By Xiang Yong and Xing Hongjian
BEIJING, Apr. 14 -- China’s participating team, with members selected from a special operations brigade under the PLA 78th Group Army , is ready to participate in the “Sayan Range March” Snowfield Combat and March Competition , a special event of the International Army Games . This is also the first time the Chinese military has sent a team to participate in this competition. Before the game, the team members made preparations in snowy forests in Heilongjiang Province, Northeast China.
During training, the team members only wore a ski compression suit along with a ski suit for the convenience of sweating. While marching in the blizzard, every single breath would create a layer of frost on the cold-proof mask. In addition, the participants had to cross high mountains with the elevation difference of about 500m and the straight-line distance of over 1,000m now and then. According to Wang Haitao, the team leader, the combatants’ snowfield marching is completely different from the athletes’ alpine skiing, with the former an even severer test of physical strength and stamina for the participants who have to have even more intensified special training.
The training ranges in China, as characterized by relatively lower peaks and simpler relief, are different from those in Russia. To minimize the range differences, the instructors headed to the depths of mountains before training to select the favorable setting, where they found a cliff with a vertical drop of 30m and developed a 70-degree slope beside as a range for slope climbing training, forming a closed-loop training venue for moving up and down. Besides, more than a dozen buckets of water were poured down the slope and frozen thereon to make it more difficult for the climbers.
In addition, the avalanche search and rescue assessment site was set in a col under a shady slope where the snow was as high as the waist, and the ones having slipped into the col were prone to be covered by snow. “In actual combat conditions, both the wounded to be searched and rescued and the rescuers will be in danger at any time. The rescuers must operate under the premise of ensuring their own safety, and this is a battle background most likely to be overlooked in regular training”, said instructor Song.
It is reported that the “Sayan Range March ” is a team event usually conducted under extreme winter weather conditions in Siberia to test the winter sports skills of the participants. The participants are required to carry out two phases of mountains march totaling 50km spanning two days and one night, during which another twelve courses, such as individual shooting, key target reconnaissance, mountaineering and throwing grenades need to be completed, besides the long-distance skiing event.
On April 9, the Chinese team completed the on-site communication with the organizer’s referees and subsequently launched adaptive training for such courses as target reconnaissance, transportation of the wounded and team shooting.