As US and NATO expand their military operations and readiness in the Nordic countries to counter Russian threat, they found themselves in extreme wintery conditions that make armor movement tough to maintain. Since these welfare countries don’t have the armies and the ammunition to deal with the new wave of Russian threat, the United States Marine Corps has started deploying troops there on a temporary basis to learn more about the winter warfare in which US military isn’t exactly an expert. The Russians on the other hand, have been born and bred on the icy roads and know how to navigate across with much fuss. The Marines, no matter how tough they can be, physically needed several training sessions to have a basic know-how of manoeuvring tanks in the snow. The USMC has recently deployed a brigade in Norway where its soldiers are training for snow warfare under guidance from the Norwegian Army experts.
The M1A1 Abrams tanks, Humvees, LAV-25 reconnaissance vehicles and other kinds of armor present at the disposal of the Marine Corps are tucked away in temperature-controlled bunkers and caves, but when they get them out for a practice run, things get a little bit slippery. When a vehicle starts to skid, the best way is to kill the gas and let the tank settle on its own while the driver steers past obstacles. They cannot do anything to stop the vehicle from skidding except wait for it to end on its own. Here is a video of them going ice-skating on tanks:
There are eight caves-cum-bunkers used by the Marines to store the armored vehicles and equipment. The training was part of an inter-military exercise named Cold Response with more than 2,000 marines taking part alongside 14,000 military personnel mostly from Norway. It will continue through March, and then Marines will reassess their experience of the difficult terrain and how to deal with it.
The Russians have a Sherp ATV monster tank that is their all-terrain vehicle with enormous self-inflating tyres and threads that can prop these giants over obstacles as large as two and a half feet. It comes in two models with a very expensive price tag, but for the Russians, its utility will provide a definitive edge over the Allies in case it comes to war. It has a 15.3 gallon 44 horsepower engine from Kubota, a Japanese automaker and its top speed is 27.9 mph on land and 3 mph on water. Here is the Russian monster in action:
I was trained in an M1A1 and driving them is at first quite intimidating. But, like most things, after you get the hang of it, it’s just another task.