Types of Armed Services
How the Red Army is divided in relation to its targets
Over the centuries, the armed forces of most countries have traditionally been divided between land armies and fleets. In the twentieth century the third category of air forces was added. Each of the armed services is divided into different arms of service. Thousands of years ago, land forces were already divided into infantry and cavalry. Much later, artillery detachments were added, these were eventually joined by tank forces, and so the process continued.
Today's Red Army consists, unlike any other in the world, not of three, but of five different Armed Services:
The Strategic Rocket Forces
The Land Forces
The Air Defence Forces
The Air Forces
Each of these Services, with the exception of the Strategic Rocket Forces, is made up of different arms of service. In the Land Forces there are seven, in the Air Defence Forces three, in the Air Forces three, and in the Navy six. The Airborne Forces constitute a separate arm of service, which is not part of the complement of any of the main Services.
In addition to these Services and their constituent arms of service, there are supporting arms of service-engineers, communications, chemical warfare and transport troops and others-which form part of the different Services and their component arms. In addition there are other services which support the operations of the whole Red Army. There are fifteen or so of these but we will examine only the most important: military intelligence and the disinformation service.
At the head of each of the Armed Services is a Commander-in-Chief. The standing of these Commanders-in-Chief varies. Three of them-those in command of the Land Forces, the Air Force, and the Navy-are no more than administrative heads. They are responsible for the improvement and development of their Services, and for ensuring that these are up to strength and properly equipped. Two of the others-the Commanders-in-Chief of the Rocket Forces and of the Air Defence Forces-are responsible not only for administrative questions but also for the operational control of their forces in action.
The discrepancy in the positions of Commanders-in-Chief results from the fact that, in combat, the Rocket Forces operate independently, without needing to work with any other Service. In the same way, the Air Defence Forces operate in complete independence. The Commanders-in-Chief of these two Services are subordinated directly to the Supreme Commander and are fully responsible for their forces both in peacetime and in war.
With the Land Forces, Air Forces and Navy the situation is more complex. In their operations they need to cooperate constantly and closely. If any of these three should decide to take independent action, the results would be catastrophic. For this reason the Commanders-in-Chief of these `traditional' Services are deliberately denied the right to direct their own forces in war. Their task is to supervise all aspects of the development and equipment of their Services.
Since the Land Forces, Air Forces and Navy can only operate in close conjunction, combined command structures have been devised to control them independently of their Commanders-in-Chief. We have already encountered these combined structures-they are the Fronts, which contain elements from both Land and Air Armies, and the Strategic Directions which incorporate Fronts and Fleets.
The establishment of these combined command structures and of systems of combat control, which are not subordinated to individual Commanders-in-Chief, has made it possible to solve most of the problems which result from the rivalry which has existed between the Services for centuries.
Let us take the case of a Soviet general who is slowly climbing the rungs of his professional ladder. First he commands a motor-rifle division, then he becomes deputy to the Commander of a Tank Army (it is normal practice to move officers from motor-rifle forces to tank forces and vice versa) and next he becomes an Army Commander. Until now he has always been a fierce champion of the interests of the Land Forces, which he supports fervently. So far, though, his position has been too lowly for his views to be heard by anyone outside the Land Forces. But now he rises a little higher and becomes Commander of a Front. He now has both an operational task, for the fulfilment of which his head is at stake, and the forces with which to carry it out-three or four Land Armies and one Air Army. The Commander-in-Chief of Land Forces supplies his Land Armies with all they require, the Cbmmander-in-Chief of Air Forces does the same for his Air Army. But it is the Front Commander who is responsible for deciding how to use these forces in combat. In this situation every Front Commander forgets, as soon as he takes over his high post, that he is an infantry or a tank general. He has to carry out his operational task and for this all his Armies-Land and Air-must be appropriately prepared and supplied. If the Air Army is worse prepared and supplied than the All-Arms and Tank Armies, the Front Commander will either immediately take steps himself to restore the balance or will call on his superiors to do this. There are sixteen Front Commanders in all. All of them are products of the Land Forces, for these provide the basic strength of each Front, but they are in no way subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of Land Forces in questions concerning the use of their resources. It is the Front Commanders who have the task of directing their forces to victory. For this reason, if the Land Forces were to be increased at the expense of the Air Forces, all the Front Commanders would protest immediately and sharply, despite their own upbringing in the Land Forces.
If our general should climb still higher and become Commander-in-Chief of a Strategic Direction, he will have a Fleet under his control, as well as four Fronts, each of which contains a mixture of Land Forces and Air Forces.
In wartime he will be responsible for combat operations covering huge areas and he is already concerned, in peacetime, to ensure that all the forces under his command develop proportionately and in balance with one another. In this way yesterday's tank officer becomes an ardent champion of the development not only of the Land Forces but of the Air Forces and the Navy.
The Armed Services consist of arms of service. At the head of each arm of service is a Commander. However in most cases the latter has purely administrative functions. For instance, the Commander-in-Chief of Land Forces has as one of his subordinates the Commander of Tank Forces. But tens of thousands of tanks are spread throughout the world, from Cuba to Sakhalin. Every reconnaissance battalion has a tank platoon, every motor-rifle regiment has a tank battalion, every motor-rifle division has a tank regiment, every Army a tank division, every Front a Tank Army, and each Strategic Direction has a Group of Tank Armies. Naturally, decisions on the use of all these tanks in combat are taken by the combat commanders as the situation develops. The Commander of Tank Forces is in no position to play any part in the control of each tank unit, and any such intervention would be a violation of the principle of sole responsibility for the conduct and results of combat operations. For this reason, the Commander of Tank Forces is strictly forbidden to intervene in combat planning and in questions of the use of tanks in combat. His responsibilities cover the development of new types of tank and their testing, the supervision of the quality of production of tank factories, ensuring that all tank detachments are supplied with the necessary spare parts and the training of specialists in the Tank Force Academies, in the five Tank High Schools and in training divisions. He is also responsible for the technical condition of tanks in all the armed forces and acts as the inspector of all tank personnel.
The Commander of the Rocket Forces and Artillery of the Land Forces, the Commander of the Air Defence of Land Forces, the Commander of Fleet Aviation and Commanders of other arms of service have similar administrative roles.
However there are exceptions to this rule. It is possible that some arms of service may be totally (or almost totally) deployed in a single direction. The Commanders of these arms of service have both administrative and combat roles. These arms of service include the Air Forces' Long-Range (strategic missile-carrying) Aviation and Military Transport Aviation and the Airborne Forces. In wartime, and on questions concerning the use of their forces, the Commanders of these arms of service are subordinated directly to the Stavka.
The Strategic Rocket Forces
The Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) are the newest and the smallest of the five Armed Services which make up the Soviet Army. They are also the most important component of that Army.
The SRF was established as an independent Service in December 1959. At its head is a Commander-in-Chief with the title of Marshal of the Soviet Union. Under his command are three Rocket Armies, three independent Rocket Corps, ten to twelve Rocket divisions, three sizeable rocket ranges and a large number of scientific research and teaching establishments. The total strength of the SRF is about half a million.
The SRF is both an operational and an administrative organisation. In peacetime its Commander-in-Chief is responsible to the Minister of Defence on all administrative questions and to the Politburo on all aspects of the operational use of rockets. In wartime the SRF would be controlled by the Defence Council, through the Supreme Commander. A final decision on the mass use of strategic rockets would be made by the Defence Council-i.e. the Politburo.
A Rocket Army consists of ten divisions. A division is made up of ten regiments and a technical base. A rocket regiment may have from one to ten launchers, depending on the type of rocket with which it is equipped. A strategic rocket regiment is the smallest in size of any in the Soviet Army. Its fighting strength is between 250 and 400 men, depending on the type of rocket with which it is equipped. Its basic tasks are to maintain the rockets, to safeguard and defend them and to launch them. Organisationally, a rocket regiment consists of the commander, his staff, five duty launch teams, an emergency repair battery and a guard company. This sub-unit is dignified with the title of regiment solely because of the very great responsibility which its officers bear.
Each regiment has an underground command post in which there is always a duty team of officers with direct communication links with the divisional commander, the Army commander, the commander-in-chief of the SRF and the Central command post. If this underground post goes out of action, the commander of the regiment immediately deploys a mobile control point working from motor vehicles. In a threatening situation two teams are on duty simultaneously-one in the underground command post and the other at a mobile one-so that either could take over the firing of all the regiment's rockets.
According to the situation, the duty teams at command posts are changed either every week or every month.
If a launcher is damaged, it is dismantled by the regiment's emergency repair battery. The guard company is responsible for the protection of the command posts and of the launchers. A large proportion of the regiment's personnel are involved in guard duties. Not one of them will have seen a rocket or know anything about one. Their job is to guard snow-covered clearings in pine forests, clearings which are surrounded by dozens of rows of barbed wire and defended by minefields. The guard company of a rocket regiment has fifty or so guard dogs.
The principal task of a rocket division is the technical supply of its regiments. For this, a divisional commander has under him a sub-unit known as a technical base, which has a complement of 3,000–4,000 and is commanded by a colonel. The technical base carries out the transport, maintenance, replacement, repair and servicing of the regiment's rockets.
The strength of a rocket division is 7,000–8,000.
The headquarters of each Rocket Army is responsible for coordination of the operations of its divisions, which will be deployed throughout a very large area. In a critical situation, the headquarters of a Rocket Army may make use of flying command posts to direct the firing of the rockets of regiments and divisions whose command posts have been put out of action. The independent Rocket Corps are organised by the Rocket Armies, except that they have three or four rather than ten divisions. They are also armed with comparatively short-range rockets (3,000–6,000 kilometres), some of which are fired from mobile rather than from fixed underground launchers.
The existence of the rocket corps is due to the fact that while the three Rocket Armies come under the exclusive control of the Supreme Commander, they are needed to support the forces of the three main Strategic Directions and are at the disposal of the Commanders-in-Chief of these Directions. A whole Corps, or some of its divisions, can be used in support of advancing forces in any of the Directions.
Separate rocket divisions, subordinated directly to the Commander-in-Chief of the SRF, form his operational reserve. Some of these divisions are equipped with particularly powerful rockets. The rest have standard rockets and can be moved to any part of the Soviet Union, in order to reduce their vulnerability.
The Strategic Rocket Forces have a much revered father figure. If he did not exist neither would the SRF. His name is Fidel Castro: you may smile, but the SRF does not.
The story behind this is as follows. In 1959 Castro and his comrades seized power in Cuba. No one in Washington was alarmed by this and no reaction came from Moscow; it was seen as a routine Latin American coup-d'état. However it was not long before Washington became uneasy and Moscow began to show interest. The Kremlin saw an unexpected chance to loosen the hold of its hated enemy, capitalism, on the Western hemisphere. This was obviously an excellent opportunity but one which it seemed impossible to exploit because of lack of strength on the spot. Hitherto, the Soviet Union had been able to support allies of this sort with tanks. But how could it help Fidel Castro at the other side of an ocean? At that time the Soviet Fleet could not dream of trying to take on the US Navy, particularly on the latter's own doorstep. Strategic aircraft existed but only for parades and demonstrations of strength. How could the United States be dissuaded from stepping in?
There was a simple, brilliant solution-bluff.
It was decided to make use of a weapon which had not yet come into service-what Goebbels would have called a `miracle weapon'. For a miracle weapon was what the Politburo employed. Throughout 1959 there were top-priority firings of Soviet rockets and persistent rumours of extraordinary successes. In December rumours began to circulate about new, top-secret forces which were all-powerful, highly accurate, invulnerable, indestructible and so forth. These rumours were supported by the appointment of Marshal of Artillery M. I. Nedelin to a highly important position of some sort, with promotion to Chief Marshal of Artillery. In January 1960 Khrushchev announced the formation of the Strategic Rocket Forces, with Nedelin at their head. He followed this with claims that nothing would be able to withstand these forces, that they could reach any point on the globe, etc. Talking to journalists, Khrushchev revealed `in confidence' that he had been to a factory where he had seen rockets `tumbling off the conveyor belts, just like sausages'. (Incidentally, then, as now, the supply of sausages was presenting the USSR with acute problems.) The West, unaccustomed to dealing with so high-level a charlatan, was duly impressed and consequently there was no invasion of Cuba. During the drama which took place, Khrushchev took to making fierce threats about `pressing the button'.
At the moment when the establishment of the SRF was announced, a Force equal in standing to the Land Forces and said to far exceed the latter in striking power, at the moment when Marshal Nedelin's headquarters was established, with great show, the Soviet rocket forces consisted of four regiments armed with 8-Zh-38 rockets (copies of the German V.2) and one range, on which experiments with new Soviet rockets were being carried out. The figures for rocket production were negligible. All the rockets that were made were immediately used for demonstrations in space while the newly-formed divisions received nothing but replicas, which were shown off at parades and in films. Empty dummies, resembling rockets, were splendidly designated `dimensional substitutes'. Meanwhile, a hectic race was in progress to produce real, operational rockets. Accidents occurred, one after another. On 24 October, 1960, when an experimental 8-K-63 rocket blew up, the Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Chief Marshal Nedelin, and his entire staff were burned alive ...
However, the SRF had won its first battle, the battle for Cuba.
