This is a basic type of combat support measure. It is a complex of
measures done with the aim of confusion of the enemy and taken in accordance
with a plan structured in time, space, and mission. The confusion of the enemy
should be especially strong with respect to the commander's plan; the structure
of forces and means, especially the rocket and nuclear forces; on the level of
forces, their location, capability, readiness, and quantity; and on the
situation. The enemy should be confused also about the character of our
operations. Maskirovka should prevent the enemy from discerning the
operational character of our maneuver and the characteristics of our various
forces and rear service installations.
Maskirovka measures are done in peacetime as well as in wartime,
and in fact much of their ultimate effectiveness is dependent on their being
carried out during the normal peacetime period. Their capability is to provide
surprise. They increase the effectiveness of combat operations and the
retention of combat effectiveness by the forces. They also raise the capability
of ground, air and naval forces.
The definition of Maskirovka given in the Soviet Military
Encyclopedia is as follows:
Aggregate of measures to deceive the adversary regarding the presence and
disposition of troops (forces), military vehicles and installations (targets),
their status and condition, combat readiness and actions, as well as command
authority plans; category of operational (combat) support. Camouflage,
concealment and deception help achieve the element or surprise in the actions
of troops (forces), help maintain their combat readiness and increase
survivability. Subdivided, by scale of employment and nature of missions, into
strategic, operational, and tactical (voyskovaya). It can be,
depending on the means of reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering against
which it is directed, hydroacoustic masking, noise reduction and sound masking
(acoustic), magnetometric, optoelectronic, radiation, radar, radio and
electronic, thermal, etc. The greatest effect is achieved with simultaneous
employment of camouflage, concealment, and deception against all hostile
reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering assets. Conducted continuously in all
types of troop (forces) military operations. Modes of camouflage, concealment
and deception: secrecy and concealment, feints and decoy (diversionary)
actions, simulation, deception and dissemination of false information.
Strategic camouflage, concealment and deception (strategicheskaya
maskirovka) is carried out on the decision of the supreme command
authority and encompasses an aggregate of measures to keep secret preparations
for a strategic operation or campaign, as well as measures to confuse the enemy
regarding military force grouping, the state and intentions of military forces.
Planned and organized by the general staff.
Operational camouflage, concealment and deception (operativnaya
maskirovka) is accomplished by means of carrying out feints and decoy
(diversionary) actions, simulating concentrations and deployment of troops,
vehicles and military installations, deception and dissemination of false
information on the state of one's troops and the character of forthcoming
actions during preparation for and conduct of operations. Planned and organized
by front (military district, fleet) headquarters on the basis of an operation
Tactical camouflage, concealment and deception (takticheskaya
voyskovaya maskirovka)is accomplished by concealing from the enemy
movement and position of friendly troops (forces), artillery and missile/rocket
forces firing (launcher) positions, location of command and control facilities
and other important installations, utilizing the concealment properties of the
terrain, conditions of reduced visibility, and means of camouflage, concealment
and masking, as well as construction of dummy positions and areas. Carried out
on the decision of combined unit (unit, subunit) commanders by all armed forces
personnel without specific instructions.
As shown in this definition, Maskirovka has three levels
corresponding to the levels of combat actions; strategic, operational, and
tactical as classified by character, scale, and missions.
