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Commandos in the Northern Wind 2019

There have been very few times in history, when a peacetime military training exercise of a non-aligned country has carried as much weight as the recent Swedish Northern Wind 2019. The 10 000-soldier exercise was the biggest showcase of interoperability and co-operation the region has seen.
The unscripted force on force exercise provided a perfect platform for two separate integration experiments. A Swedish/Finnish brigade was formed around a Swedish mechanized battalion. The joint brigade contained a 1500-man Finnish contingent. This was the largest military force Finland has sent beyond its borders since 1944, and it was gathered from several Finnish brigades and consisted mostly of conscripts. The combined Finnish and Swedish force with their heavy armor and artillery assets were assigned to delay and defend the northern Sweden from the other joint force coming from the north west.
Norwegian army gathered up a combined arms brigade, which was then reinforced by United States Marine C…
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Russian Paratroopers on the Waves

For the last three centuries the Naval Infantry was the sole force in Russia trained to conduct forced landings to seashores. In 2017 the Russian military reforms reached a point that more amphibious landing capable forces were needed. In a surprising moment of military insight, they begun training the VDV airborne forces to conduct amphibious landings on their own.
The 2017 test runs were followed up with joint exercises between the Naval Infantry and the VDV. The VDV brings some unique capabilities to the table, as it’s a service that is specialized in expeditionary operations. The combined air and naval landings also allow the Russian armed forces to move in significantly more men and machines that either of the branches could ferry on their own.
In the beginning of the February 2019 the Russian marines based in the occupied Ukrainian territory of Crimea conducted a routine landing drill to an unprepared beachhead. The Russian armed forces TV-channel provided an interesting insight …

Quick guide to identifying the Russian tanks Part 1: main platforms and T-72 variants

As most of the western nations have reduced their inventories to a few or mostly one type of main battle tank model in their active inventories, the myriad of tank platforms and distinct versions employed by the Russian armed forces may feel overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to identifying Russian MBTs. When you come across an image (or the actual thing), follow the steps to identify it properly.



Family of the tankRussian Armed Forces currently operates, or at least storage, the following tank platforms/families: -T-55 (<2000 in storage) -T-62 (2000 in storage) -T-64 (2000 in storage) -T-72 (2000 active duty, 8000 in storage) -T-80 (2000 active duty, 5000 in storage) -T-90 (350 active duty, 600 in storage) -T-14 (20 in field testing)
So how can you identify what type of a tank are you looking at?
There are two features that can be used to distinguishing the tank families: The roadwheel placement and the exhaust ports. The older and smaller T-55 and T-62 have five roadwheels in their suspe…

9000 Tons of Steel: Russian Tank Drills in the Urals

After a flurry of rather disinformative “Tank Carousel” news from Russia the latest reportage from the Russian armed force tank exercise is much more interesting. At the beginning of August the handily named 90th Guards Vitebsk-Novgorod twice Red Banner Tank Division held it’s first divisional sized combat and live fire exercise at Cherbakul in the Chelyabinsk region.
The 90th division, that is stationed in the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions, was founded in 2016 and is one of the heaviest hitting Russian formations around. It has a similar structure as the 4th Kantemirovskaya Tank Division that is part of the 1st Guards Tank Army.
The 90th Tank Division consists of the following units: •Headquarters •6th Guards Lvov Tank Regiment  •80th Tank Regiment •239th Guards Tank Regiment •228th Motorized Rifle Regiment •400th Transylvania Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment  •Anti-Aircraft Regiment •30th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion •351st Separate Engineer Sapper Battalion •33rd Separa…

The Russian ”Tank Circus”

The Russian media has published several articles about the latest round of live fire drills by the Russian tank forces. The first brief mentions caught my attention as they described a new tank tactic based on the experiences of the Russian expeditionary force in Syria.

The details about the new tactic were scarce but there were mentions of continuous movement and a steady barrage of main gun fire. On 4th of July, the RIA published an in depth article about the 20th combined Arms Army’s field training of the new tactics (Translated to English by Sputnik)

The “Tank Carousel” is simply a drill in which a tanks of a formation, be it a platoon or a company, move around a set perimeter firing the from vantage points or openings in a berm and then move off to safety while another one moves in to the same spot to fire. 
This does allow the unit to maintain sustained 125 mm tank gun fire at a target area. Another part of the said tank formation would be hiding further back camouflaged and s…

Joint drills in the north

Two major international military exercises are currently happening on the shores of the Gulf of Finland the Siil2018 and Arrow18. The Siil 2018 is the main exercise of the Estonian Defense Forces. This multinational exercise is focused on testing the Estonian capability to defend its territory and receive international assistance to its small but effective fighting force.
The previously light infantry oriented Estonian Army is rapidly mechanizing itself with K9 SPG:s and CV90 IFV:s. The reservist based army is supported by a rather large and extremely well motivated Kaitseliit home guard.

The initial phase of the Siil2018 is a mobilization test, that is a crucial part of a reservist army’s defense operation. After the forces are assembled the exercise will turn into a force on force drill, where the international element together with the 2nd Estonian Brigade will train to retake a region overrun by hostile forces. This international element comprises of NATO allies and Finnish comba…

Israeli strikes on Syria, success on many levels

On May 9th the Iranian Quds force that belongs into the Revolutionary Guards Corps launched a rocket salvo against the Israeli forces in the Golan heights. The IDF had anticipated the move and placed several Iron Dome batteries to protect the region, so the attack did very little damage and several rockets were shot down.
There have been conflicting reports on whether the weapon used to attack Israel was a Russian built BM-27 Uragan or an indigenous Iranian Fajr-5.
The Fajr-5 system is an indigenous Iranian 333 mm artillery rocket that is mounted on Mercedes-Benz 2624 trucks in 4-tube launchers. System has a maximum range of 75 km and rather abysmal accuracy with a 3 km CEP. Combination of a 900 kg class conventional warhead and the low accuracy makes the FAJR-5 more of a terror weapon than any kind of precision battlefield instrument.

The Israeli Air-force had apparently been waiting for a provocation as the resulting counterattack against the launchers and the Iranian military infra…