Vostok Brigade Patrol in Ukraine

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    • #110099
      tango
      Participant

        Throwing the video up, next post will detail and explain.

      • #110100
        dg
        Participant

          Thank you for the link.

          A few corrections:

          Those are not Chechens.

          The only team member who looks like and speaks like a guy from the Caucasus mountain region (not necessarily a Chechen; I can’t figure out his accent) is the sniper. The rest of the team look like and speak like Russians (who live in Eastern Ukraine).

          It’s a spec-ops team, part of “Vostok” brigade of the Donetsk Republic. https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Восток_(бригада)

          Thank you.

        • #110101
          tango
          Participant

            @dg Thank you for helping clear that up Dmitriy. Would you mind helping teach me/us more about this? Here’s why I thought they could be Chechen:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Battalions_Vostok_and_Zapad
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separatist_forces_of_the_war_in_Donbass

            Vostok Brigade (Russian: Бригада «Восток», meaning “East Brigade”) – Special forces brigade that was founded and led by Alexander Khodakovsky.[72][73] It has foreign volunteers including Russians and North Ossetians.[74] Began as a battalion, and as of June 2014 had about 500 men according to Khodakovsky.[74] It later increased to a brigade.[75]

            So my interpretation was that it was likely that some of the original Vostok Brigade redeployed over to Ukraine? Without any significant ability to tell many of the cultural/ethnic differences apart and given the fact that the video identifies the sniper as Caucasian it seemed possible?

            Video breakdown:
            0:20 Subtitles let us know the purpose of this patrol. They are trying to destroy a Ukrainian artillery forward observation position.
            0:30-0:45 Camera starts and we see the guys walking down some train tracks flanked by trees on either side, no indication of how they’ve made it to this position.
            0:54-2:30 We meet the leader of the team as it appears they are standing in a dug-in forward bunker type position. We see the team is 6-8 guys and they are relaxed, being briefed by their leader of the plan before heading out.
            2:30-3:30 First leg of the route out. Team moves out in single file in the low ground between the tracks and the treeline.
            3:30-4:30 The team splits as half takes up a position to provide security while the other half moves to the next waypoint
            4:30-5:00 We get a first look at some of the buildings these guys are patrolling up to and targeting
            5:00-7:10 Radio intercept of “Baghira” and a coffee break. “Baghira” is a female Balkan sniper? Little bit of a war story about past encounters with “Baghira” from the Russian team leader and some BSing. They are surprisingly lax right here, only 1km from their objective and they are not pulling security, talking out loud no problem, generally hanging out.
            7:15-8:00 Back to business, moving out again. Now the discipline kicks back in
            8:05-9:40 They are observing the target from another position using binoculars, gathering some intel, and adjusting the plan. We learn for sure there is no friendly force able to help them if they come under contact. They take a break in this position again and the camera focuses on the leader telling stories but you can hear the other guys talking in the background. Again, kind of lax.
            9:40-10:30 Moving on again, we learn they are getting closer to their final firing position, currently approx 150m from the enemy position.
            10:30-11:20 General patrolling, running through covered ground, crawling through tunnels, etc.
            11:22-11:50 Team leader disables a booby trap near their position. The team appears to wait in defilade and pull some security while this happens.
            11:50-12:30 Leader explains booby trap and CC indicates he says “It wasn’t set up by fools, it’s a fucking difficult type of tripwire.” Final adjustments to the plan given to the team and they move out.
            12:30-13:00 More movement on covered approach. Everyone is either not talking or whispering, they’re getting closer.
            13:00-13:40 Not sure what’s so special about the rifle that they’re zooming in on it? Interesting story from the team member the cameraman is talking to. Some insight on how to interpret enemy actions.
            13:40-13:50 Leader setting sectors of fire
            13:50-14:08 Little chat with the cameraman
            14:10-15:00 Screwing the boosters onto the RPG warhead assembly
            15:00-15:10 Machine gunner setting up his position, Support by fire?
            15:10-15:20 Half the team moves out to another position. We can’t see where or how far but if we orient using the façade of the house our cameraman is a bit to the right and the firing team seems to be a bit to the left.
            15:20 Team opens fire on the house. This seems a little out of order because first we see the RPG impact the house, then we see the house in another shot right after that and the same spot is not yet blown up. Either way, we can now see that the team that moved up did in fact move to the left and fires upon the house directly to their front.
            12:33 Fall back call is made. They have struck the house as their original mission stated, now it’s time to get out. Machine gunner lays down covering fire from defilade away from the house towards a further enemy position as explained earlier in the video while the house assault team pulls back behind his fires over the berm. Slightly sketchy moment with these guys firing over eachothers heads providing covering fire. They’re kind of bunched up.
            15:55-16:10 SBF element now pulls back off the berm and joins the rest of the team.
            16:10-16:30 Booby trap #2, somebody spots it and directs the team around it to quickly continue their pull back movement.
            16:30-16:50 We can hear shooting but can’t really see anything. The team guys are running trying to get out so it’s possible this is enemy fire directed at them.
            16:50-17:10 The sounds are a little different now so it sounds like their is some limited enemy fire, pretty close because the sound is only slightly lower in volume, and the team guys are just firing on the run – rather wildly actually. They’re not bounding or even aiming much, they’re literally just shuffling along and shooting to the side of their single file march trying to GTFO.
            17:10 We get a bunch of text and summary. We are told it was an 8 man team and they were successful in destroying the Ukrainian artillery/sniper observation position.

