Six foreign operations of the GRU special forces
Six foreign operations of the GRU special forces

Certain foreign operations of the GRU spetsnaz were de-classified. Now we can find out what tasks are performed by the elite army special forces abroad.

The elite of the army special forces - the GRU special forces - have successfully carried out the most difficult and seemingly unthinkable command tasks since the late 1960s. Some of them are not classified.

1. Vietnamese throw

The first major foreign operation of the GRU special forces dates back to 1968. After it was held, it became clear to everyone that a powerful structure had appeared at the disposal of the Soviet Union, capable of performing tasks of any nature anywhere in the world.

In May 1968, a group of Soviet special forces GRU, numbering up to 10 people, launched an attack on a secret American facility, which was located on the territory of the Republic of Cambodia, 30 kilometers from the border with Vietnam. The Americans used this base to send their reconnaissance groups to Vietnam, as well as sorties in order to search for their special forces and downed pilots. There were always 2 light helicopters, up to 10 transport helicopters, as well as 4 Cobra helicopters in the parking lot of the complex in full combat readiness. The target of the attack was precisely these helicopters, which at that time had a unique targeting system and guided missiles. After 25 minutes of attack, one Cobra helicopter was hijacked to Vietnam and the rest were destroyed. Losses among the personnel of American soldiers amounted to up to 20 people. The fact that the operation was carried out by the special forces of the Soviet Union, the CIA learned only a few years later, as a result of an internal leak from the KGB.

Elite Army Special Forces of the GRU
Elite Army Special Forces of the GRU

2. Baptism by fire

The 1968 operation in Czechoslovakia began with the fact that the Warsaw Pact countries decided to send troops to the aforementioned country. The plane in which the special forces detachment was flying requested permission from the capital's airport for an urgent landing due to an engine malfunction. Having landed, the special forces fighters seized the airport in the blink of an eye (according to data from the declassified archives of the General Staff, the whole operation took 9 minutes and 21 seconds). After the report on the successful capture of the airport, the Soviet command immediately transferred an airborne division to the airport to help the special forces. Meanwhile, special forces groups that had previously arrived in the country took control of newspapers, train stations, and the telegraph - instantly and without noise. After the seizure of the complex of government buildings, the government of Czechoslovakia was taken by special forces to Moscow.

One of the participants in those events, Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Struzhnyak, already at the turn of the 90s recalled these days:

“The capture of the airport was not something out of the ordinary for us. We were trained in this, we had good equipment, so there were no unnecessary actions at that moment. We were more worried about how the whole operation "Danube" (the operation to install a ruling regime loyal to the USSR) would go on in Czechoslovakia. And for our actions, we were absolutely calm. The operation was planned in such a way that practically no one was hurt."

It is worth noting that the former German saboteur Otto Skorzeny, who watched the development of the situation in Czechoslovakia, called the operation to seize the airport "brilliant".

Elite Army Special Forces of the GRU
Elite Army Special Forces of the GRU

3. Angolan "Rambo"

Africa at the turn of the 70s and 80s was no less valuable than, for example, Vietnam. Angola, the country that will be discussed below, took its rightful place in the "battle of military secrets" of that time. The story began very simply - the Soviet military attaché in Angola was instructed to monitor the appearance of the opponents' availability of new types of weapons and equipment. Valuable weapons, which the soldiers of the government army, with the help of Soviet military experts, seized from the rebels, were immediately sent on a special board to Moscow.

Most of the inhabitants will immediately think that we are talking about American weapons, however, the situation is much more interesting. In 1976, during one of the battles in the Dondu region, which is 200 km from Luanda, the soldiers of the government army captured the Chinese T-59 tank. Soviet military expert Vladimir Zayats was then awarded the medal "For Military Merit" for this. It was Vladimir Zayats who personally transferred this trophy to the GRU special forces, which carried out the operation to transport it to the territory of the USSR inside the Soviet landing ship. However, the Chinese tank was only a passing success of the GRU. The real goal of the operation was to locate and seize from the rebels a firing sample of the Stinger MANPADS, which appeared in Angola much earlier than the Afghan mujahideen received it. True, at that moment in time it was not possible to get the Stinger.

