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Reading Up On The Btr-70, Couple Of Surprises (To Me Anyway)


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Quite by chance I stumbled on this following video on youtube again, shows some interesting interior details on the BTR-70 APC.

 

https://youtu.be/Iknh6sQtDnM

 

Good song there too. :D

 

Anyway I started reading up a bit on the BTR-70 on Wikipedia and there were a couple of surprises in store in that alone.

 

Firstly, that the BTR-70 still had a troublesome powerplant. I had always got the impression that this was one of the reasons why the BTR-70 was designed in the first place as an attempt to remedy that same issue that apparently plagued the earlier BTR-60? Evidently not...

 

A so-called BTR-70D is a Ukrainian variant apparently outfitted with a 300hp diesel engine and full-size BTR-80-style hull side doors. That's a fairly comprehensive upgrade really!

 

Finally, the Wikipedia entry on the related BTR-90 vehicle claims that the vehicle was actually in low-rate production between 2004-2011. This is quite a surprise to me! I've always read prior to this that the BTR-90 had a few tech demonstrators/prototypes but had been cancelled before achieving production status (at the same time that the T-95 was cancelled). So is there much truth to the Wikipedia article or...?

Edited by Gavin-Phillips
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From what ive read, they built comparatively few BTR70's, largely because I suspect they judged it so little of an improvement over BTR60. Hence BTR80.

 

If you want to understand why they built such things, you could treat yourself to 'Collapse of the Soviet Military' by William Odom. Basically their procurement system made similar mistakes to the American one, in different ways. The only difference was, when the Americans got it wrong (as in the Sgt York) they usually stopped building it. The Soviets often didnt.

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From what ive read, they built comparatively few BTR70's, largely because I suspect they judged it so little of an improvement over BTR60. Hence BTR80.

 

If you want to understand why they built such things, you could treat yourself to 'Collapse of the Soviet Military' by William Odom. Basically their procurement system made similar mistakes to the American one, in different ways. The only difference was, when the Americans got it wrong (as in the Sgt York) they usually stopped building it. The Soviets often didnt.

 

Thanks Stuart. I'll check that book suggestion out, Amazon's synopsis implies that it covers how the armoured forces were organised prior to the breakup which is of interest to me as well so it looks like a good purchase in the making.

 

Thank you.

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Well if you are looking for details on Orbat, you will be disappointed. What it does do its look at the general thrust of Soviet military strategy from 1917 up to 1985, when the reforms really started. The nature of Marxism Leninism, how the proletariat would ruse up against Capitalism, and how the Red Army was designed to go in and assist in their self liberation. A basic concept that they never really changed from the end, even if thermonuclear weapons demanded a fairly large degree of modification.

 

It also goes into some detail about TVD, or operational directions, and the investment and changes this demanded. And lastly it goes into some detail about the procurement ministry, and how in the end it was procuring weapons the Soviet Union didnt really want, and the army didnt even ask for. All of these have some input into what equipment they were procuring in the 70's and 80's. It takes all this and shows why (as Odom believed) the USSR imploded, less because it was building so many weapon's, but because it liberalized and stopped building so many weapons. Thought provoking stuff.

 

If you want orbats and tactics (and some discussion of the vehicles as knowledge stood in 1988) then there is always David Isby's 'Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army'. The 1988 edition is much expanded, but the 1981 edition is well worth getting if you cant find any newer editions. The latter one seems to be much rarer.

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If you want orbats and tactics (and some discussion of the vehicles as knowledge stood in 1988) then there is always David Isby's 'Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army'. The 1988 edition is much expanded, but the 1981 edition is well worth getting if you cant find any newer editions. The latter one seems to be much rarer.

 

You need pretty deep pockets for those Isby books these days :)

 

If you're after some details of late 1980's Soviet, East German and NATO Orbats can I suggest these sites:

 

http://www.ww2.dk/new/newindex.htm

http://www.cold-war.de/forumdisplay.php/69-Streitkr%C3%A4ftestrukturen?s=fe610943767c0ab3635268df2a39a828

http://www.relikte.com/literatur.htm

 

Evidently the NVA had begun re-equipping their first line Motor Schutzen Divisions (MSD) with BTR-70's (SPW-70 in NVA parlance) from 1981. Re-equipment was supposed to be complete by 1985 but delays meant that deliveries to the last units were not made till 1988. First was 4 MSD (1981–82), then 8 MSD (1983-85), 11 MSD (1985-87) and finally 1 MSD (1987-88). The older BTR-60's in turn went to their five "mobilsation" MSD's.

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Yeah you arent kidding, I think the Isby book cost about 30 quid 15 years ago. God know what it is now.

 

Thanks for the links.

 

Well Amazon UK has it listed for the really cheap sum of £137. At such a bargain price, I think I'll buy 6 or 7... :blink:

 

Thanks again for the recommendation Stuart, I'll keep an eye out for either the 1981 or expanded 1988 edition. Typically details like how many tanks in a platoon/regiment/division has always intrigued me but I know that it is (or was) different when comparing tank centric units to motor rifle units. Obviously the big changes and reorganisations through the years muddy the already cloudy water still further.

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If you dont already know it, you might find this site invaluable as well.

https://coldwargamer.blogspot.com/

 

Thanks again Stuart. Already that first page has some really interesting information (not to mention book suggestions). The Red Armour: Examination of the Soviet Mobile Force concept book sounds like it would be a fascinating, if not hard-going, read. But at £289 on Amazon...

 

I'll certainly bookmark that site. I've usually stayed clear of sites dealing with gaming even though I realise that alot of work goes into some games to make them either tactically, historically or technically as accurate as possible. Perhaps I should start looking at those a bit more in future... When I think about such games, Operation Flashpoint is always one series of games that springs to mind. I never played it myself but the videos on youtube really looked awesome.

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