International Soldiers Train for Arctic Warfare in Finland

Arctic Forge 23 is happening now

Skiing lesson
Soldiers from Charlie Troop, 3-71 Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, execute a lesson on skiing without poles during Exercise Arctic Forge in Sodankyla Garrison, Finland on Feb. 21, 2023.
Pfc. Kaylan Joseph

For many people, winter involves traveling from somewhere with cold weather to somewhere where the weather is even colder. Traveling to ski resorts or to engage in other wintry activities — ice driving, anyone? — is a time-honored tradition. As it turns out, that’s also the case for active-duty members of several nations’ armed forces, who traveled to Finland and Norway earlier this month for the military equivalent of a ski trip. In this case, however, it’s less enjoying a ski lodge and more learning the craft of Arctic warfare.

As a recent Task & Purpose article explains, the training session is known as Arctic Forge 23. All told, well over 10,000 soldiers are taking part — including hundreds of Marines and members of the U.S. Army. The U.S. isn’t the only country with personnel there, however; also taking part in the training are Denmark, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

In a statement announcing Arctic Forge 23, Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler of the 11th Airborne Division noted that “we look forward to working with and learning from the Arctic experts from the Finnish Defence Forces, especially the Maavoimat, as we continue our role as America’s Arctic professionals.”

As the article in Task & Purpose points out, the participants in Arctic Forge 23 will be engaged in a host of activities. Some, like skiing and target shooting, certainly seem useful in the event of combat in a wintry environment. (Plus: bonus biathlon skills.) Other lessons are more focused on survival — including jumping into freezing water and learning how best to recover. As intense training sessions go, this sounds especially taxing.

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