With the Biathlon starting on the 1st of August, I thought I would provide a quick update. Since this is a fairly new event I will provide instructions on what the rules for the event are.
Tank crews from four continents have flocked to the Alabino firing range near Moscow to take part in the World Championship Tank Biathlon 2015. The contest route is more difficult this year with additional obstacles and new gun practice tests.
All 13 teams but one will use Russian-made T-72B3 tanks. The Chinese, as in 2014, have arrived in Moscow with their own tank, the TYPE 96A.
“Every army should drive vehicles of its own, that is in the inventory,” Chinese serviceman Wey Usulin told Moscow 24 TV channel. “Our tanks have a lot in common [with Russian vehicles] so we plan not just to participate in the championship, we aim to win,” he said.
Every team gets four armored vehicles: three for the competition and a spare one. According to the rules, the maintenance of the vehicles is the responsibility of the crews themselves.
India’s team is optimistic about doing well. After getting their tanks, they bless the machines and do a thorough check of every vehicle to ensure everything is absolute tip-top. During the tank contest, the vehicles are subjected to the kind of extremes they would encounter on a real battlefield.
Teams have to draw lots for their tanks. This year the drawing procedure was made using empty cartridges of different colors, which define the color of the armored vehicle the team will operate.
As last year, the Russian team has received red tanks for the initial stage of the contest. In the first round of the championship, the Russian tank men will challenge crews from Angola using blue tanks and Mongolia who have green ones.
This year the obstacles have been made more complex. In addition to the already known tricky traps of counterscarps, a fording site and flame obstacle, some new elements have been added, as well as new types of gunnery exercises.
The organizers won’t reveal what exactly awaits the competitors in August. But it’s known that test rides have shown that instead of last year’s 23 minutes needed to complete a run, this year it will take at least 28 minutes, a further five minutes of the utmost exertion for the crews and tanks.
The technical teams have also improved the screening technology of the contest at the firing range, which will bring even more thrilling pictures to TV viewers later on.
About 100 cameras will take capture the event, including ones mounted on UAVs, helicopters and hidden under armored hoods next to targets to record at a close range the moment a shell hits the target. There will be 32 cameras doing their job remotely and from behind armored glass.
The first rides of the international battle of the tanks are slated for August 1.
Two crews of a tank and APC, which has won the Russian ‘Tank biathlon – 2014’ contest have been awarded with models of their battle vehicles made of gold. The miniatures were crafted at the original armored vehicles industrial plants.
The championship between the crews of Russian armored vehicles conducted at the Alabino shooting range in the Moscow region ended with a win for a tank crew from Russia’s Western Military District. A combat team from the Eastern Military won the APC crews’ contest.
The commands were awarded with challenge cups, which they will keep for a year. The tank crew winners were given gold-plated miniatures of Russia’s main battle tank – the T-72B, while the winning APC crew bagged a gold replica of the more common BTR-2. The teams get to keep their military miniatures for all time.
Crews of BMD-4M airborne fighting vehicles take part in the Tank Biathlon-2014 competitions at the Alabino training center of the Second Taman Guards Motorized Rifle Division. (RIA Novosti/Kirill Kallinikov)
Deputy Chief Ground Forces Commander, Lieutenant-General Aleksandr Lentsov told journalists he was fully satisfied with the military skills of the tankers and mechanized infantry crews.
Tank crews of the Western and Eastern Military Districts during the Tank Biathlon 2014 competition. (RIA Novosti/Kirill Kallinikov)
The international phase of the competition will take place at the same Alabino range on August 4-16. Crews from 12 countries, primarily the Commonwealth of Independent States, but also China and India, have applied to take part in the contest. It is expected that some crews will be competing in armored vehicles of a national design.
The tank biathlon is a new paramilitary sport and a complex test for tank crew proficiency and gunnery precision skills. The first tank biathlon competition was arranged last year.
Crews of BMD-4M armored infantry fighting vehicles during Tank Biathlon 2014 competition held at the shooting range of the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Tamanskaya Division in Alabino village. (RIA Novosti/Kirill Kallinikov)
The basic idea behind the tank contest is simple and repeats the rules of the classic biathlon: cover about 20km in the shortest time, while successfully hitting your targets using a 9mm machine gun, a 12.5mm anti-aircraft machine-gun and naturally the tank’s main gun. The targets are not static; they appear suddenly and for a limited time, emerging at various distances from 600 meters to up to 2km.
The crew of a BMD-4M airborne fighting vehicle takes part in the Tank Biathlon-2014 competitions at the Alabino training center of the Taman Motorized Rifle Division. (RIA Novosti/Kirill Kallinikov)
There are five targets at each stage. No tank leaves the range without hitting all targets, those who missed have to cover penalty loops of 500 meters.
The crew should not only hit each one, but sometimes make an immediate decision in which consequence to hit multiple targets: the most ‘dangerous’ should be eliminated first.
This is not just a competition of armored vehicles; it’s a team game where every man contributes to the final result.
Russian Tank Biathlon 2015 Regional Games Rules
In Russian army there is some not usual event they have every year since recently. They call it “The Tank Biathlon”. Sort of big bunch of tanks with colored flags each compete for some targets. But because this is a pan Russian game they need to supply only a few teams so they have pre-qualification games in regions to select the best of the best to go compete in federal tournament. So these are the regional games among a few tank regiments of Russia. Yuri, the photographer, has visited those and here are some photos:
All tanks that participate in a game are T-72B. Those appeared in Russian army first in 1984 and still are in majority after last year Ministry of Defense dropped the use of T-80 tanks.
The red one is ready to go.
Each tank has three people crew: the officer, the aimer, and the driver.
Each crew has its own color of the flag. Also each crew represents a single regiment.
There are a few stages of the game. For example tanks compete in racing on the racetrack of 7 km long.
Four tanks race each other and do four laps.
So they race and then stop for shooting. Just like real biathlon.
Racetracks have special obstacles – trenches, poles, barriers etc. They have to maneuver and overcome those.
After the tank is arriving to each shooting point the crew has to get out of the tank and line up near the machine.
The judges watch from the nearby towers and allow the crew to start shooting.
Tanks have to shoot from their main canons, then from machine guns and smaller machine guns on top.
Each tank has got two attempts to hit the targets. In case it misses it gets penalized with 500 meter more on a racetrack. Also if the tank hits some obstacles it gets 10 seconds penalty time.
Shooting from the machine gun.
Crossing the obstacles.
Some shooting points were requiring the tanks to stop first then shoot. Others were meant to shoot while moving.
At the end the “winners” would have to participate in “International Biathlon” with over twenty countries including: India, Serbia, China, Kuwait, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus etc. They say they have sent the invitations to over forty countries including ones of NATO block. The first year they made this competition back in 2013 only four ex Soviet countries were competing.