The fact that a sporting event called the ‘tank biathlon’ exists in the first place is bizarre enough, let alone that it’s managed to fly under the radar for so long.
But the annual Russian event has been gathering momentum for…a number of reasons this year, and the spectacle is absolutely wild.
Hosted by the Russian Ministry of Defence, the tank biathlon is the crown jewel of the International Army Games - a sort of military version of the Olympics attended by Kremlin allies such as India, China, Iran and Zimbabwe.
The event pits tank crews from around the world against each other in a series of driving, shooting, and obstacle courses, and as you can imagine from a competition which pits a bunch of soldiers from poorly trained, under-equipped militaries against each other- the results can get pretty chaotic.
Case in point - check out this footage from earlier in the week, when the Iranian team managed to get one over on their Zimbabwean counterparts during a race by smashing them off the road and quite literally leaving them eating their dust:
That wasn’t the only disaster to befall the Zimbabweans during the competition either.
During a shooting exercise later on in the games, the team managed to miss every single one of their targets, had a machine-gunner discard his ammo after being unable to load his own gun, and even required a Russian technician to step in a fix their tank after a technical fault meant they were unable to get it moving.
Mugabe must be spinning in his grave.
Not that the other teams performed much better throughout the competition. In fact, after reviewing the footage posted online, it’s hard to find a single team who performed well at all.
Other chaotic moments included a South Ossetian tank losing control of their turret which caused their gun to spin around in circles and aim at (you guessed it) the Zimbabwean crew, a Sudanese tank getting stuck in a trench during an obstacle course, another crew driving so poorly they almost managed to flip their vehicle and multiple teams having their wheels fall off.
Oh, and at one point the Zimbabwean team managed to drive so far off the track they got lost in a field. Because, y’know.
Sudanese tank crew at the tank biathlon had a disaster on the tank trap obstacle throughout the race, their last attempt resulted in destroying the side skirt and getting stuck. pic.twitter.com/eJF463KC9B— CNW (@ConflictsW) August 21, 2022
Of course, at the time of writing Russia look set to be crowned champions of this blatant propaganda exercise (as they have been every year), but given that the Kremlin has so far managed to lose over 1,700 tanks in Ukraine, along with at least one member of last year’s winning team, it’s safe to say this isn’t quite the all-conquering display of military might they want it to be.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainians recently held a military showcase of their own by lining the streets of Kyiv with an array of captured and destroyed Russian tanks in a mock ‘parade’, trolling the invaders over their failed attempt to capture the Ukrainian capital back in February.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@ConflictsW