US Marine Corps during live firing with their M1A1 Abrams tanks in a shooting range at the Rena military camp this week. Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold / Forsvaret
US Marines are using Cold War era Norwegian caves to store new tanks, artillery and other military equipment to ramp up their presence near the Nato-Russia border, CNN reported
"Any gear that is forward-deployed both reduces cost and speeds up our ability to support operations in crisis, so we're able to fall in on gear that is ready-to-go and respond to whatever that crisis may be," Col. William Bentley, said in a Marine video posted to Facebook:
Norwegian Heimevernet soldiers and U.S. Marines are rolling out main battle tanks, artillery, and logistics equipment out of Norwegian caves to support the upcoming Exercise Cold Response 2016, later this month.Catch all the coverage: http://bit.ly/coldResponse16 #AlliedStrong
Posted by U.S. Marine Forces Europe and Africa on Monday, February 15, 2016
According to a Marines statement, the military began using the caves to store military equipment in 1981. When Cold War tensions subsided, the US military transferred the costs of maintaining the caves to Norway, Magnus Nordenman, the director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council, told CNN.
But with Russia flexing its muscles in the region, the cave complex is now back in active use. Nordenman told CNN that the caves hold enough equipment to support some 15,000 Marines.
Heather Conley, the director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Europe Program, told CNN that given the tense current relationship between Nato and Russia, northern Europe is now being viewed as a “theatre of operations”.
"Now that we have a very new security context with Russia, it now makes sense to rethink what is needed," she said.
Russian aggression in the Nordics has been an ongoing concern for Norway and its neighbours in recent years.
intelligence services have all reported that Russia is one of the biggest threats in the region.
Just last week, the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) singled Russian spying out as having major “damage potential”
for Norwegian interests.
The Marines statement said that more than 16,000 troops will use equipment stored in the Norwegian caves later this month for cold weather training exercises.
The Marines have released video showing the Norwegian army assisting the Americans in learning how to best operate tanks and Amphibious Assault Vehicles in icy conditions.
Fast and Furious Tank Drifting----------Have you ever seen a tank drift?Our Norwegian Hæren friends showed us how to drive M1A1 Abrams and Amphibious Assault Vehicles on ice in Rena, Norway. Catch all the #AlliedStrong action at http://bit.ly/articslap
Posted by U.S. Marine Forces Europe and Africa on Wednesday, February 17, 2016
These brand new U.S. Marine Corps M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks fired their first rounds ever with the help of the Norwegian Hæren.Stand by for more as we ramp up for Exercise Cold Response 2016 later this month!
Posted by U.S. Marine Forces Europe and Africa on Friday, February 19, 2016