The UK Armed Forces have taken part in a series of joint exercises with NATO allies and international partners across Northern Europe. Joint exercises ensure that the UK and its allies can integrate and operate in combat situations; strengthening joint responsiveness. It also demonstrates the capabilities of UK Armed Forces as an expeditionary force and the UK’s commitment to NATO, JEF and our international partners.
Exercise Northern Forest, combined with Exercise Arrow and Exercise Lightning Strike have been Finland’s largest land force drill in the Arctic Circle in modern times. It involved 8,000 service personnel, from five partner nations - Finland, Norway, Sweden, US, and the UK.
The UK, Sweden, Norway and Finland are members of The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). JEF is ten-like minded northern European nations that also includes: Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands. Each nation provides a key contribution to European security.
The exercise saw a British Armoured Infantry Company joining with a Finnish brigade, a Norwegian Armoured Reconnaissance battalion, and a US Army Mountain Division to repeal “an enemy force” comprised of Finnish, Swedish and US Marine Forces as part of a realistic combat scenario.
Ex Northern Forest was an extraordinary training opportunity for A Company. It is a rare luxury to train on armour in this vast, complex terrain that offers such advantage to light role infantry MAJOR PETER DANIELL, 5 RIFLES
Major Peter Daniell, Commanding Officer of A Company, 5 Rifles, explained the exercise, which tested the international forces’ ability to collaborate and operate together, was immensely challenging.
“Ex Northern Forest was an extraordinary training opportunity for A Company. It is a rare luxury to train on armour in this vast, complex terrain that offers such advantage to light role infantry.
"As such we were forced to adapt our tactics to remain a relevant part of the battlegroup, and in so doing we learned a great deal from our allies, whether they were our adversaries on this exercise, or not.
“From the Finns we learned the value of operating as small, dispersed teams amidst the challenges of avoiding fratricide.
"From the Swedes we learned the confidence to plough our armour through the swampy, rocky forests to make aggressive terrain gains.
"From us they saw the battle-winning advantage of deploying empowered junior leaders with anti-armour screens forward of our fighting vehicles. It has been refreshing to be obliged to adapt novel tactics and to challenge the cultural sacred cows of armoured tactics.”
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