4. Soviet Beirut, or how to talk to Hezbollah

On September 30, 1985 in Beirut, four employees of the USSR embassy were captured almost simultaneously. The car, in which the diplomats were traveling, was seized practically opposite the exit from the territory of the consulate. Another car with diplomats was blocked near the Trad hospital. The classic attack scheme is blocking the car, balaclavas, weapons, shooting and quick disappearance. The kidnappers of Soviet citizens showed up pretty quickly. The demands for release were quite unusual at the time. The terrorists demanded that Moscow influence the Syrian government in order to stop the Syrian military operation against Lebanon, and Moscow was also supposed to liquidate its embassy in Lebanon. In case of refusal to fulfill the requirements, the terrorists threatened to kill all Soviet diplomats. It is worth noting that none of the allied countries - Iran, Jordan, Libya - helped the USSR to free the hostages, although there was an opportunity for this.

The KGB learned that the operation to capture the diplomats was carried out by the most secret and powerful division of Hezbollah, Munat al Jihad al-Slami, led by Imad Mughniya. The KGB station in Beirut decided to recruit the closest associates of Mugniy and developed a plan to eliminate him - in case the Soviet hostages were executed. The terrorists confirmed the seriousness of their intentions by shooting one of the diplomats, who was accidentally wounded during the capture, so the Soviet special forces had to act immediately.

The task was entrusted to the newly created group of special forces "Vympel". Control over the operation was headed by General Yuri Ivanovich Drozdov. Further events unfolded quickly. Unexpectedly for the Palestinians, their closest associates and Mugniya, the man who executed the wounded Soviet diplomat, began to disappear.

One after another, more than 10 commanders of various Lebanese special services disappeared. After these disappearances, Mugnia received a letter in which he was asked to choose the next victim on his own, if he did not release the Soviet hostages. Imad Mugniya realized that if the note could be delivered to him personally, then he himself would be the next. The very next day, the Soviet hostages were released, and the siege of the USSR embassy was lifted.

5. "Taj Bek"

In contrast to the special operations in Asia and Africa, there is a little more data on the events in the territory of Afghanistan, in which the GRU special forces took part. The beginning of the Afghan campaign is considered to be the most complex operation, the purpose of which was the elimination of the head of Afghanistan, Hafizul Amin. Together with the GRU special forces, the operation was attended by subunits "Thunder" and "Zenith" - the future directorates "A" ("Alpha") and B ("Vympel"). Six months before the assault, the Soviet command created the 154th separate special-purpose detachment, or, as it was also called, the "Muslim battalion", to which special forces from among the Soviet Muslims were assigned. If we talk about the assault itself, then the whole battle and the cleaning of Amin's "Taj Bek" palace took no more than 40 minutes. The GRU fighters lost only 7 people killed, despite the fact that Amin had at his disposal almost four times more people than participated in the storming of the palace by the special forces. Amin was killed. The operation completed successfully.

Elite Army Special Forces of the GRU
Elite Army Special Forces of the GRU

6. The first "Stinger"

The winter of 1987 in Afghanistan got really hot. A GRU special forces group under the command of Senior Lieutenant Vladimir Kovtun captured a working sample of the American Stinger MANPADS, which the Americans generously armed the Afghan mujahideen with. Vladimir Kovtun himself recalls:

“In that battle, we laid down sixteen people. We noticed them first from the air, they were moving on motorcycles. Motorcycles in Afghanistan are one hundred percent perfume. They quickly dismounted and started firing at us. We even managed to shoot twice from the Stinger, but missed. After landing, one of the spirits was chased by myself and two of my soldiers. He got away quickly, but the container he carried in his hands severely limited his speed. I thought it was not a good idea to run after him all the time, sat down on one knee, took a deep breath and exhaled and caught up with him in the back of the head with a shot. I still remember this strange pipe. We did not search him, all attention was paid to her. I grabbed it and ran back to the turntable. The aircraft commander, despite the fact that we had a great fight in the evening, shouted joyfully “Volodya, Volodya! "Stinger" !!!! ".

This is how the Soviet command received the elusive MANPADS, which terrified Soviet pilots.

Elite Army Special Forces of the GRU
Elite Army Special Forces of the GRU

In post-Soviet history, the GRU special forces gave life to another unit - the Special Operations Forces (MTR). The soldiers of this service are also entrusted with performing tasks at any time and anywhere in the world, but all their activities are completely classified, and it will not be possible to talk about the operations of our time soon.

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