By Konstantin Yevmenov
The air force was sent aloft, also practicing sudden strike repulses, while tanks and infantry fighting vehicles practiced hitting firing range targets. This year, the unexpected element was that the entire staff — from private to general — reacted to a battle alarm. The sudden character of the campaign allowed maximum objective assessment of combat readiness — vital if servicemen are to remain always alert. The quick reaction forces, who are to be the first to defend the country in case of an emergency situation, were at the forefront of the test.
Altogether, around a thousand military and several hundred fighting machines took part in this year’s practice. Firing ranges in the Brest and Vitebsk regions saw real hostilities with unmanned aircraft used for detecting enemy raiding parties for the first time. Fighting vehicle columns were accompanied by the air force.
According to the plan, air defence forces supported the rocket battalion from Domanovo firing range in the Brest Region. The soldiers were to hit seven targets: two weather balloons, a dummy combat helicopter and four high-speed rockets. The latter were in the sky for no longer than ten seconds, so reaching them required skill and professionalism from anti-aircraft gunners. Vitebsk’s military also played their part, as the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Leonid Maltsev, and CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha watched the action.
Usually, almost a thousand soldiers are brought to Losvido firing range but, this year, the location changed to an unknown site in the Lepel District. Mr. Bordyuzha praised the precise and well-coordinated ‘flying infantry’. Meanwhile, our paratroopers were visited by American colleagues, who practiced alongside them and learnt about the military history of the famous brigade.
Another two military subdivisions in Slonim were also raised by the alarm, using 70 vehicles and 60 tanks to force a pontoon bridge crossing and to arrive at Obuz-Lesnovsky firing range. There, they were met by gun targets. It took only a few seconds for the experienced T-72 tank crews to deploy their laser-sights and hit targets.
According to the Defence Ministry’s press service, the event is yet to be thoroughly assessed but the high level of military professionalism shown by Belarusian servicemen seems undisputable.