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Zebulon Pleasure Beast II

Interesting documentary about the war

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Cranky,

No doubt you LOVE the "feature" in which, once on the Ikea "conveyor belt," you pretty much can't get off it! We had one in Carson, California, just off the junction of two major (major at a national level, in fact) freeways. I did enjoy the lingon berries, but ordering for the restaurant isn't always the best, so make sure the menu doesn't read lingam berries!

As for Vasili, he lends new meaning to the phrase "a great bear of a man." Terrifying meaning, to be sure, but meaning! The Lexus driver was very fortunate that Vasili demolished neither the Lexus nor him with that shovel. Vasili's recent life is quite a story.

Hope you're enjoying (if that word even applies) the Spetsnaz vids.

Regards,

John Kettler

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I'm a a fairly tough individual, but I have to say that I found the IKEA Megastore psychologically overpowering - seemingly endless ranks of shelves and pallet racking offering their ubiquitous product:

The 'Raskolnikov' dishtowels, the 'Belsen' cookware, the 'Bjorn-Again' home altar etc etc.

Also after 'borrowing' a cup for $2.50, I drank 9 short blacks from their machine and experienced a caffeine hallucination that I was Count Bernadotte.

I find those excellent Spetznaz vids you have so kindly supplied a refreshing antidote to the horrors of 'Smaland' - the IKEA creche where the young ones can play with stuffed fauna while their elders quarrel at knifepoint in the Cutlery and Homewares section...

My confidential sources tell me that Vasili P. is now serving an indeterminate term in Long Bay, after a murderous encounter with a female cyclist.

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Cranky,

A simply hilarious post, with some clever, nasty products to show your ire against Ikea! And to say those sometimes ghastly Spetsnaz vids are "a refreshing antidote..." made me break out in peals of laughter. Considering the headache I had, the endorphins both helped and are appreciated!

Not sure what to make of your latest on Vasili, but is a cyclist where you are some on a bicycle or someone on a motorcycle? Given my penchant for inadvertent ambiguity, I thought I should ask.

Regards,

John Kettler

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I think you guys are wandering too far from the topic and the obvious issue here, which is: should IKEA open a branch in Kabul?

I can think of a good store manager, if you can spring him.

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The Military Arm of the Walmart-Ikea-BP Cartel has not yet finished pacifying Afghanistan.

Flower production HAS been restored, but large areas of Hell Province remain sulphurically unstable - retail sales at the local level are currently still problematic.

In current English usage, a 'cyclist' is someone on a bicycle.

To denote a rider of the internal-combustion engine version of the velocipede, we use the term 'Motorcyclist'.

There is however a gray (or grey) area when it comes to mopeds.

Hope this helps.

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Zebulon Pleasure Beast II,

Here's an ancestor of the Spetsnaz (served in the Special Reconnaissance Platoon of the 180th division). That begins in Part II. What I found particularly interesting was the soft body armor the telogreika (padded short jacket) provided against shell and mortar fragments and that he wore body armor.

http://english.iremember.ru/infantrymen/49-vladimir-zimakov.html?q=%2Finfantrymen%2F49-vladimir-zimakov.html%3Fq%3D%2Finfantrymen%2F49-vladimir-zimakov.html%3Fq%3D%2Finfantrymen%2F49-vladimir-zimakov.html

Cranky,

Thanks!

Regards,

John Kettler

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The Soviets seldom get decent credit for their use of special forces and deception during WW2.

You can read about one such unit - the Independent Special Purpose Motorized Rifle Brigade - here:

http://english.battlefield.ru/omsbon.html

'More than 800 athletes, selected by the central councils of the volunteer sports societies "Dynamo", "Spartak", "Lokomotiv", and others joined the brigade. Among them were merited masters and masters of sports, trainers, USSR champions, European champions, and world champions: track and field brothers S. I. and G. I. Znamenskiy, skater A. K. Kapchinskiy, boxers N. F. Korolev and S. S. Shcherbakov, wrestler G. D. Pyl'nov, skier L. V. Kulakova, rower A. M. Dolgushin, members of the "Minsk Dynamo" soccer team, 150 students and instructors of the Central State Institute of Physical Culture, as well as students of Moscow Historical-Archival, Leather Processing, Mining, Machine Tool, and Medical Institutes, and the Institute of History, Philosophy, and Literature......More than 300 women, who became agents, radio operators, and nurses entered into OMSBON...'

'The program of combat training included instruction in firing from various types of weapons, combat tactics, topography, orientation skills, demolitions skills, hand-to-hand combat, unarmed self defense, parachuting, radio communications, automobile and motorcycle driving, and first aid. Special attention was devoted to survival skills and the struggle in the austere partisan environment, and the ability to operate alone.Much time was given to physical hardening of the soldiers....'