As time passed, the SRF became able to stand on its own feet. But the bluff continues. The American armed forces refer modestly to fifty intercontinental ballistic missiles as a Squadron. The Soviet Army builds at least five Regiments around this number of missiles. Alternately if the rockets are obsolescent they may form a Rocket Division or even a Rocket Corps. The Americans do not classify a thousand rockets as a separate Service, or even as an individual arm of service. They are just part of the US Air Force's Strategic Air Command. In the USSR fifteen hundred rockets make up a complete Service, commanded by a Marshal of the Soviet Union. At present, the Americans are armed, essentially, with a single type of intercontinental rocket, the `Minuteman'. In the Soviet Union there are more than ten different types, amounting to approximately the same total as the Americans possess. Why this lack of coordination? Because not one of them is of really good quality. Some lack accuracy, and have too low a payload, and too short a range, but they are kept in service because they are more reliable than other types. Others are retained because their accuracy is more or less acceptable. Others are neither accurate nor reliable but have a good range. But there is one other reason for this untidy situation, for this multiplicity of types. The fact is that the rocket forces have been developed piecemeal, like a patchwork quilt. Soviet industry is unable to turn out long production runs of rockets quickly. For this reason, while the factories are familiarising themselves with the manufacture of one type and beginning slowly to produce it, another type is being brought just as slowly into service. Familiarisation with this new type starts, in a dilatory way, and a small production run begins, with equal lack of haste, and thus, year by year, the Rocket Forces expand, gradually and in leisurely fashion. Often a really good rocket can only be produced in small numbers because the United States will only sell a small quantity of the parts needed for it. For example, if the Americans only sell seventy-nine precision fuel filters, the Soviets will be unable to produce more than this number of rockets. Some of these will be allocated for experimental use and the number available for operational deployment therefore becomes smaller still. It is then necessary to design a new rocket without high-precision filters but with electronic equipment to control the ignition process. But then, perhaps, it is only possible to purchase two hundred sets of this electronic equipment from the US. A first-class rocket, but no more than two hundred can be produced...
The SRF faces another, even more critical problem-its hunger for uranium. The shortage of uranium and plutonium has led the Soviet Union to produce extremely high-powered thermonuclear warheads with a TNT equivalent of scores of megatons. One of the reasons for this was the poor accuracy of the rockets; in order to offset this it became necessary to increase drastically the yield of the warheads. But this was not the most important consideration. The fundamental reason was that a thermonuclear charge, whatever its yield, needs only one nuclear detonator. The shortage of uranium and plutonium made it necessary to produce a comparatively small quantity of thermonuclear warheads and to compensate for this by increasing their yield.
The Soviet Union has put a lot of work into the problem of producing a thermonuclear warhead in which reaction is brought about not by a nuclear detonator but by some other means-for instance, by the simultaneous explosion of a large number of hollow charges. This is very difficult to achieve, for if just one charge functions a thousandth of a second early, it will scatter all the others. American electronic equipment is needed to solve the problem high precision timers, which will deliver impulses to all the charges simultaneously. There are some grounds for believing that timers of this sort may be sold to the Soviet Union and, if this happens, the SRF will acquire titanic strength. Meanwhile, not all Soviet rockets have warheads. There are not enough for every rocket, so that, at present, use is being made of radioactive material which is, quite simply, waste produced by nuclear power stations-radioactive dust. Rather than launch a rocket without a warhead, the wretched thing might as well be used to scatter dust in the enemy's eyes... Naturally, scattering small quantities of dust over wide areas of enemy territory, even if it is highly radioactive, will not do much damage and it will certainly not decide the outcome of a war. But what can one do if one has nothing better?
However, naturally, the SRF must not be underestimated. Rapid technical progress is being made and Soviet engineers are skilfully steering a course between the technological icebergs which confront them, sometimes achieving astounding successes, brilliant in their simplicity.
The technical balance could change very quickly, if the West does not press forward with the development of its own equipment as quickly and as decisively as the Soviet Union is doing.
The National Air Defence Forces
The National Air Defence Forces (ADF) are the third most important of the five Services which make up the Soviet Armed Forces, after the Strategic Rocket Forces and the Land Forces. However, we will examine them at this point, directly after the SRF, since like the latter they represent not simply an administrative structure but a unified, controlled combat organisation, subordinated directly to the Supreme Commander. Because they form a unified combat organisation, the ADF are always commanded by a Marshal of the Soviet Union. The Land Forces, which are five times the size of the ADF, and which represent the striking force of the Soviet Union in Europe, are headed only by a General of the Army.
In the armed forces of any other country, responsibility for air defence is laid upon its air forces. In the Soviet Union, the air defence system was so highly developed that it would be quite impossible to confine it within the organisational structure of the Air Forces. Moreover, the ADF are the third most important Service while the Air Forces occupy fourth place.
The independence of the ADF from the Air Forces is due not only to their size and to their technical development, but also to the overall Soviet philosophy concerning the allocation of wartime roles. In any country in which Soviet specialists are given the task of setting up or restructuring the armed forces, they establish several parallel systems of air defence. One is a static system, designed to defend the territory of the country and the most important administrative, political, economic and transport installations which it contains. This is a copy of the ADF. In addition, separate systems for self-defence and protection against air attack are set up in the land forces, the navy and the air force.
While the national defence system is static, those of the different armed services are mobile, designed to move alongside the forces which they exist to protect. If several systems find themselves operating in the same area, they work with one another and in such a case their collaboration is always organised by the national system.
The division of the ADF into a national system and another system for the protection of the armed services, took place long before the Second World War. All anti-aircraft artillery and all searchlight and sound-ranging units were divided between those under the command of army and naval commanders and those covering the most important civil installations, which are not subordinated to army commanders but had their own control apparatus. The fighter aircraft available were divided in the same way. In 1939, for instance, forty air regiments (1,640 combat aircraft) were transferred from the strength of the Air Forces to that of the ADF, for both administrative and combat purposes. Mixed ADF units were formed from the anti-aircraft artillery, searchlight and air sub-units, which succeeded in cooperating very closely with one another.
During the war the ADF completed their development into a separate, independent constituent of the Armed Forces, on an equal footing with the Land Forces, the Air Forces and the Navy. During the war, too, the development of fighter aircraft designed specifically for either the Air Forces or the ADF was begun. Flying training schools were set up to train ADF pilots, using different teaching programmes from those of the Air Forces. Subsequently, anti-aircraft gunnery schools were established, some of which trained officers for anti-aircraft units of the Land Forces and Navy while others prepared officers for the anti-aircraft units of the ADF. After the war, the teams designing anti-aircraft guns for the Armed Forces were directed to develop especially powerful anti-aircraft guns for the ADF.
At the end of the war the total strength of the ADF was more than one million, divided into four ADF fronts (each with two or three armies) and three independent ADF Armies.
After the war the ADF was given official status as an independent Armed Service.
Today the ADF has more than 600,000 men. For administrative purposes they are divided into three arms of service:
ADF Fighter Aviation
ADF Surface-to-air Missile Forces
ADF Radar Forces
For greater efficiency and closer cooperation, the sub-units of these three arms of service are brought together to form mixed units-ADF Divisions, Corps, Armies and Fronts (in peacetime Fronts are known as ADF Districts).
The fact that 3,000 combat aircraft, among them some of the most advanced, have no operational, financial, administrative or any other connection with the Air Forces, has not been grasped by ordinary individuals in the West, nor even by Western military specialists. It is therefore necessary to repeat, that the ADF rate as a separate and independent Armed Service, with 3,000 supersonic interceptor aircraft, 12,000 anti-aircraft missile launchers and 6,000 radar installations.
It is because the ADF are responsible both for the protection of Soviet territory and of the most important installations in the USSR that they function independently. Since they are concerned mainly with the defence of stationary targets, the fighter aircraft developed for them differ from those with which the Air Forces are equipped. The ADF are also equipped with surface-to-air missiles and radar installations which differ from those used by the Land Forces and by the Navy.
The Air Forces have their own fighter aircraft, totalling several thousand. The Land Forces have thousands of their own anti-aircraft missile launchers, anti-aircraft guns and radar installations. The Navy, too, has its own fighters, anti-aircraft missiles and guns and radar, and all of these belong to the individual Armed Service rather than to the ADF, and are used to meet the requirements of the operational commanders of the Land Forces, Air Forces and Navy. We will discuss these independent air defence systems later; for the moment we will confine ourselves to the national defence system.
The fighter aircraft of the ADF are organised as regiments. In all, the ADF has more than seventy regiments, each with forty aircraft.
The ADF cannot, of course, use fighter aircraft built for the Air Forces, any more than the latter can use aircraft built to the designs of the ADF. The Air Forces and the ADF operate under entirely different conditions and have different operational tasks and each Service therefore has its particular requirements from its own aircraft.
The ADF operates from permanent airfields and can therefore use heavy fighter aircraft. The fighter aircraft of the Air Forces are constantly on the move behind the Land Forces and must therefore operate from very poor airfields, sometimes with grass runways or even from sections of road. They are therefore much lighter than the aircraft used by the ADF.
ADF fighters are assisted in their operations by extremely powerful radar and guidance systems, which direct the aircraft to their targets from the ground. These aircraft do not therefore need to be highly manoeuvrable but every effort is made to increase their speed, their operational ceiling and range. The Air Forces require different qualities from their fighter aircraft, which are lighter, since they have to operate in constantly changing situations, and from their pilots, who have to work unassisted, locating and attacking their targets for themselves. The Air Force fighters therefore need to be both light and highly manoeuvrable but they are considerably inferior to those of the ADF in speed, range, payload and ceiling.
Let us look at an example of these two different approaches to the design of fighter aircraft. The MIG-23 is extremely light and manoeuvrable and is able to operate from any airfield, including those with grass runways. Clearly, it is an aircraft for the Air Forces. By contrast, the MIG-25, although designed by the same group, at the same time, is extremely heavy and unmanoeuvrable and can operate only from long and very stable concrete runways, but it has gained twelve world records for range, speed, rate of climb and altitude reached. For two decades this was the fastest operational aircraft in the world. It is easy to see that this is an ADF fighter.
Besides the MIG-25, which is a high-altitude interceptor, the ADF have a low-level interceptor, the SU 15, and a long-range interceptor, the TU 128, which is designed to attack enemy aircraft attempting to penetrate Soviet air space across the endless wastes of the Arctic or the deserts of Central Asia.
The Surface-to-air Missile (SAM) Forces of the ADF consist, organisationally, of rocket brigades (each with 10 to 12 launch battalions), regiments (3 to 5 launch battalions) and independent launch battalions. Each battalion has 6 to 8 launchers, according to the type of rocket with which it is equipped. Each battalion has between 80 and 120 men. First, all battalions were equipped with S 75 rockets. Then, to replace these, two rockets, the S 125 (low-altitude and short-range) and the S 200 (high-altitude and long-range), were developed. The S 200 can be fitted with a nuclear warhead to destroy enemy rockets or aircraft. Also introduced, to destroy the enemy's inter-continental ballistic missiles, was the UR 100, which has a particularly powerful warhead, but the deployment of this type has been limited by the US-Soviet ABM Treaty.
Each SAM battalion is equipped with several anti-aircraft guns of small (23mm) and large (57mm) calibre. These are used to repel either low-flying enemy aircraft or attacks by enemy land forces. In peacetime, these anti-aircraft guns are not classified as a separate arm of service of the ADF. However, in wartime, when the strength of the ADF would be increased three or four times, they would form an arm of service, deployed as anti-aircraft artillery regiments and divisions, equipped with 23, 57, 85, 100 and 130mm guns, which are mothballed in peacetime.
The Radar Forces of the ADF consist of brigades and regiments, together with a number of independent battalions and companies. They are equipped with several thousand radar installations, for the detection of enemy aircraft and space weapons and for the guidance towards these targets of ADF robot and interceptor aircraft.
In addition to these three main arms of service, the complement of the ADF includes many supporting sub-units (providing transport, communications, guard duties and administration), two military academies and eleven higher officers' schools, together with a considerable number of test-ranges, institutes for scientific research and training centres.
Operationally the ADF consists of a Central Command Post, two ADF Districts, which would become ADF Fronts in wartime, eight independent ADF Armies and several independent ADF Corps.
Up to regimental and brigade level ADF formations are drawn from a single arm of service-for example from SAM brigades, fighter regiments, independent radar battalions, etc. From division level upwards, each arm of service is represented in each formation and these are therefore called ADF Divisions, Corps, etc.
The organisation of each division, corps or other higher formation is decided in accordance with the importance of the installation which it is protecting. However, there is one guiding principle: each commander is responsible for the defence of one key point only. This principle is uniformly applied at all levels.
The commander of an ADF division is responsible for the protection of a single, highly important installation, for instance, of a large power-supply centre. He is also required to prevent incursions by enemy aircraft over his sector. The division therefore deploys one SAM brigade to cover the main installation, and moves two or three SAM regiments into the-areas most likely to be threatened, ahead of the brigades, and a number of independent SAM battalions into areas which are in less danger. In addition, the divisional commander has one air regiment which may be used to make contact with the enemy at a considerable distance, for operations at boundaries or junctions not covered by SAM fire, or in the area in which the enemy delivers his main thrust. The operations of the SAM sub-units and of the interceptor aircraft are supported by radar battalions and companies which are subordinated both to the divisional commander himself and to the commanding officers of the division's SAM units.
