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Russia using armoured trains for bomb disposal, reconnaissance during Ukraine war

Russia's special trains involved in the war with Ukraine have an armoured coating, weapons placed on the platforms and the latest equipment, shelters for firing and repelling enemy attacks (All images and videos courtesy: Russian Defence Ministry)

Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday revealed that its military railway workers on board the unique armoured train ‘Yenisei’ have restored traffic on 300 km long railway sections, cleared unexploded ordnance over 3000 km tracks and repaired seven small and medium bridges in the Ukraine conflict zone.

Releasing video footage of crew members carrying out combat work during the ongoing operation, the ministry said that the armoured train of the Russian Central Military District has so far escorted more than 120 military echelons.

Special combat personnel are involved in carrying out technical reconnaissance, demining railway tracks and escorting humanitarian cargo for residents of “liberated” settlements.

In addition to firepower to protect the rolling stock, the armoured train is equipped with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) used for aerial reconnaissance of the route in order to prevent attacks by sabotage and reconnaissance groups and detect a mined railway track.

Apart from Yenisei, Russian military is operating three more armoured trains – Baikal, Volga and Amur – in the zone of its ‘special military opearation’ in Ukraine.

The special trains are armed with the necessary weapons to combat enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups, as well as anti-aircraft installations for the destruction of UAVs.

During the movement along the route, the calculation of the armoured train monitors the area, checks the railway track, bridge crossings and stages for the presence of mine-explosive devices, and also restores destroyed areas and artificial structures.

Russia Ukraine War

It was in January 2021 that the Tachyon UAVs entered service with the railway connections of the Russian military for the first time. Capable of real-time monitoring of combat training areas, forest and field fires, protected bridges and hydraulic structures during floods, they are designed for conducting aerial reconnaissance, targeting weapons and relaying data in the control system of tactical and operational links.

The special trains involved in the war with Ukraine have an armoured coating, weapons placed on the platforms and the latest equipment, shelters for firing and repelling enemy attacks.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, for safety reasons, the locomotive is located in the middle of the train otherwise the first blow can disable it. The tail and head of the special trains, which have the armoured capsules, are mirrored. Armed “to the teeth”, the special cars are protected by thick steel and lined with sandbags.

A powerful weapon system allows crew to operate even in the most difficult conditions. Though the twin 23 mm cannon is their main calibre, the military personnel on the train also have a heavy machine gun and anti-aircraft guns to destroy air and ground targets.

There are also sniper positions with everyone riding on this train being under “reliable” protection.

Despite its formidable appearance, the list of the main tasks of the armoured train includes technical reconnaissance, mine clearance, and, if necessary, the restoration of destroyed road directions. Also, the task of the special train is to ensure the safety of echelons with various cargoes, personnel and equipment. If necessary, the train of the railway troops can become a reliable cover for trains with civilians.

“The main task of the special train is to conduct technical reconnaissance of the railway section, escort cargo, restore destroyed sections, tracks and artificial structures … Reflection during an attack by the DRG – we have personnel for this. The cover platform comes first. Its main task is to take a hit on itself when explosive devices are triggered. It contains materials for the upper structure of the tracks, which allow us to restore the destroyed sections as soon as possible, if we come across such ones,” said Sergei, the head of one armoured train.