Soviet Army

Soviet Army

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The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces
Soviet Armed Forces
The Soviet Armed Forces, also called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union refers to the armed forces of the Russian SFSR , and Soviet Union from their beginnings in the...

 of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

.

This article covers the Soviet Ground Forces of the Soviet Army. See Soviet Armed Forces
Soviet Armed Forces
The Soviet Armed Forces, also called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union refers to the armed forces of the Russian SFSR , and Soviet Union from their beginnings in the...

 for a description of the entire armed forces of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.

After the Second World War


At the end
Aftermath of World War II
After World War II a new era of tensions emerged based on opposing ideologies, mutual distrust between nations, and a nuclear arms race. This emerged into an environment dominated by a international balance of power that had changed significantly from the status quo before the war...

 of the Second World War the Red Army had over 500 rifle divisions and about a tenth that number of tank formations. Their experience of war gave the Soviets such faith in tank forces that from that point the number of tank divisions remained virtually unchanged, whereas the wartime infantry force was cut by two-thirds. The Tank Corps
Tank Corps (Soviet)
-Pre-War Development of Soviet Mechanised Forces:In Soviet Russia, the so called armored forces preceded the Tank Corps. They consisted of the motorised armored units made of armored vehicles and armored trains...

 of the late war period were converted to tank divisions, and from 1957 the Rifle Divisions were converted to Motor Rifle Divisions (MRDs). MRDs had three motorized rifle regiments and a tank regiment, for a total of ten motor rifle battalions and six tank battalions; tank divisions had the proportions reversed.

The Land Forces Chief Command was created for the first time in March 1946. Four years later it was disbanded, only to be formed again in 1955. In March 1964 the Chief Command was again disbanded but recreated in November 1967.

Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union was the de facto highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ....

 Georgi Zhukov became Chief of the Soviet Ground Forces in March 1946, but was quickly succeeded by Ivan Konev
Ivan Konev
Ivan Stepanovich Konev , was a Soviet military commander, who led Red Army forces on the Eastern Front during World War II, retook much of Eastern Europe from occupation by the Axis Powers, and helped in the capture of Germany's capital, Berlin....

 in July, who remained as such until 1950, when the position of Chief of the Soviet Ground Forces was abolished for five years, an organisational gap that “probably was associated in some manner with the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

”. From 1945 to 1948, the Soviet Armed Forces
Soviet Armed Forces
The Soviet Armed Forces, also called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union refers to the armed forces of the Russian SFSR , and Soviet Union from their beginnings in the...

 were reduced from ca. 11.3 million to ca. 2.8 million men, a demobilisation controlled first, by increasing the number of military district
Military district
Military districts are formations of a state's armed forces which are responsible for a certain area of territory. They are often more responsible for administrative than operational matters, and in countries with conscript forces, often handle parts of the conscription cycle.Navies have also used...

s to 33, then reduced to 21, in 1946. The personnel strength of the Ground Forces was reduced from 9,822,000 to 2,444,000.
To establish and secure the USSR’s eastern European geopolitical interests, Red Army troops who liberated Eastern Europe from Nazi rule, in 1945 remained in place to secure pro–Soviet régimes in Eastern Europe and to protect against attack from Europe, the historical Russian fear. Elsewhere, they may have assisted the NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 in suppressing anti-Soviet Western Ukrainian resistance (1941–55). Soviet troops, including the 39th Army
39th Army (Soviet Union)
The 39th Army was a Field Army of the Soviet Union's Red Army formed on 15 November 1941 in the Arkhangelsk Military District, in accordance with a directive issued by the Stavka on 2 November 1941...

, remained at Port Arthur and Dalian
Dalian
Dalian is a major city and seaport in the south of Liaoning province, Northeast China. It faces Shandong to the south, the Yellow Sea to the east and the Bohai Sea to the west and south. Holding sub-provincial administrative status, Dalian is the southernmost city of Northeast China and China's...

 on the northeast Chinese coast until 1955. Control was then handed over to the new Chinese Communist government.

Soviet Army forces on USSR territory were apportioned among military districts. There were 32 of them in 1945. 16 districts remained from the mid-1970s to the end of the USSR (see table at right). Yet, the greatest Soviet Army concentration was in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany
Group of Soviet Forces in Germany
The Group of Soviet Forces in Germany , also known as the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany and the Western Group of Forces were the troops of the Soviet Army in East Germany....