An ADF corps commander organises coverage of the target he is protecting in precisely the same way. To protect the main installation itself he has one ADF division. Both he and his divisional commander are involved in the defence of the same installation. Two or three SAM brigades are moved forward to cover the sectors which are under greatest threat, while SAM regiments are deployed in less endangered areas. One air regiment is under the direct command of the corps commander, for long-range use or for operations in the area in which the enemy delivers his main attack. If the SAM sub-units are put out of action, the corps commander can at any time make use of his fighter regiment to cover an area in which a breakthrough is threatened. Thus there are two air regiments with each ADF Corps, one at the disposal of the ADF divisional commander, the other for use by the corps commander. A corps contains three or four SAM brigades, one with the ADF division, the others at the disposal of the corps commander, covering the approaches to the divisional position. In a corps there are five or six SAM regiments, two or three of which are used in the division's main sector, the remainder in the secondary sectors of the corps area. Lastly, the corps commander himself has a radar regiment, in addition to the radar forces of his subordinates.
An ADF Army commander, too, is responsible for the protection of a single key objective and has an ADF corps to cover it. In addition, an Army has two or three independent ADF divisions, each of which provides cover for its own key installation and also defends the main approaches to the key objective guarded by the Army. Independent SAM brigades are deployed in the secondary sectors of the Army's area. An Army commander also has two air regiments (one with aircraft for high-altitude operations, the other with long-range interceptors) and his own radar installations (including over-the-horizon radars).
An ADF District is similar in structure. The key objective is covered by an Army. Two or three independent ADF corps are deployed in the sectors under greatest threat while the less endangered areas are covered by ADF divisions, each of which, of course, has a key objective of its own. The District Commander also has two interceptor air regiments under his command and radar detection facilities, including very large aircraft equipped with powerful radars.
The nerve centre-Moscow-is, of course, covered by an ADF District; the main approaches to this District by ADF Armies and the secondary sectors by ADF corps. Each District and Army has, of course, the task of covering a key installation of its own.
The ADF contains two ADF Districts. Something must be said about the reasons for the existence of the second of these-the Baku District. Unlike the Moscow District, the Baku ADF District does not have a key target to protect. The fact that Baku produces oil is irrelevant: twenty-four times as much oil is produced in the Tatarstan area as in Baku. The Baku ADF District looks southwards, covering a huge area along the frontiers, which is unlikely to be attacked. Several of the armies of the ADF (the 9th, for instance), have considerably greater combat resources than the whole Baku District. It is, however, because of the need to watch such a huge area, a task for which an ADF Army has insufficient capacity, that a District was established there.
All in all, the ADF is the most powerful system of its sort in the world. It has at its disposal not only the largest quantity of equipment but in some respects the best equipment in the world. At the beginning of the 1980s the MIG-25 interceptor was the fastest in the world and the S-200 had the largest yield and the greatest range of any surface-to-air missile. In the period since the war the Soviet Air Defence Forces have shown their strength on many occasions. They did this most strikingly on 1 May, 1960, by shooting down an American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, a type regarded until then as invulnerable, because of the incredible height at which it could operate. There is no doubt that the Soviet Air Defence Forces are the most experienced in the world. What other system can boast of having spent as many years fighting the most modern air force in the world as the Soviet ADF system in Vietnam?
In the mid-1970s some doubt arose as to its reliability when a South Korean aircraft lost its way and flew over Soviet Arctic territory for some considerable time before being forced down by a Soviet SU-15 interceptor. However, the reasons for this delay can be fully explained; we have noted that interceptor aircraft do not represent the main strength of the ADF, which lies in its surface-to-air missiles. The territory across which the lost aircraft flew was quite unusually well-equipped with SAMs, but there is simply no reason to use them against a civil aircraft. At the same time, because of the deep snow which lay in the area, hardly any interceptors were stationed there. Their absence was compensated for by an abnormally large number of SAMs, ready to shoot down any military aircraft. In this unusual situation, once the invader had been found to be a civil aircraft, it became necessary to use an interceptor brought from a great distance. This aircraft took off from Lodeynoye Polye and flew more than 1,000 kilometres, in darkness, to meet the intruder. In an operational situation it would not have been necessary to do this. It would be simpler to use a rocket.
Nevertheless, despite everything, the ADF has its Achilles heel. The fastest aircraft are flown by men who detest socialism with all their hearts. The pilot Byelenko is by no means unique in the ADF.
The Land Forces
The Land Forces are the oldest, the largest and the most diversified of the Services making up the Armed Forces of the Red Army. In peacetime their strength totals approximately 2 million, but mobilisation would bring them up to between 21 and 23 million within ten days.
They contain seven arms of service:
Artillery and Rocket Troops of the Land Forces
Air Defence Troops of the Land Forces
Airborne Assault Troops
Diversionary Troops (Spetsnaz)
Fortified Area Troops
The existence of the last three is kept secret.
In their organisation and operational strength, the Land Forces can be seen as a scaled-down model of the entire Soviet Armed Forces. Just take a look at their structure: the Strategic Rocket Forces are subordinated to the Stavka; the Land Forces have their own rocket troops; the Air Defence Forces are subordinated to the Stavka; the Land Forces have their own air defence troops. They also have their own aircraft, which are independent of the Air Forces. The Air Defence Forces, in their numbers and equipment the strongest in the world, are subordinated to the Stavka; the Land Forces also have their own airborne troops which, using the same yardstick, are the second strongest in the world.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces has no more than an administrative function. His headquarters contains neither an Operational nor an Intelligence Directorate. All operational planning is carried out by the mixed commands of the Fronts, Strategic Directions or General Staff. The Commander-in-Chief's responsibilities are limited to the equipment, provisioning and training of his forces. However, despite the fact that he has no responsibility for the direction of operations the C-in-C Land Forces is still a highly influential administrator. Clearly, anyone who is responsible for the development and supply of forty-one Armies, including eight Tank Armies deserves respect.
The Commanders of the various arms of service of the Land Forces, too, have purely administrative functions. The direction of operations, as we already know, is the function of mixed all-arms commands, which are not subordinated for this function to either the C-in-C or the Commanders of individual arms of service.
The Motor-Rifle Troops
Each motor-rifle section has a strength of eleven. One man acts as assistant to the rocket launcher and is jokingly referred to as the missile transporter. He does indeed carry three rockets, in a satchel. Each of these has a warhead capable of penetrating the armour of any modern tank, booster and sustainer engines, a spin stabiliser, a turbine, a fin assembly and a tracer compound.
His are not the only rockets in the section. It is also equipped with anti-aircraft rockets with seeker heads, which enable them to distinguish hostile aircraft from friendly ones and to destroy them. In addition, the section has four 9-M-14 `Malyutka' rockets which have an automatic guidance system. All this in one infantry section.
The section's BMP-1 combat vehicle has an automatic 73mm gun and three machine guns and has sufficient fire-power, manoeuvrability and protection to take on any modern light tank. The section also has three radio sets, sensors for the detection of radioactivity and gas and other complex devices in addition to its ordinary infantry equipment.
At this, the lowest, level, we find not a true infantry formation but a hybrid of tank, anti-tank, SAM, chemical, sapper and other sub-units.
The infantry is the oldest of the arms of service. All the remainder originated later and were developed as additions or reinforcements to the infantry. From our examination of the infantry section we see that the modern infantry is an arm of service which, even at its lowest level, has absorbed elements of many others.
The concept of the infantry, not as cannon fodder, but as the framework of the entire Armed Forces, the skeleton on which the whole of the remainder develops, has been held for a long time by Soviet generals. After the last war, all Soviet infantry officer training schools were renamed Officer Cadet Academies, and began to turn out, not run-of-the-mill platoon commanders, but commanders with a wide range of knowledge, able to organise cooperation between all arms of service in the battlefield, in order to ensure joint success.
It is for this reason that today's officers are not called either infantry or motor-rifle commanders, but all-arms commanders.
The organisation of a normal Soviet regiment which, by tradition, is still called a motor-rifle regiment, is as follows:
Tank battalion (three companies)
Three motor-rifle battalions (each of three companies and one automatic mortar battery)
A battalion of self-propelled howitzers (three fire batteries and one control battery)
A battery of Grad-P multiple rocket launchers
A SAM battery
An engineer company
A chemical defence company
A maintenance company
A motor transport company
In all, the regiment has 27 companies, only 9 of which are motor-rifle companies. It is significant that, in a so-called `motor-rifle' regiment, there are 10 artillery battery commanders-that is to say, one more than the number of motor-rifle company commanders.
If we move a little higher, to the level of a division, we find that, surprisingly, it is still referred to as a `motor-rifle' division. We will look at the organisation of a motor-rifle division later; for the present we will simply note that it contains a total of 165 companies and batteries. Of these only 28 are motor-rifle companies; it also has 23 tank companies and 67 artillery batteries (mortar, anti-aircraft and rocket). The remainder is made up of reconnaissance, signal and engineer, chemical and other companies.
The motor-rifle troops make up the bulk of the Soviet forces. Organisationally, they consist of 123 divisions and of an additional 47 regiments, which form part of the complement of tank divisions. In addition, there are motor-rifle battalions serving in fortified areas and also with the Navy's marine infantry brigades.
In peacetime motor-rifle sub-units are divided into those with normal equipment (armoured personnel carriers) and those equipped with infantry combat vehicles (BMPs). This is today's version of the age-old division between light and heavy infantry, between grenadiers and chasseurs.
In theory all motor-rifle regiments in tank divisions and one regiment in each motor-rifle division should be equipped with BMPs. In practice, this depends upon the output of the defence industries and upon their ability to supply combat equipment to the forces. In many inland military districts divisions have not received the BMPs allocated to them. By contrast, divisions stationed in East Germany have two rather than one BMP regiment.
Sub-units equipped with BMPs have much greater fire and striking-power than their normal motor-rifle equivalents. This is not only because a BMP has better protection, armament and manoeuvrability than an armoured personnel carrier. BMP sub-units also have far more supporting weapons. For instance, a motor-rifle battalion stationed on Soviet territory has a mortar platoon. An equivalent BMP battalion has a battery instead of a platoon. Moreover, these are not standard but automatic mortars, and they are self-propelled rather than towed. A standard motor-rifle regiment has a howitzer battery, or in some cases a battalion of towed howitzers. A BMP regiment has a howitzer battalion equipped with self-propelled amphibious howitzers and a further battery of `Grad-P' multiple rocket launchers.
BMP sub-units are the first to receive new anti-tank, anti-aircraft, engineering and communications equipment. They are, in fact, the trump suit in the pack.
The Tank Forces
The Tank Forces represent the main striking power of the Land Forces. Their organisation is simple and well-defined. Every unit commander has his own tank assault force, of a size appropriate to his position. The commander of a motor-rifle regiment has a tank battalion at his disposal. The commander of a motor-rifle division has his own tank regiment. An Army commander has one tank division and a Front Commander a Tank Army. Finally, the Commander-in-Chief of a Strategic Direction has a Group of Tank Armies. Combat operations at each level are organised according to established principles. An advance by a motor-rifle regiment is, essentially, an advance by a tank battalion which is supported by all the other battalions and companies of the regiment. This principle applies at all levels. You could, in fact, say that an advance by a Strategic Direction is really a break-through by a Tank Army Group supported by the operations of the three or four Fronts which belong to that Direction.
In addition to this basic striking force, Front Commanders and C-in-Cs of Strategic Directions may keep independent tank divisions in reserve, using them for rapid relief of the divisions which suffer the worst losses. Besides this, however, each commander, from divisional level upwards, has what might be called a personal tank guard. Besides the tank regiment which is his main striking force, a division commander has an independent tank battalion. Thus, a motor-rifle division has seven tank battalions in all; one in each of its three motor-rifle regiments, three in its tank regiment and the independent battalion. This battalion is entirely different from the others. Whereas the ordinary tank battalions have 31 tanks (3 companies of 10 each and one for the battalion commander), an independent battalion has 52 tanks (5 companies of 10 each, one for the battalion commander and the divisional commander's own tank). Unlike the others, an independent tank battalion has reconnaissance, anti-aircraft, engineer and chemical platoons. In its make-up it is more like a small, independent tank regiment, than a large battalion. In addition, the independent tank battalions are the first to receive the latest equipment. I have seen many divisions equipped with T-44 tanks while the independent tank battalions had T-10Ms, which have then received T-55s, while the independent battalions got T-72s. The divisional commander will carefully and patiently assemble all his best crews in this battalion. The commander of a motor-rifle regiment will throw his tank battalion into the thick of a battle, and a divisional commander will do the same with his tank regiment but he will keep his independent tank battalions in reserve. These protect respectively, the division's headquarters and the division's rocket battalion. These are not, of course, their main functions, but fall to the lot of the independent battalions because they almost always function as reserves.
But let us suppose that during a battle a situation arises in which a commander must throw in everything he has, a situation which can result in either victory or disaster. This is the moment at which he brings his own personal guard into the operation, a fresh, fully-rested battalion, of unusual size, made up of his best crews and equipped with the best tanks. At this moment a divisional commander is risking everything and for this reason he may head this, his own independent, tank battalion.
