MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Over the past decades, the domestic special forces have come a long way, which has been marked by many significant milestones and successful deeds.
Officially, the history of special forces begins in 1950, with the beginning of the formation of separate special-purpose companies. However, the decision to create special forces did not arise out of nowhere. Military formations, similar to modern special-purpose units, began to be created when an objective need arose to conduct reconnaissance and sabotage operations behind enemy lines. But in different periods of Russian military history, the solution to this problem was approached in different ways.
During the Great Patriotic War, military intelligence agencies of the fronts created a significant number of special military formations to conduct reconnaissance and sabotage operations behind enemy lines. Many of them were called “special (special) purposes”.
So, by decision of the Military Council of the Western Front in August 1941, six special-purpose detachments were formed from among the soldiers of the Red Army for operations in the operational rear of the Nazi troops. At this time, in accordance with the order of the People’s Commissar of the Navy, a special-purpose company was created under the intelligence department of the headquarters of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet, intended for reconnaissance and sabotage operations at the bases of the enemy’s naval forces.
With the end of the Great Patriotic War, all military units and formations of special (special) purpose created for operations behind enemy lines were disbanded. But, by the end of the 1940s, in connection with the change in the military-political situation in the world and the appearance of nuclear weapons, the tasks facing the Soviet military intelligence acquired a qualitatively new sound. The experience of the recently ended war suggested that it was impossible to solve them without specially designed military units.
In October 1950, the 2nd Main Directorate of the General Staff prepared a justification for the need to create special-purpose units in the Armed Forces. By the directive of the Minister of War of the USSR Marshal of the Soviet Union A.M. Vasilevsky On October 24, 1950, 46 separate special-purpose companies were created.
The formation of the first companies of SPETSNAZ (this was the abbreviated designation adopted in the 50-60s of the last century) took place in a planned manner. In the winter of 1950-1951. The 2nd Main Directorate of the General Staff organized training for unit commanders. Intelligence officers who had extensive service practice and rich combat experience were involved in the training. So, Colonel Patrahaltsev N.K. participated in the training of future special forces. From the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, he directly supervised the deployment of sabotage and reconnaissance work behind enemy lines, and at the final stage of the war, he assisted the partisans of Yugoslavia in the fight against the Nazi occupiers.
Initially, the leadership of the preparation of the SPETSNAZ companies was assigned to the 2nd Main Directorate of the General Staff. In late 1950 – early 1951, Golitsyn P.A., Demsky I.F., Mylnikov G.S., Rumyantsev E.I., Pobazheev F.F. , Stroilov G.A. Colonel PI Stepanov was appointed head of the direction, and Colonel IN Banov was appointed his deputy.
In the field, the direct command of the special-purpose companies was entrusted to the headquarters of the military districts and armies. Experienced intelligence officers were involved in this task. So, in the 2nd Tank Army, which was part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSVG), the formation of the 69th company was entrusted in the recent past to the commander of the Smolensk Partisan Special Purpose Regiment Hero of the Soviet Union, Lieutenant Colonel Grishin S.V.
In the process of forming the companies, special attention was paid to the selection of their command personnel. Preference was given to officers with combat experience. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Captain F.I. Gredasov was appointed the first commander of the 69th company of the 2nd Tank Army (GSVG). A real expert in military affairs and an excellent combat training methodologist. Subsequently, in the 1970s – 1980s, F.I. Gredasov. successfully led the reconnaissance of the Ground Forces.
By May 1, 1951, the SPETSNAZ companies were formed. To accomplish the assigned tasks, they had small arms, mine explosives, radio stations “North” and “Beta”. In the summer of 1951, as planned, they began combat training. From the first days, combat training went on day and night. The classes were complex. Already in August 1951 parachute jumping began. The commandos often marched through unfamiliar terrain in disguise. The companies constantly participated in various exercises. The tasks for the scouts were often set personally by the commanders of the troops of the districts and armies.
Since the formation of the SPETSNAZ company, the command has paid special attention to them. The most modern weapons and equipment were used for them. So, they were the first to receive the AK-47 assault rifles. Company commanders had priority in the selection of candidates. The personnel of the company were distinguished by high moral and psychological qualities. These were the best divisions in sports. Many platoon commanders later became leaders of military intelligence. So, senior lieutenant Ivanov V.M., who began service in the 227th company of the Don military district in the 1970s. headed the intelligence of the Central Asian Military District.
Combat training of the companies was carried out according to the program developed by the 2nd Main Directorate of the General Staff. It guessed the experience of partisans and scouts during the Great Patriotic War. The companies were often attended by officers of the 2nd Main Directorate. An indelible impression on the commandos was made by the Hero of the Soviet Union I.N. Banov, who led the preparation of the companies in the 1950s. At his direction, the practice was established at the end of the training for airborne training to conduct special tactical exercises, during which competitions for the best reconnaissance group were held.
