American Soldier (USA) vs Russian Soldier – Army / Military Comparison

American Soldier (USA) vs Russian Soldier – Army / Military Comparison


Today we’re pitting the American soldier head
to head versus the Russian soldier, and looking at the different capabilities, training, and
equipment that each brings to bear. With tensions starting to heat up between
the two former Cold War superpower adversaries, what would a showdown between east and west
actually look like from the average soldier’s perspective, and who would fare best in a
war that would surely be more catastrophic than both World Wars put together? That’s what we’ll find out, in this episode
of the infographics show, American Infantryman vs Russian Infantryman. First though let’s look at the background
and recent history of both nation’s armed forces. Though no longer the juggernaut that threatened
Western Europe with its endless hordes of armored battle tanks, Russia still retains
a formidable military. Unlike most nations on earth and perhaps with
its rival, America, being the only other exception, Russian troops have faced ongoing combat action
since the end of World War II, albeit at a much lower intensity than the United States. The largest conflict in modern times that
Russia engaged in was the invasion of Afghanistan in December of 1979. Acting in support of a communist Afghan government,
the Soviet Union soon found itself in a similar quagmire as the United States in its own invasion
decades later. Ultimately a strategic failure, the Soviet
Union finally pulled out of the country almost ten years later in February of 1989. The United States by comparison has been involved
in high-intensity combat action nearly every decade since the end of World War II. From Korea, to Vietnam, Grenada, Iraq, and
then the double invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, America has fought wars in nearly every climate
and continent on earth. Ultimately though, it would be the US’s own
invasion of Afghanistan that would best highlight the key differences in American and Russian
combat doctrine and capabilities. When Soviet troops entered Afghanistan, they
did so much like America, with overwhelming force spearheaded by columns of tanks and
infantry fighting vehicles, overwatched by tremendous air support. Also like America, the initial Soviet invasion
saw little resistance from the Afghan Mujahideen, who could not hope to match Soviet military
power on a 1 on 1 basis. Much like the United States, Soviet troops
had been trained to fight a conventional war against a conventional enemy- NATO- where
enemy soldiers were clearly identifiable by their uniforms, and battlelines clearly drawn
across each side. The Mujahideen would exploit this Soviet warfighting
doctrine by instead fighting a guerilla, or asymmetric, war, wherein they would launch
lightning raids before retreating into the countryside or melting into the local population,
thus denying the Russians a chance to bring their formidable firepower to bear on any
discernible enemy. Exactly like America’s own war two decades
later, each element of the Soviet armed forces would come into play, but the bulk of the
war effort would be executed by small groups of soldiers. The small-unit-action nature of both the American
and the Russian Afghan war thus gives us the best comparison point for the two nation’s
infantry forces. So how well exactly did each nation’s soldiers
perform? Both nations entered the guerilla war phase
of their Afghan campaigns at major disadvantages. Russian and American infantrymen had both
trained for decades to face each other on European battlefields, and thus each nation’s
infantry were primarily trained in mass-unit tactics and combined arms warfare wherein
they would work in cohesion with other ground, air and fire-support elements. Trained to defeat columns of armored tanks
and hordes of enemy infantry, the intimate, door-to-door nature of both nation’s Afghan
war proved a steep learning curve. The very first, and greatest, weakness exploited
by the Afghan Mujahideen was both nation’s lack of training and experience in close quarters
combat. During the Afghan-Soviet war, Russian infantrymen
became notorious for their extremely poor performance once the enemy closed in to within
50 meters- once even breaking and retreating when a token force of Mujahideen surprised
a superior Russian force by popping up from sewer tunnels within mere meters of their
position. Just a few years into the war, Russia’s performance
in close quarters was so poor that troops were mostly kept in fortified garrisons and
would rarely engage in routine security patrols. American troops would initially face the same
challenges, with similar poor performance. While poor Russian performance was due to
a variety of reasons such as low morale, unwilling conscripts forced to fight, and varying quality
of training, American troops instead became a casualty of their own superiority. With unmatched air and ground-based fire support,
American infantry had become accustomed to hunkering down when engaged, and calling in
for overwhelming fire support to destroy the enemy, a luxury that Russian troops did not
always enjoy. However, faced with a door-to-door war and
an enemy that struck from amidst the civilian population, the Americans were forced to forgo