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It's worth remembering as well that the Russian word 'spetznaz' only means 'special forces' - so when one talks about 'The Spetznaz', you need to be clear what it is you are talking about.

The Spetznaz of Russian Military Intelligence, the GRU?

Or one of the other spetznaz that the various Russian government ministries operate?

What we would call a SWAT team - crisis-resolving police with military-style weaponry and training - might in Russia also sometimes be called spetznaz.

Before WW2, the Bolsheviks had plenty of different kinds of spetznaz - some part of the NKVD, others not.

I would guess (but I don't know) that the various secret police organizations of the Czarist era also deployed spetznaz.

If you examine the other National Security states - like the USA for example - you will find all kinds of spetznaz, operated by the various police, military and intelligence agencies.

This is why I say that Suvorov's book is propaganda - it's designed to impress upon the reader the unique nature of the 'soviet threat' - when there's nothing unique about it.

All armies and security agencies train their special forces hard - that's what works.

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Cranky,

I deem the Spetsnaz (units of special assignment) of the GRU to be the real deal--very scary people who belong to the Russian military and are strategic assets of the General Staff.

This vid, which wasn't available when I first found it, shows what I'm pretty sure are GRU Spetsnaz in training and in action, likely Afghanistan.

From what I've seen KGB's Alfa (which bloodily on both ends stormed the Presidential Palace in Kabul), screwed the pooch so badly (backed the coup against Yeltsin) it got transferred, en bloc, to the Ministry of Interior (OMON). I believe it's now counterterrorist.

By contrast, note how Alfa trains and what it trains to do. I believe the patch reads ANTITERROR.

The FSB, the KGB's successor, operates Vympel, seen here, is also shown training for counterterrorist missions.

While the latter two certainly fight, as in Chechnya, I think the fundamental difference is tasking and orientation.

Spetsnaz of the GRU are focused outward and are geared toward offensive operations. Spetsnaz of OMON & FSB are focused inward and are fundamentally defensive in purpose, to protect the country from what are perceived as internal threats and also threats to Russian national interest. FSB's Vympel apparently does a lot of spook stuff, too.

I would not liken either Alfa or Vympel to your average SWAT unit, with whom these guys would mop the floor, given the fundamental differences in approach, weaponry, aggressiveness, willingness to take casualties and inflict them.

SWAT goes out on precisely planned raids against carefully defined targets and fully expects to get everyone back, including the crooks, in one piece. OMON's Spetsnaz Alfa have no such expectations, but will gladly accept any splendid outcomes, as would FSB's Vympel. A better analogy would be more like the federal level Delta Force (Army) or the FBI's HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) civilian. I think, though I know very little about it, that New York Police Department's ESU (Emergency Services Unit) fits somewhere in that spectrum, too--way beyond your standard SWAT unit. OMON's Spetsnaz and FSB's Spetsnaz, though, are national level assets, not those of the sprawling conurbation called New York City.

Summing up, there are Spetsnaz (not the GRU) and there are SPETSNAZ (GRU)!

I do not see Suvorov's book as propaganda, other than the "The house is on fire! Wake up now!!!" variety. He was trying to warn us of what we were up against, what the stakes were and how utterly ruthless and determined the GRU Spetsnaz were. He sure got my attention. Don't know whether or not you know this, but the remains of a Spetsnaz soldier, face smashed in, teeth knocked out and fingers cut off to prevent identification, was found in Alaska during the Cold War. I believe his body was found hastily buried under the rails on a section of track near the Trans Alaska Pipeline.

Here is the context in which to place that, in an excerpt from Suvorov's INSIDE SPETSNAZ. This dates back to the Cold War, but still illustrates how the GRU would likely operate in the period before war and as it transitions to open combat. This is from the perspective of someone who was in Soviet Military Intelligence (Military District level), became a Spetsnaz training officer and later, a highly trained GRU officer creating weapon caches for use by terrorist groups and conducting espionage. I find it highly instructive. Not only that, but I can confirm the various NATO targets he cites are real, not made up.

http://militera.lib.ru/research/suvorov6/15.html

Regards,

John Kettler

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'Don't know whether or not you know this, but the remains of a Spetsnaz soldier, face smashed in, teeth knocked out and fingers cut off to prevent identification, was found in Alaska during the Cold War. I believe his body was found hastily buried under the rails on a section of track near the Trans Alaska Pipeline.'

I've seen that movie - it had Rock Hudson as the President:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_III_%28TV_miniseries%29

I would imagine that as an analyst you spend much time watching such things for subliminal clues to Soviet intentions - given that Hollywood has been under Communist control since the assassination of James Forrestal in 1949.

