(NewsGlobal.com)- A recent intelligence study from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) claims that the Russian military has strayed from a critical component of its military strategy during the past ten years.
Battalion tactical groups (BTGs), which were historically integrated with a full range of supporting sub-units, including armor, surveillance, and artillery—the latter of which was described as a departure from customary Western military practice—have “likely largely stopped,” according to a report from the MoD on Tuesday.
The Ministry said that “many inherent shortcomings of the BTG concept have been exposed in the high intensity, large-scale battle of the Ukraine war thus far.”
The report noted that a dispersed distribution of artillery had prevented Russia from fully utilizing its advantage in firearms, and only a limited number of BTG commanders have been empowered to flexibly exploit openings in the way the BTG concept was supposed to promote.
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a defense and security think tank with a U.K. headquarters, stated in April that while the BTG was ideal for earlier fighting in support of separatist ethnic Russian elements in Donetsk and Luhansk, large-scale combat necessitates large-scale combined arms operations and battalions fighting as part of larger entities.
BTGs usually have 700 to 900 people on staff, with units like logistics, snipers, and anti-tank, among others. They may also come from ministries like the National Guard or fields other than land warfare, such as the navy.
The report said it is a tool for projecting a combined arms force and handling the training and deployment issues inherent in Russia’s tiered readiness and mixed manning system.
Nick Reynolds, a RUSI ground warfare research analyst, said this was long overdue.
“The BTG model hasn’t worked very well, but that’s as much to do with the concept itself as it is with Russian military culture and how it instructs and treats its men,” Reynolds said. The Russian military may lack the means and personnel to organize their ground forces into BTGs.
He suggested a distribution modification, holding capabilities at the brigade level and then down to the battalion level when needed, to eliminate BTGs.
The Ukrainian military has destroyed over 9,000 Russian vehicles and will keep doing so “every day.” Russia lost 2,900 tanks and 5,900 armed combat vehicles since late February. On Tuesday, NATO’s foreign ministers pledged to defend Ukraine against Russia’s aggression.