Posts tagged ‘winter warfare’
Share the Road
In this photo, a Norwegian Leopard 2 tank from the Telemark Battalion, prepares for battle on the busiest main road in North Norway.
Military exercises are normally conducted inside a restricted area far from populated areas. But during Exercise Cold Response, which recently concluded in Norway, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from 16 nations drove, marched and flew over two counties in the northern part of the country. The 16-day exercise’s area of operations included several towns and villages.
According to the Norwegian Defense Force, the folks of Nordland and Troms counties near the Arctic Circle, have no problem sharing their roads with the military visitors – in fact they welcome the “invasion” of foreigners. Military Police from eight nations helped the Norwegians maintain road safety and kept the Volvos and Saabs separated from the armored vehicles during the sprawling exercise.
Cold Response, which tests the operational ability of participating forces in extreme winter weather conditions, takes place in a geographic area about the size of Belgium. Norwegian troops have been doing this for years and say it prepares them for a rigorous arctic experience.
Click here to see the Swedish Defence Forces Cold Response website (in Swedish, but cool photos).
NOTE: Because the 4GWAR editor will be flying late Thursday/early Friday we are posting this week’s FRIDAY FOTO early.
Multi-National Exercise in Norway
For the sixth time since 2006, thousands of foreign soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen have taken to the skies, roads and waters of northern Norway for a large winter-weather military exercise: Cold Response 2014.
The goal is to conduct support and combat operations in harsh conditions while working together to create stronger bonds between the allied forces. By the Way, the above was shot in color. If you click on the image to enlarge it, notice the vehicle’s serial number and one of its tail lights are in color.
Why Norway? According to the Norwegian Armed Forces website, northern Norway in March “offers harsh weather which gives good training conditions and valuable experience for personnel from other countries. This part of the country is also well used to military exercises.” Unlike almost everywhere else in the world, Cold Response is held in populated areas with tanks and other armored vehicles sharing the road at times with civial cars and trucks. To help keep things running smoothly and safely, military police units from nine nations took part in the exercise.
The long-planned exercise took on additional significance with the Russia-Ukraine crisis in Crimea. Despite rising tensions among NATO member countries bordering Russia, previously invited Russian observers attended this year’s Cold Response, according to the Barents Observer website. Norway borders Russia and the newly chosen civilian head of NATO is a Norwegian.
To see more photos from the Norwegian website, click here.
To see a short NATO video on he exercise, click here.
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ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the High North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arctic Region, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment, responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientific research, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Maglott fires a 9mm Berretta pistol while competing in the Army Reserve Medical Command’s 2014 Best Warrior Competition at Fort Harrison, Montana.
All 13 competitors in the week-long competition wore satellite-linked safety beacons that detected if they were stationary for more than 10 minutes. The 13 represented five brigades of the Army Reserve Medical Command. The competitors, including one female soldier, Army Specialist Mai Quyen Thi Dang, made an air assault landing from a CH-47 Chinook and then began a four-mile ruck march through the mountainous terrain. There were also physical fitness tests, day land navigation, urban orienteering courses, road marches, tactical combat casualty care and a written essay. The temperature stood at 15 degrees during the competition.
To see a slideshow of the event click here.
Fuss and Feathers
On March 19, 1814 Winfield Scott, just 27-years-old, was promoted to brigadier general in the U.S. Army. It was the start of his long career as a general officer and a commander in the Black Hawk and Second Seminole wars, the Mexican-American War and the early days of the Civil War.
As a lieutenant colonel in the regular Army, Scott was captured at the Battle of Queenstown Heights in 1812. He and about 900 men were stranded on the Canadian side of the Niagara River when New York State militiamen refused to cross over into Canada to reinforce their beachhead.
