Practice Makes Perfect: Soviet Air Support Doctrine and Its Tactical Application in Afghanistan
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This monograph reviews Soviet air support doctrine as it existed on the eve of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Next, a detailed examination of its application in the Afghan War is presented to determine the overall success of the doctrine in a combat environment. How accurate were the Soviets in developing the right doctrine for the war they found themselves fighting in Afghanistan How flexible were they in applying and modifying that doctrine The study concludes that the overall application of Soviet air support doctrine has been successful. At the tactical level, the employment of air assets reflected a general trend of continuity and the reinforcement of doctrinal concepts developed before the war. In particular, the successful use of the HIND attack helicopter made it the most effective and the most feared Soviet weapon in the theater. Training, pilot initiative, and discipline all seemed to suffer under the centralized command and control system of the Soviet military nevertheless, the Soviet pilot showed the ability to adapt to the situation. Even more significant, the Soviets are applying the lessons they have learned in the Afghan War to improve the overall readiness of Soviet air forces in Central Europe.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics