Quelques hélicoptères stationnés à Parchim arboraient cet emblème symbolisant
l’Armeyskaya Aviatsiya. © H.Mambour.
Three unit types were operational in the mid-eighties:
The reorganization process started in 1987 in the GSFG did not reach its intended conclusion because of the fall of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal from Germany.
We can now assume that the original plans were to supply each tank division and motorized rifle division with its own helicopter regiment. Captain Yuriy Kulilov
who served with the 241.OVE OP at Hassleben from 1983 to 1987 declared in 2006: "Our helicopter squadron was assigned to the 39th Guards Motorized Rifle Division (GvMSD)
in Ohrdruf. Our mission was to provide combat/fire support for the 39.GvMSD in offensive as well as defensive modes. Firing training with on-board cannon, unguided rockets
and bombs took place at the Ohrdruf range. Live-fire exercises with anti-tank missiles took place at the bombing range at Wittstock. Our squadron commanders were Lt Cols Skibin,
Proskurnish and Trubin. I commanded a helicopter crew and piloted a Mi-24V. Along with Mi-24 combat and Mi-8 transport helicopters, we also had Mi-8 and Mi-9 command posts in our
inventory. The previous Mi-2 model was decommissioned in 1987. Our squadron consisted of three flights (zveno), each consisting of two pairs (para) of
helicopters. The concept of the development of Army Aviation units foresaw a balance of military power in Europe. The number of attack helicopter within NATO divisions was
approximately 200 (sic). We, however, had only one helicopter squadron (OVE OP) per ground combat division. The planning, therefore, was to organize several regiments based
upon the helicopter squadrons already in service. But, from where and how to acquire so many helicopters and pilots? And as restructuring perestroika began, everything just fell apart."
In the GDR alone, this affected 20 divisions and the same number of combat helicopter regiments. In addition to the five combat helicopter regiments (OBVP) already assigned to
the command levels of the armies, the helicopter fleet would have had to reach a number exceeding 1600, which was absolutely not achievable. Thus, the Soviets had to improvise
by combining the already existing OVE OPs (2).
Heir to a structure born in the context of the Cold War, Soviet, and then Russian Army Aviation in Germany was composed of a considerable number of helicopters and units. In the context of German unification and the inevitable withdrawal, the geographical locations of AA regiments and squadrons were consolidated by concentrating units and disbanding most detachments. In 1991 at the beginning of the withdrawal process, the five Russian ground armies in Germany - 1st and 2nd Guards Tank Armies (Gvardeiskaya Tankovaya Armiya - GTA), the 8th and 20th Guards Combined-Arms Armies (Gvardeiskaya Obchevoyskovaya Armiya - GOA) and the 3rd Combined-Arms ("Shock") Army (Obchevoyskovaya ("Udarnaya") Armiya - OA), each controlled two separate helicopter regiments organized in two very different structures (see > AA Order of Battle). The first of these regiments that we will designate "Type 1" was an assault and combat helicopter regiment (OBVP). It was composed of three squadrons organized into two attack squadrons with five flights (Zveno), each comprising four Mi-24D/V/P "Hind-D/-E/-F," for a total of about forty helicopters, and an assault squadron with five flights totaling 20 machines. Two flights of the latter squadron were composed of four Mi-8TV "Hip-E" each, two more flights included four Mi-8T "Hip-C" each (later partially replaced by Mi-8MT and Mi-8MTV-2 "Hip-H") and a flight equipped with two Mi-8VzPU "Hip-D" and two unidentified special versions of the Mi-8T (3).
The second regiment that we shall call "Type 2" was a more specialized combat and control unit (OVP BU). Its mission was direct support to the ground forces attached to
the ground army to which each regiment was subordinated by deploying autonomously as close as possible near the units needing their support. It also comprised three squadrons.
However, the latter were composed of both heterogeneous and theoretically similar machines. Each squadron comprised two flights of four Mi-24D/V/P "Hind-D/-E/-F" attack helicopters,
two flights of four Mi-8T/TV/MT/MTV-2 "Hip-C/-E/-H" assault helicopters, a pair of Mi-24R "Hind-G1" NBC reconnaissance helicopters, a pair of Mi-24K "Hind-G2" reconnaissance and
artillery control helicopters and a pair of Mi-8VzPU "Hip-D" (flying command post) or Mi-9 "Hip-G" (flying and ground deployable command post) helicopters.
When we add the helicopters of the specialized unit based at Cochstedt to the effectiveness of the aforementioned versatile Armeyskaya Aviatsiya units in the GDR, those of the squadron based at Sperenberg and the four squadrons of the Oranienburg transport and assault helicopter regiment, all units reporting directly to the 16.VA, we reach the impressive number of about 600 helicopters. When we consider that the firepower of a standard combat helicopter regiment was superior to that of a fighter-bomber aviation regiment flying MiG-27 "Flogger" or Su-17 "Fitter," one can easily imagine the threat these units represented for NATO forces. Soviet Army Aviation in East Germany had a remarkable degree of standardization. It had just four basic helicopter models in its inventory: Mi-2 "Hoplite," Mi-6 "Hook," Mi-8/9 "Hip" and Mi-24 "Hind."
Un lanceur SPU-143 monté sur chassis Zil-135 photographié à Redlin en juin 1979.
Un véhicule de relevé géodésique UAZ-452T est visible à gauche. © USMLM.
With thanks to Stefan Büttner for the additional information about the AA reorganization.
The OVP or OBVP designation often is used to describe the same unit, which is confusing.
OVP were composed during the late 1970s as follows: