles. This meant that three distinct types of special purpose personnel were available for mission direction within the USSR. Spetsnaz from the Defense Ministry's GRU units, Spetsnazovtsy from the MVD, and Osnaz from both MVD and KGB. Except for the officers, the vast majority of personnel who serve in these special units are conscript servicemen. To assist you in better understanding this manual, I should explain how all Soviet young men have been edu- cated from childhood through a series of military and CPSU-sponsored training programs for their roles in the military.

It is fair to say that the average Soviet conscript inducted into special assignment units within the GRU, MVD, or KGB began his premilitary training at the age of 10 in an obligatory school program sponsored by the Ministry of Defense called the GT0. Although civilian in nature, this school program was aimed at creating and maintaining a high standard of physical fitness for males and females. Overseen and inspected by the Ministry of Defense's Department of Preliminary Military Training, it was established not only in schools, but also in factories, colleges, and collective farms, and also encompassed some postmilitary service training up to the age of 60 under separate schemes. The GTO program had by three subdivisions in schools:

Age Group

10-13 14-15 16-18

Program Name

Courage and Skill Young Sportsman Strength and Courage

These program were introduced in 1967 when conscript service was reduced from three to two years in the hope that part of the time lost to military service would be recouped by this schooltime preparation for service.

Local military units provided the program's instructors, and the final objective was to prepare the boys for conscript service with the defense forces, internal forces, or KGB forces. Under the 1967 Law of Universal Military Service, young men from the age of 18 are required to report for military service. It is usual that GTO instructors organize an additional 80 hours of intensive preinduction training course covering nuclear, biological, and chemical defense; forced marches; martial arts; ski races, crosscountry races, and orienteering.

However, in addition to the compulsory GTO program there exists also a voluntary military program run by DOSAAF, 13 which is under the direct control of the Defense Ministry. From the age of 14, children can begin training with DOSAAF. The 1972 DOSAAF regulations state that "the society will provide leadership for the development of military-technical skills." All parachute and flight training in the Soviet Union is under the control of the Defense Forces. The basic training comprises a minimum of 140 hours plus training camps over a period of two years. The youngsters can qualify as pilots and parachutists while also learning to drive and maintain vehicles.

In June 1991, I visited the central military bookshop in

Moscow and purchased a number of posters illustrating the workings of Soviet weapon systems from the AK-74 rifle to BMD-1 tanks all published by DOSAAF. I also purchased a copy of Kniga YunnogoArmeetsa, the young soldier's handbook published in 1989 by DOSAAF and aimed at the 14-to 17-year age group. Although a quarter of the book focused on what a nice man Lenin was and how lucky the Soviet Union was to have Communism, the rest contained concrete instruction on a variety of subjects: military structure and recognition of vehicles and aircraft, rank and insignia recognition, and weapons handling and marksmanship covering the following weapons:

Type Caliber Designation

TOZ-8 .2 cal. Bolt-action rifle TOZ-12 .2 cal. Bolt-action rifle AKM/AKMS 7.62mm Assault rifle PPD-40 7.65mm Submachine gun PPSh-41 7.65mm Submachine gun PPS-43 7.65mm Submachine gun

Other subjects covered in the manual were first aid, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, semaphore, morse code, construction of simple transceivers, operation and maintenance of the military transceivers R-105M, R-108M, R-109M, and the

TAI-43 field telephone. Patrolling formations, fieldcraft, and basic survival skills-including navigation by compass, sun, and stars-are covered. Civil defense skills covering traffic manage- ment and fighting fires with syringe pumps, hoses, and OVP-5 and OP-5 fire extinguishers are covered in depth. Nuclear, biological, and chemical defense are also covered, along with the use and maintenance of the GP-5, DP-6, DP-6m, and R-2 respirator masks. Badge award standards for athletics, motor cross, motorcycle cross, fixed-wing and rotory aircraft pilot's license, parachuting, and scuba diving also receive coverage. The Boy

Scouts would be hard pressed to match the variety of skills training available.

Appropriately enough, the CPSU has its own premilitary training that also leads to adult membership in the CPSU-which, as I have said, is a prerequisite for anyone working in special assignment units because it implies political correctness and reliability. Children from the age of seven can step onto the first rung of CPSU membership by joining the Octobrists; at the age of 10 they can move to the Pioneers, where they participate in drills, marches, and guarding war memorials, as well as learning tactics, civil defense, first aid, military discipline and regulations. During their annual Zarnitsawar games, they get to handle unloaded weapons and learn about military vehicles. "A Pioneer reveres the memory of fallen fighters and prepares to become a defender of the motherland," the youngsters are constantly reminded.

