Skiing is not normally associated with most militaries but in Latvia a group of soldiers have been undertaking target practice while on skis.
Soldiers in Latvia have been practising their shooting skills while on cross-country skis. The training involved Latvia’s Land Forces Mechanised Infantry Brigade soldiers, based with NATO’s eFP (enhanced Forward Presence) Battlegroup in Latvia.
The soldiers were training in temperatures as low as -10° Celsius, to become more effective and skilful during winter conditions. They were also tested on their shooting skills, without the skis, but under stressful conditions. The Land Forces Mechanised Infantry Brigade conducted training in line with COVID-19 safety measures set by the Government of Latvia. During training outdoors, masks are in use if it’s not possible to keep the two-metre distance.
This NATO Multimedia footage, shot on the Ādaži Training Area earlier this month and released today includes shots of soldiers on skis shooting at targets from various standing positions as well as target shooting in forest areas.
The sequence also includes soundbites, in Latvian, from Platoon Commanders Čodars and Zūbergs:-
- (02:33) Zūbergs: “Usually, the soldiers have to perform this exercise in warm or moderate weather, but because this year we have such a cold winter with a thick blanket of snow, the soldiers won’t be able to perform as effective without skis, that’s why they’ll be performing this exercise on skis. The exercise is simple. They move in one direction, the instructor gives them short orders about the target – right, left, front or back – and then they have to shoot at the target, meaning that they have to stop on the skis, turn to the target and shoot it down.”
- (03:12) Zūbergs: “For us it is important that our soldiers are able to fight in any weather, in any area, and since winter is a regular season here in Latvia, it’s mandatory that they can perform during winter.”
- (03:27) Čodars: “Right now, the soldiers are on a track together with instructors who are there to make them feel scared and stressed out. Soldiers perform this exercise moving from location to location, changing positions and shooting at targets.”