, which suppressed the anti-Soviet Uprising of 1953 in East Germany
Uprising of 1953 in East Germany
The Uprising of 1953 in East Germany started with a strike by East Berlin construction workers on June 16. It turned into a widespread anti-Stalinist uprising against the German Democratic Republic government the next day....

. East European Groups of Forces were the Northern Group of Forces
Northern Group of Forces
The Northern Group of Forces was the military formation of the Soviet Army stationed in Poland from the end of Second World War in 1945 until 1993 when they were withdrawn in the aftermath of the fall of Soviet Union...

 in Poland, and the Southern Group of Forces
Southern Group of Forces
The Southern Group of Forces was a Soviet Armed Forces formation formed twice following the Second World War, most notably around the time of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956....

 in Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, which put down the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In 1958 Soviet troops were withdrawn from Romania
Soviet occupation of Romania
The Soviet occupation of Romania refers to the period from 1944 to August 1958, during which the Soviet Union maintained a significant military presence in Romania...

. The Central Group of Forces
Central Group of Forces
The Central Group of Forces was a Soviet military formation used to control Soviet troops in Central Europe on two occasions: in Austria and Hungary from 1945-55 and troops stationed in Czechoslovakia after the Prague Spring of 1968....

 in Czechoslovakia was established after Warsaw Pact intervention against the Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

 of 1968. In 1969, at the east end of the Soviet Union, the Sino-Soviet border conflict
Sino-Soviet border conflict
The Sino–Soviet border conflict was a seven-month military conflict between the Soviet Union and China at the height of the Sino–Soviet split in 1969. The most serious of these border clashes occurred in March 1969 in the vicinity of Zhenbao Island on the Ussuri River, also known as Damanskii...

 (1969), prompted establishment of a sixteenth military district, the Central Asian Military District, at Alma-Ata
Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

, Kazakhstan. In 1979, the Soviet Union entered Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

, to support its Communist government, provoking a ten-year mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 guerrilla resistance.

Cold War


Throughout the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 (1945–91), Western intelligence estimates calculated that the Soviet strength remained ca. 2.8 million to ca. 5.3 million men. To maintain said strength range, Soviet law minimally required a three-year military service obligation from every able man of military age, until 1967, when the Ground Forces reduced it to a two-year draft obligation.

By the middle of the 1980s the Ground Forces contained about 210 divisions. About three-quarters were motor rifle divisions and the remainder tank divisions. There were also a large number of artillery divisions, separate artillery brigades, engineer formations, and other combat support formations. However only relatively few formations were fully war ready. Three readiness categories, A, B, and V, after the first three letters of the Cyrillic alphabet, were in force. The Category A divisions were certified combat-ready and were fully equipped. B and V divisions were lower-readiness, 50–75% (requiring at least 72 hours of preparation) and 10–33% (requiring two months) respectively. The internal military districts usually contained only one or two A divisions, with the remainder B and V series formations.

Soviet planning for most of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 period would have seen Armies
Army (Soviet Army)
An army, besides the generalized meanings of ‘a country's armed forces’ or its ‘land forces’, is a type of formation in militaries of various countries, including the Soviet Union. This article serves a central point of reference for Soviet armies without individual articles, and explains some of...

 of four to five divisions operating in Fronts
Front (Soviet Army)
A front was a major military organization in the Soviet Army during many wars. It was roughly equivalent to an army group in the militaries of most other countries except Germany...

 made up of around four armies (and roughly equivalent to Western Army Group
Army group
An army group is a military organization consisting of several field armies, which is self-sufficient for indefinite periods. It is usually responsible for a particular geographic area...

s). In the late 1970s and early 1980s new High Commands in the Strategic Directions were created to control multi-Front operations in Europe (the Western and South-Western Strategic Directions) and at Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 to handle southern operations, and in the Soviet Far East.

In 1955, the Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 with its East European satellite states, formalising Soviet military control over their armed forces. The Soviet Army created and directed the Eastern European armies in its image for the remainder of the Cold War, shaping them for a potential invasion of Western Europe. After 1956, Premier Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 reduced the Ground Forces to build up the Strategic Rocket Forces
Strategic Rocket Forces
The Strategic Missile Troops or Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation or RVSN RF , transliteration: Raketnye voyska strategicheskogo naznacheniya Rossiyskoy Federatsii, literally Missile Troops of Strategic Designation of the Russian Federation) are a military branch of the Russian...