At 15, they can join VLKSM/5 known as Komsomol. Young men remain in the movement during their conscript service. At 29 years they can join the CPSU. They participate in annual Orlyonokwar games and receive training in weapons handling; radio communications (including finding of covert transmitters by triangulation); grenade throwing; shooting; and company-, platoon-, and squad-size operations.

Every year from January through March, all young men who have reached 17 are required to register for conscription at their local military commissariat or voenkomat. The job of the voenkomat is to gather files on the young men after contacting their schools, the MVD, KGB, DOSAAF, and the Komsomol. The file contains information on their educations achievements, leadership skills, family backgrounds, ethnic origins, political backgrounds, special skills, and career plans.

The Special committees (Spetskomy) of the GRU, MVD

Interior Forces, and KGB Forces use the file as a means of preliminary selection. Their selection standards are as follows:

• capable but uncomplicated young men, mostly from the farms or small towns of Russia rather then the ethnic minorities • preferably DOSAAF volunteers with parachute training

• generally about 10 years of secondary education (intellectuals are not normally welcome but healthy, resourceful, fast learners are) • weight between 130 and 180 pounds, with a minimum height of 5 feet 7 inches

When conscripts report to their center for conscript service, they are not informed of initial selection for special assignment duties. When they reach the unit for which they have been designated, then the political officer or zampolit will inform all the conscripts. This does not guarantee placement in the unit.

Regardless of whether they enter special or conventional units, the conscripts then enter two programs. The first is a two-tothree-week initial training program called the "young soldiers course." At some time, they enter the VSK17 program, first introduced in 1965 but later upgraded in 1973. The program is designed to prepare soldiers for the rigors of combat and to encourage them to take up sports in their free time. To this end, a system of awards and badges exist. However, physical fitness testing takes place several times during the conscripts' service. Servicemen are required to participate daily in physical training during the course of their six-day working week. In addition they must: a. have a theoretical knowledge of a number of physical fitness programs operating in the USSR b. know how to explain and perform a minimum of two routines from the USSR Physical Training Manual c. participate in at least five Olympic sports competitions d. participate in the pentathlon and and special-unit biathlons

Special assignment troops must be able to cover up to 30 miles a day with heavy operational loads regardless of terrain. They must also be able to swim at least 160 feet with 60 pounds of equipment. Current schooling requires expert knowledge and handing of the following Soviet weapons systems:

'fYpe Model Caliber

Pistol, semiauto PM 9mm Pistol, semiauto PSM 5.45mm Pistol, (silenced) semiauto PM69 9mm Pistol (silenced) semiauto and auto APS 9mm Carbine, semiauto and auto AKS74U 5.45mm Assault rifle, semiauto and& auto AKS74 5.5mm Sniper rifle SVD 7.62mm LAW RPG7D 40mm LAW RPG16D 58.3mm LAW RPG22 72mm LAW RPG26 72mm Grenade launcher (under AKS 74) BG15 40mm Grenade launcher (belt-fed) AGS17 30mm

Military transceivers consist of the R255PP personal radio and the R354M manpacked unit radio. Every battalion or otryad has its own signals company equipped with R360, R361, R357, and R358 communications equipment or the R148 communications vehicle.

Within initial training, about 25 percent of conscripts will be selected for training as noncommissioned officers, and of the remainder about 20 percent will be rejected by the training unit staff.

Close-quarter-battle (CQB) training plays a very large part in the training of special assignment soldiers. Generically, it is called rukopashnyi boi and has two main components: unarmed combat and skill at arms. The skill-at-arms aspect covers firearms use at close quarters, including a separate section called "cold weapons."18 The latter teaches the use of the knife (nozh) and concerns two types: NRS 1 and NRS 2.

NRS 1 (knife, reconnaissance, special, type 1) fits into a sleeve in the right thigh pocket of trousers and is issued to special units. NRS 2 can also fire a 7.62mm pistol round to an effective distance of 65 feet, in addition to functioning as a knife. Troopers are then schooled in the use of the entrenching tool (shantsevaya Iopata) as a weapon and the bayonet (shtyk). The men are also taught to throw all these weapons accurately.