Figure 1 Maskirovka Applications
This is conducted on the basis of the decision of the high command or the
general staff or the command in a TVD. Strategic maskirovka has he
following elements. These are done to support secrecy concentrated on strategic
missions. Strategic maskirovka is focused on preserving the secrecy of
preparations for war and military for operations and the strategic movements
conducted during preparatory periods. It also is used to deceive the enemy on
the number and separate actions of the armed forces and the concept of
operations and intentions. Strategic maskirovka is conducted by the
forces and means of the high command and the forces and means participating in
strategic operations. These are planned by the general staff and the TVD
This is conducted on the basis of the decision of the front
commander or commander of the naval fleet. If an army operates on a separate
direction, then the decision of the army commander can be the basis for
Operational maskirovka has the basic aim of preserving secrecy of
preparations for operations. In normal conditions operational
maskirovka is conducted on the basis of the front commanders`
decision. An army only fulfills missions that are specified in the
front plan. The missions are designated for the army to fulfill. In
some unusual situations the army may be told to expand the measures in
accordance with the front plan. In other words the army may work out
implementing measures, but only in unusual situations, when it is specifically
ordered to develop such measures. In the usual plan the missions of the army
are spelled and on the basis of these missions the army fulfills its own
functions. If the army on its own were to conduct maskirovka measures,
these would not be fully effective and the enemy would see through the
On the other hand the effectiveness of strategic maskirovka is not
tied so closely with the front and visa versa, the operational
maskirovka being done by the front is not tied so directly
into the TVD plans. So the front has more independence in the
development of maskirovka. But army has to be coordinated within the
front plan. One principle is that it is not necessary to reveal the
essence of the maskirovka in order to accomplish it. In other words
the actors are just ordered to do as told in this situation, without
questioning why. Thus, the tactical commander will most likely not even know
his unit activities are conceived of by the operational level as part of an
This is the system of activities conducted by units, sub-units,
formations, and independent targets to have maintain secrecy prior to movement
as well as their own strength (quantity), location of positions, and
intentions. At the tactical level it makes use of the maskirovka
capabilities of local conditions of the weather, light, and locations
(terrain). It also employs the standard artificial techniques such as wearing
camouflage clothing or exercising sound discipline. Use of tactical
maskirovka for these purposes is a standard operating procedure for
all tactical commanders for the preservation of their own troops. It is not
part of or really have anything to do with a larger operational level plan, nor
does it have to be ordered specifically by an operational commander.
General principles and means of maskirovka as a combat
Maskirovka is a combat support measure closely associated with
combat action to support and facilitate the conduct of missions and to insure
the achievement of aims. The command has to take a series of measures, not
combat itself, but in support of combat. Some of the other combat support
measures are reconnaissance and protection against enemy use of mass
destruction weapons. etc
There are four principal methods for maskirovka. These are
secrecy, demonstrations, imitation, and disinformation. All actions are
classified under one of these categories.
Secrecy and immitation are more predominant at the tactical level and
demonstrative acrtion and disinformation are more used at the operational and
strategic levels. Demonstrative action means to display false movements or
false actions for the enemy to observe. To be believable these must be mixed
with real activities. Immitation is the use of dummies and other means for
showing false targets. Secrecy is preservation of information about the real
situation and disinformation is spreading false ideas by whatever means. Since
the enemy has many different technical means for reconnaissance, such as
optical, electic, sound, hudro, radar, radio, heat, radiation,
electro-magnetic, as well as human sources, it is essential to employ a full
variety of deception means to counter each and every one of these methods.
Maskirovka has three major aims: to conceal, to deceive, and to hamper.
To conceal is a counter reconnaissance action to protect the forces against the
enemy's reconnaissance effort. As a measure to deceive the enemy,
maskirovka is an active action to influence the enemy. To do this you
have to do something. To conceal you have to do both active and passive
To hamper the enemy's selection of targets is to confuse the enemy on what are
the important targets. The idea is to hamper his selection of main targets at
which to fire and to confuse him on where the main grouping of forces is, where
is main targets will be, etc.
Maskirovka insures undetected preparation for war itself as well as
for offensive action. At the highest levels it is the country`s preparation for
war that is being concealed, while at lower levels it is preparation for a
particular operation that is concealed.
Figure 2 Maskirovka
Given the aims of maskirovka, there are a series of guidelines
to be followed to achieve the aims. The four guiding principles are: variety,
timeliness, continuity, and persuasiveness.