An Army Commander, too, in addition to the tank division which forms his striking force, has an independent tank battalion to act as his personal guard. He puts it into action only at the last possible moment and it may be with this battalion that he meets his own death in battle. In addition to his Tank Army, each Front Commander has an independent tank brigade, consisting of the best crews in the whole Front and equipped with the best tanks. Normally a Front's independent tank brigade has four or five battalions and one motor-rifle battalion. The commander of a Strategic Direction, too, has his personal tank guard, in addition to his Tank Army Group. This guard consists of a single special independent tank division or, in some cases, of a tank corps made up of two divisions.
In all, the Tank Forces have 47 tank divisions, 127 regiments, serving with motor-rifle divisions and more than 500 battalions, either serving with motor-rifle regiments or acting as reserves for commanders of varying ranks. In peacetime their total strength is 54,000 tanks.
The Artillery and Rocket Troops of the Land Forces
After the end of the Second World War, the Rocket Troops were treated as a separate arm of service, not forming part of any one of the Armed Services but subordinated directly to the Minister of Defence. In 1959 they were split up. The Strategic Rocket Forces were established as a separate Armed Service. Those rocket troops who were not absorbed by the new Service were taken over by the Land forces and united with the Artillery to form the Artillery and Rocket Troops, as one of the constituent arms of service of the Land Forces.
At present this arm of service is equipped with four types of artillery-rocket, rocket launcher (multi-barrelled, salvo-firing), anti-tank and general purpose (mortars, howitzers and field guns). Each commander has at his disposal the artillery resources appropriate to his rank. Commanders of divisions and upwards have some of each of all four types of artillery weapon. Thus a motor-rifle division has one rocket battalion, one battalion of multi-barrelled rocket launchers, one anti-tank battalion and a howitzer regiment of three battalions for general support. We will discuss the quantity of fire weapons available to commanders of differing ranks when we come to talk about operational organisation.
The Air Defence Troops of the Land Forces
We have already spoken of the existence of two separate air defence systems-national and military. The two are unconnected: the difference between them is that the national system protects the territory of the Soviet Union and is therefore stationary while the military system is an integral part of the fighting services and moves with them in order to protect them from air attack.
Organisationally, each infantry section, with the exception of those which travel in platoon commanders' vehicles, contains one soldier armed with a `Strela 2' anti-aircraft rocket launcher. There are two such launchers in each platoon. The seeker heads with which they are fitted enable rockets fired from these launchers to shoot down enemy aircraft flying at heights of two kilometres and at distances of four kilometres. In every tank platoon, in addition to the anti-aircraft machine-guns carried by each tank, one of the leaders has three of these launchers, which are carried on the outside of the tank's turret.
Each motor-rifle and tank regiment has an anti-aircraft battery, armed with 4 ZSU-23–4 `Shilka' self-propelled rocket launchers and with 4 `Strela 1' launchers (known in the West as the SA-9). These two systems complement each other and are highly effective, the Shilka especially so. I have watched a Shilka working from a stony, ploughed field, belching out an uninterrupted blast of fire against small balloons released, without warning, from a wood a couple of kilometres away. The results it achieved were quite overwhelming. The British reference book, Jane's, is quite right to describe the Shilka as the best in the world.
The officer in charge of the anti-aircraft defence of each motor-rifle and tank regiment coordinates the operations of his battery and also those of all the Strela-2 launchers.
Each motor-rifle and tank division has one SAM regiment, armed with `Kub' (SA-6) or `Romb' (SA-8) rockets. Each Army has one SAM brigade, armed with `Krug' (SA-4) rockets.
In addition to all these, a Front Commander has under his command two SAM brigades with `Krug' rockets, several regiments with `Kubs' or `Rombs' and several AAA regiments, armed with 57mm and 100mm anti-aircraft guns.
The Airborne Assault Troops
Although the Airborne Assault troops wear the same uniform as airborne troops, they have no connection with them. Airborne troops are under the direct control of the Supreme Commander; they use transport aircraft and parachutes for their operations. By contrast, the Airborne Assault troops form part of the Land Forces and are operationally subordinate to a Front Commander. They are transported by helicopter and do not use parachutes. Moreover, their sub-units use helicopters not only as a means of transport but as fighting weapons.
In Soviet eyes, the helicopter has nothing in common with conventional aircraft; it is regarded virtually as a tank. At first this may seem a strange idea, but it is undeniably well founded. No aircraft can seize enemy territory; this is done by tanks, artillery and infantry working together. Helicopters are therefore regarded as belonging to the Land Forces, as tanks which do not fear minefields, mountains or water obstacles, as tanks with high fire-power and great speed but which have only limited protection.
The airborne assault troops were established in 1969. Their `father' and guardian angel was Mao. If he had never existed nor would they. Soviet generals had been pressing for their introduction since the beginning of the 1950s, but there were never sufficient resources for their creation and the decision to bring them into service was postponed from one five-year plan to another. However, in 1969, armed clashes took place on the frontier with China, and Soviet generals declared that they could only defend a line 1,000 kilometres in length with tanks which could be concentrated within a few hours at any one of the sectors of this enormous frontier. So the MI-24 made its appearance-a flying tank which no weapon has yet managed to shoot down in Afghanistan.
Military helicopters, which thus originated primarily as a weapon against China, actually made their first appearance with the Soviet forces in Eastern Europe. This was because the situation on the Chinese frontier improved; that on the frontiers with the West can never improve.
Organisationally, the airborne assault troops consist of brigades, subordinated to Front Commanders. Each brigade is made up of one helicopter assault regiment (64 aircraft), one squadron of MI-26 heavy transport helicopters and three airborne rifle battalions.
The airborne assault brigade is used in the main axis of advance of a Front in conjunction with a Tank Army and under air cover provided by an Air Army.
In addition to this brigade, a Front also has other airborne assault subunits, which do not represent part of its establishment. Each Army has one helicopter transport regiment, which is used to air-lift ordinary motor-rifle sub-units behind the enemy's front line. In each motor-rifle regiment, one battalion in three is trained, in peacetime, for operations with helicopters. Thus each division has three battalions trained for this purpose and each Army has thirteen such battalions.
Airborne assault forces are growing continually. Very soon we can expect to see airborne assault brigades with every Army and airborne assault divisions with every Front.
Diversionary Troops (SPETSNAZ)
Diversionary troops, too, wear the same uniform as airborne troops without having any connection with them. Unlike airborne assault troops, they are parachuted from aircraft into the enemy's rear areas. However, they differ from normal airborne troops in not having heavy equipment and in operating more covertly.
These SPETSNAZ forces form the airborne forces of the Land Forces. They are used in the enemy's rear to carry out reconnaissance, to assassinate important political or military figures and to destroy headquarters, command posts, communications centres and nuclear weapons.
Each all-arms or tank army has one SPETSNAZ company, with a complement of 115, of whom 9 are officers and 11 are ensigns. This company operates in areas between 100 and 500 kilometres behind the enemy's front line. It consists of a headquarters, three diversionary platoons and a communications platoon. Depending on the tasks to be carried out, the officers and men of the company divide into as many as 15 diversionary groups, but during an operation they may work first as a single unit, then split into 3 or 4 groups, then into 15 and then back again into one.
Usually, SPETSNAZ companies are dropped the night before an Army begins an advance, at a moment when the anti-aircraft and other resources of the enemy are under greatest pressure. Thereafter, they operate ahead of the advancing sub-units of the Army.
Each Front has a SPETSNAZ brigade, consisting of a headquarters company and three diversionary battalions. In peace-time the SPETSNAZ companies of the Armies of the Front are combined as a SPETSNAZ battalion, which explains why it is sometimes thought that there are four battalions in each diversionary brigade. In wartime this battalion would split into companies which would join their respective Armies.
Each of the Front's three battalions operates in the enemy's rear in exactly the same way as the SPETSNAZ companies of the Armies. Each battalion can split into as many as 45 diversionary groups and the three together can therefore produce a total of up to 135 small groups. But, if necessary, a SPETSNAZ brigade can operate at full strength, using between 900 and 1,200 troops together against a single target. Such a target might be a nuclear submarine base, a large headquarters, or even a national capital.
The headquarters company of a SPETSNAZ brigade is of particular interest. Unlike both the SPETSNAZ battalions and normal Army companies, it is made up of specialists-between 70 and 80 of them. This HQ company forms part of the SPETSNAZ brigade and even many of the latter's officers may not be aware of its existence. In peacetime this company of specialists is concealed within the sports teams of the Military District. Boxing, wrestling, karate, shooting, running, skiing, parachute jumping-these are the sports they practice. As members of sports teams they travel abroad, visiting places in which they would kill people in the event of a future `liberation'.
These Soviet sportsmen/parachutists, holders of most of the world's sporting records, have visited every national capital. They have made their parachute jumps near Paris, London and Rome, never concealing the fact that the sporting association which has trained them is the Soviet Army. When Munich, Rome and Helsinki applaud Soviet marksmen, wrestlers and boxers, everyone assumes that these are amateurs. But they are not-they are professionals, professional killers.
In addition to these small companies within the diversionary brigades of the Fronts, there are also SPETSNAZ Long-Range Reconnaissance Regiments. The Commander-in-Chief of each Strategic Direction has one of these regiments. The best of these regiments is stationed in the Moscow Military District. From time to time this regiment goes abroad in full strength. On these occasions it goes under the title of the Combined Olympic Team of the USSR.
The KGB, as well as the Soviet Army, is training its diversionary specialists. The difference, in peacetime, between the two groups is that the Soviet Army contingent always belongs to the Central Army Sports Club while those from the KGB are members of the `Dynamo' Sports Club. In the event of war, the two diversionary networks would operate independently of one another, in the interests of reliability and effectiveness. But a description of the diversionary network of the KGB lies outside our field.
The Fortified Area Troops
For many decades, the problem of defence was not the Soviet Union's first priority. All its resources were devoted to strengthening its striking power and its offensive capabilities. But then China began to present a challenge. Of course, both Soviet and Chinese leaders knew that Siberia could never provide a solution to China's territorial problems. Siberia looks large on the map but even the great conqueror Jenghiz Khan, who had defeated Russia, China and Iran, by-passed Siberia, which is nothing more than a snowy desert. Both Soviet and Chinese politicians realise-as do their Western opposite numbers-that the solution of the Chinese territorial problem lies in the colonisation of Australia. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union takes steps to strengthen its frontiers, even though it is certain that the West will be the first victim of China, as it was the first victim of Hitler and of the Iranian students.
The Soviet Union knows from its own experience how peace-loving a socialist country becomes when its economy, and consequently its army, is weak. But it also knows what can be achieved by a country whose whole economy has been nationalised-a country in which everything of value belongs solely to the government and in which all resources can therefore be concentrated in order to achieve a single goal. Knowing this, the Soviet Communists are preparing for every possible contingency in good time.
In 1969 the problem of defending the 7,000 kilometre frontier with China became particularly acute. The calculation involved was a simple one: one division can hold a sector of 10 or, at the outside, of 15 kilometres of the frontier. How many divisions would be needed to defend 7,000 kilometres?
Since there was no question of using the old methods of conducting operations, new methods-new solutions-were found. We already know that one of the most important of these was the establishment of the airborne assault troops. A second was the introduction of a second arm of service-the Fortified Area Troops. This represented a return to the age-old idea of building fortresses.
Today's Soviet fortresses-the Fortified Areas-are either completely new or are established in areas in which there were old defences, built before the Second World War, which withstood repeated attacks by the Japanese army.
Modern Fortified Areas are, of course, so constructed as to survive a nuclear war. All fortifications have been strengthened against nuclear attack and contain automatic systems for the detection of poisonous gas and air filtration plants.
Today, the old reinforced concrete structures are hardly ever used for operational purposes. Instead, they serve as underground command posts, stores, barracks, assembly points, communications centres, or hospitals. All operational structures are being newly built. Here the Soviet Union finds itself in a very favourable situation, because it has retained tens of thousands of old tanks. These are now installed in reinforced concrete shelters so that only the turrets appear above the ground. The turrets themselves are strengthened with additional armour plating, often taken from obsolete warships. Sometimes the tops of turrets are covered with an additional shield made of old railway lines; the whole is then carefully camouflaged. Under the hull of the tank is a reinforced concrete magazine for several hundred shells and a shelter for personnel. The whole forms an excellent firing point, with a powerful (often 122mm) tank gun, two machine guns, an excellent optical system, reliable defence against a nuclear blast and an underground cable connecting it with the command post, With these resources, two or three soldiers can defend several kilometres of frontier. Since these tank turrets cover one another and since, in addition to them, the fortified areas contain thousands of gun turrets taken from obsolete warships, some of which contain quick-firing 6-barrelled 30mm guns, which are uniquely effective against infantry and aircraft, it would clearly be extremely difficult to break through such a line of defence. The Soviet Union has bitter memories of the way little Finland was able to halt the Soviet advance in this way in 1940.
Each fortified area is spaciously set out, to increase its ability to withstand the effects of nuclear weapons. Organisationally, each fortified area is manned by five or six battalions of troops, a tank battalion and an artillery regiment and is able to cover a frontier sector of 30 to 50 kilometres or more. Clearly, it is not possible to fortify the entire frontier in this way and fortified areas are therefore set up in the most threatened sectors, the intervening territory being covered by nuclear and chemical mines and by airborne assault sub-units, located in bases protected by the fortified areas. This whole arrangement has already enabled the Soviet Union to establish a defensive system covering enormous stretches of territory, without having to move a single one of the divisions earmarked for the liberation of Western Europe from capitalist oppression.
