This is the outline notes for the lecture on Soviet concepts for
maskirovka presented for the U. S. Army.
This is basic type of combat support measures
It is a complex of measures doen with the aim of confusion of the enemy
taken in time and space and mission.
The confusion of the enemy on the commanders plan the structure of forces
and means especially on the rocket and nuclear forces and the level of location
and capability and readiness and quantity and situation And also character of
their operations, operational character of maneuver etc. various forces and
rear service targets
Measures are done in peacetime as well as in wartime They their capability
is to provide surprise they increase the effectiveness of combat operations and
the retention of combat effectiveness of the forces. They also raise the
capability of ground, air and naval forces
Maskirovka has three levels of strategic, operational, and tactical
classification by character scale and missions
Strategic maskirovka 'This is conducted on the basis of the decision
of the high command or the general staff or the command in a TVD.
1 - Strategic maskirovka has he following elements
- these are done to support secrecy concentrated on these missions, secrecy
of preparation for operations and strategic movements and also to deceive the
enemy on the number and separate actions of the armed forces and the concept of
operations and intentions
Conducted by forces and forces of the high command and the forces and mens
participating in strategic operations. These are planned by the general staff
and the TVD command
2 -Operational maskirovka
- conducted on basis of decision of command of front or naval fleet
If an army operates on a separate direction then the decision of the army
commander can be the basis for maskirovka plans
Operational maskirovka has the basic aim of secrecy of preparations
for operations from the enemy
In normal conditions operational maskirovka is conducted on the
basis of the front commander's decision.
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. Usually it will develop measures.
In the plan the missions of the army are spelled and on the basis of these
mission the army fulfills its own functions
If the army on its own conducts measures, these would not be fully
effective and the enemy would see through the situation.
The front has wide depth and width so it does not depend on the strategic
plan so much. The front can be relatively independent. But army has to be
coordinated within the front plan.
The front does not need to reveal the essence of the maskirovka in
order to accomplish. The army just does as told in this situation.
Secrecy demonstrations, imitations, and disinformation
on the basis of these they conduct maskirovka actions
System conducted by units and sub units and formations and independent
targets to have secrecy before movement, quantity, positions and intentions,
locations also uses maskirovka capabilities of weather and light and
locations, terrain, rain and all local conditions. This uses maskirovka
capacity of the location itself conditions of limited visibility and night
General principles - means of maskirovka as a combat support measure
Maskirovka is combat support measures closely associated with combat
action to support and facilitate conduct of missions to insure achievement of
aims. Have to take series of measures not combat but support combat others
-like recon, protection, etc.
So maskirovka has three major points
to conceal, deceive, and hamper - Conceal is a counter recon action to
protect against, Deceive is an active action to influence enemy have to do
something to con have to do active and passive
To hamper enemy selection is to confuse enemy on important targets to
hamper selection of main targets to fire at where is main grouping where is
main targets etc.
Maskirovka insures undetected preparation for war and offensive. At
high level it is country preparation for war, at lower level it is preparation
Given the aims there are series of measures to be taken to achieve the aims
disperse and undetected positioning - dispersion using cover - use of
camouflage - properties of terrain. a traditional measure of maskirovka
list on vgraph (The vgraphs are in the text at maskrovka.
use of terrain properties
This is simplest and oldest way of maskirovka - not always possible
because sometimes troops are in open areas without much cover and concealment -
if possible first thing troops do is use terrain then if not possible use
artificial means. this is first method
Sometimes the operational requirements will be in conflict with the
maskirovka requirements - sometimes the area best for cover is not on axis of
attack - the principle is that maskirovka is a measure to support combat
so maskirovka is always subject to the requirements of operational planning
can't change plan for sake of maskirovka. When commander makes decision
the characteristics of terrain are evaluated as part of estimate of situation.
If terrain is so bad that it can influence the conduct of operation it must be
taken in consideration. but once plan is taken can't change forsake of
Use of of darkness and bad weather can be used effectively at tactical
level but at 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
So there are guidelines for maskirovka
four - variety -timeliness - continuity - persuasiveness
Idea is that variety kind of maskirovka is dangerous because once
enemy knows it will know so maskirovka must be various and imaginative
and not standard use different measures to convince enemy from different
directions that you try to impart
Timeliness at tactical level is mater of hours - at what time you should do
what. If do something before appropriate time it may reveal things - to
convince enemy that troops are moving at certain direction have to do things at
right time so enemy will think it is right in context.
