Chinese commandos have qualified as “maroon berets”
Written by Aleksei Ramm; Originally appeared at VPK, tarnslated by J. Trefz exclusively for SouthFront
“The purpose of the exercise is to enhance mutual understanding between Russia and China, as well as the development of joint actions in the fight against terrorism”, – said major General Qin Tian, the chief of staff of the people’s armed police of China, in his opening speech dedicated to the beginning of joint exercises “Cooperation-2016.”
On July 3rd in Balashika near Moscow The Federal Service of National Guard Troops began the Russo-Chinese exercise “Cooperation,” on the basis of separate operational functions, and in which special forces of the two countries grapple with the most challenging tasks in the fight against terrorism.
From the People’s republic of China, the exercise was joined by troops from the military assault groups “Hunting Falcon” and special forces unit “Snow Leopard” of the People’s Armed Police Force. In turn, the Federal Service of National Guard Troops was represented by soldiers of the 604th Red Banner special forces “Vityaz” (Hero).
Hunting Falcon is one of the elite and oldest special forces units in China. In February 2014 president of the PRC Xi Jinping changed its status, allowing only the selection of contracted servicemen with at least a bachelors’ degree. Then Comrade Xi bestowed a battle flag on the unit and assigned the name “Hunting Falcon.”
The assault team carries out tasks in the battle with terrorism, including air transport and the protection of foreign heads of state during their visits to China. Involvement of the falcons upholds stability and lawful order, particularly in the struggle against separatists in the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region.
Special forces unit “Snow Leopard” was formed as a component of the People’s Armed Police Force of China in December 2002. The purpose of the Leopards is against terrorism, mass unrest and hostage liberation. These special forces troops are also employed to protect high-level Chinese officials and diplomats in global hot spots like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya.
The “Cooperation” exercises were first held in 2007. Then 79 Snow Leopards together with soldiers of Vityaz underwent anti-terrorist training near Moscow, focusing on issues which require clear interaction between the participants: freeing hostages, capturing and restraining terrorists from within buildings, blockading settlements, and conducting reconnaissance.
In summer 2013 Vityaz visited China and carried out exercises with a division of the People’s Armed Police. Our servicemen carried out a number of tactical tasks, got acquainted with the characteristics of their hosts’ combat training, went through an obstacle course, and performed marksmanship with State Police weaponry.
A feature of the present exercises is that servicemen from Russia and China are for the first time included in one unit. Composing the unit of special forces are two platoons. The commander of the group is one of our officers, but his lieutenants are both Russian and Chinese. One of the platoons is commanded by a representative of Vityaz and one by one of our guests. In the platoons the soldiers work in pairs of one Russian and one Chinese.
As acknowledged by the organizers of the exercise, the decision to create a joint division appeared to be a very bold step as there is a language barrier. To overcome this obstacle translators were employed in developing a special Russian-Chinese phrasebook.
Correct grip and the Bubnov strap
On the 3rd of July the ceremonial opening of the joint exercises was held in the special operational division. First, Chinese soldiers were asked to view an exhibition of weapons, special instruments, vehicles and other military equipment, which today are used by the division of Russian National Guard. We must pay tribute to the Chinese delegation, headed by the chief of staff of the people’s armed police of China, major General Qin Tian. Senior representatives of the PLA carefully examined each sample, got acquainted with its tactical and technical characteristics, clambered on cars and armored vehicles, and even asked to see the latest engineering product “Tornado.”
The Falcons and Leopards were very interested in firearms, particularly the high-precision sniper system T-5000 by the company Orsis, the VSS silent rifle, sub-machine gun Vityaz, and the PYA and GSh-18 pistols. With the help of their Russian partners, the Chinese commandos conducted partial assembly and disassembly of each item, practiced correct grip and stance, and delved into the details of the designs.
It is worth noting that our guests arrived for the exercises without regular arms. The Chinese received Kalashnikovs, SVD sniper rifles and PK machine guns on arrival.
The “Falcons” and “leopards” enthusiastically got acquainted with Russian climbing equipment, used when conducting anti-terrorist operations in urban environments, as with our first aid kits and methods. Chinese soldiers are familiar with modern medicine in the battlefield, like the use of tourniquets and antihemorragics. Thereby a Russian officer was somewhat surprised by the Falcons’ and Leopards’ display of how to stop bleeding with the use of a normal Bubnov strap.
Hot Point near Smolensk
On the 6th and 7th of July the Russo-Chinese special forces group performed a 12km cross-country training from the location of ODON to the new rural training centre. For many years this route was one of the elements of the qualifying test for the right to wear the “maroon beret”, which was conducted by the special forces “Vityaz” and “Rus.”
The troops were required not only to run the whole distance, but to do so under tactical training, repelling enemy attack on the move. In the village the troops demonstrated high preparedness, passing a fire-assault zone through which they exchanged fire.
But on the 9th and 10th of July the joint special forces group awaited their hardest task: in the village of Zhornovka, in the Smolensk region, Chinese and Russian military forces stormed a building, freed hostages, and disabled the terrorists. Fighting, even though it was an exercise, was very hot.