This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
The Mountaineering Brigade 23 “Bavaria“, which is specialized in infantry fighting in difficult to extreme terrain. They operate at high altitudes and under harsh climatic and weather conditions and is stationed in five locations in southern Bavaria with 5,300 soldiers.
The brigade has some unique range of tasks in the German Army and therefore also get some special training and equipment, like army mountain guides, pack animals, snowmobiles and high mountain ranges.
This time they are far away from home, training under extreme climatic and terrain conditions north of the Arctic Circle. The country is Norway, an ally of NATO.
Übung Eiskristal translates into Exercise Ice Crystal. I guess the name is revealing, and the aim of the exercise is to train the soldiers in winter conditions and to practice tactical procedures.
Below: Have you ever been machine gunning north of the arctic circle?
The author has, and it brings back some fine memories. I kind of remember freezing too, but it’s the memories of the machine gunning that lives. Wind drift will be an issue in an open terrain like this.
The first days our soldiers in Norway have passed. In Skjold, military training area Mauken prepare the high mountain hunter trains, the high mountain platoon, and other specialists of the Mountaineering Brigade 23 at currently -13 ° Celsius for a few days and nights outside: Bivouac!
It would be interesting to know how well the HK G36 keeps up in a prolonged arctic climate when it becomes dirty and used over some time with limited possibilities to clean and maintain it.
All photos by Bundeswehr / Mario Bähr.