Motorized Rifle Troops

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Motorized Rifle Troops


a combat arm of the ground forces of the armed forces of the USSR designed to strike jointly with other combat arms at the enemy in combined arms combat and operations and to seize and retain territory. In the armed forces of the USA, Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, and other states, the equivalents of motorized rifle troops are called infantry, mechanized infantry, or motorized infantry troops.

The infantry was the precursor of the motorized rifle troops. After World War II (1939–45) the infantry (called rifle troops in the Soviet armed forces) in the developed countries was equipped with mechanized transport, armored combat vehicles, and new types of armament, which increased its mobility in combat and its shock force and firepower. In view of the qualitative and quantitative growth of armaments and combat matériel and the changed structure of units from battalion to division level, rifle and mechanized divisions in the Soviet armed forces were transformed into motorized rifle divisions in 1957, but the appellation of motorized rifle troops as a combat arm was introduced in 1963. The motorized rifle troops are organized into motorized rifle units and subunits of all sizes. Motorized rifle units from battalion to division level and above include artillery and tank units below battalion level and units of special forces, such as engineering and signal troops, up to regimental level. The motorized rifle battalion and regiment are combined arms tactical units of different levels. The tank forces and the navy (naval infantry) also have motorized rifle units up to regimental level.

Motorized rifle troops are equipped with powerful weapons for destroying ground and air targets, such as automatic small arms (automatic rifles and machine guns), artillery, mortars, antitank rocket shells, fast-moving armored vehicles, and instruments for night vision; they can carry on combat operations when the enemy uses weapons of mass destruction. For combat actions, motorized rifle units from battalion to division level are usually reinforced by tanks, artillery, and smaller units of special forces and are supported by aviation. Motorized rifle troops carry out their combat mission independently or in coordination with other combat arms or services of the armed forces. Depending on the situation, motorized rifle troops fight on foot in combat formation or on combat vehicles; they may also be used as airborne or amphibious landing forces.

The main qualities of the motorized rifle troops as a combat arm are their ability to wage stubborn and protracted battles at any time of the year—day or night, in any weather, and on different kinds of terrain. In terms of their combat capabilities, motorized rifle troops can break through the enemy defense and rapidly push home the offensive to a great depth, relentlessly pursue the enemy and destroy his firepower, force water barriers at high speed, seize important lines and objectives, create a stable defense in a short time, and fight successfully against superior enemy forces.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.