 — emphasizing the armed forces' nuclear
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 capabilities. He removed Marshal Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

 from the Politburo
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

 in 1957, for opposing these reductions in the Ground Forces. Nonetheless, Soviet forces possessed too few theater-level nuclear weapons to fulfil war-plan requirements until the mid-1980s. The General Staff
General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is the military staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It is the central organ of the Armed Forces Administration and oversees operational management of the armed forces under the Russian Ministry of Defence.The staff is...

 maintained plans to invade Western Europe whose massive scale was only made publicly available after German researchers gained access to National People's Army
National People's Army
The National People’s Army were the armed forces of the German Democratic Republic .The NVA was established in 1956 and disestablished in 1990. There were frequent reports of East German advisors with Communist African countries during the Cold War...

 files following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union dissolves


From 1985 to 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 attempted to reduce the Soviet Army’s financial straining of the USSR’s economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

; he slowly reduced its size, and withdrew it from Afghanistan in 1989. Meanwhile, by the end of 1990, democratic revolutions had dissolved the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

, and Soviet citizens likewise deposed their government of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Unlike his Stalinist
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 predecessors, Gorbachev did not attack the citizenry with the Soviet Army; political crises ensued, and the USSR declined into a (crisis of confidence) government emergency that metamorphosed into a Stalinist coup in summer of 1991.

After the 19–21 August 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt to depose President Gorbachev, the Academy of Soviet Scientists reported that the armed forces did not much participate in the coup launched by the neo-Stalinists in the CPSU. Commanders despatched tanks into Moscow, yet the coup failed.

On 8 December 1991, the presidents of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine formally dissolved the USSR, and then constituted the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

 (CIS). Soviet President Gorbachev resigned on 25 December 1991; the next day, the Supreme Soviet dissolved itself, officially dissolving the USSR on 26 December 1991. In the next eighteen months, inter-republican political efforts to transform the Army of the Soviet Union into the CIS military failed; eventually, the forces stationed in the republics formally became the militaries of the respective republican governments.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

, the Soviet Army dissolved and the USSR's successor states divided its assets among themselves. The divide mostly occurred along a regional basis, with Soviet soldiers from Russia becoming part of the new Russian Army
Russian Ground Forces
The Russian Ground Forces are the land forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and required reforms to professionalize the force...

, while Soviet soldiers originating from Kazakhstan became part of the new Kazakh Army
Military of Kazakhstan
The Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan , is the name of the unified armed forces of Kazakhstan...

. As a result, the bulk of the Soviet Ground Forces, including most of the Scud
Scud
Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies...

 and Scaleboard Surface-to-surface missile
Surface-to-surface missile
A surface-to-surface missile is a guided projectile launched from a hand-held, vehicle mounted, trailer mounted or fixed installation or from a ship. They are often powered by a rocket motor or sometimes fired by an explosive charge, since the launching platform is typically stationary or moving...

 forces, became incorporated in the Russian Ground Forces
Russian Ground Forces
The Russian Ground Forces are the land forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and required reforms to professionalize the force...

. By the end of 1992, most remnants of the Soviet Army in former Soviet Republics had disbanded. Military forces garrisoned in Eastern Europe (including the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

) gradually returned home between 1992 and 1994. This list of Soviet Army divisions sketches some of the fates of the individual parts of the Ground Forces.

In mid March 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin appointed himself as the new Russian minister of defense, marking a crucial step in the creation of the new Russian armed forces, comprising the bulk of what was still left of the military. The last vestiges of the old Soviet command structure were finally dissolved in June 1993, when the paper Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

 Military Headquarters was reorganized as a staff for facilitating CIS military cooperation.

In the next few years, the former Soviet Ground Forces withdrew from central and Eastern Europe (including the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

), as well as from the newly independent post-Soviet republics of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 and Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

. Now-Russian Ground Forces
Russian Ground Forces
The Russian Ground Forces are the land forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and required reforms to professionalize the force...

 remained in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, Georgia and Transnistria
14th Army involvement in Transnistria
The involvement of the Soviet 14th Guards Army in the War of Transnistria was extensive and contributed to the outcome, which left the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic with de facto independence from the Republic of Moldova.-Background:...

.

