The Russian special forces, or Spetsnaz (lit. "troops of special purpose"), were a force that first came to the attention of the West during the height of the Cold War, in the early-1970s. There were thought to be some 30,000 Spetsnaz soldiers, specialised in demolitions, assassination, paradrops and midget submarines.

The Spetsnaz were a closesly-guarded secret within the Warsaw Pact nations, and did not reveal their identity to even their own forces - they would wear normal army or navy uniforms to conceal themselves.

Joining the Spetsnaz was possible with no previous military training - a man off the street could go right for it. Of course, they first had to go through standard Soviet military training (discipline, marching, basic weapons use) and then they'd move on to the more specialised Spetsnaz skills such as handling special weapons, marksmanship, foreign languages, hand to hand combat, parachute insertion, vehicle handling, explosives, assassination, knife combat and extreme physical fitness based on endurance and strength.

The Spetsnaz's role is most likely to be in the build-up to a war: they are capable of carrying out deep reconnaisance into enemy territory and marking important targets, and dealing with these targets if necessary. Infrastructure such as railroads, factories and bridges would be high on the priority list.

Russian special forces, bane of the Cold War, in short -badasses. Also known as reydoviki, which means "raid" in English.

In the 1970's Spetsnaz, or Spetsialnoye nazranie= troops of special purpose, were raised under Russian intelligence, GRU. In the 1980's, the Spetsnaz numbered over 30,000 troops and there was at least one Spetsnaz company per Army; one Spetsnaz regiment in each of the three "theaters of operations"; one Spetsnaz brigade in each of the four Soviet Fleets; and an independent Spetsnaz brigade in most military districts of the USSR. There was also special Spetsnaz intelligence units with one to each "front and fleet" making a total of 20 units.

Now, Spetsnaz has the same basic structure, except they have a new mission: peace. Spetsnaz now conducts recon and tactics on nations pose a threat to world security, much like Russia did at one time.

Like Noung mentioned in the previous write-up, anyone could go for it, but that was during the Cold War. Now, in order to get into the spetsnaz you must meet strict requirements. Potential reydoviki must be secondary school graduates, intelligent, physically fit, and, perhaps most important, politically reliable. Parachute training with a paramilitary youth organization is naturally a plus. Upon induction, a spetsnaz conscript will be asked to sign a loyalty oath in which he acknowledges death will be his punishment for divulging details about his service.

There are two vital parts to the Spetsnaz purpose:

Hand-to-hand Combat

A very, very important part of Spetsnaz combat training is hand-to-hand combat, which includes; Entrenching shovel fighting, knife combat, and regular hand-to-hand combat (or bare hands).

Entrenching shovel

Now, a shovel may not seem like a weapon of mass destruction, but it can be deadly in the hands of a trained fighter. An entrenching shovel is a small shovel which is about 10-12 in. long and about 6-7 in. wide. It has a sharp pointed edge and is light-weight. It is most effective at middle or short range. It can be used to throw soil at an enemies eyes to confuse or thrown at a range of 10 meters or more by a trained specialist.


Within Spetsnaz itself there are specially trained fighters whose job is to disable an enemy hand-to-hand as fast as possible. Usually a fighter carries many knives, such as: knife-bayonet for a Kalashnikov's submachine-gun (AK-74), combat knife, all-purpose "survival" knife, all-purpose clasp-knife, hidden knife, and (or) fling knife.

Since striking is such an important part of a fighter's thinking methods, he must be quick and know basic methods of how to use the knife. There are many withdrawls, thrusts, ducks, turns and jumps in this basic method which a highly trained fighter can do lightning fast.

Bare hands

Part of spetsnaz combat training is learning to deal with several enemies at once, armed or not.

Much like Judo, the bare hands combat is centered on vital parts, joints and internal organs. Throwing moves are a big part as well. The idea is that if in enemy is armed you must get rid of his weapon as soon as possible and you must either get behind him or gain higher ground on your opponent. Once the enemy has been relieved of his weapon -anything goes. Eye gouging included.

Reconnaissance and Sabotage

Even after the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain, Americans heard rumors of Russian athletes who were actually Spetsnaz in disguise in the Olympic games and international competitions. Of course, this is absurd because athletics had nothing to do with any type of WMD's or espionage.(Note: Spetsnaz can also be seen in the movie "Red Dawn". Which I'm sure didn't help America's perception of the Russian special forces.) This showed the Spetsnaz big muscle in the recon and saboteur arena. Part of Spetsnaz tactics in recon is to remain as secret as possible but get at least 1000 km behind enemy lines to retain information on nuclear devices, military operations and guerilla operations. The basic team is made up of eight to ten men. The team is commanded by an officer, may have a warrant officer or senior sergeant as deputy, and includes a radio operator, demolitions experts, snipers, and reconnaissance specialists.

Spetsnaz has worked with Navy Seals and Green Berets numerous times after the Cold War era. Together America and Russia have formed a bond in intelligence to create lasting peace among all nations. Hopefully

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