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Bear Went over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan Paperback – March 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0788146657 ISBN-10: 0788146653 Edition: 0th
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Bear Went over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan + The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Diane Pub Co (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0788146653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0788146657
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Michael Grobelch on December 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This work shows how the Soviet army responded to the guerilla tactics used by their enemies by analyzing a number of different combat situations. These situation cover both offensive and defensive operations. This work does not try to expalin the Afghan War on a strategic level, but deals exclusively with the tactical realm. Each vignette contains a map of usually sufficient detail to enable the reader to following the descriptions contained in the text.
The editor does a good job at translating Soviet-specific terms into the US/NATO vernacular.
The reader should pay paticular attention to the Soviet style map graphics - they are superior to US style graphics especially dealing the fluidity of a paticular action.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Marco Antonio Abarca VINE VOICE on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Soviets experienced in Afghanistan the slow death of a thousand cuts. In his book, "The Bear Went Over the Mountain", Lester Grau carefully examines some of those small cuts. The book consists of a number of short vignettes written principally by Soviet Platoon and Company Leaders. In these short narratives, these leaders describe their combat experiences in such realms as ambush, convoy escort and urban fighting. At the end of the story, there is the Frunze Military Academy analysis of the narrative in which the strengths and weaknesses of the action are analyized. The vignettes end with Lt. Col. Grau's analysis of the action.
This book is not for someone looking for a general military history of the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. It is a book about small unit tactics and about what works and what fails. I only hope that this valuable book and his other book, "The Other Side of the Mountain" is being ready by young American Platoon and Company leaders currently fighting in Afghanistan.
I obtained both books through Amazon.com UK.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Van Court VINE VOICE on September 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
"The Bear Went Over the Mountain" is a compilation of after action reports on tactical operations in Afghanistan in the 1980s, from the Soviet perspective. The descriptions of the action and Soviet after action observations are translated from Frunze Academy (Soviet War College) documents, and accompanied by commentary from the single most knowledgable American on the Soviet army, a man who spoke with leaders from both Russian and Afghan forces from some of these engagements.

No research of the Soviet-Afghan war is complete without careful consideration of the material here. As important as the documentation of the events of the war are the insights into the Soviet perceptions of the operations and the war, and the lessons that they drew from their experience.

This isn't really a book to sit down and read cover to cover, but rather to take a battle at a time and reflect on it before moving on to the next.

Brilliant work from a great man!

E. M. Van Court
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
An easy read that points out both Soviet flaws and outstanding performances in their battle to overcome the guerillas of Afghanistan in the 1908s. Superbly translated from an official Russian document. One of the few Soviet documents accurately showing their fame and faults that ever made it out of the country. A MUST read if you care at all about what the Soviet military was involved in during the 1980s.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Munawar Ali on January 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I believe this book originally started off as a Military paper, which got published and sold. Mr. Grau has done a 3 part series on the Afghan-Soviet war. This is part 1 in the series.

Like the other comments, very easy to read, and to the point. Goes over specific battles, what happened, and how it all broke down. The conclusions and commentary at the end of each battle are excellent. This book works great with the others in the series, esspecially "The Other side of the Mountain: Mujahidden Tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War" - which does the same thing, but talks about the battles from a Mujahideen standpoint. The second book is almost impossible to find...... doesn't carry it. Lastly, there's a third book coming out called "Russian General Staff: The Soviet-Afghan War" which looks at the war from the general level - I guess overall strategy.
Overall, excellent book on tactics. And easy enough to read that you don't need to be an officer in the military to understand.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on February 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a series of vignettes by Russian officers at the Frunze Military Academy on their experiences in Afghanistan, ranging from attack, defense, raids and reconnaissance. Oddly, the Russians typically misused their reconnaissance units in a combat role. Most Soviet units were seriously undermanned - usually only about 30% strength. Lack of a real counterinsurgency doctrine was a serious handicap. The sketch maps are very good, despite use of Soviet symbology.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Richard M. Cavagnol on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book provides a series of first-person accounts of the tactics used by Russian forces from 1980 to 1988. I found the school solution interesting as well as the accounts of how the Russian troops responded to the Afghan insurgents. Having served with the first Combined Action Companies (CAP) in Vietnam and as an advisor with the Vietnamese Marines as well as more recently in Iraq, South Sudan and Afghanistan, I found the accounts provided interesting lessons learned that focused on the tactical training of junior leaders and the preparation of troops to fight counterinsurgency warfare. It seems that we quickly forget COIN lessons and have to relearn them again and again. As with our current situation in Afghanistan, although we have been here for almost 9 years, we do not have 9 years of experience - we have one year of experience 9 times. I suggest "The Other Side of the Mountain", a collection of Afghan tactics employed against the Russians.
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