May I recommend the film 'Red Dawn'?

There is much to be gleaned there concerning the exact invasion tactics of the Horde.

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"the remains of a Spetsnaz soldier, face smashed in, teeth knocked out and fingers cut off to prevent identification"

But, they left enough stuff to ensure he was positively ID'd as a big scary "spetznatz operative"????

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The script demands it.

Just realized that I've fallen into what is apparently a well-established BFC Forums sport - poking John Kettler with a stick.

I hear Mom calling - I'm going in for supper.

Best of luck to you, Mr Kettler.

Keep up the Good Fight!

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Erwin,

I read the account in the January 1988 issue of SOLDIER OF FORTUNE magazine. Unfortunately, the original article describing the incident is NOT available online. I did the best I could recollecting something I last read nearly a quarter century ago. Oh, the Spetsnaz soldier does not have to be big in order to be scary. The weight minimum is 130 pounds.

Regards,

John Kettler

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http://www.city-data.com/forum/history/728180-soviet-spetsnaz-alaska-during-cold-war-3.html

That rumor is completely false. I was stationed in Alaska with the Army for years and the Eskimo Scouts periodically claimed to have seen tracks and find documents with Soviet writing etc but when investigated nothing could ever be confirmed..they lost the documents, the documents were shipping labels for trade items, etc.

You can see Big and Little Diomede from each other (Big was Soviet and Littlee US) and you can walk across the ice to visit during the right time of the year but there is absolutely nothing on either one worth noting. There was a case of a crazy Californian that walked across to the Russian side during the cold war where he was detained, treated pretty good, then returned to the US within a week or so (I think his name was John Weymouth or something like that).

Basically my take on it was that the persistent Spetnaz rumors helped keep funding flowing to the Alaska Army National Guard and provided a moral boost for the troops. In all cases, the places these so called incursions were reported had nothing there...no base, no radar installation and in most cases...no town. The north west coast of Alaska is barren and desolate and the Spetnaz had no need to train there even, its barren and desolate in Siberia as well.

Nope, another enduring Cold War myth unsubstantiated by any facts at all.

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Wicky,

One of my sensitive contacts heard about Spetsnaz in Alaska, via intel sources, several decades ago.

Sublime,

This has a bit on the matter of SVD use in Vietnam.

http://russianz.biz/os/fireArms/sniper.asp

Top !0 Sniper Rifle List. Dragunov's 5th and shows as used in Vietnam.

http://www.binscorner.com/pages/t/top-10-sniper-rifles.html

This says the SVD was accepted into service by the Soviet Army in 1963.

ftp://ftp.armedassault.info/armad/docs/OpHandbook%20for%20Unsung%20ArmA%202%20-%20Release%201.pdf

Dragunov site. Good stuff!

http://www.dragunov.net/svd.html

The above is all I found in my Google search.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Wow.. How many splendid ideas about ex-Soviet / Russian stuff :) So to clarify (all in one) :)

1. SVD is NOT a sniper rifle. It's designated marksman rifle. Sub-MOA accuracy is sacrificed in return for higher ROF.

2. There's no such thing as "OMON Spetznaz". OMON is actually a RIOT POLICE not a special operations unit. OMON was used in Chechnya but not because it was trained for it. The simple truth was there were not enough combat capable troops. What's meant by "OMON Spetznaz" is actually OMSN and/or SOBR. Exact copy of US SWAT in terms of purpose, training and application. Both names relate to the same concept and the difference just in chain of command. Every little local police chief wants his own SWAT if he has enough money to support one.

3. The difference between Alpha (Department 'A') and Vympel (Department 'V') groups is in training and intended purpose. Alpha is like GSG - counter-terrorism, VIP protection, hostage rescue etc. Vympel is more like Delta - sabotage and other special ops. Nonetheless both report to the same Directorate in FSB.

4. There's no special magic about GRU Spetsnaz. It's closest equivalent is US Army Rangers so selection process is rigorous but no "creme de la creme". You cannot have one and still get thousands of men accepted.

And it goes on and on :)

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"the remains of a Spetsnaz soldier, face smashed in, teeth knocked out and fingers cut off to prevent identification"

But, they left enough stuff to ensure he was positively ID'd as a big scary "spetznatz operative"????

Oh yeah... :) The US surely has all Russian GRU personnel fingerprinted so leaving prints would allow local police to look up the name of the poor guy in the database :) Also take into account that a dead body of Soviet origin could easily be identified by vaccination patterns. Soviet Union used to have a very rigorous policy on kids vaccination and techniques were somewhat different from what is used in the US.