Figure3 Principle Guidelines
The idea is that a stereotyped kind of maskirovka is dangerous,
because once enemy knows the pattern it will know that some sort of effort is
being conducted. Therefor maskirovka must be varied and imaginative
and not standard. It must make use of different measures to convince the enemy
from different directions. Timeliness at the tactical level is a matter of
hours, while at the strategic level it may be years. The point is that part of
the skill in accomplishing maskirovka is in knowing at what time you
should do what. If you do something before the appropriate time, it may reveal
things worse than doing nothing. To convince the enemy that the troops are
moving at a certain direction it is necessary to do things at right time so the
enemy will think what it sees is in the right context. When troops deploy to a
location and the enemy detects that where they are seems to be part of a
logical larger pattern he may believe his perception is valid. But if it is an
isolated action he may not be fooled.
Continuity means that to be effective maskirovka must continue and
activities must be conducted constantly with no gaps. The type of actions must
look real and be convincing. If you put dummy guns in the open without
camouflage and expect the enemy to take them as real you will likely fail. They
will know it is a model and see though it. You have to put also some camouflage
and engineer work conducted in a way to give the enemy an impression to
convince it real. Once enemy sees it is not real it will compromise all
While following these guidelines there are a number of basic measures which
have proved effective for achieving the aims of maksirovka. They
include the following:
Figure 4 Basic Maskirovka Measures
Use of terrain properties to achieve dispersed and undetected positioning
is a traditional measure of measure of camouflage.
This is the simplest and oldest way of maskirovka. It is not always
possible because sometimes the troops are in open areas without much natural
cover and concealment. If possible, however, the first thing the troops do is
to use the terrain for whatever value it can provide, and only then, if it is
not possible to succeed with only natural means, use artificial means. This is
Figure 5 Concealment of Movement
Sometimes the operational requirements will be in conflict with the
maskirovka requirements. Sometimes the area best for cover is not on
the main axis of attack. The principle is that maskirovka is a measure
to support combat, so maskirovka is always subject to the requirements
of operational planing. You can't change the plan for the sake of
maskirovka. When the commander makes his decision the characteristics
of terrain are evaluated as part of the estimate of the situation and, if the
terrain is so bad that it can influence the conduct of the operation, it must
be taken in consideration. But once plan is taken can't change forsake of
maskirovka. Some local conditions, such as darkness and bad weather
can be used effectively at the tactical level, but not as easily at the
operational level then local use of terrain and weather is fine but hard to use
as a whole for the army and front at operational level. sometimes
maskirovka level is only effective at tactical level but not at
operational level. sometimes you know where enemy division is even if you don't
know where the regiments are. on the other hand at the operational level
actions conducted by forces to deceive the enemy a complex action conducted
over a period of time will deceive while tactical level is short in time and
Use of terrain
One other measure associated with terrain is dispersion. Dispersion is an
old method of maskirovka. In addition to the protection it gives
directly, it provides more capability and possibilities to use the terrain for
maskirovka purposes. It the forces are dispersed in an area of 60 sq
km they will have a certain capability for concealment, but if they are in an
area of 200 sq km area, then the capability is multiplied. The more dispersed
the troops are the more capability they have to use the camouflage
characteristics of the terrain.
Figure 7 Dispersion Provides for
The more one is able to use the natural capabilities of the terrain the
more one can reduce the time needed for artificial engineer preparation of
camouflage and concealment. If you then don't have to do so much engineer work
when the terrain is good, you can complicate the enemy's reconnaissance
requirements. Thus a wider area makes reconnaissance more difficult for the
enemy. In addition of course when the forces are in a smaller area the enemy
can concentrate his reconnaissance more effectively.
When we have terrain with characteristics that provide cover and concealment we
use it, but if this is not possible then artificial means must be used. Perhaps
there is no natural cover or not enough. Therefore a number of artificial means
are developed to help when natural characteristics are insufficient. Some of
these are organic to troops and some are improvised.