Equipment


In 1990, the Soviet Army possessed:
  • 55,000 Tanks. Including 4,000 T-80
    T-80
    The T-80 is a main battle tank designed and manufactured in the former Soviet Union. A development of the T-64, it entered service in 1976 and was the first production tank to be equipped with a gas turbine engine for main propulsion.the Swedish Stridsvagn 103 of 1971 used a gas turbine alongside...

    , 10,000 T-72
    T-72
    The T-72 is a Soviet-designed main battle tank that entered production in 1970. It is developed directly from Obyekt-172, and shares parallel features with the T-64A...

    , 9,700 T-64
    T-64
    The T-64 is a Soviet main battle tank, introduced in the early 1960s. It was used solely by the Soviet Army in its front-line divisions and was a more advanced counterpart to the T-62...

    , 11,300 T-62
    T-62
    The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank, a further development of the T-55. Its 115 mm gun was the first smoothbore tank gun in use.The T-62 was produced between 1961 and 1975. It became a standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, partly replacing the T-55, although that tank continued to be...

    , 19,000 T-54/55, and 1,000 PT-76
    PT-76
    The PT-76 is a Soviet amphibious light tank which was introduced in the early 1950s and soon became the standard reconnaissance tank of the Soviet Army and the other Warsaw Pact armed forces. It was widely exported to other friendly states, like India, Iraq, North Korea and North Vietnam. Overall,...

  • 70,000 Armored Personnel Carriers. Including BTR-80
    BTR-80
    BTR-80 is an 8x8 wheeled armoured personnel carrier designed in the Soviet Union. Production started in 1986 and replaced the previous versions, BTR-60 and BTR-70 in the Soviet army. -Description:The Soviets based the BTR-80 on the BTR-70 APC...

    , BTR-70
    BTR-70
    The BTR-70 is an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier , originally developed during the late 1960s under the industrial designator GAZ-4905. On August 21, 1972, it was accepted into service and would later be exported to the Warsaw Pact and other allies...

    , BTR-60
    BTR-60
    The BTR-60 is the first vehicle in a series of Soviet eight-wheeled armoured personnel carriers. It was developed in the late 1950s as a replacement for the BTR-152 and was seen first time in public in 1961...

    , BTR-D
    BTR-D
    The BTR-D is a Soviet airborne multi-purpose tracked armoured personnel carrier which was introduced in 1974 and first seen by the West in 1979 during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. BTR-D stands for Bronetransportyor Desanta . It is based on BMD-1 airborne IFV...

    , BTR-50
    BTR-50
    The BTR-50 The BTR-50 The BTR-50 (BTR stands for Bronetransporter (БТР, Бронетранспортер, literally "armored transporter") is a Soviet amphibious armored personnel carrier (APC) based on the PT-76 light tank. The BTR-50 is tracked, unlike most in the BTR series, which are wheeled. The BTR-50...

    , BTR-152
    BTR-152
    The BTR-152 was a non-amphibious Soviet wheeled armored personnel carrier that entered Soviet service in 1950. By the early 1970s it had been replaced in the infantry vehicle role by the BTR-60...

    , and MT-LB
    MT-LB
    The MT-LB is a Soviet multi-purpose fully amphibious auxiliary armoured vehicle which was first introduced in the late 1960s...

  • 24,000 Infantry Fighting Vehicles. Including BMP-1
    BMP-1
    The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 , meaning "infantry fighting vehicle". The BMP-1 was the world's first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle...

    , BMP-2
    BMP-2
    The BMP-2 is a second-generation, amphibious infantry fighting vehicle introduced in the 1980s in the Soviet Union, following the BMP-1 of the 1960s....

    , BMP-3
    BMP-3
    The BMP-3 is a Russian amphibious infantry fighting vehicle, successor to the BMP-1 and BMP-2. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty .- Production history :...

    , BMD-1
    BMD-1
    The BMD-1 is a Soviet airborne amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle, which was introduced in 1969 and first seen by the West in 1970. BMD stands for Boyevaya Mashina Desanta . It can be dropped by parachute and although it resembles the BMP-1 it is in fact much smaller...

    , BMD-2
    BMD-2
    The BMD-2 is a Soviet airborne infantry fighting vehicle, which was introduced in 1985. It is a variant of BMD-1 with a new turret and some changes done to the hull. BMD stands for Boyevaya Mashina Desanta...

