Swedish and allied armies in action during Northern Wind 2019 exercise

Northern Wind is a Swedish Army exercise conducted in the north-east part of Sweden during March 2019. A total of 10,000 personnel is participating in the exercise. Of these, approximately 7,000 come from partner nations: Finland, Norway, USA, and Great Britain.

Swedish army in action during Northern Wind 2019 exercise
Lieutenant Colonel Johan Skiöld, the Northern Wind Planning Officer, chatting with Norwegian soldiers (Picture source: Swedish army)

The aim of Northern Wind is to develop Sweden's national defence, and the exercise will enhance Sweden's capability to conduct combat operations at brigade level with units from other nations. Because the exercise is being conducted in northern Sweden in a winter climate, it will provide participating units with favourable conditions to enhance their winter warfare capabilities.

During Northern Wind 2019, 192 Mechanized Battalion from the Norrbotten Regiment will conduct refresher training. The Battalion, with its 800 soldiers and officers, is the largest Swedish contribution to the exercise.

Most of the participants come from Sweden’s priority partner nations: Finland, Norway, the USA, and the UK. For this reason, the exercise will further develop Sweden’s ability to give support to and receive support from other nations, Host Nation Support.

This is a massive logistics operation, which we've been working on since December last year. We started the planning work immediately after the end of Exercise Trident Juncture. Sweden has been doing the actual transport and movement work for about a month. First, two weeks of road movements mainly to Narvik where most trains were loaded with vehicles and equipment, then two weeks of transportation by train and road here to Haparanda. The entire operation involved 17 trains, 59 vehicle convoys and 75 bus loads. All in all, the Battalion has driven about 130,000 kilometers, which corresponds to about three times around the equator, says Lieutenant Colonel Stein Grongstad, Commanding Officer of the Combat Service Support Battalion.

The two brigades are now carrying out their final preparations and finalising their plans ahead of the coming combat that begins on Wednesday, 20 March. The two brigade commanders met on Sunday and shook hands before the "Battle of Eastern Norrbotten".

"It's great for us to exercise in our actual wartime terrain and take on an equally high-tech opponent. In addition, we get to exercise in a large area that gives us the opportunity to maneuver our units over a large area of inaccessible winter terrain," says Colonel Mats Ludvig, Commander of the Swedish brigade, which is reinforced with a Finnish battalion battlegroup.