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32892
Date
17.07.18 11:26:10
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[11th Army Division] Mechanized unit performed an ice-breaking and river-crossing exercises without any difficulty

< Date : 2017-02-23 >


[11th Army Division] Mechanized unit performed an ice-breaking and river-crossing exercises without any difficulty

 

Tanks-armored cars were maneuvered quickly without any river-crossing equipment

Showed off their rapid ‘advancing ability’ toward the enemy’s heart


On February 9, when the bitter cold was in full swing, the 11th Army Division held a special river-crossing operation on the Hongcheon River in Hongcheon-gun, Gangwon-do. Tanks and armored vehicles crossed the river without any river-crossing equipment, breaking the thickly frozen ice. The army reported this ‘ice-breaking river-crossing training’ to the media on this day for the first time.


On February 9, when the bitter cold was in full swing, the 11th Army Division held a special river-crossing operation on the Hongcheon River in Hongcheon-gun, Gangwon-do. Tanks and armored vehicles crossed the river without any river-crossing equipment, breaking the thickly frozen ice. The army reported this ‘ice-breaking river-crossing training’ to the media on this day for the first time.


“3, 2, 1! Wham!”

When the countdown reporting the explosion ended, a huge column of water shot up, reaching almost 20 meters, on the Hongcheon River in Gangwon-do, making a deep, earthshaking rumble sound. Thick ice fractions splattered everywhere and the water column soared up into the sky, and fell down to the river again like a slow-motion picture. A waterway appeared, which crossed the thickly frozen river, in an instant.


It was just at that moment when a battle command vehicle issued a river-crossing order by radio, and the K21 tanks and K200 armored cars that were on standby along the river started their engines with rough machine sounds, as if they had been waiting for this. Beginning with powerful maneuvers, the armored vehicles gradually sped up and started driving down an unpaved muddy road without reserve. Mud spattered everywhere from the crawler's fast rotation. 13-ton tanks never stopped their maneuvers, even when approaching the boundary line between land and river.


‘Splash!’ The water sprayed from the Hongcheon River one more time, and the tanks that rushed into the waterway between the ice came to the water's surface with its own buoyancy. A smoke blanket allowed the tanks to avoid the enemy, so that they could cross the 200-meter-long Hongcheon River without any river-crossing equipment, using the crawler as webbed feet and cleaving through the water. This training procedure ended when the leading group of tanks that advanced after they broke the ice in very cold weather secured major spots on the opposite side of the river to support the following tank units as they crossed the river, preparing for the enemy’s attack.


The training focused on maintaining a sharp combat readiness posture, so that the military could overcome handicaps during the winter season on the combat field; moreover, the mechanized units were able to demonstrate their strong striking and fighting power. 6 subordinate units of the 11th Army Division, such as the mechanized infantry battalion, engineering unit, tank and army air force deployed 120 crawlers, including K2 tanks, K21 and K200 armored vehicles, etc., and around 1,000 soldiers were deployed from the mechanized unit.


Tanks weighing more than 50 tons can cross a river only when its ice thickness is more than 90 centimeters. However, since this thick ice does not freeze over given our climate, the mechanized unit should establish a bridgehead of striking operations featuring quick maneuvers once the ice from the river is crushed; this is so the unit can breach an avenue to maneuver and secure a space that is wide enough for tanks and armored cars to make their move.



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On this day, an army official who guided the training site explained why they needed to crush the ice and cross the river, saying, “When tanks maneuver on the river, along ice that does not freeze up to a point where it is thick enough, the ice breaks and the tanks are likely to lose their balance and fall, leading to a very serious accident.” For this reason, the division carefully examined the possibility of river-crossing, so they deployed the engineering unit to look for ways to measure the thickness of the ice and break it before beginning the training in earnest.


Lieutenant Colonel Kim Nam-wook, the mechanized infantry battalion commander who led this ice-breaking river-crossing training, said, “Considering the nature of the Korean Peninsula's topography, with its many rivers and winter weather, it is very important that the mechanized unit is able to cross the river quickly. As we overcome the obstacles faced in various situations in very cold weather, we were able to test our ability to recklessly advance right towards the enemy’s heart.”

 

From Hongcheon = By Seung-Hoi, Ahn < seung@dema.mil.kr >

<Copyright ⓒ The Korea Defense Daily, All rights reserved>



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