Danish-Swedish attack from the north

- Nordic cooperation on the enemy side

One of the aims of Winter Sun is for the units to practise the ability to fight in an unknown environment against skilled opponents. The enemy is a mix of a Danish armoured infantry company and a tank platoon from the Swedish Skaraborg regiment, P 4.

"It's an absolutely huge piece of terrain in this exercise. My tank has already gone 230 kilometres," says Oscar Lundberg from P 4 in Skövde. Photo: Mats Carlsson/Swedish Armed Forces
"Winter Sun has been a good, challenging exercise so far. But we would have liked much colder and tougher weather conditions," says Nick Larsen, machine gunner on one of the Danish M113 armoured personnel carriers. Photo: Mats Carlsson/Swedish Armed Forces
Feeling great, the Danish soldiers are enjoying Norrbotten. Photo: Jesper Sundström/Swedish Armed Forces

"We have had to fight very hard, it was really tough during the first few days. The Battalion from I 19 has defended and delayed very well," says Oscar Lundberg, tank driver from P 4.

Winter Sun is a two-sided exercise with large units in a winter environment. The purpose is to practice brigade leadership abilities, winter skills and the interaction between units. The exercise contains elements of both delaying tactics and attack.

The Danish part of the enemy forces who are fighting against the Swedes from I 19 are parts of the tank battalion from the Jydske dragoon regiment.

"A good exercise so far and definitely a challenge. In the beginning when we were farther north there was much more snow. We would have liked much colder and tougher weather conditions, though. Anyway, we will have many good experiences to take home with us ," says Nick Larsen, machine gunner on one of the Danish M113 armoured personnel carriers.

Huge terrain

Oscar Lundberg, a driver in the tank platoon from P 4, is also confident that they will have a lot of useful experience from the Winter Sun exercise.

"Just fighting in completely unknown and very hilly terrain gives an extra dimension. The terrain in this exercise is absolutely huge - my tank has already gone 230 kilometres during the exercise," says Oscar.

Second place

"Another good experience was that we used indirect fire a lot, because we were forced into it. Among other things, the prevailing ground conditions made us use it. Since we have had to stick to the roads, those who are defending only need to wait in a curve and shoot us down - you are in second place straight away unless you use indirect fire as support in the attack," continues Oscar Lundberg.

Small details are crucial

Jonas Larsen and Daniel Terp Andersen are reconnaissance soldiers in the Danish-Swedish enemy forces during the Winter Sun exercise. They will also have many good experiences to take back with them.

"Yes, we have learned a lot that will be useful - now you can see what a big difference small details like having dry socks can make. If you're not warm and dry, you can get really low. Another thing is to build an observation station in winter conditions, which is a completely different thing. It is certainly easier to dig in the snow than in soil. Just take the aspect of what you have to do with all the snow you dig up, it's a completely different problem," say the Danish reconnaissance soldiers Jonas and Daniel.

Less fighting on foot

Machine gunner Kenneth Mouritsen is also very pleased with the exercise.
"It's been really good and we have learned a lot about winter warfare that we didn't have a clue about. The weather has been much better than we expected, though. Back home during preparation we were told that it could be down to minus 20 degrees, but when we got here it was actually above freezing and sunny. Not that I'm complaining," he says, laughing.

The main difference, apart from the weather, is that they have been sitting in the vehicle most of the time.
"At home in Denmark we are fighting on foot for 80% of the time, whereas here we have been fighting on foot maybe 10% of the time," says Kenneth Mouritsen.

On Monday morning, it's time to roll out again for more battles. They are now at the south Boden artillery range where the armoured battalion is on the attack and the Danes are defending and delaying along with the tanks from P 4.
"It will be fun, we are really fired up for the final battles now," says Oscar Lundberg.