    , and BMD-3
  • 3,500 BRDM-2
    BRDM-2
    The BRDM-2 is an amphibious armoured patrol car used by Russia and the former Soviet Union. It was also known under designations BTR-40PB, BTR-40P-2 and GAZ 41-08...

     and BRDM-1
    BRDM-1
    The BRDM-1 was an amphibious armored scout car used by Russia and the former Soviet Union...

     reconnaissance vehicles.
  • 33,000 Towed Artillery Pieces. Including 4,379 D-30, 1,175 M-46
    130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)
    The 130 mm towed field gun M-46 M1954 is a manually loaded, towed 130 mm artillery piece, manufactured in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. It was first observed by the west in 1954...

    , 1,700 D-20
    152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20)
    The 152 mm gun-howitzer M1955, also known as the D-20, is a manually loaded, towed 152 mm artillery piece, manufactured in the Soviet Union during the 1950s. It was first observed by the west in 1955, where it was designated the M1955. Its GRAU index is 52-P-546...

    , 598 2A65
    152 mm howitzer 2A65
    The 2A65 "Msta-B" is a Soviet towed 152 mm howitzer. The "B" in the designation is an abbreviation for Buksiruemyi, or towed. This weapon has been fielded in Russian forces since at least 1987 and is currently in service with Russian front and army level artillery units...

    , 1,007 2A36
    152 mm gun 2A36
    The 2A36 Giatsint-B is a Soviet/Russian towed 152 mm gun which entered service in 1976. The 2A36 is designed to suppress and destroy enemy manpower and equipment. It is also suitable for counter-battery fire. The gun can be used in various weather conditions and has been tested in temperatures...

    , 857 D-1, 1,693 ML-20, 1,200 M-30, 478 B-4 Howitzers and D-74, D-48
    85 mm antitank gun D-48
    The 85-mm antitank gun D-48 was a Soviet 85-mm calibre antitank gun used after World War II. It was designed as the replacement for the 100 mm field gun M1944 . Distinguishing features of the D-48 include a very long barrel and a pepper-pot Muzzle brake. The D-48 was itself replaced in the 1960s...

    , D-44
    85 mm divisional gun D-44
    The 85-mm divisional gun D-44 was a Soviet divisional 85-mm calibre field artillery gun used after World War II. It was designed as the replacement for the 76 mm divisional gun M1942 . The gun is no longer in front-line service with the Russian Ground Forces, although some 200 of the Chinese Type...

    , T-12
    T-12 antitank gun
    2A19 or T-12 is a Soviet smoothbore 100-mm anti-tank gun, which served as the main Eastern Bloc towed anti-tank gun from 1955 until the late 1980s.-History:The T-12 entered service in 1955, replacing the BS-3 100 mm field gun...

    , and BS-3 Field/Anti-Tank Guns
  • 9,000 Self-Propelled Howitzers. Including 2,751 2S1
    2S1
    The 2S1 Gvozdika, ; is a Soviet 122-mm self-propelled howitzer that resembles the PT-76 but is essentially a version of the MT-LB APC, mounting the 2A18 howitzer. "2S1" is its GRAU designation. An alternative Russian designation is SAU-122 but in the Russian Army it is commonly known as Gvozdika...

    , 2,325 2S3, 507 2S5, 347 2S7
    2S7 Pion
    The 2S7 Pion or Malka is a Soviet self-propelled gun. "2S7" is its GRAU designation.It was identified for the first time in 1975 in the Soviet army and so was called M-1975 by NATO , whereas its official designation is SO-203...

    , 430 2S4, 20 2S19, 108 SpGH DANA, ASU-85
    ASU-85
    The ASU-85 is a soviet-designed airborne self-propelled gun of the Cold War Era. From 1959 it replaced the open-topped ASU-57 in service but was in its turn replaced by the BMD-1 from 1969.-Development history:...

    , and 2S9
  • 8,000 Rocket Artillery. Including BM-21
    BM-21
    The BM-21 launch vehicle , a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher, and a M-21OF rocket were developed in the early 1960s. BM stands for boyevaya mashina, ‘combat vehicle’, and the nickname means ‘hail’. The complete system with the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket...

    , 818 BM-27
    BM-27
    The BM-27 Uragan is a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher system designed in the Soviet Union. It began its service with the Soviet Army in the late 1970s, as its first modern spin and fin stabilized heavy multiple rocket launcher. This system is capable of launching 220 mm rockets from...

