Snowmobile Arctic Expedition
«Northern Troopers»

That is why in the February days of 2016 in the vicinity of absolutely “demilitarized” Nizhnevartovsk absolutely strong people appeared in special winter winter camouflage. On the basis of the “Northern Assault” were the collections of the elite of the special units of the GRU, the Airborne Forces and the Ryazan Airborne School, during which a team of Arctic explorers and travelers shared their experience of living and working in the conditions of the harsh Russian Arctic with the spetsnaz officers.



Special forces in special situations

Unfortunately, in recent years, under the name of “spetsnaz” there have appeared many incomprehensible divisions of various departments. “Spetsnaz” got the Ministry of Internal Affairs and UFSIN, SVR and even the tax police.

But the real elite of special forces are specially created, specially trained and equipped formations of the Armed Forces, designed to solve special tasks in the enemy’s deep rear, both in peacetime and in the military.

The famous Soviet “special forces of the GRU” was intended to conduct sabotage operations on the territory of other countries or in the enemy rear, conduct special reconnaissance, counter-diversion, counter-terrorism and counter-guerrilla operations, and organize guerrilla movement behind enemy lines.

The star time of the Soviet special forces is Afghanistan. By this time the GRU special forces consisted of 14 separate brigades of district subordination, two separate training regiments, separate detachments and about 30 separate companies. During the Afghan war, from the individual battalions, the 15th and 22nd Separate Brigades of the Spin were formed, operating on the territory of Afghanistan and later became Guards. By 1985, 75 to 80% of the 40th Army’s military operations were conducted either by the GRU spetsnaz forces or with its active participation, while the spetsnaz forces accounted for only about 1% of the total strength of the army.

Two Chechen campaigns have become a new laurel branch in the wreath of the glory of special forces, during which the GRU special forces showed all their training, participating in most of the tasks facing the groupings of troops. For the heroism and courage shown in the course of the counter-terrorist operation, 29 fighters and commanders of special forces were awarded the title of “Hero of Russia”. In the 1990s, special forces of the Airborne Troops were added to the special forces of the Airborne Troops – the legendary 45th reconnaissance regiment deployed later in the 45th brigade of the Airborne Troops Special Forces …



The choice of the venue for the gathering of the spetsnaz elite is not accidental. Nowhere else in Russia is there such a unique, constantly operating Arctic expedition with more than seven years of experience in the conditions of the Far North, and in conditions of full approximation to reality. Members of the expedition for weeks move on snowmobiles, live on the snow, practicing the most effective ways to survive in the most extreme conditions. During the expedition snowmobiles, sleighs, navigation systems are tested, new routes are laid. Members of the expedition are experiencing the latest developments in clothing, equipment and nutrition – how they are suitable for use in the northern latitudes? In addition, the “Northern Troopers” monitor information on areas of pollution of the Arctic coast, requiring cleaning from scrap and household debris. The north is a real test for courage, for strength, for human qualities. Almost all participants of the expedition are veterans of the Airborne Forces, and one of the participants – the hero of Russia Ilgizyar Biktashev is the most unusual participant of the expedition. He fought in Chechnya and lost a leg there. But this did not stop him from becoming a member of the expedition and pass it from the first to the last day.

…The fees turned out to be unique and completely unlike the usual routine for many army officers to conduct similar events. Instead of standard group lectures on various topics, it was virtually a continuous hands-on workshop, during which each participant could not only ask questions, but also immediately, on the spot, check on himself the features of Arctic equipment, sit behind the wheel of the powerful Lynx snowmobile, put on snow tent; instead of teachers – the most experienced Arctic travelers who have traveled across the North not one thousand kilometers. How to choose clothes for action in the Arctic, how to cut a reindeer, how to warm yourself in cold frosts, what materials and how to interact with the cold, how to move around the snowy virgin soil, what is the optimal composition of the group in the Arctic, what can and can not be done in the campaign? To all these questions – thorough, slow answers with a demonstration of everything in practice and working out all the actions to the full assimilation of the material.


