The Tank Biathlon is a competition held every year since 2013 in Russia and this year 19 countries took part in it. The competition commenced after the opening ceremony of the International Army Games at Albino Ranges, Russia on 29 July 2017. NATO, as well as the American army, was invited to attend and participate but they declined. A NATO official said that the alliance had received an invitation but elected not to attend, as the Russians always avoid confidence-building measures—such as OSCE (observation of military exercises) conducted by them, Newsweek reported.

The games

Despite this, the progress of the games and the performance of the tanks are being followed closely by the US army, as two of Americas biggest rivals China and Russia have showcased their battle tanks and are taking part in the Tank Olympics.The Indian contingent is also taking part and has shipped two T-90 battle tanks for the competition which consists of target firing and tank races. The Russians beat their nearest rivals, the Chinese in both gunnery and speed racing and maneuverability and were worthy winners. American and NATO intelligence duly noted this.

The games are still in progress and will last up to 6 August 2017. The Indian team which is competing with two T-90 tanks will have a chance against the Chinese and Russian tank teams on 4 and 6 August.

Tank history

Tanks were first invented by the British in World War I and in their first battle surprised the army of Kaiser II. Subsequently, the Americans developed a string of mighty tanks led by the Sherman and the Patton Tank. The American army presently has the Abraham Tank which is one of the most lethal in the field but it weighs 70 tons.

The American army would like a light tank and trials are on for this. The Russians have brought out their latest tank which was showcased during the October parade last year.

Tanks and crew in the competition

The games give an excellent opportunity for the tank crew to compare their professionalism against other countries. The events include a target firing and relay race as well as individual races.

It is a test not only of the tank but also the skill of the crew manning the tank. Each tank has a crew of three and they cannot be changed during the competition.

Tank battles

The Russians fought some terrific tank battles during WWII and the Battle of Kursk is the most famous in 1943. Even now the Baltic countries are alarmed as Russian tanks exercise on their borders which simulate an actual attack.