Military activity

Bilateral comprehensive drills of the Belarusian Armed Forces were held in Belarus on September 22-26

A specific feature of the bilateral drills is that “combat operations” were conducted against each other by real enemies, not conditional.

October 1, 2023 11 minutes to read

Data as of 14:00 (GMT+3) 01.10.2023

On September 22-26, bilateral comprehensive drills were held in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter – Belarusian Armed Forces). They were announced at the end of August. The maneuvers were conducted in Brest, Hrodna and Minsk regions. Their purpose was to “improve the level of readiness of the military administration bodies of operational formations to ensure continuous management of subordinate forces and means during combat operations.”

A specific feature of the bilateral drills is that “combat operations” were conducted against each other by real enemies, not conditional. This allows the commanders to make decisions depending on the situation: to actually counter, withdraw troops from under attack, and retaliate. The main opposing sides were the Western and Northwestern Operational Commands of the Ground Forces of the Belarusian Armed Forces.

Among other specific features, it was noted that the maneuvers were held on terrain rather than training grounds usual for the units. During the drills, new ways of managing troops were tested based on the experience of the war in Ukraine.

There are reasons to believe that the bilateral drills were held instead of the previously canceled maneuvers Union Shield-2023, which were to be held on September 22-26 on the territory of Russia. We should note that despite the cancellation of the drills, a number of Russian propaganda resources published information about their conduct.

It’s known that the following units were involved in the drills (1, 2):

  • the 6th Mechanized Brigade;
  • the 11th Mechanized Brigade (including a battery of the 841st Artillery Group and the Reconnaissance Battalion);
  • the 19th Mechanized Brigade (including the 4th Tank Battalion and the Rocket Artillery Divizion of the 191st Artillery Group);
  • the 22nd Separate Special Purpose Company;
  • the 50th Combined Air Base;
  • the Heavy Howitzer Artillery Divizion (armed with 152-mm 2A65 Msta-B howitzers) of the 51st Artillery Brigade;
  • the 74th Signal Regiment;
  • the 116th Assault Air Base;
  • the 120th Mechanized Brigade (including the 310th Artillery Group);
  • the 147th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment;
  • the 231st Artillery Brigade;
  • the 250th Guard and Service Battalion;
  • the 258th Guard and Service Battalion;
  • the Rocket Artillery Divizion (armed with Smerch MLRS) of the 336th Rocket Artillery Brigade;
  • the 740th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment, etc.

It was noted that a complex and dynamic situation was created during the drills. Constant relocation of control centers was conducted to prevent disruption of the troop control system. For this purpose, false deployment areas were used, and all movements were carried out with maximum secrecy (at night).

During the drills, the focus was on practicing the uncovering of facilities of the conditional enemy. Unmanned aerial vehicles were actively used for reconnaissance. Units of the missile forces and artillery fired on identified targets.

Much attention was paid to issues of camouflage, including equipping false firing positions.

New tactics for the use of artillery units were being practiced. For example, small units of Uragan multiple launch rocket systems operated as independently as possible, constantly changing positions.

During the drills, the Command of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces conducted an experiment in air combat control. The idea of the experiment was to reduce the time required to make decisions on fire strikes on targets.

As part of the drills, reservists were drafted for military training sessions.

After the end of the drills, all units of the Belarusian Armed Forces returned to their permanent deployment points.