So, yeah, I joined the army: Day 134


 

 Hey! Merry Christmas everyone.
 
I am finally home on leave for the Christmas holiday, It's good to see family and friends again, you really appreciate them more after being away for so long. Now we just need to get a tree and we're ready for Christmas. 

 Arriving at the staging area
 Arriving at the staging area


In my last post I promised that I would tell you guys about our combat exercise involving the Armored battalion and infantry form 2. battalion. The exercise, nicknamed Operation Overture, took place in the mountains surrounding the garrisons in Northern Norway, and I realized how important mobility are in modern combat. We left Setermoen (our garrison) early Monday morning, and I tell you, it's a pretty awesome sight to behold when the entire Armored battalion comes rolling through the street.
After a long drive through forests and up windy mountain roads we arrived at the staging area for our attack, a cold and wind-swept hillside in the middle of nowhere. During this exercise we would play the bad guys and make an assault on 2. battalion before pulling back and defending against the counter-attack.


 
As an assault squadron we, along with 2. Squadron (Leo 2 tanks) formed the spearhead of the attack, and with the entire battalion behind us and with support from Artillery and the Medical Crops, we were over a thousand men strong. Now, I know that might sound like a small force, but considering the size of the Norwegian Army, its pretty huge. 
Anyways, just before the attack started, scouts form 1. Squadron pinpointed artillery down on 2. battalion's advanced observation post, so we just rolled through without any resistance. 

 On our way to assault 2.bat. Picture taken through our driver's nigh optics
 On our way to assault 2.bat. Picture taken through our driver's nigh optics

When we ran into the main force we got a startling surprise, the 2. battalion had received armored support form the Netherlands. This threw the assault into chaos, because we thought they didn't have anything that could effectively take out our armor, but now the Dutch were there with their tanks and suddenly our armor superiority was worth jack shit! We had to rethink our entire battle strategy and it was decided that we would pull back and await further orders, the retreat was almost as cool as the assault itself, I fired of rounds to cover our retreat while the tanks reversed into cover, despite adrenaline rushing through my veins I managed to get in a few hits on the enemy. Even though we only use blank rounds during exercises I know that I hit because of the training system every vehicle is fitted with. It contains a laser and several prisms attached to the vehicles, so you know if your shot would have hit or not. We got orders to pull back to the staging area and prepare our defenses.

 Yes, it was pretty cold. (This is from the inside of the CV90)
 Yes, it was pretty cold. (This is from the inside of the CV90)

Our team were chosen to set up an ambush along the enemy's anticipated approach route, approximately 3 km ahead of our own main force. My team leader and myself didn't quite understand this, what damage can a single CV 90 and an 8-man team of infantry do to an entire battalion, but then we were told from our commander that we would also have a team of artillery observers and a FAC- (Forward Air Control) team at our disposal. When the enemy arrived our job would be to inflict as much damage as possible before retreating back to our main force, but apparently our attack had caused more damage that we initially thought, it stalled their advance and they would arrive at our position until two days later. We spent the extra time fortifying our positions and improving the camouflage on the CV90. 

The extreme weather really took a toll on the morale in the team, with  chilling winds and temperatures ranging from -16*F to as low as -58*F the danger of frostbites and hypothermia were always present, and because of the threat form the enemy, half the team were constantly manning the defensive positions. Now, as a gunner I got to spend most of the time inside the CV90, and while it kept me warm, I weren't allowed to sleep for two days, since I am the only one on my team who has the education needed to control the vehicle's weapon- and thermal systems.


 Infantry practicing combat drill while we wait for the enemy to arrive
 Infantry practicing combat drill while we wait for the enemy to arrive

During the night, after two days of waiting I finally spotted 2. battalion's vehicles crawling down a hillside about 5-6 km from my position, I yelled out on the radio to alert my team and the rest of the squadron that they were coming. 5 minutes later everyone were in place and guns ready, but unfortunately 2. battalion didn't turn up for another two hours, but when they did all hell broke loose. We had placed our infantry on one side of the road, and the CV90 on the other, so when they arrived they would be trapped in the crossfire. We didn't fire on sight, we let them pass by our positions and then I fired on the first two vehicles, disabling them, before moving on to the rear and taking out the last in the formation, effectively trapping them, since the damaged vehicles had to be moved before they could continue. Then our infantry opened up on them with their entire arsenal, including MG3's, 84mm Carl Gustav Anti-tank, 40mm grenade launchers and our HK-416's. The battle ended quick, when Dutch Leo 2's were spotted, closing in on us. We regrouped with our infantry, and retreated in a hurry, I'm not sure, but I think we left somewhat between 20 and 30 destroyed vehicles behind us.
Suddenly I heard a loud alarm and a bright red light were flashing on my console. We were defeated, a shell form a Leo 2 had hit dead center on our CV90, effectively killing everyone inside. We were told by the judges over the radio that we had to sit out the rest of the battle. Since this was a combat exercise, the winner was decided before the battle began, and as planned, 2. battalion defeated us later that same day. Our captain were very proud of us and what we had achieved, considering this was our first encounter with large scale battle with multiple squadrons and support units, and even though we were only firing blank shots it felt like the real thing, with help form the advanced hit-detection system.

 7.62 round (used in  AK-47, MG3) compared to the 30mm round fired form the CV90
 7.62 round (used in  AK-47, MG3) compared to the 30mm round fired form the CV90

The last week of the exercise were education oriented, our infantry traveled to a shooting range nearby to practice Close Quarters Combat, and we, the CV90 crew went to a large abandoned airfield to get some training in formation and rapid advancement, we even got to fire off some live rounds, and firing your our assault rifles is nothing compared to the power you feel when you let off a 5-round burst of 30mm rounds.

 

When we finally got back to our garrison, after nearly two weeks in the field, we thought it would finally be over, but that was not the case. It turned out we had a ton of maintenance to do before we could retreat to our barracks. After 20 or so hours of refueling, cleaning and greasing, we were done. As we were about to leave we got orders to meet outside in full gear in 5 minutes. “Fuck! Here we go again,” was my first thought, and as we lined up outside our garage and marched of I had no idea where we were going.

 The Wolverine, our squadron's coat-of-arms
 The Wolverine, our squadron's coat-of-arms

 

After 15 minutes of marching around in the woods surrounding our garrison I realized we were heading back to the garage, and when we got back it had been decorated with banners featuring our national colors as well as both the battalions coat-of- arms and our own Wolverine. As I slowly realized what was about to happen I got a warm, tingling sensation through my body. Our captain greeted us inside, accompanied by our national anthem, and told us that through our achievements during the last two week we had proven ourselves worthy to be called “Wolverines” and to bear the squadrons patch on our right shoulder.



 
 
 
Now I am back home with family and friends, and enjoying every moment of it. I don't miss the cold north, but I do miss the people, I've made a lot of new friends up there and it makes returning a lot easier.


I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Take care

VIGGO123

   
PS:  Since my previous posts have been lacking pictures I brought some for you, conceder it a Christmas present :)
Tried to put it in a spoiler, but couldn't get it to work :(
 

 Yeah, pretty bad-ass!
 Yeah, pretty bad-ass!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 I think this is a very cool picture
 I think this is a very cool picture
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 On the live-fire range
 On the live-fire range

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Practicing maneuver
 Practicing maneuver

 
    
 
 
 
 

 
 CV90 = Awesome!
 CV90 = Awesome!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 A picture of my gun, now stop asking
 A picture of my gun, now stop asking
 
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