On the slope of a snow-covered hill deep in the Arctic Circle, some of the world’s best-trained commandos are struggling to complete an ambush exercise knee-deep in the snow. Britain’s Royal Marines make painfully slow progress during a slow-motion pastiche of a chase.
The conditions here—where temperatures routinely plunge to -22 F (-30 C) and snow drifts cloak the treacherous terrain—have dominated battlefield strategy above the Arctic Circle for centuries.
“The environment is as much your enemy as anybody else,” says Maj. Jim Lawson, the officer commanding of Charlie Company, 40 Commando. “If you just stand here and do nothing, it will kill you.”
Tall and eloquent, Lawson raises his voice slightly to be heard over the rat-ta-tat-tat gunfire of the Royal Marines to explain that NATO’s military leaders in the Arctic had been hitting the history books. In order to meet the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s resurgent Russia, they’ve been studying past incursions by the USSR and defense plans drawn up to counter aggression from the east stretching back from the Cold War to the German strategy for defending Nazi-occupied Norway against Russia during World War II.
Read the full article and more in The Daily Beast.