It was one of several failed U.S. attempts to invade Canada but Scott was considered one of the few heroes of the defeat because he had crossed the river under fire and made his way up to the captured British artillery emplacement where U.S. regulars and New York militiamen were holding off a series of attacks by British, Canadian and Native American opponents. Scott, an artillery officer, took command when the militia and regular Army commanders were wounded.
Promoted to colonel after he returned to the United States in a prisoner exchange in 1813, Scott was wounded during the successful capture of Fort George on the Niagara Frontier between Canada and New York State in 1813.
Later in the year he will play a key role in the battles of Chippawa and Lundy’s Lane. Scott, who later commanded the U.S. Invasion force that captured Mexico City in 1847 during the Mexican War, would be promoted to lieutenant general – the first in the United States since George Washington held that rank.
Known as “Fuss and Feathers” for his flashy uniforms and attention to detail, Scott ran unsuccessfully for president in 1852 as the standard bearer of the Whig Party.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft takes off on a mission at dawn from Baghram Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 11, 2014.
For a slideshow of other activities around Baghram that cold clear morning, click here.
Raiding and Evading
After retaking Fort Detroit in 1813, the Americans cross the Detroit River and take several posts in what is now the southern part of the Province of Ontario. On February 21, 1814 the commander of the American-occupied Fort Malden at Amherstburg, sends Captain Andrew Holmes to capture one of two British-Canadian outposts: the village of Delaware or Port Talbot on Lake Erie.
Holmes has mounted detachments of the 24th, 26th, 27th and 28th U.S. Infantry regiments and two small cannon. He is joined by rangers and militiamen from Michigan in a march along Lake Erie to Port Talbot. By March 2, within 15 miles of Delaware village, Holmes’ force of 180 has been winnowed down by cold, hunger and sickness to 164 effectives. He’s abandoned the two small cannon in the mud.
Learning that a force of British and Canadians are within an hour’s march from his position, Holmes retreats to Twenty Mile Creek. He leaves the Michigan Rangers as a rearguard. They, too, fall back, after a skirmish with the British advance party, Caldwell’s Rangers.
Holmes digs in on what will become known as Battle Hill behind defenses made from felled trees. After another skirmish with Caldwell’s Rangers, the Americans repel a frontal attack by 130 British regulars (of the 89th and Royal Scots regiments) and almost 100 Canadian militiamen, Rangers and Native American warriors, all under the command of Captain James Basden. The redcoats have trouble negotiating a steep ravine and the icy slope under withering American fire. Several British-Canadian officers killed or wounded.
It is a small battle lasting only 90 minutes. The British-Candian force suffers 14 killed and 51 wounded. Only 4 Americans are killed and 3 more wounded. After dark, Holmes retreats to Amherstburg. The battlefield becomes a Canadian National Historic Site.
A Study in Concentration
Waiting to embark on an airborne exercise, U.S. Army Capt. Lindsey Ryan sits in full parachute harness familiarizing herself with a training manual. The captain is a paratrooper assigned to the Brigade Support Battalion of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne). The Sky Soldiers, in conjunction with paratroopers with the Polish 6th Airborne Brigade, conducted the exercise at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany on February 20, 2014.
And if you speak Polish, here is the 6th Airborne Brigade’s Facebook page. Good photos even if you don’t mówi po polsku. BTW, if you’ve seen the World War II film “A Bridge Too Far,” about the massive 1944 Allied parachute drop into the Netherlands, you’ve seen the antecedents of the Polish paratroops and their leader, Major General Stanislaw Sosabowski (played by Gene Hackman in the movie.)
Ride Hike the High Country
Lance Corporal Eleanor Roper hauls a Marine Corps Cold Weather Infantry Kit sled during a field exercise at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California.
Roper is a field radio operator with Ragnarok Company, 2nd Supply Battalion of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
The 228 Marines and sailors with Ragnarok Company, 2nd Supply Battalion of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, conducted cold-weather mobility training at the Mountain Warfare Training Center between January 14 and 28.
