Norway orders snap drill of 2,000 soldiers above Arctic Circle

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - October 25, 2017
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Norwegian soldiers dressed for cold climate. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)
Norwegian soldiers dressed for cold climate. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

A snap military drill began Tuesday in North Norway, with the aim of training on multiple defense tasks, Norway’s Army said in a press-statement.

The Northern Brigade is the only brigade in the Norwegian Army and is based in mid-Troms, well north of the Arctic Circle. The brigade consists of several battalions, including a motorized infantry, armoured vehicles, combat engineering, intelligence, artillery, logistics, communication and medics.

Soldiers with the Norwegian Home Guard will also participate in the snap drill which is set to last for the rest of the week.

In May, the Northern Brigade had its last snap drill. Then, forces were moved towards Evenes airport west of Narvik. This airport will within some few years serve as the High North forward base for the new F-35 jet fighters and the new fleet of maritime surveillance planes. Another snap drill took place last November when troops were moved northeast to Tana in Finnmark.

Skibotn, where troops are now being moved, was during the Cold War believed to be of strategic importance in Norway’s war scenarios in case of a Soviet invasion from the northeast through Finnish Lapland.

Next year, Norway will host NATO’s high-visibility exercise Trident Juncture. Some 35,000 soldiers from up to 30 nations will participate the Norwegian Defense announces.

Trident Juncture exercises take place every third year and is NATO’s major exercise. In 2015, Trident Juncture took place in Portugal, Spain and Italy while next year, military training in cold climate is the focus.