    , 123 BM-30
    BM-30
    The BM-30 Smerch or 9A52 is a Soviet heavy multiple rocket launcher. The system is designed to defeat personnel, armored, and soft-skinned targets in concentration areas, artillery batteries, command posts and ammunition depots. It was created in the early 1980s and entered service in the Soviet...

    , 18 BM-24
    BM-24
    The BM-24 is a multiple rocket launcher designed in the Soviet Union. It is capable of launching 240mm rockets from 12 launch tubes. Versions of the BM-24 have been mounted on the ZIL-151 6x6 Truck chassis and the AT-S tracked artillery tractor....

    , TOS-1
    TOS-1
    TOS-1 is a Soviet 30-barrel or 24-barrel multiple rocket launcher and thermobaric weapon mounted on a T-72 tank chassis. TOS-1 was designed for defeating enemy personnel in fortifications, in open country, and in lightly armoured vehicles and transport...

    , BM-25, and BM-14
    BM-14
    The BM-14 , is a Soviet-made 140mm multiple rocket launcher, fielded by the Soviet Union.The BM-14 can fire rockets fitted with chemical , smoke or high-explosive fragmentation warheads...

     Multiple Rocket Launchers
  • SS-1 Scud, SS-21, SS-23, and FROG-7
    FROG-7
    The 9K52 Luna-M is a Soviet short-range ballistic missile complex. The 9M21 missiles are unguided and spin-stabilized. "9K52" is its GRAU designation. Its NATO reporting name is FROG-7....

     Tactical Ballistic Missiles
  • 1,350 SA-4, 850 SA-6, 950 SA-8, 430 SA-9, 300 SA-11, 70 SA-12, 860 SA-13, 20 SA-15, 130 SA-19, ZSU-23-4
    ZSU-23-4
    The ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" is a lightly armored, self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system . ZSU stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka , meaning "anti-aircraft self-propelled mount". The "23" signifies the bore diameter in millimeters. The "4" signifies the number of gun barrels. It...

    , and ZSU-57-2
    ZSU-57-2
    The ZSU-57-2 is a Soviet self-propelled anti-aircraft gun , armed with two 57 mm autocannons. 'ZSU' stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka , meaning "anti-aircraft self-propelled mount", '57' stands for the bore of the armament in millimetres and '2' stands for the number of gun barrels....

     Army Air Defense Vehicles
  • 12,000 Towed Anti-Aircraft Guns. Including ZU-23-2
    ZU-23-2
    The ZU-23-2, also known as ZU-23, is a Soviet towed 23 mm anti-aircraft twin-barreled autocannon. ZU stands for Zenitnaya Ustanovka - anti-aircraft mount.-Development history:...

    , ZPU-1/2/4, S-60
    57 mm AZP S-60
    57 mm AZP S-60 ; literally: Automatic anti-aircraft gun S-60) is a Soviet towed, road-transportable, short- to medium-range, single-barrel anti-aircraft gun from the 1950s. The gun was extensively used in Warsaw Pact, Middle Eastern and South-East Asian countries.-History:In the late 1940s, the...

    , 72-K
    25 mm automatic air defense gun M1940 (72-K)
    25 mm automatic air defense gun M1940 was a Soviet 25 mm caliber anti-aircraft gun. The gun was created in the beginning of 1940 at 8th Kalinin Artillery Plant in Kaliningrad under the guidance of its Chief Designer Mikhail Loginov....

    , 61-K, 52-K, and KS-19
  • 4,300 Helicopters. Including 1,420 Mi-24, 600 Mi-2
    Mil Mi-2
    The Mil Mi-2 is a small, lightly armored transport helicopter that could also provide close air support when armed with 57 mm rockets and a 23 mm cannon.-Design and development:...

    , 1,620 Mi-8
    Mil Mi-8
    The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. Russia is the largest operator of the Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter....

    , 290 Mi-17
    MI-17
    MI-17 can refer to:* Mil Mi-17, Soviet helicopter*M-17...

    , 450 Mi-6
    Mil Mi-6
    |-Facts:*Test pilot N.B. Leshin has set the world record of speed. This event was awarded by the American Helicopter Society.*Small numbers are still in service, most in Siberia plus a small number with the People's Republic of China...

    , and 50 Mi-26