            Overall things I noticed:
            – If this was a real patrol it went fairly well considering they weren’t compromised, successfully completed their mission, and made it out without any casualties or even resistance.
            – Their team is well setup as far as gear, weapons, and organization. They’ve got a machine gunner, DMR, riflemen, grenadiers, leader, and discipline. This does not look like their first rodeo.
            – Everyone appears to be carrying the same type of radio mounted up high on their shoulders with an earpiece .
            – While they aren’t extremely disciplined, their tactical movement and behavior does look better than the Kurdish Ambush or Ukrainians Inside an Ambush.
            – They are conducting this patrol during the day on a manned observation point. This and their attitude indicates they probably aren’t too concerned about UAV/Drone presence. Weather condition may be playing a part in that as well.
            – A surprising amount of talking and general relaxation.
            – If those were real tripwires and traps good on them for finding and avoiding them both. Imagine that takes a little practice?
            – This seems like a very palatable mission and scenario to imagine undertaking. 8 guys, no reinforcements, dismounted patrol, fields, woods, train tracks, rifles, just go blow up that house and make it back.
            – There are a couple comments on the youtube video saying that this could be staged Russian propaganda – which I’ll say is possible but unimportant to our viewing value.

            Tactical analysis I will leave up to Cadre.

          • #110102
            dg
            Participant

              I don’t think it is important, but since I brought this up…

              Those are 2 different battalions/brigades, with the same name (“Vostok”): one is the unit of the Russian GRU spetznaz (Russia’s military intelligence), and another one is the unit of Donetzk Republic’s spetznaz (the separatists’ – and I use this word without any negative meaning – military/para-military forces).

              The mix up is totally understandable: who the hell gives their unit the same name as another country’s unit with similar tasks?!..

              One fact that may be interesting here (IMHO):
              The founder of the unit which is in the video (according to the Russian Wikipedia page, it consisted of 500 people in 2014) had been an officer in the most elite spec-ops team in the former Soviet Union: a counter-terrorist “Alpha” group. After the USSR’s collapse, both Ukraine and Russia (and Belarus, by the way) inherited the traditions and their own “pieces” of Soviet spec ops teams.

              I can add:
              In the coup of 1993 (during which I was in Moscow, watching all this sh*t happening within walking distance), “Alpha” received (and refused) a direct order to attack the [Russian parliament’s] “White House” and eliminate everyone inside. Their answer to their superiors was: “f*** you”, and instead of going in and murdering the rebellious parliament and lots of innocent civilians inside, they secretly contacted the people inside and later brought them out unharmed (those who were still alive after the tanks: see below).
              So Eltzin (may he rot in hell) brought tanks which shot the building.
              For what they did (and especially: for what they did NOT do), “Alpha” suffered, the unit was pretty much disbanded. But they forever earned my respect and admiration. [Not that they know or care, but – just saying…]

            • #110103
              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
              Moderator

                “Alpha” received (and refused) a direct order to attack the [Russian parliament’s] “White House” and eliminate everyone inside. Their answer to their superiors was: “f*** you”, and instead of going in and murdering the rebellious parliament and lots of innocent civilians inside, they secretly contacted the people inside and later brought them out unharmed (those who were still alive after the tanks: see below).

                That’s the thing about the people that tend to makeup SOF regardless of nation of origin, their capable of independent thought unless carefully screened. Such screening of course reduces their capabilities.

                Thanks for the reminder about the coup “dg,” most here in the US are very ignorant of those events.

              • #110104
                tango
                Participant

                  @dg You’re right, that is not super important to the tactical value of the video but you have provided some great information we would not have otherwise had – and actually corrected some wrong information. It definitely helps understand the greater picture of the war in Ukraine. I did not realize the leader in that video was the actual founder of the Ukrainian Vostok Brigade, neat.

                  Hopefully others are getting some tactical value out of the OP and breakdowns. There are plenty of things there to learn both ways – what to do and what not to do.

                  Anyone reading feel free to ask questions! Those of us with the appropriate knowledge can either answer or point you in the right direction :bye:

                • #110105
                  First Sergeant
                  Moderator

                    I don’t think it is important, but since I brought this up…

                    Those are 2 different battalions/brigades, with the same name (“Vostok”): one is the unit of the Russian GRU spetznaz (Russia’s military intelligence), and another one is the unit of Donetzk Republic’s spetznaz (the separatists’ – and I use this word without any negative meaning – military/para-military forces).

                    The mix up is totally understandable: who the hell gives their unit the same name as another country’s unit with similar tasks?!..

