Exercises 2014/2015 Demonstrations of the Elite Serbian Units

Joint Exercise of the elite Serbian and Russian Forces "Srem 2014"

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Posted in column: Tactical Exercises Photo: I. Salinger

Within the Plan of Bilateral Military Cooperation between the Army of Serbia and Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for 2014, during the first weeks of November 2014 an extensive and complex joint military exercises on field „Srem 2014“ was organized.

Several months long preparations entered the final phase at the beginning of November when a contingent of Russian paratroopers arrived in Serbia, along with special cargo consisted of military gear and vehicles, and from 7th do 13th of November joint preparations of the Serbian and Russian soldiers were organized at military airport Batajnica, as well as on the military range of the Technical Test Center (Serb. Tehnički opitni centar) in Nikinci, where this exercise was executed as well.

Preparatory phases are very important part of each exercise/operation, because regardless of the current level of training of soldiers, whenever time and other conditions allow, actions should be practised and checked in as real as possible simulations, especially to practice the synchronization of actions from the operational plan of command and plans of all units participating in the operation. For successful completion of the joint field exercise Srem 2014, preparatory phase was of great importance, having in mind it was an international exercise as well as that through exercise execution a live ammo was used, which made it a high-risk exercise.

The exercise was carried out by 197 elite soldiers of the Special brigade of the Serbian Army, 5th Battalion of Military Police and 98th and 204th Aviation Brigades along with 207 Russian paratroopers from the 106th Guards Air Assault Division from Tula. For exercise planning was in charge General Lieutenant Colonel and Commander of the Land Forces Aleksandar Zivkovic, while the field chief of the exercise was Brigade General and former commander of the Special Brigade, Jelesije Radivojevic.

The purpose of the joint military exercise Srem 2014 was to improve the ability to solve complex tasks within counter terrorist actions in international operations by deploying quick reaction forces in the territory of the imaginary state, which is in line with content of the Charter of the United Nations ratified by the Republic of Serbia.

Scenario of the exercise related to deployment of the armed members of terrorist group named “Hornet” and their occupation of the region X which is located within the territory of fictional state Alpha. The terrorist group is a large security threat to the state Alpha and entire region, because it is known that members of this group organized several attacks in this country and abroad and are maintaining relations with foreign terrorist groups of similar intentions.

Through intelligence work in the field, carried out by camouflaged sniping specialists and drones “Orbiter”, positions of the terrorist were located which led to making of plan of action in order to destroy this group utterly. Aerospace was guarded by two fighter planes MiG 29 of the 204th Aviation Brigade of the Serbian Army.

Lowering of the military gear and technique using special parachute systems. Photo: vs.rs

The action of destroying entire terrorist group began by insertion of the Russian paratroopers who jumped out of Russian military transport planes Ilyushin IL 76, using HALO technique, that due to late opening of the parachute reduces exposure of the paratroopers to enemy ground forces and shortens the time of landing. Russian paratroopers, armed with reliable assault rifles AK 74 M in 5.45x39 mm, after landing had a task to secure the perimeter intended for desanting military gear and technique as well as Serbian paratroopers, and then in coordination with Serbian forces conduct counter terrorist action. Russian armored transporters BMD 2 and BTR D were inserted by air from about 800 meter height with special parachute systems with multiple domes, and to protect these vehicles from consequences of impact when landing, they were placed on special platforms that can quickly dismantle on ground so vehicles can be ready to operate in short time.

By guarding area of landing Russian colleagues enabled the beginning of the second phase of the action-insertion of the Serbian paratroopers from the 63rd Parachute Battalion of the Special Brigade of the Serbian Army from the airplane An 26. For the needs of task, Serbian paratroopers chose compact submachine guns HK UMP in 9x19 mm Parabellum/Luger and assault rifles HK G36 KV in 5.56x45 mm NATO. These models are very compact, have relatively low weight, good ergonomics and balance, therefore are good choice in this case.

Insertion of the Serbian "Falcons". Photo: specijalne-jedinice.com

In coordination with already positioned forces, operators of the Battalion for Counter Terrorist Actions “Falcons” (Serb. Bataljon za protivteroristička dejstva “Sokolovi”) of the Special Brigade, arrived at the place of intervention by helicopters Mi 8, and insertion was conducted by fast rope technique. This technique is suitable for insertion of operators when due to the current circumstances landing of a heli is too risky. Primary weaponry of the Serbian Falcons consisted of assault rifles HK G36 C in 5.56x45 mm NATO with red dot sights Aimpoint CompM4 and some operators carried SMG HK MP5 in different versions, but all in 9x19 mm Parabellum/Luger. Secondary consisted of semi-automatic handguns Glock 17 Gen 4, also in 9x19 mm. Operators of the Battalion had a task to storm and clean an object occupied by terrorists, and during the execution one of the soldiers simulated wounding, so their task turned complexed by providing medical treatment to the wounded and carrying out his fast extraction from the field. Support to the assault groups of the Falcons was provided by snipers armed with anti-material long-range precision rifles Barrett M82 A1 in powerful caliber 12.7x99 mm NATO (.50 BMG) with optic sights Swarovski 10x42. Sniping specialists of the 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion (Serb. 72. izviđačko-diverzantski bataljon) of the Special Brigade were destroying targets at greater distances and providing support to the advancing assault forces. For these, “Griffins” of the Special Brigade were armed with reliable bolt action precision rifles Sako TRG 22/42 in calibers .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester and .338 Lapua Magnum. Besides these Finnish models equipped with excellent optic sights Schmidt & Bender Police Marksman II, specialists of the 72nd Battalion were armed with anti-material bullpup rifles Barrett M 95 in 12.7x99 mm NATO (.50 BMG), with optic sights Swarovski 10x42.

Attacks on the positions of the terrorists were conducted from land and air, activating trained personnel, combat vehnicles and other gear. Photo: vs.rs

The last phase of the action related to joint raid on the main line of defence of the remaining terrorists. Respecting their motto “From sky to ground and to battle”, Russian paratroopers and Serbian elite soldiers conducted joint attack on enemy positions that were previously bombed with 60 mm mortars, as well as with guided missiles from air and ground. The support to the advancing infantry was provided by Russian transporters, and specialized vehicles of the Serbian Military Police M 86 equipped with machine guns M 84 in 7.62x54 R, and from the air helicopter Mi 17 engaged positions of the terrorists.

After successful completion of the joint field exercise national flags of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Serbia were landed through joint jumps of paratroopers of both countries, which was welcomed with heavy applause of presents. The complex exercise “Srem 2014” was attended by Ministry of Defence Bratislav Gasic, Chief of the Serbian Army, General Ljubisa Dikovic, Ambassador of Russia in Belgrade Alexander Chepurin and General Colonel Vladimir Anatoljevich Shamanov, commander of the Airbone Assault Forces of the Russian Federation, who all agreed about the importance of bilateral military cooperation between Serbia and Russian Federation, expressed their will to continue and improve these relations in future, and praised the level of training of soldiers of both countries.

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