Figure 8 Use of Organic and Improvised Means - Paint
Paint is a common artificial means. It is for use on combat and other
vehicles and on other items like airfields and buildings etc. Usually the
vehicles are painted in peacetime with colors depending on expected area of
operation. The painting will use different colors. If the equipment is used in
areas other than the areas where they were intended to be used, the command
must change the color. Stationary objects are normally not painted in
peacetime. If they were painted in peacetime it would be a waste of resources.
They only paint them when war comes. The most common colors in use are brown
and green, depending on the type of terrain. The percentage mixture of the
different colors varies. The paint is used to merge the object into the
background of terrain.
Figure 9 Use of Organic and Improvised Means - Clothing
Another common artifical means is the use of camouflage type clothing.
This includes overalls and white winter suits for ski troops etc. In recent
times the infrared signature accociated with clothing has become a more
Other artificial means include building materials for making covers. These can
be put together out a number of seperate prefabricated cover pieces to fit the
requirements of the position. The normal time required to use these is 5 to 10
minutes. They can be assembled easily. In addition to horizontal instatation to
cover a target they can be used in the vertical position to camouflage
something from ground observation. For example a communication trench can be
cut in different parts so the enemy can't see all of it. The continuity of the
trench is broken by the cover of parts of it with the screens. By this way they
protect it from ground observation. If a communication trench is going to the
depth of the position it can be cut by the use of screens. They change the
shape and conceal its dimension. The screens are put on very simple frames that
can be disassembled and moved. The screen is made of cloth and can be put up
In some cases you can use local material like bushes with the screens to make
it more similar to the ground. Road screens are placed by the side of road in
exposed areas and where the roads are passing over a hill and in areas not
covered by vegetation.
Camouflage fences are an individual means used for soldiers. The most common is
a frame with different covers and branches. The soldiers can open it and put it
on ground to protect themselves. It looks like a fan.
A sloping cover is to cover objects located beside a cliff or building. It
makes a lean to to cover the vehicles etc right next to the building.
A distorting camouflage does not have standard size. It comes in specialized
sets for specific objects and individuals. These can include special covers for
machine guns or artillery pieces prepared ahead of time.
Figure 10 Artificial Camouflage Material
Figure 11 Specialized Camouflage Sets
Use of smoke
Smoke is one of the very effective means used througout the ages for the
purpose of blinding, concealing and deceiving. Smoke also has other properties,
such as protection against thermal radiation of a nuclear burst. The radiation
can't penetrate. Smoke will also degrade munitions that depend on guidance. The
use of smoke screens is only effective when they are used at the proper place
and time when the wind direction is planned for. The distance should be such
that smoke should not interfere with normal action of own troops. The smoke
should not be so limited that instead of covering a target it makes it more
distinct. The time of use should be at the time when some important action is
to be conducted or to deceive the enemy about movement. For example, if the
movement of the 2nd echelon is planned you can use smoke in the wrong place to
make the enemy think the unit is some where else. Or when second echelon is
moving it can be used when the troops move out of a covered area into the open.
The smoke must be placed such that when it is used it should not be only in
front of the troops or they will move out of it too soon. If it is done right,
it is very effective against enemy and will reduce casualties. The Soviets have
estimates on number of casualties that can be reduced by use of various types
of smoke screens.
Figure 12 Use of Smoke Screens
Figure 13 Kinds of smoke producing means
Smoke generators are attached to vehicles so they can create smoke screens
themselves without waiting for engineers to come and do it. It is more
expedient and easier method.
There are three types of smoke screens classified by purpose; for blinding
camouflaging and decoying.
Figure 14 Types of Smoke Screens
For blinding use the smoke against enemy observation on the target area.
If smoke is used to protect yourself, use it near yourself. Blinding is more
effective. By blinding the enemy observation post you don't have to cover your
own troops. But you must be sure you are blinding all observation posts. Smoke
screens can be used at night too, when enemy uses illumination. When the enemy
is using ATGMs, it is best to blind them. However, if there are many of them
then you have to cover own forces. When you cover your own troops and
activities and positions, the area covered must be at least 5 times greater in
size than the unit covered. This norm refers to small units and individaul
targets. To cover a company that is occupying 500 meters the screen if 5 times
larger would be 2500 meters. This is usually not possible. The smoke can used
to cover individual tank or gun positions but not a whole unit. When used be
sure the target is not in the center of the smoke.
