Looking at the 1990s OPFOR documents, a “new” (well, newer in a formal sense) type of formation arises: The “armored group” (bronegruppa). It’s important to note the history of Soviet-style doctrine beforehand. The stereotype, often true, is of formations operating as entire units for a certain task. Thus a formation (generally a company as the smallest) will as an entire unit operate as one arm of an attack or another. In defense one formation will sit and fire behind fortifications while another will act as the counterattack/reserve.
The armored group is ad hoc by nature. Formed with a number of armored vehicles usually equivalent to slightly more than a platoon (although GENFORCE-Mobile mentions ones slightly smaller than a company if the parent unit is big enough to handle it), the key is the following:
- The tanks operate away from their parent unit.
- More crucially and importantly, the IFVs operate “empty”, with their infantry having already dismounted.
The use of an armored group depends on the situation, of course. Examples given in the GENFORCE-Mobile and Heavy OPFOR Tactical documents are:
- Sweeping around to hit the side while the dismounted infantry and main force attacks from a different axis.
- Serving as the base of fire while the dismounted infantry and supporting arms do the sweep.
- Acting as a reserve/pursuit force, especially one that can quickly roar in and (however temporarily) block off a route from a retreating foe.
- Acting as a counterattack force on the defensive.
The armored group’s origins come from the Soviet war in Afghanistan, where such formations were used in an irregular, nonlinear, frequently rough-terrain war.