South Ossetian Army

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South Ossetic Army
Current form 1992
Headquarters Tskhinvali
Manpower
Military age 16
Active personnel 2,500
Reserve personnel 16,000

The South Ossetian Army is the ground forces element of the South Ossetic military. Formed in 1992, the South Ossetian Army is the primary defense force in the breakaway sovereign region of South Ossetia, largely considered to be within recognized Georgian territory.

Formations

Army Headquarters

  • General Staff
  • Intelligence Company
  • Communications Battalion
  • Transport Battalion

Regular Army

  • 10 Battalion
  • 11 Battalion
  • 13 Battalion
  • 15 Battalion
  • Tank Brigade
  • Logistics Brigade

Reserve Army

  • 17 Battalion
  • 18 Battalion
  • 19 Battalion
  • 20 Battalion
  • 21 Battalion
  • 22 Battalion
  • 23 Battalion
  • 25 Battalion
  • 26 Battalion

Personnel and Training

There are 2500 active members and approximately 16000 reserve members within the South Ossetian Army (SOA). Since the establishment of the South Ossetic Military in 1992, the SOA has played a major role in several regional conflicts. Most recognizable, was the 2008 War in South Ossetia.

Training within the SOA is conducted by both experienced South Ossetic troops and members of the Russian VDV.In August 2009 the SOA and Russia reorganized the 4 Air Mobile Brigade, as a joint forces brigade, which would have an active Russian military base in South Ossetia. The Russian Airborne Troops are reported to have established an active military base outside of Java, South Ossetia and are reported to have trained SOA recruits since the summer of 2009.

Suppliers

Foreign suppliers Russia.

Allies include Russia and Abkhazia.

Equipment

Small arms

Main battle tanks

Armoured personnel carriers

Self-propelled Howitzer

Multi-launch rocket system

Parts of uniform

Beret colours

Combat uniform

All uniforms are donated by the Russian Ground Forces, the tri-coloured Flora pattern is standard issue throughout the SOA. But when the organization of the SOA is completed by the South Ossetic Defence Ministry in 2012. It is planned that the SOA will be wearing a variant of the Ukrainian BDU camouflage.

Conflicts

2008 War

The prelude to the conflict began with violent clashes on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 with both sides claiming having been fired upon by the other. The Georgian interior ministry indicated Georgian forces had returned fire only after South Ossetian positions shelled Georgian-controlled villages and accused the South Ossetian side of "trying to create an illusion of serious escalation, an illusion of war."3 South Ossetia denied provoking the conflict.45

On 4 August 2008, five battalions of the Russian 58th Army (approx. 5.500 men) were moved to the vicinity of the Roki Tunnel that links South Ossetia with North Ossetia.6

On 7 August, Georgian and Ossetian forces agreed on a ceasefire.7

In the first hours of 8 August 2008, a massive attack by Georgian troops, armour and airforce commenced on South Ossetian-controlled territory, plus repeated artillery shelling of the capital, Tskhinvali, with multiple rocket launchers.8910 On the same day, twelve Russian peacekeepers were killed and nearly 150 injured.11

At least one former Georgian government official has testified that Georgia started the war with the approval of the United States government. Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Georgia's former ambassador to Moscow and a confidant of President Mikheil Saakashvili, testified to the Parliament of Georgia that Georgian officials told him in April 2008 that they planned to start a war in Abkhazia, one of two breakaway regions at issue in the war, and had received a green light from the United States government to do so. He said the Georgian government later decided to start the war in South Ossetia, the other region, and continue into Abkhazia.12

South Ossetic Army Spetsnaz

It is rumoredby whom? that the SOA has established a small company-sized group of specially trained SOA Spetsnaz based out of 4 Air Mobile Brigade HQ in Java. The SOA Spetsnaz is reported to have been training in Russia since late 2009, and has a strength of approximately 65 personnel. If existent, the SOA Spetsnaz would be highly trained in Direct Action, Special Reconnaissance, Search and Destroy, and personnel recovery missions. The SOA Spetsnaz would be distinguishable by their scarlet berets.

References








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