A particular favorite for throwing is a small sharpened steel plate 15-centimeters square for throwing distances of 20 to 75 meters and is simply referred to as a "plate" (plastina). This first made its appearance in Naval Infantry manuals in 1982, and then in 1986 the Military Institute of Physical Culture in Leningrad published it in the series, Special Features of Physical Training of Naval Personnel (Part 2).

Unarmed combat is based on a mixture of the Soviet combat sport of sambomixed with judo and karate. The karate is very similar to Korean styles, which is unsurprising because North Korean instructors were responsible for its introduction into Russia. The KGB started karate training in 1975 as part of obliga- tory and basic training. Every year the airborne forces sponsor a championship in their form of full contact, which the special assignment units can enter. This tends to be a no-holds-barred competition with minimum protection, and striking continues even when one is on the ground.

During visits to the Higher Airborne Forces (VDV) College at

. Ryazan in the Moscow Military District, I was able to participate in rukopashnyi boi training under instruction from Lt. Col. Vladimir Panteleev, the college's chief instructor and former VDV CQB champion. This included the protocols of throwing "cold weapons." Ryazan has been wrongly identified by the Western media as a Spetsnaz center. Certainly its language center provides instruction for Spetsnaz, and it shares training facilities at a nearby training area with the Sixteenth Spetsnaz Brigade based at Chuchkovo. The school trains officers for the airborne forces and usually has 2,0 kursantt"20 spread over its

Applications for the 500 first-year places each year normally exceed 32,500. The applicants have to be between 17 and 21 years (or 25 if they have previous military service). During the course of the year the Spetsnaz Committee of the Third Department of the Fifth Directorate of the GRU visit the college to headhunt potential Spetsnaz officers, as they do the reconnaissance faculty of the Suvorov and Frunze military colleges in Kiev, the Kiev Military College, and the Military Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow. Other officers will be headhunted after graduations and placement with their units. GRU Spetsnaz maintains two NCO training brigades and one college for training officers.

GRU Spetsnaz officers were trained at the KGB's Special

Tasks School at Balashikha near Moscow until the early 1970s, when a school was formed at Krasnodar in the North Caucasus Military District. It was named after General of the Army Sergei M. Shtemenko, postwar pioneer of the GRU Spetsnaz.

A normal Spetsnaz brigade consists of between 400 and, 1300 men divided into 200-man otryady. Each otriad contains three companies plus a signals company. Each company has three groups; each group finally subdivides into three patrols of four to five men, each called an otdelenie. In time of war, each brigade is brought up to full strength by recalling reserves from civilian life. Normally, independent Spetsnaz companies attached in support of conventional units consist of 140 personnel, 1 of which are conscripts. The ratio of officers to men is usually twice as high in special assignment units, usually one officer for every 12 men as opposed to one officer for every 25 men in conventional units.

The defense forces like to maintain that their job is solely concerned with the defense of the USSR and that they leave the messy job of internal security to the MVD and KGB, but this is not supported by fact. The very origin of army Spetsnaz is in internal security work.

In 1927 a 15-man special diversionary unit parachuted into the

Saksaul of Kazakhstan to operate against Muslim separatists. Further parachute operations followed in 1929 and 1931. Airborne forces came into being in August 1930 with the role of diversionary reconnaissance. In February 1932, a document regulating their role listed ambushes and behind-the-lines sabotage of enemy headquarters and logistics as their primary roles. The first name given to airborne forces (now the VDV) was Brigady Desantnykh Spetsial 'no go Naznacheniya or Airborne Assault Special Assignment Brigades. By 1938, the USSR had five airborne corps, and each corps had one to two special mission battalions.

In November 1936, the first Spetsnaz detachment staffed by

KGB and GRU personnel was started in Spain during that country's civil war. Besides Soviets and Spanish Communists, about 100 foreigners from the International Brigade were directly recruited. In 1937 all KGB/GRU special operations units were incorporated within a new Fourteenth Special Corps, which was disbanded after the end of the Spanish Civil War, with some 300 Spanish members joining special assignment units in the NKVD of the Soviet Union. A GRU veteran of the Spanish Civil War led a 50-man Spetsnaz unit against the Finns during the Winter War of 1939-1940, but with little tangible success.

(Parte 2 de 8)

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