If you watched the video you already figured out that we had a big military exercise recently. What you saw from the video was only a small part of the whole journey. I am here to tell you the insights. 

The whole “challenge” was about 24 hours long. What highlights and downfalls I had during that time? Read the following to figure it out 😉 

The “stress day”

So we got told about our mission on 25. September about 7 p.m. At that time we had  our dinner ( That was the last proper meal we had for the next two days). 

We weren´t told the details, but we knew that the journey was about 10- 40 km long and at least the first 10 km we had to walk with our full gear (about 50 kg weight). Well, doesn´t sound easy, but it´s doable, I thought at the time.

As we were supposed to start at 2 a.m I quickly went to sleep. About 2 hours later I was wakened up by my squad leader who gave us a more detailed information about what was coming.

 I felt tired and wanted to sleep, but we had no time, so I quickly packed my gear and stood still, shaking and waiting for orders.

At first, I was weirdly excited about our unexpected mission. What I didn´t know was that during our journey we had to walk through a river. Now, everyone from Estonia knows that crossing a river in late September usually isn´t much fun. The degree was about + 5 C. But I won´t jump ahead of myself.

Before the river crossing, we had a 15 km journey carrying our full military gear. I don´t want to sound weak, but carrying 50+ kg for a long period isn´t an easy challenge (I weight only 20km more). Given the fact that I didn´t get much sleep I basically sleepwalked the whole way! 

But I lost all my sleepiness when about 5 km before the river I heard shots only 30 m away from me. I have never run so fast in my life! I jumped into the closest bush and started firing back.

As it turns out there was an enemy patrol waiting for our arrival so he could shoot us all down. I was the first in line, so I got “hit” a lot. If it would´ve been a real situation I wouldn´t be writing this blog post.

We quickly re-positioned our forces and did a counterattack against our unknown enemy. As the landscape was dense it took a lot of energy to force the enemy to retreat but after 20 minutes of a gunfight, we managed to secure the area. 

After that, I really felt that I couldn´t keep going for much longer. But trough some kind of a miracle we made it to the river.

I heard shots only 30 m away from me. I have never run so fast in my life! I jumped into the closest bush and started firing back. 

As it turns out there was an enemy patrol waiting for our arrival so he could shoot us all down.

Now, we were told that after crossing the river and securing the area, there is a chance that we are picked up by the trucks and our journey ends there.

That would mean we would get back to our barracks and have a warm shower and then a long sleep in our comfy bed. That hope gave me the energy to push through and fight the upcoming enemy hard and fast.

As we approached the river everything was silent. We were the first team to cross it and I was also the first man in my team. I slowly peaked out and didn´t see anybody.

Then we ran as fast as we could over the river. The water was cold and uncomfortable but luckily nowhere as deep as we were told. Right after we had crossed and the team behind us had sent their first men into the water we heard a heavy machine gun firing right next to us. We stormed towards him and forced him to back off.

What we found out later was that there was a minefield right after the river. We just walked through it without any of the mines exploding! We got really lucky.

There wasn´t much action. You will get a better understanding watching the video in the beginning. We cleared and secured the area about in an hour.

After the battle, we were exhausted. Much did it help to find out that instead of getting on the trucks and driving away, the cars only took our bags and we had to walk all the way to the military encampment by ourselves!

As we had no other choice we took all the energy we had left and went on by foot. Luckily it was much easier to walk without the heavy bag on our shoulders.

 

The course´s ending ceremonial. Fb - 1. jalaväebrigaad/1st Infantry Brigade

We made it to barracks about 4 p.m 26. September after walking over 30 km (15 km with full gear and 15 km with reduced gear).

In the barracks, we were told to clean our weapons and gear fast and then go to sleep.

But we didn´t get to sleep very long. After a 2 hour nap, we were suddenly woken up by an alarm and had to run outside the room. 

We had 60 seconds to be dressed and get on the corridor with a pen. A pen? We had a “surprise” examination about the contents of a sergeant command. Not an easy task to remember everything when being so tired, but I passed the exam.

And with that little mental exercise, our “stress day” in Tapa ended.