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24 September 2017


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ancient archer

What do you say to this Colonel?


"The Russian Ministry of Defense has released aerial images which they say show US Army special forces equipment north of the town of Deir er-Zor, where ISIS militants are deployed."

“Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the Euphrates towards Deir ez-Zor,” the statement reads.

“Despite that the US strongholds being located in the ISIS areas, no screening patrol has been organized at them,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said.

This could mean that the US military staff “feel absolutely safe” in the area which is held by the terrorists, the ministry of defense stated.

“SDF militants work to the same objectives as IS terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between IS and the ‘third force,’ the SDF,” Konashenkov said.


Is it just Russian propaganda or the masks falling off the face of owners and operators of ISIS?


This is basically a motorized pontoon used without separating from the vehicle. It unfolds into a flat surface and uses the vehicle engine to drive a pair of built-in propellers. Image linked below shows it in operation, you can see the vehicle cab on the left.


The Twisted Genius

What a marvelous piece of engineering, air transportable, too. That AMN video shows a half dozen or so tank transporters ready to take them to the Euphrates. I found a video of one in action. Looks like it can handle swift currents.


CENTCOM has always been the height of arrogance, much like the CIA's Central Eurasia Division (old Russia House). I'd be leery of their intentions.



Thanks very much. That is very helpful to me. How heavy a vehicle will it carry? pl





Bill H

Interesting vehicle. I like the small glassed in crew cab, but it might feel a bit unnerving when a big tank is coming aboard. Note the direction it is traveling, which indicates that the ramps are on port and starboard sides with respect to travel. That would seem to complicate landing a bit. And based on the size of the bow wave, it doesn't seem to be going very fast. Seems reasonable enough, I'm just noticing.



thanks pl


ancient archer

IMO the Russians have gotten tired of US policy foolishness and are hitting back in the IO game. The air de-confliction regime by phone continues to function unimpeded. I am not sure what US SF vehicles would be. how would they be different from other US made vehicles? the tribal loyalty situation is fluid. To claim that using formerly IS connected tribes is somehow inappropriate is just naive. pl


With Saudi's backing the Kurds and McGirk's meeting with the ISIS aligned tribes, it looks like R+6 will have to fight US/Kurds/ISIS combined for control of the oilfields.
Seems to be a big cleanup underway in Idlib - ensuring nothing hits them in the back when R+6 starts the battle for the oilfields?

Peter in Toronto

Some great footage of fighting south of Deir ez-Zor, presumably from Saqr Island where it is said IS is entrenched:


Good to see some proper soldiering. It looks like they're using air-burst munitions and vacuum bombs in tandem .


First was created by CDR Gillois in 1954.


Something doesn't add up. After DeZ liberation SAA should have crossed Euphrate full gear, sending east bank half of Tiger Force and russians SOF to stop SDF. They instead decided to liberate South Raqqah.And half of TF has already move to Hama CS
Two possible reasons :
- not enough crossing equipment
- a kind of agreement on high level with SDF.
I have no clue.


Russians are the masters of combat river crossing. They learned it the hard way - under fire at Volgograd and elsewhere. That PMM-2M self-propelled ferry vehicle design has been around since the cold war. But it has been improved on many times since then.

Germany and some NATO countries have a similar system called the M3 Amphibious Bridging Vehicle. It is on a 4x4 wheeled vehicle instead of the Russian tracked version. It can carry 60 tons instead of the 42.5 of the PMM-2M. The Russians probably kept theirs smaller to make it air transportable. The M3 does appear a bit slower than the PMM-2M in deployment on the YouTube videos.

The US Army's newest Ribbon Bridge can carry over a 100 tons. And individual sections can be used as ferries. But it is also slow in deployment, slower than the German M3, and much slower than the Russian one.


Aleksandar -

Not enough crossing equipment IMO. Have you seen Ivan Sidorenko's video of regime forces crossing to Sakr Island? They are ferrying three to four men at a time using muscle power pulling on ropes to get the ferry across.



"why is the usa in syria?"

Because it can. Why were the Roman Legions in Britannia?



The paucity of river crossing gear is clearly being corrected. pl


Both very plausible reasons. The fact that pontoons are just being brought in may imply that R+6 did not expect to roll so fast. Looks like ISIS defenses were not as strong as expected.