Deceptive smoke is used just to make enemy think an attack is in different
place. For instance it is used in river crossing to confuse the enemy about
real area for river crossing. Half the smoke would be in areas where no
crossing was taking place.
Smoke grenades from tank are used purely as defense and to cover the tank while
moving. If is used with a whole cmpany or platoon it would create a screen, but
for individual tanks it is just to cover the tank.
Smoke can be delivered by helicopter and aircraft. From helicopter they can put
smoke pots on ground quickly and lay 10 km rapidly. From fixed wing airplane
smoke is used with dispenser container that explodes on impact. When you want
to use a very thick screen along terrain in a wider area, then the air force
can do it quickly. Hiowever that depends on the availability of airplanes.
Close to the front lines there are other more effective methods. Air delivered
smoke can be at greater depth more ealily or on landing areas. It is harder for
air to concentrate smoke in a small area. Air delivered smoke can by used to
blind direct firing weapons, gun positions and artillery observation posts.
You can use smoke mines in a an ambush and raid for reconnaissance units. In
the depth of your own area it is more effective to use smoke generators by
engineers rather than shells.
Dummy positions and actions etc
To use dummy actions there are certain things to consider. You have to do
it in a way to deceive the enemy and not yourself.
Figure 15 Requirements for use of Dummy Equipment
Dummy actions must be used in areas where it is tacticlly sound. If the
firing position is not in range, it won't make sense. If you put 122 mm right
on FEBA it is also not right. The regiment has a frontage of 5 km. In that area
the RAG will be in one area but there are many other areas at same depth that
you could put a model of the guns to show that the position is in different
The dummies must be the right size and dimension. For instance to show that
there is a T54 tank you have to use the right size model. However for purposes
of deceiving aerial reconnaissance the height of the model can be reduced by
30% and still be effective.
The decoy must be also be camouflaged to conceal the defects in construction,
but not well enough to really hide it. You must also conduct actions from time
to time. A unit will occupy the area and show activity and make noise and
produce signal communications. They can change the pattern of tracks the next
Engineer units are responsible for providing materials that are assembled in
the area. They are prefabricated in kits. At lower echelon combat engineer
units are used and at higher echelon the maskirovka battalion is used.
Soviets used smoke in Afghanistan to cover attack and it sometimes was like
tear gas too. They used it from helicopters. The Afghans used camouflage and
decoys very well too.
Figure 16 Signal security and Deception
This is done to deceive the enemy and cover own communications. To cover
signal from the enemy, use radio silence this is the best way newly arrived
units can be covered. This can cover buildup of forces. Reduce radio use in
area of main attack and increase it in other areas. Other measures are more
important than radio silence. Active measures are more effective than passive
measures. With active measures conduct continuous action to influence the
enemy. It is better in addition to radio silence. Along with heavy activity in
the supporting area radio deception can fool the enemy when combined with other
measures. The enemy can detect a unit from the type of communication since it
is different for different units or operators. One task is to seek for these
kinds of signs in your own forces to eliminate them. Dummy traffic ia usually
temporary for an operation. Soviets have norms for sending messages depending
on how long they were to reduce time on air.
Radio communication maskirovka is based on reduction of information
and reduced time on air. The Soviets use simple ciphers and codes and simple
map codes. They have tables on one side letters and other numbers table
contains common sentences and phrases. can change number of a square also for
coordinates on maps. The numbers on maps are reversed to increase to thje south
instead of the north or they change the number of one part of a grid or change
the vertical measured from Greenwich to some other place. Instead of going west
to east they go east to west, or make other changes on the map grid often.
