Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Russia’s Wars: Listing Equipment Losses During The Second Chechen War (1999-2000)

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
The conclusion of the two-year-long First Chechen War in 1997 gave rise to internal chaos as the government of President Aslan Maskhadov proved unable to rebuild Chechnya and reign in the increasing number of Islamist factions in the Republic. Despite Maskhadov's decision to abolish the Chechen parliament and introduce aspects of Sharia law to appease Islamist factions, figures such as Shamil Basayev and Saudi-born Ibn al-Khattab effectively continued to undermine Maskhadov's rule. In April 1998, the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade, led by Basyev and al-Khattab, publicly declared its goal of creating an Islamic Emirate on the territory of Chechnya and Dagestan and the expulsion of Russians from the entire Caucasus: The seeds for the Second Chechen War (1999-2009) had been sowed.

In August 1999, some 400 Chechen fighters led by Basayev and al-Khattab invaded the neighboring Russian Republic of Dagestan, followed by a larger incursion in early September 1999. These attacks resulted in the killing of hundreds, and the displacement of tens of thousands more. Though the idea of an invasion of Chechnya was still very unpopular in Russia at this stage, a series of apartment bombings in Moscow in early September resulting in the death of 307 civilians managed to sway popular opinion in favour of dealing with the Chechnya issue. Even as Chechen militants denied responsibility for the bombings, it provided President Vladimir Putin with the perfect excuse to launch a invasion of Chechnya. Nowadays a popular theory maintains that these attacks were in fact staged by the FSB on the orders of President Putin in order to secure him the presidency and provide a rationale to engage in what otherwise would have been a highly unpopular war.
After a massive aerial bombing campaign over Chechnya in late August and throughout September 1999, Russia launched its land invasion on the 5th of October. During the initial push, the Russian Armed Forces and pro-Russian Chechen militias faced little issues in mopping up the Chechen Security Forces (CSF) in open combat, which in contrast to the First Chechen War had little heavy weaponry to speak of. Russia for the first time deployed new aircraft along with precision-guided munitions to target Chechen leaders and their hideouts. The Chechen capital Grozny was captured in February 2000 after a winter siege, leaving the city in ruins. The conventional phase of the Russian operation ended in May 2000, though resistance throughout the region continued for nine more years until 2009. The remaining Chechen units, including foreign Islamist Mujahideen volunteers, subsequently switched to guerrilla tactics until most of them were eliminated (including Basayev, al-Khattab and former President Maskhadov). President Putin ordered elections to be held in Chechnya on October 5, 2003, with former revolutionary Akhmat Kadyrov ultimately coming out on top. Though Akhmat was not destined to hold the seat of power for long, after his assassination in 2004 his son Ramzan would continue his rule to this day.
This list attempts to track losses suffered during the conventional phase of the conflict. A detailed list of the destroyed and captured vehicles of both sides can be seen below. This list only includes destroyed vehicles and equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available. Therefore, the amount of equipment destroyed is significantly higher than recorded here. Inoperational equipment, mortars and trucks are not included in this list. Stripped equipment encountered in any of Russia's huge vehicle dumpyards is only included when it is damaged or cannibalised beyond economical repair. When destroyed or abandoned equipment could be leftovers from the First Chechen War, they're not included in the list. The dates given do not always indicate the precise date on when the equipment was lost and should instead be considered an approximation. The Soviet flag is used when the equipment in question was produced prior to 1991.
For a list of Russian equipment losses during the First Chechen War click here. For a list of Russian equipment losses during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War click here. And for a list of Russian equipment losses during the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine click here.
(Click on the numbers to get a picture of each individual captured or destroyed vehicle)


Russia (292, of which destroyed: 289, damaged: 1 captured: 2)

Tanks (23, of which destroyed: 23)

Armoured Fighting Vehicles (33, of which destroyed: 33)


Infantry Fighting Vehicles (110, of which destroyed: 108, captured: 2)


Armoured Personnel Carriers (58, of which destroyed: 58)


Engineering Vehicles And Equipment (2, of which destroyed: 2)


Artillery Support Vehicles (2, of which destroyed: 2)


Self-Propelled Artillery (7, of which destroyed: 7)


Aircraft (6, of which destroyed: 6)


Helicopters (51, of which destroyed: 50, damaged: 1)


Chechnya (14, of which destroyed: 5, captured: 9)

Tanks (1, of which captured: 1)

Armoured Fighting Vehicles (2, of which captured: 2)


Infantry Fighting Vehicles (5, of which destroyed: 3, captured: 2)


Armoured Personnel Carriers (2, of which destroyed: 1, captured: 1)


Multiple Rocket Launchers (1, of which captured: 1)


Aircraft (1, of which destroyed: 1)

Trucks, Vehicles and Jeeps (2, of which captured: 2)

Special thanks to Lost Armour.
[1] Azerbaijan buys the deadly Turkish Bayraktar TB2 mid-range strike UAV https://bulgarianmilitary.com/2020/06/27/azerbaijan-buys-the-deadly-turkish-bayraktar-tb2-mid-range-strike-uav/

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