The promptness of the measures taken and the experience accumulated during the years of the Great Patriotic War in training reconnaissance and sabotage formations allowed the military intelligence agencies in the early 1950s to successfully complete the task of creating companies and lay the organizational foundations of the future special forces.
In 1953, the creation of special-purpose military units in the fleets began. At this time, the reconnaissance of the Navy was headed by Rear Admiral L.K. Bekrenev, and the direction of the sea reconnaissance of the GRU of the Naval General Staff was headed by Captain 1st Rank D.U. Shashenkov. Based on their combat experience, they proposed the creation of special subdivisions of reconnaissance divers in the fleets.
In 1957, special-purpose battalions were created at the expense of the number of SPETSNAZ companies. In the 1960s, special-purpose brigades were formed and serious changes took place in the structure of the special forces of the USSR Armed Forces. Its development during this period took place with the direct and active participation of the Hero of the Soviet Union Colonel General Kh.D. Mamsurov and Major General N.K. Patrahaltsev.
The Cold War did not leave the special forces without combat work. Since the 1960s, special forces have participated in hostilities in various regions of the world as advisers and instructors. In the 1970s-1980s, reconnaissance divers’ units carried out combat service outside the country – in Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Vietnam. In the late 1970s, the special forces of the USSR Armed Forces began their combat path in Afghanistan.
On December 27, 1979, according to the plan developed by Colonel V.V. Kolesnik, within a few minutes special forces from the “Muslim battalion” took the Taj Bek palace in Kabul. For the successful completion of a combat mission to Colonel V.V. was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. With the name of V.V. Kolesnik a whole era in the history of special forces is connected, covering the period of the 1980s – early 1990s.
During the period of military activity as part of the Limited contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, special-purpose formations and military units made more than 3,000 combat exits. Most of them were aimed at curbing the supply of weapons and ammunition to Afghanistan from the territory of neighboring countries. In 1986, the military intelligence was tasked with obtaining a sample of the latest American portable anti-aircraft missile system “Stinger” and special forces carried out it, capturing the MANPADS and documentation for it on January 5, 1987.
Recognition and success did not come immediately to the special forces, but over the years, after decades of military activity and thanks to the exploits and merits of the military personnel who served in its ranks. The military work of the special forces was repeatedly noted by the country’s leadership. Thus, the 22nd Special Forces Brigade – the first in the Armed Forces in the post-war period – was awarded the title of “Guards”. Subsequently, the 14th and 16th brigades were awarded this title, and the 10th and 2nd brigades were awarded the Order of Zhukov. For the courage and heroism shown in the performance of special assignments, over twenty-five thousand special forces were awarded orders and medals, many were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and Hero of the Russian Federation.
Since the mid-1990s, on the initiative of veteran organizations in special-purpose formations and military units, the anniversary of the creation of special forces has been celebrated annually on October 24. This date united both veterans and military personnel of all categories and ages, and became the basis for the preservation of military traditions and military-patriotic education of youth.
In 2000, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the decision to create a SPETSNAZ company, the leadership of military intelligence, with the support of the Council of Veterans of Military Intelligence, veteran organizations “ROSA” and “SPETSNAZ-AS”, proposed establishing a Special Forces Day. The proposal was supported by the Minister of Defense and, according to his order dated July 26, 2000, the Day of the Special Forces of the Armed Forces was officially established, which is celebrated annually on October 24.
Over the past decades, the special forces have formed their own traditions. They sacredly honor and do not forget those who stood at the origins of the creation of the special forces of the Armed Forces, who served in its ranks and honorably performed their military duty.
Spetsnaz was created on the basis of the experience of the Great Patriotic War. On the examples of wartime intelligence officers, more than one generation of special forces was brought up. Yes, and in the practice of combat training, the experience of actions of reconnaissance and sabotage groups during the Great Patriotic War, such as the legendary Jack group, was originally put. Decades later, its commander Pavel Krylatykh and radio operator Anna Morozova became the prototypes of the bronze monument to scouts, unveiled in July 2013 in Kaliningrad.
The names of those who honorably fulfilled their military duty did not disappear from the memory and did not return from a combat mission. At present, obelisks to those killed in various armed conflicts have been opened at the location of all special forces. In many cities of Russia, following the example of Khimki near Moscow, memorial complexes have been created, which eventually became the meeting places for veterans of special forces and for holding ceremonial events. So the living preserve the memory of their fallen comrades.
Over the past 70 years, special forces have repeatedly carried out important government assignments, behind them decades of hostilities in Afghanistan, the North Caucasus and participation in peacekeeping operations outside the country. At the same time, always and everywhere the special forces performed the assigned tasks with honor. This gives the special forces special significance and is given special attention by the leadership of the Armed Forces.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.