Tank biathlon

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Four T-72B tanks of the participants, 2013 T-72B -TankBiathlon2013-01.jpg
Four T-72B tanks of the participants, 2013
Russian T-72B, 2013 T-72B - TankBiathlon2013-27.jpg
Russian T-72B, 2013
T-80U tanks waltzing at the show, 2013 T-80U - TankBiathlon2013-13.jpg
T-80U tanks waltzing at the show, 2013

The tank biathlon is a mechanised military sport event promoted by the Russian military with some similarities to the winter sport of biathlon. It utilizes the complex training of tank crews including their rough terrain passing skills combined with the ability to provide accurate and rapid fire while performing maneuvers. [1]

Biathlon winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle sports shooting

The biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It is treated as a race where the contestant with the shortest total time wins. Depending on the competition, missed shots result in extra distance or time being added to the contestant's total.

Tank Tracked heavy armored fighting vehicle

A tank is an armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat. Tanks have heavy firepower, strong armour, and good battlefield manoeuvrability provided by tracks and a powerful engine; usually their main armament is mounted in a turret. They are a mainstay of modern 20th and 21st century ground forces and a key part of combined arms combat.

Contents

Description

One of the shooting targets used in tank biathlon (dimensions in centimeters) Mishen' No. 12 <<Tank>>.svg
One of the shooting targets used in tank biathlon (dimensions in centimeters)

Participating tanks drive a three-lap route of 6–10 km. During the first lap, crews fire at targets positioned at distances of 1,800, 1,700 and 1,500 m. In the second lap, different targets imitating an anti-tank mortar (RPG) squad and an infantry unit are fired upon. These targets are at a distance of 600–700 m, and must be engaged with a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. In the third lap the tank crews fire at targets shaped like an anti-tank gun and ATGM unit using of the turret-mounted heavy machine gun at a distance of 1,200 m. One or more misses leads to an extra penalty lap 500 m long. On the final lap tanks have to go through various terrain obstacles; an obstacle missed or improperly traversed adds 10 seconds to the crew's final timing.

Rocket-propelled grenade Shoulder-launched anti-tank weapon

A rocket-propelled grenade is a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon system that fires rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. Most RPGs can be carried by an individual soldier. These warheads are affixed to a rocket motor which propels the RPG towards the target and they are stabilized in flight with fins. Some types of RPG are reloadable with new rocket-propelled grenades, while others are single-use. RPGs, with some exceptions, are generally loaded from the muzzle.

Machine gun fully automatic mounted or portable firearm

A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm designed to fire rifle cartridges in rapid succession from an ammunition belt or magazine. Not all fully automatic firearms are machine guns. Submachine guns, rifles, assault rifles, battle rifles, shotguns, pistols or cannons may be capable of fully automatic fire, but are not designed for sustained fire. As a class of military rapid-fire guns, machine guns are fully automatic weapons designed to be used as support weapons and generally used when attached to a mount or fired from the ground on a bipod or tripod. Many machine guns also use belt feeding and open bolt operation, features not normally found on rifles.

Anti-tank gun artillery for combat against armored vehicles

An Anti-tank gun is a form of artillery designed to destroy tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, normally from a static defensive position. The development of specialized anti-tank munitions and anti-tank guns was prompted by the appearance of tanks during World War I. To destroy hostile tanks, artillerymen often used field guns depressed to fire directly at their targets. However, this practice expended too much valuable ammunition and was of increasingly limited effectiveness as tank armor became thicker. The first dedicated anti-tank artillery began appearing in the 1920s and by World War II was a common appearance in many European armies. In order to penetrate armor they fired specialized ammunition from longer barrels to achieve a higher muzzle velocity than field guns. Most anti-tank guns were developed in the 1930s as improvements in tanks were noted, and nearly every major arms manufacturer produced one type or another.

Events

The United States received an official invitation in 2013 and an unofficial invitation in 2017. [2] In 2014, 41 countries received the invitation. [3]

International Competition, 2013

The first international tank biathlon competition was held at the Alabino proving ground in the Moscow Oblast, on 12–17 August 2013. Four teams took part in the competition: Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Moscow Oblast First-level administrative division of Russia

Moscow Oblast, or Podmoskovye, is a federal subject of Russia. With a population of 7,095,120 living in an area of 44,300 square kilometers (17,100 sq mi), it is one of the most densely populated regions in the country and is the second most populous federal subject. The oblast has no official administrative center; its public authorities are located in Moscow and across other locations in the oblast.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is, by a considerable margin, the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Armenia Republic in South Caucasus in West Asia

Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located in Western Asia on the Armenian Highlands, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.

PlaceTeamRange 1Range 2Range 3Total time
HPHPHP
1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 10002023:44
2Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 01101224:36
3Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 00102125:25
4Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia 01101229:48

1st Tank Biathlon World Championship, 2014

The 1st Tank Biathlon World Championship  [ ru ] took place at the Alabino proving ground on 4–16 August 2014. Out of 41 nations that received invitation to the tournament, 12 sent their representatives. Every competitor (except Teams China and Russia) received a T-72B tank in the biathlon color scheme. Team Russia piloted the newest modification, T-72B3, and Team China brought their own Type 96A.

T-72 Soviet second-generation main battle tank

The T-72 is a family of Soviet main battle tanks that first entered production in 1971. About 20,000 T-72 tanks were built, making it one of the most widely produced post-World War II tanks, second only to the T-54/55 family. The T-72A version introduced in 1979 is considered a second-generation main battle tank. It was widely exported and saw service in 40 countries and in numerous conflicts. The T-72B3 version introduced in 2010 is considered a third-generation main battle tank.

