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Weaponry of the Georgian Combatants in Ukraine's Territorial Defence Forces Following the Invasion
Weapons Used by Foreign Legions and Combatants in Ukraine - Part 1
The Georgian Legion was first formed by combatants from the country of Georgia who fought on the Ukrainian side during the "War in Donbas" in 2014.
Georgian fighters are now actively fighting against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started on February 24, 2022. Interest in the Georgian Legion and Georgian fighters has increased among observers outside of Ukraine after the former Georgian Defense Minister “Irakli Okruashvili” (ირაკლი ოქრუაშვილი) went to Ukraine to fight against Russia.
When compared to other fighting formations in the region, Georgian warriors have a very modern and diverse arsenal. This arsenal includes both weapons that have been in the inventory of the Ukrainian Army for decades and weapons that have recently been procured or supplied by different countries for use against Russia. The intent of this article is to give a basic overview of these weapons.
Most of the Georgian fighters we will cover use the AK-74 and its derivatives, which are in the Ukrainian military’s inventory. These weapons were produced by the Soviet Union (USSR) and are now the most commonly used infantry rifle by both Russia and Ukraine. The AK-74 is chambered for the 5.45x39mm caliber cartridge. The fact that this ammunition is the most easily available in the region is another reason for the rifle’s popularity in the conflict.
In addition, Figure 1.1 shows that 7.62x39mm AKM type assault rifles and RPG-26 'Aglen' single-shot anti-tank weapons/rocket launchers are also in use. These weapons are used very frequently by the Ukrainian Army and their supporting forces.
Additionally, it appears that a .50 Caliber (12.7x99mm) Barrett M99 bullpup anti-material rifle is also in the hands of Georgian combatants fighting for Ukraine.
Figure 1.2: Georgian combatant with Barrett M99 bullpup anti-materiel rifle (AMR).
Figure 1.3: The Barrett M99 bullpup AMR of the combatant.
Though, the Barrett M99 AMR isn't the only modern weapon used by the Georgian Legion. Many modern weapons, which have reached the region thanks to military aid from other countries, are also in use by the Georgians in Ukraine. One such example is the Czech production CZ 806 Bren-2 assault rifles.
Figure 1.4: Georgian combatants with AKM & AKMS rifles, Barrett M99 AMR, an early PK machine gun, CZ 806 BREN-2 assault rifles and an RPG-18 single-use anti-tank weapon.
Other small arms in the photo (eg AKM variants, RPG-18, 7.62x54mm RPK machine gun) are common to the Ukrainian Army inventory and are frequently used by pro-Ukraine groups currently in the fight.
The CZ 806 BREN-2 assault rifles were recently supplied to the Ukrainian Army and reinforcements by the Czech Republic. BREN-2 rifles all appear to be chambered in 5.56x45mm, so far. These rifles are used by various foreign fighters, including Belarusians and Brazilians. However, we have seen them in Ukraine with two different barrel lengths, 11" and 14".
Another Czech-made weapon in use by Georgians in Ukraine is the single-shot 68mm RPG-75-M anti-tank weapon. The RPG-75 anti-tank weapon was originally produced in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s, and the RPG-75-M is a modernized version of this weapon.
Figure 1.5: Georgian combatants with AKM rifles (with a slab-side mag) and an RPG-75-M disposable anti-tank weapon.
Small arms like the BREN-2 rifles were supplied to the Ukrainian Army and its supporters by the Czech Republic recently. Photos from the battlefield have even included RPG-75-Ms produced in 2022 among the incoming supply of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.
In addition to all these modern weapons, the small arms supplied to Ukraine by various NATO countries are also in the hands of the Georgian Legion.
Figure 1.6: Georgian combatants with various modern weapons.
In Figure 1.6, we see Georgian warriors wielding a variety of small arms. They include:
FGM-148 Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) - supplied by the USA
NLAW ATGMs (MBT LAWs) - supplied by the UK
FIM-92 Stinger Man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) - supplied by the USA
Pansarskott m/86 anti-tank weapons - supplied by Sweden
A rare "Accuracy International” AWM sniper rifle.
Barrett M107A1 anti-material rifle with a suppressor.
In addition to these, the fighters in Figure 1.6 are also seen carrying a PKM machine gun, AK-74 rifles and an RPD light machine gun.
Various groups and foreign battalions supporting Ukraine, including the Georgian Legion, have also been seen carrying the Italian-made Beretta M42/59 machine gun.
Figure 1.7: CZ 806 BREN-2 assault rifle Beretta MG 42/59 Machine gun, currently owned by Georgian combatants.
These machine guns are often confused with the MG 42 and MG 3 variants. However, they can be distinguished thanks to various details such as the nozzle. The MG 42/59, like the MG3, is also chambered for 7.62x51mm.
Other rare, noteworthy weapons in use on the battlefield in Ukraine include the Yugoslavian copy of the AKMS rifle, the Zastava M70AB2 assault rifle, and the Czech Škorpion vz. 61 submachine gun.
Figure 1.8: Zastava M70AB2 assault rifle and Czech Škorpion vz. 61 submachine gun, currently owned by Georgian combatants.
It was possible to come across these weapons in Ukraine long before the war. However, it can also be said that they are less common than other rifles and submachine guns.
In addition to the listed modern weapons above, Georgian combatants started operating another modern platform recently, the RDW 90 'MATADOR' (Man-portable Anti-Tank, Anti-DOoR) recoilless gun, manufactured by Dynamit Nobel Defense (DND).
Figure 1.9: Georgian combatant with an RGW 90 ‘MATADOR’ recoilless gun and an AKM rifle.
Figure 1.10: Georgian combatant with an RGW 90 ‘MATADOR’ recoilless gun and an AKM rifle.
A total of 5,100 RGW 90 recoilless guns were recently ordered by the Ukrainian Army. And 2,650 RGW 90s were already delivered to the Ukrainian Army and its supporters on March 26, 2022. It has also been announced that the remainder of the order will be delivered piecemeal by May.
Figure 1.11: Georgian combatants with Bulgarian TM-62M anti-tank landmines. These landmines were also previously purchased from Bulgaria by the Ukrainian Army.
Figure 1.12: Soviet “RKG-3EM” anti-tank hand grenades, currently owned by Georgian combatants.
In early May, it was also seen that Georgian fighters were equipped with 5.56x45mm FN SCAR-L Mk2 assault rifles. These modern rifles were sent by Belgium to the Ukrainian Army and their allies.
The Georgian Legion are clearly one of the best-equipped foreign battalions currently fighting in support of Ukraine. Given the aid to the Ukrainian Army that is still expected to pour in from other countries, it would not be surprising to see a wider variety of modern weapons used by Georgian fighters in the near-future as the conflict continues.