15,000 dead after longest Russian drill weekend ever
Thought it was only one weekend a month.
By Cat Astronaut
As Russia’s annual readiness exercise along its border with Ukraine enters its sixth week, reports indicate that as many as 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in the country’s longest and deadliest drill weekend on record.
“Worst drill weekend ever,” said Russian army reservist Sgt. Evgeniy Volotov. “I have no idea where we even are, let alone what to report on my travel claim. My [Russian version of Defense Travel System] voucher will never get approved!”
While Volotov says he always expects his unit to take “a handful of casualties” every drill period, or even to occasionally wander into a former Soviet republic, the live fire ranges that have so far killed or wounded half of his battalion are a little too complex for this phase in the unit’s pre-deployment training plan.
“The worst part is,” he added, “with all the casualties we’ve taken and equipment we’ve gotten destroyed, we’re definitely going to have a safety stand-down once we get back from the field.”
Russian leadership is more optimistic about the drill’s progress.
“All in all, this annual training event has been an astounding success,” said Maj. Gen. Ivan Novikov. “This is the first opportunity we’ve had to test our ‘get blown up by Javelin’ and ‘murder own commander’ battle drills in a live-fire environment.
“I’d say we’re fully mission capable on both of those,” he added, moments before his aide-de-camp negligently discharged his pistol into the back of his skull twice.
Other senior leaders think the younger generation of Russian soldiers has gotten soft, complaining about training events that pale in comparison to the way they trained in the Soviet days.
“When I was a lieutenant, we spent nine years straight at a single training exercise in Afghanistan,” said Lt. Gen. Boris Andreev. “And we all had dysentery the whole time.”
Despite the Russian rank-and-file’s misgivings about the exercise, they have lauded the professionalism of the training cadre.
“These Ukrainian role players are great,” said Volotov. “A little angrier than the usual training staff, and they keep notionally stealing our tanks, but super realistic.”
Cat Astronaut is a demobilized mobile infantryman and the creator of Ye Olde Tyme News. Mr. Scorpio, Dick Scuttlebutt, and Poet of Sport contributed reporting.