The Air Forces
The Air Forces are the fourth most important of the Armed Services. There are two reasons for this low rating.
In the first place, the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Forces does not control all aircraft. Those of the Air Defence Forces-which are the fastest-are completely independent of the Air Forces. Those of the Navy, which include the most modern bombers, also have no link with the Air Forces. The airborne assault troops, as an integral part of the Land Forces, have nothing to do with the Air Forces either.
Secondly, unlike the Commanders-in-Chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces and the Air Defence Forces, the C-in-C of the Air Forces is not an operational commander but an administrator.
Subordinated to the C-in-C of the Air Forces in peacetime are:
Sixteen Air Armies
The Commander of the Long-Range Air Force
The Commander of Military Transport Aviation
Two military academies, officers' training schools, scientific research establishments, and test centres, administrative and supply echelons.
The total peacetime strength of the Air Forces is half a million men and 10,000 military aircraft and helicopters. However, the apparent strength of the C-in-C of the Air Forces is illusory. He is responsible for all questions concerning the functioning of the Air Forces, from the development of new aircraft to the allocation of rations for guard dogs, from the training of cosmonauts to the propagation of experience acquired in Vietnam, but he is in no way involved in questions concerning the operational use of the aircraft under his command. This means that he is not an operational Marshal, but an official and administrator, albeit one of very high rank.
In wartime all sixteen Air Armies become integral components of the Fronts. Each Front has an Air Army, which it uses as it considers necessary. Only the highest operational commanders-the C-in-C of a Strategic Direction or the Supreme Commander-may interfere in a Front's operational planning problems (including those of the Air Army belonging to it). The C-in-C of the Air Forces may only advise the Supreme Commander if his advice is sought; if not, his task is solely to ensure that the Air Armies receive all the supplies they need to carry out their operations.
Nor is the Long-Range Air Force operationally controlled by the C-in-C of the Air Forces. It is subordinated exclusively to the Supreme Commander, who can either make use of its entire strength or allocate part of it, temporarily, to the Commanders-in-Chief of Strategic Directions.
The same arrangement applies to Military Transport Aviation which is entirely under the control of the Supreme Commander.
When control of all these forces is taken from the C-in-C of the Air Forces, he is left only with military academies, training schools, research centres, administrative echelons, hospitals and supply depots. He supplies operational units with reinforcements of equipment and men, oversees the supply of ammunition, fuel, and spare parts, investigates reasons for catastrophes and does a thousand other useful jobs, but he does not direct operations.
Even in peacetime the range of his responsibilities is similarly limited. His Air Armies are deployed in Military Districts and are used in accordance with the plans of their staffs. The General Staff decides how the Long-Range Air Force and Military Transport Aviation are to be used.
In peacetime there are sixteen Air Armies. In wartime there would be rather more, since some of them would be divided in two. An Air Army has a strictly regulated organisation. It consists of:
Three fighter divisions
Two fighter-bomber divisions
One bomber division
One regiment of fighter/reconnaissance aircraft
One regiment of bomber/reconnaissance aircraft
One or two regiments of light transport aircraft
Fighter, fighter/reconnaissance and fighter-bomber sub-units have the same organisational form: A flight has 4 aircraft, a squadron 12 (three flights), a regiment 40 (three squadrons and a command flight), a division 124 (three regiments and a command flight). Bomber and bomber/reconnaissance sub-units, too, are identically organised: A flight has 3 aircraft, a squadron 9 (three flights), a regiment 30 (three squadrons and a command flight), a division 93 (three regiments and a command flight).
In all, an Air Army has 786 combat aircraft and between 46 and 80 light transport aircraft. In the fighter, fighter-bomber and bomber regiments of its divisions, the first squadron contains the best pilots, bomb-aimers and air crew. It is a great honour to serve in such a squadron. The second squadron is trained in reconnaissance duties as well as in its main functions. If necessary, the commander of an Air Army can put in the air, besides two reconnaissance regiments (70 aircraft), 18 squadrons, of what might be called `amateur' reconnaissance aircrew (207 aircraft). Each third squadron is made up of young airmen. After the latter have put in some years of service in this third squadron, the commander of the regiment decides who shall join the `aces' in the first squadron, who shall go to the second, for reconnaissance duties, and who shall stay in the third, among the novices. The best crews from the second squadron graduate to the reconnaissance regiments, where they become professionals rather than amateurs.
This is all very well, the informed reader may say, but in the 37th Air Army, which is stationed in Poland, there are two rather than six divisions, while the 16th Air Army, in East Germany, has eight divisions. Moreover, neither of these has a regiment of light transport aircraft; instead they have helicopter regiments. What is the significance of this?
It is quite simple. In wartime a Front would be deployed in Poland. It would contain an Air Army. The Army's headquarters and two Soviet division's are already there. In wartime the complement would be brought up to strength with divisions of the Polish Air Forces. In peacetime the latter should be allowed to believe themselves independent.
In East Germany two Fronts would be deployed and the 16th Air Army would therefore be split into two (this is always done during exercises). Each Army would contain four Soviet divisions, the complement being made up with divisions of the East German Air Forces. In peacetime the two Armies are combined because of the need for unified control over all air movement in East German air space and also in order to conceal the existence of two Fronts.
In wartime each Soviet motor-rifle and tank division will have 4 helicopters and every all-arms and tank Army will have 12. In peacetime it is best to keep them together, which reduces supply and training problems. This is why there are helicopter regiments in Air Armies. But at the outbreak of war the helicopters would fly off to their respective motor-rifle or tank divisions and Armies. The commanders of helicopter regiments would then be left without jobs. At this point they would be sent light transport aircraft, which would come from the civil air fleet. The pilots of these would be only half-militarised but highly experienced; the commanders are already military men. In wartime these regiments would be used to drop the diversionary sub-units of the Front and of its Armies behind the enemy's lines. For experienced civil pilots this is not a particularly difficult task and the aircraft which they would be flying would be those they fly in peacetime.
The Long-Range Air Force (LRAF) consists of three Corps, each of three divisions. Some Western sources mistakenly refer to these Corps as Armies.
Each LRAF division has approximately 100 combat aircraft and a corps consists, on average, of 300 strategic bombers, which can carry air-to-ground missiles.
The commander of the LRAF is subordinated to the C-in-C of the Air Forces only for administrative purposes. Operationally he is subordinate solely to the Supreme Commander.
There are three Strategic Directions. There are also three LRAF corps, which are deployed in such a way that each Strategic Direction can have access to one corps. During combat operations an LRAF corps may be temporarily subordinated to the C-in-C of a Strategic Direction or it may carry out operations to support him, while remaining under the command of the Supreme Commander.
However, the Soviet marshals would not plan to conduct operations in every sector simultaneously, but would concentrate on one. It is therefore possible that in wartime all 900 strategic bombers might be concentrated against one opponent.
Military Transport Aviation
The Military Transport Aviation (MTA) force consists of six divisions and several independent regiments. It has approximately 800 heavy transport and troop-carrying aircraft. Its main task is to land airborne forces in the enemy's rear.
Like the LRAF, the MTA is subordinated to the C-in-C of the Air Forces for administrative purposes only. Operationally, the MTA is subordinated to the Supreme Commander and it can be used only on his instructions, in accordance with the plans of the General Staff.
The MTA has a huge reserve organisation-Aeroflot, the largest airline in the world. Even in peacetime, the head of Aeroflot has the rank of Marshal of the Air Force and the function of Deputy to the C-in-C of the Air Forces. Organisationally, even in peacetime, Aeroflot is divided into squadrons, regiments and divisions and all its aircrew have ranks as officers of the reserve. In wartime Aeroflot's heavy aircraft would automatically become part of MTA, while its light aircraft would become transport regiments for the Air Armies of the Fronts. Even in peacetime Aeroflot helicopters are painted light green, as they would be in the divisions of an operational army.
Why does the West consider Admiral Gorshkov a strong man?
Of the five Armed Services the Navy ranks as fifth and last in importance. This certainly does not mean that the Navy is weak-simply that the other armed services are stronger.
In all, the Soviet Navy has four fleets: Northern, Pacific, Baltic and Black Sea, in order of strength.
Each of the four fleets has six arms of service:
Diversionary SPETSNAZ naval sub-units
Coastal Rocket and Artillery Troops
The first two of these are considered the primary arms of service; the remainder, including surface ships, are seen as auxiliary forces.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Navy has a purely administrative function, since the Northern Fleet is subordinated, for operational purposes, to the Stavka and the three other fleets to the C-in-Cs of the respective Strategic Directions. In addition to his administrative function, however, the C-in-C of the Navy is the Stavka's main adviser on the operational use of the Navy. In certain situations, too, on the instructions from the Stavka, he may direct groups of ships operating in the open sea. But he has no independent operational planning function; this is entirely the responsibility of the General Staff.
Soviet naval strength is based on submarines. These are divided by function, into submarines used for:
They are further classified according to their method of propulsion-nuclear or diesel-electric. The building of diesel-electric submarines (except for some used for diversionary or reconnaissance purposes) has been halted. Henceforth all Soviet submarines will have nuclear propulsion.
Nuclear submarines are grouped in divisions, each of 8 to 12. All the submarines in a division have the same type of armament. A flotilla consists of 4 to 5 divisions. They have mixed complements and may consist of between 35 and 64 nuclear submarines with varying functions.
Diesel-electric submarines are organised in brigades each of 8 to 16. Brigades may form divisions (2 to 3 brigades) or squadrons (4 to 6 brigades).
Each fleet has a naval aviation component designated, for instance, `Naval Aviation of the Northern Fleet'. Each such component is made up of air divisions and of independent regiments and is the equivalent of an Air Army. Each fleet's naval aviation normally includes a division armed with long-range air-to-surface missiles, for operation against enemy aircraft carriers, one or two divisions of long-range anti-submarine aircraft and independent regiments with anti-submarine seaplanes, torpedo-bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and supply and transport aircraft. In the last few years regiments of deck-landing aircraft and helicopters have been formed.
The Soviet Navy must be the only one in the world in which a nuclear-propelled cruiser, armed with missiles, is relegated to an auxiliary category. In fact, every Soviet surface ship, whether it is a battleship or a missile-cruiser, ranks as auxiliary (the exception is the aircraft carrier which is considered as a part of the naval air force). Perhaps this is correct; in a global war submarines and aircraft would play the primary roles. All other forces would work to support them. And, no matter how the number of Soviet surface ships may grow, Soviet submarines will always outnumber them. Moreover there has recently been a noticeable trend towards an increase in the displacement of submarines and it is quite possible that they will eventually surpass the surface ships in tonnage, too, and will maintain their superiority permanently.
Soviet surface ships are organised in groups (for small ships only), brigades (medium-size ships and groups of smaller ones), divisions and squadrons.
In the next few years, the Soviet Navy will be enlarged by the acquisition of a series of large nuclear-propelled missile cruisers. Intensive work is being put into the design and building of large nuclear-propelled aircraft carriers. Ships like the Moskva and the Kiev have only been built in order to acquire the experience needed before really large ships are built. Particular attention will be paid to the building of large landing ships which are capable of a high degree of independence. The construction of small surface ships will continue. Despite the enormous progress which has been made in building surface ships, however, they will continue to be classified as auxiliary forces.
The presence of diversionary SPETSNAZ sub-units in the Soviet Navy is a closely guarded secret. Yet they exist and have done so for a long time. Already by the end of the 1950s each Fleet had its own SPETSNAZ diversionary brigade, under the direct command of the Third Department of the Intelligence Directorate at Naval Headquarters.
A diversionary brigade has one division of miniature submarines, two or three battalions of frogmen, a parachute battalion and a communications company. It forms an entirely independent combat unit and an independent arm of service within the fleet. For camouflage purposes, its members sometimes wear the uniform of the marine infantry. In other circumstances they may wear any other type of uniform, again as camouflage. The parachutists wear Naval Aviation uniform, the crews of the miniature submarines, of course, that of ordinary submarine crews, the remainder that of seagoing personnel, coastal artillery forces, etc.
Again for camouflage purposes, the personnel of a diversionary brigade is dispersed between several naval bases. This does not prevent it from functioning as a unified combat organisation. In wartime these brigades would be used against enemy naval installations, in the first place against nuclear submarine bases. Groups of diversionary troops may operate from surface ships or from large submarines or may be landed from aircraft. In addition, a unit of large fishing trawlers would be mobilised in wartime to launch and to support operations by miniature submarines. The compartments of these trawlers, designed to hold large catches, are ideal for the rapid launch or recovery of miniature submarines and small diversionary craft.
The diversionary SPETSNAZ brigades of the Navy, like those serving with Fronts, each have as part of their complement a headquarters company of specialists, whose primary task is the assassination of political and military leaders. These companies are disguised as naval athletic teams. These `sportsmen' are, naturally, keen on rowing, swimming and scuba-diving as well as on shooting, boxing, wrestling, running and karate.