                    One fact that may be interesting here (IMHO):
                    The founder of the unit which is in the video (according to the Russian Wikipedia page, it consisted of 500 people in 2014) had been an officer in the most elite spec-ops team in the former Soviet Union: a counter-terrorist “Alpha” group. After the USSR’s collapse, both Ukraine and Russia (and Belarus, by the way) inherited the traditions and their own “pieces” of Soviet spec ops teams.

                    I can add:
                    In the coup of 1993 (during which I was in Moscow, watching all this sh*t happening within walking distance), “Alpha” received (and refused) a direct order to attack the [Russian parliament’s] “White House” and eliminate everyone inside. Their answer to their superiors was: “f*** you”, and instead of going in and murdering the rebellious parliament and lots of innocent civilians inside, they secretly contacted the people inside and later brought them out unharmed (those who were still alive after the tanks: see below).
                    So Eltzin (may he rot in hell) brought tanks which shot the building.
                    For what they did (and especially: for what they did NOT do), “Alpha” suffered, the unit was pretty much disbanded. But they forever earned my respect and admiration. [Not that they know or care, but – just saying…]

                    Thanks for that.

                    If you get a chance, I know several of us here would be interested in hearing more about that time period. I have read different accounts, but most of it was the overall picture, not from someone who was on the ground.

                    FILO
                    Signal Out, Can You Identify
                    Je ne regrette rien
                    In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                  • #110106
                    D Close
                    Moderator

                      I was surprised about the use of railroad track for such a movement. They could not assume that an enemy team wasn’t observing or even in ambush that close to the line. A little too cavalier IMO…Why not use the wood on either side instead and handrail it?

                    • #110107
                      First Sergeant
                      Moderator

                        I was surprised about the use of railroad track for such a movement. They could not assume that an enemy team wasn’t observing or even in ambush that close to the line. A little too cavalier IMO…Why not use the wood on either side instead and handrail it?

                        Could be any number of reasons. I can’t second guess them as I don’t know the complete background.

                        One of the things I was taught long ago was never walk down a trail. The next thing I was taught was never say never.

                        The best thing to do would be to handrail the trail, road, path or railroad track. But sometimes you are in a position where you may have to use that trail, road etc. One of the biggest reasons is speed. Maybe you have a no shit hard time that you have to meet and missing that hard time could cause other issues.

                        But you have to take into account the risk involved by doing it and if there is anything you can do to mitigate those risk.

                        Now I will give the answer that everybody loves to hear. It depends.

                        One of the other things I was taught was to never go through a gate in a fence line. Anybody care to guess why?

                        FILO
                        Signal Out, Can You Identify
                        Je ne regrette rien
                        In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                      • #110108
                        tango
                        Participant

                          One of the other things I was taught was to never go through a gate in a fence line. Anybody care to guess why?

                          Creeking sounds, various booby traps, easiest point of entry so most likely to be under surveillance, creates a funnel effect…?

                        • #110109
                          First Sergeant
                          Moderator

                            One of the other things I was taught was to never go through a gate in a fence line. Anybody care to guess why?

                            Creeking sounds, various booby traps, easiest point of entry so most likely to be under surveillance, creates a funnel effect…?

                            Number one reason was the possibility of it being booby trapped.
                            Second reason was surveillance.

                            FILO
                            Signal Out, Can You Identify
                            Je ne regrette rien
                            In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                          • #110110
                            RRS
                            Participant

                              I was watching a show about Afghanistan where some Marines took over an abandoned compound and they used the main gate in, and all was well for a few days till two Marines went thru the gate at the same time and activated the pressure plate.

                              To me it seemed a logical place to check for IEDs.

                              But they were Americans and I suspect they were a bit lax in applying principles, as for the Russians I assume more of a fatalistic mind set for their use of a trail.

                            • #110111
                              Max
                              Keymaster

                                Yes I watched it one. Seemed like something was up with it. Like a training exercise with a demonstration at the end? I did not spend any time going into deep analysis on this one.

                                They did appear to do a couple of LDA crossings, once where they split into 2 groups for overwatch, and the other where they were covering each other across the railway line.

                                After all the non-tactical talking and commentary, I was somewhat surprised to suddenly see they were at the house, and how it seemed to be deep in the woods? Not an obvious place for an OP, given that the earlier footage had shown a lot of open ground across to the buildings?

                                No body armor or helmets? Is that usual for front line operations / raids in that part of the world?

                                They seemed to conduct an attack by fire for a very short period of time, in two groups. I have talked about this at class where you conduct a raid with two groups at a right-angles but you do not actually use an assault group, because you do not want to take the risk or you do not have the training. So this was a harassing attack that probably did no damage and did not clear out the OP, if it was real. So basically propaganda.

                                They talked about a BMP threat. Could end up as a bad day. I would use flank protection anti-armor assets if that was the case. May take another look at the final raid/extraction part. Did they do a patrol at or near to the front lines and then cut in some footage of hitting a random building?

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