When troops deploy there and enemy detects that where the enemy are then if
you conduct separate movement is not as effective as if you did it at right
time when enemy were moving. Enemy sees deception action - more effective as
part of the general action.
Continuity to be effective must continue and conduct things constantly no
Type of actions must look real and be convincing if put guns in open
without camouflage and expect enemy to take it they will know it is novel and
see though - it have to put also some camouflage and engineer work - conduct in
a way to give enemy an impression to convince it is real. Once enemy sees it is
not real it will compromise all maskirovka
The other thing associated with terrain is dispersion
Dispersion is old method of maskirovka that provides more capability
and possibilities to use terrain. If it takes larger area 60 sq km the it will
have certain capability - if it takes 200 sq km area you multiply its
capability - the more disperse troops the more capability have to use
camougflage characteristics of terrain.
Reduction of time on engineer preparation - then do that to do so much
engineer work when terrain good
Complicate enemy recon in a wider area makes enemy recon more difficult.
Easier for enemy when you are in smaller area.
When we have terrain with characteristics that provide cover and
concealment but if this is not possible perhaps no natural cover or not enough.
Therefore a number of artificial means are developed to help when natural not
enough -some of these are organic to troops and some are improvised
Paint is common artificial means - It is for combat and other vehicles and
other items like airfields and buildings etc.
Usually paint vehicles in peacetime depending on area of operation - paint
in different colors if in areas other than areas where they were planned to be
used - must change the color for stationary objects normally painted in
peacetime if you paint in peacetime it is waste of resources only paint when
war comes use brown and green depending on type of terrain add percentage of
different colors paint used to merge object into background of terrain
Other artificial means - materials covers put together number of cover
pieces to fit the requirement - time to use is 5 to 10 minutes can be put
Vertical camouflage - communication trench can be cut in different parts so
enemy can't see continuity of trench cover parts with the screens by this way
protect it from ground observation if commo trench is going to depth can cut it
by the use of screeds. It changes the shape and conceals - The screens put of
very simple frames that can be disassembled and moved the screen is made of
cloth can be put up - In some cases use local material like bushes with the
screens to make it more similar to the ground
Road screens put on side of road in exposed areas and when roads are coming
over a hill and areas not covered by vegetation.
Individual means used for soldiers - most common is a frame with different
covers and branches open it and put it on ground to protect individual soldier
it looks like a fan sloping is to cover objects located beside a cliff or
building makes a lean to to cover the vehicles etc. right next to the building
Distorting does not have standard size
Specialized sets for specific objects - individuals special covers for
machine guns or artillery pieces prepared ahead
Use of smoke
Purpose one of the very effective means important usages to blind conceal
also other properties attached such protection against thermal radiation
of nuclear burst - radiation can't penetrate - degrade munitions that depend on
Use of smoke screens only effective when used at proper place and time
when direction of wind is planned.
Distance should be such that it should not interfere with normal action of
own troops - should not be so limited that it instead of covering it makes it
more distinct. Time is should be a time when some important action is to be
conducted or to deceive the enemy about movement - if move of 2nd echelon to
move use smoke in wrong place to make enemy think it is some where else or when
second echelon is moving use when 2nd echelon moves out of covered area into
open area - place such that when use it should not be only in front of it so
they will move out of it too soon. If done right it is very effective against
enemy and reduces casualties
They have estimates on number of casualties that can be reduced
Kinds of smoke producing means
We had table of capability of smoke generators attached to vehicles so they
can create it themselves without waiting for engineers to come and do it. It is
more expendient and easier
Three types of smoke screen
by purpose for blinding, camouflaging, and decoying
Use smoke against enemy observation - use on target if use to protect
yourself - use near yourself blinding more effective by blind observation post
you don't have to cover own troops but if sure you are blinding all observation
posts. smoke screen can be used at night too when enemy uses illumination enemy
- ATGM best is to blind it. However if there are many then have to cover own
Cover own troops and activities and positions area covered at least 5 times
greater in size cover company at 500 meters so the screen is 5 times to cover
individual tank or gun position not a whole unit of unit at 3 -5 km can not do
it not possible to cover unit at this object not at center
Deceptive smoke just to make enemy think attack is in different place -
used in river crossing to confuse enemy about real area for river crossing
Use half in areas where no crossing taking place
Smoke grenade from tank used purely defense and to cover the tank to move
and as passive chance to with a whole company or platoon this would create a
screen but for individual tanks it is to just cover the tank - aircraft -
delivered by helicopter and aircraft from helicopter can put smoke pots on
ground quickly and lay 10 km rapidly -from fixed with use dispenser container
that explodes on impact. when want to use very thick and screen along terrain
wider area then airforce can do it quickly depends on availability
In front lines use other more effective methods - easier air delivered can
be at greater depth or on landings - it is harder for air to concentrate on a
small area. - can use air to blind direct firing weapons gun positions and
Can use smoke mines in an ambush and raid for recon - in depth of own area
it is more effective to use smoke generators by engineers rather than shells -
have to use dummy positions and actions etc. - to use dummy actions certain
things to consider have to do it in a way to deceive the enemy and not
VG requirements for dummy
Must be used in areas where it is tactical sound if firing position is not
in range it won't make sense.