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Dental fillings as well. Soviet dentists apparently used steel fillings, and techniques that were unique to the Soviet Union.. As far as I've heard. (and this may be a synapse in my brain cross wiring and remembering something from Martin Cruz Smith's Renko detective novels, which are fantastic, but still novels..)

Oh and also, all those links about dragunov testing in Vietnam, at best mention it in a sentence. I dont believe it personally. Vietnam was a long ways away from Russia. And to send Soviet troops into Vietnam to test the rifle. Why not test it in Czechloslovakia? Or in Russia? Why not give some to the NLF? I dont buy it, theres no pictures, no sources cited, nothing except a grand total of about 2 sentences I've found. I'd love to be proved wrong - because if it's true theres probably a great story behind it.

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IMHO,

It's both a sniper rifle and a designated marksman weapon. I tell you candidly the scale of implementation of the latter (1 per platoon) was the stuff of nightmares back in my threat analyst days. The weapon acronym name itself translates as Dragunov's Sniper Rifle, as explained at the Wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragunov_sniper_rifle

The manufacturer, Izmash, explicitly advertises the SVD as a sniper weapon.

http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/product/svd.shtml

So does www.warfare.ru, the Russian Arms Export Catalog.

http://warfare.ru/db/catid/275/linkid/1816/title/svd/svds/

From what I can tell, the designated marksmen use mostly standard issue ammo chambered in 7.62 x 54mm. Snipers use match grade ammunition which shoots much tighter groups.

Never encountered the different vaccination pattern bit before, but it's on such minutiae that operatives live or die.

Sublime,

Dental work has been dead giveaway since at least World War II. The Germans used to grab suspected spies in France and immediately have a look at their teeth. If they looked too good or weren't done in the distinctive French manner, those people were in the soup. Don't take my word for it, though. Please see the last sentence, paragraph 3, in the obit for one of the key people during WW II in Special Operations Executive, the renowned Vera Atkins.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2000/jul/06/guardianobituaries.ianjack

And to stay on topic, here's a partial catalogue of the horrors of Soviet dentistry, from the perspective of a former victim!

http://kcmeesha.com/2008/02/03/behind-the-iron-curtain-teeth/

Returning to the SVD, I have no doubt it would've been secretly tested in Vietnam, for exactly the same reason the U.S. first used the F-117 Nighthawk in combat in Panama in 1990 during Operation Just Cause, NOT in Operation Desert Storm over Baghdad in 1991.The military wants to see if the weapon works in the crucible of battle, and if you can covertly test it against the Main Enemy, which was what the U.S. was called by the Soviet Union, so much the better. The comparison would've been made against the Mosin Nagant with PSO-1 scope, the same sniper rifle which killed thousands of Germans on the Eastern Front.

I don't know whether or not you realize it, but the Russians put a lot of highly classified kit into the field in Afghanistan for combat evaluation, including biotoxins, body armor, the AK-74 and its "poison bullet," flechette munitions, Blue-X incapacitant, Makarov silenced pistol, Vasilek automatic mortar, AGS-17 Plamya automatic grenade launcher, PFM-1 butterfly mine, BM-27 MRL and even a HEL (High Energy Laser), seen here and reportedly the best way to clear a field of fire ever.

http://www.dia.mil/history/military-art/1980s-series2/

The Intelligence Community went nuts over the stuff coming out of the Afghanistan War, for it was a chance to see frontline gear, in some cases taken from dead SPETSNAZ, as in the silenced Makarov. Please see Isby's WEAPONS & TACTICS OF THE SOVIET ARMY, Revised Edition if you'd like to view some of what was recovered for yourself. It has a big section devoted specifically to parts of the intelligence haul. I own a VDV/SPETSNAZ (not sure which) short sleeved pullover shirt that came from the war, as well as a 5.45 mm cartridge brass from an AK-74, the very weapon about which I was reading intelligence reports at the time.

The Russians are no strangers to Vietnam, either. Russians set up the SA-2 sites (we didn't dare attack them while under construction for fear of hurting or killing Russians) and flew against us in the air war there. Oh, there's also an explicit statement regarding SPETSNAZ, Vietnam and the SVD.

"In the late sixties, four-man SPETSNAZ teams were clandestinely inserted into Vietnam to test the then-new SVD sniper rifle in combat."13

13. Ross S. Kelly, "Spetsnaz: Special Operations Forces of the USSR," Defense and Foreign Affairs, December 1984, pp. 28-29.

Regards,

John Kettler

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But wheres the proof? What proof is there the Soviets sent men in?

And I dont know about the 'fear of bombing SA-2 sites', we bombed Hanoi when Kosygin was in town and apparently werent too worried therefore about killing one of the top members of the Soviet Government. (Choosing War, Fredrik Logevall, pg 334)

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