Russia will grow by the Arctic

Today, the Arctic is increasingly becoming a zone of intersection of interests of the Arctic states. A huge pantry of biological and mineral resources, a unique transport route, the water area of the richest ocean in its fish reserves. The Arctic from the world of white dead silence became accessible. It is not the Arctic of the times of Amundsen, the time of dog harnesses, ski junctions and an infinitely far pole. Today you can fly to the North Pole in just a few hours by plane, nuclear icebreakers take rich tourists there.

The battle for control of this region of the planet is inevitable. They started back in Soviet times, when under the ice cap a carousel of submarines: missile carriers – in search of cracks and thawed holes and hunting boats that track missile carriers convenient for launching ballistic missiles. The main routes of American air attack squadrons were flying over the Arctic, which were to bring down the load of atomic bombs on Soviet cities, and here, in the Arctic, they were waited by an invisible but extremely sensitive web of radar fields, flak shells and powerful northern interceptors. It was like that during the Cold War. Today, again, a whirlwind of military confrontation is twisting. Western politicians increasingly say that Russia should abandon the Arctic, that our claims to the Arctic areas are illegal, that the Arctic must be transferred to the jurisdiction of certain “international bodies”.

In response to these threats, Russia is building new icebreakers and ships of the icebreaker class, launching warships and submarines, our paratroopers are learning to land on the North Pole, our garrisons are again deploying on our polar islands. And the army special forces should be ready to carry out any task in this harsh world.

…Dusk. The hour of the special forces comes. All documents, photographs, notebooks, personal belongings were handed over to the headquarters, they were removed there in envelopes and closed in safes. Now all of them, members of the special purpose group, are nameless. More precisely, they have a name, one for all – a radio call sign group. And the voice of the radio operator is now their voice. Tired, short messages, he will report on the kilometers covered, points of standing, locations and routes. On the fulfillment of tasks. On the destroyed objects of the enemy, on trophies and prisoners.

But it can happen that it is he, this voice, barely audible, dead, will send to the air – through the crackling of jamming and automatic bursts – the last: “Farewell, guys, We are no more.”

The SWAT knows no pity, but neither does anyone ask for it.

… The next reconnaissance group left in the night. Wearing white arctic overalls, some immediately shapeless, shadow-like soldiers sit down on powerful snowmobiles and one after another dissolve in the darkness. In a moment, only the dying deafening roar of the engines reminds them that they were there. It will take a couple of hours, and the snowstorm will completely notice the shallow “tape” of the snowmobile trail.

Now for many days they are ghosts. They are “polar wolves”, and they will be hunted. They will be searched in all possible ways, driven into ambushes, obkladyvat, etch. But they all these days will be torn towards the goal. Dissolve in the forests, seep through the cordons, hunt the hunters and approach the main goal of the raid – the enemy’s object. And there will be no concessions to anyone …

… Today, almost all countries with access to the Arctic are training their soldiers in the cold. Experienced Arctic fighters have Norway, Canada, the USA, Finland and Sweden. In Russia, there is also training for “Arctic soldiers”. Actions in the North are studied by “marines” and border guards. But the gatherings under Nizhnevartovsk are important because here the elite of the special forces taught lessons not just short-term “survival” in the Arctic, because “short-term” is the main vulnerable point of action of autonomous units. Here they were taught LIVES in the Arctic! The Achilles’ heel of any of the reconnaissance groups of our probable adversary is a reserve of resources. Usually it provides only a few days of active activity. And this means that you need to land as near as possible to the object of attack of your saboteurs, enter the air defense zone, risk being discovered and destroyed. Expeditions of the Northern Airborne Forces are many weeks spent in the Arctic in constant movement. Thousands of miles traveled through the most complicated landscapes – through the arctic mountains and canyons, through kilometers of hummocks and multi-meter cracks in the ice, through the ocean polynyas. One can only imagine how much the capabilities of our spetsnaz will increase if it gets such autonomy …

Survive and win!

