Russia: August 6, 2003


The Railway Forces celebrate the 152nd anniversary of their establishment. The Russian military has relied heavily on rail transportation, ever since the 1917 Civil War. The majority of troop movements and supply convoys in and out of Chechnya continue to be done by rail, even though the lines were heavily damaged during both wars (14 bridges have been rebuild since the Second Chechen War began in 1999). 

The rebels continue to target supply and troop trains, which means that the Federal forces have to provide security with "special" trains (armored locomotives coupled to heavily armed cars) and Mi-24 gunship escorts. The rebels' preferred method of attack is to cut the line with a remote control charge, fire up the train and fade into the countryside. The Russian Railway Forces have defused over 2,000 explosive devices since 1999. - Adam Geibel 


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