Guns of Spetsnaz: Pocket Artillery and Other Big Guns
July 12, 2011
By Marco Vorobiev
These Soviet special forces had some nasty surprises in hand for their enemies in an earlier Afghan war. While humping them up and down the Hindu Kush was no picnic, arms like heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers gave them the upper hand in many a fight. Read more about it in Marco Vorobiev's story in the September 20 issue of SGN.
When the Soviet Spetsnaz in Afghanistan really wanted to reach out and touch someone, the heavy
.50 cal. NSV machine gun was exactly the tool for the job.
The NSV delivered a huge amount of lead down range and yet it could be carried by one (strong)
man. As seen here, note the 50-round belt is in the machine gun.
Though issued with a rubber recoil pad and designed to be fired from shoulder, in Afghanistan the
GP-25 was usually fired in the "Rambo" style as seen here.
Light and compact, the GP-25 launcher could be attached and removed in seconds from AKM or
AK74 rifles. It gave the infantry squad its own pocket artillery.
The AGS-17 launcher could easily be carried by two men and could be deployed in seconds. It fired
30mm VOG-17 grenades using a 29-round non-disintegrating belt.
The Defensive Fragmentation F-1 and Offensive RGD-5 hand grenades were widely used by the
Spetsnaz in Afghanistan. Every trooper carried 6-10 of them.
Grenades were issued by the armory before the mission. The UZRG detonators were kept separately
and were only inserted as the unit got closer to its objective
Just like the RGD-5s and F-1s, the RGO and RGN grenades came in a wooden crate that also
contained a separate "spam can" that contained their detonators.