Zapad 2021 – Day 6 & 7 (September 15-16)

Zapad appeared largely over and things were dying down across training ranges. There was a military police exercise at Brest, and several live fire exercises for principal surface combatants of Russia’s Northern Fleet in the Barents Sea. Otherwise, most units were preparing for closing ceremonies and returning home on the 16th.

September 15th

At Brest (Belarus)

Belarus and Russian military police conducted an exercise in joint defense against a diversionary group attempting to break through to their camp, detaining opposing forces, and providing medical support to wounded. It looked a bit like a capture the flag exercise with blanks, smoke grenades and flares. The enemy diversionary group planted some kind of black jihadist flag in the MP camp and then a firefight broke out. Medical detachments got to use their Linza vehicle, based on the Typhoon-K.

Northern Fleet

A surface action group composed of Kirov-class battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy and Slava-class guided missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov were out in the Barents to conduct a live fire exercise with anti-ship missiles. Their target was an opposing amphibious landing group. The two ships fired P-700 Granit (SS-N-19) and P- 1000 Vulkan (SS-N-12) missiles respectively at a target imitating enemy ships. This appears to be the final exercise for these cruisers in the Barents and they’re returning to port.

Marshal Ustinov firing P-1000

The naval contingent with Udaloy-class Severomorsk has left port Dudinka where they conducted a port call, and cultural activities, along with various ship defense and counter-saboteur exercises. They’re not heading home though, further into the eastern Arctic, to New Siberian Islands via the Laptev Sea.

September 16th

Looks like Russian units are headed back to base. A closing ceremony was held 230th Obuz-Lesnovsky Combined-Arms training ground in Belarus.

The Alexandrov Ensemble also performed a concert for Russian and Belarusian troops involved in the exercise.

Russian forces at Mulino also held a closing ceremony involving foreign contingents who participated as part of the coalition.

I thought the Kazakh contingent looked pretty impressive in this year’s events

Seems the Russian military is headed back to their bases, bunch of reports and videos of vehicles loading onto rail wagons and aircraft headed back.

Northern Fleet ships are returning to port, including the Oscar-II SSGN (K-266 Orel and Delta IV K-51 Verkhoturye) which had originally set sail on the 11th. 14th Army Corps units are returning to base from their various exercises. A total of 8000 participants were involved in Northern Fleet activities during this event, with more than 800 pieces of equipment. They conducted a total of 6 missile launches, including P-700 Granit, P-1000 Vulkan, P-270 Moskit, Kh-35 by Bal CDCM, and P-800 by Bastion-P.

First Guards Tank Army units are heading back from Mulino, they had a few more drills on the way back, but are definitely home in time to vote in the Duma elections… Iskander-M units at Mulino are also returning to Kursk, thus confirming it was the 448th Missile Brigade of the 20th CAA, that was involved in Zapad missile strikes at that training range.

Russian units (logistics, engineering and combat and combat support troops) are packing and are heading to their permanent bases. There is no time to rest, though. On the way home, they will practice air defense operations, along with defending against sabotage and reconnaissance groups.

The head of the Main Directorate for Military Police, Colonel General Sergei Kuralenko, remarked that during the exercise MPs fulfilled 140 training-combat tasks, and provided support for 128 convoys/columns. About 2,500 military police took place in Zapad and 600 pieces of automotive equipment. These exercises involve quite a few MP units, and military auto inspection (VAI) is also part of military police. Consequently, the 2500 number is not unrealistic, but fairly reasonable given the different roles MPs play at these exercises.

Zvezda showed that there were well established MP field camps set up at these training ranges

Thanks to Konrad Muzyka for working on this with me like we did for Kavkaz-2020. It’s been fun covering Zapad, though a busy week and I had to take a break in the middle of it.

Some additional photos I found of interest:

Rare sight: T-80U with Drozd APS

Not sure what vehicle this is, but it has clear uses when camping

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