… The special forces soldier has a lot of weapons. From a knife, a grenade, a silent automatic and a pistol, to radio-controlled mines and the most modern surveillance devices and sights. But still his main weapon is endurance. Because the work of an army scout is not at all like the heroic tales of Rambo. It is the same as in the old days. Scouts almost do not ride on the armor, and even more so – under the armor, this is the fate of the infantry. They do not have tanks. And even “turntables” for them – only the means of delivery of the group to a conditional point. And further tens, and sometimes hundreds of kilometers at the limit of all forces. And not on the roads, but on the forests, on the thickets, on the swamps and ravines. The spetsnazov really does look something like a wolf depicted on a chevron. Hidden, defiant, cautious and merciless to the enemy.

Snowmobiles are disguised in a snow-swept decline. Behind him, a few hundred kilometers of latent extension to the goal. But the most difficult is ahead. A few kilometers will have to be traversed on foot, without giving away anything.

Snow! Snow! Snow! It seems that in the world there is nothing more than snow and cold. Snow porridge knits the legs, binds the movement. It seems that you do not go, but barely swim on it. Shaky snowdrifts to the waist, the group for the second hour is making its way through them. Ahead with a hoarse, sweaty road “leader” sweats in sweat – now it’s a two-meter machine gunner. Every half an hour the “leaders” change, getting out of their power. Each gram of ammunition pulls to the ground. There is no strength to go, but something forces and forces you to move your legs. There is some kind of extra-ordinary habit of holding on, looking at the comrade ahead. He took a step in the snow tunnel – and you walk on his trail, dreaming of only one thing: collapse into this white oatmeal under your feet …

– Halt! – the commander gives a voice, and almost instantly – whoever was standing – the fighters fall into the snow.

– To leave! “The commander ruthlessly pulls them all back. – Did not they teach you what a halt is? Reshetov, Yusupov – in the guard! The rest to the trees!

The commander himself, already skinny, had completely withered during these days. The cheekbones were pierced, eyes sunk, under them from lack of sleep and overwork – black circles. A quarter of an hour passed by a second.

– Climb! The commander wheezes. “Forward, follow me!” – And he, at the head of the group, begins to rub the path through the freezing, deep snow …

Here it is an object! The long-awaited goal. In the lowland, between the two hills – the enemy base. Bars of residential modules, parking equipment. Above the dome of the headquarters is the fence of antennas and a plate of space communications. Sentinels around the perimeter, patrols on snowmobiles now and then go on patrolling, cutting routes around the base. But the group reliably took refuge in the snow-covered slope of the fall, too steep for trips on snowmobiles. Scouts were here for many days. They walked around ambushes, seeped through the barriers.

The commander carefully studies the camp in the thermal imager. Memorizes, evaluates, estimates. The goal of the group is the headquarters and the communication center. They must be destroyed. If possible, take cards and documents.

The minute hand crawls on the number “three”. A sentry settles in a bag, not even having time to realize its own “death.” The gray shadows of commandos, barely discernible in the dark, slip through the camp, taking up positions to attack. The second sentry is falling in the snow near the headquarters module. And immediately the scouts are rushing to the entrance. While the two are dragging the sentry for the dome of the headquarters and occupy positions for cover and defense, the others, gently opening the door, penetrate inside. A few minutes later the door swings open again, and the special forces leave cautiously to the street, then quickly and clearly disperse around the camp, demolishing residential modules and arranging surprise mines … And after a while, breathing hoarsely from running, the commandos gather around the commander on the slope .

– Everything is in place? – too, choking, the commander asks. And making sure that the group in the collection, opens a small metal unit – the remote control radio fuses. Pressing the button – and over the camp with a powder crash, bright crimson stars of signal rockets fly to the sky. The enemy is conditionally destroyed!

Now the group is going to have a long march back home …

… That’s how or approximately so in the near future will be held special exercises in the Arctic. Meanwhile, future survival instructors, commanders of groups and squads of army and amphibious special forces, comprehend at the hospitable base of the Northern Assault the science of survival in the Arctic. At the same time, all the equipment, machinery, equipment and clothes that are used to train the special forces were completely provided free of charge by the corporation “Slavtek”.

And the founder and head of the corporation Alexander Peterman has already ripened in his head the plan for a new expedition. Next year, together with the regular army special forces groups, we will make the transition to the North Pole, having secured for Russian special forces the title of the most prepared and professional in the world – the real elite of our army, for which there are no impossible tasks!

Владислав Шурыгин, Газета “Завтра”