Modern wars demand changing army reconnaissance – Part 4


The military activities are changing due to high-tech arms and hardware in the leading world armies. They change the character, structure and contents of the armed struggle. The main vectors of the changes include information technologies and asymmetric actions of the opposing parties. Reconnaissance is a major type of combat provision and has reached a development threshold, Colonel PhD Military Science Ye. Bezsudnov and Lieutenant-Colonel R. Gafarov write in the Voennaya Mysl (Military Thought) journal.
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Russian reconnaissance team (Picture source: Russian MoD)


Modern conditions call for a change of some approaches and the use of such active reconnaissance methods, as an ambush, search and raid. The instructions determine their common task of attacking a hostile object and seizing prisoners, hardware and documents.

However, international reconnaissance experience of modern local wars and armed conflicts exposed certain specifics and new features of ambushes, raids and search. Firstly, all the three methods were used against a well-known object, as a rule. Secondly, the attacks were staged by guiding weapons of reconnaissance-fire and reconnaissance-strike forces. Thirdly, an ambush and raid were held mostly to destroy the objects without seizing prisoners, hardware and documents. The difference is that that the former attacks the object in motion and the latter raids a stationary object.

Fourthly, the methods were implemented in two stages: the first one included the study of the object for 1-3 days, the second one was the action against it. The latter may complement the reconnaissance group with heavy arms for destruction: mortars, automatic grenade launchers, antitank missiles, antiaircraft complexes on armored automobiles, or an artillery unit.

Fifthly, the search was conducted after a strike, and the group advanced to the object to inspect it, assess the destruction, seize it, if necessary, or finally destroy.

Thus, it is evident that an ambush, raid or search have acquired clear combat features in modern conditions and are broadly engaged in such a format by reconnaissance units in local wars and armed conflicts.

The experience prompts to introduce a new reconnaissance definition — types of reconnaissance. The reconnaissance and reconnaissance-combat actions are the main ones.

A reconnaissance-combat action is a method of a reconnaissance unit to operate in a reconnaissance-fire or reconnaissance-strike force in order to hurt the combat mood and morale of the adversary. The reconnaissance unit has to covertly deploy in the assigned area, expose hostile objects in the required time and provide precise guidance to weapons in the interests of reconnaissance, tactical and other tasks.

The main methods of a reconnaissance-combat action should include a reconnaissance-fire ambush and reconnaissance-fire raid. The former is an action against mobile objects in advance routes and deployment lines staged to decrease the combat potential of the adversary and fulfil limited reconnaissance and combat missions. The latter is an action against stationary objects in the area and their destruction, as well as for limited reconnaissance and combat missions.

The engagement of reconnaissance units in modern conflicts shows that the search as a reconnaissance method has evolved. It has a classical implementation format if held by army reconnaissance in a direct contact with the adversary. The search in a deep rear is usually conducted by a reconnaissance unit provided by army reconnaissance formations or other units. It can operate on organic hardware or by foot and engage drones or within a helicopter assault group.

Experts call to specify the structure of a search and provide the following wording: a search is a method to obtain reconnaissance data by two implementation models: from a direct contact with the adversary against a well-known object; and in hostile rear or the zone of adversary actions in order to expose objects for destruction and fulfil limited reconnaissance and combat missions.

It is necessary to state that the development of the technical basis and analysis of international combat engagement of reconnaissance units in modern armed conflicts allows promoting the combat potential of army reconnaissance without increasing its strength and introducing the latest effective methods of actions.

Firstly, improved technical provision makes reconnaissance units provide smaller reconnaissance teams with bigger quantity and quality, space and time capabilities. Experts believe that the implementation of the proposals will make a reconnaissance team fulfil the tasks of a classical reconnaissance detachment.

Secondly, the engagement of army reconnaissance in reconnaissance-fire and reconnaissance-strike forces makes it necessary to develop prospective combat methods for them, including those outlined in this article.

It is no longer possible to ignore the trends in army reconnaissance, as they have acquired a clear shape and are broadly introduced into the combat practice of the leading world armies. It calls for urgent steps to develop the structure, composition and methods of army reconnaissance in compliance with modern trends, Colonel PhD Military Science Ye. Bezsudnov and Lieutenant-Colonel R. Gafarov write in the Voennaya Mysl (Military Thought) journal.


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