So while they wait for the river crossing equipment why not use their momentum to chew up more ISIS forces and areas. My civilian speculation is that all this SDF will steal the oilfields is pure hyperbole. R+6 is rolling at will wherever they choose. They're even kicking butt in southern Idlib and just shredded the AQ offensive there. The Arab tribes are apparently some of the most shrewd traders. They know which side is winning.


Yes Mike, Ivan Sidorenko is one of my favorite but BMP are amphibious. Nothing can prevent them crossing Euphrat as soon as a "safe management area " is created on the right bank.
I have read somewhere that so far SAA consider that SDF has his " moment of glory" but that they are not enemy of Damas and that anyways they are unable due to shortage manpower to hold ground so far from Kurdish aeras.
In other words, no hurry, they will left anytime soon.
It make sense to me, small SDF element left in these oilfields. The overhelming superiority of SAA will prevail and wiyhout fight.
I have also read that Raqqaah will return to Damas.



Looks like one needs a functioning road to get the Ribbon bridge to the river


Seems designed for occupation, setting up / shoring up logistics lines in the far rear.

The Russian PMM-2M is ideally configured for advance. Tracks are a very smart design - many rivers have soft banks, agricultural areas around rivers tend to be very soft, and roads are easily bombed into being useless for wheeled vehicles. Moreover, if one is forced to choose where banks are hard and/or paved, one has made the enemies job easier.

Much of Russia is wetlands, so this is also ideal for homeland defense.


I believe the US Army's Ribbon Bridge was used for the Iraqi Army to cross both the Tigris and the Euphrates in their offensive against Daesh. A similar system was used by US combat engineers to ferry SDF across Lake Assad back in March (or April?) during the Battle of Tabqa.

The SDF may also need coalition combat engineer support in crossing the Khabour River after they liberate al-Suwar. They are reportedly attacking there now.

PS - Russian MOD confirms General Asapov killed by mortar attack in DeZ. 'm hoping they don't play IO games with his death and blame it on US SOF.


Israel wants Russia to confront the US to see how much could be achieved and how much could be salvaged of the Syrian property. Bibi is a fanatic; his sense of Jewish righteousness and the mineral riches of Syria are seemingly bringing the Judgment Day closer with each passing day.



I agree the Russian PMM-2M is a much better system for fast employment especially from soft river banks. Its limitations are its size. It can handle probably handle the older Syrian tanks. But not the new Russian T90 and T14 and heavy tracked self-propelled guns? As I said above the Russians are the masters of combat crossings.

Thanks for the IRB link. But I see nothing on that link tying the IRB to roads. The IRB is transported on cross country capable HEMTT with 8X8 drive. Wiki says they are specified to be able to climb (or descend) 60 percent gradients, withstand 30 degree side slopes without tipping, and ford water up to 48 inches in depth. I don't know whether they can automatically lower tire air pressure on soft ground, but that has been a standard on military trucks for many decades. It would certainly be accompanied by engineer troops and equipment so if there are vertical bluffs at a river crossing of choice they could be dealt with.

It is a good system. But probably is over engineered to take the weight of the M1 Abrams tank and MLRS and other heavyweights.

For myself I like the smaller, leaner faster Russian version.


Russian general asapov and two colonels with him were killed by ISIS shelling on a "command center" in Deir Ezzor today. What is such a top ranking figure in Russian military doing on the front lines? Was this a lucky hit or was IS tipped off?


From experience, the reasons for the Russians bringing up bridging equipment is our old friend logistics. It is one thing to assault across a river, but once the SAA is on the other side of the Euphrates, it has to be kept resupplied. That requires sufficient bridges.

Yes the BMP like the M113 is (just!) amphibious, provided they are kept in tip top condition, and I doubt they will be.But that amphibious capability is for assault not ferrying supplies, armoured vehicles aren't very seaworthy.

Off topic, but I guess the Colonel, TTG and others have practiced assault river crossings - sunny days spent swimming nude with your gear wrapped up and your rifle balanced on top. We wrapped a jeep and floated it across and did other fun stuff in our youth.


More Youtube of the wide range of Russian amphibious capability at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNMR8uIvJ1Y

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