Military Organization > Russian Federation > ​​​Russian Mot. Rifle Company—BTR (Current)

Russian Mot. Rifle Company—BTR (Current) 

By Brendan Matsuyama, Editor

The following is the current organization of the BTR-equipped Motorized Rifle Company (Мотострелковая рота) of the Russian Ground Forces following the Serdyukov reforms of 2008-9. You can check out our article on the BMP-equipped Motorized Rifle Company here.

The next level up is the Motorized Rifle Battalion, which consists of 1 Command & HQ Section, 3 Motorized Rifle Companies, 1 Mortar Battery, 1 Grenade Launcher Platoon, 1 Anti-Tank Platoon, 1 Reconnaissance Platoon, 1 Communication Platoon, 1 Sapper Platoon, 1 Maintenance Platoon and 1 Medical Platoon.

Contents:

  1. Organization

    • 1 Company Headquarters

    • 3 Motorized Rifle Platoons

    • 1 Anti-Tank Section

  2. Discussion

  3. Sources

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BTR Rifle Company Graphic-01.png
 

Organization

  • Type: Mechanized Infantry Company

  • Origin: Russian Ground Forces (Russian Federation)

  • Time Frame: 2010s

  • Vehicles: 11 BTR-80/82A Infantry Fighting Vehicles

  • Personnel: 4 Officers and 97 Enlisted

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1× Company Headquarters (Отделение управления)

  • 1× Company Commander, Captain (OF-2), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle and 1 PM Pistol

  • 1× Senior Technician, Starshina (OR-8), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle and PM Pistol

  • 1× Company Sergeant Major, Starshina (OR-8), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle and PM Pistol

  • 1× Medical NCO, Senior Sergeant (OR-7), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 1× Radiotelephone Operator, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 1× SBR Radar Operator, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle (mans SBR-5 radar)

  • Vehicle Crew

    • 1× Senior Driver-Mechanic, Yefreytor (OR-4), armed with 1 AKS-74U Carbine

    • 1× Vehicle Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AKS-74U Carbine

​→ Vehicle

  • 1× BTR-80/82A Infantry Fighting Vehicle

3× Rifle Platoons (Мотострелковый взвод)

​→ 1× Platoon HQ (1 Officer and 1 Enlisted)

  • 1× Platoon Commander, Junior Lieutenant or Lieutenant (OF-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle and PM Pistol

  • 1× Deputy Platoon Commander, Senior Sergeant (OR-7), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

​→ 2× Motorized Rifle Sections (9 Enlisted each)

  • 1× Section Commander, Junior Sergeant (OR-5) or Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 1× Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 PKP Pecheneg General-Purpose Machine Gun

  • 1× Assistant Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 RPG-7 Rocket Launcher and 1 AK-74M Rifle/AKS-74U Carbine*

  • 1× Assistant Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 1× Senior Rifleman, Yefreytor (OR-4), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle and GP-25/34 Underbarrel Grenade Launcher

  • 1× Rifleman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle and GP-25/34 Underbarrel Grenade Launcher

  • Vehicle Crew

    • 1× Driver-Mechanic, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AKS-74U Carbine

    • 1× Vehicle Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AKS-74U Carbine

​→ 1× Motorized Rifle Sections (8 Enlisted)

  • 1× Section Commander, Junior Sergeant (OR-5) or Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 1× Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 PKP Pecheneg General-Purpose Machine Gun

  • 1× Assistant Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 RPG-7 Rocket Launcher and 1 AK-74M Rifle/AKS-74U Carbine*

  • 1× Assistant Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 1× Senior Rifleman, Yefreytor (OR-4), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle and GP-25/34 Underbarrel Grenade Launcher

  • Vehicle Crew

    • 1× Driver-Mechanic, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AKS-74U Carbine

    • 1× Vehicle Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AKS-74U Carbine

→ Vehicles

  • 3× BTR-80/82A Infantry Fighting Vehicles

* The issuing of the AK-74M Rifle or AKS-74U Carbine appears to come down to unit-to-unit variation. There is photographic evidence of both.

 

1× Anti-Tank Section (Противотанковое отделение)

  • 1× Section Commander, Junior Sergeant (OR-5) or Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 3× Senior ATGM Operators, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 Kornet/Metis Anti-Tank Guided Missile and 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • 3× ATGM Operators, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AK-74M Rifle

  • Vehicle Crew

    • 1× Driver-Mechanic, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AKS-74U Carbine

    • 1× Vehicle Gunner/Assistant Vehicle Commander, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 AKS-74U Carbine
       

​→ Vehicle

  • BTR-80/82A Infantry Fighting Vehicle

 

Discussion

As with the Soviet Union, the Motorized Rifles are the Russian Federation's principle form of infantry. The Motorized Rifle Company is the maneuver element of the Motorized Rifle Battalion, which is one of the two primary types of close combat units of action in the Russian Ground Forces—the other being the Tank Battalion—and the basis of formations like the Battalion Tactical Group. The Russians field a number of different infantry fighting vehicles, including the BMP, BTR and MT-LBM. This article applies specifically to the BTR-equipped Motorized Rifle Company—BMP companies adhere to a different organization—and consists of a Company Headquarters, 3 Motorized Rifle Platoons and 1 Anti-Tank Section (ATGMs). 

Company Headquarters & Supporting Elements

The Company Headquarters consists of 1 officer, 3 senior NCOs and 4 enlisted personnel housed in a single BTR.