The enemy will be using electronic means for detection effective when other
side is using radio and in the reverse. Therefor one can dis-inform the enemy
by using radios in different ways to conceal real activities, as well as to
deceive. One can can use specific types of radios at different operational
levels and short transmission rates or use short wave radios at high level for
long distance transmissions. One can use different types of antennas that will
increase the radio's range in one direction but not another. At tactical level
it is better to use short range radios.
Hydroacoustic reconnaissance is conducted over water surfaces so masking noise
is used to cover submarine etc. One can use different types of material to
degrade sonar systems. And it is possible to have dummy targets too.
Anti-heat masking is employed against infra-red detection systems. If one has a
tank with a hot engine, even covered by foliage, infrared reconnaissance will
detect it. To conceal it all unnecessary use of the engines must be avoided or
it may be possible to cool down the surfaces with water etc.
Figure 17 Sound masking
Sound concealment is especially important and practiced at the tactical
level. Sound masking is important to cover and conceal all sounds that
represent some specific activity. Especially on the offensive, action will come
from direct contact with the enemy. A sound curtain is a camouflage screen used
to cover one noise by another. One can make a louder and heavier noise
depending on the duration of sound. One method is to use artillery fire or low
flying aircraft to cover the sound of moving vehicles.
Figure 18 Light masking
An ancient "strategem" has been to use campfires in dummy areas
to conceal the movement of troops or use other light sources to make dummy
positions look real. Now lasers can be used to blind optical reconnaissance
Figure 19 Radar camouflage
One important area that should be concealed is movement of troops.
Movement is critical because it is conducted in columns and columns are long
and can be detected by various reconnaissance means. In offensive operations a
large part of the action is movements, which if known will reveal the axis of
concentration for the main attack. Therefor in offensives covering movement is
one of the main objectives. To conceal movement there are number of basic
actions typically taken. When driving along roads the units use covered routes
and bypass cities. Movement is conducted at night to reduce the ease of visual
observation. Moving forces use VHF radios of the traffic control organization
rather than their own. In addition one can use dummy movement. Deceptive
movement is conducted using a mixture of dummy and real equipment. The dummy is
attached to a vehicle by cable to pull it. Then during the night it can be
disassembled and moved to another direction and used there. Sometimes dummies
are pushed by personnel or used with real troops and moved back and forth to
simulate a larger force. In ancient times Hannibal tied brush to the tails of
oxen and placed torches on their horns to simulate the movement of large bodies
According to `Soviet analysts the importance and role of
maskirovka in contemporary conditions has increased greatly. during
World War II maskirovka already played an important role, but the
experience of local wars since then shows that the role is expanding. The
principal reason for this is the greatly expanded importance and capability or
reconnaissance in all major armed forces. On one hand modern armed forces are
developing new and improved weapons and munitions and other systems for making
decision, which rely even more directly than ever before on accurate
reconnaissance information. On the other hand the technical capabilities of a
wide variety of reconnaissance systems is rapidly increasing and keeping pace
with the increased demands for information. At the same time the ability to
defeat these weapons and reconnaissance systems must also keep pace by use of
equally sophisticated and technical means for achieving maskirovka.
During the Second World War the arsenal of reconnaissance methods available to
commanders was less varied and effective than now. Adverse weather conditions
or darkness were severe limiting factors on some reconnaissance means.
Moreover, at that time the control systems, decision processes, and
communication means were such that there was a significant time delay between
the acquisition of reconnaissance information and the firing of weapons. At
that time the delay was a matter of hours, while now the elapsed time is only
minutes. And the range, accuracy and lethality of the weapons was also less
Soviet military analysts write extensively about numerous Western advanced
reconnaissance/ weapons systems under the general heading of reconnaissance
strike and reconnaissance fire complexes. Some of the specific systems which
have earned their attention include the PLSS, the Assault Breaker, SOTAS and
TACFIRE. Soviet writers list twelve new American advanced systems and also
mention several British and West German systems. The most important
characteristics of these systems, in the Soviet estimation, is that the
reconnaissance process is directly attached to the highly accurate firing
systems. They take very seriously the slogan that if a target can be found it
can be destroyed immediately.
