special troops used to support the fire of antiaircraft artillery at night and to help fighter aviation combat air targets.
The Russian Army and Navy used searchlights for the first time in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 in land and sea actions during the defense of Port Arthur. In World War I several armies used searchlights for warfare against air targets. From 1927 the Red Army formed searchlight regiments and detached searchlight battalions, and searchlight battalions and companies were formed in antiaircraft artillery regiments and detached medium-caliber battalions. Searchlight troops were widely used in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). In the Berlin Operation of 1945, searchlight troops were used to illuminate the terrain and to blind the enemy during the breakthrough of the defense of the fascist German troops. In the 1950’s, in view of the large numbers of radar stations and other equipment introduced into the National Air Defense Forces, the searchlight troops lost their value and were deactivated.