Already in the World War (World War 2), the parties had large airborne units. At that time, the airborne units had the opportunity to fight on equal (or almost equal) against rifle divisions. Here is the staff of the rifle division of the Red Army in August 1941 year:
4. The rifle divisions shall be composed as follows:
People - 11.447 people.
Horses - 2.698 goal.
Rifles - 8.844
Hand Guns - 162
PPSH - 162
Machine Guns - 108
37-mm or 25-mm anti-aircraft guns - 6
45-mm cannons - 18
12,7-mm anti-aircraft machine guns - 9
or 25-mm anti-aircraft guns - 4
76-mm Regiment Cannons - 12
76-mm divisional cannons - 16
Howitzer 122-mm - 8
Mortars 50-mm - 81
Mortars 82-mm - 54
Mortars 120-mm - 18
Passenger cars - 4
Truck Vehicles - 192
Car Special - 5
Tractors - 15
However, during the 50s and 60s, rifle divisions received a qualitative strengthening. They surpassed the whole in their combat capabilities (that is, in combat effectiveness) tank Army of the Great Patriotic War. Motorized rifle divisions (with normal training of personnel) turned into a powerful military complex capable of solving the widest range of combat missions.
We will not analyze in detail. We can only say that one battalion of a motorized rifle division was comparable in firepower with a whole division of the August 41 model. Some tanks and self-propelled guns in a motorized rifle division are larger than 300!
Particularly intensified "auxiliary" division services. Rear, anti-aircraft missile, reconnaissance, engineer, etc.
And what about Airborne? The specificity of parachute landing from airplanes has become a decisive and almost insurmountable obstacle to the arming of the airborne infantry. Marines almost did not lag behind in the armament of motorized riflemen. Fleet is fleet. The ship takes on board in 1000 (a thousand) times the load and weapons. By the time the Airborne Forces received the legendary Margelov, the paratroopers were armed almost exclusively with light weapons. Without tanks, practically without artillery, with very weak support services.
Considering the above, as well as a lot of other unpleasant specifics of airborne landing, even taking into account the experience of the Patriotic War, when the Germans simply pushed the large Allied landing party in the Netherlands with tanks and artillery, Margelov faced a difficult task. The main emphasis he made on the psychological training of personnel of the Airborne Forces.
Changed and tactics. From almost infantry to speed, sabotage. Leap is a waste.
In 1969, they adopted the BMD-1, a high-speed and multi-gun model.
But the main thing was psychological preparation. Vests and berets appeared. Increased health requirements for conscripts in the Airborne Forces. Began to train to use any available means as a weapon. Who served in the Airborne Forces, not once heard the words: “You are suicide bombers. You are calculated for two hours of battle! ”Since the stock of ammunition is designed for two hours of intense offensive combat. Then - butts and boots. Who than can.
Began to teach hand-to-hand combat and unleash the landing party brand in the media. Around the beginning of the seventies, border guards used the greatest respect for children (and indeed civilians). And it is clear why. But the daring, well-fed, trained paratroopers began to come and fight with their hands and feet began to arrive at the demob. Yes, and in the form, beautiful like a hussar. They moved the border guards. A television and film were to help them.
Soldiers come to the demob without weapons. Tankers without tanks. Sailors without battleships. And if ten paratroopers could beat ten tankers almost always or ten gunners, it caused respect.
So the airborne phenomenon began to arise. The logic was simple. If they are stronger than anyone in civilian life, then they are all the more powerful on the battlefield too. The leadership of the army supported this phenomenon, since the acceptable level of combat capability of the airborne forces was kept solely on the belief in their own strength.
Anyway to drastically improve the armament of the Airborne Forces did not work out, despite numerous experimentation. For example, attempts to dump cars with crews. The fact is that after landing, the crews searched for their cars on their walkie-talkies. With one jamming, it was possible to completely disorganize the discarded division.
By the way. Parachute landing was not used in Afghanistan. Except for one tricky case when a massive landing party was depicted, and the gear was stuffed with stones and sticks. Dushmans were glad that not a single shuravi would reach the earth alive. Meanwhile, the reconnaissance aircraft transferred to the artillerymen the exact coordinates of all the firing positions of the dushmans. After the artillery worked, ours just went to the pass. There was no one to resist.
Recently there was information that our Minister of Defense hastily formed two armies. One tank and one combined arms. In addition, there are plenty of signs that a full-scale war is possible with a regular army of a strong country, or with a coalition army from several countries. And at the same time, in their armed forces, the current divisions of the Airborne Forces are not able to hold defenses at the front, or to attack (at the front) the front edge of the enemy defenses.
In one of the Strugatskys' stories there is such a phrase: “The imperial armor moves would pass through them and would not even notice that there is someone here. Walkers ... ”Walkers are not walkers, but in the Airborne Division, the 10 (ten) times less anti-tank weapons in service than in the motorized rifle division. And most importantly! These funds are much weaker and lighter than motorized infantry anti-tank weapons, since they are adapted for parachute landing. Many will argue that the airborne divisions have a different purpose. It's right. In the USSR Army, the Airborne Divisions were intended for transient abdominal operations. However, in those days, the Airborne Forces accounted for barely one (1) percentage of the total land forces of the country. Now almost a fifth.
In addition, military-political circumstances have changed greatly. And there appeared a conviction that there would never be a parachute landing of an entire division. Too risky and adventurous is an operation in the context of a looming full-scale war.
Do we really have to admit that all the accumulated courage and boldness inherent in the paratrooper will go to pieces because the airborne forces are armed too lightly?
I think it's time to abandon the useless dogma of a full parachute landing of the airborne divisions. And to re-equip the Airborne Forces in the state of motorized rifle divisions That is to equip the airborne forces with the most serious weapon. Only with a little specifics. Then we get really strong connections in the world.
And that stupid and insulting can turn out. The landing force will be seated in “cardboard” vehicles, and the infantry will be in impenetrable infantry fighting vehicles based on the Armat tank.
PS There is some understanding of the problem. Testing machines "Sprut". There was information that a tank battalion (31 tank) would be assigned to each airborne division. However, tanks are not subject to parachute landing. And tanks "Armata" are not subject to landing categorically.
The article only indicated the problem. A detailed analysis of this issue requires a large format that does not fit into one article. The author thinks that a discussion of this issue in the Military Review will be useful.