As a well-known example we can quote Senior Lieutenant Valentin Yerikalin, of the SPETSNAZ brigade of the Black Sea Fleet, who won a silver medal for rowing at the Olympic Games held in Mexico City. There was no attempt to conceal the fact that Yerikalin was a naval officer and a member of the Central Army Sports Club. Some years later this `sportsman' turned up in Istanbul, having now become a diplomat. He was arrested by the Turkish police for trying to recruit a Turkish subject to work for the Black Sea Fleet, or, more precisely, for the diversionary brigade of this Fleet.
The Navy's coastal rocket and artillery troops consist of regiments and independent battalions. They are equipped with both stationary and mobile rocket launchers and with artillery weapons. Their task is to cover the approaches to principal naval bases and ports.
Each Fleet has Marine Infantry contingents, consisting of regiments and brigades. In their organisation, these regiments are similar to the motor-rifle regiments of the Land Forces. They differ from the latter in receiving special training for operating in varying conditions and also in being allocated personnel of a higher calibre. Generals from the Land Forces who have watched exercises carried out by the marine infantry often say, with some envy, that a regiment of marine infantry, with the same equipment as that issued to the Land Forces, is the equivalent in its operational potential of one of the latter's motor-rifle divisions.
The Soviet Navy has only one brigade of marine infantry. This belongs to the Pacific Fleet. It consists of two tank and five motor-rifle battalions and is equipped with especially heavy artillery. This brigade is sometimes mistakenly taken for two independent regiments of marine infantry.
The Soviet marine infantry has a very promising future. In the next few years it will receive new types of equipment which will enable it to put large units into action against distant targets. Special combat equipment is being developed for such operations by the marine infantry.
In our examination of the Soviet Navy we must bear in mind a myth which is widely believed in the West-`The Soviet Navy was weak until a strong man, Gorshkov, arrived and brought it up to its proper strength'. This presumption is untrue in several respects.
Until the Second World War, Soviet Communist expansion was directed at states adjacent to the USSR-Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, China. Understandably, in this situation, the senior officers of the Navy wielded little influence, for no one would allow them to build up the Navy at the expense of the Land or Air Forces. For the USSR, the Second World War was a land war, and during the first few years after the war, Communist aggression, too, remained entirely land-based-Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, Korea, China. If Gorshkov had appeared during this period, no one would have allowed him to become all-powerful. During the first few years after the war too, there was another problem of overriding urgency-that of catching up with the United States in the fields of nuclear weapons and of delivery systems for them. Until this problem was solved, there could be no question of allowing Gorshkov to build a navy.
The situation changed radically at the end of the 1950s.
Throughout the world, Communist land-based aggression was running into opposition from a wall of states bonded together in military blocs. At this point, the acquisition of a navy became necessary if the campaign of aggression was to continue. Expansion was continuing beyond the seas and across oceans-in Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Africa, Cuba and South America. In this situation, even if the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy had not wished to expand his fleets, he would have been forced to do so. Until the war, the main threat to the USSR had come from continental powers-from Germany, France and Japanese-occupied Manchuria. After the war the United States became the main enemy. Of course, anyone occupying Gorshkov's position would have received billions of additional rubles to use in the struggle against the USA. At the beginning of the 1960s it was established that a nuclear submarine provided an excellent platform for rockets. A start was made with their production. Of course, they would not be at Gorshkov's disposal but he was given the green light to develop conventional naval forces with which to protect them.
One final point. The Politburo had realised quite clearly, early on and without help from Gorshkov, that the great sea powers, Great Britain, the United States and Japan, would take the place of Germany and France as the main enemies of the Soviet Union. It was for this reason that in July 1938 the Politburo adopted a resolution `On the construction of an ocean-going fleet'. (At that time Gorshkov was only the commander of a destroyer.) In accordance with the resolution, a start was made with the building of aircraft carriers like the Krasnoye Znamya and with giant battleships like the Sovetskiy Soyuz and cruisers like the Shapayev.
Germany entered the Second World War with 57 submarines, Great Britain with 58, Japan with 56 and the United States with 99. According to its own figures, the Soviet Union had 212 when it came into the war, although American engineers, who built these submarines, estimate that it had 253. The Soviet Navy had 2,824 aircraft in 1941, the coastal artillery had 260 batteries, including some 406mm guns. All this was before Gorshkov. The war put a brake on the shipbuilding programme and after its end the building of all the large ships laid down before the war was discontinued, since they had become obsolete.
However, the Politburo understood the need for an ocean-going navy and a new shipbuilding programme, of which we can see the results today, was approved in September 1955. This programme pre-dated Gorshkov. He was simply empowered to carry out a programme which had been authorised before his time.
There is no doubt that Gorshkov is a strong-willed and purposeful admiral, but this counts for little in the USSR. No admiral would be allowed to advocate this or that step if the Politburo thought differently from him.
Finally, no matter how powerful the West may consider Gorshkov, the fact remains that the Soviet Navy ranks as fifth of the five Armed Services.
The Airborne Forces
The Airborne Forces (ABF) do not rank as one of the Armed Services but as an arm of service. However they are an independent arm of service, and do not belong to any of the Armed Services. In peacetime they are subordinated directly to the Minister of Defence and in wartime to the Supreme Commander.
At present there are only 13 formations in the world which one can call `Airborne Divisions'. The US, West Germany, France, China and Poland each have one. The remaining 8 belong to the Soviet Union.
The airborne divisions are directed, for both administrative and operational purposes, by a Commander. His post is of unique importance. Although he commands only 8 divisions, he has the rank of General of the Army, the same as that held by the Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces, who has 170 divisions under his command.
In peacetime, all the ABF divisions are up to their full wartime complement and staffed by the best troops. The ABF have first choice of personnel, before even the Strategic Rocket Forces and the Navy's submarine detachments.
ABF troops may operate under the control of the C-in-C of Strategic Directions, in groups of 1 to 3 divisions, or they may function independently.
If 1 to 3 divisions are to be used for an airdrop in a particular sector their operations are coordinated by an ABF corps command group, which is established temporarily for this purpose. One of the ABF Commander's deputies commands the corps. If 4 or 5 divisions are to be used, a temporary ABF Army command group is established. This may be headed by the Commander of the ABF himself, or by one of his deputies.
The entire strength of Military Transport Aviation of the Air Forces is controlled by the Commander of the ABF while an airborne assault operation is taking place.
Each-ABF division consists of:
Three parachute regiments
A reconnaissance battalion (18 armoured reconnaissance vehicles)
A battalion of self-propelled artillery (32 airborne assault guns)
An anti-tank battalion (18 85mm guns)
A howitzer battalion (18 122mm guns)
A battalion of multiple rocket launchers (18 BM 27-Ds)
An anti-aircraft battalion (32 ZSU-23–4s)
A communications battalion
A motor transport battalion
A battalion responsible for the storage and packing of supply-dropping parachutes
A chemical warfare company
An engineer company
A parachute regiment has three battalions and mortar, anti-aircraft, anti-tank, and self-propelled artillery batteries.
All the battalions in one regiment of a division are equipped with BMD-1 armoured personnel carriers. Two other regiments have one battalion each of BMD-1s and two of light motor vehicles. Thus, of the nine parachute battalions in a division, five have armoured vehicles of great manoeuvrability and considerable fire-power, the remaining four have light vehicles. In all, a parachute division has 180 armoured personnel carriers, 62 self-propelled guns, 18 multiple rocket launchers, 36 field guns, 45 mortars, 54 anti-aircraft guns, more than 200 anti-aircraft rocket launchers and more than 300 anti-tank rocket launchers. The division is fully motorised, with more than 1,500 vehicles. Its average peacetime complement is 7,200.
There has been discussion for some considerable time, in both the Soviet General Staff and the Central Committee, of the question of transforming the ABF into a sixth, independent Armed Service.
It is envisaged that such a Service would have four or five parachute divisions, a large contingent of transport aircraft, several newly-established divisions of marine infantry, units of landing ships and several aircraft carriers with fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
Experience has shown that the USSR has not enough forces equipped and trained for armed intervention in a territory which is separated from it by an ocean and that it is unprepared for such an undertaking. There are many examples-Cuba, Indonesia, South Africa, Chile, Central America. A new Armed Service of the sort described would enable the Soviet Union to intervene effectively in such areas.
As its internal crises become more acute, the aggressiveness of the Soviet Union increases. For this reason it appears probable that the sixth Armed Service will be created in the next few years.
Military Intelligence and its Resources
Soviet Military Intelligence is neither an Armed Service nor an Arm of Service. It has no uniform or identifying badge or emblem. Nor are these needed. Intelligence is a logistical support service, like the services concerned with nuclear warheads or camouflage or disinformation.
All these services are secret and do not need publicity. Each of them adopts the appearance of the unit in which it finds itself and becomes indistinguishable from it.
Soviet military intelligence is a gigantic organisation, which performs a vast range of tasks. In numbers and technical equipment it is approximately the size of the Bundeswehr-the entire armed services of the Federal German Republic.
In action, decisions are taken by commanding officers, ranging from those in charge of sections to the Supreme Commander. The plans on which these decisions are based are prepared for the commanding officer by his staff. He then either approves the plan or rejects it and orders that another one should be prepared. All commanding officers from battalion level upwards have staffs. The chief of staff is both his commander's principal adviser and his deputy. Staffs vary in size according to the importance of the unit-a battalion has a staff of two, and the General Staff numbers tens of thousands. In spite of this, the work of any staff proceeds according to the same plan.
The first officer on the staff plans operations, the second officer provides him with the information he needs about the enemy. The chief of staff coordinates the work of these two, helps them, checks their work, prepares a plan with their help and presents it to the commander, who either accepts or rejects it.
On a battalion staff the chief of staff and the first officer are one and the same. The staff of a regiment consists of a chief of staff, a first officer and a second officer, who is in charge of intelligence work. On a divisional staff the first and second officers have their own working groups. An Army staff has first and second departments. The staff of a Front and of a Strategic Direction has First and Second Directorates. The General Staff has First and Second Chief Directorates.
Staffs also have other departments, directorates or Chief Directorates but the work of the first component-planning-and of the second-intelligence-form the backbone of any staff.
All intelligence work (which includes reconnaissance) from battalion level to the very top, is thus wholly in the hands of the staff officers concerned and represents one of the most important components of the work of the staff.
Those employed on intelligence and reconnaissance work can be divided into `professionals'-those whose basic function it is-and `amateurs'-those who are employed on intelligence work from time to time and for whom it is an additional rather than their main occupation.
The intelligence and reconnaissance resources of a battalion are not large. A motor-rifle battalion has a mortar battery, with a command platoon, which includes an artillery reconnaissance section. This section works for the mortar battery, reporting all the results which it obtains both to the battery commander and to the second officer on the battalion's staff, who is responsible for all reconnaissance work in the battalion. This is all. All the personnel involved are `professionals'. In a tank battalion there is no mortar battery and therefore no `professionals'. But there are `amateurs'. In each motor-rifle or tank battalion the second company, besides carrying out its normal duties, is trained for reconnaissance operations behind the enemy's lines. During an action any of the platoons of the second company may be detailed for reconnaissance tasks for the battalion. Sometimes the whole second company may be detached to carry out reconnaissance tasks for the regiment.
The second officer on the staff of a regiment has the title `Regimental Intelligence Officer'. He is a major and the resources at his disposal are not inconsiderable.
Directly under his command is the regiment's reconnaissance company, which has 4 tanks, 7 armoured vehicles (BMP `Korshun' or BRDM-3) and 9 motorcycles.
In addition the regiment has an artillery battalion, anti-tank, rocket and anti-aircraft batteries. All these have resources sufficient to meet their own requirements for artillery reconnaissance and observation and the information which they produce is also sent to regimental headquarters.
The regiment also has an engineer company with a reconnaissance platoon and a chemical warfare company with a CW reconnaissance platoon. The specialised reconnaissance activities of these platoons are of primary benefit to the engineer and CW companies but since they are engaged in reconnaissance they are controlled by the regimental intelligence officer (RIO).
Finally, the latter is in charge of the second officers on the staffs of the regiment's battalions. These officers work for their battalions but are subordinated to and fully controlled by the RIO. During combat operations, at the direction of the commander of the regiment, the `amateur' companies from any of the battalions can be subordinated to the RIO, to work for the regiment as a whole. Thus, the regiment's `professional' reconnaissance company may be joined at any time by a second tank company and by the three second companies from the motor-rifle battalions.
In a battle, a regiment's reconnaissance companies operate at ranges of up to 50 kilometres away. Both the `professional' and the `amateur' companies have BMP or BRDM vehicles for CW, engineer and artillery reconnaissance work. The fact that these vehicles are always with what are purely reconnaissance sub-units has led to the idea that they are an integral part of these units. But this is not so. The CW reconnaissance platoon is taken from the CW company, the engineer reconnaissance platoon from the engineer company and so forth. Quite simply, it would be both pointless and dangerous to send special reconnaissance sub-units behind the enemy lines unprotected. For this reason they always operate with normal tank and motor-rifle reconnaissance sub-units, which protect and are temporarily in command of them.
During reconnaissance operations, all reconnaissance sub-units work covertly, keeping away from concentrations of enemy troops and always avoiding contact. They operate to achieve surprise, working from ambushes to capture prisoners and documents and they also carry out observation of the enemy. They accept battle only when they clash unexpectedly with the enemy, and if it is impossible to avoid contact or to escape. If they do find themselves in contact with superior numbers of the enemy they will often disperse, meeting again some hours later at an agreed spot in order to resume their mission.
