Infantry: November 10, 2001


Command Detonated Mines Still Popular In Chechnya- One of the most-favored rebel weapons used during both Chechen Wars has been the Command Detonated Mine (or "CDM"). The standard CDM is composed of several 152/122mm artillery or 120/82mm mortar shells, with some plastic explosive in the otherwise-empty fuze wells. Remote detonation is by either a radio, cell phone technology or wire.

However, the effectiveness of these weapons has dropped drastically since their heyday in the First Chechen War (1994-1996). Where once the Chechen rebels were able to produce near-strategic effects with these tactical weapons by targeting senior officers, apparently their access to intelligence has diminished by the height of the Second Chechen War. Along with the attrition of many of their sappers, the rebels have adjusted by switching to a "shotgun" approach.

With the Second Chechen War now reduced to a deadly game of hide-and-seek, the CDMs remain one of the rebels few effective offensive tactics. Unless the CDM attacks are supported by an ambush party armed with GPMGs and RPGs, the casualties only amount to a series of "pinpricks". However, these can still be demoralizing to Russian units.

The Russians have intercepted countless rebel messages throughout September and October 2001, with the field commanders exhorting their sub-elements to increase mining efforts. Federal sappers defused 34 explosive devices in Chechnya in the last week of October, but nine more landmines went off - causing an unspecified number of casualties among personnel and damaging military equipment. 

A GAZ-66 truck carrying a Federal engineering intelligence party was blown up by a controlled landmine near Chechnya's Chiri-Yurt village on 4 November. Two Interior Ministry troops were WIA.

On the 5th, Federal Security Service (FSB) agents for Chechnya's Urus-Martan district and local provisional police department officers detained 13-year-old Khamza Alkhanov, who was trying to plant a powerful CDM (three 152mm artillery shells and a 120mm mortar shell connected by wires, activated by a signal from a mini-radio) on an Urus-Martan street. The FSB claims that Alkhanov was presented a radio set and paid 200 rubles ($6.70) for installing the landmine.

The rebels also blasted a powerful radio-controlled landmine in the Zavodskoi district of Grozny on the 5th, when a Ural truck carrying servicemen of the Achkhoi-Martan commandant's office passed (one federal serviceman was killed and three others wounded).

As America engages Al-Qaeda, it would behoove planners to study CDM tactics and effective countermeasures (like Mine Protected Vehicles, including supply trucks). Our enemies will certainly not hesitate to share their "lessons learned" - Adam Geibel 




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