Why Russia Was Watching These Wargames

Image Credit: NATO
Image Credit: NATO

Petri Mäkelä

Security, Europe

Two small, but tough, countries.

Why Russia Was Watching These Wargames

It’s equally important that Finland, Sweden and Norway and their closest partners, the UK and USA, ,are capable of staging a multi brigade exercise, without NATO participation.

There have been very few times in history, when a peacetime military training exercise of a non-aligned country has carried as much weight as the recent Swedish Northern Wind 2019. The 10 000-soldier exercise was the biggest showcase of interoperability and co-operation the region has seen.

The unscripted force on force exercise provided a perfect platform for two separate integration experiments. A Swedish/Finnish brigade was formed around a Swedish mechanized battalion. The joint brigade contained a 1500-man Finnish contingent. This was the largest military force Finland has sent beyond its borders since 1944, and it was gathered from several Finnish brigades and consisted mostly of conscripts. The combined Finnish and Swedish force with their heavy armor and artillery assets were assigned to delay and defend the northern Sweden from the other joint force coming from the north west.

Norwegian army gathered up a combined arms brigade, which was then reinforced by United States Marine Corps and British Royal Marines. The combined brigade got the rather daunting task of pushing the determined defenders out of their way.

In order to make the unscripted exercise even more realistic most of the participating combat forces were equipped with battlefield simulators that allowed the exercising forces to simulate both direct and indirect fire against each other.

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