Royal Marines join allies for huge Arctic exercise

Royal Marines have arrived in Sweden for Arctic Circle war games involving 10,000 troops from five nations.

Commandos have been in Norway since January undertaking cold weather warfare training as the UK underlines its commitment to security in the freeze of the high north.

Now, to complete their winter deployment, the marines – the UK’s experts in operating in the extreme cold – are heading east across the border for a sizeable Swedish Army exercise.

“The exercise will fully test our skills in this extreme environment but, more importantly, help to deepen our relationships with our closest allies in the high north,” said Colonel Paul Maynard, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando.

“After a successful period conducting extreme cold weather warfare training in Norway, elements of 3 Commando Brigade are looking forward to fully integrating into a Norwegian Brigade to take part in Exercise Northern Wind 19, a large-scale multinational exercise in northern Sweden.”

The Swedish Army is hosting the joint war games to test and increase its ability to face an attack in the northern reaches of the country near the Baltic Sea coastline.

Sweden’s Scandinavian neighbours Finland and Norway join the United States and the UK as the quintet of forces on Northern Wind.

Finland have sent 1,500 soldiers and 500 vehicles, including Leopard battle tanks, while the Royal Marines are working with a 4,500-strong Norwegian contingent.

The scenario for the exercise sees a fictitious nation attack northern Sweden.

 

The exercise will fully test our skills in this extreme environment but, more importantly, help to deepen our relationships with our closest allies in the high north

Colonel Paul Maynard

Royal Marines, Norway and the United States elements will work together against the other two nations, testing their Arctic warfighting skills.

A company of commandos skilled in close combat alongside reconnaissance specialists and logistic support have arrived in Sweden.

The 350-strong Royal Marines element is made up of Charlie Company and Recce Troop of 40 Commando, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron from 30 Commando and the Logistic Task Group from the Commando Logistic Regiment.

By participating in Northern Wind, Royal Marines are showing they are capable of working with NATO and European allies in a region of high importance.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson recently underlined the Arctic’s prominence in the security of the UK.

As part of that, Royal Marines have committed to a ten-year training programme alongside NATO ally, Norway.

It will see around 1,000 marines travel to the high north every year.