The large-scale paratrooper exercises, which were held from 9 to 11 February, were the first for the Airborne Forces this year. More than 1,500 servicemen, about 100 units of military and special equipment, as well as seven Il-76MD aircraft of military transport aviation were involved in them. They were held on the territory of Ivanovo, Kostroma and Yaroslavl regions. On these days in the region, night temperatures dropped to minus 30, but they did not become a hindrance, on the contrary, they helped to work out the Arctic variant of landing and practicing combat operations to capture and destroy the control point and the camp of the conditional enemy.
In principle, these were already familiar exercises for the paratroopers and they can be called “large-scale” rather conditionally, rather they are divisional exercises in which units and subunits of the 98th Airborne Forces were involved, the headquarters of this unit is deployed in the city of Ivanovo. The maneuvers were attended by servicemen of the 217th Airborne Regiment, as well as the 331st Airborne Regiment (the first in the RF Armed Forces was awarded the title “Shock”) and the 1065th Artillery Regiment – both stationed in the city of Kostroma, but are part of the 98th 1st division. Taking into account the fact that the divisional training complex is located near the village of Pesochnoe in the Yaroslavl Region, the region of the maneuvers is also understandable.
The course of the exercise is also fairly standard for the paratroopers. After loading into the Il-76 at the Ivanovo-Severny airfield (the Kostroma residents had to make a 100-kilometer march along the road), the planes took off in the direction of the Budikhino landing site in the Kostroma region (about 90 kilometers in a straight line). Then, as usual: from heaven to earth – into battle. During the landing, the main parachute systems D-10 were used, as well as the controlled dome-wings “Crossbow-2”. The equipment was delivered to the ground by means of multi-dome parachute systems, including the new Bakhcha-U-PDS parachute system.
Having made a multi-kilometer raid on snow-covered roads and successfully capturing the line at the Pesochny range, the paratroopers worked out a number of combat training missions there. They also conducted live firing from the BMD-2 standard armament, AK-12 assault rifles, PKM and Pecheneg machine guns, RPG-7D grenade launchers and sniper weapons, 120-mm 2S9 Nona-S self-propelled artillery guns and 122-mm D howitzers -thirty.
In general, the usual set for exercises of this level. Their peculiarity can be considered precisely the difficult climatic conditions in which the paratroopers had to operate. Such cold weather is a test not only for people, but also for technology. It seems that everyone survived. Paratroopers need such skills, including with the expectation of actions in Arctic conditions. Here you can recall that “settling” the Arctic, the Russian army held the first exercises here in March 2014 as part of the battalion of the Ivanovo airborne unit.
Then here, on Kotelny Island, 350 paratroopers and 4 parachute platforms with military equipment and 40 tons of various cargoes landed by parachute. The level of those exercises is evidenced by the fact that the paratroopers within an hour provided the previously mothballed runway of the Temp airfield to receive the BTA aircraft. And this is at a temperature of minus 40-50. Then even the polar bears, who consider the island their territory, fled.
One of the largest-scale exercises of the Russian army in the Arctic was held in March 2015. About 80 thousand people and 220 units of aviation equipment were involved in them – strategic bombers, fighter-interceptors and helicopters.
The Northern Fleet with its grouping of ships practiced the tasks of destroying the naval grouping of the conditional enemy and transferring troops over long distances.
You can also recall the truly historic landing that was carried out by the special forces of the Airborne Forces on March 26, 2020 – they made parachute jumps from a height of 10 thousand meters in Arctic conditions and landed on the island of Franz Josef Land. Then new parachute systems, navigation and oxygen equipment, special equipment and uniforms for polar conditions were tested.
The Il-76 aircraft of the military transport aviation that arrived after, dropped three platforms with a special cargo, the total weight of which was 15 tons. Ammunition and equipment, a field kitchen and even snowmobiles were delivered to the ground. The commander of those exercises, Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant General Yunus-Bek Evkurov (a graduate of the Ryazan Airborne School) said that before the Russian Airborne Forces, no one in the world did this, for the paratroopers now there are no unattainable points on Earth.
The current exercises of the 78th Airborne Division, although not so far from home, were “sharpened” specifically for the Arctic version. By the way, these days, according to Yandex-Weather, on Kotelny Island in the Arctic, the thermometer dropped to minus 28 degrees – about the same were night temperatures in Ivanovo, Kostroma and Yaroslavl regions. With the current abundance of snow in the central part of Russia, the conditions are as close as possible to the Far North, you can not fly to the Arctic, but work out combat training tasks practically without leaving your home.
What is one of the main conditions for a soldier in combat conditions in the winter? That’s right – keep warm. During the Great Patriotic War, in the cold winter of 1941-1942, Soviet soldiers were rescued by quilted jackets, they are also quilted jackets, wadded pants, felt boots and sheepskin coats, in which the “general frost” is not terrible.
The current winter version of the “Ratnik” complex, which the airborne troops are equipped with, in addition to the means of protection and communication, has means of heat supply and insulation, allowing them to feel comfortable in any frost. By the way, it also provides for such a function as, sorry, the ability to quickly get to personal belongings and go “for a little”. American soldiers have a problem with this – they cannot do without an insulated closet.
Hot food is also important. During the landing on Kotelny Island, the soldiers had it three times a day, plus the opportunity to drink hot tea, and, of course, sandwiches with bacon, allowing to preserve heat exchange. This experience of logistics was carried over to any other Russian exercises taking place in winter.
But American soldiers have repeatedly been openly freezing in exercises beyond the Arctic Circle because of inappropriate Arctic uniforms. The Joint Viking exercises (this year Norway canceled the Joint Viking-2021 exercises), which are usually held near the Russian-Norwegian border, during which the US Marines are unable to operate due to temperatures below minus 40 degrees, have already become the talk of the town. They have banal machine guns and zippers on their trousers. How to fight here? It is impossible to get used to the cold, but not everyone succeeds in tolerating it. Russian paratroopers are patient guys.