In total Soviet writers judge the NATO army group has 3000 various
reconnaissance systems. Moreover, these systems operate on a wide variety of
physical principles in such a way that even if one is defeated another may
still detect a target. According the Soviet analysts, if one wants to cover one
target from the many detection methods available to the enemy, he will have to
employ many separate but interrelated methods as well. Soviet writers pride
themselves that during World War II the Soviet army was greatly successful in
fooling the Germans, especially at the operational level. They emphasize that
commanders today will have to devote even more attention to deceiving the enemy
in order to be even minimally successful on the battlefield.
Maskirovka, then has shown a tendency to increase in tandem with
reconnaissance. This tendency is manifested in a number of ways, such as the
- constant expansion of the scale and methods required, but severe reduction in
the time available to do the job;
- greatly increased capability for maneuver of all forces and means has brought
an increase in the dynamic rapidity of situational changes on the battlefield;
- the role of anti-reconnaissance methods has increased in peace and war;
- maskirovka techniques and technologies have followed the expansion
of other scientific disciplines into outer space and electronics and every
- maskirovka requirements for protection of the rear have grown even
faster than at the front lines, as the range of enemy weapons has increased;
The importance of dispersion of forces and means for protection against mass
destruction weapons and other lethal weapons brings with it certain
maskirovka or anti-reconnaissance characteristics, because the
difficulty of the task of reconnaissance is multiplied just by the expansion of
area and the opportunities to employ false targets expands with area as well.
Creating false targets as a way to dissipate enemy fire is a prime
maskirovka technique. The Soviets calculate that the enemy has the
capability for exact reconnaissance in the sense of pinpointing whatever target
he acquires for firing weapons, and he also has techniques for distinguishing
between false and real targets. Consequently the task for creating credible
false targets becomes a very difficult as well as important one. For instance,
a simple dummy tank may fool a visual observer, but unless additional steps are
taken it won't deceive an infrared detection device.
Basic methods for maskirovka
The types of methods employed depend on the type of military operation
being subjected to maskirovka. Forces on the offensive will require
different techniques than those on the defensive. Marches will be different
from attacks or concentrations in assembly areas. The following measures are
deemed significant in relation to offensive operations:
- secret bringing of the forces and means to full mobilization;
- secret movement of forces and means into the initial and final concentration
and assembly (FUP) areas;
- secret regrouping of the air army on operational airfields;
- conduct of various maskirovka methods to conceal the concept of the
operation as a whole;
- concealed deployment of command posts, first echelons, second echelons and
other installations into secret places;
- creation of false military elements, including installations and large and
- imitation methods for depicting false assembly areas, artillery firing
positions, rocket launch areas, and especially false airfields, etc.
- if the enemy does expect an impending attack, then concealment of the axis of
the real main attack and depiction of a false attack axis;
- use of secret signal systems and communication systems that are more
difficult to compromise, such as telephone and couriers or, if necessary, UHF
- conduct of local, tactical maskirovka measures by all types of
units, with or without professional engineer assistance.
Organization of maskirovka
Maskirovka must be carefully organized with respect to mission,
time, and place. This is the basic responsibility of the front staff.
Organization is conducted on the basis of the operational directive and the
instructions on as maskirovka from higher headquarters and the
operational decision and instructions of the front commander. The
chief of staff directly supervises the effort, while the chief of the
operations directorate takes the leading role in coordinating and providing
details. All the chiefs of combat and support arms and services participate,
along with the deputy commander for rear services. The staff organizes
maskirovka in response to a number of specific situational factors
including: the enemy's reconnaissance capabilities, the conditions of weather
and terrain, and the capabilities of own forces and means. Preservation of
secrecy is a prime consideration. Only the key staff members participate in
formulating the details. The actions that are then generated in fulfillment of
the plan are not necessarily identified as having anything to do with
maskirovka and even for those that do the aim is not revealed. The
plan will take account of and use all the various means that are available for
deceiving the enemy. The most critical element to be concealed is the concept
and aim of the combat operation. Along with this then goes the missions of
forces and means, their locations, the location of command posts, the artillery
and rocket positions, air fields, direct preparations for nuclear strikes, and
the timing of deployments and other actions.