Type 96 tank Chinese Second Generation main battle tank (MBT)

The Type 96 or ZTZ96 is a Chinese second generation main battle tank (MBT). The final evolution of the Type 88 design, the Type 96 entered service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 1997. The later variants of the Type 96 are regarded as near-equivalents to China's third generation MBT.

Russian preliminaries for the event ran in several of military districts of Russia. Each district sent its top crews to compete for the Cup of Russia, and 3 finalists from that event formed the national Team Russia for the World Championship.

Participating nations also held preliminaries on their own, sending 3 top crews and a reserve crew accompanied by maintenance and repair personnel to Russia.

Random selection placed teams under following colors:

ColorTeam
1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
2Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia
3Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela
4Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
5Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
6Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
7Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
8Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
9Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
10Flag of India.svg  India
11Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
12Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait

First legs of the tournament consisted of:

Final

The final competition was a relay race, the top 4 teams fielded all their crews taking turns.

Total timeTeam
75:14Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
80:03Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
90:56Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
94:11Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan

2nd Tank Biathlon World Championship, 2015

A Chinese Type 96A at the 2015 tank biathlon Type 96A - Tankbiathlon15finalp1-15.jpg
A Chinese Type 96A at the 2015 tank biathlon

The second event of the series took part on 1–15 August 2015 at the same venue in Alabino. This year the Tank Biathlon was held as a headliner of the 2015 International Army Games  [ ru ] that included similar competitions for all things military, from artillery (Masters of Fire) and air force (Aviadarts) to field kitchens.

The athletic stage for the crews was removed from schedule.

Veteran of both previous events, Team Belarus decided to participate in the Army Games "only in the disciplines where we are absolutely ready" and thus didn't apply for the Tank Biathlon (after finishing only 5th last year). Consequently, Belarus won 3 gold, 50 silver and 249 bronze awards and finished 3rd in the total medal score of the Army Games, being surpassed only by Russia and China.

The Nicaragua and Tajikistan national teams joined the event for the first time.

All teams were piloting upgraded T-72B3 tanks, excluding Team China which continued to field its own Type 96A.

List of participants with color scheme:

ColorTeam
1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
2Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela
3Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
4Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
5Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua
6Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
7Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
8Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan
9Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia
10Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
11Flag of India.svg  India
12Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
13Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait

1/2 final

Total timeTeam
73:30Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
77:32Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
78:18Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
83:23Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
94:12Flag of India.svg  India
97:06Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
120:04Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan
DSQFlag of Armenia.svg  Armenia

Final

Total timeTeam
72:09Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
79:21Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
84:56Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
86:16Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan

3rd Tank Biathlon World Championship, 2016

The third Tank Biathlon took place in Alabino as part of the 2nd International Army Games  [ ru ] on 30 July–13 August. [4]

PlaceTeam
1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
2Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
3Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
4Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
5Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
6Flag of India.svg  India
7Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan
8Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia
9Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
10Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
11Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
12Flag of Iran.svg  Iran

4th Tank Biathlon World Championship, 2017

The fourth Tank Biathlon took place in Alabino, Moscow Region. The countries used the same type of tanks as in previous year (T-72B3 and Type-96B), with the exception of India fielding T-90 Bhishma. New Delhi Television reported that the Indian Army felt disadvantaged using T-72B3 tanks provided by Russia in 2016 and was keen to field its best tanks and best crews in 2017. However, as a result of both T-90 Bhishma tanks (the main one and the reserve one) malfunctioning, the Indian squad was unable to complete the race and were disqualified before 1/2 final. [5] [6]

After seven days of contests, Team Russia won 11 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze awards and finished 1st in the overall ratings, and Team China achieved second place with 7 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze. [7]

PlaceTeam
1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
2Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
3Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
4Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
5Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan
6Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
7Flag of Iran.svg  Iran
8Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia
9Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela
10Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
11Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
12Flag of India.svg  India

Medalist table

YearGoldSilverBronze
1st Division
2014Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
2015Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
2016Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
2017 [7] Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
2018 [8] Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
2019Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
YearGoldSilverBronze
2nd Division
2019Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba

International competitions

Competitions on tank biathlon are held in Russia every year from 2013, in July–August, at the military training range Alabino. Since the foundation of the tank biathlon in 2013, 26 teams have participated in the world championships. 21 teams have participated in a relay race in at least one season.

The table shows the teams' places in each of the world championships. For 2nd division teams, the first number is the place within the division, and the second number is the absolute place. The teams are ranked according to their average (absolute) place.

See also

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References

  1. Сергей Шойгу сделает танковый биатлон новым видом спорта. Vesti.Ru (in Russian). 10 August 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  2. Rogoway, Tyler (7 June 2017). "Russia Challenges U.S. Tankers To Compete In Its Annual "Tank Biathlon"". TheDrive.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  3. Kramnik, Ilya (19 May 2016). Гонка танковых чемпионатов. Defence.Ru (in Russian). Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  4. Ptichkin, Sergey (13 August 2016). Международные армейские игры завершились победой России. Rossiyskaya Gazeta (in Russian). Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  5. "After Both Tanks Break Down, India Knocked Out Of International Drill". NDTV.
  6. "India knocked out of tank contest in Russia after T-90s develop snags". Hindustan Times.
  7. 1 2 "Result of contests 2017" (PDF). International Army Games.
  8. "Russian team wins final Tank Biathlon race". TASS.