200th Motorized Brigade Performing Exercises In Pechenega, Murmansk


It is impossible to put the emotions that you get at a live-firing range into words. The ears get plugged up from the noise of rounds being fired, and the air has a heavy smell of gunpowder, making it hard to breathe. This is the mobile rocket launch system “Grad”, which first entered service in 1963 and has a launcher with 40 tubes for rockets. It has served in many major armed conflicts, including  the wars in Angola, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and in South Ossetia.

This here is the Tunguska short range air defense system. Learning to operate the system can take as much as 5 years. The Tunguska is mostly automated, but can be operated manually, as well. This is the self propelled howitzer “Msta-S”, which can fire rounds at distances of more than 30 km. And these tanks fire so quickly and maneuver so swiftly, that it’s hard to guess that they are being operated by novices. These young men arrived here from the training center in Kaliningrad just 3 months ago.

The commander was quite pleased with how his men performed today. However, improvements can be made, and the commander has already expressed his criticism. The 200th motorized brigade regularly performs such exercises, even in the dark; every 3rd exercise is performed at night. The only thing that disappoints the commander is the fact that the conscripts, who will have learned everything by the year’s end, will go back home soon, and the process of training young soldiers to defend their country will have to be started all over again.


More photos here.


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