Watch a Giant Russian Crane Lower an Armored Vehicle Straight into the Water

From Popular Mechanics

  • In a video, a Russian military barge filled with armored personnel carriers unloads them directly into the water.

  • Once in the water, the BTR-82 APC simply swims away.

  • The event was part of Russia’s Kavkaz-2020 military exercises.

Well, here's one way to get into the water. In an impressive new video, Russian Marines unload their armored personnel carriers (APC) into the Caspian Sea with a giant crane. The APCs then swim away under their own power, scooting through the waves and surf to capture a beachhead.

You love badass military machines. So do we. Let's nerd out over them together.

The procedure, which admittedly looks a little risky, was part of Russia’s Kavkaz-2020 military exercises, which wrapped up yesterday:

The video, uploaded to the Russian Ministry of Defence’s YouTube channel, shows Russian naval infantry (marines) of the 414th or 727th Naval Infantry Battalion storming a beach lined with anti-tank obstacles and barbed wire. The amphibious invasion is covered in the air by Mi-35 “Hind” attack helicopters and Sukhoi fighter jets. Ships of the Caspian Sea Flotilla cover the landing force, including the Gepard-class frigates Dagestan and Tartarstan.

Photo credit: Russia Ministry of Defense/YouTube
Photo credit: Russia Ministry of Defense/YouTube

The Caspian Sea Flotilla lacks enough sealift to carry both naval infantry battalions, and what it does have isn't exactly designed for amphibious warfare. In this video, a naval infantry company of about 100 soldiers and 10 BTR-82 armored personnel carriers makes two separate landings.

At least some of the naval infantrymen, carried by a Shmel artillery gunboat, are forced to jump into water so deep, they disappear after leaping from the railing of the ship. At only 78 tons, the Shmel definitely isn't meant to carry troops into battle.

Photo credit: Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube
Photo credit: Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube

In the meantime, the naval infantry’s rides are coming ashore not from a dedicated amphibious ship, but a “seagoing armament transport” ship. The VTR-79 isn't meant to participate directly in seagoing landings, but its wide, bare deck and heavy lifting crane came in handy for the exercise.

📚 Read Up: The Best Military History Books

VTR-79, its deck laden with at least eight BTR-82 wheeled armored personnel carriers, lifts the APCs via heavy lifting straps directly into the water. The crew of the amphibious APCs then unhook the straps and motor toward shore.

The BTR-82 is a 8x8 amphibious APC. Equipped with a 2A72 30-millimeter autocannon, it can carry up to 10 naval infantry. It weighs 16 tons, has a top road speed of 49 miles per hour, and a water speed of 5.5 mph.

Photo credit: Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube
Photo credit: Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube

The BTRs appear to be traveling unloaded, linking up with the naval infantry on the beach. That may be a safety precaution for a military exercise; it seems pretty clear the Caspian Flotilla was unprepared to transport infantry to the beach.

Although U.S. Marines regularly motor to shore in the AAV amphibious vehicles, the practice isn't without danger: Earlier this year, an AAV sank off the coast of California, killing nine Marines.

You Might Also Like