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Post by Misadventure » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:26 pm

Well, it may not actually be BZFlag in real life, but last weekend I got to see an event which I believe may be the closest thing to it. The 2019 International Army Games Tank Biathlon final. It was a most extraordinary day out! Another player suggested I post about it, so here's a quick intro for anyone else that may be interested.

What is a Tank Biathlon?
It is a circuit racing sport loosely based on the winter biathlon (skiing + rifle shooting) but using tanks in place of skis, and their much bigger guns in place of rifles.

How is it like BZF?
Well, the instant parallel is that there are 4 teams of brightly coloured tanks racing: Red, Blue, Green & Yellow. You can also imagine various types of BZ flags in play during the race:
V - The world speed record for a production MBT was broken at this event. 84kph (on soft ground)
QT - Adding a little QT into the mix and you occasionally see tanks drifting!
JP - 50 tons of tank can clear the ground after propelling itself up short ramp
WG - OK, no steering in the air, but after V up a hill, they can launch themselves a surprising distance
MG - Machine gunning of targets
F - Fast reloads to shoot consecutive targets while on the move, flanking
R - Those non-explosive shells can bounce off the ground when they miss
BU - Not actually burrowing, but they do briefly disappear down into pits along the circuit
CL - The tanks sometimes disappear (in their own exhaust fumes) :o)

Race Format
4 [country] teams, each with one tank, races around a circuit (12 times)
Each circuit involves various obstacles (hills, dips, flooded dip, rough terrain & obstacles, etc).
3 of the 4 circuits involve firing sessions:
- 7.6mm MG at small targets representing grenade launchers at up to 800m
- 125mm main gun at pop-up targets representing tanks at around 1.5 - 2km.
- 12.7mm AA MG at pop-up targets representing helicopters & vehicles
There are points were crews have to stop to reload.
And every 4 circuits there is a crew change (commander, driver & gunner), relay race style.

Approaching start line, each team had a spare tank on standby, but these weren't called upon, although a couple of teams seemed to damage their vehicles somehow en-route.

The location:
Alabino polygon, the prooving ground for Russian ground forces, 40km SW of Moscow
Google Maps satellite view:

The tanks:
Ironically, the manufacturer logo (seen on red tank), reads YBZ in English, although it is Cyrillic script and actually pronounced oo-ve-ze.

Full race with most cameras/angles, close-ups, drone views and scoreboards.
Also appears to have 12-min compilation of action, from 1:59:00

A live streamed version, fewer cameras, just from viewpoint alongside main stands
Action starts about 1.5hrs in. Before that just coverage of prep.

About an hour of air show was billed before the race, seen at start of this video. The Russian Knights display team from the nearby Kubinka base, turned up, but there was low and heavy cloud cover, so the 4 Sukhoi Su-27's could only do a few low passes in formation before disappearing into the cloud. Sadly the Swifts team of MiG 29's (also based at Kubinka) did not appear at all.

On the subject of cloud, interestingly, there was negligible rain at the event, despite cloud, local forecasts and the very heavy rain experienced driving to/from Alabino. I suspect some "cloud seeding" took place to ensure clouds dropped their loads before passing over the site.

Official site

I have attached a few pictures that I took around the site, however given the scale of the place, a phone's camera was fairly inadequate.
(1.19 MiB) Not downloaded yet
There are plenty more videos of this year's competition and past events to be seen on YouTube if you search for "Tank Biathlon"

If you want any further info about the event, feel free to ask below.

ATB, Mis

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Re: BZFlag IRL

Post by kierra » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:37 am

That sounds amazing!!!! Thank you for sharing!
Hopefully there was no tking ;)
"Sometimes people try to expose what's wrong with you, because they can't handle what's right about you."
"Measure your words -- they determine the distance of your relationships"

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