It’s all in preparation for the upcoming NATO exercise, Cold Response 2014, next month in Norway. The biennial exercise, hosted by the Norwegian Armed Forces will run from March 10 to 21.Some 16,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from 16 countries are expected to participate this year, according to the Barents Observer. Last time, participating countries included Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Britain and France.
“The main thing is getting used to operating in extreme cold-weather environments and getting the benefits of the opportunity to train in the mountains, train our basic rifleman skills and provide logistics for 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines,” said 1st Lt. Owen Trotman, a platoon commander and assistant operations officer with Ragnarok Company.
For more photos, click here.
BTW, we don’t know the significance of the Marine company’s name, except Ragnarok was Norse mythology’s version of the “Twilight of the Gods.” In short, the end of the world after a tremendous battle. And some believers say the Viking apocalypse will happen this weekend.
No Man’s Land
Since the American defeat at Crysler’s Farm in November 1813, the Northern Front along the St. Lawrence River has been quiet. But British raids continue across the river into New York State. From February 14 to February 24 the British and Canadians hit depots and supply centers left unprotected following the evacuation of French Mills by U.S. Major General James Wilkinson’s army in early February.
In the Fall of 1813, Wilkinson planned to combine with Major General Wade Hampton in a two-pronged campaign to invade Canada and take Montreal. But the plan fell apart when Hampton’s force is battered at the Battle of Chateauguay on October 26, 1813 and withdrew to Plattsburgh, rather than continue advancing.
Then Wilkinson’s army is defeated at Crysler’s Farm on November 11, 1813 and he ends the campaign and heads for French Mills on the Salmon River. But life is difficult in the winter camp in New York’s rugged North Country. More than 200 soldiers die during the winter and by mid February, Wilkinson’s troops burn their boats and march South to Sacket’s Harbor on Lake Ontario and east to Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain.
In their raids on the abandoned supply centers, the British capture large amounts of provisions and equipment at French Mills, Malone, Fort Corners, Madrid and Hopkinton – all in New York.
Meanwhile, farther west along the Great Lakes, there are occasional skirmishes between American raiding or scouting parties and the Canadian militia, in what is now the Province of Ontario across the Detroit River from Michigan Territory. The Americans occupy the abandoned Fort Malden in Amherstburg on the Canadian side of the river. The Canadians occupy Burlington and a small outpost at Delaware between Amherstburg and Burlington.
On February 21, 1814 the American commander of Amherstburg sends Captain Andrew Holmes to capture either Delaware or another small British-Canadian outpost at Port Talbot on Lake Erie.
Chatham. Homles has mounted detachments of the 24th, 26th, 27th and 28th U.S. Infantry regiments and two small cannon. He is joined by rangers and militiamen from Michigan in a march along Lake Erie to Port Talbot.
The American raid will result in the Battle of Longwoods in March.
The U.S.S. Constitution, a three-masted heavy frigate, has been prowling the Caribbean Sea since New Year’s Eve, looking to intercept British shipping and commerce.
The Pictou, is escorting the armed merchant the Lovely Ann from Bermuda to Suriname, when it is spotted by the Constitution under the command of Captain Charles Stewart. The American warship captured the Lovely Ann, taking her for a prize and then fired on Pictou.
The 54-gun Constitution stopped Pictou with a shot through her sails, capturing the smaller British vessel. Stewart decides to keep the Lovely Ann but orders the Pictou destroyed. The Pictou was one of five British warships captured or destroyed by the Constitution during the War of 1812. In addition to Pictou, they were HMS Guerriere, Java, Cyane and Levant.
On this Caribbean cruise, Stewart and Constitution captured five British merchant ships and Pictou before problems with the main mast force the captain to take Old Ironsides back to port.
Constitution, one of the six original frigates authorized by Congress in 1794, remains in service today – the oldest, still functioning warship in the world. The other frigates, that formed the backbone of the U.S. Navy were: President, United States, Constellation, Chesapeake and Congress.