their fire-support advantages and would have to fight soldier-to-soldier like their Soviet
counterparts had two decades prior. During the first two years of the war, this
proved to be a very painful lesson, however within the first six months of the invasion,
American basic training and Infantryman training programs had already begun to incorporate
CQB, or Close Quarters Battle training. Within years, the United States had completely
revamped its training programs and begun fielding an infantry force with great expertise in
door-to-door urban combat. Though other factors such as technology and
more advanced equipment would play a role in minimizing US casualties versus their Soviet
counterparts, it is American flexibility that would ultimately see them perform far better
than the Soviet Union’s soldiers had decades earlier. Not only did the United States exhibit greater
flexibility in its national training structure, but this adaptability has for a long time
been a hallmark of American warfighting doctrine. Unlike their Russian counterparts who were
trained to obey orders from very much a top-down command structure, US troops have for a long
time been encouraged to act with a degree of autonomy, allowing small-unit commanders
with on-the-ground situational awareness to make command decisions that a Russian unit
would need much higher authority for. This allows American troops to react much
more quickly to the chaos of war, and though the US and Russia have thankfully never faced
each other in combat, the difference between the two military doctrines was shockingly
clear in the first American invasion of Iraq in 1990. Following a rigid, Russian-style, top-down
command structure, Iraqi forces who at the time commanded one of the world’s largest
and most formidable militaries, were utterly decimated by a fast-acting American-led invasion
that outpaced Iraqi military leadership’s ability to relay orders in a timely manner
to troops that needed them. But what about the capabilities of each nation’s
individual soldier? On a strictly one-on-one comparison, how does
each nation’s infantryman stack up against the other? The best place to start is by looking at the
primary armament of each soldier. Though modernizing to a new battle rifle,
the bulk of Russian ground forces still utilize the tried and true AK-47. Called “the greatest rifle ever made”,
the AK-47’s legendary fame is not without merit. Seeing action in nearly every battlefield
around the world since its invention in 1949, the AK-47 has proven reliable in every environmental
condition possible. Firing a 7.62mm round at 715 meters per second,
the AK-47 has major stopping power and penetration both, and is easily capable of the much-vaunted
‘first contact kill’, or ability to neutralize an enemy with the first round-on-target. By comparison, the United States fields the
M-4 carbine, a rifle that many, even within the US armed forces themselves, have for a
long time considered inferior to the Russian AK. An evolution of the American M-16, it is also
a reliable and proven rifle, but suffers from a lower mass bullet as it utilizes the smaller
5.56mm round. While this lighter bullet gives the M-4 greater
accuracy at greater range than the AK-47, it has been very loudly criticized for lacking
in stopping power. In fact, one of the greatest complaints about
its performance in the recent Iraq-Afghan war was that it would take multiple hits-on-target
to neutralize an enemy, with the lighter round propelled at a whopping 910 meters per second
often zipping straight through an unarmored opponent and leaving little physical damage
behind. This criticism has plagued the M-4 nearly
since inception, and many American servicemen lament that the one area the US military has
always lagged behind their Russian counterparts in is the main battle rifle. Though the American M-4 affords greater range
and accuracy, in today’s urban, door-to-door wars it is the Russian AK-47 that has a clear
advantage. Yet history has proven that it is the men,
and not the weapons that win wars. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian
forces have suffered from long years of neglect, while American forces have continued to build
on their hard-earned battlefield expertise, adding to a rich tradition of proficient warfighters. Yet Russia is a nation that has faced annihilation
repeatedly throughout its troubled history at the hands of superior foes, and has emerged
battered, bloodied, but triumphant from each challenge. So who would fare better against the other,
the American infantryman or his Russian counterpart? Let us know in the comments. Also, be sure to watch our other video called
American Soldier vs British Soldier. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time!

6 Replies to “American Soldier (USA) vs Russian Soldier – Army / Military Comparison”

  1. I like the video however something your. Not considering about the m4 is how much lighter and more versatile it is vrs the ak the stopping power is a valid point but you can literally carry twice the ammunition so in a prolonged firefight you have a distinct advantage

  2. Russia’s modern ak-74 uses a similar bullet to the M4. This is a very important distinction because you made it one. Even if it was autocorrected it doesn’t use a 7.62 x 39 bullet

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