In organizing maskirovka it is important to avoid simple,
stereotypical or patterned activities. Success is achieved in the following
- Maskirovka methods are conducted in close relation to the times,
sequences and requirements of the operational plan.
- The maskirovka plan itself must be secret. Typically it is prepared
in a specially secured room, not open to subordinates. If the enemy discovers
the essence of the maskirovka plan, he will be greatly strengthened.
- The commander and staff must exercise central and continuous direction and
control. Control means inspection to check on the effectiveness of the various
- All means must be employed in a complex and interactive manner to counter all
enemy reconnaissance methods. If the staff even suspects the enemy has
penetrated the design, the project should be terminated or at least changed
- The procedures should include not only passive measures, but also and
especially active ones. Activeness of maskirovka is a key principle.
In other words, not only conceal real assembly areas, but also show false ones.
And the false activities must be conducted in conjunction with real ones to
give them credibility.
- Maskirovka must be agile and able to change rapidly in accordance
with the changing situation.
- It must be realistic down to many small details.
- It must be constant.
Sequence of organization
The commander is responsible for maskirovka as a combat support
measure. He issues instructions on maskirovka and on this basis and
the instructions of higher echelons, the staff organizes it. The main officers
are the operational staff and rear staff and engineer and other staff officers.
Figure 20 Contents of Commander's Instructions
Maskirovka is organized in subordination to, but in conjunction
with the operational plan in the following sequence:
- making the decision and establishing the aim;
- developing the plan
- issuing the orders and instructions;
- conducting troop control;
- supervising and inspecting execution.
The decision and aim are developed on the basis of the commander's overall
operational decision by the commander himself or the chief of staff. The
operations directorate then prepares the elaborate plan with the participation
of the other directorates. A special group is organized to create the plan and
also to inspect its execution. The decision contains the following points:
- missions which must be accomplished;
- forces and means to be employed;
- specific means to accomplish each task;
- times for execution;
- how sequences of actions will interrelate;
- control measures and troops control system.
The aim is determined and described in terms of the aim of the operation
itself. It will be different in each operation. The detailed planning is done
on the basis of the decision and prepared in two parts. The graphic part of the
plan is show on a map. This depicts real and false unit assembly areas, main
attack axis, unit boundaries, weapons positions, etc. and the times for
fulfilling each task shown. The written part of the plan consists of notes
specifying the forces and means, the signals, the statement of aim and concept,
control actions, and the description of various methods that cannot be depicted
on the map. An important part of the plan is the designation of the responsible
individuals for each activity and the discussion of how individual activities
will be inspected for effectiveness. The plan is signed by the chief of
operations and the chief of staff and approved by the commander.
The orders and instructions to subordinates are issued on the basis of the
plan. They are promulgated in a manner that won't reveal the aim or intent of
the maskirovka. In other words, while a critical aspect in the issuing
of basic, standard operational orders is to insure that they are thoroughly
understood as to aim as well as content, for orders relating to
maskirovka it is critical to conceal the aim of the activities being
One way this is accomplished is to keep the various complex activities
separate. For a normal order requiring the interaction of many elements, for
instance in the construction of an airfield, their interaction is specified and
explicitly assured by direct contact. However, for the creation of a false
airfield, which will require at least as much coordinated activity for
depicting the many different aspects, such as buildings, radars, dummy
airplanes, POL dumps, etc. the coordination is handled centrally, but without
the direct interaction of the various players. Likewise, all control measures
are conducted centrally and the observation and inspection is done by a
specially created operational group.
Maskirovka in defensive operations
Maskirovka in the counterattack
Maskirovka in special conditions, mountains, coastlines, etc.