The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost
The War in Afghanistan (1979-1989) has been called "the Soviet Union's Vietnam War," a conflict that pitted Soviet regulars against a relentless, elusive, and ultimately unbeatable Afghan guerrilla force (the mujahideen). The hit-and-run bloodletting across the war's decade tallied more than 25,000 dead Soviet soldiers plus a great many more casualties and further demoralized a USSR on the verge of disintegration.
In The Soviet-Afghan War the Russian general staff takes a close critical look at the Soviet military's disappointing performance in that war in an effort to better understand what happened and why and what lessons should be taken from it. Lester Grau and Michael Gress's expert English translation of the general staff's study offers the very first publication in any language of this important and illuminating work.
Surprisingly, this was a study the general staff never intended to write, initially viewing the war in Afghanistan as a dismal aberration in Russian military history. The history of the 1990s has, of course, completely demolished that belief, as evidenced by the Russian Army's subsequent engagements with guerrilla forces in Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, and elsewhere. As a result, Russian officers decided to take a much closer look at the Red Army's experiences in the Afghan War.
Their study presents the Russian view of how the war started, how it progressed, and how it ended; shows how a modern mechanized army organized and conducted a counter-guerrilla war; chronicles the major battles and operations; and provides valuable insights into Soviet tactics, strategy, doctrine, and organization across a wide array of military branches. The editors' incisive preface and commentary help contextualize the Russian view and alert the reader to blind spots in the general staff's thinking about the war.
This one-of-a-kind document provides a powerful case study on how yet another modern mechanized army imprudently relied upon the false promise of technology to defeat a determined guerrilla foe. Along the way, it vividly reveals the increasing disillusionment of Soviet soldiers, how that disillusion seeped back into Soviet society, and how it contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Red Army had fought their war to a military draw but that was not enough to stave off political defeat at home. The Soviet-Afghan War helps clarify how such a surprising demise could have materialized in the backyard of the Cold War's other great superpower.
Learning From a Defeat
By Marco Antonio Abarca - January 25, 2002
The Russian/Soviet General Staff is well known and highly esteemed for its comprehensive studies of past Wars and Campaigns. Following the Afghan War, a small group of Senior Officers gathered together to publish a history of the Soviet War experience in Afghanistan. They hoped to pass on the hard won lessons of their war onto a new generation of Russian officers who are currently engaged in guerilla wars in the Caucusus and Central Asia. Unfortunately, there has been little interest in publishing their book in Russia. In an effort to get their book published they turned to Lt. Col Grau, an American soldier/scholar of the Russian Army. "The Soviet Afghan War" is an attempt to distill lessons from a bitter experience. The Soviet Army that rolled into Afghanistan in 1979 was a formidable force trained to do battle with NATO in Western Europe. They were unprepared for a guerilla war waged in the high mountains and deserts of Afghanistan. However, as the war progressed, the... read more
An Excellent nuts and bolts primer
By Emery E. Nelson - February 20, 2002
On many occasions during my reading of this book, I was filled with questions. Eventually, each and every question was answered in full. It covers everything from footwear of the Airborne forces to the pay of senior officers. It's filled with hard won knowledge of a largely misunderstood (by both Russia and the west) war. I was constantly struck by some comparisons with U.S. Army, Vietnam experience. We see an army, known for it's operational and technical excellence, finding its strengths of little or no use in a hostile and underdeveloped country. Although the 40th Army made some adaptations to their environment, they suffered from, "an ideological blind spot in the Marxist-Leninist tenets." Let's hope that the U.S. Mandarins who are running the present war in Afghanistan read this book. It would be great tragedy to see ideological blind spots cause a repeat of the Soviet experience.
The organization of this book is worth noting. Each chapter covers a given subject,... read more
Superb analysis and an excellent translation
By A Customer - February 3, 2002
Les Grau had already firmly established himself as an expert on Soviet and Russian tactical operations in Afghanistan before the release of this latest work. Here he partners with Michael Gress to provide a timely translation of the Russian General Staff's perspectives on the Soviet military's war in that nation. The result is a fine work that offers members of the United States and other armed forces a number of valuable lessons. It is apparent as we watch current events that many of these were known and taken into account. The use of special operations forces and focus on those nodes of greatest criticality have served allied interests well. Yet it is unfortunate that this book was unavailable a few months earlier, for other lessons proffered by Grau and Gress have been learned at unfortunate cost. That competing interest groups in Afghan society seek to use U.S. firepower against potential foes other than the common enemy has become all too obvious. The authors let their... read more
This package will teach you exactly how to modify and custom tailor each of your effects pedals to your needs and tastes. No experience needed! Includes: * Complete details on how to modify OVER 80 ...
Riders are athletes in the truest sense of the word yet the majority of them fail to treat themselves as such. Most riders would never consider working a horse without first warming it up, but fail ...