There is one situation in which reconnaissance sub-units would accept battle, whatever the circumstances. If they encountered enemy nuclear forces (missile launchers, nuclear artillery, convoys or stores of nuclear warheads) they would report that they had located the target, would discontinue their reconnaissance mission and would launch a surprise attack on the enemy, with all their resources, whatever this might cost and whatever the strength of the enemy's defences.
A divisional intelligence officer-the second officer on a divisional staff-has the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He has very considerable resources at his disposal. In the first place he is in charge of all the regimental intelligence officers, in the division, with all their subordinates, both `professional' and `amateur'. He supervises artillery reconnaissance and observation, which in a division is already of sizeable proportions. He is also in charge of the engineer reconnaissance company of the division's sapper battalion and of the CW reconnaissance company in the division's CW protection battalion. In addition, he has personal control of the division's reconnaissance battalion.
To coordinate the workings of all these resources (more than a thousand `professionals' and more than fifteen hundred `amateurs') a divisional intelligence officer has a group of officers, which has the designation `Second Group of the Divisional Staff'.
The reconnaissance battalion of a division is made up of the division's best soldiers and officers-the fittest, toughest, most quick-witted and resourceful. It has four companies and auxiliary sub-units.
The first of these, a long-range, reconnaissance company, is the smallest and the most ready for battle of the 166 companies and batteries in the division. It has a strength of 27, 6 of whom are officers and the remainder sergeants. It has a commander, a company sergeant-major and five long-range reconnaissance groups each consisting of an officer and four sergeants. These groups can operate far behind the enemy lines. They may be landed by helicopter or may push through into the enemy's rear in jeeps or light armoured vehicles after following close behind their own troops and then passing them and moving on far ahead. Long-range reconnaissance groups are used both to gather intelligence and to carry out diversionary and terrorist operations.
The battalion's second and third companies have the same organisational structure as the reconnaissance companies of regiments and use the same equipment and tactics, but unlike them they operate at distances of up to 100 kilometres ahead of the front line.
The fourth company is the `radio and radar reconnaissance' or signals intelligence company. Its function is to detect and locate enemy radio transmitters, to intercept and decipher their transmissions and to locate, identify and study the enemy's radar stations. In peacetime, the great majority of these companies are already on an operational footing. In the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, for instance, there are 19 tank and motor-rifle divisions. These contain 19 reconnaissance battalions, each of which has one signals intelligence company. All these companies have been moved, in peacetime, up to the border with West Germany and are working at full stretch, twenty-four hours a day, collecting and analysing any radio signal which is transmitted in their operational area. The same applies to all the other, similar companies of the divisions which are stationed on Soviet territory and in all the frontier military districts. In a number of cases, the signals intelligence companies of divisions in military districts away from the frontier have been moved into frontier districts and are working operationally, supplementing and duplicating the work of other similar companies.
The second officer of the staff of an Army has the rank of colonel. To control the Army's reconnaissance work he has his own department, the Second Department of the Army Staff. Because an Army has so many reconnaissance resources and because these differ so widely one from the other, the department is divided into four groups.
The first group is concerned with the reconnaissance activity of the motor-rifle and tank divisions of the Army and also of the Army's independent brigades and regiments.
Army reconnaissance departments have no second group.
The third group is concerned with diversionary and terrorist operations. Under its control is an independent SPETSNAZ company, the organisation and functions of which have already been discussed.
The fourth group deals with the processing of all the information which is received.
The fifth group directs radio and radar reconnaissance. It controls two electronic intelligence battalions. It also coordinates the operations carried out in this field by the Army's divisions. Needless to say, all signals intelligence battalions are working operationally in peacetime. In East Germany, for instance, there are 5 Soviet Armies, that is to say 10 electronic intelligence battalions, which keep a constant watch on the enemy, in addition to the 19 companies which are on the strength of the divisions of these Armies.
A Front is made up of two or three all-arms armies and of a tank and an air army. It possesses a large quantity of reconnaissance resources-enough to equal the intelligence services of a large European industrial state.
The second officer of a Front's staff is a major-general. To control the reconnaissance and intelligence activities of the Front he has a reconnaissance directorate (the Front's Second Directorate), which has five departments.
The first of these controls the reconnaissance work of all the Armies belonging to the Front, including that carried out by the Air Army, which we have already discussed.
The second department carries out agent work, for which it maintains an Intelligence Centre, working on behalf of the Armies making up the Front, since these do not run agents, and three or four intelligence outposts. The centre and the outposts are hard at work, in peacetime, obtaining intelligence in the territory in which the Front would operate in wartime. The Soviet Army has a total of 16 military districts, 4 groups of forces, and 4 fleets. Each of these has a staff with a Second Directorate, which itself has a second department. There are thus 24 of these; each of them constitutes an independent agent running intelligence organisation, which is active on the territories of several foreign countries, working separately from any other similar services. Each of them has four or five individual agent-running organisations which seek to recruit foreigners who will work for the Front or for its tank armies, fleet, flotilla or all-arms armies.
The third department of each of these 24 Reconnaissance Directorates concerns itself with diversionary and terrorist activities. The department supervises activity of this sort in the armies of the Front but also has its own men and equipment. It has a SPETSNAZ diversionary brigade and a SPETSNAZ diversionary agent network of foreign nationals, who have been recruited to work for the Front in the latter's operational area in wartime. Thus, in both peace and wartime the officer in charge of the reconnaissance and intelligence work of a Front or Fleet has two completely separate secret networks, one, which gathers intelligence, controlled by the second department of the Directorate and another, concerned with diversionary and terrorist operations, which is subordinated to the third department.
The fourth department collates all the reconnaissance and intelligence material which is produced.
The fifth department is concerned with the radio and reconnaissance work of the divisions and armies and also has two regiments and a helicopter squadron of its own which also carry out signals intelligence operations.
A Strategic Direction is made up of four Fronts, one Fleet and a Group of Tank Armies. Its staff contains a Reconnaissance Directorate, headed by a lieutenant-general. We already know that he has at his disposal a diversionary SPETSNAZ long-range reconnaissance regiment, containing Olympic medal-winners, most of whom are not only professional athletes but professional killers. The Reconnaissance Directorate also has an entire range of reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering equipment, one of which deserves special mention.
This is the `Yastreb' pilotless rocket aircraft, which is launched from a mobile rocket launcher and which carries out photo and radio-reconnaissance at heights of more than 30 kilometres, flying at speeds in excess of 3,500 kilometres per hour. From Byelorussia the `Yastreb' has successfully carried out photographic reconnaissance over Spain, Great Britain and the French Atlantic seaboard. Its appearance at the beginning of the 1970s caused alarm at NATO headquarters. It was mistakenly identified as a MIG-25R. After a MIG 25 had appeared in Japan and had been carefully examined, the experts came to the conclusion that this aircraft had insufficient operational radius to fly over Western Europe. It was realised that there had been a false alarm and in order not to cause another one the Soviet Union discontinued flights by the `Yastreb' in peacetime. However, it is still being used over China, Asia and Africa and over the oceans. Having the invulnerability of a rocket and the precision of an aircraft, the `Yastreb' would also make an excellent vehicle for a nuclear warhead. Unlike a rocket it can be used again and again.
The second officer of the General Staff has the title of Head of the Chief Intelligence Directorate (GRU). He is a full General of the Army. Besides controlling the intelligence and reconnaissance resources subordinated to him, he has his own, incomparably huge intelligence network. The GRU works for the Supreme Commander. It carries out espionage on a scale unparalleled in history. It is enough to record that during World War II the GRU was able, with its own resources, to penetrate the German General Staff from Switzerland and to steal nuclear secrets from the United States, and that after the war it was able to induce France to leave NATO, besides carrying out many less risky operations. The work of the GRU's agent networks is controlled by the first four Directorates, each of which is headed by a lieutenant-general. The processing of all information reaching the GRU is carried out by an enormous organisation which is grouped into six Information Directorates. Today the Head of the GRU has two separate, world-wide, intelligence organisations, a colossal number of electronic intelligence centres, centrally controlled diversionary units and so on and so forth.
However, the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff is a subject which calls for a substantial book to itself.
Staffs are of different types. The smallest is that of a battalion, the largest is the General Staff. But each has its own intelligence and reconnaissance resources, just as each brain has its own eyes and ears. The higher staffs control the lower ones and the corresponding higher intelligence organisations direct those below them. At all levels, the intelligence and reconnaissance organisations work for their respective staffs, but if intelligence which is received is of interest to either a higher or a lower echelon, it is passed on immediately.
Here is a particularly interesting example of such coordination.
In the summer of 1943, the Red Army was preparing to halt the enormously powerful German advance. In the Kursk salient seven Soviet Fronts were simultaneously preparing their defences.
The overall coordination of operations in the Strategic Direction was in the hands of Marshal G. K. Zhukov. Never in the history of warfare had such a defence system been set up, on a front more than a thousand kilometres in length. The overall depth of the obstacles erected by the engineers was 250–300 kilometres. On an average, 7,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines were laid along every kilometre of the front. For the first time the AT artillery density reached 41 guns per kilometre. In addition, field guns and anti-aircraft guns were brought up for use against tanks. It was already impossible to break through such a front. Nevertheless, the German command decided to try to do so. But, they were only able to bring together a million men and officers to carry out the operation, and they were unable to achieve surprise. On the night of 5 June a reconnaissance group from one of the thousands of Soviet battalions captured a German lance-corporal who had been clearing a passage through barbed wire obstacles. The Soviet battalion was immediately put on the alert and the second officer on its staff decided to inform the regimental intelligence officer of what had happened. The regiment was brought to battle readiness straight away and the news of the capture of the lance-corporal was transmitted to the intelligence group of the divisional staff and from there to the staff of the corps, to the staff of the 13th Army, straight from there to the Central Front headquarters and thence to the Headquarters of the Strategic Direction, to Marshal Zhukov and finally to the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff. It took twenty-seven minutes for the message to pass from the battalion staff to the Chief Intelligence Directorate. The news was astonishing. If the enemy was clearing passages through barbed wire, he must be preparing to advance. But only an immense offensive could be contemplated against such a mighty defensive system. And immense it was-but it ended in complete disaster.
The Distorting Mirror
At the time of the siege of Sevastopol, Nicholas I attempted to make the shameful Crimean war seem more acceptable. But nothing came of his efforts: the Russian newspapers printed not what the government wanted but what their journalists saw with their own eyes. More than that-it was not only journalists who wrote in the Russian newspapers and journals about the war but officers of the Russian army-actual participants in the war.
Lev Tolstoy, then a very young officer, wrote Sevastopol Stories, in which, in contrast to the government's propaganda, he described the war as he saw it for himself. At that time, of course, there was no freedom, let alone democracy. Yet, surprisingly, the young officer was not hanged, or disembowelled with a ramrod or banished to Siberia-he was not even dismissed from the army. He continued his military career, most successfully.
Tolstoy was not an exception. Look at the newspapers from that time and you will be surprised to see how Russian officers, even generals, wrote in almost every issue criticising their own government for lethargy and clumsiness and for their inability to rule the country or direct the army. Lev Tolstoy stood out from all the critics of the regime only because he was more talented than the rest.
During the Russo-Japanese war the Tsarist government tried once again to make the war seem attractive. It was hopeless. The Russian newspapers totally rejected all attempts to embroider reality. They published not what the Tsar wanted but what eye-witnesses had seen. One of them, an uneducated sailor from the battleship Orel, Novikov, gathered a mass of material about the blunders of the Russian Naval Staff and of the admirals who had taken part in the war and, without any fear of the consequences, began to publish it. It sold like hot cakes and Novikov made a lot of money out of his criticisms of the Russian government and of the Tsar himself. Did they cut off his head? Not at all; he bought a large house by the sea in Yalta, right next door to the Tsar, and lived there, writing his books, the best of which is Tsushima.
By the time of the First World War, the government was no longer making any great efforts to colour reality. A certain Vladimir Ulyanov, a student who had not obtained his degree, and who concealed his identity behind the pseudonym `Lenin', began to publish Communist newspapers, in editions of millions, exposing every attempt to mislead the public. His newspapers were free, although it cost millions of gold roubles to print them. Where did such a half-educated man lay his hands on so much money?
But then the anarchy came to an end. The Tsar was overthrown, the bourgeoisie were driven off and the people inherited everything. Publishing houses, being large undertakings, were immediately nationalised. From then on the newspapers began to contain not whatever might come into someone's head but what the people really needed, and whatever would benefit the people. Since, naturally, the people as a whole cannot run a newspaper, it is run by the best representatives of the people. They take great care that no one uses the newspapers against the people. If a young officer, an uneducated sailor or a student without a degree should approach the editors, these representatives would immediately ask-do our people need this? Is it necessary to frighten or disillusion them? Should they be corrupted? Perhaps it is not such immature, subjective writings, which are detrimental to the popular interests which should be published, but what the people need.
That is how things developed-if an article or story did not serve the people's interests it was not published in the people's newspapers. Everything had been nationalised, everything belonged to the people. That being so, why should their representatives waste public money on the publication of a harmful article or a story?
