Cold Response 2010, the multi-national, cold weather military exercise hosted by Norway above the Arctic Circle recently ended. More than 8,500 troops from 14 nations participated in the 16-day exercise in and around northern Norway's coast and a sliver of neighboring Sweden. Participants included the U.S., Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Poland.
U.S. Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 25th Regiment, open fire during a mock raid at Cold Response 2010 multinational exercise in Norway. Marine Corps photo by Corp. Tyler J. Hlavac
The exercise – one of the coldest ever with temperatures plummeting to 30 degrees below zero Celsius (-22 Farenheit) – saw U.S. and Royal Marines hit the beach in landing craft and rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs). During other segments of the exercise, Norwegian tanks rumbled across the border with Sweden -- another exercise participant. Austrian Kiowa OH-56B attack helicopters took part with U.S., Dutch and Norwegian units in maritime interdiction operations. And Finnish NH-90 helos supplied tactical transport in mountainous areas. Beneath the waters of the fjords, Dutch and Norwegian submarines hunted each other while shadowing surface vessels.
The military contingents ranged in size from Britain's 2,000 sailors and Marines and Sweden's 1,000 troops – most of them from the Jaeger (hunter or ranger) Battalion -- to six Polish officers who helped plan tactical operations.
U.S. and Royal Marines in beach assault near Bogen, Norway with assistance of Dutch Navy landing craft. Photo by USMC Master Sgt. Michael Q. Retana
Naval vessels included a British task force with an amphibious helicopter carrier, a French korvette, Norwegian mine sweepers and supply vessels, and a Dutch amphibious warship.The exercise, the first entirely above the Arctic Circle, tested cold weather amphibious operations, interoperability among expeditionary forces as well as conventional and special operations ground ops. Ground operations ranged from company-sized maneuvering to a brigade-sized beach assault.
The exercise's scenario: a response to the invasion of the fictitious country of Northland by troops of the equally fictitious Eastland seeking to gain access to the port of Narvik and nearby oil and gas fields. The exercise culminated with an amphibious landing, with air and naval support.
A Finnish NH-90 helicopter lands on a mountaintop near Bardufoss, Norway. Photo Norwegian Defense Forces by Claus Andreas Ostby. Forsvaret copright.
Most of the participating countries belong to NATO, but three -- Sweden, Finland and Austria -- participated through NATO's Partnership for Peace program, that allows partner countries to build up individualized relationships with the alliance.The U.S. Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment – a reserve unit based in New York State – hitched a ride to the exercise on British and Dutch ships. Royal Marines from Commando 45, based in Scotland and headed for Afghanistan later this year, shared the HMS Ocean, Britain's largest warship,with the U.S. Leathernecks. It was the first time U.S. Marines had participated in the annual Norwegian exercise since 2005. U.S. Marines also were carried aboard the Royal Netherlands Navy amphibious ship HNLMS Johan De Witt. In addition to the 2nd Battalion, Marines from the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion participated in the Norwegian exercise.
There are additional photo galleries at the 45 Commando website, as well as the webpages of the Norwegian Armed Forces, the Swedish Armed Forces (translation tool InterTran or google translate needed).
HMS Ocean, a British helicopter carier, landed U.S. and Royal Marines during Cold Response 2010. Photo, Royal Navy. Crown Copyright.
For more on Cold Response 2010, visit my website: 4GWAR.