With the end of World War II, there were virtually no sabotage reconnaissance units left in the armies; some of them were disbanded, the second part was reduced. However, it soon became apparent that the special forces were the most effective way to fight against the increasingly real nuclear threat from NATO. After a detailed analysis and study of the experience gained during the war years, in 1950, the USSR government decided to establish the first special forces units. All of them were under the direct control of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Army.
At the same time, it should be noted that everyone who believes that история Russian special forces began a little more than half a century ago, they are mistaken. Similar divisions have existed for many centuries past. So, in particular, in the XVIII century, some Russian military leaders (P. Panin, A. Suvorov, M. Kutuzov) raised the question of the need to create special military units. The first such compounds appeared in 1764 year, and they were called Jaeger. At the end of the same century, Catherine II initiated the rotation of the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks, first on the Bug, and then on the Kuban. In these areas, the Eger tactic was very useful - conducting combat operations in mountainous areas, conducting reconnaissance, raids, and organizing ambushes. The training of these units was very similar to modern - the conduct of hostilities was combined with power and undercover intelligence. In 1811, the Separate Corps of the internal guard was established, whose duties included guarding and restoring order directly in the state itself. The 1812 war of the year allowed the Russian troops to gain immense experience, which was successfully used in the future. In the 1817 year, on the initiative of Alexander I, mobile horse gendarme rapid reaction forces were created. A little later, in the 1842 year, on the basis of the Cossack battalions, the Plastun battalions were created, on the combat activities of which more than one generation of future special forces were trained. Then, in the 1903 year, the Exploration Division was created under the General Staff, and one year later, similar divisions appeared in all military districts. A year later, in 1905, police units appeared that were engaged in carrying out tasks similar to those of modern riot police. In 1917, the General Directorate of the General Staff appeared, and in 1918, military intelligence, as well as special-purpose units, which were entrusted with the tasks of fighting Asian Basmachi and various kinds of rebels. In the 30 of the last century, the Red Army was replenished with airborne assault forces and sabotage groups.
As for the newly created division, very serious tasks were set before it: to organize and conduct reconnaissance, destroy all possible means of nuclear attack, identify enemy military formations and conduct special operations in the enemy’s rear, organize and conduct sabotage actions, create guerrilla groups in the rear of the enemy, to fight terrorism, to search and neutralize saboteurs. In addition, the special forces were also supposed to perform the tasks of jamming, blocking communications, disrupting power supply, eliminating transportation hubs, and provoking unrest and chaos in the state and military leadership of certain countries. At first glance, it may seem that the lion’s share of these tasks is impossible, fantastic, but the army special forces successfully coped with them, because the unit had all the necessary technical equipment and the appropriate weapons, including nuclear portable mines.
The special forces training was very intense. As a rule, it used individual programs. Each group consisted of 3-4 fighters and an 1 officer who exercised constant control over their pupils. If we talk about the training of the officers themselves, then their program was so intense that after several years of training, each officer could actually actually replace the whole army unit. It is quite obvious that these special-purpose units were classified even more than the presence of nuclear developments in the Soviet Union. This is evidenced by at least the fact that practically all knew about the existence of nuclear warhead bombers, nuclear missiles and nuclear submarines, and not even every general or marshal knew about the existence of the GRU special forces.
The first textbook for the special forces was the "Instructions for the combat use of subunits and units of special purpose," written by the former chief of intelligence of the guerrilla group Chekist from Belarus Pavel Golitsyn.
It would seem that everything was going well, but soon the difficulties began. The army began to reduce. More than three dozen special forces were abolished. As a result, there are only 1 special company of special purpose. Over the next four years, the army special forces "built up their muscles" after such a serious blow, and only in 1957, five separate special purpose battalions were formed. Several years later, in 1962, special purpose brigades were attached to 10. All of them were calculated on peacetime and wartime. The peacetime staff included no more than two or three hundred fighters in each brigade. In wartime, at least 1700 fighters (officers and soldiers) were in the state. Thus, at the beginning of 1963, the Soviet special forces consisted of ten cropped brigades, twelve separate companies, five separate battalions that were deployed in the Baltic, Leningrad, Belorussian, Kiev, Prikarpathian, Odessa, Moscow, Transcaucasian, Far Eastern and Turkestan military districts.
For the same year, the first large-scale exercises were held. However, even though their results were very successful, in the year 1964 a new reorganization took place, as a result of which the number of special forces decreased by three battalions and six companies. Thus, the army special forces consisted of six companies, 10 brigades and 2 battalions.
However, it should be noted that there were units that, in addition to the standard training programs for special forces, were trained and under the implementation of special tasks. In particular, the special forces of the 99 company, which was stationed in the Arkhangelsk military district, were trained to perform tasks in the Arctic, and the soldiers of the 227 company, located in the North Caucasus district, were trained in operations in the highlands. The creation of special-purpose strike groups intensified only at the end of the 1960-s.
On the basis of the airborne school located in Ryazan, in 1968, the preparation of special-purpose professional intelligence began. The formation of the famous 9 Company took place at that time, the last issue of which was held in 1981, after which the company was disbanded. In addition, the special forces officers were trained at the Frunze Military Academy and in the Kiev VOK (intelligence faculty), but their specialization was closer to military intelligence officers. In 1970, a training company was formed, after a while - a battalion, and then a regiment, which was stationed in the Pskov Region.