 

The Company Commander—a Captain—sits in the vehicle commander seat. The BTR is further crewed by the company's Senior Driver-Mechanic—a Yefreyter—and a Vehicle Gunner. A Starshina—equivalent to a Warrant Officer in the British system—acts as the Senior Technician while another acts as the Company Starshina—equivalent to a Company Sergeant Major or First Sergeant. It is possible that the Senior Technician billet replaced a Deputy for Personnel/Manpower billet that existed in the Company HQ in the 2000s. The remaining personnel include a Radiotelephone Operator—a new 2010 addition—an SBR-5 radar operator, and a Medical NCO/Sanitary Instructor. The SBR-5, also known as the Fara-1, is a portable short-range surveillance radar used for the detection of moving targets, ranging from man-sized targets to vehicles. 

The company is supported by an Anti-Tank Section consisting of 9 men (including 2 vehicle crewmen) and serving 3 Komat or Metis Anti-Tank Guided Missiles. The section comes under the leadership of a Section Commander, with 3 teams of 2 men each. The teams consist of a Senior Operator, manning the ATGM, and an Operator who acts as an assistant and ammo mule. The section has its own integral BTR.

Motorized Rifle Platoons

The close combat element of the Motorized Rifle Company was the Motorized Rifle Platoon. Led by the Platoon Commander—typically a Junior Lieutenant or Lieutenant—it consists of a Platoon Headquarters and 3 Motorized Rifle Sections. Each platoon has 3 BTRs. The typical model used would be the BTR-80/82, although there are many older variants as reserves and a limited number of the newer BTR-90 in service. 

The Platoon Headquarters is slightly leaner than it was in the 2000s. It now only consists of the Platoon Commander and Deputy Platoon Commander—a Senior Sergeant. Both act as vehicle commanders. However, the Platoon Commander typically dismounts while the Deputy Platoon Commander does not. Thus, the Deputy takes command of the mounted element. Prior, there had also been a 2-man PKM team, SVD-equipped Sniper and Medic-Rifleman. These billets have been removed, although it is likely that the Medic-Rifleman billet has just been shifted to one of the members of the rifle sections.

Each Motorized Rifle Section consists of 8 to 9 personnel. In BTR platoons, 2 sections per platoon will be 9-man while 1 section will be 8-man. The section has 3 distinct elements: the Fire Group, Maneuver Group, and Vehicle Crew. The section comes under the overall command of the Section Commander—a Junior Sergeant or Sergeant. They act as the vehicle commander of their BTR when the Platoon Commander or Deputy Platoon Commander are not present, but dismount with their section. If the Platoon Commander or the Deputy are sitting in the vehicle commander seat, the Section Commander sits with the rest of the dismounts. The Vehicle Crew are integral to the platoon and subordinate to its command structure, but the vehicles and personnel are technically assigned from the battalion-level. These include the Vehicle Gunner, who doubles as an assistant vehicle commander as they take control of the vehicle when vehicle commander dismounts, and the Driver-Mechanic. In section-level fire and maneuver, the BTR can be considered a heavily protected machine gun team.

The dismounts consist of the Fire Group and Maneuver Group. The Section Commander typically positions themselves within the Fire Group, while the Senior Rifleman—a Yefreytor—leads the Maneuver Group. The use and composition of Fire Groups and Maneuver Groups seems more fluid that a western fire team, but generally the Fire Group will have the RPG-7 and PKP (although this can vary). Unlike in Soviet times, the Grenadier now is armed with an AK-74M Rifle typically, although the AKS-74U Carbine is also seen in use. The AKS-74U is the inferior weapon, given its unreliability and relatively low effective range when compared to other AK-74s, but is less bulky and about 1.5 lbs lighter than the AK-74M. The Grenadier typically carries 2 rockets, while the assistant carries 3 rockets. Disposable light anti-tank weapons, when available, would probably go to personnel like the Senior Rifleman, Rifleman and Section Commander who aren't encumbered with machine gun or RPG ammo. In the section that had 8 men instead of 9 men, the Rifleman would be deleted.

There were 2 major changes to the platoon's weapon systems from the 2000s. Firstly, the RPK-74M seems to have been steadily replaced in the Motorized Rifle Branch at the section-level with the PKP General-Purpose Machine Gun, with the PKM also being used in the role. The PKP is essentially a modernized PKM, with features that lend itself more to the squad automatic weapon end of the GPMG spectrum (including a force air-cooled barrel rather than quick change barrels). Each section is equipped with 1 PKP/PKM, with the gunner being assisted by an Assistant Machine Gunner who also acts as a rifleman. The standard load per gun is 600 rounds. It appears that with the introduction of the PKP at the section-level, the platoon-level PKM team was dissolved (at least in BTR-equipped units). It is generally understood that high readiness units and deployed units have the PKP,  while the RPK-74 may still see some use in low readiness units or units in garrison/training.

 

Secondly, the SVD is no longer served in the Motorized Rifle Company. Prior to the reforms, BTR platoons were equipped with 4 SVD designated marksmen rifles. Each section had an SVD in its Maneuver Group, and there was also an SVD as part of the Platoon Headquarters. These are now gone, with the SVDs shifted to the brigade level which now serves 8 total in 3 Sniper Sections. Given how the Russians currently use Battalion Tactical Groups, these snipers are likely detached to a reinforced battalion during operations which then uses them as battalion-level assets or attaches them to maneuver companies as needed. Given that the primary job of the SVD was to extend the reach of the rifle platoon/rifle section, it is possible that the increase amount of general-purpose machine guns filled the niche well enough. The exact rationale is uncertain to us, however.

 

"The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious."

      - Marcus Aurelius

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