US Army special forces in Finland for winter war games
The troops and their equipment will be heavily sequestered from the public eye during the two weeks of training exercises.
Apart from learning the ins and outs of winter warfare, the Americans are hoping for some night-time skiing, said Utti regiment commander Colonel Heikki Välivehmas.
“The timing is the best possible, because we now have a national training exercise that they can naturally join so they can experience a Finnish winter,” Välivehmas said.
The elite US Army soldiers will also provide training for their Finnish counterparts in international operations. Välivehmas said the joint training will be beneficial for local forces.--
This year the Utti Jaeger Regiment has a contingent of 60 troops to be deployed as reinforcements in Nato’s Response Force (NRF) operations. The troops don’t know in advance what their assignment will be or where they will have to ship out.
From Utti, the US Army special forces will move on to Lapland next week. Members of the Utti infantry regiment will then test their American colleagues’ winter war skills across northern Lapland.
The number of US special forces now training in Finland is limited - only a ten-man team - but their war games together with Finnish colleagues are still most welcome,particularly when one considers Russian dictatorVladimir Putin's recent bravado about Russia's armed forces moving on "to a new level of capabilities in the next three to five years".