Origins Explained presents some of the craziest – and most challenging – military training exercises carried out around the world.
Israeli Skyscraper Rappel
The Israeli Defense forces are trained to deal with any number of situations, hence this “baptism by night.” Soldiers must take turns descending down 49-story buildings in preparation for dealing with things like a hostage crisis in Tel Aviv. Soldiers must remain calm, hold their positions and aim their weapons quickly and accurately upon orders. They then enter through the windows of the skyscrapers and assess the situation, making split-second decisions as they go.
Chinese Snow Drills
The Chinese military pushes their soldiers to the limits by sending them to the frozen tundra of the Chinese-Russian border in the north? Here, soldiers conduct drills in sub-zero temperatures without their shirts on, sometimes using traditional weapons such as swords and lances that require coordination. As a way to relax afterwards, the soldiers have snowball fights and toss buckets of snow at each other.
British Royal Marines Mud Run
This is resistance training taken to the next level. During an 8-month course, part of the required training for the British Royal Marines is the exhausting Mud Run. Recruits enter extremely thick mud and have to complete sometimes close to an hour of grueling exercises designed to push their body to the limits. These exercises are done in full uniform and sometimes leave contenders crawling at the end. The Mud Run is infamous within the course and is considered a rite of passage to the soldiers that have managed to finish the course.
Taiwan Rock Crawl
Marines of all countries are trained to be the elite, and sometimes that involves pushing determination as far as it can go. Prospective graduates of the 10-week-long Marine program end their journey by crawling on their bellies across 50 yards of sharp rocks. Along the course, instructors blow whistles and shout insults as the trainees wiggle against the sharp rocks. Strangely, family and friends are invited to witness this torturous display as their loved ones bleed and crawl to reach the finish line. After completion and very necessary first aid, soldiers can then cheer on other teammates and encourage them to finish. After finally passing this final obstacle on the amphibious training program, the recruits are considered “frogmen” and have conquered their pain.
Russian Special Forces Chest Shot
Getting shot is a very real possibility in war, and members of the Russian Special Forces want their recruits to feel that. As part of their course on trigger confidence, soldiers wear bullet-proof vests and actually have to shoot each other in the chest. They have to be prepared to react when the bullet hits, in order to return fire. In addition, they shoot targets very close to their comrades, in order for them to practice staying calm in high-stress situations.
US Sniper Pig Pond
US snipers know that their lives rely on their abilities to stay unnoticed, so they practice using a gilly suit to camouflage themselves in the wild. Snipers must jump into the pig pond while wearing their suits. This is an immensely putrid body of water, where they conduct drills, often while sleep-deprived. About one-third usually drop out.
Belarus Special Forces Hardcore Obstacle Course
Soldiers in the last dictatorship in Europe undergo intense training. The Red Berets do a 10 kilometer march, hand-to-hand combat, and an obstacle course that requires jumping over fires while avoiding the tires officers are throwing, balance beams made of chains, and so on. Live rounds are fired at the soldier’s feet to distract them.
Chinese Army Hot-Potato Hand Grenade Edition
The People’s Liberation of China soldiers pull the pin on a grenade and toss it amongst themselves as the counter ticks down. Running out of time before instant death, the last soldier will throw the grenade as the others duck. One slow throw or overestimating the time could result in death.
US Navy Seals Drown-Proofing
Legendary for being bad-ass, the elite US Navy Seals have to pass many rigorous tests, one of which is drown-proofing. Here, the soldiers are thrown into a pool with their legs and hands tied, and have to bob up and down to breathe. After doing this 20 times, they have to float for five minutes, then swim across the pool and back without touching the bottom and retrieve items from the bottom of the pool. They also have to rescue an instructor who is attacking them in the pool.
Russian Spetsnaz Midnight Nightmare
The Spetsnaz are Russia’s Special Forces, and are some of the toughest people on Earth. They are required to learn a unique martial art to disarm and kill, and their methods are seemingly brutal. One test involves placing a slab of concrete on a soldier’s back while he is suspended in the air, then a teammate takes a sledgehammer to the concrete block. Their midnight nightmare involves young soldiers being dragged to a room in the middle of the night, where there are organs and blood all over, and a vicious attack dog is unleashed so the soldier must wade through the mire to get away.