Thank you to all those who took a stand against the Axis forces and helped save the world!
The “Gvozdika” self-propelled howitzers rain a barrage of shells on the coastline. According the the training specifications, a fleet of landing ships has reached the beach, but the artillery battery will not allow them to unload their forces. The explosions in the water increase: the self-propelled howitzers are receiving help from mortars. The enemy continues to advance, so the brigade retreats, but this is only a maneuver that was pre-planned by the commanders.
“We let the enemy take the territory temporarily, then attack them with a second division,” stated Sergey Pushkin, the commander of the Marine brigade. This type of strategy is known as the “defensive maneuver”, in which part of the battalion which began the initial resistance begins to retreat in order to reload and regroup, and as the enemy moves in to finish them off, they get cut off by fire from another division. Here, grenadiers, shooters, and snipers are covered by heavy machine gun fire from the BTR’s. They, too, try to not get too involved in battle, several minutes of non-stop shooting and they retreat, as well. The Black Berets confuse the enemy and cause his forces to end up spread out all over the area.
We are currently located several kilometers from the ocean, where a 3rd defensive division has been set up, assisted by flamethrowers. This is the same division that was participating in the initial attack on the enemy’s landing ships, which is once again providing resistance to the enemy after having rested and reloaded. The rest of the battalion comes to their assistance, and they simultaneously attack the enemy with grenade launchers, artillery, and machine guns from armored personal carriers, and the field in front of them literally boils; the enemy had no chance. After the training, the Naval Infantry get a new objective: this time they will be the ones landing on a beach.
The Marines take cover. This time, the Marines are not carrying out attack missions, but instead, defending the beach from the enemy. The Marines don’t stay in one position for long; they must move around on BTR-80 APC’s. The soldiers taking part in today’s training have been serving for at least half a year. At a neighboring spot, similar exercises are being performed by the mortar platoon. For the Marines to get the mortars set up and camouflage themselves with the surroundings, less than 5 minutes passes. The commander spots the target, and the mortar operator prepares to fire, though for these tests, dummy rounds are used rather than live ones. After firing, and the platoon moves back a few kilometers and sets up a new position so that the enemy is unable to engage them. The skills of the Russian Marines will be tested during the summer, where they will take part in major exercises on the beaches of Sakhalin.
More photos here.
Denis Shikov has been serving in the Russian Marines for only three months, but the machine gun has never left his side. He studies the weapon both in theory and practicability, especially considering that this is new technology that has only recently been adopted by Russia’s armed forces. The PKP, also known as the Pecheneg, is quite new. It has its own cooling system which keeps the barrel cool, allowing the shooter to fire non-stop without replacing the barrel. Visually, the only differences from the legendary PKM machine gun are the carrying handle, the black synthetic stock, and the new repositioned bi-pod.
Today, all of the soldiers training at the range are young men, conscripted into the Russian armed forces at the end of last year. The results of their training are already visible. The training program for the air assault troops is designed specifically so that they can learn everything at once. Passing through barbed wire and firing at targets while on the run are just a small part of their training procedures. Closer to summer, they will begin training parachute jumps, but for now, the weather dictates the conditions for training. Due to the cold weather and frost, the soldiers must take a break every 30-40 minutes in special “warm-up points” located near every training location. Today, the weather is -20 C, but inside the tent it is warm. The heater is on, and the sandwiches and hot tea are aplenty. Under these conditions, serving in the military is not a burden.
After the short break, it’s back to the firing range. Here, it is pretty simple. Up ahead is a mock-up of an enemy that needs to be destroyed. Ivan Gerasev has the right to not just hit the target in the center, but a little to the right or left, as well, due to the high explosiveness of the RPG rounds. Of course, this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t try to hit the 10 every time he fires the RPG-7 to boost his skills to an elite level, for which time and RPG rounds are certainly expendable. Such tests are performed three times a week. Right now, the training is going according to schedule. By spring, the soldiers will not only need to learn to shoot well, but to function correctly as a squad, and after they pass all tests, they will be able to claim the black beret, the reward for a man for whom nothing is impossible.