Special forces units conducted operations abroad. The first such large-scale foreign special operation was an operation in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Warsaw Pact countries began to introduce their troops into the territory of this state. The plane, which transported the special forces, requested an emergency landing in the capital due to allegedly faulty engines. Within a few minutes, the special forces seized the airport, after which the airborne division was redeployed there. At about the same time, the groups of fighters who had arrived in Prague earlier, captured the most significant positions - the railway stations, the telegraph. When the government building was taken under control, the country's leadership was taken to Moscow.
If we talk about all foreign operations, then a total of army special forces conducted their operations in about twenty countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Sometimes we had to deal with famous American commandos. And only many years later, the Americans managed to find out that it was the Soviet special forces who defeated their elite units in Vietnam in 1970, and also in Angola in 1978. Very often it even happened that the American special services did not know that the Soviet special forces were conducting some kind of special operations. A vivid example of this is one case. It happened in 1968 in Cambodia. Nine special forces fighters raided the secret helicopter camp, which was located near the Vietnamese border. From this camp, the Americans threw their saboteurs into the territory of Vietnam. The camp was guarded by an 2 light helicopter, some heavy transport 10 and a Super Cobra 4 helicopter. It was the latter that were the target of the Soviet special forces. It took the fighters less than half an hour to hijack one helicopter, and destroy the other three, even though they had to operate almost under the nose of the American special forces.
However, a large amount of information about the special operations carried out by army special forces in the territory of Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Vietnam, to date, no. But enough data on the operations that were carried out over ten years of the Afghan conflict. The beginning of the conflict was laid by conducting a special operation to destroy the ruler Amin. Most historians believe that the operation was pure adventure. However, she succeeded. In addition to the special forces units that already existed at the time - “Thunder”, “Zenith”, “Vympel” and “Alpha” - the army special forces took part in the operation. Approximately six months before the capture, a Muslim battalion was formed, which was also known as the 154 th separate special-purpose squad, which included members of the GRU special forces (Soviet Muslims). Most of the fighters of the detachment were Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmen, almost all of them owned Farsi. Shortly before the storming of the palace, they were introduced into the palace guards. The assault was carried out in less than an hour.
After a short respite after the operation, the same battalion, up to 1984, conducted military operations in spetsnaz tactics, arranged ambushes and raids, and was engaged in reconnaissance. In addition, at the end of 1983, the fighters of the unit proceeded to the creation of the “Veil” border zone, with the help of which it was planned to close about two hundred routes by which the rebels received weapon and ammunition from Pakistan. But since such a grandiose plan required a large number of special forces, in 1984, the 177 and 154 special forces were transferred there. The total number of GRU special forces in Afghanistan was about 1400 fighters. However, this number did not seem to be enough, so the formation of additional special forces units began in the Soviet Union.
Talk about the operations that were carried out by the army special forces in Afghanistan, it is possible for a very long time. Among them were those that were especially remembered. So, in particular, at the beginning of 1984, the 177th special company, reinforced by several combined arms companies and tank platoon, was to find and capture a caravan with weapons and ammunition near the village of Vakh. But this was not possible, and the special forces were surrounded. Only after a difficult battle, with the support of artillery and aviation, the squad managed to leave the danger zone.
Some time later, in 1989, the structure of the 22 and 15 units of the special forces brigade was radically changed. All armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and communications equipment were seized. It was motivated by the incompatibility of this weapon with the tasks of the special forces, that is, the conduct of military intelligence and anti-sabotage combat. And the use of this weapon by special forces for a whole decade was recognized as an “atypical case of use” ... However, when the 15 Special Brigade arrived in Baku a year later to fight local gangs, the equipment was returned to it. Then it was completely around X-NUMX flights IL-40 and delivered from Tashkent communications, cars, as well as about two dozen armored vehicles. The brigade successfully completed all the tasks assigned to it, but when it returned home, all the combat equipment and communications were again withdrawn, despite numerous requests from the command.
The activities of the army special forces were no less intense during the years of the Chechen conflicts. Russian special forces were present in the country since the beginning of the introduction of troops. At first, the special forces were used only for reconnaissance. In addition, due to the weak training of ground units, special forces took part in assault groups, in particular, in Grozny. By the way, 1995 year was the most tragic, because it was then when the special forces suffered heavy losses.
However, this did not break the morale of the fighters, and they continued to act in their traditional manner. When the Khasavyurt peace agreement was signed, it was obvious to all that this world was very shaky. Therefore, when the fighting began in Dagestan, in confronting the formations of international and Chechen terrorists and militants, one of the tasks of the special forces was to provide reconnaissance information about the positions and fortifications of the Wahhabis. Army special forces showed themselves only from the best side, being the best in combat training and performing tasks, and acting many times more effectively than the rest.
In the spring of 1995, there was not a single special squad left in Chechnya. The last of these, assigned to the North Caucasus region, returned home in the second half of 1996.
It should be noted that the most difficult period of time, not only for army special forces, but also for the armed forces in general, were the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the beginning of the reform of the army, the special forces were able to inflict so much damage that was not even in the years of the Afghan and Chechen wars. At the end of the war in Afghanistan, part of the units returned to duty stations, and some were disbanded. From time to time, some special units were sent to fight against bandit groups in Ossetia, Baku, Nagorno-Karabakh, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan. Some special forces brigades were in the armed forces of Ukraine, Belarus and Uzbekistan.
Thus, there is no clear answer to the question of how many special forces units are currently in Russia. Partly due to the fact that the information is secret, partly due to the constant reform of the army. And even despite the decision to transfer army special forces to the structure of the ground forces and to establish the command of special operations forces, no final decision has yet been made, because army special forces are not only subdivisions, but also research institutes and other organizations (to put it simply , that should be hidden from prying eyes, but at the same time, plays an important role in the work of special forces).