Soviet Union Table of Contents
The Rocket Troops and Artillery have been an important combat arm of the Ground Forces because of the Soviet belief that firepower has tremendous destructive and psychological effect on the enemy. In 1989 the Ground Forces had eighteen artillery divisions, in addition to the artillery and missile units organic to armies and divisions. Artillery and surface-to-surface missile brigades were attached to each combined arms or tank army. An artillery regiment and a surface-to-surface missile battalion were parts of each Soviet motorized rifle and tank division. In 1989 the Rocket Troops and Artillery manned 1,400 "operational-tactical" surface-to-surface missile launchers.
The December 1987 INF Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union called for the elimination of all short-range ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 1,000 kilometers. The treaty required elimination of more than 900 Soviet SS-12 and SS-23 missile launchers. As of mid-1989, all SS-12 missiles had been eliminated. All SS-23 missiles had to be eliminated before the end of 1989, according to the terms of the treaty. After the reductions mandated in the treaty, the Soviet battlefield missile inventory will still contain over 800 modern SS-21 missile launchers with a range of 100 kilometers, as well as older SS-1 launchers and unguided free rocket over ground (FROG) missiles that were fielded in the 1950s. These tactical missiles can deliver nuclear or chemical weapons as well as conventional munitions.
In 1989 the Rocket Troops and Artillery had approximately 30,000 artillery pieces; of these, 10,000 were capable of firing conventional high-explosive, nuclear, or chemical rounds. Since the 1970s, this powerful combat arm has fielded more than 5,000 selfpropelled 122mm and 152mm howitzers, 152mm and 203mm guns, and 240mm mortars. These artillery pieces, which are mounted on tank chassis, have replaced some towed artillery pieces. The Rocket Troops and Artillery also had truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers, each with forty tubes, to provide massive fire support for the Ground Forces.
Data as of May 1989