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Contract servicemen of the Western Military District took part in the Russian Tank Biathlon tournament

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The first stage of tank biathlon tournament kicked off today at the Kamenka tank field. It has the same idea as the winter sport version. And qualification for this tournament is serious – the best of the best contractors are chosen.

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Winners will go to All-Russia championship. Where, it is worth mentioning, tank crews of the Western Military District won almost all medals last year. Tank racing in Alexey Zhukov’s report.

Alexey Zhukov, reporter: “In modern day army, a tank is ranked first among ground motorized military troops. During fighting, aviation and artillery clear the ground and then infantry steps in, covered by these war toys. But without coordinated work of the crew this is just a pile of metal”

4 rounds on a 7-kilometer track, culminated by shooting. Calling this an easy sport for those inside the tank would be wrong. Tank biathlon is a combination of all possible moves in one complex procedure. The T-72 crews must memorize their route, be the first to load ammunition and, the most spectacular and loud, hit a target from 1800 meters.

If you miss, you get a penalty round. The distance is much bigger than at usual trainings. They know in advance that they will have to deal with “a snake”, “an angled hill”, “a bridge” and “anti-tank trench”. The rest is secret right until the beginning. Today the crews tested their skills in three firing exercises: from the main gun on the spot, while moving and machine gun fire. And young tank operators say there’s nothing difficult in a tank. It takes a little more than a week to learn the basics. From then on all one has to do is master the skills, speed and marksmanship.

Denis Akishin, mechanic-driver, sergeant: “Simply driving and shooting is quite boring. But when you have it all together, that’s when the fun starts. And when we have to compete with each other – it gets even more fun. If you win – you’re glad, if you lose – you look at your mistakes and try to mend them”

The Russian qualification stage has more than 30 teams. Only 4 of them will make it into the finals. The tournament takes place on 4 tank fields located in Moscow, Leningrad, Murmansk and Nizhny Novgorod regions.

Andrey Arkhipov, temp. Commander of motorized military brigade of Western Military District: “First of all, it is done in a competitive form, that’s why personnel puts more input than during military practice. Each exercise is aimed at preparing a certain stage”

Winning the Russian tournament would mean qualification for the World Cup. In August last year it was held for the first time, outside of Moscow. Crews from the Kamenka brought back awards for the best aimer and driver-mechanic, the best commander and the best crew. This year the race of 40-ton machines is also scheduled for the summer’s end. We’re expecting a victory from the team of the Western Military District

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