It is said that nationalised undertakings belong to the whole community. But try sitting in the compartment of a nationalised train without a ticket-you will be made to get out and will be fined. In other words, the nationalised railways are not yours or mine or his or ours. They belong to the people who run it-in the final instance, to the government. The same applies to a nationalised newspaper. It, too, belongs to the government. In the Soviet Union all newspapers are nationalised and thus all belong to the government. Is it necessary for the government to criticise its own actions in its own newspaper? That is the reason why there is absolutely no criticism of the government in the Soviet newspapers. That is why no unqualified student would be able, nowadays, to voice criticisms of any representative of the Soviet people. On the other hand, the government has acquired excellent facilities to publish anything they wish, without risking public exposure; the whole press now belongs to it. And it is this freedom from control which allows the government and all its institutions to make daily, even hourly, use of an exceptionally powerful and effective weapon-bluff.
Soviet leaders use bluff on a large scale in international politics and they use it in masterly fashion. They employ it with particular skill in the military field: everything is secret-just try to find out what is true and what is not.
During the Cuban crisis Khrushchev threatened to reduce capitalism to ashes by pressing a button; this was at a time when Soviet rockets were still blind, having completely unreliable guidance systems, which meant that they could only be launched on strictly limited courses, otherwise no one could be sure where they would end up.
After Khrushchev all work directed at deception of the enemy was centralised. I have already mentioned the Chief Directorate for Strategic Deception, which is commanded by General N. V. Ogarkov. Here is an example of its work.
The Soviet Union had been alarming the rest of the world with its rockets for some time before the United States began to deploy a system for anti-missile defence. For the Soviet Union this American system was like a knife at its throat-because of it Soviet rockets had lost much of their power to terrorise. The USSR was quite simply unable to deploy its own similar system and it had no intention of doing so-it does not hold defensive systems in any great esteem. But it was essential somehow to stop the Americans.
So the whole Soviet (nationalised) press began saying-in unison-`We have been working on this question for a long time and we have had some success'. Then, casually, they showed the whole world some lengths of film showing one rocket destroying another. A very primitive trick. A circus clown who knows the precise trajectory characteristics of a rocket and its launch-time could hit it with an airgun. If a trick like this was shown to Soviet schoolchildren in a circus, they would not be taken in. They would know quite well that there are no miracles and that the clown must have fixed it somehow. In Western capitals, too, they knew that there are no miracles, and that until the US gave the USSR computers no system of the sort could be built there.
But the tricks continued. A gigantic rocket appeared in a Moscow parade, not in the contingent from the Strategic Rocket Forces but in that of the National Air Defence Forces-obviously, therefore, it must be an anti-ballistic missile. Finally, the USSR set about erecting a most important building-an ABM guidance station. A station of this sort built by the Americans would be fully automated, needing a team of more than a thousand, with high engineering qualifications, to run it. This station looks like the Pyramid of Cheops, although it is much larger.
They began to build it right in the outskirts of Moscow, directly on the ring-road round the capital. Let all the foreign diplomats take a good look at it. Occasionally incomprehensible high-powered signals would be transmitted by the station which careful analysis showed to be exactly the sort of signals such a station would transmit. But, inside, the building was empty, without its most essential component-a computer and command complex.
However, the dimensions of the building, the incomprehensible transmissions, the lengths of film and various dark hints dropped by Soviet generals produced the required effect. And the Soviet press provided further evidence-defence against missiles, it said, is a very expensive and not very effective business, although we are putting every effort into it. Soviet intelligence agents suddenly received orders to suspend all their efforts to acquire information on American ABM systems. The display of such disrespect for and such lack of interest in America's first-class electronic industry was calculated to indicate clearly that the Soviet Union enjoyed enormous superiority in this field. The West's nerve failed and the SALT I talks followed. At the signing ceremony the American President sat at the conference table with Brezhnev-and signed. The world sighed with relief and applauded the treaty as a victory for common sense, as a step forward taken by two giants, together.
But did the American President know that he was sitting at the table with the head of an organisation which calls itself the Communist Party of the Soviet Union? Did he know that this organisation has shot 60 million people in its own country and that it has set itself the goal of doing the same throughout the world? Not even the American Mafia could dream of doing things on this scale. When he made his quick decision to hold talks with the ringleader of the most terrible band of gangsters in the history of civilisation, did he not realise that they might simply fool him, as they would a naive schoolchild? Did he take appropriate steps against this? Were his advisers sufficiently alert?
When, next day, the Soviet newspapers published photographs of the smiling faces of the participants in the conference, the Soviet Army could not believe its eyes. Imagine: the US President with his closest advisers, Brezhnev and-right behind Brezhnev-General Ogarkov!
Unbelievable! How could such a thing happen? What were the American presidential advisers thinking of? Did they learn nothing from Pearl Harbor? Could anyone be more negligent than these people were at the signing of this treaty? Why did none of them realise that behind Brezhnev there stood not the chief ideologist, not the Politburo member responsible for scientific research, not the Politburo member responsible for the world's largest military industrial system, not the Minister of Defence, not the Chief of the General Staff, not even the Commander-in-Chief of the National Air Defence Forces, who should be in charge of the anti-missile defence system? Why was nobody there except Ogarkov, head of the Chief Directorate of Strategic Deception? This Chief Directorate is the most powerful in the Soviet General Staff. It is even more powerful than either the First or the Second Chief Directorate. Strategic Deception is that part of the General Staff which is responsible for all military censorship-for all censorship in the fields of science, technology, economics and so forth. This directorate makes a careful study of everything that is known in the West about the Soviet Union and fabricates an enormous amount of material in order to distort the true picture. This most powerful organisation supervises all military parades and any military exercises at which foreigners are to be present, it is responsible for relations with the service attaches of all foreign countries, including those with `fraternal' ties with the Soviet Union. This octopus-like organisation runs Red Star, Soviet Union, Standard Bearer, Equipment and Armament and a hundred other military newspapers and journals. The Military Publishing House of the Soviet Ministry of Defence is part of this Chief Directorate. Nothing can be published in the USSR without a permit from its head, no film can appear without one, not a single troop movement can take place without permission from the Chief Directorate, no rocket-base, no barracks-even for the troops of the KGB-can be built without its agreement, nor can a single factory, collective farm, pipe-line or railway be constructed without its prior permission. Everything in this huge country must be done in such a way that the enemy always has a false impression of what is going on. In some fields achievements are deliberately concealed; in others-as was done with antimissile defence-they are exaggerated out of all recognition. In addition, of course, representatives of the Chief Directorate, helped by Soviet military intelligence, have recruited a collection of mercenary hack journalists abroad, through which it spreads false information, disguised as serious studies. Its representatives attend negotiations concerned with detente, peace, disarmament, etc. For instance, the head of the 7th Department of the Chief Directorate, Colonel-General Trusov, is a permanent member of the Soviet delegation attending the SALT O discussions. When the stakes were at their highest, the head of the Chief Directorate, General Ogarkov himself, joined the delegation. He made a brilliant success of the operation to fool the American delegation. For this he was made Chief of the General Staff and at the same time he was promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union. It is significant that his predecessor, Kulikov, reached the rank of Marshal only when he left the General Staff.
Ogarkov's presence in the delegation produced no reaction. The American delegation did not break off the negotiations when he appeared, did not leave the conference hall as a sign of protest, did not slam the door. On the contrary, it was his arrival which got the talks, which had come to a standstill, going again, after which they moved quickly to a triumphant conclusion. Both sides exchanged applause and threw their cards on the table, having agreed on a drawn game.
But, for heaven's sake, if the agreement was shortly going to halt the further growth of anti-missile systems, if the game was almost over, surely this was the moment to take a peep at the enemy's cards? Just as a precaution, against what might happen in the future? What was the point of simply signing the agreement, after which nothing could be put right, without letting a small group from each side catch a brief glimpse of things as they were in the enemy camp? The agreement should not have been signed without some arrangement of this sort.
Or if only, once the agreement had been signed, the Soviets had shown their American opposite numbers something, not a film in a cinema, but something real-in the most general terms, by all means, and without giving any details away. The Soviet delegation, too, would have been not uninterested to see something of the American achievements. But the Soviet card-sharpers knew in advance that the Americans had at least three aces in their hand, and that is why the Soviet side threw their cards on the table, without showing them, and quickly proceeded to shuffle the pack.
Incidentally, shortly after this, having exploited the credulity of America, the Soviet Union built an excellent rocket, with the industrial index number 8-K-84 and the military designation UR-100. UR means `universal rocket'. It can be used both to deliver a nuclear strike and to repel one. It is the largest of the Soviet strategic rockets. Its manufacture is an out-and-out violation of the SALT I agreement, but no protest has come from the American side. This is because Ogarkov's organisation succeeded in concealing the rocket's second function, so that it is officially regarded as a purely offensive weapon. The SALT I agreement was got round in another way, too. An excellent Soviet anti-aircraft rocket, the S-200, which was developed to destroy enemy aircraft, was modernised and made suitable-with certain limitations-for use against enemy missiles. Ogarkov's organisation never allowed this rocket to appear at parades, even in its original, anti-aircraft variant. The Chief Directorate of Strategic Deception is strict in its observance of the principle: `The enemy should see only what Ogarkov wishes to show them.' This is the reason why all foreign diplomats were enabled to see the huge construction right in the very outskirts of Moscow.
Ever since I first found myself in the West, I have been soaking up information of all kinds. I have visited dozens of libraries, seen hundreds of films. I have taken in everything, indiscriminately-James Bond, Emmanuelle, Dracula, the Emperor Caligula, the Godfather, noble heroes and crafty villains. To someone who had only seen films about the need to fulfil production plans and to build a brighter future, it was impossible even to imagine such variety. I kept on and on going to films. One day I went to an excellent one about the burglary of a diamond warehouse. The thieves broke into the enormous building with great skill, put a dozen alarms out of action, opened enormously thick doors and finally reached the secret innermost room in which the safes stood. Of course, in addition to all the transmitters, alarm devices and so on, there were TV cameras, through which a guard kept constant watch on what was happening in the room where the safes were. But the thieves, too, were ingenious. They had with them a photograph of the room, taken earlier. They put this in front of the cameras and, using it as a screen, emptied the safes. The guards sensed that something was happening. They began to feel vaguely uneasy. But looking at the television screen they were able to convince themselves that everything was quiet in the safe room.
I am sometimes told that the American spy-satellites are keeping a careful watch on what is happening in the Soviet Union. They take infra-red photographs of the country from above and from oblique angles, their photographs are compared, electronic, heat and all other emissions are measured, radio transmissions are intercepted and painstakingly analysed. It is impossible to fool the satellites. When I hear this, I always think of the trio of sympathetic villains who hid from the cameras behind a photograph, using it as a shield behind which to fill their bags with diamonds. Incidentally, the film ended happily for the thieves. When I remember the cheerful smiles they exchanged at the end of their successful operation, I also think of Ogarkov's beaming countenance at the moment the agreement was signed.
The Chief Directorate of Strategic Deception does exactly what the sympathetic trio did-they show the watchful eye of the camera a reassuring picture, behind the shelter of which the gangsters who call themselves the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Army, Military Industry and so forth go about their business.
This is the way it is done in practice. A huge American computer, which has been installed at the Central Command Post of the Chief Directorate of Strategic Deception, maintains a constant record of all intelligence-gathering satellites and orbiting space stations and of their trajectories. Extremely precise short and long-term forecasts are prepared of the times at which the satellites will pass over various areas of the Soviet Union and over all the other territories and sea areas in which the Armed Services of the USSR are active. Each Chief Directorate unit serving with a military district, a group of armies or a fleet makes use of data provided by this same American computer to carry out similar work for its own force and area. Each army, division and regiment receives constantly up-dated schedules showing the precise times at which enemy reconnaissance satellites will overfly their area, with details of the type of satellite concerned (photo-reconnaissance, signals intelligence, all-purpose, etc.), and the track it will follow. Neither the soldiers nor most of the officers know the precise reason for daily orders, like `From 12.20 to 12.55 all radio transmissions are to cease and all radars are to be switched off', but they must obey them. At the same time, each division has several radio transmitters and radars which work only during this period and which are there solely to provide signals for the enemy's satellites.
The Chief Directorate has its own intelligence-gathering satellites, but, unlike those working for the Chief Intelligence Directorate, they maintain a watch over Soviet territory, looking constantly for radio transmitters and radars which fail to observe the timetables laid down for communication security. Severe punishments await divisional or regimental commanders who are found to be ignoring the timetables.
In addition to these bogus signals, the Chief Directorate is constantly organising nights by aircraft, tests of rockets, troop movements and other operations to take place as the satellites' cameras pass overhead, with the aim of emphasising one aspect of activity while concealing others. Thus, in the period running up to the SALT I negotiations, every sort of attempt was made to present a picture of Soviet activity and success in anti-missile operations. After the negotiations, great pains were taken to hide activity and successes in this field, since these represented a violation of the agreements which had been reached. The Chief Directorate differs from our resourceful burglars in presenting false pictures not for a few hours but for decades. It has at its disposal not three crooks but tens of thousands of highly-qualified specialists and almost unlimited powers in its dealings with generals, marshals and those who run the military industries over the concealment of the true state of affairs.
There is no doubt that these activities enable the Politburo, without great difficulty, to empty the pockets of those in the West who will not understand that they are dealing with organised crime, committed by a state which is operating on a world-wide scale.