If put 122 mm right on FEBA 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 area.
It must be right size and dimension to show that there is a T54 tank have
to use right size however for purposes of deceiving aerial recon height can be
reduced by 30% and still be effective.
The decoy must be also camouflaged to conceal defence in construction but
not well enough to really hide it
It must also conduct actions from time to time - unit will occupy the area
and show activity and make noise and produce signal communications change the
pattern of tracks the next day.
Engineer units are responsible for providing materials that are assembled
in the area they are prefabricated in kits - at lower echelons combat engineer
used at higher echelon the maskirovka Bn is used.
Soviets used smoke in Afghanistan to cover attack and it sometimes was like
tear gas too. -used from helicopters
Afghans used camouflage and decoys very well too
To deceive enemy and cover own commo
To cover signal from enemy use radio silence best newly arrived units can
be covered. can cover build up of forces. -reduce radio in area of main attack
and increase it in other areas more important than radio silence active
measures are more effective that 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 can deceive when
combined with other measures
Can detect unit from type of communication - different for different units
One task is to seek for these kinds of signs in your own forces to
Dummy traffic usual temporary for operation had norms for sending messages
on how long they were to reduce time on air.
Radio communication maskirovka based on reduction of information and
reduced time on air
Use simple cipher and code simple map codes - have table on one side
letters and other numbers table contains common sentences and phrases. Can
change number of a square also for coordinates on maps. Numbers on maps
reversed to increase to south instead of north or change number of one part of
grid or change the vertical from Greenwich to something else. Instead of going
west to east they go east to west, or make changes often
Enemy will be using electronic means for detection effective when other
side is using radio and in the reverse. can disinform enemy by use of radios so
they are in combination to conceal activities as well as deceive
Can use specific level and shortest rate use short wave at high level use
different antennas that will increase range in one direction and not another.
At tactical level better to use short range radios.
Hydroacoustic recon over water surfaces cover noise to cover submarine etc.
Use different types of material to degrade sonar systems. Have dummy targets
Anti heat masking against infra red detection if have tank with hot engine
even covered by foliage infrared recon will detect. Unnecessary use of engines
avoided or cool down surfaces like water etc.
Sound counter equipment especially at tactical. Sound masking is important
to cover and conceal all sounds that represent some specific activity.
Especially in offensive action will come from direct contact with enemy.
Sound curtain camouflage screen is to cover one noise by another make a
louder and heavier noise depending on duration of sound
One also can use fires in dummy areas or other light to make dummy
positions look real.
One important area is movement of troops
Movement is critical because it is conducted in columns and columns are
long and can be detected by recon - offensive operation large part of action is
movements in offensive covering movement is one of main objectives
To conceal movement there are number of actions
driving along roads use covered roads
move at night
use VHF radios of traffic control
in addition dummy movement - deceptive movement - conduct also mixture of
dummy equipment attach dummy to vehicle by cable to pull it during night can
disassemble to another direction and use it there sometimes pushed by personnel
or use real troops and move back and forth
Commander is responsible for maskirovka as combat support measure
He issues instructions on maskirovka on his basis and higher echelon the
staff organizes it
Main officers are operational staff and rear staff and engineer and other