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Nordic ground forces increase integration in ‘Cold Response'

Norwegian Army units, including a CV90 infantry fighting vehicle, await the second phase of the Norwegian/Swedish-Finnish brigades' defensive operation during Exercise ‘Cold Response', near Bardufoss, northern Norway. (Lee Willett)

The recent Norwegian-hosted NATO exercise ‘Cold Response' provided a rare but important opportunity for Nordic ground forces to improve integration, a senior Norwegian Army officer told Janes. The exercise included for the first time two Nordic brigades integrating as the defending land force.

“For a couple of years, we have not been able to conduct this kind of exercise,” Colonel John Olav Fuglem, the Norwegian Army's chief of operations, told Janes. “To train with two brigades – the Norwegian Brigade on the inlandflank, and the Swedish-Finnish Brigade on the coastal flank – has been a good opportunity to link two brigades and make them co-ordinate.”

‘Cold Response' took place in the second half of March 2022, and trained and demonstrated NATO amphibious capability in and around Norway's northern fjords. The Norwegian and Swedish-Finnish brigades provided the defending force, countering an attacking force consisting of marines from the US Marine Corps (USMC), the UK Royal Marines commandos, the Netherlands Korps Mariniers, and the Italian Navy's San Marco Marine Brigade.

The defending force conducted a two-phase operation: a delay operation to block the attacking force on two axes; and then a manoeuvring counter-attack, simultaneously on both axes. This structure required increased co-ordination between the two defending brigades, Col Fuglem said.

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